moving on up

Last Friday, our real estate agent (the same one we used when we bought our house- we LOVE her, she’s so awesome) came over. She came to see our house so we could get an idea of what we could possibly maybe sell it for. Like… soon.

Excuse me while I pass out.

We will be in our house 5 years at the end of this month. On one hand, it feels like there is no possible way it’s been that long already. I feel like it was just yesterday we were living in our little apartment with 4 tiny windows and closet-sized kitchen and no outside access with our 3 pieces of furniture. And now we have a house filled with so. much. stuff. plus a kid. Um, what?

On the other hand, it feels like we’ve lived here forever. This is the only place where I’ve lived longer than my childhood home (which was 18 years or so, where I lived until I left for college) This is the place where we brought our first baby home. This is the place where we sweat and worked and cried over home improvement projects (okay, so maybe I was the only one who actually cried.) This is the place where we really settled in and made it our first real home together, as a couple and as a family.

But really, it’s going to be time to move soon.

NO I AM NOT PREGNANT. (That’s the first thing people have asked me when I’ve mentioned moving.) But probably in the next year or so, we’ll be ready to consider Baby #2- for real, not just in a ‘yeah someday when we have another kid’ way. And in this house where we live now… a second baby would work, kinda-sorta. We could do it if we had to. But it would be tight, and since we don’t really have to stay here for any particular reason, I’d rather not. Also, I don’t want to be 9 months pregnant and moving, nor do I want to have a newborn baby and moving. Neither of those scenarios sound like very much fun to me.

(Did I mention that I’m kind of a planner?)

We are fortunate. Pittsburgh has been faring much better than most parts of the country with this economy. And our specific area is still doing pretty well, real-estate wise. It’s still growing constantly- businesses opening and moving in all the time- and our house is right in that ‘First Time Home Buyer’ price range, which (according to Mrs. Real Estate Agent) is a range that is selling strong and quickly right now, relatively speaking. So I count our blessings for that.

We’re trying to start this process slowly. I say trying because I have a tendency to, um, obsess over things. Which is exactly what happened when we bought this house, actually. Dan got a raise at work, and our lease at our apartment was coming up for renewal in a few months, and we had already lived there for 2 years. We thought, Let’s just see what’s out there, what we could possibly afford, just to get an idea. Window shop, if you will.

5 weeks and 30 houses later, we bought one. whoops.

But this time, the implications are higher. School district, layout, number of bedrooms, nice yard for kids to play in, something that hopefully doesn’t need a ton of work (unlike this house, oy, did we do some work on this one.) We would like the next house to be one that will last a while, preferably until our kids are graduated from high school (which also means kind of making a decision now for how many more kids we’d like to have. We’re both pretty solidly landing on one more and we’re done. Not cutting or snipping anything prematurely of course, but I think we’ll be done at 2 kids.)

We’re also on the fence about WHERE the house should be. As in: do we want a house in a development? (those are WAY WAY WAY easier to come by in our area, we could probably find one we liked in a week or so, seriously) Or do we want to have one out on its own, with an acre or two of land? Those are around here too, but much harder to come by, more expensive, and if they’re not expensive, they need a lot of work. We both love the idea of not having neighbors RIGHTNEXTDOOR,OMGTHEYCANSEEINOURWINDOWS, but I also think that with kids, living in a neighborhood with other kids close by, having a place to go for walks in the evening after dinner- all of that is really great and something to keep on the list as Important Things To Think About. (Anyone have opinions or advice on this? If you grew up in a house not in a development, were you lonely or was it hard sometimes not having friends to play with close by?)

Anyway. So lots to consider. We haven’t actually gone to visit any houses yet. Mrs. Real Estate Agent is coming back on Monday evening to give us the results of her market analysis so we’ll have a better idea of what sort of down payment we’ll have- the profit on the house plus what we’ve paid off, minus fees and closing costs, plus any savings we manage to get together by our self-imposed deadline. Then we’ll talk to some mortgage brokers about pre-approval, and all of that will (hopefully) help us narrow down a price range. Simple, right? HA!

There is an open house next Sunday at a house that we like, so I think we’re going to go check it out. Very casual, you know: Don’t let the house know you’re REALLY interested. Keep it cool, man. We’re just window shopping.

But boy did that get us into trouble the last time.


  1. Susan Helene Gottfried

    March 12, 2009 10:18 pm

    There’s a nice house for sale on my street… but it’d mean moving to THIS side of the county line…

    Susan Helene Gottfrieds last blog post: Thursday Thirteen: Read an E-Book Week!

