Friday, April 3, 2015

House Musings

Let's begin with the general premise that I love our home and feel very lucky to have it and to have lived here for the last 6.5 years.  I do.  We bought this house one whirlwind weekend in 2008 when we ventured to Oklahoma to find somewhere to live and had about 48 hours to find something and very little knowledge of how Oklahoma had changed in the 7 years we'd been living in Virginia.  I think we did well given the time, money, and knowledge constraints.  I would pick this house again and positively love all the things we have done with it to make it our own.  I've loved it more in the last year than in the prior years.  Also, our yard is so beautiful right now.  Love it.

That said, when we moved here we had one 18 month old kid.  He was, as you might guess, quite small and had very few belongings.  Now, we have three children all of which are larger than he was then and have more stuff.  Also, we didn't know then that telecommuting was going to be a longer term set-up for me.  We need a dedicated office as I work here.   We also need a middle school that has less issues.  Looking forward to the next seven years, we want more space, and more permanence.  This home was intended to be ours for 5-7 years.  I think for that reason I didn't let myself bond with it, at least until recently.  I want the next home to be ours for as long as we live in Edmond or until our kids finish High School or longer (yes, this makes the purchase more stressful).  (There remains a possibility of moving back to DC and they constantly tempt me with it, but I've turned down that temptation for now.  That answer could change, but for now, we're here and we're going to love here while we're here, but I digress).

We hadn't planned to move for a couple more years, but I think our minds our changing.  If we move before August, M can start kindergarten in a school where she can graduate from 5th grade.  B can make friends in a new school system before the horror that is middle school, and we can have more space and hopefully less clutter.  We are financially able to do so, but plan a conservative approach. The market has improved substantially where our house is located and there is enough equity in this house that if it sells anywhere close to projections it should all work out.  So next week, someone comes to our house to tell us what to fix, how to style it, and then we take about 1/2 our stuff and put it in a storage pod, replace some carpet, fix some a few more things, and list it.  

We have spent this week visiting a house that I think would be very good for us.  That said, it is likely we won't get it as our house isn't ready to list so we can't make an offer and time is probably short.  The house in question isn't perfect, but very close given all the constraints I'm imposing on the next space.  Our aspirations for the next house is that it have some combination of the following:

-- 4+ bedrooms
--3+ bathrooms (but seriously 5 or 6 is just too  many, who wants to clean that?)
--2700+ sq ft (ideally closer to 3000)
--less than 350K - We could borrow more, but I really don't want our mortgage to be painful. I want it to leave room to spend money on travel, experiences, and life without stressing about house payment constantly. 
--3 car garage or space to add a garden shed of some kind
--substantial internal storage spaces, lots of closets built ins are a plus.
----Edmond/Deer Creek Schools -- really a specific combination of school districts that does not include middle school at Summit or Central
--close to I-35 or the Kilpatrick Turnpike - we don't want Brent's commute to be longer or more miserable than it currently is
--high ceilings - I feel claustrophobic in low ceilings.  My dad says it is a waste of square footage, but it isn't to me if it makes me feel more at ease. I am from Oklahoma and use to open sky, I like that openness. 
--flexible spaces that will adapt with our family as we and our children age. I like spaces that bring us together in our free time, but know they will need some alone space too as they age. 
--a neighborhood that has a park or is close to a park/pool
--near things we want to do (Target, parks, church, baseball, dance, activities, gym, sidewalks for running, etc).
-- Mature trees (this is unlikely in Oklahoma, but I'd love it--- current house we're visiting has lots of them).
-- kids in the neighborhood to play with
--a room that can by my office that has a door to shut the kids out in the summers
--big enough bedrooms for growing kids
-- no major issues to fix --- no water damage, walls to tear out, termites, rotting siding, nasty flooring, kitchen that need gutting, etc...  We are fine fixing things like light fixtures, knobs, paint, landscaping, trim, etc...
-- sprinkler system (optional, but love ours)
--storm shelter (we would be willing to install it, but having one there already would be a bonus and would pay more)
-- covered porch OR substantial tree canopy so it is shady in the yard
-- space for a raised bed vegetable garden
--at least as much counter space as our current kitchen
-- spaces that work for our family (vague, but hard to explain fully)
-- I really want to like the bones/shape of the exterior of the house.  The more I look the more I realize there are shapes I like and shapes I'm not interested in--- seems to correlate to houses with high ceilings which is good. 
-- lots of natural light
-- window seats or places we can add them or other reading nook type areas --- love them, current house has them, but open to houses that would allow for installing them later.
-- would love white trim, golden oak and I have had our moment and I'm ready to move on. 
--solid core doors--- yes, we can replace them, but this is a dreaming list, right?
--wood floors in the living space or that wood-look tile would be amazing (preferably not golden oak :))

So what do you think? What would you add or remove from the list? Any neighborhoods/schools you would strongly recommend or avoid in our area? Wanna help us move?  

I feel overwhelmed and unsure where to start, but I think we'll start and see how it goes.  It may not work at all, but the thought process will continue and if we end up still here, that's OK too because we love this place. 

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