Hi! I hope everyone had a nice wknd! I realize no one can answer this for me, but sometimes I find it helps just to get it out and see what others have to say.
My husband and I are about to buy land and build a home (hence my posts about kitchen design) and I am scared to death. We are 40, no kids and currently live in a lovely 3 story townhome. We love our neighborhood, have great neighbors and our home is close to so much (work, restaurants, shopping, park, etc)Even though it is a 3 story townhome, we seriously lack storage which ends up causing so much time and grief, I cannot begin to tell you. I love to decorate for the holidays and since we don't have a basement and only a crawl space for an attic, we rent a storage unit for $70 a month. We both have a car and only have a one car garage (no big deal really) but we don't put a car in there because we have other items in the garage (lawn mower, tools, etc.) I'm sure you all know what I mean. I do have alot of clothes, but I truly have gotten rid of so much! I haven even gotten rid of things I didn't need to to cut down on storage needs. I am not exaggerating when I tell you it takes me 3 weeks twice a year to change my clothes over. Not because I have a ton (well, I do have alot, but it's not ridiculous) but I work all day and can only do it at night so imagine bringing down 10 boxes filled with clothes and shoes 2x a year, taking clothes off the hanger, putting them in boxes, taking clothes out of boxes, hanging them up, taking shoes out of the box, switching them into shoe boxes for the new season. I'm not lazy, but its exhausting and time consuming. I hate it! I am really downsizing, but when you live somewhere with 4 seasons, you just have alot of stuff. Heavy coats, light coats, boots, sandals, heavy sweaters, light sweaters, dresses, shorts, pants, workout clothes, it's ridiculous and I'm getting too old for it. My dream is to one day have a big enough closet for everything to be in or to at least put summer in one closet and winter in another without having to do this every year. Also, going to the storage unit in all kinds of weather to drag out the holiday boxes has gotten quite old too. My husband would like a finished basement with a bar, wants to put his car in a garage and I need more storage.
So you're probably saying "what's the problem then?" Well, I am finding that as I get older, I hate change. I use to be able to leave a job if unhappy and move on or move from this apartment to that one, but now I really hate change. I'm scared frankly.
If we stay where we are, I can try and continue to downsize. I am finding less stuff is less stressful, but it's also ridiculous getting rid of clothes, etc. that are good just for space. Also, I always struggled in a way for money in my young adult life and now that we are "ok" not rich, but "ok" I fear having a larger mortgage, bigger bills, etc. We can stay where we are and continue to be stressed and struggle for space or build a new home where that problem is gone, but we will live a bit farther away from all the conveniences that we do now. Also, I know it sounds silly, but where I walk my dog, when we first moved in, I found a colony of homeless cats. There was about 35 cats. I had the all spayed/neutered, got alot homes and there are now only 10 cats. I care for them and when we move, I won't live by them anymore and I am so upset by this because they are use to me feeding them every day. Yes, I could drive back every day after work before I go home, but that will add about 45 minutes or so to my day. I know to some that will sound ridiculous but I am a huge animal advocate and lover so I am stressed about it.
So, the choice is stay where we are, we like the townhome, love the proximity to everything and have a low mortgage so we can easily live, have extra money, savings, go on vacations BUT have the stress and hassle of no storage, no use of our garage, no finished basement for the hubby OR we can build a bigger, beautiful forever home we will be proud of and will be less stressful in day to day living. Money will be tighter, but we can do it. I am just so fearful of change that I'm second guessing myself. Oh, another big thing is if anyone suggests we wait. The reason we are wanting to buy the land now is it's the only area in the town we like that has land 2 acres or more. Every other development in that area are small 1/2 acre cookie cutter properties and we don't want that (I know it sounds odd since we live in a townhome now)but that is what is pushing us now.There are only a few lots left in the development we love and we are scared if we don't buy one of them now we are basically out of luck.