  2. Kelly

    March 12, 2009 10:29 pm

    Alright. So. Weird.

    This is just about EXACTLY where we plan to be in 2 years. Finish tons of work (already shedding tears) on the money pit, new house in better school district (sorry DL boys)… with perhaps room for 1 more hypothetical kid.

    I’ll try not to plagiarize when we get there.

    Kellys last blog post: The Money Pit – Part I

  3. Woy

    March 12, 2009 10:32 pm

    You just described what happened with our last two places that we’ve lived – thought we’d casually check things out. Be patient. Just lazily watch the market. Then, BAM!

    Whooo boy. Be careful out there.

    Woys last blog post: Hey Kid, You Jump Ship?

  4. Jenn W

    March 12, 2009 10:41 pm

    My growing up scenario is totally different b/c I lived in a town with about 150 people. We lived in town, but the only “next door” neighbor we had was an elderly lady. I didn’t miss not having kids my age next door, but then I could ride my bike across town and go to a friend’s house…no big deal. I personally would love a house in the country with some land, but I don’t mind being “isolated” (remember…150 people). I guess it’s all about what YOU feel like you would like better. The room or the access. My parents live in a big city (moved from the only house I’d ever known when I was 19. I was bitter) and I hate that I can’t actually see the stars at night-it never gets completely dark at night…too many city lights. My husband is the opposite. He grew up all over the world and says it’s eery (how is that spelled??) how dark and silent it is at my grandparents’ farm at night. I love it and miss it.
    So that life story to say this: I would pick a place with land! :)

    Jenn Ws last blog post: Lots of fun at Papa’s

  5. Melissa

    March 12, 2009 10:50 pm

    We wanted to move this year but, uh, yeeeaahhh… Ohio real estate sucks big time. We’ve been here over 5 1/2 years and our house *might* sell for $5K more than when we bought it. And ours is a pretty nice area–so there’s no problem getting buyers, it’s just not worth losing the money on OUR end! Thankfully we love it here and we have enough room for another kid if one comes along in the meantime, so we’re just waiting it out until things improve (or until George gets a job in his dream city, Denver! lol).

    Also, even developments can still be lonely–my parents’ neighborhood was chock full of kids… but they were all my older sisters age, about 10 years older than me. No wonder I turned into a bookworm… ha. So I guess you just have to look at each specific location and see what it’s got to offer in terms of house distance and other families.

    Ok, enough blathering. I’m really excited for you guys! Good luck!! :D

    Melissas last blog post: Protected: depth of field

  6. the ambitious mrs

    March 12, 2009 10:50 pm

    We are in exactly the same boat. We really like our neighborhood but this house is really not ideal if we have another kid. We’re just one step behind you because we haven’t started talking to a real estate agent, but it’s imminent. Good luck!

    the ambitious mrss last blog post: First Haircut

  7. Jen

    March 12, 2009 11:03 pm

    @Kelly: Plagiarize away :) And good luck on your money pit! lol Hope it’s not REALLY a money pit for ya!

  8. Jen

    March 12, 2009 11:04 pm

    @Woy: yeah it’s scary out there, man! It’s so easy to get sucked in before you’re expecting it. Gotta put our Game Faces on. ha

  9. Sarah

    March 13, 2009 9:19 am

    I know that planned neighborhoods can be nice places to live. I even sometimes envy a friend of mine who lives in a lovely plan filled to the brim with playmates for her kids. But they weren’t for me – the sameness of the houses gives me the willies.

    We live on a small dead-end street, which means that almost all play dates involve driving the girls somewhere, except when the neighbors’ granddaughters come to visit. It also means that our back yard is a nearly private mecca, which soothes my husband who grew up on several acres and can’t stand having close neighbors. If I had my way, we’d live in a place with sidewalks and tiny little yards.

    Our big white money pit is a compromise, but it’s one that we all seem to be happy in. Good luck figuring out and finding what’s right for your family!

  10. Corrie

    March 13, 2009 9:21 am

    I loved watching your home improvements, you did such an awesome job, so whoever buys your house is getting a great house.

    So, as for buying and selling again. I said that I would never move again after the last time, but I think we moved too far away from my mom and I compare everything to the ‘berry. There is nothing to do here. NOTHING. I secretly look at real estate and then kind of mention stuff to Jon and then he tries to not come home from work and leave me with three kids.

    I live in neighborhood with a HOA (homeowners) and neighbors that know wayyyy too much information about each other. I have taken to calling my one neighbor “Gossip Girl” because she is the president of the HOA and she knows everything and then goes to tell me and I honestly don’t want to know. Ugh. It is great fun for my kids who want to play all the time.

