Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Home Goals: Find One!

There has been a lot of talk on various blogs of “home goals” in the last couple of weeks…usually that consists of a list of home improvement projects we would like to tackle in the coming year…

I’m not jumping on that particular bandwagon, because I’m not exactly sure where “home” is going to be!

You might remember that back in November my husband and I reached The Last Straw which led to listing our home for sale.

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We decided that the time had come to look for a home that would suit our family’s needs (and wants, let’s be honest here) a little better.   When we  moved here over eight years ago, we really didn’t envision that this would be our forever home…but it’s not an easy thing to think of moving a family of eight anywhere!

So we found a home that we thought was “it,” and made an offer on it.  However, the purchase of that home was continent on the sale of our home, and that hasn’t happened yet.  In the meantime, another party—who doesn’t have a home to sell first—has made an offer on the same home, so it looks like they will get it instead of us!  <sigh>

Really, I have no hard feelings about that.  I don’t it was THE place for us, and I’m sure there will be another…

The question is…what to do next??

My dear husband is tired of talking about it, so I am turning to you, my dear virtual friends…  I know YOU have a wealth of greater experience, and I am hoping to draw on that.  I would so love any words of wisdom you can offer!

So, put yourself in my shoes. 

  • You are lucky enough to have a husband who makes a comfortable income, and his job is about as secure as is possible in this economy.
  • You have six children, ranging from 4 to 14.  You want your home to be a place where they will eventually bring spouses and grandchildren.
  • You love for your home to be a family gathering place.  Having 24 people over for dinner is a common occurrence.
  • You are very frugal, and have a difficult time spending large amounts of money!

So my first round of questions are these:

  1. Which is more important, getting the best house for the money, or getting the best house for the most money you can reasonably afford?
  2. Would you prefer to buy a pre-existing home or build one, and why?

I’m going to stop there for tonight!  If you’re willing, there will surely be another round of questions for the whole “build vs. buy” question at a later date!

43 comments:

Garden of Egan said...

Your home looks lovely.
I'm not sure what I would do. We've only ever had the home we are in. It was an older home and we've fixed it up nice. It was full to the brim when the whole family was home. Now empty except when they all come home!
Then we are overstuffed.

Our son is in Utah and has done a bunch of looking and research and they have decided to build. I think it sounds so fun and exciting!

Sorry you didn't get the other home, but there will be something come up that will make you so glad you waited.

MrsTerri said...

We have found that our children are much more expensive when they enter the high school/college years than they were when we were all a happy little brood homeschooling! Finding a home that you can get paid off or at least reasonably afford will be something you probably won't regret in the long run. It will allow you more flexibility in the future!

Good luck!

Terri Miller
www.beyond-relevance.com

Full Circle Creations said...

I'm so sorry about the other house. I know how excited you were. Personally I like older homes with all of their character and they seem to me to be built better. My home was built in the 1880's and has stood the test of time. I think you get the best house that you can afford that will suit your family. I can't imagine moving 8 people anywhere! Good luck.

Holly

Twice Nice said...

I'm sorry about the other house getting away from you. Without boring you with our entire story...we've done both. I will say it is fun to completely customize everything. Though there will always be things you would change later. It's also extremely expensive to set up a new build. ALL the windows need coverings at the same time, landscaping is expensive, unless your are really loaded you won't be seeing shade from any trees for the next 15 years! Make a list of pros and cons for both and compare it to the list of must haves (and wants if you'd like). See which matches up best. I will say, when we built we thought we had it all and still managed to find things we would have added or changed...so there is no "perfect" perfect house, IMHO! Best wishes to you! Deb

Terry said...

I was also in your situation but with less kids. I only had one at home at the time. Anyway, we found our dream home but couldn't afford it. We waited 5 years and saw that it was for sale again. At that time we could afford the best house at our highest cost. Now nine years later, we have paid off this home and are debt free (I am frugal too). And we love this dream home that we waited on until we could afford it.

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

i think that because you and your husband do have skills, you could find an existing home that has all the space you need, but is a good deal because maybe it needs some work, and then fix it up and make it work for you. of course i say that because we are doing that very thing now. plus i like the feel of a lived in home, but that is just me!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

I was wondering how you were doing on that front, Korrie. Now that the holidays are over, hopefully you will see more traffic to your house. No matter which way you go, you will be adding things to a new home to reflect you and your family. Some things will be small and some big. I think you should make a list of "musts" and see if there is anything already existing out there at all that meets most of that list. Building would take longer, and that would be a draw back to me.

thistlewoodfarm said...

