Should I Move or Fix Up the House?
By Sharon Teitelbaum, MA, MCC, Sharon@stcoach.com
Life transitions can catalyze home transitions. A new job in
another state requires you to sell your house and buy another. Having
that 3rd child settles it you need a house with a 4th bedroom
and a guest room would be nice! Other life transitions have
more subtle impacts on your house-needs.
The house Ive lived in for 26 years was the perfect house
for my husband and me to raise our children in. But now that our
kids are largely on their own is it the right house for us
to stay in? I dont really know yet. But Im surprised
how challenging the dilemma is. I thought I would stay in this house
"forever." Its big enough to be flexible: two of
our 7 rooms have become home offices as my husband and I each became
solopreneurs. Its small enough to be affordable and manageable,
classic enough that rooms can easily be modified for new functions,
and "charming" enough that it retains some character no
matter what we do to it.
Im craving openness and expansiveness at this stage in my
life, and my house really has neither. A 100-year-old New England
colonial, it has relatively small rooms and small doorways. As weve
refurbished several key areas of the house in the last 2 years,
weve consistently bumped up against this. The way to create
a more expansive feel in the house is to start knocking down walls,
and that raises the practical question: do local property values
justify that kind of investment? And since the answer seems to be
"no," a next set of questions appears. Are we committed
enough to staying here to make those renovations anyway? And is
that a responsible investment for us?
And then theres the issue of location. While I used to treasure
our proximity to Boston, the convenience of just going up the block
to pick up a gallon of milk, and the ease of arranging get-togethers
with people nearby, I am now lusting after a more secluded setting.
Im irritated by the sound of traffic during the summer months
when the windows are open. I want to look out my windows and see
open space rather than my neighbors homes, though I really
do like my neighbors!
I'm longing to live in a quieter, less developed environment surrounded
by more open land and water. Same for my husband. Will we sell our
house and relocate to another one? I don't know if I'm really willing
to give up all of what I still appreciate about living here. I have
roots in this town, people I've known for 25 years. It's not that
I have such a huge social life based here; I actually see my local
friends pretty infrequently, but I do love seeing them, and it's
easy to do. Geri called me yesterday, asking if I had time for a
walk. I'll go out to lunch next week with Jeanne Marie, to celebrate
our birthdays. Some friends invited me to join their early morning
Chi Qong class. My massage therapist is a dear friend I've known
since our 21-year-olds were toddlers. I treasure these connections
and don't want to lose them.
WHAT ARE THE HOUSE-AND-HOME QUESTIONS YOU ARE LIVING WITH?
Give yourself the space and time to look inside yourself and see
what your current needs are for a home. Write down your thoughts
and ideas. Harvest as many of your needs, desires, musings, and
insights as you can over a period of weeks. Then go back over the
whole list and circle your top 3 absolute must-haves. Put a check
next to your 3 second-tier needs. Put an asterisk next to your top
3 desires. These 9 items can become your blueprint for your home-search.
One friend bought a house on a big piece of land in the Berkshires;
shell live there full time when she retires in 5 years. Now
it is her weekend home. She sold her in-town house, and rented a
small apartment, where she lives during the week, convenient to
her job. I know a family with young children who decided to buy
a less expensive home than they could afford so they would not be
locked into the high stress, high paying jobs they currently work;
they bought themselves a home and career leeway at the same time.
An empty nest couple I know recently sold their in-town house and
moved to a smaller, more beautiful house about 20 miles west of
here, in rolling countryside.
THE MORE YOU KNOW ABOUT YOUR UNIQUE, PERSONAL NEEDS FOR A HOME,
the more likely you are to satisfy those needs.
Need some help sorting it all out? CONTACT ME: Sharon Teitelbaum,
for an initial consultation at no charge.
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Copyright 2002-2008 by Sharon Teitelbaum, all rights
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