A house that does not feel Like home

August 12, 2019

After losing on two homes due to us being outbid. we Found something we both kinda like. My husband likes this house a lot but I hate the front and have no vision to on how to love it. Please help any ideas are Welcome. My realtor said it was a farm house.

Comments (194)

  • cpartist

    Long after the modern farmhouse trend has bit the dust, this house will still be standing as a testament to good design, IF you don’t remuddle it by trying to make it into a modern farmhouse

    hartcm08 thanked cpartist
  • chocolatebunny123

    Hartcm - I feel for you.

    As someone that was talked into buying the house that we've lived in for the last 17 years, if your gut is telling you not to buy this house, then back out now.

    I'll tell my story. My husband and I were first time home owners and it was down to 2 houses, the one I liked and the one he liked. On paper, the one he liked made more sense to purchase. It was one year newer, it was a builder spec model, so it already had a lot of upgrades that we wanted, and it was cheaper overall because it was one suburb over from the house I wanted (but in the same school district). For some reason, and I cannot put my finger on why, the house he liked just didn't do it for me. But, I gave in and we bought it.

    The plan was to move in 5 years, before our oldest started kindergarten. But, the housing market crashed and it didn't make sense to move. 12 years later we are still here.

    This house has needed a ridiculous amount of work for being the age it is. We had to do mold remediation (that our inspector missed), upgrade some electrical (again, something the inspector missed - discovered when our dryer caught on fire), replaced most of the windows (the crappy windows is what led to the mold issues), replaced both the furnace and AC (it's a blast when the furnace dies right in the middle of winter) and replaced the attic fan twice. We have sunk so much money in this house (oh, and we just finished the basement recently and had to put thousands into waterproofing the basement and replacing the windows there *before* we could finish it) that my husband never wants to move.

    I would move tomorrow if I could. I have no emotional attachment to this house, and I hate to say it, there is a lot of resentment for the amount of money we have had to sink into it. Now who knows what would have happened if we bought the house I originally wanted; obviously I don't have a crystal ball. Houses are a money pit. I keep trying to do things to make it feel more "mine", but it just never will. I know I need to change my perspective, but honestly, it's been hard. And I'm a working mom (always have) so I hope you don't feel like you don't have a say financially because you're a one income family.

    If your gut is really telling you *no*, then your husband needs to know that. There will ALWAYS be another house! You aren't in hurry. Take your time to find one you're going to love.

    hartcm08 thanked chocolatebunny123
  • hartcm08

    My parents saw the home and swooned. My mother was so excited For me. I told my husband my thoughts and he said he felt I haven’t been the same since some things we experienced this year. I partly feel he is correct. He also said If I didn’t like the home we didn’t have to get it but that he’d wish he’d told me sooner. He echoed all the sentiments here, how the home is on half an acre. How it had great bones for our children. How it was a classic home design. He beamed with pride when he said He knew I would/could do amazing things with the home & how he would help every step of the way. He also continued to say if I hated the home we could pull out and not to think twice. The inspection repo returned with no major issues.

    We are buying the home.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    Your husband sounds wonderful, and wonderfully supportive.

    he said he felt I haven’t been the same since some things we experienced this year. I partly feel he is correct.

    This sounds like it might go beyond a house. Are you able to get referrals for some good professional help? Having been there myself with several tough years, i can say it makes a huge amount of difference.

    hartcm08 thanked beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
  • Aurora Tee (Zone 6a)

    I put a lot of myself into a home as many of us here do. Me and my house have a difficult love-hate relationship. I use relationship because that what I feel it is in many respects. It has good, it has bad, it's expensive, it can make me sad when things go wrong... the list can go on. Even after seven years, it is hard to put in proper perspective at times. Instagram, HGTV, and other social media add to the angst (that has been discussed several times here). Start out with a balanced philosophy and it will help greatly!

    Best wishes. Please come back from time to time and let us know how your relationship is progressing!

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  • tangerinedoor

    Do NOT get rid of that porch railing!

    My grandfather tipped off a porch like that and broke his neck. He was too cheap to buy a railing.

    hartcm08 thanked tangerinedoor
  • iheartsix

    hart - is it possible that whatever it is you have been dealing with (according to your comment from your husband) is something more serious than a house not feeling like a home and it’s affecting your overall desire to even settle on a new home? I wish you only the best going forward and my hope for you is a new love relationship with your new home, may it bring you new wonderful cherished memories for you and your family.

