tartanmeup

How does one decide to move? Can a house really improve your life?

tartanmeup
last month

A while back I asked how others were feeling about their house since the COVID confinement. Most of the replies were very positive. You guys love your homes! Frankly, I was pretty envious reading those replies.


I'm not enamoured with our house and now we're wondering if it would be a good idea to contemplate a move in a year or two. We've never shopped for a house before. This one (our first) fell into our lap thanks to family. It's a financial (and emotional) decision with a fair amount of unknowns and stress. Most people in our area stay put for a lifetime. Those of you who move (often), what propels you? Job? Outgrow your house? Investment? If the location were great but the house layout sucked, would you invest in your house to make it more appealing to your lifestyle or would you find a house with a better layout?

Comments (54)

  • yeonassky
    last month

    It can be as simple as you are tired of where you are and like the place you have chosen to go to.

    But I think the hard work comes in with researching the place.

    You also have to weigh whether you can afford the energy and time to build on to the place you have if you can versus packing everything you own and moving it into a relatively ready to live place.

    All of these are said with the thought that you have the money and the energy to move.

    Yes your life can be improved if you move to the right place with the right community.

    I have done so successfully and not so successfully at times. The difference was how emotional I felt about the move. Make sure that you are as ready as you can be.

    I wrote pros and cons lists for the successful times and winged it for the less successful times.

    tartanmeup thanked yeonassky
  • localeater
    last month

    DH and I have moved several times and for different reasons. We have also done improvement projects in several of the homes. Most moves have not been local; NYC to Florida, back to NYC, NYC to Westchester, Westchester to Maine. The latest one was fairly local, we moved a town over, and we are very happy with the decision.

    We moved because we felt the house, and its property were no longer working for us. It was a difficult decision because we love our old town, and our property had the advantage of being adjacent to a nature preserve with miles of walking trails, but in the end the cons out weighed the pros and so we did it. The thing that really pushed it over the edge to move was that we met a builder who we really liked who was building a small development(10 houses) of net zero homes. Having a net zero house was an exciting opportunity for us to support an ideal we believe in.

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  • IdaClaire
    last month
    last modified: last month

    We lived in a 1940s-era house for nearly 13 years, and DH never took to it as I did. I loved that little house, but knew all along that it would not have been HIS choice. (I bought it prior to our marriage.) Over time, as things continued needing to be upgraded and repaired, as is common for an older home, he started to make a bit more "noise" about wanting to consider moving, but I adamantly refused ... until one morning, when I just decided that we both had a right to expect happiness from our home, and I opened myself up to the possibility of "just looking." Long story that I'll make much shorter, but we ended up contracting to build a new home. After several months of inactivity on the part of the builder, however, we opted to back out of the contract and were able to have our fairly sizable deposit returned to us. We were then pretty much at square one, so enlisted the help of a trusted realtor friend who showed us a few options, none of which really rang our chimes. On the drive back from seeing a house one day, we drove past what is now our new neighborhood and noticed a lot of new builds going up. DH remarked as we got closer, "Well, we could look here, but I'm pretty sure you aren't going to like these." We looked. I loved. We bought. The rest is history.

    Did it improve our lives? Well ... yes. Despite a few issues we've had with neighbors who don't seem to want to abide by HOA restrictions, it turned out to be the perfect location for us -- close to family, church, employment, and all the shopping and entertainment options we could possibly ask for. I really, really love the house too ... so much that I pretty much stopped missing my cute little old 1940s-era house from the moment we moved in. I read something over the weekend in which a woman described what she loved about her house: She said it had enough windows to let in the right amount of light, but didn't actually "face out" onto the outside world, but faced INWARD, and thus created a cozy feel. That's exactly how I'd describe our house ... it faces INWARD, and just feels like a warm hug that draws us in, but keeps the outside world at bay.

    I'm glad that we moved, but understand that it's not an easy decision, as evidenced by my own resistance to the very idea for years. Best wishes to you, Tartan, as you ponder your situation. I think you'll know when the time is right for you to really consider a change, and somehow, the pieces just all seem to fall into place eventually.

    tartanmeup thanked IdaClaire
  • DLM2000-GW
    last month

    We've made 2 moves. We had a starter house (I kept it after first brief marriage ended) in a great neighborhood, suburb of Chicago with family in neighboring and not too far other suburbs. We added on when I was pregnant with our first to make it work better for us but prior to that had already redone the kitchen and one bath. Lived there a total of 12 years until till our second child was a year, then moved 4 blocks away to a slightly larger house with a larger yard. We bought with a plan to add on, remodel and update (old house 1936) and did that right away. Lived there 24 years.

    This last move took us to a new state and we called it our change of life move, - not retirement yet but kind of pre-retirement. We had tossed the idea around for years of moving to a new state with a lower cost of living, more outdoor activities within easy access, slower pace, better climate..... all those things are subjective other than the COL so we shopped around and picked what seemed like a good fit for us.