    Have fun!

    Corries last blog post: That’s $260 that could have gone to my wine fund

  11. Mel

    March 13, 2009 11:30 am

    If you can do it, do it.

    Here is Kalamazoo, the market isn’t so fantastic. So crappy in fact, that we’re going to put our house on the market this summer — ONE YEAR before we have to even move to Denver, should my fieldwork work out so that we can go there.

    ONE YEAR. Grrr…..

    Mels last blog post: Weight Watchers — Final Review

  12. sparkyd

    March 13, 2009 11:30 am

    Well, I could go on and on with this one, but I’ll try not to. ;)

    We bought a house in “the country” 3.5 years ago. 2 acres, trees framing the property, dead end street with a forest at the end, really nice place. 20-25 minutes from two different suburban, “planned” areas of our city and all the conveniences you need. This was supposed to be “the house” for at least the next 25 years. One kid and many, many, thousands of dollars spent on things outside that we felt were worth it because we weren’t ever leaving, and the house is for sale.

    Once I went back to work I quickly decided that I wasn’t keen on the commute anymore. What seemed perfectly reasonable pre-kiddo now seemed like a tiring chore. Not just because of going to work, but getting errands done on the weekend around nap schedules also proved to be a challenge. Even when I was off work (for over a year) the driving kind of got to me because it interfered with getting 2 naps a day (remember those days?) and it just generally sucks time out of your day. Also, we have a huge property and a quiet street to walk on, but I found myself often wishing we had a “destination” like a community park to walk to instead of just up and down the street.

    So, as much as I LOVE our house and our land and just being there, I don’t love getting there anymore. We are looking to move into one of those suburban areas, preferably the one where our son is already in daycare. We don’t like the proximity of the houses or the cookie-cutter feel, but if we can get one on a quiet street with a decent yard I think our quality of life (including proximity to potential babysitters) will improve in such a way that will balance out missing our space and fresh air. And the stars. That’s a nice one too.

    There are rural communities that are more like planned neighborhoods but with space and distinctive houses. But I still wouldn’t like the commuting anymore.

    And I also hear ya on the pregnant and moving thing… I’m 23 weeks along and our house has been for sale since before I new I was pregnant (higher price range house + in the country + crappy economy = slower sales). If it doesn’t go soon we’re going to need to decide if we suck it up and stay or suffer through selling/moving with a newborn. I’ve already accepted that we might have to move while I’m huge. But that’s what friends and movers are for, right? ;)

  13. sparkyd

    March 13, 2009 11:34 am

    Apparently I didn’t succeed in being concise in my comment above… This little box to type in is deceiving!


  14. Jenn W

    March 13, 2009 11:38 am

    Oh yes, we also moved when I was 9 months pregnant…we moved on Saturday and Wednesday I had to be admitted and induced (long story). It was horrible. It was also the end of June in Kansas. Yeah, I’m not very smart (not only moving but just being that pregnant in the height of summer…I didn’t learn either b/c my 2nd one was born the end of Aug! sheesh)

    Jenn Ws last blog post: Likeness?

  15. Kellybeans

    March 13, 2009 1:18 pm

    I’m really torn about the development question… I grew up in a house on a busy road (no development) and NO other kids nearby. I also didn’t have a lot of close friends, which I think would have been different if there were kids right next door to play with.

    BUT (there is always a but) the idea of a nice house on its own big chunk of land sounds lovely to me. :)

    I am no help, am I?

    Kellybeanss last blog post: Open Letter to the Playground Pisser

  16. Jen

    March 13, 2009 3:05 pm

    @Corrie: Never thought I’d hear you say you missed the ‘Berry ;) But I can relate- as much as I hate the crowds and all the damn people everywhere, it would be hard to leave and have to drive a while to get anywhere, and we’re so used to all of the stores and doctors and I have our Giant Eagle MEMORIZED. haha So I’m definitely conflicted there. Though we would never move as far away as you did- all of our family is within 10 miles for the most part, and they would KILL us if we moved too far away :)

  17. Jen

    March 13, 2009 3:08 pm

    @sparkyd: Actually that is VERY helpful!!! Everything you said is exactly what I fear- that we’ll make the big move to an isolated place and end up hating it after a while. I HATE MOVING and only want to do it a few more times in my life, ha. Lifestyle at this point might be more important than Living Space, you know? One thing about a lot of the plans near us is that they aren’t too ‘cookie cutter’- a lot of them are quite different, a mixture of siding and brick, different colors and sizes, so it’s not too freaky :) haha But I know exactly what you mean!