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    I truly wish you and your family the absolute best. Remember, there is no such thing as a "perfect" home. So there will be problems, and there will be changes you will want to make and might not be able to afford right away. It is how you "address" these changes that is important. I think the home has a lot of potential and just put aside a pot of money to have available when things do go wrong. And they will. It's just part of home ownership! If this home is in a good to great location, then you will be fine.

    hartcm08 thanked Flo Mangan
  • tangerinedoor

    That was a GREAT idea to visit the home after a storm. Before you finalize, keep going back to it in every which weather and TAKE PHOTOS every single time.

    You will either have a negotiating tool or know what to address.

    Also, Google the address/area for past photos of extreme weather, e.g, windstorms and floods. Check the FEMA flood plain map to see how the terrain works... Factor in for some climate change.

    FEMA maps by zipcode: https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search

  • tangerinedoor

    More research tips....look at the local police log (should be a click-on map) for where they made calls in the last year or two., and what kind of calls. You will be able to zoom in on your exact neighborhood.

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  • kulrn

    I'm excited to see how things go! I also hope you post updates!

  • junco East Georgia zone 8a

    Best wishes with this project. I hope everything goes smoothly and you can find comfort in this house. The very first thing you must do, maybe even before you move in, is to put lamps in each room! This will make a huge difference in the lighting and the "dimness" will go away. Good luck with everything.

    hartcm08 thanked junco East Georgia zone 8a
  • jslazart

    Your husband sounds lovely. The house sounds full of potential. A loving family to warm it up is probably just what it needs.

    hartcm08 thanked jslazart
  • PRO
    Rachel Zylstra, Realtor

    Buying a home is always a bit stressful but that stress multiplies in a got market where you get lots of bidding wars. This is the norm in my market right now and a good realtor can be your best asset. I am not sure what your inspection period is there but here we have 10 days and I would definitely advise any client in your position to get as many quotes for work done in that time as possible. Sounds like HVAC and a basement dry system quote might be in order for you.

    Like some others have said how you feel IS important, but so is your needs/wants list. Some people get in the opposite position as you and the "feel" like they have to have a house but it doesn't have the features they need. Hopefully your realtor can help you find a balance because it is not all one or the other but a balance.

    That being said, if dark/gloomy is the only real problem with this house, that is a pretty easy fix! It is relatively easy (for an electrician) and cheap to get LED ultra thin downlights installed. They look like pot or can lights but are easier to install. Because the use so little electricity and just clip to the ceiling an entire room of them can go on one switch. I recently had them added to my cave like living room and it made all the difference. Get 3500k so it feels like daylight! Strategically trimming trees will help too.

    Start by moving in and adding some lamps. In no time at all, you will know where to add lights. A good electrician can help you figure it out too.

    Best of luck!

    hartcm08 thanked Rachel Zylstra, Realtor
  • hartcm08

    Hello All- Thank you for the overwhelming support and positive feedback. It is greatly appreciated. I have a few pages from the report and a few photos of trouble spots from the home.

    The lighting issue I mentioned.

    This is a muddy mess when it rains and I am not sure what to do with it. I believe the tree roots are restricting grass.

    The inside of the basin is cracked, and we were told the crack has started to peel. This would need to be replaced the space seems awkward, I don't care for the bathrooms at all.

    The back deck needs an additional step at the bottom. There is currently a round log. any ideas to remedy that and make it safe?

  • hartcm08

    moisture issue mentioned

  • happyleg

    Get a home inspection! Lights over both mirrors. Drainage or slope at trees. Step add or platform deck.

  • PRO
    Rachel Zylstra, Realtor

    What you can and can't ask for is really determined by your market. In a low inventory market with lots of competition you have less negotiating power. Your realtor and inspector is who you need to listen to. That being said, what we tell clients is health and safety requests only. A lot of what you posted are small repairs/maintenance issues. The bigger issue is what is causing the moisture in the ceiling?
    A handyman can probably add a step for you. This is a safety issue, although one that can be easily remedied with something much better than a log! Lol.

    hartcm08 thanked Rachel Zylstra, Realtor
  • PRO
    Rachel Zylstra, Realtor

    usually an inspector has a general summary and health and safety section on the first page of inspection report. Read all of it, but don't get too caught up in the little things. Those go on your honey do list!

    hartcm08 thanked Rachel Zylstra, Realtor
  • happyleg

    Yard grading/sump pump & foundation waterproof paint. Gutters drain away from house.

  • ritasj

    This is all worrisome...starting to feel like lipstick on a pig..