    Neither one of us moves easily - we get rooted and home is important. Other people move with a sense of adventure and I do envy that but we all have our comfort zones. I do know however, that if something were to happen to DH, my second call would be to our realtor to get the house on the market.

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  • jmck_nc
    last month

    We have moved several times in 35 years. Have owned 5 homes. Varied reasons for each move...to get closer to work, larger home in same community, 800 miles away for job and then a downsize. When we moved from MA to NC we bought the wrong house. We spent a ton of money(which we did NOT recoup) trying to make it the right house, but after 8 years we moved again, somewhat spontaneously. We LOVE this house and see being here for at least 5-10 years (been here 5 already). We also love our neighborhood for many reasons though our neighbors are close (which we thought we might hate). The house just lives more comfortably. The only reason we would move sooner would be to a home with an in-law apartment for our adult son with Down syndrome so that he could live more independently. It has been a vast improvement to my life to be in this home because I'm a homebody at heart and need to really love where I live. I know it is the right house because I keep looking at the listings and nothing has made me consider another move.

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  • Feathers11
    last month
    last modified: last month

    DLM, I'm in the Chicago suburbs, and I know many couples who have done or who plan to do what you're doing, for the same reasons. "Get out of Illinois!" is the going theme, but for some, where they land isn't exactly what they expected. Not in a bad way, but there is a cultural component to living here that isn't replicated elsewhere. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I relate to what you describe.

    We've moved for jobs, but have been in our current location quite a while and raised our kids here. Contemplating the next move, which will involve downsizing, but there are many factors playing heavily on the decision. This is an interesting thread.

    eta, we absolutely lucked out on our current house. We have wonderful neighbors, and we've been able to make this house perfect for our family. I will miss it greatly.

    tartanmeup thanked Feathers11
  • Fun2BHere
    last month

    @tartanmeup, The need to make changes to all the houses we find has been our sticking point, too. Once we figure out how much the changes cost, we are usually over our desired investment.

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  • tartanmeup
    Original Author
    last month

    "I wrote pros and cons lists for the successful times and winged it for the less successful times."

    Really, yeonassky? Here I was, hoping I could trust my gut and wing this. :P


    localeater, a net zero home? Wow. I never would have even thought of this. Looked it up for my province and the Canadian Home Builders' Association has a slew of articles that might help me figure out this reno investment vs buying another house. Not a huge list of ZN builders though. Still, something to consider.


    "a warm hug that draws us in, but keeps the outside world at bay." - Love that description, Ida. Yes, that's HOME.


    "lower cost of living, more outdoor activities within easy access, slower pace, better climate."


    I'd love to move to a better climate, DLM. That would be the retirement dream.


    You've all given me stuff to ponder, thank you so much. I'm going to get my Pros and Cons list out of my head onto paper today.


  • roarah
    last month

    I am not mover. My parents are still in the same house I grew up in. I lived in 2 places before I married. First an apartment for five years than I bought a condo that I lived in until I bought a house with my now husband 15 years ago. I still have art, furniture and rugs from my first place. I hold alot of sentimental value for things and places. I am pretty much a one and done type.

    Accordingly, we have done the love it rather than list it. But I did look first because it is more expensive to add on than to move often. My location and neighbors though could not be improved with a move so ultimately we added a pool, a bath, new boiler amd ac, finished the basement and small improvements in our kitchen with plans now to fully redo that. I will preface this with I loved my house at first sight and knew it was not a stepping stone but a long term home.

    I believe home should evoke warm and fuzzy feelings if yours is not providing that comfort than I think you should try and figure out how that can be changed. Now my brother is of the school of thought that home is just a house with the sole purpose of shelter and protection. He might be right for some too.

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  • seagrass_gw
    last month

    In our 42 years of marriage, we've had 3 houses. We lived in our first house as we followed jobs out of grad school. It was an old, late 1800's colonial on a very busy road in a commercial zoned series of properties. We initially rented it, then bought it from the owners who offered to sell it to us just as we were looking to buy a home off of the busy road. They helped us by loaning us the downpayment as a second mortgage. When we sold it, again it never went on the market. We were made an offer we couldn't refuse by a real estate developer who had bought the mirror image colonial next to us and wanted to fuse the two properties for a business. This was all serendipity.

    So we moved, to a new colonial a few towns away, and lived there for 13 years. The house worked for our commutes. While we were there, we built a coastal vacation home about 2 1/2 hours away. We eventually moved to our vacation home in 1999 when my DH negotiated with his company to telecommute. We're retired now and have no plan to move from here.

    Best wishes in your search.

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  • maire_cate
    last month
    last modified: last month

    We've been fortunate that all 3 moves were the right moves at the right time which made the decision easier. In 47 years we've owned 3 homes. We bought our first starter home when I became pregnant with our first child. Neither of us loved the style - it was a bi-level, also called a raised rancher in other areas. It was a convenient location but we knew we'd move after DH finished his fellowship. We were there for 5 years - it was a new home in a new neighborhood and full of young families. But we knew that when the kids were old enough for school we've move to a better school system.