I think that buying a home that you can afford is absolutely important! I also would rather buy an older home and remodel (on a budget) slowly....rather than build new. Although I have seen some beautiful new homes!

Alaina said...

When my girlfriend asked me this same question, because my husband and I built our own home. Honestly you usually can get more of a home when you buy one already built. The reason I say that is because when you build yourself or have a custom build you have to think of all the little detail, trim, fixtures, appliances. Believe me they can add up fast. However, if you buy a home that fits most of you wants and needs, you can make it more you, add trim, change fixtures and so on. Another option you may want to look into is prefab homes, they have the look and feel of a new build but not the cost. Good luck and I hope this helps, remember it is only a box and what makes it special is what you do with the box.

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Oh Korrie, I'm sorry about the one that got away! I don't really have any advice because I think it all depends on you and your family. In our case, we bought our house almost 30 years ago. It was two years old at the time. We liked it well enough, but didn't love it. And we always thought we'd one day build our dream house. Well, one remodeling project led to another and we are still here. It's still not the dream house that spins around in my head, but it's home. The main reason we stayed is the location and neighborhood. Sometimes you just get so comfortable that the thought of leaving just doesn't feel right. So here we are! ... Good luck to you figuring out the best plan for your family!

Suzanne@Meridian Road said...

I used to think I'd want to build a house, but we've done enough adding on and remodeling to know that even building from the ground up doesn't ensure that you'll get exactly what you want. I think now I'd rather buy a house and turn it into exactly what I want.
I'd just focus on finding the best house that you really like and can afford.

Bliss said...

Well well well Missy Red Hen! New to this stuff I had not read your Last Straw post, so was surprised to see your post about moving. But finally someone asked some questions of which I can answer! I know a thing or two about have six kids to move AND building houses. We are in our 3rd new home, build with our hands. So I guess you know which choice I would pick.
~Bliss~

Bliss said...

I can't spell today, have grand baby on lap, and errors drive me nuts, so pretend I spelled everything correct in my post above, and this one for that matter1
~Bliss~

Valley Primitives Gift Shoppe said...

I am sorry you are missing out on that house, but that just means there is something better out there! We built the house we are in right now, it was our first build, and there were tons of things that didn't get done properly or things that we just wanted to change over time. Now I would love to buy an old farmhouse and fix it up as long as the fixing up part could be done before we moved in. LOL! I am not sure I gave you anything helpful advice though :D I can't imagine having to move 8 people! I hope you find your dream house and that it fits within your budget!!
Kim

eao219s said...

We have lived in 4 houses over the past 7 years (due to job relocation). The first time we bought we had no idea what we were doing but managed to come out okay. Since then we have learned a few things. We always feel it is best to try and get the best house for the money. However we are only a family of four so that makes a big difference:) No matter what you don't want to buy a house with a mortgage payment that leaves you with little to nothing at the end of the month (which we did once as well). As for pre-existing or new we love older homes. We have had a range but we like the charm of older homes. Also the brand new home we bought a couple years back gave us more problems than any of our older homes combined. They just don't build homes like they used to:) Sorry for the novel but hope some of this helps. Good luck!

alltheseboys said...

I live in a two bedroom apartment..lol..so not exactly home buying expertise. I have however purchased a few homes in my life. Go with a home that when you walk in the front door...feels like home. It really doesn't matter if it's new construction or previously owned..there will always be problems. Also..go with what you can afford comfortably. You may live in a big house..but if your worried about how your going to pay your bills at night..that's no fun either. My biggest thing...there will ALWAYS be another house...I've fallen in love with many..dreamt of how I would decorate..only to have my previous house not sell and lose it to someone else. Yet..I've always fallen in love with another. AND I live in hodunk usa..pop. 4000!! Good luck..it will all work out. Katie

Britt said...