  • Marco

    In terms of architecture, they are very similar. You may be responding positively to the pleasant colors and soft furnishings of the house you lost, and reacting to the harsh white and starkly contrasting furniture of the house your husband likes. I suspect that the house under consideration could become very much "you" and yours with your favorite colors and your furnishings and cherished items.

    People are needlessly afraid of getting a color wrong. It's just a Saturday afternoon and a couple gallons of paint to change it. I've painted rooms twice and even three times in a single week, getting it over with and getting it right (right for me, of course; your taste must be yours). For colors you love and from which to develop a palette, I recommend turning to your wardrobe and your husband's neckties (sort the ties into the ones you got for him and the ones he got for himself to see if there are differing tendencies).

    I hope you end up in a place you can grow to love. I've moved fourteen times; My least-favorite house of all time evolved into my most favorite house of all. You can do it too! :-)

    hartcm08 thanked Marco
  • hartcm08

    Thank you all. Our realtor had a very calm demeanor & felt overall there weren’t amy major issues within the home. She was almost, excited. Today is pest inspection. Without taking things too far left I will say I have considered and been encouraged by my husband to discuss past events with a professional in an attempt to heal. I am from a military family with a culture that does not believe in that type of practice. I didn’t want anyone’s comment to feel disregarded. I will be posting the transformation here as I am sure I will have many questions and this seems to be a solid source of quality unbiased information. We will first tackle safety issues and foundation issues. Explore under the deck and address issues as needed. We will power wash and restain the deck, might wait until spring to do the whole home. We will then look to handle any needed landscaping in areas where there is a lot of mud. I can’t figure out the type of grass but if it requires fall seeding we will do that as well. Feels like I have a long winter ahead to strategize the inside, where added light fixtures will be a must.

    it is nice to not be judged for a lack of knowledge on important issues. Thank you.

  • D N

    Thanks for the update. You might want to (eventually) take the landscaping question over to one of the gardening and (duh me) landscaping forums here. For instance, you might want to plant something other than grass. What, I have no idea, because excess moisture isn't a big problem with my property...

    hartcm08 thanked D N
  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    Without taking things too far left I will say I have considered and been encouraged by my husband to discuss past events with a professional in an attempt to heal.

    hartcm, sending you a virtual hug and all best wishes for healing. It will take time, but you have a terrific, supportive husband and beautiful new home. I think after dealing with past events, the house situation will fall into place.

    hartcm08 thanked beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
  • jslazart

    Our current house was so unbelievably dark when we bought it. We immediately changed all the lightbulbs to bright LEDs, which was a good start, and now we have lamps everywhere while saving up to change out fixtures. Those steps alone have made a really big difference.

    hartcm08 thanked jslazart
  • PRO

    JMHO. Military "brats" : ) either learn to love moving or they LOATHE it. No home unless brand new is without an issue, Even a brand NEW home can have issue.. Bathrooms........you can live with anything for a year or two, as long as it functions. MUD... maybe you need a french drain beck there.

    The point is a lot of this is minutae, Stuff just piled up and the previous owners never did a thing. All of it is fix - a BLE.

    Family, making a home........all of it was never supposed to be an overnight PRESTO experience. It, like life, is a journey. Not an HGTV show : )

    hartcm08 thanked JAN MOYER
  • cloudy_christine

    If you do end up living in this house, I suggest making one room a priority. Mostly you will be concentrating on what must be fixed and not on decorating. But choose one room, a bright, sunny one, and make it a friendly, comforting space you will enjoy being in.

    hartcm08 thanked cloudy_christine
  • hartcm08

    Why do some people paint the cellings of their wrap around porches light blue?

  • hartcm08

    I know the internet hosts a ton of great interior design information, it is challenging for me to navigate through it and find articles of substance. I am also attending to be less plugged into my phone, Is there a particular magazine you all find beneficial for the beginner home decorator? What do you enjoy reading if you had to pick one or two? I enjoy before and afters and seeing rooms put together for ideas. I find I enjoy beiges and neutrals with pops of accent colors. Navy, pink, gold, charcoal grey, brass, indigo, even emerald & a bright mustard are colors I find especially visually stimulating. I do not want to be extremelt trendy in this home, rather more practical and timeless with a few trendy accent pieces. I have read this makes it easier when that trend passes. We have young energetic children & I think it’s ok if our home reflects that in some spaces/ aspects. Maybe a few pops of color unexpectedly. What are some of your favorite colors? How do you determine what decorating style you gravitate towards? We have discussed the idea of turning our dinning room into a office/reading room. The kitchen has a lot of space for eating and we need an office space for my husbands job. I enjoy reading & creating/crafting when time permits so I considered starting there. Honestly however I see myself starting in our children’s rooms. I like to know they are comfortable and cozy in their spaces at night. Our realtor said HGTV can be a realtors nightmare. I see I’ve rambled a bit here. Time for coffee.