    We really loved our second home but even when we bought it we planned on remodeling as soon as we could afford it. The layout was fine but we wanted a larger kitchen and an office space for DH. We ended up adding a fifth bedroom and bathroom, installing a pool, patio and screened porch - we were there long enough that we redid the kitchen twice. We stayed for 37 years and DH thought we'd never leave.

    But when he retired and he developed health issues he realized that we needed to simplify our lives. We're now in an an over 55 but we only moved 8 miles from our former home. We hired a contractor and gutted the kitchen, 3 bathrooms and removed a wall all before moving in. Again the layout was fine- we just wanted to change things to suit us. Hopefully we'll be here for many years.

    The most important factor for us in all of this was our family. Our parents have been gone for many years, my brothers live in other states and DH's only sibling died years ago. So our focus is on our immediate family and we wanted to remain close to our kids and now our first grandchild.

    None of this may help you with your decision. But I hope as you read through all the replies that it helps.




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  • 3katz4me
    last month
    last modified: last month

    We have owned four primary residences and two second lake homes. We got married In college and moved seven times (mostly rentals) early in our marriage primarily due to education and job situations. One move was from MN to TX and another was from TX to MN. Once we got settled we lived in our house for 23 years and first lake place for 16. We bought the lake place after searching and searching for a “better” primary residence and deciding it was too expensive to buy a house much better than what we had so we took the extra money and bought a second home instead.

    We made big preretirement moves five years ago - changed both homes within 10-30 miles of the old ones. The moves were interrelated. We wanted more privacy for the lake cabin - in the woods where we couldn’t see the neighbors. Once we got that done we no longer “needed” the primary residence in the woods. We lived in a great community but our 45 year old house needed major investments - siding, huge deck, windows, bathroom, etc. That was just maintenance stuff and the design of the house was still not conducive to aging in place. So we got rid of that and bought a detached townhome (aka villa) where HOA does yard, snow removal, etc. That was no small decision. I’d been looking at listings for a couple years - DH had no interest in moving. Amazingly he went along with the idea. I absolutely love the new house far more than the old one and DH is happy too.

    Both of our moves have been good for us. I was 100% sure I wanted to move and very certain the new places were right for us. Both places are newer and don’t need major investment and they have all living necessities on the main level. One of the big pluses is that we have great neighbors and a much greater sense of community In both places. That of course is a crapshoot - you never really know about the neighbors until you move in.

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  • Lars
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I lived in Venice, CA for 15 years until I finally realized that I needed a large house - and one with two bathrooms. We moved about five miles away to Westchester, just the other side of Marina Del Rey but now are not walking distance to the beach - but then I don't go to the beach so much anymore anyway. Another factor was that the tired tourist traffic in Venice was getting to be unbearable for me, and I wanted a quieter neighborhood, but still fairly close to the beach. The house is Westchester is 75% larger but the cost is 60% less. Moving a couple of miles from the beach makes a big difference. The current cost per square foot in Venice is $1,750 US compared to $642 for my house in Westchester, but Westchester is not the cheapest neighborhood in Los Angeles, and Venice is now one of the most expensive. House prices tripled while I was there, and have continued to go up.

    You might not be able to get such a drastic change by moving 5 miles where you are, however - I don't know. We're happier to live in a quieter, less trendy neighborhood than we did in Venice. The street in Venice (Abbot Kinney Blvd) where we lived was named "The hippest street in the U.S." just before we moved, and it just kept getting more popular. It had almost no traffic when I first moved there, but in 15 years, from 1994 to 2009, the traffic increased dramatically.

    Anyway, that is my experience, and I am happy with the changes I have made, although I do miss being able to walk to restaurants and the beach. However, I have not been doing that lately anyway. I sort of miss the beach bike paths, but then over the years that I was there, they also got much more crowded and therefore less enjoyable. Plus I got bored with them after a while.

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  • bbstx
    last month

    At one time in my life, I worked with a bunch of architects. One of them told me you should move every 9 years because that is when systems start breaking down and major repairs start. We’ve been in our house for 6 years. I’m looking to see where we might go next. I’m not sentimental about houses.

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  • tartanmeup
    Original Author
    last month

    maire_cate, we're in a bi-level now so you might relate to my restlessness?


    jmck_nc: "The house just lives more comfortably." Exactly the thought that's making me think a move is necessary. Your mention of spending a ton of money to make it the right house and not achieving the goal nor recouping the money is what worries me with this one.


    Lars, you bring up traffic and that's a major thing to consider for us as well. Potential locations will be limited because of it.


  • sheesh
    last month

    Hubby and I love our current house, its layout and physical location, but we are fish out of water culturally where we are located. I was born and raised in Chicago and Feathers, you are so right about the culture of a place. We moved for the job 26 years.ago and are now retired but man, the narrow-minded, selfish nature of this community is still shocking to me.