My husband and I were in the same situation only 18 months ago. The house we were living in was a nice home, but it didn't have room for guests, and it was on a sometimes busy street, not to mention other issues. We put our house for sale and took a leap of faith. It sold, at less than we wanted it to. But considering this economy we did well. It took us another 4 months to find the perfect house. It was still within budget, although at the top of it. Ours was a foreclosure which is a whole other story. I can't even count the number of offers we made that didn't work out. But the house we are in now is beyond what I imagined and has more than enough room for our huge extended family and friends. It was a scary decision that worked out and we are so happy that we took that leap now and so are our children!

Britt said...

Sorry I forgot to mention we were going to build too! Dollar for dollar buying our home as a foreclosure was well under what we would have spent to build it from scratch. Building your own custom home is great because you get to make all of the decisions yourself. However, it is so easy to go over budget! An upgrade here and an upgrade there and you are well over budget. I have 2 siblings who built a home last year and they both went over budget, and they were basic upgrades not extravagant at all!

Anonymous said...

I agree with what Alaina said and I would add one thing to that: If you plan this next house to be your forever home, get a one level home. I say that because I'm in my 50's and have many friends in the same age group. They are all selling their 2-story homes to make it easier on aging hips and knees. I'm in the same boat you're in right now, not knowing where we'll end up and wanting a forever home. It's unsettling to be in limbo, but your time will come. Good luck to you and your family.

SheilaG @ Plum Doodles said...

With the housing market the way it is right now, an already built home is probably going to be the best deal. Definitely get what you can comfortably afford. We've built once and bought many times in our many moves- even if you custom build, there are things that come up that you didn't think about and want to change, as well as style changes. Whatever you do, don't get impatient and buy before you sell your current home- it's a nightmare!!!

Heaven's Walk said...

I agree that buying the most house you can afford is the best way for you, Korrie. That said....if it were me and I could afford it....I would build my dream home in a heartbeat! I still dream of building a house that is just what my hubby and I need and want. Lots of windows, tall ceilings, open floor plan, vintage trim. Someplace where we could comfortably have the entire family over without squishing everyone together. :) If you can afford it, go for it, I say! Have fun on your house journey - and keep your chin up!

xoxo laurie

Heaven's Walk said...

Oh....and I agree with SheilaG. Don't buy before you sell - which is exactly what Hubby and I did. We've been trying to sell our first house for FIVE years now. It's been horribly expensive and stressful! We had to end up renting it out on a yearly basis which is something we did NOT want to do.

xoxo laurie

minkus2 said...

It looks like (from your pictures) that you live in a subdivision where houses are probably about 3 inches apart...at least that's the way they are here in Knoxville TN. If I had a choice, I would take them babies (and your husband) and head for the country where the kids have room to run and play. It doesn't have to be a farm, just where you have enough room so you don't hear your next door neighbor snoring at night.

Ali Richardson said...

Hmmm, great questions. Hard to say really. I do feel like because you are an avid diy'er, you would have no problem making a fixer-upper with the right amount of space, awesome! But, I have never ever gotten to live in a new new new, built to my specifications house, and that does sound kind of dreamy. Personally, I would look for a house in a great location, with the right size, and the most potential, and do my best to afford it :) Good luck Korrie!

momma-o-minnie said...

Dear Korrie,
Several years ago I struggled with the same problem/issue. I had 7 children crammed into a 4 bedroom home. We ended up finally buying our dream home that extended our finances to its extreme (THAT I regret.) Within 3 years my oldest had moved on (college) and now I'm down to 3 and we've moved to a much smaller home - within 7 years. My older children have moved into their own places, and only one needs a place to stay when they come into town.

This a long way to say - if I had to do it all over, I think I should have stayed in the original house. I loved it, the kids loved it, and although the new house was grand, it grew too large too soon, and cost too much. College costs too much to be paying a fortune in a mortgage......

freddyandpetunia said...

Korrie--I sold RE for many years, and always recommended that buyers spend what they were COMFORTABLE WITH--NOT how much you can spend. You want to afford furniture and decorating without worry, AND A LIFE!

As for selling your home--I know it sounds crazy, but I could tell you many crazy stories to give you pause. BURY A STATUE OF ST JOSEPH IN YOUR YARD. You'll have to read up on where, and feet to/away from the house--it's been a while and I don't remember the details anymore. BUT IT WORKS!
Catherine
Ps--I personally would look for a great fixer-upper!

Lesley said...

Korrie

We have bought and sold 7 homes since 1988. I have a ton of experience in this area. Currently, there isn't a good market anywhere in this country. I think this plays a role.

