Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Ranch homes and Craftsmans and Bungalows, oh my!

We fell in love with our previous home the moment we laid eyes on it. We took one walk through of the inviting kitchen, the easy to maintain backyard with built-in benches and an awning strewn with lights, made an offer and signed the contract on the spot. We were that sure. Granted, we later felt it wasn't the best fit with the lengthy commute but when we walked into that house the first time? It was a tingly excitement akin to love. And now? Well, we want that special feeling again with the next house but the few homes we've seen either I fall in love and immediately want to shop for diamond rings while K is more meh while each house he gets a skip in his step about makes me stare at him wondering who are you? When we finally agree on a house we both adore we inevitably get there to find the ad failed to mention the home was located on a highway, or next to a cow processing plant, or has just a little itty bit of lead paint, you know, things we can't really work with and I'm secretly beginning to wonder if we'll end up looking fruitlessly for years in vain never finding a house ever, which would not be good for us, or Bob.

In an effort to fall in love together, we decided to make a list of our must haves and came up with a few: good schools, open floor plan, spacious kitchen, master bathroom, porch or balcony from where we can watch the rain as it falls to the earth [so very important after a lifetime with and eight years without]. We're flexible about most everything else like garages, house-age, in-town location, and well, maybe that's the problem. We're so open to everything we're finding nothing.

Option One. The area we're in now has renovated 1920's bungalows with extensions and add-ons like attic-level master bedrooms which horrified my mother so much she threatened to stay in a hotel while visiting if we were to purchase a property in this neck of the woods [We think she's bluffing]. I love the charm, the history, and the walkability of the area. People are friendly, they stop and say hello, and there are festivals nearly every other weekend. The schools are among the best in the state. I hate not having a garage, the floor plans since homes in this era are more closed off and I worry about the challenges of caring for an older home. Plus we'd most likely have to go with a small 3/2 with closets slightly larger than shoe boxes. But our neighbors would bake us cookies. And I like cookies.

Option Two. Another area with great schools and a five minute commute consists of entirely 1960's split-levels and ranches. Most look stunning inside with updated kitchens, hardwoods, etc and the Punjabi land-owner in me does size up the considerable land these homes sit on and imagine the mung beans that could perchance be planted but at issue is that when I drive up to them, I want to cry. K has fallen in love with a number of these ranches but what with the crying on my part, he's not pushing them too much. Still, they're good values and good locations so I'm trying to remember that looks aren't everything.


 Option Three. Brand new home built from the ground up. We'll just have to sell two kidneys apiece to do so in-town. Still, maybe being house-poor but house-happy is a fair trade-off? [And honestly, I do not want a McMansion like this, but brand new homes in-town are the same price of suburban McMansions which is hard to wrap my mind around.]




 

Option Four. A home in between all of these, built in the 90's or beyond that are the norm of most American homes but because I know once a house is nearing the ten year mark in these homes everything and I mean everything falls apart like the air conditioning, heating, roof etc I'm not eager to go back to redo all that I just got done in the house I left.






Since we are clearly incapable of settling on anything our new extremely understanding agent is taking us on ten blind dates this Saturday. Let's hope love finds a way.

Live in any of these types of styles, what do you love or hate about them or wish you could do differently? If you had to buy a house now, knowing all you know, what would you do differently or the same? What are your must haves? Any advice or warnings much appreciated.

20 comments:

Jamila said...

We have an option 2 house. A 1960's house that has been renovated. It's great to have features like a new kitchen, without having selling my kidneys for them. However, the closets are small and the house does require a lot of upkeep (even though it's been almost completely redone). I'll send you cookies, don't buy an option 1. lol.

sprogblogger said...

We have an option 1 house (well, the local NH equivalent) 1890s farmhouse. The library is what was in the original dairy barn. The house has quirks--oh my, does it ever--but it's solid, it makes me smile every time I come home, and it has a 'homey' feel to it. The upkeep is certainly an issue, but with an older house, you can usually be sure that 'weird' problems aren't going to pop up. I mean, you KNOW you'll be dealing with old roof issues, but you're pretty sure the foundation isn't going to shift & crack your walls, you know? (Happened to my brother's new home) Plus the charm, and the not-crying every time you drive up to it? Priceless. Team BUNGALOW over here!!!

Aisha said...

Jamila, your house from the pictures I've seen looks awesome, thanks for your take on it, I guess no matter the house old or new, there's upkeep :-/

Susan, your house sounds dreamy, a barn converted into a library? *swoon* K and I love the aesthetic value of the older homes, the history behind them, but the quirks get us, how expensive are your quirks??

Sarah said...

We're currently in a ranch (not my first choice but it was what was available in our price range in the tiny town we currently live in...we're renting right now) and it isn't as bad as I thought it'd be. Once you get inside you kind of forget it's a ranch if you paint it right ;)

From what I've heard, being house poor really stinks, but I have no actual personal experience there. Just hearsay.

Best of luck to you as you find a house!

Aisha said...

Hi Sarah! Thanks for your personal perspective, do you think you'll buy a ranch now that you've rented for some time in them?

wayfarer said...