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC

    So to answer your first question--painting a porch ceiling blue is a custom that originated in the American South. It is either supposed to keep bees and wasps from making nests, as the blue is said to resemble the sky, or to keep away "haints" or ghosts. Even though neither of these is really true, a blue porch ceiling is very attractive!

    As for magazines for beginners, I'd get Better Homes and Gardens. It showcases lots of homes by young marrieds, and lots of DIY projects. Other magazines to look at are Southern Living, Country Living and Country Home. And yes, stay away from HGTV, it's totally not reality. Your home will not be decorated or finished in 30 or 60 minutes (or 30 or 60 months, for that matter!) As Jan stated, it's a journey.

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  • debvanatl

    Also supposed to keep spiders from building webs on the ceiling - again confusing them due to the resemblance to the sky.

    hartcm08 thanked debvanatl
  • PRO

    I would skip any and all unless you have hours and hours. Fine for a coffee break at Barnes and Noble.

    As to the ENTIRE ISSUE? The very best thing you can do, is move in,, breathe........and hire some design help. You could spend a thousand hours here, and pouring and flipping pages.

    Write down all that bothers you/ Write down all you tend to gravitate to as well. Write down what you despise, in the house, and in general. Then. interview a few. Use the "find a pro" feature on Houzz. Look at their portfolios, and be aware that each and every one was for a client who is not you. So..you are looking for diversity in design aesthetic, the person who can be a listener, sounding board, planner, etc. For YOU and your family. It's never about what a designer likes, or what they did for someone else. It is about only you, and your home.

    It's probably the best money you can spend, will save you dollars, mistakes, doubts, and stress. The mental rambling you have, can quickly morph to a design ramble. A costly one at that: )

    hartcm08 thanked JAN MOYER
  • mmmm12COzone5

    I read the beginning and end of the thread so please excuse any lack of thread knowledge. But I have to chime in and say I LOVE the house you are buying! It has so much more charm than the one you lost out on. The spaces are fantastic and well proportioned. The porch is gorgeous. I can just see it with hanging flower baskets and then seasonal Halloween decor and Christmas decor. It is the type of house you always see in Hallmark movies. To me it screams homey. :-)

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  • hartcm08

    I just picked up southern living. Impressive. I have actually quoted out hiring a designer to help us decorate and its not affordable for us at this time. I was hoping that was something I could tackle on my own while we seek professional assistance for some of the other pressing issues.

  • ritasj

    I am surprised no one suggested you use this site...you can ask questions and get photo suggestions on any topic...this a huge resource of info. ...And advice

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  • ritasj

    For instance ...ask for yellow kitchens...picket fences...articles on water drainage...covered porches....whatever you wish

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  • Olychick

    If you like looking at home decorating magazines, head to your library. You can probably check out 10 or 20 at a time and then flip through them at your leisure. You'll discover which magazines you like (then check out more of that magazine) and see lots of ideas for what you may want to do with your home.

    And truly, there are some very talented and generous with their time people posting here who will help you however they can.

    hartcm08 thanked Olychick
  • nskhan1206

    I've read all of these comments and I think I have the same feelings as you on the darkness of the house. I am very sensitive to lighting or lack thereof and I would suggest that you get that issue solved before you even move in...recessed lighting in a nice 3000K soft white will brighten things up, including your spirits. I fear if you move in in the dark, it'll just make you feel worse which will cause you to not be able to decorate and make the house a home. Find an electrician and consider it moving costs. Post here for decor tips, you don't need a $$ decorator! Love the house and totally understand why you liked the other one- it was very bright and happy, almost in a clownlike manner but hey you can recreate the bright and cheery look.

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  • iheartsix

    hart - (regarding HGTV comment) - anything can be a nightmare OR a help in need. I love pouring through home design/decorating pictures/shows (everywhere) just to see what causes my heart to skip a beat. Try it. No matter where you look - something will cause your heart to skip a beat. Pay attention to that :)

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  • hartcm08

    Concerning lighting- there are no window treatments. I... am struggling with what would allow the most sun inside yet aid with private moments. The most cost effectIve solution seems to be 2in faux wood blinds. I- am unsure. Are windows with just curtains a thing? I see those brown bamboo shades are Making a comback- I am looking for a very simple easy to clean attractive option.