    We won't be moving because this is home while hub and I live in it together and it is perfect for aging in place, but who knows what either of us will do when something happens to one of us.

    Obviously we aren't movers, tartan, (and in some ways I wish we were), so I sure can't help you, but I wish you well and am interested in your decision. I could never move and redecorate the way many here do but I am an avid reader!

    tartanmeup thanked sheesh
  • Bonnie
    last month
    last modified: last month

    We love our location and are definitely in the stay and renovate camp. We are in a beautiful suburb 15 miles from Boston, where real estate is expensive but the quality of life is great. We bought our first house as newlyweds and had extensive renovations to the second floor done before having children. When we outgrew the house we knew we wanted to stay in town so we waited patiently for the right house and snapped it up. 35 years and 2 renovations later we still love our house and our location. Our grown children have established careers in the city. My parents are gone now, but they stayed in their ”starter” house for 42 years, with a second home near their extended family. DH‘s mother has lived in her house for 68 years.


    Pick your location and work with the housing inventory, which probably will involve renovations.

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  • tartanmeup
    Original Author
    last month

    bbstx, I've never come across that advice before. Not sure it saves money though unless you're starting with a new build every time?

  • IdaClaire
    last month

    That advice means you just start over in a new place instead of repairing the systems in the house one has presumably already sunk a significant amount of money into, though. I think of all of the things we've done to improve our house, and it's tens of thousands of upgrades in furniture (which may or may not work in a new home), custom built-ins, custom doors, custom window treatments, landscaping and hardscaping ... the list goes on. I can't imagine leaving all that behind every 9 years and starting over (because it's doubtful I'd find another home with all of the specific elements I want already in place) ; in fact, the very thought makes me feel a bit paralyzed.


    But as with anything - YMMV! ;-)

    tartanmeup thanked IdaClaire
  • sheesh
    last month

    Holy cow, bbstx, I'd never have that kind of energy! Nine years? I expect more out of everything in this house from the roof to the basement and everything in it! Phew. I've got the vapors now

    tartanmeup thanked sheesh
  • olychick
    last month

    I'd move every 9 years just to force me to clean the closets out! And everything else, instead of moving it all to a new place.

    My husband and I moved 6 times in 3 years for his work. Then we built a house and lived there 7 years. Moved once more to where I am now in 1983. I loved the house when we walked in and knew it was "the one" and it still is. It felt a little large for 2 of us (4 bedrooms, 2 baths and over 2,000 square feet, which seems funny to me today, because I'm now a widow and think it's a bit small by today's standards. It is as IdaClaire described. Almost all windows to the exterior and no window covering but on my upstairs bath. Lush plantings that prevent any neighbors from seeing in.It's back from the road on a dead end street (#1 on my list of criteria when we were house hunting). I could feel happy in almost any style home if the setting was just right....lots of trees, no visible neighbors, dead end street.

    I feel enveloped in pleasure every time I walk into this house.

    tartanmeup thanked olychick
  • chessey35
    last month

    We've moved a number of times - #1 was the house we bought when DH finished grad school. It was on a busy street which wasn't a problem until we had two small children. The next move was further out to a larger house with a nice yard and on a cul-de-sac - we were there for 20+ years. The next move came when out kids were grown and on their own and we moved to be close to the water - 1st a small weekend house and then we build our dream house and stayed there for 20+ years ago - we moved to this house because where we are closer to our children and grandchildren - as we were getting older - it felt like the right thing to do and moving is still the right thing - but the house is not. - we were looking for different things and his won out - The house is okay but it's two stories with a laundry room in the basement. DH promised he would carry the baskets up and down and he does - but often on his own schedule and how long will it before he can't carry those baskets up two flights of stairs. We're here though until we need to make that final move - but in the meantime, the house does not inspire me. But those are the compromise I made for DH to have what he needed/wanted. Good thing I still love the man to pieces.

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  • maire_cate
    last month

    Tartan - I certainly can understand how you might feel about your bi-level. I wasn't thrilled with it when we purchased it but it fit all the other criteria and best of all, we were pretty sure we wouldn't be there for more than 4 or 5 years. The location was important because DH had to drive into Philadelphia for 4 years. When we decided to start our family we began looking for houses outside the city and happened to stumble upon this wooded area where new houses were being built. There were only 15 homes and 5 models. DH had just finished his internship but still had 4 more years to finish his program. We could only afford the least expensive model - a 1515 sq ft, one car garage but the lot was large and wooded and after living in the city it felt wonderful.


    My son ended up buying a bi-level a few years ago and again it was because it was cheaper than other colonials and he wanted that neighborhood and school system. However his 2400 square feet is significantly larger than my bi-level and makes the living space more functional. He was also in a situation where his apartment sold and the landlord only gave him a month's notice. They didn't want to rent for another year so they opted for this house. However he too plans on moving in a few years to a traditional 2 story and they're hoping to have a second child by then.


