Housing Compromises: Your Dream House vs. Reality

On March 7, 2011 in Housing by notrustfund

Our dream house is close to the water and has a bedroom for every child plus a guest room.  This house gets a lot of natural light and also has central air.  We’ve been house hunting now for the last year or so.  We are still looking fairly causally so it could easily be another year before we buy, but we are definitely narrowing in on a few things.  As we’ve been looking, a mental list has slowly been developing of ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’.  As we continue to look, and we lower our housing budget, it is becoming clear we will not get all of our nice to haves, and most likely will not even get all of our must haves.   Here are a few more things on our list:

Good school district

Master bath

Main floor bath

Two car attached garage

Tall enough ceiling in the basement for workout equipment

Walkable neighborhood

Eat-in kitchen and/or family room off the kitchen

Short commute to our offices

When we really start going of into lala land we talk about things such as heated floors and a screen porch.

In some neighborhoods and cities, you can get everything on our list without paying a hefty price.  However, we live in an city of older homes where many of these things are not common, and houses that do have a lot of these features are typically out of our price range.

So what do you do when you cannot afford your Dream House?  There are really two basic options.  1) Continue saving until you can afford your dream house.  Or 2) Start to make compromises.

As we’ve gone to open houses and toured more and more homes in our city, I’m starting to realize we’ll probably never be able to afford our dream house, it would be too big of a stretch.  This is ok.  Unless you have an unlimited budget and are building from scratch, everyone has to make some sort of compromise when buying a house.

So slowly we are going over our list and deciding what truly is most important to us and where can we make compromises.  So far the only thing we no we are not willing to compromise on is a good school district.  We want to be able to send our kids to a good neighborhood public school.  We probably won’t know for sure what else we are willing to compromise on until we find a house we love.  Then maybe having one less bedroom or no master bath won’t be a big deal.  In the meantime we are patiently waiting and saving, hoping we’ll find a house that we can afford that will not require a ton of compromises.

What features would be in your dream house?  If you are a homeowner what features can you not live with out or do you wish your house had that it doesn’t now?

*As one my New Year’s Goals, we recently finished our will and other documents.  Here is a great post on getting started on estate planning.

** Photo by RealEstateZebra

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2 Responses to Housing Compromises: Your Dream House vs. Reality

  1. alecia says:

    My husband and I are thinking of building, but not for a couple of years, so we have been able to casually think about what we want in a house. We have toured several homes during the Parade of Homes tours (going on right now in Minnesota), which has been very helpful. I often find myself thinking, “wow, if this house just had [this];” or, “this house is almost perfect, if only…” So there are your compromises, I guess. I’ve got my list of things I want in a house – nice flooring, a walk-in pantry with counter tops to go with a gourmet kitchen, large master bath, large mudroom area….and the list goes on. But at what price will this come?? Regardless of what you end up with, I know you’ll love the house you’re in…….or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

  2. My dream house is twice as big as my current house and with a lot more features. MMmm one thing I couldn’t live without would be an efficient kitchen. My current house has a very small kitchen but the work-triangle is great, I updates everything with paint, new countertop & backsplash next year, bathroom is next… my dream house would have to be in good exterior shape, it’s something I constantly worry about with my fixer upper… gotta keep saving I guess!

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