March mortgage update: Why we bought a huge house and why we shouldn’t have

Last month (February):
Balance:$14,493.05
Years left: 1.083333333
P =$1,152.47, I =$61.93, Escrow =$809.48

This month (March):
Balance:$13,336.01 (actually it is 13,336.21 because wells fargo occasionally steals pennies)
Years left: 1
P =$1,157.03, I =$57.37, Escrow =$809.48

Amount saved from prepayment:  $0

Hey, look at that, only one year left!

About 10 years ago we bought a 3000 sq ft house.  Why?

  1.  We had been living in small urban apartments and were dying to have more space.  Our master bathroom is literally the size of our first efficiency.  We had no concept of say, how 2000 sq ft would be.  We only knew small and that large sounded great.
  2. We were sick of moving and didn’t want to move again unless we were leaving the town for new jobs (in which case we wanted to be able to unload the house quickly).
  3. We thought we wanted a 5 br house so that there would be one bedroom for each of us and we’d also each have a study.  (We actually have a 4br plus study.)  We did not realize that we miss each other when we’re working in separate rooms and thus do not need our own studies.  (And DH has plenty of room in one of the walk-in closets to keep his boardgame collection, so he doesn’t need a separate storage room like his father has for hunting equipment.)
  4. We had 55K saved for a downpayment (enabling us to get a 265K house using the 20% down rule plus fees).
  5. I had a salary that would enable us to buy a 300K house (give or take) according to online calculators, which we knew was probably too expensive, but 265K seemed pretty reasonable.
  6. The monthly payment on a 30 year 6.5% mortgage was less than what we were paying in rent in the city.
  7. We told the real estate agent that the most we could afford was 265K, so he had incentive to make the nicest house we saw a little more than 265K.  Then the other real estate agent was informed that we could only afford 265K (I imagine, I’m not actually sure).  So we offered less than that and they countered with 265K and we said ok and didn’t move on to our second choice somewhat smaller 250K house.

3000 sq ft is too much.  It is expensive to air condition and clean and keep the lawn mowed.  We just don’t use about a third of our house because living in nowhere, nobody really visits us now that DC1 is no longer the only grandkid (oddly, we had plenty of visitors on the couch of our small apartments in grad school city!)

If we had to do it again, we would look for something more in the 2200sq ft range.  1200 sq ft, which is what we’re living in right now, is a bit small for the four of us.  If we’d gotten a starter home we probably would have ended up staying in it.  But we didn’t realize.

Why don’t we sell and buy a smaller one now?  Mostly because the amount we would save by cutting out say 800 sq ft doesn’t seem worth it to us with the hassle of moving and transaction costs.  And we do like the neighborhood, although the elementary school zone changed on us and now sucks (we’re hoping DC2 will get into the dual language program if zie doesn’t start K early). It’s also now a seller’s market instead of a buyer’s market so while it would be easy to sell the place, it would be much harder to find a new place than when we first moved out here.

So, the moral:  Just because you can afford a big house doesn’t mean that you should buy one.  More isn’t always better.

How did you decide what size house to buy/rent?  Do you always get the best and biggest that you can afford?

40 Responses to “March mortgage update: Why we bought a huge house and why we shouldn’t have”

  1. Leah Says:

    We don’t get to decide, but we’ve been lucky to like the places we’ve been given to live by our job. However, they are on the small side. I don’t want to live somewhere huge; my parents currently have a 4k sq ft house, and that is way too big. They have giant rooms, so the house doesn’t feel quite so huge, but it’s a lot to clean.

    Growing up, I think we lived in a 2.5k sq ft house. That was really nice, especially for having teenagers. We had 6 bedrooms plus an office, so each of us got our own rooms (3 kids), and we had room to have a guest room, my mom’s office, and an office for us kids to share. We also had a living room, family room, and bonus room, so there was plenty of space for us all to socialize. Our house was the hang out place for all our friends.

    So, if I ever buy a house, I’d shoot for something in the 2kish sq ft neighborhood of space.

    Maybe your larger house will come in handy as your kids grow . . . I think the biggest issue, for me, would be to avoid the temptation to clutter up the place.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It comes in handy in terms of the kids have someplace to run around when it is too hot to go outside, but that’s probably not a good enough reason to have so much space (to cool, to fill, etc.).