    The people who bought our house made drastic changes. They built a detached 2 car garage and turned the old garage into a kitchen. They created a new foyer next to the kitchen so now you enter on the main floor. The rest of the lower level became the living room, dining room and family room. They designed a huge master bedroom, sitting room and master bath in the former second floor kitchen, living/dining rooms.



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  • jmck_nc
    last month

    The longest we have ever lived anywhere is 8 years, so the 9 year rule sounds good to me! When we moved here 5 years ago I swore we would "pretend to move" every year so we would not become immune to our junk, grunge and other issues that crop up when you sell. I wish I could say we have done that....sigh....

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  • gsciencechick
    last month

    Our home is nearly paid off, so we have no plans to move. It makes more sense to do a "love it" vs. "list it" unless something happens and we (well, really it would be me) ends up getting a fantastic job offer somewhere else that would require a move. DH even mentioned not selling and just renting this home. Would I love a bigger house? Yes, but I would like to look forward to retirement with a house that is single level living. And the economy could further tank so being housing secure is more important.

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  • jojoco
    last month
    last modified: last month

    There are many valid reasons to move, many of which have been stated eloquently here. Some people ( my ex) move frequently hoping the new house will improve everything. He has moved 4 times in 7 years. remember that old song “ pack up your troubles in that old black bag...”? Written about him, I’m guessing.

    I grew up in one house in ct. When I was married to my my ex we lived in 7 houses over 24 years. I hated all the moving, and no, we weren’t a military family. My new dh and I bought a house two years ago. We’re still settling in. it ticks off all my boxes and I could happily live there forever.

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  • Tina Marie
    last month
    last modified: last month

    No way could I nor would I want to move every nine years! Even every 20 years LOL!! I do get attached to a home, a community. We have been married 38 years and have owned 3 homes. Our first home was older, had acreage and the longer we lived there, the more repairs/upgrades we did. We decided we wanted to move out of the area (that house was very near where we both lived most of our childhoods) to a small unincorporated city that is between larger cities. A bit more rural and quite a few farms where we are now. When we first moved to this city, we bought a house in a different county (our SMALL city is actually home to three counties!) and we were in a subdivision. Beautiful house, almost new and while we liked our neighbors, loved the city, found a church, etc. we weren't happy with some of the city services, didn't like living so close to other houses, etc. We started thinking about building a house. We found a good size lot (little over an acre) not that far from where we were living, but in a different county. Better services, better taxes, etc. The area we are in now is a bit more spread out, we have a mountain view, a little more rural area. We have been here about 25 years. We are very happy here, but I can't promise it is our last home. We occasionally talk about moving, even building again, but so far, not seriously. We built this house to be our last house (all one level, etc.) even a workshop with my husband's business in mind. But, retirement is very, very close for him, and who knows what will happen then???

    ETA (since I didn't answer your questions) Yes, I believe a house can improve your life. We are much happier in this house, this area. We have a gorgeous view, lots of trees, etc. and most importantly, the backyard of our house is completely private. We have neighbors, but not-too-close neighbors. We are still within half an hour of family and friends and our closest friends are about 10 minutes from us. We were able to build to suit our needs. We have a nice outside area which was important to us.

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  • bbstx
    last month

    As is often said, here’s the rest of the story. The architect who made the 9-year comment to me had been in his house for 19 years at that time. When he died this summer, he and his wife had lived in the house another 20 or more years. So, even though his advice was to move every 9 years, he built and lived in the same house for 40+ years.

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  • Lukki Irish
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Oh boy, this is a tough question. Our house was our first too. We moved to SE Michigan in 2005 from SoCal because my daughter and SIL are here. One day I made the comment that I wished we could be closer to them and my DH said, “then let’s go”. We were renting so he got a transfer through work and within six months we were here in an apartment my daughter found for us; we bought the house a few months later. It was a foreclosure that I fell in love with. I can’t even tell you what the draw was, I just knew we belonged here. All of them, DH, DD & DSIL thought I was nuts, but DH trusted me enough to still go along with it. We did a large majority of the work ourselves, which took years but it was so worth it. We both loved being here. The plan was to grow old together and never move but he passed a couple of months ago and is no longer with me. Still, he’s everywhere I look in this house and now, that’s what makes it home. For me, it’s not about a floor plan or the size, that can all be changed or fixed, what’s always mattered to me is the history and memories we’ve made while here, now more so than ever before.

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  • sheesh
    last month

    Aw, lukki, thank you. Hugs.

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  • roarah
    last month

    Lukki, I am so sorry to hear of your great loss. I hope you memories always lighten your grief.

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  • Arapaho-Rd
    last month

    Lukki, I am so sorry about your DH. I'm so glad your home near your DD and DSIL that you and your DH made together is giving you a sense of peace.

