Friday, September 10, 2010

Reality Checked

For some time now, I've been fantasizing about a new house.

Wait, let me back up.

When I bought my house (which will be five years ago, this November), it was with two things in mind:

1. It was a starter home--an investment. I never planned on staying in it longer than 5 - 7 years. The plan was to upgrade to something a little bigger and nicer (and in a better school district) when the time came.

2. The Geej and me were the only (human) residents. So the 1,660 sq. foot, 3 bdrm., 2 bathroom home suited us just fine.

Well, a lot has changed in the past five years, the biggest being that I got married to BH, which meant that the Geej and I were no longer sole full-time occupants of the house. And many weekends, BH's ever-growing sons join us for a few days. Add to this the fact that BH pretty much works at home full time (unless he's out in the field or at a meeting), and our little starter home now feels way too small.

So last year, when the tax credits for home buyers (and move up-ers) were available, I really wanted to put our place on the market. But there were some things we wanted to get done to it prior to listing it, so we created a list of home improvement projects. My goal was to get the critical stuff done and the house listed by the end of January, 2010. We had a bit of momentum with our project list (new oven! new dishwasher! master bathroom repainted and improved! bedrooms repainted!), but the momentum stalled out, and the January deadline (and eventually the tax credits) passed us by.


Ever-hopeful and feeling the walls closing in around me, I suggested to BH that we start going to open houses so that--even if we weren't in the position to sell our place and buy another one--we could at least figure out what kinds of houses we both like and what neighborhoods are most appealing to us. And look we did. Almost every Sunday we were out there checking out the 4/2 inventory in southwest Austin. The more we looked, the more we came to agree on the things that were important to us in a home and a community. We started to find some places we REALLY liked, and I began mentally moving in. But it wasn't long before the whole exercise just made me begin to dislike our house and become increasingly frustrated with the stagnation of our current position.

Things came to a head last week, and BH had "The Big Talk About Money". After our talk, we agreed that we're not in a position to purchase a new place right now, and that the economy is simply too shitty right now to consider putting our house on the market. Yes, I'm disappointed in this outcome--I'd be lying if I said otherwise. However, now that I KNOW that, for at least the next two years (or until the economy gets healthier) we'll be staying put, I'm not quite so frustrated. I think.

Now, I just want to focus on getting some of these goddamned projects we've had on the list for way over a year tackled. Things that will make the next two years (or more) in our house a nicer experience--new floors, fixing the front sidewalk that ALWAYS floods when it rains, replacing the back fence, getting some better insulation in the attic and replacing our horrible single-pane windows, maybe putting a soaking tub in the master bath (and getting rid of the godawful fiberglass tub...I have NEVER taken a bath in my own house because of my hatred of these tubs), new front door, another rain barrell, etc. The list is long and expensive, and NONE of these improvements will give us more space or magically create a home office for BH. However, it will make me feel like we're doing SOMEthing rather than sitting on our hands and will, hopefully, help me find a way to love my little starter home again.

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