Of course, the way we would like our houses to look and the reality are often not exactly on the same page. I live in a house that looks like this:
(Sorry about the photo quality -- blame realtor.com. This is our neighbor's house, not ours -- which is a crazy shade of yellow -- but it will look pretty much like this soon because we're having it painted)
I always pictured myself living in a house like this:
So I'm trying to decide if I'll be happy living in a house like this -- where all of the other houses in the neighborhood look exactly the same.
Can a quirky bungalow girl find true happiness living in a cookie cutter subdivision?
Okay, I realize I'm very lucky to even be considering such things at a time when so many people are going without -- so we'll put the guilt associated with all of that aside for now. But we're really having a tough time deciding where we want to live!
On the one hand, moving to a new subdivision would make a lot of sense financially: we could get a ton of house for not a lot of cash, because there are short sales and foreclosures everywhere you turn. The downside? There are short sales and foreclosures everywhere you turn. I know that the neighborhood will look and feel different in 10-15 years, but it's hard for me to wrap my head around moving to a cookie-cutter house that probably got thrown together slapdash during the housing boom of the early 2000s. At the same time, there are lots of young families there so we might feel more "at home." And though the house isn't really my dream in terms of style, we wouldn't have to do anything before moving in -- it's ready to go.
I feel more "at home" moving to an older, more established neighborhood. I love the quirky character and charm of older homes. But the upkeep can be a pain (though older homes certainly seem "built to last" more than some newer models), there'd be a lot more work we'd have to do right away when we moved in, and there are certain things we'd have to do without that we could easily get in a newer home: large closets, master bath, first floor laundry. (I don't have any of those things now -- I'm just dreaming of them.)
And then there's the issue of location in town to consider. We live in a college town where many professors have decided to live closer to Chicago for a variety of reasons -- and it has changed the feel of the town as a result. We are committed to living where we work. At the same time, we have to consider the impact of location on our family -- we want Lorelei to have a rich educational experience, and it's hard to know what to think about the changing nature of the school districts in our town and the town just ten minutes north of here. As anyone who works in education knows, it's impossible to predict what schools will be like a decade from now -- but we have to make a decision somehow! Do we live close to campus? Move near an elementary school when the rumor is that our town's schools will be completely reorganized in the next few years? Move to the next town over where the school district seems a little more stable and safe (read: fewer gang fights, fewer issues with district finances) -- but where the town's population is much more homogenous socially, ethnically, religiously, and politically?
I don't expect you to have answers to these questions, of course. But I would love to know how you decided where to live -- and whether you've been happy about your decision!