Post # 1
** Sorry in advance for any spelling mistakes or weird typos, my iPad has a mind of it’s own. **
Dh and I have been house/land hunting for a while now, and we finally found two great options this weekend. I’m genuinely torn between the two and I’d love your input.
Option 1 – Contemporary Home
*This is a 5 bedroom home on 7 acres, recently reno-ed*
- It’s move in ready for the most part
- Lay out is pretty great, including a craft room that would be perfect for me
- Has enough bedrooms, they’re all nice and big too
- Newly renovated/updated
- Neighbours seem nice and conscious of what’s going on in the neighbourhood (they came to make sure we were supposed to be there while the family was OOT). You can only sort of see one other house if you’re standing behind the house, so it’s pretty private.
- Beautiful view
- Awesome hot tub 😉
- It’s almost like it’s 95% finished. There are wires hanging out of the walls in some spots, paint finish on kitchen cabinets are chipped, doors that won’t close, walls are a bit banged up, scratches on front door from the dog, about 4 different types/sizes of baseboards throughout the house, etc. There’s a year’s worth of “little things” that need to get done.
- As DH says, if we can see issues on the surface, what’s behind the walls?
- There are just three bedrooms on the second floor (master and two secondary), and we’d really like 4 so that my stepson can have a room on the same floor as the rest of the family once we’ve had kids. I don’t want to relegate him to the basement 🙁
- It’s a bit isolated, but there ARE neighbours and clearly they can see the house and who’s coming and going (which may be a con in itself?!)
Option 2: The Garage House/build our dreamhome
*This is 22 acres with a 3 car garage with a loft over it. The owner had the intention to live there and build her own home, but for whatever reason life changed, and has now decided to sell it. The loft space and 1 bay of the garage has been converted into pretty nice living space with bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, etc*
- We could afford to buy it, move in, sell our current home for the money to build our dream home, and live there while we’re building relatively comfortably. DH would convert the other two garage bays into living space/extra bedroom for my stepson when he comes up, and long term plan, this would become a guest house/cabana for the pool.
- We would get to build our dream home.
- It’s in the woods, old growth, nice pond, little babbling brook.
- It’s on a private road, so there’s neighbours, but everyone has at least 10 acres, so it’s very private on the lot itself.
- Lots of land, walking trails, etc.
- Would be lots of fun for kids to run and explore!
- We’d have to live in a garage for likely a year or so until construction was finished (albeit a nice converted garage, but you get my point. It would be cramped.)
- We wouldn’t get a “view” since we’d be in a forest. I’m not sure that’s a con, but it’s just a major difference from Option 1.
- Even though there are neighbours, you can’t see or hear them. I’m wondering if I’d miss the sense of community or even just the mental security of knowing there’s someone closeby? Even though it’s a private road, I got less of a sense of community than from Option 1.
- The stress of construction in general. It’s not going to be easy, but in the long term, we’d have our dream home, so maybe that’s a trade off?
I’m honestly so torn. We’ve been househunting for SO long I’m just ready to freaking make up our minds and move on. Part of me would be so happy with a move in ready house and just calling it good, but part of me thinks we’ve gone to the trouble and expense of designing our dream home, we should keep following that dream and make it come true, even if it means more work and hassle for the next year or so.
It’s easy to picture us living in the contemporary home because there’s already a family who lives there. It’s hard to picture a house and life on an essentially vacant plot of forest. It would cost us more in the long run, but we’d get exactly what we want. It’s apples and oranges!
What would you do?
Post # 3
I feel like I could have written this myself, I am about to pull my own hair about houses but THAT’S a whole other story. I think if I were you guys and this was going to be my forever home I’d do choice #2, build your dream home!!
Post # 4
I would take #2 – you have the opportunity to built it correctly and the way you want it to be, rather than trying to figure out what someone else was trying to do or to fix their handiwork. I would be really nervous about #1, for the same reasons you mentioned…thsre could be a whole mess under there, and it could end up costing you more money than it would if you could control what you were building.
Post # 5
- Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA
I would build the home– in the short term it’s not as good, but overall you’ll enjoy it more in the long run, because many of the cons for option #1 aren’t all that “fixable” if you decide you can’t live with them; especially the bedroom issue.
Post # 6
If it were me – I would build the home.
This way you get 100% what you want and you know what needs to be done, aka there are no surprises!
I feel like if you moved into the other home – you may get unhappy in the future and want to move again – so the investment now would pay off later in that you get exactly what you want!
Post # 7
If it were me I’d build my dream home.
Post # 8
@juliette.eliza: My thought about the bedroom thing was that there is definitely room to add onto the house, but at the end of the day, do we want to go to the trouble of doing an addition onto someone else’s house rather than just having exactly what we want in the long run? There’s no doubt that #1 is a beautiful home, and I have to acknowledge that both me and our agent have been trained in interior design, and my husband is a contractor, so we’re all REALLY picky and can find issues with literally just about any home we walk into, so it’s not a fair game we’re playing 😉
I have to admit my major hesitation with #2 is the isolation to a degree. If the owner of the home is there today, I’ll ask her about the neighbours and how much they see each other, etc. I liked that in #1, it was very private, but that obviously the neighbours still keep tabs on each other.
Post # 9
@MrsPom: This has been the most frustrating period of my life, I swear!!! We’ve been looking for land for nearly 2 years. I think part of me wants to just pick option 1 to have it over and done with and move into a nice house already! LOL!
Post # 10
It honestly sounds like you can’t go wrong either way. Both options sound like they would ultimately result in you living in a really nice place that you’ll enjoy.
But I’ve seen photo inspiration of your dream home and it just seems like it will be so wonderful and gorgeous! So I vote for building even if you have to live in a converted garage in the short term. I will be totally jealous of your dream home once it is done!
ETA: Especially go with the dream home if the current owner of the land indicates that he does see the neighbors, they keep tabs on each other, etc.
Post # 11
I’m headed out in just a few minutes to meet with the conservation authority about building on the land (any restrictions etc) and since I’ll be up there anyways, my agent and I are also going to go back to the contemporary house to have another look.
I can’t believe after 2 years we’ve finally found TWO options that are great! I’m excited and terrified! LOL!
Post # 12
@bakerella: where do you feel more comfortable, safe, happy? do you like or need to have that sense of community? do you prefer no one around? what about location and distance to work, amenities, family, etc?
how do you find places with so much land in toronto?
both places sound like great potentials. you don’t have to decide today so i am sure once you revisit both places again and discover further pros and cons you will make the right decision.
Post # 13
I would get a really great home inspector and consider #1 if the inspection turned out ok. I like having neighbours though, they were like family in some ways (some of that is regional though, most people in the area didn’t have relatives nearby).
If the inspection turns up anything serious/expensive then go with #2 and throw an awesome BBQ (either before or after you build) to get to know the more distant neighbours.
Post # 14
DH and I are juggling the same questions. So I have no advice other than I would go for build!
Post # 15
I would build in a second, but that’s because my dad is a carpenter and I would know it’s done correctly. Just think of all the customizations you can do!
That being said, I grew up in the country (my parents own six acres, but it’s very wooded property with long driveways, so we couldn’t see any neighbors – I never missed it, but now that I live in the city, on a close knit block, I would miss it if I ever moved back to the middle of nowhere.
Post # 16
I would DEFINITELY go with option 2. #1 sounds like a nice house, but it isn’t your dream home. If you can have your dream home with 1 year of minor discomfort, it seems worth it to me.