I know this is alot of take in and I hope I didn't ramble too much Perhaps someone here was in a similar situation and can give some advice.
Thanks for listening, I appreciate it
Obviously you have quite a dilemma going on. If I were in your shoes, I would build now- at least get the land and build later if necessary. I'm 67 so I'm alot older than you, but going up and down all those stairs will not get any easier as you get older and you should have proper storage for all your things. As far as the cats go I have no right answer as I have different feelings about feral cats as I consider them a nuisance. They will probably survive if you stop feeding them and go back to their old ways or you get them into a rescue facility and be done with them. You're young enought to adapt to change, so now you might find a few more restaurants and new people to meet as well. Consider this an adventure and an investment in your future. Good Luck!
Thanks mama You are right, I have considered the 3 flights as I get older. Being in early 40's now I have alot of back and sciatica problems that I know will only get worse so that is one thing I do think of. I know when my mother comes over she is like OMG all these steps and 3 floors to clean!
As far as the cats, I wouldn't call them ferel, just homeless. They are friendly and very sweet. They stay around a housing complex and do have it good there, but I'm such a worrier and animal lover and have grown to love them, ya know. Thank you!
Being that you're still young...oh yes you are, 40 is young!...I'd consider building my "forever" house.
You have well defined wants and needs and that's a big plus. Unless you can build on a large storage room for your townhouse, storage is always going to be an issue.
Then there's all those stairs. You already have some physical problems and they may get worse in the future. Right now you're able to deal with all the physical work, but maybe not so easily in 15 years.
If you find the right location, look at is as a very positive change and are willing to take on the work then I say you should go for it. You can make a wonderful new life in your new location.
I've moved many, many times because my husband was in the AF for 21 years. If you look at it as an adventure, not something to dread, it can be very fun to move.
~Jean~ in garden zone 6b
Is it possible to buy an existing house that meets your criteria? If it is not perfect, you could slowly make it your own.
Maybe you could stay in your same general area and still enjoy all of the amenities.
I agree with other posters who mentioned you look for something already built, nearby to enjoy your familiar area and slowly make it your own.
Guest room closets are always a great place to store out of season clothes, you just walk to that closet and don't have to move anything!
I have a wardrobe closet type armoire to store my Christmas stuff in (if it does not fit in there, I don't buy it).
As we age (age 63) we find we hold on to things 'just because' they are ours. I have had a recent change of life and huge move and change of lifestyle. Results: almost stress free, worry free. It takes a bit of reflection to find what you really need, then do it. It is like making your home the 'perfect fit' for you!
Thought: If you lost 100 lbs, would you still wear the dress from that larger size? A house is the same way, if you lose 100 activities, do you still save all the 'stuff' for those activities? Good question to get you started?
For example: I had a lot of dishware from my Networking parties and having a lot of people over my house (our friends traded off parties from each other's houses). I do NOT do that anymore and got rid of a china cabinet full of dishware and stemware. No more use for them, now I have what I can use for family and friends. Lot more relaxed and fun times.
Good luck on your search for the perfect fit!This message has been edited. Last edited by: Mary Ruth,
Yes, we have looked for an existing home, but no luck. I think because we are a little older, we know what we want and what we don't want. We are at the point that, although we do enjoy a project, we want to start relaxing and not always have a project to do in the house (like remodeling a kitchen) It would be nice to find an existing house, but none that we really wanted.
Well you know what you want, and you have narrowed it down, even realizing your choice is no longer move or stay. It is now, move but where? And if you have the 'where' finalized, then the next question is 'when'!
good luck!This message has been edited. Last edited by: Mary Ruth,
While it seems that your current living arrangement isn't meeting your needs (lack of storage, stairs), your financial health if you pursue the new build (or a different existing home) right now would be the determining factor if I were trying to make this decision.
