Monday, August 02, 2010

House Hunting

Over the past few long, hot months, it has become abundantly clear that we have outgrown this house. We have six people living in a 1550 sq/ft, 3 bedroom, 2 bath house that feels smaller by the day.

Four of the six people here are short, loud and messy. One of those short people loves nothing more than running as fast as he can from one end of the house yelling at the top of his lungs. Two of the short people are pack rats, collecting every shiny bit of paper or plastic that they come across.

One of the two non-short people living here works from home full-time, locked behind the door to his office. While it's nice that he's locked away, closing the office door cuts off the back of the house to the rest of us, which means that when I want to push the kids outside to play, I have to send them out the front door and around to the side gate. And given my kids' attention spans, anything can happen in the 30 feet between the door and the gate.

I also work from home, which means I'm usually perched at the kitchen table next to the kids while they are doing artwork or playing with play-doh or just running around the house screaming. It's not an ideal situation.

So even though the thought of moving makes me cry, I've allowed B to start the process of finding a house. Because he's in real estate, he has access to all of the house listings in the area.

I hate the idea of moving, not because I'm particularly attached to this house, but because I love where we live. We're in a great little neighborhood that's close in to Austin. It doesn't take me longer than 10 minutes to get anywhere I need to go. The girls' school is walking distance, as are the neighborhood pool and park. We have a little shopping center with cool, retro family-owned pharmacy, grocery store, deli and barber shop. It's a nice little spot.

We also have wonderful neighbors. Our kids have all grown up together and are almost like siblings. Even better, all the parents get along, too. We go on annual beach trips with two of the other families, and two of the neighbor moms are going with me as my pit crew for the NYC marathon. We have our own little village right here.


The rational part of me has to overcome all these emotional reasons to not move. We need more space.

This weekend we started looking. B put together a list of houses in our price range with the right number of bedrooms, the right square footage and pools (we've promised the girls a pool as a reward for moving). Unfortunately, to get the size house we want with a pool at a price we can afford, we're going to have to move out of central Austin. The question is how far I'm willing to move.

Some of the houses B put on the list were far enough away that they were in neighboring towns - Dripping Springs, Round Rock, and Leander. I put my foot down on all of those.

I'm also having a problem reconciling myself to the idea of living in a "new," fancy house. All the houses B pulled this weekend were built in the last 10 years and have vaulted ceilings, granite kitchen counters, play rooms, formal dining rooms and the like. Our house is 60 years old and has creaky wood floors, mystery light switches and doors that don't close all the way.

I told B that we're going to be the redneck, hillbilly neighbors without any furniture and newspaper covering the windows.

Right now our plan is to look at the different areas we've agreed on and see what kind of houses are available. And we need to get our house ready to sell - paint the whole thing, re-do the kitchen, fix our bathroom tiles.

I predict lots of tears and drinking on my part and lots of eye-rolling and sighing on B's.


Tony Cooke said...

Everyone is going to have suggestions, mine is Great Hills. It's near me (important!) nice, lots of families, etc.

Best of luck!

Liz @ ewmcguire said...

The pool as a reward for moving? Brilliant! Plus it's an incentive for your neighbors to visit you in the boonies. :) Still, I hope you don't go too far away.

Barb Matijevich said...

I can so, SO relate. I hate moving. I hate the process of selling a house. OH, HOW I HATE THE PROCESS OF SELLING. But new houses are fun and on the bright side, you will still be in Austin. Might want to get a Xanex prescription, though.

Unknown said...

is adding on to the existing house an option?

Ann in NJ said...

Construction while living in the house is not much more fun than selling a house. And as miserable as selling a house full of small children is (I used to stash dirty dishes in the oven for a quick cleanup. Melted a scraper once.), it can be fun to have a new house and more space is lovely. And the new neighbors might be nice, too!

Shelly in Austin said...

We are definitely in the burbs (Circle C). While there are plenty of things I don't like about living so far out, it does have its good points. We are walking distance to the pool and Drew's school. There are lots of runners and bikers with trails through the neighborhood and a short bike ride to the veloway. The HEB and some restaurants and other shops are really close. It's pretty.

Where are you looking?

donna said...

Funny...we had the same issue a year and a half ago...great area, wonderful neighbors etc but we needed more room. I was worried about moving somewhere and ending up with really awful neighbors. So after looking around and working out the cost of buying and moving we decided to stay put and remodel our house. Now we have the best of both worlds. I know its not practical for everyone to just add onto their existing house but it really was the perfect solution for us. Hope you find the perfect house for your family too!

Joan said...

Moving makes people crazy! I co-wrote a book on how to make a move easier - I'd love to send you one!

joanna said...

Funny, we just bought a house like yours. 60+ years old, creaky wood floors, mystery light switches and in a great neighborhood. It actually reminds me of where you are now which is really what we were looking for. So on the bright side, maybe a family like us will love to have your casita while you move on to bigger digs. I know it will be hard.

shrink on the couch said...

Oh, moving can be so tough. Leaving great neighbors is tearful-tough. Hope you find what you are looking for. And I agree with you on the ixnay on the RR and Leander. I'd take Drip over the other two but like you, prefer to be closer in.