  • latifolia

    Any brown window treatment will darken your rooms. If you need them for bedrooms, one of the cheaper choices is roll-up window shades. I chose white ones in cotton for my sewing/guest room, where Venetian blinds would not have worked.

    When shopping for window treatments, see how much of the window they will block when they are open. If possible, do an outside mount above the window. And don’t forget to wash your windows when you move in. That can make a huge difference!

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  • Mrs. S

    Hartcm08, I'm not a pro, but we installed faux wood blinds (white) on every window in our house, inside mount. We paid a little bit extra for the "cordless" option. I just love these blinds (especially with our white wood window trim). Just twist the lever to let light in, or close them if the sun is too bright. It just takes one finger underneath to lift them all the way up. They look good from inside the house AND outside.

    There are other options, to be sure, and though I love curtains, those can be added over time and at least for me in this busy house, they are mostly decorative, and too much trouble to pull closed and open again.

    Good luck! I enjoy following your journey!

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  • hartcm08

    Thank you both. I drove by today.. still no spark or surge of excitement. We have 28 days till close. Septic inspection is next. I also Scheduled a meeting for a contractor to quote out adding recessed lighting to the living room,basement,and master bedroom. Also I am wanting light added to the entry from the garage. We will start there and add lamps to the other spaces. Eventually I’d like to add lights beside the garage door and next to front door but for now.. I need lighting and lamps inside, we also need window treatments. It is very easy to see inside the home from the street. Thank you all for your help during this journey.

  • latifolia

    You might also get a quote from an electrician on the lighting. Depending which way the joists run, they can sometimes snake a wire through without removing wallboard and doing a lot of patching and painting. A contractor will need to add his overhead to the electrician’s bill.

    The new LED cans use less power and sometimes can be added to an existing circuit. I had a kitchen ceiling fixture replaced with a can and another can added, with both on a dimmer - very cost effective.

    hartcm08 thanked latifolia
  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    Are windows with just curtains a thing? I see those brown bamboo shades are Making a comback- I am looking for a very simple easy to clean attractive option.

    Yes, windows with just curtains are a thing : ) . I have that throughout my house. I also have curtains with bamboo shades. And in some windows I also have Roman shades (without curtains).

    One thing I do with curtains is to make sure the curtain rod extends 4"-6" beyond the casing on each side, so when you don't need the curtains closed for privacy or glare, they cover the wall area rather than the window itself.

  • PRO

    For the love of heavens! You are trying to swallow the whole house in a bite.

    Move IN.


    Address any safety/functional issues

    Then, and only then decide one or two areas that bother you most. Decide a feel, via images you have collected, that make you happy.

    A "home" is more than its decoration. Yes, you want to make it feel like YOUR home. But this new world Of right NOW ...as fast as I CAN is a ticket to an insane asylum. I won't let a client get ahead of themselves in that manner, just so you know.

    Your children need a bed. You have the beds. They will sleep just fine in the wait for decor and decorated walls. You will do same in your room. Things you bring from the current home will fit and not fit. Be prepared to make adjustments and get pleasant surprises! The cookies never go back in a box the exact way they came OUT.

    Get yourself reined in. .......and do it right away. Concentrate instead, on NOT taking junk you don't want, and that which kids no longer want or need. Prune your clothes, tech, toys, paper, the garage...and streamline. Go through every closet, drawer, cabinet, linen closet , bath vanity. You'll have a much easier time when you're working on the new one : ) not to mention the packing.

    hartcm08 thanked JAN MOYER
  • jmm1837

    OP - there's another thread that might give you some food for thought - search for "Buyers remorse on house" in Advice on Houzz. I'll give you the same advice I gave there: "how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." It's the same with making the house your home. Take it easy, take it slow, don't make any major changes, learn how the house works. Time is your friend, not your enemy.

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  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    Here is a link to the thread referenced by jmm1837.


    One nice thing about it is the OP came back 6 months later to talk about how much it feels like home now that they have been there a while.

    ”still no spark or surge of excitement” In all honesty IME the externals won’t generate joy or contentment for you. You have to create your own joy and excitement and contentment. Take it a day at a time and be patient. Change isn’t easy.

  • ritasj

    Generally happiness really does come from within..once you achieve that ....you won’t need “other “ things to make you happy...but they will...

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