One thing i didn't think about when moving with a baby this age (yusef was 20 months when we moved to NJ) was a yard. He would have loved to play outside and i couldn't let him because we didn't have a fenced in yard and the street was busy...not sure if that's something important to you or not but it was high on my list for our recent move. My kids love playing outside and now i can let them since i can see them from the kitchen and we are on a culdesac. In NJ i didn't have a walkout kitchen and all i could offer them was the deck. I LOVE those bungalows in atlanta...that would be my vote simply because i love them. Ranches....i sort of wish we had one because all the stairs on two level houses can be really scary. I just fell down ours and was pretty badly hurt...hearing of three deaths in the last month due to stairs has me a bit worried these days and we are getting ours carpeted. I like walkable neighborhoods too...but since the backyard thing was so important to me i couldn't find a house that had both... My absolute favorite style house is cape cod style...just love it. Those bungalows are a close second.

wayfarer said...

i shouldn't have said our street was busy, but it was too busy for kids to be playing outside on their own. :-)

katery said...

we live in a ranch, but please note, it is NOT a split level, i am not a fan of split levels. to me, it seems like split level means less space. i really like option one, i think i'm just a fan of older homes, however, it sure would be nice to have a newer home that you know has nothing wrong with it, this is such a bid decision!! i have to admit, i love bungalow style homes, they are so cute! that being said, i'm pretty sure no garage would be a deal breaker for me. the other things that are most important to me are location and layout since you really can't change either one. also, closet/storage space is very important to me. our house needs a lot of updating which we can't really afford to do right now, but it's got a great layout, it's a nice location and the storage space is amazing, tons of nicely sized closets and lots of space in the basement too. good luck deciding!! i guess my number one choice would be a brand new home if it was in the right location, built to my specifications.

Aisha said...

Wayfarer, EXCELLENT point, you are so right, a big backyard is a must [or a yard big enough to allow playing and once you can fence] thanks for the reminder. Right now I take him to the park daily and its great but I'd love to be able to watch him play from the kitchen when he's older and can play mor eindependently. Thanks for thea dvice!!!

Kate, yes that's right you have a ranch, how do you like it a few years in? Are you happy with it since it has the open floor plan and location you wanted or did ranches never bother you anyways?

Cecily said...

We live in a 1920's house, and I have to say I love this era and the way the houses were built. When you combine that with a neighborhood, well... :D

Anonymous said...

i would go with a new house but ultimately, it's a personal decision -- for instance, i like living in the burbs! ;)

Rasha

Ann said...

I like option 1! Like you, I'm a sucker for anything with old charm and history. My suggestion is, get a pen and paper and make a pro/con list for each option, haha That's my thing for everything and it helps, trust me.

Aisha said...

Cecily, that's great to know, I know you said your'e thinking about moving again though. . . perhaps to another turn of the century style home again?

Rasha, LOL yeah, well you know how I feel about the burbs ;) [though almost all my close friends are in the burbs] I would LOVEEEEE a new home and in my area the new homes that do come up are n the old era style but the costs are outrageous. . . . maybe we'll see though, new homes are at least maintenance free for a ltitle while.

Ann, pros and cons are the best way to do it, we've done that but we can't figure out which pros are better thant he pros of the other areas, lol. Yeah, we're very indecisive. Thanks for your input!!!

Anonymous said...

Go with one! 1's the one! ;)

mystic said...

Always fall in love with a girl but never do with a house!

I will take Option 2 due to school and commute. OR option 4. You can buy good house insurance and they replace things if fall apart....

Aisha said...

Lol,thanks anon :)

Mystic, really? Don't you love your home??? We had house insurance but they didn't cover roof issues, and other such things. . . but your'e right home insurance plans can help with things especiallythe first year.

sadeya said...

All come back to your blog...hope not to start a vicious cycle.

I don't know, I was with my friend, and I saw a McMansion and we just looked at each other and were like "wha...? did you SEE that? It looks like....o my God." You know how that gets sometimes. I dunno Aisha.

I think we should all visit those mansions.

sadeya said...

All come back to your blog...hope not to start a vicious cycle.

I don't know, I was with my friend, and I saw a McMansion and we just looked at each other and were like "wha...? did you SEE that? It looks like....o my God." You know how that gets sometimes. I dunno Aisha.

I think we should all visit those mansions.

Julia Munroe Martin said...

I absolutely love the craftsman style bungalow -- probably the way I'd go (and I also love the charm and the neighbors bringing cookies and the close friends for Waleed and you!) :) On the other hand I live in an older house myself and there's always something to fix!

On the other hand I like the land and privacy of the split level on lots of land! (but I've lived in a split level before and I wasn't a huge fan of the split, especially one called a "bi-level" where you go in and need to choose up or down immediately) I would never, personally, want a mcmansion... but nice for guests and prob more cleanable but takes longer!

Banshee said...

Don't be house poor. I was house happy but house poor and it's not fun. Plus, if anything bad happens (hubby loses job) then poof, no house! :) That's how it was for us anyway.

I like the point that you can't really change layout or location or yard - so those should be your dealbreakers - can you rank those in importance and see which options line up the most?

Good luck!

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