You don't have to respond to these questions; they're just for your private consideration:
1) Will you need to bring money to the closing table when selling your current home? How much will you need to invest in your current home to sell it (replace flooring, paint, etc.)? Can you afford to do so in addition to expected costs of building?
2) Do you have 6 months of expenses saved for emergencies over and above any retirement money?
Would you be robbing that account to pay for the downpayment on the new build?
3) Is your credit rating such that you qualify for good terms on a construction loan (to be rolled into an 80/20 or better mortgage with low interest rates)?
4) Would your new mortgage payment equal 25% or less than your annual income?
5) Would you still be able to save 10-15% of your annual income with your new mortgage amount factored into your budget?
6) Without touching your retirement or emergency fund, do you have money that can be used for all the expenses associated with moving/new home? (landscaping, window treatments, etc.)
Hope this helps give you a way to quantify how a new build would affect your financially.
I say go for the land and build a house.
I have a two story house and things can change fast as I broke my leg and going up steps is not near as easy as it was before and things will not change.
As for the cats, if they stay around a housing complex maybe you can furnish food for them and have someone from the complex feed them.
Good luck in whatever you chose to do and keep us posted.
I will tell you what I recently told one of my daughters who is struggling with a move that is in her future. She also doesn't like change very much.
I told her that the part of change that is scary is the unknown. You know what you have now, but the future is a place that you can't see into for sure. I reminded her how worried she was about moving from her first little love nest (with her husband) to the place they now have. It meant going to a new town in a new state, and knowing absolutely no one. At the time she was very worried and afraid of that much change. Now two years later they feel settled, they have a life, they have friends. "What would it have been like if you had been afraid to make that move", I asked her? The answer is she would have missed out on some really great experiences, including getting a job that has given her direction and clarity for her career.
Now she faces another move due to her husband deciding to get a PHD. They will be in another new part of the country, starting all over. I bet that in 3 years, when their time in the new place is over, she will be just as sorry to leave that place. She will have had more new experiences and met new people that will have made her life richer and more meaningful.
I really believe that when we are afraid of change, if we put on a brave face and take that first step into the unknown, it really will be OK, and probably exciting.
But one more thing...you say that some of your concern is about having a larger mortgage etc. That is a real concern, and these days it really is something to think through carefully.
I am wondering if there might be more choices than you are giving yourself. Could you find something that won't increase your living expenses that has more storage space? Maybe you just haven't found the right place yet. Just a thought.
I'll ignore some of the aspects of the decision as others have addressed them already and skip directly to the cats. If you buy a lot with two acres, couldn't you take the cats with you?
You need storage. Can you make one of your bedrooms a huge walk-in closet? Shelves on the walls, rods for hanging clothes etc. etc.. That would solve your problem for the present time. Now, here is experience talking.....do you really need 2 acres of land?....lots to mow and keep under control when you are in your 70's, 80's and beyond...since you said this would be your "forever house"? I would suggest a modest lot, modest house (with big closets, basement, three car garage with extra storage). When you get older, you want convenience not more work.
You got some good advice here. And there is a huge difference between wants (and being able to afford them) and needs.
I read this carefully, ckitty, as I am struggling with a situation that is similar in some ways. I can't disagree with any of the advice you got, or really add anything; I can only sympathize with how hard it is! (oh, and the kitties situation reminds me of how DH feels about the squirrels he feeds in our backyard; I do love cats, but I personally couldn't care less about the squirrels, but he keeps worrying that if we move to the country he won't have squirrels to feed...go figure )
Aren't there squirrels in the country?
Well, that's what I thought mama! But the city has a lot of "domesticated" squirrels I think, and I guess he's afraid the "wild" squirrels won't come around...
