Thursday, September 20, 2012

Should we stay or should we go??

This has been an ongoing discussion between Tim and I for a few years now.
 Is this our FOREVER home? Or should we plan to stay here for a short time and then move on?

We still are not 100% positive what we are going to do. We really need to make a decision before we go too far with the home renovations.

If we decide to stay forever, we can do whatever we want to the inside of our home to make it perfect for us. Knock out some walls, reconfigure the bedrooms, etc.....
If we are going to move eventually, we need to keep the integrity of the house so it will appeal to any future buyers.

Here is our dilemma......

First of all, our house is small. It's 885 sq ft on the main level.
2 small bedrooms, 1 small bathroom, no storage, no usable garage for our cars, no closet space.

The size of the house isn't too bad really. For just Tim and I and our 2 small dogs, it's OK. But we are missing a few things that Tim and I would really like to have in our home.

1. Timmy needs a REAL garage. The underground dugout thing we have now is not even big enough to drive a car into.

THIS is not a garage, it's a tool shed disguised as a garage. And it's ugly:

For me, I would love to be able to park my car in the garage in the wintertime. I think it is so silly that we have a "garage" that isn't usable to even park our smallest car in it. I know they didn't have small cars back in the early 50's when this house was built, so I don't think anyone has ever been able to park a car in that garage. What were they thinking when they built it?

I suppose it's OK for now, but if we stay here forever I will have to continue to clean snow and ice off of my car in the winter. Even a carport would make me happy at this point.

2. I need a master bathroom. This is really important to me. The bathroom we have now needs to be completely gutted and we need to start over, but we still won't have a master bathroom. This one is in the hallway across from our bedroom.
See my house floor plan HERE if I am confusing you with the layout of our house.

This entire bathroom needs to be reconfigured.
Example 1: If you are sitting on the toilet, the shower curtain is about 6-8 inches from your face. I am not kidding. Ugg!
Example 2: When you step out of the shower, you have about 12 inches of room to dry off. Ugg!
Example 3: That gigantic ugly sink doesn't even work properly. It only has a small stream of water that comes out when you turn on the faucet. And the only water that comes out of the sink faucet is hot, hot!! Ugg!

Because of these things, I don't spend any time in that bathroom at all.   After I shower, I grab my towel and head to my bedroom where I have some room to dry off properly. This part sucks if we have houseguests because the hallway I have to cross to get to the bedroom is open to be seen from the livingroom. PRIVACY PLEASE???!!!!

The trickle of boiling hot water that comes from the sink faucet makes it impossible to wash my face or brush my teeth in the bathroom. I keep my toothbrush and toothpaste in a cup in the kitchen cabinet, and I wash my face in front of the mirror in the bedroom.

Can I just have a master bathroom???? PLEASE??!!!! It would be such a treat to be able to get ready for my day in my own bathroom.

3. We could use a bigger livingroom, or a family room.
Here is our livingroom now:

This side of the livingroom is OK and works fine for us.

 But the other side of the livingroom is borderline chaos. (Sorry, this seems to be the only picture with a view of my desk in the shot). That is my desk on the left side in the picture below. You can see the legs of Tim's desk butting up to my desk. Our desks take up about 1/3 of our living room.

Tim and I own a Private Investigations business, and we use our computers daily (and sometimes nightly). Our computers are both on 24/7 and we use them constantly when we are home.

We also need at least 1 file cabinet each and more space for our office stuff. Using the livingroom for an office is getting a bit cramped, and sometimes it gets messy on that side of the room. I hate that our office mess is the first thing people see when they walk in to our house.

Of course, we could use one of our extra bedrooms to make an office. (We have TWO extra bedrooms now!) but then Tim and I and our 2 doggies that follow us everywhere would be stuffed into an office bedroom for hours at a time. We don't love that idea, plus we have other plans brewing for the 2 extra bedrooms.

We think it would be nice to have a bigger "family room" where we can fit our desks and still have a little living space without being all cramped in.