    I hope you find something that will work for you and your family :) Isn’t being a grown up fun? ARGH!!!

  18. Kelly

    March 13, 2009 3:13 pm

    What sort of plans are you looking into? Find out who built them, if they are a few years old. Ryan is good quality, thou pretty cookie-cutter in Western PA. Heartland is fancy, more cookie-cutter base design, slightly less quality. Stay as far from Maronda as humanly possible. Especially if you don’t want any more fixer-upper.

    Kellys last blog post: The Money Pit – Part I

  19. Priscilla

    March 13, 2009 5:39 pm

    Please move to our school district!!! We can totally be parent volunteers together when the little ones are in school!! I can reel you in to the PTO ;)

    You know where I grew up and even though it wasn’t a plan per se, we had other kids in the neighborhood and it was so nice. A lot of my parent friends live in the huge plan that leads to Maggie’s daycare (you know what I’m talking about, right?) and they have so many great friends and the kids love having so many kids to play with but I don’t know if I would like having sooo many neighbors closeby and in your face. I think that there are roads in there though that don’t have as many houses and the houses aren’t too cookie cutter.
    Good luck and I really do hope that you move to our school district!! :)

    Priscillas last blog post: Product Review

  20. red pen mama

    March 13, 2009 9:19 pm

    When we bought this house in 2005, I said we’d either move in 5 years, or we’d be here for 25 years. There’s a lot to be said either way.

    I laughed a little when you talked about a development OR a house with land around it. I grew up in a neighborhood, not a development, and we had a nice yard and plenty of neighbors and kids to run with. We’re in a neighborhood now, although a lot of the kids are two to six years older than the girls. Also, we are on a 1/2 acre of land. i guess we kind of lucked into the best of both worlds. We didn’t even house shop because we knew the people who lived here before. they called US when they were getting ready to sell.

    Also, since we like the schools (my husband’s alma maters, both grade school and high school) I bet we’re here a little longer than five years. But never say never.

    Can’t wait to read about your new house. :)


    red pen mamas last blog post: Miss Misery, and Down With the Mommy Wars

  21. Maura

    March 13, 2009 11:31 pm

    I read

    “5 weeks and 30 houses later, we bought one. whoops.”

    too fast and thought you had already bought another house!

  22. Allison

    March 14, 2009 8:18 am

    Oh, that is so exciting!

    I’ve been looking at houses lately. Not because we are really planning on buying one soon (probably not for another 3-4 years, quite frankly), but because the market is good for buying right now and it is making me SO want to buy a house.

    I wish you tons of luck! I hope you can find something that works. I definitely understand how hard it can be to pick a place!

  23. Jen

    March 14, 2009 9:07 am

    @Priscilla: We SOOOOOO want to move to your (our!) school district! There’s not much in our price range there (compared to where we are now- at least 3x as many houses to choose from!!) but we’re definitely looking. And that plan of which you speak is definitely on our radar, as long as we can find a nice lot. My cousin lives there and they just love it (plus, as you mentioned- close to daycare, woo!) I’m not a huge fan of the whole social scene of some of these neighborhoods (people annoy me sometimes, ha!) but we’ll see :) We could totally be room moms with Maggie & Lincoln- just realized that they’d be in the same grade!!!!!

  24. Nichole

    March 14, 2009 11:43 am

    you could move back to Dan’s area!! that is where we live!!

    We live on a private lane with 2 other houses and I am the youngest back here :( It’s very quiet and there is a shop n save 5 minutes away but that is all really. The Pittsburgh Mills are 20 minutes away. I soooo wish we lived in a plan, or a neighborhood with places to walk and other kids.

    good luck!! how exciting!!

  25. Caity

    March 14, 2009 7:28 pm

    Wow that is so exciting! I really hope that you are able to find something that you love. I’m glad you’ve raised your standards too. People don’t realize how important all those things are when buying a house! Good luck!

    Caitys last blog post: Fake it and you’ll make it.

  26. Andrea

    March 14, 2009 11:37 pm

    Wow! Good for you guys!!! :)

    If we’re staying in Cleveland, we want to build our next house, so we’re going to hold out a while longer… Or else, in a few years, Brad’s company could move him to a new city to head up an office. Soooo, in the mean time, we’re going to stuff as many kids as we can into this house! :)

    I grew up on a farm, so since you’re not really looking at 100+ acres, I’m not going to give any advice on where to live. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *