Friday, November 30, 2007

The Great House Dilemma

Vince and I have been looking at houses on-line for about a year now. We've been driving around checking out areas on our own for a good nine months. And for the past couple of months we've been out with a realtor looking at houses. So here's our dilemma. Vince wants land, I want a nice house that is big enough for all six of us, and apparently we can't get both. Oh, the banks may loan us enough money for both, but we want to keep our mortgage payment from being scary.
Our choices seem to fall into three categories. Our first is land, say three to five acres, with a big house that needs work. Say about $50K worth of work to make it what I would want to live in. The second being an acre of land, with a new or fairly new house, but much (much) smaller than what we want. The third being a new or fairly new, big house in a subdivision, on a lot no bigger than a quarter-acre. Actually if the lot was a quarter acre, it would be considered big. But if we could find a house with a yard big enough for the kids to play, then so be it.

So I would like some input.

We're willing to purchase with a five-year plan in mind. Since the market is in our favor, we could purchase something now that may not be all we want, with the idea of seeing where we are in five-years, then maybe we'll be able to get what we want. So we need to keep resale value in mind. Do we purchase . . .

1. The big new house with no land.
I get the house I want, and the kids get neighbors to play with, but Vince feels like a caged up animal.

2. The small but nice house on one acre.
I'm not too sure about this option since Vince really wants more than just one acre, and then I'm also stuck with a house that really isn't enough room for us.

Or forgetting the five-year plan . . .
3. The older house on the land that Vince wants and just fix it up.
If we could talk the price way down, would it be worth it?

Ah, decisions, decisions. Any real estate experts out there? Seriously, I need help.


Anonymous said...

GO WITH NO. 1 FOR SURE!!!! Definitely your kids will be happier, and in 5 years, the kids can even help you with renovations on a bigger house on more land. Your kids will love having other kids right outside the door to hang out with. GOOD LUCK!!!! :-) Keep the blogging world posted!

Mom said...

Discuss some of these questions: What house and property provides the greatest benefit to the whole family unit in terms of house size, property size and location relative to shopping and services?
Do you really want to move again in 5 years?
If you get a fixer upper, how LONG and how MUCH money will it take to get the house the way you want it?
Is fixing a place up practical for you? Are you prepared for the delays, stress and the expense?
During the week, will a large piece of land isolate you and the kids and are you comfortable with that?

Jessica said...

Yikes! We seem to have the same debate--Erik wants land, I want neighbors. Our problem is that Erik would never maintain the land and/or fix up a house like I know Vince would. ;)

I say scratch the middle option and look at #1 or #3. I suppose beware of a subdivision in that all the houses can be the same and if the market is bad when you need to sell then what will distinguish your house from any other? And if you have a home you're fixing up then you are more likely to get more profit out of it in the long run.

But I still lean toward #3--I think it is a mom thing--neighbor kids for your kids to play with, neighbors to make friends with, not feeling isolated out on some patch of land (this is what goes through my mind anyway). Afterall, you and the kids are the ones that have to be there most of the time.

O.k., I'm just babbling and going in circles, I'm sure that didn't help one bit. So I suppose I should just stop and wish you luck. :)

Jessica said...

Oops, I had my numbers mixed up--I meant to say "leaning toward #1". But you probably figured that out based on content. ;)

Lena said...

I agree with the questions that your mom has suggested addressing before you decide.
We have talked through all the same things and have opted for option #1 mainly because of the lack of time we have with small kids.
Our realator thinks that option #1 would be better for resale. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I know this may not help... but what about the small, nice house on an acre. Something that you could add on to pretty easily. If the price is right, you could endure the addition, you've endured a lot more than that. In the end, everyone is happy.