  2. Leigh Says:

    I bought a condo about the size of your current apartment ~four years ago. It was a bit big for just me, but the cost was comparable to my one bedroom apartment that I was renting, so it seemed reasonable. Now I’m really glad I bought a two bedroom as it is mostly the right size for the two of us. We just wish we had a two bedroom plus den. The same square footage would be fine, just rearranged a tiny bit differently. That would be a very expensive upgrade though and is difficult to find. (It would probably cost another $50-100k and I’d have to pay about $50k to sell this place. And we’d likely buy said new place together, which would result in a new mortgage that is much larger than my current one so that we could split the place evenly, though that would free up some of my equity.)

    So we’ll probably just stay here until we say want a dog enough to move to a townhouse/house or I get pregnant (though that one seems less likely). Buying a house in the future will come with all sorts of decisions of the tradeoffs of location vs square footage vs bedrooms vs price vs niceness that didn’t come up quite the same trying to buy a condo. So maybe we’ll manage to avoid buying a house. That would be cool.

  3. SP Says:

    Our house is about 1500, which we “chose” because we wanted 3 bedrooms so it would work if we have a family (albeit will be cramped if we have more than 1 kid), and there really aren’t many 3/2 houses much smaller than this. We chose the neighborhood based on commute, school districts, and the feel of the neighborhood. We couldn’t have afforded a 3000 sq ft house in this area if we wanted to, so I guess we couldn’t make that mistake. Then again, owning a house at all in such an expensive market could turn out to be a mistake. I don’t think it will, but it is not impossible, and I acknowledge the risk. I guess we did get the biggest/best we could afford (not that the bank didn’t tell us we could afford more) in some sense, although we could have moved further from our jobs and got a bit more space for the money.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Since we’re in a 2br and most of the people we know with kids have them sharing a room, a 3br sounds plenty spacious for 2 kids. People seem to make it work. Though we do have a lot fewer toys (and books) out here than in our place back home.

      • SP Says:

        Yeah, I agree it will work for a very long time, potentially indefinitely. I feel like there is an age limit on kids sharing rooms, but… given that we have zero children, I’m not worried about it.

        I like having a home office, but all we really need is a desk. I can think of other places we can put a desk though. Maybe not such a nice sized one. Let’s be real though – if I don’t need the big monitor, I prefer to work on the couch or the bed if I have to catch up on work from home. Husband uses the desk a lot.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        DH is currently set up in the living room and I have the kitchen (in the in-kitchen dining part). We also have room in the master bedroom if we want to move someone. Not ideal, but not as bad as we’d expected either. The piano is in the kids’ room.

  4. monsterzero Says:

    We moved into a 1000sqft rental (+ 250 garage) two years ago and it’s pretty great. We had to stash about half of our boxed-up stuff in the garage “until we find room for it” and it’s still there. Really need to start going through boxes and getting rid of most of it. Granted we are a childfree couple (with two cats) with hobbies that don’t require bulky equipment and our landlord pays for yardcare (so no need to store lawnmower rakes etc.).

  5. Cloud Says:

    We bought a ~1300 sq foot house so that we could be in a neighborhood we liked. It felt huge at first, since it was an upgrade from an apartment that was less than 1000 sq feet. But as our family grew from 3 to 4, and the kids got bigger, and I started working from home part time… it was too small. We paid a lot of money to add on space, and that was a PITA but I think a great decision. We still like our neighborhood, and now we love that it is so close to the kids’ school. Remodeling was a big pain, but moving would have been a big pain, too. I think we’re up to about 1575 square feet, and it feels good already. It will feel really good when we finish getting the garage and guest/music room back in shape. Our yard is a manageable size, and big enough for the kids to play in. We have more scope for improvements out there- terracing a back slope, making the patio more of a livable space (San Diego’s climate means we can spend a lot of time outside if we set up our patio well). But just adding the office and expanding the living room made such a huge difference. I no longer dream of getting a bigger house.

    I think it is hard to “right size” your living space, because things change, and also because it is hard to really estimate how you’re going to live in a space until you’re in there.

  6. J Liedl Says:

    Our current house is a raised bungalow and is pretty small by our neighbourhood’s standards. I guess it’s officially 1800 square feet? Three bedrooms, two bathrooms. Spacious downstairs family room but we actually spend a lot more time in the upstairs (main floor) living room which is bright and big enough to be comfy even when three people are all sitting about.

    Our old house was “officially” four bedrooms with one and a half baths but given the sloped ceilings on the top floor, most of those three upstairs bedrooms really didn’t count. There wasn’t enough space to hang out all in the same room, either, given how small most were in the 1940s era space. We really wanted this house to have enough separation and sound-dampening that Autistic Youngest could be doing something in her room and not be upset by the sound of a TV show at the other end of the house. We got that!

  7. chacha1 Says:

    Well, we are renters. I have mentioned here before that our 1500-sf 2 BR, 2BA apartment would – as a condo in our same or a comparable neighborhood – cost nearly a million dollars. :-) If we have no catastrophes, we will eventually build an efficient house slightly smaller than this apartment, ~400 miles away from this city.

    This apartment is the biggest we’ve lived in (which is three apartments since 1998). The first was 1 BR, 1BA, which was a little small but chiefly left behind because it was facing a very busy commuter thoroughfare, with a southern exposure and no air-conditioning. The second was 1 BR + den and 1BA, in a 1930s building with small rooms and a lot of deferred maintenance. Like the “upstairs kitchen backing up into our bathroom sink” kind of deferred maintenance. Our current apartment was pretty much at the top of what we could afford when we moved into it in 2003. It’s subjectively still on the pricey side, but as previously noted, it’s a bargain for our market.

    My family lived in a 2 BR, 2 BA doublewide mobile home from the time I was 8 until my senior year in college. My sister and I shared a room until she moved out to go to college, when I was 17. This idea that each kid needs its own room is very modern. I don’t think it’s a bad idea, necessarily, but when people choose to live in very expensive housing markets they really need to look at the lifetime costs of that extra square footage.

    And as you pointed out, the costs are not just the cost to purchase. The costs of insurance, taxes, maintenance, and utilities never end. Also, people tend to buy as much stuff as it takes to fill their available space, so more rooms = more Stuff.

    Re: space: I have visited many houses much bigger than ours, and none of them was remotely tempting. None of them had a layout that worked for me, so all the extra space is a waste. Two-story foyers and other “glamour” spaces just annoy me, especially when said house is 75 minutes (on a good day) from a person’s job.

    The layout we have in our apartment is functional, and it’s ample space for two professionals, two cats, yoga, dance practice, 1000 books, and occasional dinner parties. It is also really all the square footage I ever want to be responsible for keeping clean, and that takes into account that the husband is responsible for the home office + his bathroom (formerly the master suite) and the laundry. If there was shade on our western exposure and the screaming monkey woman next door would move out, I would have no serious complaints. :-)

    • gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

      Your comment “Also, people tend to buy as much stuff as it takes to fill their available space, so more rooms = more Stuff” definitely hits home here!

      I bought this house in 1987 when I was still single, based mainly on the location and price—it is a bicycle commute distance to work (important to me, since I have never had a driver’s license). The house is not an optimal design for my lifestyle: 1925 sq feet, but most of that in the living room and dining room and only 2 (fairly large) bedrooms—the place seems to be designed for people who party, while I would have found more, smaller rooms better.

      The house now looks like something out of Hoarders, as we’ve accumulated more stuff than we can store, and never seem to have the time to clear it out. We didn’t add on to the house, but we did convert half the oversized detached garage into a library space with 12′ tall bookshelves and a library ladder along a 25′ wall, supplementing the 300 shelf-feet in the house. We need about another 100 feet of book shelf space, but we’re running out of walls to put bookshelves on, since my wife doesn’t want any bookshelves that might fall on the bed in the event of an earthquake. (They are all bolted to the walls, but books can fall out even if the shelves don’t fall.)

      • chacha1 Says:

        I have been decluttering for a loooooong time … and getting my books out of non-climate-controlled storage was the prelude to purging them by 50%. Our space only feels like ample space because there is empty space. :-)

      • undine Says:

        A detached library with library ladder sounds lovely.

  8. Linda Says:

    When the ex and I bought our house in Chicago, we bought a place that was too big for us both. Four bedrooms and three bathrooms (over 1800 sq ft on three levels) was much more than a couple of DINKs needed. But we liked the house and the location, and we could afford it. That extra space came in very handy for me after the divorce because I could use it to bring in extra income by getting housemates first, and then moving on to being an Airbnb host.

    Based on that experience, I’d say it can work out to have more space than one strictly needs IF you are flexible about how it is used, and the space can accommodate your comfort level for flexibility. In some floor plans, it’s possible to block off heating/cooling vents or adjust a zoned thermostat so the space doesn’t need to be conditioned for use when it’s not being used. That was my experience, which is why I could make the extra space in the Chicago house work for me.

    I’ve been looking at open houses in my target area and saw a house that would be perfect for house-sharing, either long term (housemate) or short term (Airbnb or similar). I think it’s still too expensive, and it’s a risk I’m not willing to take to purchase a house that I could not afford without a co-signer and 100% occupancy of the extra space. But if I could find a place that was set up in such a way that I could take on a housemate/guest occupancy only when I wanted extra money to put into the house or for other saving/spending, then I’d jump on it.

    I’m currently living quite comfortably in an 825 sq ft two bedroom, one bathroom. It’s just me, the dog, and a fish here all the time, but I regularly get friends visiting, and have a BF that will stay with me over the weekend. I’d say this place could be comfortable for two people who don’t mind living close and cozy, such as a good friend, partner, or relative. But to take on a stranger or full time roommate in such a small place I’d have to need the help with the rent very badly.

    If I could find something like the house I’m living in now in the same neighborhood *that I could afford,* I’d be happy to buy it. I got rid of a lot of extraneous stuff (and that includes books) when I moved, which helps a lot.

  9. Astra Says:

    Our last house was 2.2k for two people. It was nice to have a guest bedroom and separate offices (especially for DH who worked at home) but there was really no good reason to have a dedicated guest bedroom or a separate living room and den. When we were both busy with work, it was too much cleaning to keep up with.

    We’re in 1600 sq. ft now and it’s great. Our guest space has shrunk to a daybed with a trundle in our shared office but that’s fine because we’re fairly antisocial anyway. Things we do value: the two-car garage with storage space (a rarity in our 1950s era neighborhood), good closets, a bedroom-turned-den for DH to watch TV in while I read in the living room, and a big yard for gardening.

    • Astra Says:

      Oh, and a location in central Austin that doesn’t require a freeway commute to work.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Astra and I may be neighbors! (My house was built in 1955 in what used to be considered a suburb but is now considered central. It has no garage, though it has a one-car-garage-sized storage shed which apparently used to be a carport.)

        Basically I look at what I can afford in neighborhoods I would like to live in (or with friends I would like to live with) and the size takes care of itself.

        Generally there were several choices around the low price point of places I was looking at, and, of these, I’d get the one in the best shape. When I was renting, I rejected houses with extremely (though not slightly) slanty floors (“Hey–all our furniture would slide into that corner!”) and places with poor design (where you had to walk through someone else’s bedroom to get to the bathroom or walk outside to get between one bedroom and the living room without going through the other bedroom). Otherwise, I looked for the best combination of price and location.

        When I was looking to buy, there were only two houses in decent shape in my price range (60% of the median house price in my city) and I did pick the bigger one (960 square feet versus 760 offered for 64K versus 60K–yes this was 20 years ago).

        I always thought some richer boyfriend would take me away from all this and I’d rent out my house to students, but my current boyfriend doesn’t have his own house, and my rich friends all live way too far away, so I accidentally made the right choice after all. Except my boyfriend has a lot of stuff and wishes we had more space. We may be remodelling soon. After he’s fully employed again. Meanwhile, the affordable utilities are great.

      • Astra Says:

        We’re in Allandale. :)

      • Debbie M Says:

        Windsor Park–not very close neighbors!

  10. undine Says:

    It was a nice new house and seemed enormous at the time (1800 square feet, now larger with finished basement). We each need our own study because we work all the time from home as well as at work. (We don’t feel lost or lonesome, but then again, reading these comments, 1800 sf is not that big a house.) Smaller houses work great when you have little kids, but when they’re teenagers, having more room is really, really helpful. After years of living in apartments and hearing other people’s TVs and other noises (WHEEL! OF! FORTUNE!), I never want to go back. Never. Never.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We were willing to spend so much to not have to share floors (and only one wall) this year.

      Though I did have the experience this weekend of deciding to use the restroom at exactly the wrong time and discovering that the duplex neighbor’s bedroom is closer than we thought… Or hopefully it was a movie.

  11. AccountantByDay Says:

    Our house is 1,100 square feet (2BR, 1 BA). I wanted a house so I could fence the yard and put a doggy door in for the dog so I wouldn’t have to stress about her on long days. We could rent a nice apartment closer to work for the same price (PITI is $1,053/mo now that I refinanced), but the dog wouldn’t be as happy. Also, rents keep going up, so I may be wrong about how much it would cost us. Also, the bf has developed a woodworking hobby, so the extra space that the basement provides (totally unfinished, so not counted in sq footage), would be hard to downgrade from. I also have tons of crafting materials/tools (which of course I barely use since not enough time for all the hobbies, but nice to have when I do work on something.)

    If we ever move cities, likely we will need to downgrade to an apartment again, so not sure what we’ll do about dog/tools/etc in that case :-/

  12. Catwoman73 Says:

    Our current house is 2000sq. ft, and is much to big for us. That is- it’s much to big for us IN MY OPINION- an opinion my husband does not share. We bought this house with the idea of having more children- it would have been the perfect size if we had two kids. But we were only able to have one child, and now I find that all that extra space has become a dumping ground. I prefer to live a more simplistic, streamlined life without a lot of extras, but both hubby and daughter are packrats, and a lot of their stuff is spilling over into every extra square foot that we have, making for a rather cluttered and messy space. And it makes me crazy. I have no idea how we’re going to resolve my need for something smaller, more affordable and more minimalist with hubby’s need to spread out and keep so much stuff, but we’re working on it!

    • AccountantByDay Says:

      Small house, large garage for his stuff where it’s out of your sight? Tough if he likes to have it where he can see it, like I do, for active projects.

    • chacha1 Says:

      fwiw my husband is also a packrat, and what works for us is that his space is HIS and he can pack it as full as he wants (and let it get as dirty as he wants) but a) I’m not going to clean it and b) his stuff needs to stay in there. :-) He’s got the master suite, which is bedroom, bathroom, and three count ’em three closets.

  13. Mrs PoP Says:

    In terms of sqft and cost, our house was smack in the middle of ones we were looking at. We set the amount we were willing to spend by adding up what we were each paying in rent before moving in together, but that had to include all of PITI, not just the mortgage part. So we had to get a pretty good idea of what everything would cost since insurance is such a huge chunk of housing costs around here.
    FWIW, Our house is an 1100 sqft 3/2 with a 1 car garage. Perfect size for a couple of DINKs and a cat. Ironically, I almost didn’t schedule an in-person viewing of it because it had a pool and we didn’t want a pool. But I loved pretty much everything else about the house and neighborhood, and the pool ends up being nice to hang out around even if we don’t swim in it all that often.

  14. Rosa Says:

    we bought our house to live in with roomates, with the idea that we would do that forever. But it wasn’t quite big enough – once we had a kid, we took up half the bedrooms, and that’s a weird power imbalance. So now we have a house that is too big (1600 sf for 3 people) and also only has one bathroom. And, like you and your husband, when we were both working from home we were happy sharing an office.

    But, houses in our neighborhood are old and large, and we don’t want to change neighborhoods. So we’re looking to sell and downsize when kiddo turns 18, or maybe a little sooner – we won’t need to be near the park when he’s 14 like we did when he was 4. But my husband HATES change and is wedded to the idea of a single family house and I’m leaning more and more toward drastic change – a different neighborhood or, maybe, since at that point it will have been 20 years, an entirely different city! So it may take us more than 8 more years to negotiate some sort of compromise.

    All our relatives (including some that just retired!) are moving into same size or bigger houses and I just think, that is so much house cleaning and stuff storage and whatnot. Plus it would be cheaper to put people up in a hotel than to have a guest bedroom.

    One of the nice things about decluttering with an eye to downsizing is that I’ve realized, if we are moving into an apartment or condo, a lot of the stuff we do have doesn’t need to come along – we own a lot of house fixing and yard work tools that are specific to home ownership. Specific to old home with big trees ownership, even.

  15. xykademiqz Says:

    Our house is 3400 sq ft (I am not counting basement, which is sort of finished but we don’t use it except for storage).We use the whole house and I thank our lucky stars that we have enough room because it’s winter 6 months of the year here and we’d go stir crazy without enough space. I love our house, the layout is a beautiful tri-level and very open. Each of the three boys has his own room and we have a large common area consisting of multiple interconnected rooms. DH and I have a great office with a built-in wall-to-wall shelf.
    DH and I grew up in a big city, always lived in small apartments; I never had a room of my own, constantly shared room with sister, and with both parents and sister whenever we went to visit anyone. I love my space now and never want to go back to cramped if I can help it. I also don’t want to stay in a single room with the whole family even when we travel, we always look for a suite, even though it costs more. I cannot go back to having my space invaded to that extent any more, especially if I can pay my way out of it. (Sort of how I spent my youth riding on public transport for hours every day, subject to people’s poor hygiene. I now rent a car wherever I go, I don’t care that it costs more. I am never riding public transport again in my life if I can help it. I have smelled enough pits and been nudged and pushed and groped in public transit enough for five lifetimes.) Spaaaaaaace. Spaaaaaace FTW.

    • undine Says:

      xykademiqz, now that’s what I’m talking about–Spaaace. This whole interesting thread (thanks, nicoleandmaggie!) has made me realize anew that I love the space in this house and, although I know that downsizing is a rational thing to do, it seems insane to me. A bigger house–and mine is only about half the size of yours–is easier to clean than a small one. People can get out of each other’s way when cabin fever hits. You can put your bare feet in the grass outside. Maybe extroverts living in big cities can handle tiny apartments–they’d have to, wouldn’t they?–but it’s not for me.

    • Cloud Says:

      My cousins who live in Minnesota have much bigger houses than we do, and I can completely understand why given the winters. They have semi-finished basements that the kids can play in when it is too cold to go outside.

      • Rosa Says:

        Minnesota towns and cities are great about indoor play spaces, too. Some for small amounts of money (there’s a great Minneapolis suburban indoor gym thingy that’s $5/all afternoon near us) and lots for free. Our closest park has big wheels & other riding toys in a closet, and if nobody’s playing basketball you can take your little kid to ride around the big gym on a cold afternoon.

  16. eemusings Says:

    You finally inspired me to do the conversions and figure out what this translates to in metres (which is what I’m used to).

    I would say the average house here is 3 beds and around 100 square metres (which is less than 1200 sq feet apparently). I have lived in houses that size, even bigger houses, and tiny flats/units/apartments. I cannot handle feeling cooped up. I would be happy with an average house but not smaller. But by your standards I think that is still quite small! Wow

  17. Revanche Says:

    We grew up a family of 4 (and sometimes of 5, with long term guest lodgers) in a 2 bdrm. It was cramped and crazy-making by the time we were teens, probably because we just didn’t get along that well.

    We’re 3 + an enormous dog in about 1000 square feet now and it’s starting to feel cramped, and much more so if we want to host an adult guest or two. It’s a luxury problem, I suppose, that we want to be able to put up our guests in an actual bed and not on the sofa. But I go back and forth on how much space will be sufficient. Limited, of course, by what’s actually for sale and “affordable” in the Bay Area. As much as there are some days where I want ALL the rooms, realistically I do not want to heat/cool or clean more than 2000sq feet, probably.

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  20. First Gen American Says:

    Our first house was around 1700 sq ft. 3br 2ba. It was almost perfect. If it had a mudroom and an extra car garage..it would have been flawless.

    I will be the first to say I was a little self righteous with my modestly sized home and felt a bit of a hypocrite selling up to a huge house when my mom moved In with us.

    We needed a place that had an In law apartment on ground level and there really wasn’t that much available with those features. So we looked for a long time and after a year we finally realized that too big was a compromise we could live with.

    I do miss the smaller utility bills and the ease of being able to keep the house in order. I am also overwhelmed by how much work it needs right now. It’s an interesting change of mindset to chug along knowing I’ll probably never be done with fixing up this place but it works for now.

  21. Flavia Says:

    Oh boy does this question resonate!

    Our first house was about 1500sf (3bd/1ba), and we loved it. It was a great size for a childless couple–a sunroom meant we each had a study and still had a guest room. We figured we could always finish the attic (to have an extra guest room, or in case we had a kid), and maybe add a half bath, but we wouldn’t have moved any time soon.

    Except. . . we had to move cities. And we started looking at houses. And somehow we’re now under contract for a 2300sf house (4 bedrooms + sunroom + huge finished attic / 1.5 ba).

    The calculus was basically that EITHER we’d be there for 20+ years, in which case we wanted all the space we’d ever need (we like to entertain; we might have a kid; we’re now anticipating aging/widowed parents perhaps staying with us for weeks at a time) OR we’d have to sell fast if we got jobs elsewhere. So the bigger, nicer house in a perfect neighborhood that has already had all the upgrades a 100-year-old home needs seemed like the right choice.


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