Friday, January 14, 2011

Thoughts about home

I've been thinking quite a bit about the perfect home for my family.  Our present house is a duplex.  We bought is 8 years ago while housing was still rising, thinking we would be here for 4 or 5 years at most. 

Then the housing crisis hit.  We were lucky, we never went upside down on our mortgage, but we have several neighbors who bought after us, who are.  Prices had risen so quickly, that in the course of a year the value of our home had risen by almost a third.  It then dropped by as much the following year.  Hubby and I sat in our home and thanked our lucky stars that we still had equity, a job and an affordable mortgage.  We started to look at our home as a more permanent place to live.  I still continued to dream of more land and a single family house, but was content where we were. 

About a year ago we started to talk about moving again.  We've always had a quiet little neighborhood, but in the past year we've had several police incidents on our street.  We have several friends on the police department and they all encouraged us to look elsewhere.  When our adjacent neighbors announced their move out of state, we couldn't justify staying any longer. 

So, where to move?  I've always wanted a woodstove.  Last year we stayed at a friend's cabin with a woodstove and the rest of the family fell in love as well.  During Wednesday's blizzard we lost power for 10 hours.  All I could think, was that if we had the stove we'd be warm and I could cook.  Instead we just put on more layers and ate PB&J. 

Hubby and I have a few differing opinions on homes, but overall are in  agreement.  While I love older homes, they just wouldn't be practical for us.  We are certainly not the fixer upper types.  Hubby is good at a lot of things, home improvement is not one of them. 

So a newer home.  Not a McMansion thank you.  Our current house is relatively small and I'm not looking to get a much bigger house.  The fireplace is a must, so that we can get the woodstove.  Hubby wants central air, I couldn't care less about that, but will look for it.

Lastly is land.  We currently have about 1/3 an acre, with much of that shared.  Since a large portion is also unusable as a result of a septic tank, that doesn't leave too much.  I do all the outside work myself, so it has to be manageable for little old me.  A bigger garden is of course something on the wishlist.  I'd also like more chickens, with meat birds added to the mix as well.  Beyond that, I'm not sure.  Goats would be lovely, but I'm not real confident of my ability to care for them properly.  We'll have to see. 

All of this is just in the thinking stage.  We aren't in a perfect position to sell for another year.  In that time, my thinking could change drastically.  For now, I'm clearing out excess and trying not to think about dismantling my garden and packing up the 300+ canning jars in the basement. 


farmwifetwo said...

I live on a 350 acre farm where 90 of it is woodlot and ravine. My actual yard is a little over an acre. IMO that's more than sufficient for gardening. If I ever convince him to get chickens the coop is not on our yard, nor are the cows. Would I want them in this space - no.

Things I demanded when I agreed to move here (a) the house with the fireplace - since it was the one that was available to us - it's ours. Very convienient for the days the power goes out. (b) gas stove. They are now hard to get without electric start. So, all you have is the stove top you can light with a match. Mine, I can use the oven. There is NOTHING electric about it. Timer and clock are on the microwave.

Also, one of the biggest issues with rural living is water. When the power goes out there is no water. At the hint that weather is coming you have to have bottled water. Best to keep juice boxes, milk boxes, water bottles etc on hand for emergencies. I have refilled the gallon water jugs and they are in the basement to flush the toilet with. Which we don't flush until it gets REALLY rude.

Having lived here now for 13yrs, the city girl would require a 12foot privacy fence to be able to return to the city.

ESB*DRE said...

This is exciting Heather! I agree with you on the search for wood stove option and a gas stove is a must. We were up a creek with the power outage this week. It's a great time to buy, not such a great time to sell. But if you can get out with at least your downpayment it might work out for you sooner rather than later?

The Mom said...

Farmwife, lots to ponder. I know the water will be an issue and I've looked around for solutions to that as well.

Ellen, I know you guys have been through this recently too. It's hard to make a decision to sell a house.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Just so long as you don't move too far away. . . ; )

Karen Anne said...

I am now remembering that I had several quite large drums for water storage when I lived in CA, in case of earthquakes. The water supposedly kept a long time. I'm going to guess they were 5 or more gallons each. I don't know how many you'd need for yourselves and your animals. I must have bought them at some store that carried emergency supplies.

kitsapFG said...

Moving the homestead is both fun and exciting. When we moved in 2004/2005 we were at the peak of the housing frenzy and finding anything that suited our requirements and budget was very difficult. We were very lucky to find the home we did. It did not have a fire place, but a wood stove fits quite nicely in any house if properly installed and ours has been a work horse - would not live without it! It was one fo the first things we installed - along with hard wood floors (I hate carpeting in my house). If I could have done it over though... I would love to find this house and front yard (it's beautiful) with more property in the back area that is open and useable. We have only a footprint of land that is really useable for gardening and the rest is either in woodlot or shaded by the woodlot too much. But it works and it was what we could afford and the only thing that was available that was suitable.

The Mom said...

Christina, don't worry, we won't go far.

Karen Anne, that's an idea too.

Laura, I'm certainly looking at the site the most. I've seen several homes with large acreages posted, but its all trees. There has to be lots of open space for the gardens and animals.

Leigh said...

Moving is always an ordeal! I agree with your motives and plans though. From experience I have to tell you that an older home can really be a challenge. In the end, that was the only option that gave us (personally) an affordable mortgage, but it has taken a lot of money so far to make it up-to-date and comfortable (and still counting...). Initially I wanted 5 acres but really, that's a lot of land to take care of. Our situation isn't so rural as my photos often look. We're right outside a small town so there are quite a few neighbors and quite a bit of road traffic. But enough about me! I'm looking forward to how this all works out for you.

Karen Sue said...

As more vacationers buy homes around us, our community changes and assessments rise and we wonder how long we will ride it out. Our youngest is in 7th grade..gotta get him out of school first. I love my house. I would just pick it up and move it 10 miles deeper into the country. To build it new, we couldn't afford. Perhaps we could just hook balloons to it and go "UP"!!!