The first thing you need to ask yourself is "Can we sell our home for a good price right now. If so, why have we not sold yet?" The key is SELLING before buying. Did you have a great realtor? Did you show your house a ton? What was the feedback from the potential purchasers?

Once you get a contract and a closing date, start looking. If by some strange stretch of the imagination that you can't find a place to move, consider renting to bridge the situation. I know this sounds horrible with the amount of kids you have, but, it might be your only option. If you are considering building, you would be looking at interim housing anyway. Just my thoughts.

I have sooooooooooo been in your circumstance, losing a house I LOVED to a back up offer. It BITES! You will find something even better when this all comes together. Promise. It will work out. It always does. But it is okay to sulk...I've been there...soooooooooo been there. Ugg. I wish I could give you and all your kids a hug! :) Hang in there!

Anne said...

I've passed the Versatile Blogger Award to you. Check it out! http://designdreamsbyanne.blogspot.com/2012/01/versatile-blogger-award-liebster-blog.html

Rachel said...

Wow! I'm so glad you posted this because I am in the same boat right now. I can't wait to go back and read all of the comments and see what fabulous advice I am given. Ahem..... I mean.. YOU are given...

Rachel said...

You've two commenters here that ring well and true with me.... the college years are looming ahead. Me this year. The most expensive times of our lives. I've been thinking along these lines but am glad to read from others who have been there, now is not the time for me to be moving. When I've less Native's in college/missions.... then not only will my finances be different but because my house will be less full... I may feel differently about my home and want to stay. If not, then I'll be in a better financial situation to buy more/bigger/etc....... These are just my feelings these days....

Lana said...

Hi,
I own a Real Estate company in Canada. Generally you do get more for your money with a pre-existing home. The landscaping is already done, and wall coverings are mostly included as they would not fit in another home. The downside is you don't get exactly what you want. If at all possible I like being able to purchase your own lot and do your own build. Now my husband is not a handy guy with tools or building, but you can hire your own trades and shop for your own materials. It is more work which might be hard with 6 children, but you save alot of money that does not go into the builders pocket. We built our own home and were able to save by negotiating with suppliers ourselves.

Lana said...

I meant to say window coverings.

Tammigirl said...

We are building a house right now. We close and move in a little under 30 days. So I guess my answer is obvious - build. Do your homework about builders in your area. For example, in our area Ryan Homes builds a quality home for a great price. In other areas, under different project managers, they have a terrible reputation. Make sure your project manager has a good track record.

But building our own has been a dream come true on many fronts. We got to choose our layout, our lot, where the garage goes, an extra lane in the driveway,(we have a large crew, too!) what kind/color tiles/carpets/cabinets/hardwoods, hardware, etc. WE wanted. We didn't have to go digging for what was golden to us - we just got in there and made the decisions. Also things like "Change this wall, put the fireplace here instead of there, put the outlets where we want them... and the list goes on and on.

Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents as an Army wife of 20 + years who had moved a family (spouse +3 kids & a dog) at LEAST 12 times in the last 20 years. Home is what you make it & that isn't a relation to size. For now, buy what you can afford, your home is less the box & more the contents. If you have 6 children, you probably realize that the house you need NOW is a bit different than the house you'll need once all of them have ventured off into the real world.

Me? I'd go with pre-existing, unless you have some stong ideas about a house in your mind that you cannot find elsewhere. Size matters to a point, but honestly, some of my favorite memories are of dozens of family squeezing into my grandmother's little shoebox house on Christmas Eve.

Team Mama said...

I have been married 25 years and have 4 children. During that time, we have lived in 4 states, 7 houses and 2 apartments (not in that order). Our last move was due to a job transfer, and we lived with my parents for 11 months while we waited for our house in Arizona to sell (which took 14 1/2 months!) I told my husband that this house was going to be it- he could work wherever he wanted, but I was done with the moves. I only looked at existing houses because I didn't want to move in and do a lot of work immediately. I did have specific requirements and there certainly are enough houses on the market right now that I had plenty of choices. Top of the were a master bedroom on the main floor, a good kitchen, big enough to entertain and a good yard. After looking at over 50 houses in a week, the one we bought was the very last one we looked at. We walked in and fell in love and knew that this was our house. There are a couple of things that will be changed in a year or two- but overall- it was perfect. It is actually twice the size of the last house we had when all our kids were still at home- (and my youngest will be off to college this fall) but we each have our own "crafting"/office/working space and I really love it! the point is, that when I walked into this one, it spoke to me and I knew this was my house. I loved being able to move right in, once our old house in Arizona closed. (I loved that house too) Good luck!