We have talked round and round about building a huge addition onto the back of our house. We would love to build a family room, master bedroom, master bathroom and walk-in closet.

We also would love to add a garage, a back patio and a real front porch.

There is PLENTY of room in our back yard to do these additions and still have a lot of yard left for the doggies. Our property is almost a half acre. The yard is entirely fenced in, and our property goes back about 30-40 feet past the tree you see in the center of the yard back there.

Read more about our back yard HERE

Now for the problems with adding on?? Well, one problem we can see right away is that most of the homes in our neighborhood are small like ours, and some do have additions built on. But the additions we want to add to our house would more than double the size of our house. We are not sure it is wise to put such a gigantic addition on the house in the neighborhood we live in. We would basically end up with a house worth double what the other homes in our neighborhood are worth. Not so good if we do eventually try to sell it. We would never get our money back out of it.

There is so much more to consider too. To do all of this construction, we would have to remove 4 giant trees from our yard. This will cost about $1000.00 per tree. YIKES!!

Well, really we have 3 trees to be removed, and one tree just died this year and is dropping huge limbs all over. It sits on the property line between our back yard and one of our neighbors yards. Our neighbors have 4 little kids and we are definitely worried a rogue limb will drop while they are playing back there in their yard.
That tree has to be removed ASAP. We would feel so bad if our tree injured someone, or if the entire tree fell over and damaged their house, or ours. That would suck.

And beyond trees, we would have to think about enhancing the existing elecrtical panel in our house to be able to handle the load of the house addition, and the new garage.

So much to consider.

With all of that, we are really wondering why we don't just plan to find a new house to move into. I really don't think we are asking for anything unusual. There are plenty of houses out there for sale that already have garages, master bathrooms, family would be SO much easier to just move into a house that already has what we are looking for.

We have talked round and round about moving. It sounds easy........but it's not really as easy as we want it to be.
We worry about selling our house in a crappy economy. As our house stands now, we might break even if we sell our house (if we can even find a buyer!).
We actually looked at another house that is for sale a few weekends ago. This house has EVERYTHING we are asking for, and it's only about a half mile from where we live right now. Tim and I love the house and we talked about it all that weekend.
In the end, we decided that we don't like that the house payment would be DOUBLE what we are paying now. We are really comfortable with our house payment now, and although we wouldn't mind paying a little more for a house we love...........paying double what we pay now would be a little over the top for us. Sadly, we decided we aren't going to put in an offer for that house.

Back to the drawing board.........should we stay or should we go?? At this point, I think we are staying where we are, although things could change if we happen to find the perfect house. 

For now, we are going to continue on with the renovations of our existing house. We have some plans drawn up to add a large patio to the side of our house (just off of the screened in porch) and I think we are going to continue on with those plans.

I'll keep you posted as we make more decisions.


  1. My opinion is to sell and buy something that works for you. At the very minimum, keep your options open and always be on the lookout for a house that will fit your living needs and budget.

    However, I do understand the economy and the stress of wondering whether you can even sell your house if you do find something better.

    I think it's a good idea to continue with renovations and bettering the house in general, but if you do too many renovations/add-ons you will end up being the most expensive house on the block and then you may never be able to sell it for that reason because it's too risky for the buyer when they have to consider resale value (I'm sure you know that, just wanted to mention). I have been house hunting lately and there are a lot of spacious (bigger than 885 sq feet), cute, houses in Johnson County (I've been looking in OP)that are reasonably priced, have the space desire and have character.

  2. Ha ha! I totally missed the paragraph when I first read your post about how renovations could overprice your house for the neighborhood. Oops!

  3. I do think Tim and I should get out and at least look at a few houses before we decide. I think Tim is leaning toward staying here. I am 50/50 on whether we stay or we move. It would be nice to build what we want (an addition onto our house), but that could easily take 10 years to complete. If we move I can have my bathroom right away!!!!