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  • tartanmeup
    Original Author
    last month

    Lukki, thank you for sharing. My condolences. I'm glad your home is offering you some solace.


    maire-cate, drastic changes indeed for your former bi-level. It sounds a lot more functional! It also sounds as if it would cost almost as much as a new house. We don't have space to build a new garage so I suspect this layout change would devalue our house. Our bi-level is also more spacious than most of the colonials in the area. Chessey's mention of lugging a laundry basket up and down 3 flights of stairs reminded me of the disadvantage of a colonial, which I've been considering the enviable layout all this time.


    You're all giving me something to ponder, thank you so much!

  • aktillery9
    last month

    Tartan, many years ago my ex husband and I lived in a bilevel home. It was great for a while. Then we found a great deal on a house that we just had to have. We sold the old bilevel and moved. It was the best decision because that was by far my favorite home of any that I have lived and I have moved and lived in so many different houses.


    The reasons I liked the house over the bilevel was for one, the location (the house where we moved was in a gorgeous neighborhood with so many trees and near a small river). Secondly, the house itself was just so warm and yet spacious. It just felt like home.

    I say go with your gut. If it is feasable to move and that will make you happy, then why not?

    If it were me, I would get my current house in order and then just start looking. At some point you will find the perfect house at the perfect price (or close enough). Sometimes it just takes patience. For me, it just all came about so quickly.

    I think loving your house (if you can afford to do so) is probably one of the most important things. It is where we send so much time....it is our sanctuary. I completely understand your feelings and the desire to move.

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  • tartanmeup
    Original Author
    last month

    "If it were me, I would get my current house in order and then just start looking."


    Good advice, ak. We have a neighbour who used to do home inspections and his philosophy is to always keep a house in tip top shape because you never know if you might need to sell it quickly one day. Thankfully, we've kept on top of the big maintenance issues with our house.

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    last month

    My approach to decision making is to literally write down all of the pros and cons, mull them over, discuss them with family, and then sleep on it. When you first wake up in the morning, and ask yourself what you want to do, that is a gut decision. If you do this after you have done the pro and con analysis, then it is what we might call an "informed gut decision." IMHO, that approach works well. You don't want to ignore your "gut" because we are emotional beings. If one goal in life is to optimize happiness, how can one make decisions that discount one's feelings? Yet ill-considered decisions can bring unexpected, unwelcome surprises and also undermine happiness. In short, you need both.


    Most moves among those I know are done for career progression. That is kind of taken as a given. As I got older, I wondered if it was indeed right for me to move for my career. My siblings live within 15 min. of the town where I grew up. It gave them far more time with each other, with my parents, and for my nieces and nephews to create bonds as well. I gave these things little weight when I was younger, but as I got older I realized that it was a sacrifice. After career, I think the next biggest reason for moves are to be near parents or near children. Many of is would probably agree that the pull of family, especially once is retired, overwhelms most any other amenities.


    The experts say that buying a new house (or a new car or actually any major life change) does not make us happy. We all experience "hedonistic adaptation," whereby the new home quickly becomes the new normal and after a short period of time it no longer makes one happy. YMMV, but the advice is that smaller, frequent indulgences raise your happiness more than major changes. That might be a thumbs up for renovators!


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  • mtnrdredux_gw
    last month

    I thought I'd break out the answer to your question between a general answer and my personal experience.

    I grew up in one home, a split level in the Philadelphia burbs. It was impeccably maintained but fairly ordinary. When I was in college my parents bought a charming stone cape with a big front lawn, a meandering stream and a bridge. It had space to locate a small business my Dad ran. My nephew is buying it from my Mom's estate.

    Though my budget for my early apartments was modest, I always lived someplace with character. My first apartment was a tiny studio in an historic home in Philly, entered via a bricked courtyard. From there my BFF from 7th grade and I got a fabulous sprawling apartment in a gorgeous 1920s era building... in an iffy part of town. From there I moved to NYC and initially lived in NJ in a large garden apartment complex with a huge bow window overlooking gardens. Then I moved into NYC w/ my then BF, into a simple box of an apartment, but with wonderful views of the East River and NYC skyline. Married, moved into a larger apt in the same bldg, then divorced. Then I moved out into my own NYC apartment, truly fabulous floor to ceiling water and city views... I loved the entry to the building, which was behind a little row of historic homes, into a large, treed cobbled courtyard strung with pretty white lights.

    From there I bought my first home. It was a 3+ story brick 1904 Georgian in a NYC burb. My DH and I were dating and planning marriage and a family, and I thought it was a good time to buy. It was a wonderful, gorgeous home. We spent 12 years there, and had our 3 children. When we both retired early, we considered moving all sorts of places and decided to stay put. We were looking to sell our lake house and buy a more private lakehome in a resort area, when we came across our current primary home in a CT burb. It was not at all what we were looking for, but we bought it in 3 days. It was far more than we wanted to spend on a second home, and it had insufficient bedrooms, and a surfeit of wetbars and it was not in a resort area. But, to us, it was simply a magical property. We did the pros and cons and then just took the plunge.