Lace said...

Oh the difficult choices to make. I feel your frustration. My husband and I recently had to make a descioun about our location of home as well. We had a strong feeling we are to move but not any big reasons. So after praying we are confident in our descion and it will make sense in the future at some point. So as my advice to you do as you and your family feel best go forth with that feeling in faith. Best wishes to you.

http://www.sugarspiceandlace.blogspot.com/

ME said...

The hardest part of a situation like yours is not knowing what is going to happen. May I suggest?.... Take down your For Sale sign and set a goal date to re-evaluate your situation, say at the end of the school year or in 6 months...Give your nerves a break. With the economy the way it is now your house may not sale for some time anyway, and since your dream home is no longer available, I would say stay where you are.It may be hard for a while but I have found whenever I forced anything I wanted it turned out to be a mistake. You do already have a lovely home and family and as time goes on the family will get a lot more expensive, not less, so keep this in mind.
( I raised 5 children and have been in your shoes. )

eleven-o-one said...

Wow, Korrie. So much great advice from so many. Can't really add much to that. Except I'd probably pray about it a bit.

Anonymous said...

Korrie, We are in our second home and if I had to do it all over again I would have stayed in the first one. I felt, like you, that I wanted bigger and better for our growing family. By the time we paid the realtor fees for selling the house and the closing costs on the new house we built we had essentially given away over $20,000 just to move to a new home. Plus, I love to DIY and thought that a brand new house would be fun to design. However, once your in a brand new home you don't want to change anything because all of those upgrades cost so much that you don't dare change it.
My suggestion is to stay in your current home and take the money that you would be flushing down the toilet and make it the home of your dreams. Put in built-ins, maybe a pool, new flooring, a home theater etc....By the time you crunch the numbers you will be surprised at what you could do.
If you really feel the need to move I would buy a property that needs a complete overhaul. You can do it for so much less than what you would pay a builder to put in the bells and whistles. JMO...Nancy

The Other Me Is Sane said...

find the right house for you and make it yours. sometimes building doesn't work out as well as you thought. Don't overbuy. Be willing to take a loss on your house. We sold for $30k less than we had in the house, but were able to buy a house where we moved to for $29k less than the original asking price (it was a spec home just built). good luck!

Kim @ Cheap Chic Home said...

I'm late, as always. We have five children (you probably remember) and moved to our existing home when they were 6-16. In six short years, one has gotten married and two are in college, so we have a big (almost 5000 sq.ft.) house with only 2 children in it.

Now, I would like a smaller house with a large kitchen/family room area, so when they come over with their own families we'll not be too crowded. It's a tough call, b/c I now how nice it is to be able to spread out and they don't build homes for over 3 children. There's no such thing as a secure job either...my husband was unexpectedly let go from his job 3 yrs. ago. It is a miracle we didn't lose this house.

Good luck, Korrie! Keep praying about it, for sure.

Art and Sand said...

I read about you losing out on a house and wanted to share our story. In 1997, we found the perfect beach house to buy. Friends wanted our house so everything was good. Unfortunately prices were just rising and there were no comps to justify the price and we didn't qualify. Our friends needed to move quick, but we were afraid to sell without having somewhere to move- we loved the old house too. We had to regroup, our friends bought something else and we looked again. We ended up finding our "dream" house on the same lane. It is the perfect little cottage for us and although we pass the first have every time we walk to the beach, we don't regret and are actually happy it fell out of escrow. Things happen for a reason. Good luck!

margaretdilloway.com said...

1. Aren't they the same thing;) ? I'd get the best house I could for the most money I could spend (which in Southern California is just what happens)
2. If I could, and I was going to live there forever as you indicate, I'd totally build a home. Of course, I started making drawings of the home I want to build when I was about 6 years old. But I think you should make sure you have at least double ovens and also two sinks-- make a prep area and a clean up area in your kitchen (that's what a kitchen designer friend told me once and I think it makes sense. Less fighting around mealtimes)
3. I just came here via copycat crafts and I LOVE your blog.