I have to chime in about the squirrels. I had a boyfriend once that lived in the country, had lots of trees around. I lived in the city by a small park which had some trees. He was amazed at all the squirrels he saw at our house, he said they didn't have squirrels running around like that at his home. I stayed a summer at his country house and I can't say I ever saw any squirrels except for the squirrel gravy his mom made
Chloenkitty, when I am faced with making a major decision I like to do a plus and minus list. Divide a piece of paper in half vertically (or do it on computer) and list all the good things I know or anticipate about the situation on one side and the negatives on the other. This helps me to make a decision. IMO fear of the unknown, while valid, should not play a huge role in the decision making. All of life is uncertain and even if you never move there will be both positive and negative things that will happen in your life which you cannot control but will have to face anyhow.
I think the concept of a forever house doesn't always translate into reality. I'm living in the house that we built as my dream/forever house but I will be moving at some point in the future. We don't always know what life holds so can only plan according to what we know at the present time.
Building a new house is a *huge* project which DH and I did twice and I'll probably try not to do it again altho I also try never to say never! Whether it's right for you depends a lot on how flexible you can be and how you handle stress because it can be extremely stressful.
Would it be a good investment for you to buy your 'dream' piece of land and hold it for awhile without building? You will then not have the fear of missing out but could sell at a later date (perhaps for a profit) if you decide something else is a better choice.
Downsizing on possessions is always a good idea. Do you actually wear all those clothes? I've streamlined and downsized my clothing and home decor accessories to the point where my life is much easier and I find it's fun to buy new items and have a place for everything. Once one begins to let go of the old it becomes easier.
Taking on more debt in an uncertain economy is not something I'd do. Debt is such a burden it takes the fun out of life.
You might be able to find someone who will look after the cats.
I'd recommend doing some brainstorming with your DH to see what might be the best decision for you both. There will always be houses coming on the market so perhaps there will be a ready made house that's perfect for you if you wait awhile.
I can almost 100% reassure your DH that those wild squirrels will come around to be fed! I live in the country and they are real pests. We had to squirrel proof our bird feeder so the squirrels didn't eat all the seeds. They only get what the birds waste by dropping on the ground which seems to be plenty. Squirrels always save much more than they need. They are real hoarders.
"I have always had an aversion to the concepts of in style and out of style." ~Rose Tarlow
Inspirational pics: http://inspiration4u.shutterfly.com/
chloe...tell us where you're looking for a house and what price range. I guarantee you we'll find one for you on Realtor.com
~Jean~ in garden zone 6b
I vote to stay where you are.
1) Your debt load will be less. The money you save could be used for an amergency fund in case of disability, illness, job loss, for your retirement which is not that far away, to pay off existing current debt/student loans, etc.
2) the 2 flights of stairs gives you free health benefits from the exercise.
3) Being farther away from work means more expense and time spent on commuting and less time at home with each other.
4) IF you need more storage, convert a spare bedroom. Stop shopping and get rid of stuff you rarely use. Is it really practical to spend $100,000 to store stuff worth $10,000 at most.
A paring knife will do the work of a Cuisinart and require a lot less space.
I have often said that I have spent the first half of my life acquiring things and the last half of my life trying to get rid of them.
This is just my 2 cents worth. I don't expect anyone to agree.
Interesting dilema. I see pros and cons to both.
So the best thing I can say, and the thing that worries me the most is, if you decide to go forward with the build, TAKE THE CATS WITH YOU.
Actually Lu, I do agree with you. Her situation is really common I think and there are so many variables but staying is definitely the most cost effective, especially in this market.
Decluttering is definitely the way to go. I'm trying to do that right now. It's just amazing how much stuff we have but after 39 years of marriage and 3 kids...stuff happens.
There are so many pros and cons to the situation.
Chloe...one thing, even if you don't buy the lot , more than likely a house will become available that meets most of your criteria.
Since you're so torn about what to do, maybe you should stay and work out the storage situation. Is there room in your backyard for a nice storage building? You know, one that looks like a little cottage...not an industrial one.
You can store a lot of plastic bins out there with seasonal decorations and such.
~Jean~ in garden zone 6b
what is the square footage of the current home
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