    I had my second thoughts and misgivings. In my circle, many people preferred our old home. And it was indeed a gorgeous home, but totally different than the uniqueness of our current CT home. I distinctly recall walking in the front door of my old home after we had listed it and my stomach dropping --- what have I done? I also really missed my neighbors when we moved. I missed the walkability, too.

    So we are a rare example of moving for one reason only - we fell in love with a house. We ended up not regretting the move, but honestly some of that was luck. Some of the reasons I am glad we moved are things I'd not considered. For example, our area has a lot of excellent private schools, which we had not considered, but it turns out all 3 of ours have gone to private schools and we have been very happy with their education. We also love our little local markets and fine dining (but we had that where we were, too). Property taxes are lower on a % basis but since our house here is assessed much higher, our taxes ended up about the same (ie startlingly high). One thing I really love about where we live is the beauty of the area, winding roads, historic homes, farms. Our former NJ town was gorgeous,filled with tree lined streets and gracious historic homes. But outside of our town it was very commercial and not nearly as nice as our area of CT. I never fail to notice the beauty that surrounds me, and this time of year especially meandering the roads in our convertible is very enjoyable.

    Despite what I said in my earlier post in re adaptation, I wake up each day and look out at our view. I notice the amount of leaves on the trees, the color of the water that day, and what is in bloom. I continually marvel that I am living in a park. I get great enjoyment living in our home, and it has provided memories another home could not. We are able to host large gatherings that I fondly recall. And our annual kids regatta, with over 100 guests, is certainly the pinnacle of enjoying this home.

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  • bbstx
    last month

    I have never heard of “hedonistic adaptation” but, boy, have I experienced it. I have found that when I want to buy a new car (not because I need one, but just because I want one), I can make myself like the car I have by having it detailed to the highest level, as if it were going back on a showroom floor. It is usually a relatively expensive detailing, but much much less than a new car. Sort of a “car renovation.”

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  • IdaClaire
    last month

    I think I experienced something like hedonistic adaptation recently when feeling grumpy about neighborhood parking issues. I was in our upstairs library and happened to glance across the street -- out to the treetops -- and noticed a huge stand of very old, very tall pine trees in the near distance that I'd never really noticed before. Oh, I'm sure I've SEEN them a hundred times, but seeing and NOTICING are not the same thing. It struck me as a very lovely moment, as pine trees are things I dearly love, and there they are -- right outside my own window.

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  • mtnrdredux_gw
    last month

    Sorry for the hijack, but I think the concept is so important. The big takeaway is that happiness can be maximized by small, frequent indulgences. I think that is kind of good news for mankind if you think about it!

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  • Stan Areted
    last month
    last modified: last month

    A house that becomes a home can absolutely improve your life.

    I totally identify with this statement by mtnrdredux:


    "I wake up each day and look out at our view. I notice the amount of leaves on the trees, the color of the water that day, and what is in bloom. I continually marvel that I am living in a park. I get great enjoyment living in our home, and it has provided memories another home could not. We are able to host large gatherings that I fondly recall." Additionally, wildlife--foxes, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, eagles, many birds, fish, croaking frogs at night, dark skies and bright stars, surrounded by a home with furnishings and belongings that make your heart sing or feed your soul--by their beauty or memories--can improve your life, too.

    It can be anything in which we seek comfort, joy, and resassurance.



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  • Renovator Girl
    last month

    Yes! I once lived in an extremely poor neighborhood. Never again. I am sure that you've all heard about the "food desert" phenomenon in economically deprived neighborhoods. Mine was an everything desert. I had to hike out of my neighborhood to do everything: go to a grocery store, visit the bank, get on a subway.... It was EXHAUSTING.


    I moved to an apartment in a working class neighborhood on the same block as a subway stop, a block from a well-stocked grocery store, and three blocks from the bank. My life got so much easier!

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  • Toby
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I am in the process of trying to move. I live in a house that isn't "home". I live in a neighborhood that isn't particularly neighborly. I live in a city that's too big. I've lived here for nineteen years and something has always been missing.

    I'm now 65 and DH is 76--still young and healthy enough to take on new experiences. We began seriously talking about finding a new home this past February. We love living in the Pacific Northwest, and though we considered other areas, you really can't beat the beauty and mild four-seasons climate of the PNW. We originally planned to move in this same metro area, but after looking at listings, we found that we couldn't find a house in our price range that is as nice as ours. We've done a lot of remodeling and we have a good-sized yard compared to new builds. Older homes have larger lots but the homes need so much remodeling. I also realized we wouldn't be making any changes to lifestyle if we stayed here. We'd just be changing one view out the window for a different view.

    So we began looking at smaller metro areas in the PNW. Because of our age, being close to healthcare is important, so we can't buy too rural. We found an area in a neighboring state that is close to a city with all of the amenities we want but also has more outdoor and water recreation than we have here. We can get more property for our money, and I am dying for a larger garden and to grow vegetables.

