Husband and I have been talking a lot about our future lately. I suppose it’s been kick-started by the whole “getting pregnant” fiasco (which is still ongoing). But this particular discussion has been a good distraction to the can-we-can’t-we-have-babies talk that has been hanging about for over a year now.
It’s to do with our living arrangement. The house we live in isn’t a very nice house. When we purchased it, we were filled with enthusiasm about how we’d re-landscape the backyard, rip out the kitchen and replace it with something sleek, burn the avocado-coloured bathroom suite and put in something white. And whilst we’ve been working on this house for years (and throwing money at it which just seems to disappear) it still looks pretty crap.
It’s one of those live-and-learn situations – I now know that I never want to renovate a house again. I don’t have the skills, patience or energy. Husband agrees with me – he’s completely over living in a house which isn’t what we want, doesn’t suit the way we live and is not a place we want to stay for the long-term.
So we’ve been talking. A lot. About money, about what we really want in terms of a house, about long-term life plans. What we really want is to build a house – we’re tired of cleaning up someone else’s mistakes, dealing with someone else’s shoddy workmanship and living in a house which has only a teeny tiny bath and no cupboards. Yes, we’re lucky – we could afford to buy a house in the first place. I know that, and this house could be a nice home for somebody. But it’s not for us. Just like skinny jeans, smoked salmon and pine furniture – it’s not to our taste.
Our current options are to buy land, build a house and sell our current place ; get in professionals to completely overhaul our current house, extend a little and put some windows in so we don’t feel like we’re living in a dark cave ; or do a few more minor changes ourselves, get this house up to a standard that’s liveable, then save like crazy over the next 5-8 years and try and pay as much of this mortgage off as possible.
Option one – the buy land/build house now would be great. As close to instant gratification as you can get when it comes to building a house. We have always wanted to build our own house – one we can raise our children in and stay in for 25 years. (Yes, it’s entirely selfish and materialistic to want to build a nice house so don’t feel you have to point that out in the comments.) But building within the next year or two would push us financially. It would also mean a lot of compromises – the things we want (such as a lovely big kitchen) would probably end up being small and made of ugly laminate rather than quality materials which would last 25 years.
Option two – getting professionals in to renovate our existing house and make it less like a 1970s cave – could potentially be more expensive than building. And the stupid stubborn council will most likely say “No” to any major structural changes. And we’d still be left with things like a front yard full of concrete (seriously, who puts CONCRETE over their entire front yard?), a backyard with a really massive shed which we’re struggling to remove because THERE’S ONE-FOOT-DEEP CONCRETE UNDER IT and another few dozen other little things which bug us. (Mostly to do with concrete. Oh, and beige window frames – hate those!) We worry that renovating will make this a nice(ish) house but it still won’t be the kind of house we’d love.
Option three – waiting 5-8 years to pay off as much of our current mortgage as possible then buying land and building the house we want is not quite the instant gratification route. But we’d be better off financially. (Probably.) This is most likely the path we’ll take – we’ll do a few more minor things to this house such as build some storage, replace the broken doors and possibly pull up the concrete in the front yard, then we’ll just sit back and save our pennies.
Yes, as I’ve stated above, wanting a nice new house is selfish and materialistic and I know I’m going to get a lot of comments bashing me because of that. But you know what, my blog, my thoughts. I’m not going to apologize for wanting a nice house. (Just as other people shouldn’t apologize for wanting dozens of pairs of designer shoes, sixteen children, seven useless university degrees or anything else that their heart desires – unless, of course, it is illegal.) I know a house won’t make me happy. But renovating isn’t making me happy – neither is tripping over the Christmas tree box to get to the box where we store our linen (because we have no cupboards so it has to live in a box) and having no natural light in the house. (There are more patios (concreted in, of course) than there is house!) A nice house with natural light, ample storage and that is easy to keep clean would make me happy.
PS: For those of you curious as to what we think a nice house is: three bedrooms, two bathrooms, one large living room, a big kitchen/meals area, a laundry (a necessary evil), lots of storage and lots of light. We don’t want a living room, family room, theatre, study, office AND activity room. A second living area would be a luxury but it’s not necessary. Most importantly, we’d like a large garden for our children to run about and play in. Perhaps that makes us old-fashioned (as well as materialistic?)