forever house

I read a lot of random house blogs. Most of them are written by people about my age, who have also bought a house that needs some work. Most of them are first time home buyers. Something that I've been noticing lately is that it appears the people who own these houses and write these blogs are thinking that the house will be their forever house. While I am all about finding ways to adapt your house to fit with current needs instead of moving every time something changes in your life, for some reason I struggle with the idea of buying your forever house as your first house. Maybe it's just because that was not at all our approach when buying our house. Maybe it's because we couldn't afford to live in the good neighborhoods/school districts now. Maybe it's the architect in me that is always looking for new projects. Maybe it's because I don't see us living in STL forever.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before in the blog, but when we bought our house, we were also looking for an investment. We were sick of renting and wanted a yard for our dogs. We wanted a house that we were comfortable in, that we could live in for awhile, and that we loved. We also wanted a house that needed work and we wanted to be able to do that work. We looked at probably 40+ houses (our poor realtor!) and we both just saw something in this house, first in the pictures online, and then even more so when we went to see it (twice). We had fallen for a completely different house earlier in the house search process, lost it, and were getting very discouraged. But this house... this big pink house... it had a great floor plan, it had tall ceilings, it had a nice yard, it had crazy wallpaper, it had so much potential. And it needed us. It's hard to explain, but it really did just feel right.

So when Mike and I have been renovating, we have to keep everything in perspective. If this was going to be our forever house, I'd probably try to figure out a way to add an extra full bathroom, or at least make the one bathroom bigger. I think I'd try to fix up the garage. I'd add a privacy fence so I wouldn't have to see the neighbors messy backyard everyday. But for now, we focus on things that the house needs. We live in the house and adapt our list of projects as time goes on. Even though I tend to make decisions based on what I think works best with the house, everything is still turning out to be very "us". I feel that the house is so much more us than our apartment ever was. I love the way the house is starting to come together and I'm so excited to see how it turns out. Mike teases me because I normally am a big planner - I like to know what I'm doing before I start something, I like to know how much time it will take and how much it will cost. But with this house, that's not how it's been going. I made a huge to-do list when we first bought the house, and while we kind of follow it (mostly I just like being able to cross off completed projects!), we've learned to relax and just work on whatever project we have the time for, can afford, and will benefit the house (and us) the most.

Last week I saw some pictures of one of my good friend's new (very old) house. It was in not so great of shape when they bought it. I'm pretty sure that it is their forever house. They have done some fabulous renovations already. Real renovations that put our diy projects to shame. It's hard to not be jealous, I feel like it would be much easier to justify spending the time and money knowing you'd be living with it for a long time. I also have another good friend who is thinking of selling their first house after only a year. They are thinking of moving to a different city. They haven't changed much in their house since buying it, it was in good shape to begin with. It's interesting to me to just think about how differently each friend (and us) view their first house. The forever house, the I'd rather pay a mortgage than pay rent house, the investment/great for now house...

So I was wondering, those of you who read my blog (all 4 of you) - what do you think? If you own a home, what was your approach when buying your first house? Did/do you see yourself living in it forever?

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4 Responses to forever house

Marge said...

We bought a home looking at it as about 70% investment. We love our little bungalow but it isn't our forever home by a long shot. We have been making it our own so that we do love living there but also being very mindful of the changes we make (things that are desirable to most homebuyers) and the money we spend. We were lucky enough to have the entire broker's commission taken off the price so we are one of the lowest priced homes on our block and by far the most updated... That's a great place to be! We will take a look at the market when the time comes but likely sell our home right after our 2 year closing date.

Rachel said...

We haven't found the right first house yet, but I can tell you what we're looking for! We want something that we're going to grow into, not grow out of. That being said, we don't plan on the house we buy being our "forever home," because we don't know what God's plans are for our future, so it would be silly of us to assume we're going to stay in one place forever!

Katie said...

i've been getting a lot of responses to this post - both here and emails, thanks for all of the comments!

Marge - that's so great that you are the lowest price / most updated. sounds like you found a great house, esp. if you think you'll end up moving in a couple of years. how did you get the broker's commission taken off? that's lucky!

Rachel - i like the whole grow into, not grow out of approach. sorry that some of the recent houses haven't worked out, but keep looking and i'm sure you'll find the perfect house soon!

Marge said...

My dad is a broker and was the dual agent... he gave back his commission on both the seller and our side... thus 11% off the purchase price. We are really lucky!


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