Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Is Your Home a Forever Home?

Is Your Home a Forever Home?
Image (obsessed with this bedroom)

As I prepare to share more home content, I thought that this would be a fun and informative question to answer!

When I started looking for a home last year, I knew that whatever I ended up purchasing, it would not be a forever home. 

Before I met my fiance, I had a personal goal to purchase a home in the suburbs and on a specific timeline. In fact, I almost bought a home in the 'burbs one year ago but just wasn't ready to give up the city life just yet so I promised myself I would only hold off one more year.  

I finally felt ready to leave the city and craved more space in the latter half of 2018. Not only was I craving more space and the conveniences of suburban life (there is not a single grocery store in all of downtown, which is so annoying), but I was also looking for a good investment.

I grew up in an old home. Right now, I live in a historical landmark. I love the character that older homes have (and the quirks)! So I was really only looking at older homes. New construction close to the city (and in a good school district- for resale purposes) is hard to find. Somehow, though, I landed on the most perfect opportunity.

When I thought about it, a brand new home made more sense for me, too (at this time period in my life). I'm not handy at all, and I didn't want to pour a lot of money into an older home that would not end up being my forever home. So the brand-new home scenario just felt perfect. For the years that I live in the home, I will not have to do much in terms of maintenance. 

I realize it's probably a bit backward to buy a home by myself when I knew I would most likely be getting engaged in the next few months, but it was really something I wanted to do for myself. I'm all about being independent- even when in a relationship. I also knew the home would have plenty of space for both my fiance and me when that day came (we don't live together). 

This home will be a 'starter' home for me. I can only foresee being in the home 5-10 years. 

One of the things that I didn't realize before starting my search is that there is such a difference in what you are looking for when you don't plan on the home being your forever home- and especially if I were to potentially use it as a rental property. 

It was also eye-opening to learn that if I were to find a home that might seem like a 'good fit' but needs a lot of work/renovations, it sometimes doesn't make financial sense to put a lot of money into something because of the way the other homes in the neighborhood or school district are priced. I was looking at one home and everything I would have wanted to do to it would have priced my home (when I went to sell) 'too expensive' for the neighborhood.
Just to give you an example of a decision I am making for this current home: there are 3 bedrooms in my home. One is the master and then there are two smaller bedrooms with a Jack and Jill style bathroom. Personally, there is no need for me to have 3 bedrooms but for resale, it's better to have 3 bedrooms (and this can totally change dependant upon the area and market you are in). Because I don't need 3 bedrooms, I'm going to turn one of the bedrooms into my office, which will be so nice!

I really wanted to have a custom closet built in the 'office' (like in the gorgeous photo you see above). However, it doesn't make sense to do that because I will not be able to bring something like that with me to a future home. Also, it would have dramatically decreased the size of the bedroom which is unappealing for potential buyers. Plus, when I go to sell the home, I will have to turn it back into a bedroom because most people do not desire a 'closet office' as use for a bedroom! All things that would have never crossed my mind so it's been great to have so many knowledgeable people helping me to make smart decisions.
One of the things I'm going to let myself 'go crazy' on is the small powder room next to the kitchen. I'm planning to do wallpaper and a bunch of things I'd love to do elsewhere but figure I'll take it all out on the small powder room! Then I can either leave it as-is when I go to sell/rent or just tone it down a bit.

I will say it is so exciting but can also be a bit frustrating to not be able to do exactly what I would want because it is not my forever home, but it will be great for the next several years and I am so excited to move in!


Sarah Wissinger said...

Congratulations on your home! Looking forward to more home content here :) While I understand the importance/appeal of resale value, I definitely think making your home into a place you love is important, even if only temporary. 10 years is a long time to live in a place that you aren't truly happy with. I say go for your office/closet if that is what will make you happy! You never know what things will be like in 10 years!

Summer Wind said...

Sarah, love this outlook!!

Sharon said...

I agree with Sarah about doing what you want with your home. Someone like you may be the next buyer/renter and would love a dressing room/office. The best example of this I've ever heard was in a Dear Abby letter years ago. A person who was very short wanted to customize the kitchen to fit his or her height. Everyone said don't do it, but they did. When they went to sell years later and put that info in the open house ad, a lot of people showed up because they needed a kitchen like that.

Sarah said...

I'm so excited to see what you do with your new home!

I want to echo what has already been said - it's ok to invest a little extra on updating and decorating if you're going to enjoy the space more once you do. Even if you decide to change it up before selling, divide the amount you spend by the amount of time you were able to enjoy the dressing room/wall paper/whatever-you-want-to-do by the and you'll see it probably won't equal too much. It's totally a weighing game, but what is your comfort, happiness, enjoyment worth versus the actual money cost? Or, like said above, don't change it and maybe you'll find someone who was looking for exactly what you already did!

Sweet Spontaneity

Emily said...

I am a real estate agent and I would so stick with going nuts on the powder room but not the closet plan. I have so many clients who are like its a 5-10 year house and then sell it in 3 years especially if in that time they get married. Life changes quick and custom closets are expensive. I think you are really smart in what you are doing and loved that you choose to share this blog post

Unknown said...

Congratulations on the new home! Where do you go grocery shopping? I always wonder that when I’m in Pittsburgh for a show or a game.

Summer Wind said...

Thank you! I usually just grocery shop in the north or south hills depending on where I'm running other errands! I will also go to the Strip on the weekends but only like once a month!

Summer Wind said...

Thank you, Emily! That is exactly what I was told- people say they will say 5-10 years and it is usually less. I think that could be the case for me but I'm just not sure. I definitely want my dream closet, but don't feel a rush for it and would rather wait when it makes sense to spend the money and customize it exactly as I'd like without having to thinking about future buyers or renters!

Madras and Pearls said...

Love this post & look forward to many more, as I'm about a year behind you in the buying process. I think the powder room idea is perfect. Congrats on the new home & I can't wait to see your decor posts! Xx

Anonymous said...

Great post, and congratulations on the new home! I think your statement about buying and fixing an old home versus buying new is one that many people can relate to. In 5-10 years when you are looking into moving again, consider looking at building a “new old home.” These offer the best of both worlds by providing all the character and charm that old homes have (through proper scale and proportion), but because it’s new construction, you avoid many of the headaches of fixing up a true older home.


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