    We're somewhat familiar with the area as DH grew up a few hours north of there. Because of COVID, we can't visit the area yet. So we have put it on hold until next spring. Meanwhile, we have contacted an agent there and are checking the listings to become familiar with the neighborhoods in that area.

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  • tartanmeup
    Original Author
    last month

    So much food for thought! Thank you, ALL. I'm not addressing each and every post but trust that each and every one is contributing something new for me to ponder. You're all helping me flesh out my dilemma, if that makes sense.


    mtnrdredux, your mention of "hedonistic adaptation" intrigues me. I'm sure COVID confinement has amplified my dislike for my home but to what degree, I'm not sure. Perhaps I'm due for some indulgence and would be better served by a series of small ones rather than a move to a "better house".


    We'll be talking to a realtor this week, just to get ideas and a pulse of neighbouring markets. That's bound to add crucial information to our discussion.


    Best of luck with your move, Toby. Hope you find what you need. The PNW! I envy your location.

  • jmck_nc
    last month

    Stopping back in to say....

    While I was never comfortable inSIDE our former house, I LOVED our HUGE glassed in screen porch overlooking our natural and wooded back yard, wildflower gardens surrounding our pond like pool. While we don't have that here, we have a nicely landscaped back yard with a rock water fountain that attracts soooo many birds. So that is almost as important to me as the house itself. Not sure I could live in a city permanently....unless I could afford a a landscaped terrace and a view of a park ;).

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  • jill302
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Bought our first house the first year we were married, it was going to our forever house. Loved our home, we were there 23 years. Unfortunately our neighborhood gradually changed over time and I was not feeling comfortable there anymore. The timing for a move worked for our family. my youngest just graduated high school. The timing for finding a new home for us was not as good, few homes on the market and lots of competition. We ended up in an area we liked, but spent more on the house than we wanted and still did not really get what we were looking to buy. But we had sold our house and had been living with my in-laws for 6 months, it was time to compromise.

    While this home is very nice and I think some of my friends think I am crazy for wanting to move, I do not view this house as my long term house. It is in a good location. Love the back patio, the big windows, my closet and all the birds. We back up to a ravine with a view of trees and a bit of the city. It is a great home for entertaining. Otherwise it is okay and really I dislike the kitchen, probably half the reason I do not want to stay. Unfortunately this is not correctable without moving the kitchen and I do not love the rest of the house enough to go down that path. Also, not really affordable. But my husband absolutely loves it here, so we are still here.

    That said we are currently trying to decide if we are going to downsize. This will allow us to buy a bigger home in the desert while keeping a smaller home in our neighborhood. Otherwise we will buy a smaller place in the desert and stay in this house. The third option is the I continue working part-time until we downsize our current home, then we could do both until I decide to retire. My plan had been to retire next year at 62. We were hoping to do a lot of traveling but that is out for the foreseeable future anyway, so continuing to work is not such a bad option for the next few years.

  • arcy_gw
    last month

    I find the location of this home has me dreaming of a home lake side. Location location they say. 22 years ago when we left the City it was to be on a lake. LOL we couldn't afford that life we soon discovered. Now if we did trade I vacillate on if it would be wise. Neighbors/communities are reason to stay. Leaving my offspring's childhood home seems dangerous. I witnessed it first hand with DH. When his parents built a brand new home a few towns over at 75--he lost most of his interest in visiting them. Would a lake be enough draw to bring grandkids if I ever get some here? Growing up in the military a place/house/building doesn't mean tons to me..but having built history with the people does have its worth.

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  • ILoveMod
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I've told this story multiple times here but... what motivates me to move? usually the desire to upgrade our living situation. also, irritating noise / bad neighbors. we were happy in our apartment, but bought a house because we wanted to own something. we landed a rare unicorn of perfect homes, got carried away with how beautiful it is, and failed to notice that the location kind of sucks. lousy commute, the bus is the worst, the walk to the light rail / bars / restaurants is too long. also the street we're on is noisy.

    so in our case, we might give up our beautiful home for a more boring place just to get a better location. I feel like as long as your house is comfortable and functional, location trumps all. you can always fix a boring house.

    as far as covid? I used to think our house and yard were too big and too much work, but the pandemic is causing us to really LOVE all the extra space we have. and being out in the sort-of suburbs means we can go for walks w/o wearing masks (not many people walking the streets here). but still, I seriously would go back to our old apartment again in a heartbeat. I miss not having to do yardwork. I miss being able to walk to work and to meet up with friends. I know that that's not happening due to the pandemic, but we'll get back to that life one day. when we do, I'm going to start hating our current location all over again.

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  • ILoveMod
    last month

    tartanmeup I forgot to answer your biggest question: If the location were great but the house layout sucked, would you invest in your house to make it more appealing to your lifestyle?

    yes. a hundred times yes -- for the reasons I listed above. you are so lucky if you love your location. it's so much easier to stay than it is to move, and it's likely cheaper to renovate. plus, you get customize to your taste.



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