Once upon a time, I lived in this adorable little house….
And then Nicky moved out.
And it was just me and Grunt Labor.
And we were young.
And we thought that we really wanted to live in a bigger, newer home.
So we put our cute little cottage-y type house on the market.
And it sold.
And I cried a little – it was home. It was cozy, it was comfortable. There was only one bathroom, which was a struggle, but this was the first house Grunt Labor and I shared. It felt like home to me from the minute I started dragging my suitcase over for the weekend, to when he finally cleaned out a drawer for me (at the advice of a co-worker, thank you, Donna), to when all my furniture and twenty some odd Rubbermaid totes made their way to his attic.
We scoured our area for a new home. I was leaning toward the older homes that needed a little love, Grunt Labor was leaning toward the brand new construction homes that were ready to go.
He won. I’ve never been very good at telling that man no.
We ended up with this.
One year later, we sold it.
The new construction house had everything we ever wanted:
Open Floor Plan
3 Bedrooms and 2.5 Bathrooms, including a large master bath
Bonus Room for Grunt Labor’s Man Cave
Ridiculous amounts of hidden storage
A Staircase with Iron Spindles
2 Car Garage
It was in a one street neighborhood with all new homes that had great sidewalks and was kid friendly.
Sounds like the perfect place for a newly wed couple to live and start a family, right?
But in less than a year of living there, we had it on the market.
Why We Left Our Brand New Construction Home for a 70’s Rancher:
1. Neighborhood Association A.K.A. People that have nothing better to do than nitpick.
When we purchased our home, the neighborhood association had not yet been taken over by the actual residents of the neighborhood. We didn’t even get to see a copy of the neighborhood rules when we closed on the house. When the neighborhood actually took over the association and we had our first meeting, Grunt Labor and I bought a For Sale By Owner sign the next day. Let’s just put it this way, we are not the kind of people that like to be told what we can and cannot do to or around our home and that we need to change some minor little detail that we have already spent a good bit of money on.
That being said, I am not Anti-Neighborhood Association. I’m just not going to pay $25o to you when I get essentially nothing in return each year and you can’t even tell me what that amount is going toward. There is no pool and there is a sliver (I seriously mean I sliver) of community property to upkeep. That does not warrant $250 from each house. Our current house has a neighborhood association and its great. They can tell me exactly what the money I pay to the association is going toward, and they won’t kick me out for hanging a redneck toddler swing on the front porch and having a storage building on my property that doesn’t match my house color exactly.
2. Privacy A.K.A. People can see me running naked through my house when I forget my only clean clothes are in the dryer.
Did you notice how close together those houses are?
Y’all, I grew up in the country where men pee off their front porches and if we have to run outside to the clothesline half naked to get clean clothes, its ok because nobody will ever see you. In this house, I could have opened up the dining room window and tossed a muffin to the next-door neighbor. Needless to say, if I did forget that all our clean clothes are in the dryer after I take a shower and had to make a mad semi-naked dash to the laundry room, either one of the neighbors could have easily spotted me.
I needed a little more privacy so that the entire neighborhood doesn’t see my ghost white butt running through the house like a mad woman. Besides that, I’m sure that was frowned upon by the neighborhood association.
3. Cost A.K.A. I would rather have a fun life than a big, pretty house.
Our new construction home cost significantly more than our little house we had before it and our current home. We could pay the mortgage, all the bills, and buy groceries, but those days of having a couple Presidente margaritas at Chili’s, then going to the mall for a little shopping spree were over. The most Grunt Labor and I have ever fought was at the new construction house – and 99% of the time, it was over money. Having a beautiful new house is great, but having a life is even better.
Live big in less, y’all.
4. Location A.K.A. I used to drive an hour to work, I’m not doing it again.
When Grunt Labor and I purchased this new construction home, it was about 25 minutes or so to each of our jobs. Right before putting the house on the market, I got a job in another school that would make my commute a good 45 minutes to an hour. I had done the long commute before in my former life and had no desire to do it again. Moving closer to our jobs was just another reason to put the house on the market. The move would also put us closer to our bigger babies.
5. Simply put, it wasn’t home.
The new construction house never once felt like home to me. It wasn’t like our previous house that was cozy and always welcoming. No matter how much I decorated or redecorated or moved this piece here and this one here, it just wasn’t home. We did have some great times there for sure. Luckily, we had that house right after we were married and Nicky and the Man of Questionable Honor both moved in. I thank God everyday for that, because otherwise there would have been one bathroom between all four of us.
Now, that would have been bad.
6. We saw the potential in the beloved rancher, even when Mama cried after seeing it.
After we had a contract on selling the new construction house, we began searching for a new home. We almost gave up, we were even ready to move into an apartment for a while until we found the house that we knew was meant to be ours. Luckily, our realtor mentioned there was a foreclosure in his neighborhood – a neighborhood literally five minutes away from Grunt Labor’s job. A well established neighborhood with great people, nice homes, and a normal neighborhood association. We were looking at it the next day – with flashlights. The electricity and water were cut off. It had been on the market for a year with no bites.
One walk through and we knew it was ours – even with just the flashlights.
We brought Grunt Labor’s parents over to see it – well, they weren’t exactly sure we were making the best decision. Mama cried on the way home.
Hell, we weren’t sure either. We had no clue if the water even worked or the electricity. Not to mention, things like the air conditioner unit. I cried multiple times throughout the remodeling process.
But, we were able to see that it could be our home. We walked in the house and saw how the living room, kitchen, and dining room could be one big open space.
We saw the potential in the small, but functional bathroom.
And most importantly – ain’t nobody gonna see me running around naked if I have to.
Please do not take this post as me bashing new construction and saying that everyone should ditch their new construction home. That is totally NOT the case. Many people prefer new neighborhoods with small lots that are low maintenance and that is perfectly fine. Many people don’t want to deal with the stress and work of renovating an older home. That’s fine too. Its just not for us. We may build a new construction home one day, but it will be what we want and free of neighborhood restrictions.
The most important thing is that your home actually feels like home.
And the beloved foreclosure is most definitely our home.
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