Being a homeowner is great. It's leaps and bounds better than renting (in my humble opinion) but there is work that goes into it as there is with anything worthwhile. Also, as is customary for humans in general, it's hard to be fully satisfied with anything you own. The TV is never big enough, the car is never new enough, etc. I know that's a horrible way to look at things and I try not to, but it's human nature to always want the next bigger and better thing. Well, that is why you should never go house hunting unless you are actually in the market to buy a new house.
My parents are just beginning the process of looking at houses to see what's out there. So, when Kristi and I went up to visit them this past week, we walked through a model home. A very, very nice model home. Exquisite, some might call it. It was, of course, not a standard build. It had every upgrade imaginable. Vaulted ceilings, screened-in porch/balcony thing, speakers throughout the entire home that just require an iPod in order to pump lovely music to any room you can imagine… nice stuff. There is also an unfinished basement with over 2,000 square feet of space to do whatever you please with. The agent mentioned a media room for one section of the basement and I was sold. That is obviously one of my favorite aspects of it. I have always wanted a nice, high quality, comfortable screening room with a huge screen and great sound. I also am in love with the walkway and manicured nature of the front and back yards. Having recently been working to improve our yard, those are things that are very attractive to me in a home… because they are already done and I don't have to do them. The screened in porch is pretty amazing, too. I love a nice balcony!
I am very happy with the house Kristi and I have. It suits our needs very well and gives us more space than a lot of newlyweds have. But, after seeing this house, I want more! The problem, though, is that the big model home we looked at, with all the upgrades and the basement was upwards of… well a lot. That kind of price tag isn't even remotely feasible at the point we are in our lives. My parents won't be purchasing it either which is unfortunate because, if they did, Kristi and I could visit often and enjoy that amazing house.
Here's a piece of advice: unless you are in the market for a house, don't go house hunting. It will only make you want to get in the market for a new house. Also, if you are house hunting, do not, by any means, for any reason, EVER… look at houses above your budget. It will only make you want to go over your budget. And, if you are willing to go over what you have said your budget is, then you never really had a budget. Be smart and look in your price range. You will find something you love, don't worry.
Rule number one of anything you do: never look at something you cannot afford.
Oftentimes, in the evening just before bed, Nolan and I will turn to HGTV to watch one of our (well at least MY) favorite shows, “House Hunters”. It’s fascinating to see what people can get for their money in different parts of the country. It’s also interesting to see the high expectations people put on homes and what they are willing/unwilling to do to work toward making their “perfect” home. I find myself talking to the potential homebuyers and telling them that they are ridiculous and have too high of standards. I mean it won’t hurt them to paint a wall or two, tear up some carpet (because we all know that they are full of germs… I hope you can feel the sarcasm), and update a kitchen or bathroom. Instead, in our society of wanting the best and wanting it now, people expect that their budgets will get them everything on their ridiculous wish list.
Are we house hunting? Not even close. We are quite content with the home we live in. It’s the perfect size and does the job for us at this stage in our lives. Then why am I even mentioning houses? Glad you asked. We went with Nolan’s parents to look at some homes… they are possibly on the market for a more suitable home for them. So, the story goes that his parents wanted to show us a house they looked at. It was in the general direction we were heading anyway, so a pit stop was definitely in order. We drove by the house and Nolan and I loved what we saw, but it didn’t stop there. We continued through the neighborhood to the (dun dun dun…) model home. Now, the logical side of me knows that a model home includes every imaginable upgrade but, from the street, the house didn’t look super intimidating so the thought didn’t even cross my mind.
Upon walking up to the home, Nolan and I immediately got house envy. Like I said, we love our current home, but when you walk up to a lovely home with an immaculately manicured lawn, any normal person would experience the faint pitter patter of the heart reminiscent of the kind associated with a first date… you know what I’m talking about. We continued up the driveway and walked into the office where the vulture-like real estate agent was stationed. As soon as we walked into her room, her eyes lit up as I’m sure she was preparing her speech as to why we needed this house in our lives.
We could have easily walked from her office into the rest of the house (as they are obviously attached), but we had to have the “full” experience of the home and enter from the front door. I see why she chose this method because it was a pretty impressive entrance. Nolan and I were immediately in love… with the house. High ceilings, granite countertops, stone fireplace, large rooms, the list could go on and on. I began comparing this home with the one we currently live in and, let me tell you, they aren’t even on the same playing field. We walked through the kitchen and were in awe of the finishes and space that it provided. We stepped outside to the screened in porch and thought it was gorgeous, and then I noticed the speakers… (in case you didn’t know, Nolan is a speaker kind of guy) and little did I know, but this place offered a whole-house speaker system. Hook up your iPod and you can enjoy any music, in any room, at any time. Amazing! We walked around the main floor and came across the Master Bedroom. Talk about envy! The room was enormous and the TUB, can we just talk about the tub? It was something that came straight from my dreams. It wasn’t a jetted state of the art tub (I’m not a fancy girl). It was a tub that I could easily and comfortably lay in and be covered with a sufficient amount of water… unlike our tub right now that requires my 5 foot 5 ½ inch frame to contort in order to fit in. Then I turned around and saw the closet. I’m pretty sure I would be content sleeping in that closet - it was that big. I had a moment of daydreaming and imagined all of my clothes having a home in one single closet (instead of the three that they span now) and I even saw a small section that Nolan would be able to occupy!
As if all of that wasn’t enough, we went down to the unfinished basement. All Nolan needed to hear was that it had a space to finish out a MEDIA ROOM. While I’ve never thought a media room to be a requirement in a home, I definitely could have been on board with this one.
I’m pretty sure that during the rest of the tour, Nolan and I had silly grins on our faces. We kept saying “wow” throughout the entire time and just couldn’t believe that all of these things could be in one home. If you had told us we needed to move into it that same day, we would have gladly packed up our entire home and done just that. There was nothing we would have changed about that house… well, except the price. As soon as we heard that, our time in La La Land ended. We were abruptly yanked back into reality and were disappointed at just how out of reach a home like this was. Now I understand how those people on “House Hunters” can come across as crazy.
While we know that this home is nowhere near our reach right now, it gives us something to dream for; and dreams are really what keep you going. So, while it may not happen for us for years to come, one day we’ll invite you to our home with a huge tub, media room, and whole house speaker system. But, until then, the home where MY clothes span three closets, we have a tub that is comfortably fit for a kid, and we have a lawn that isn’t perfectly manicured… that’s where you’ll find yourself if you visit. That’s okay though, because our home is really only where our hearts are and that’s with each other.