So after my post on the imperfectness of our house yesterday, we wrote down all the things we like about it versus the things we don’t like as well as our wish list, and it became pretty clear. I can't really pretend that it will work out fine anymore, and the moving-again part does not appear to be so daunting when I consider the trade-off of finding a place that would really work for us. I'm not saying we're putting the house for sale tomorrow (God no!), I'm not saying that it will even be in the next year.
But I think you can all guess the conclusion we've come to. See for yourself.
(Disclaimer: I know this could seem like a First World problem, like boo-hoo, this poor two-good-salaries-family who needs bigger closets and a bigger garage to put all of their stuff. I know some people really can't be picky about the place they live, and cannot even aspire do that one day. I've lived in Europe, where families of four sometimes share a one-bedroom apartment because that's all they can afford in the city. I'm aware we've got it good, due to a combination of professional luck, hard work, and the real estate market in Montreal not having gone crazy yet. I'm aware just owning your own place is something of a luxury. I don't really have anything else to say except that I don't think we're being unreasonable either, and that it doesn't really seem like a good enough reason to stay.)
- Great neighborhood
- Affordable for location and space
- Beautiful hardwood floors
- Mature trees
- Garden now has many plants, shrubs and trees I always wanted.
- Not enough closet space
- Kitchen is dated and not very functional
- Bathroom is small for family of four
- Lacking storage
- No character whatsoever
- Entryway is small and awkward, cramped between two flights of stairs, with no closet. Always scared LP will fall down, and he has twice.
More major problems:
- No A/C, some rooms poorly insulated despite a certain investment on our part (insulating the garage, changing the windows…) This leads to unnecessary energy costs.
- At least one room missing, preferably two or three (kid room upstairs + playroom and gym/music room in basement would be ideal))
- Garage/work area too small (since we brought the Mustang in M has lost his workshop, and this is something that’s really important for him. We love the car and want to make it a long-term project, but as of now there’s no place to work on it, or do anything else (like forcing plants during the winter, etc.), for that matter).
- High-traffic street, with cars and buses going by way too fast.
- The yard and the pool are by far the main, unfixable problem. The pool is a 30 year-old massive concrete hole. I used to think swimming pools, like closets, could never be too big, but I was wrong (and I really don’t understand the era’s reasoning behind having a semi-Olympic diving place in one’s smallish yard). The pool has been nothing but a very high-maintenance, costly source of problems and worry (small kids!) for the past five years. Having it filled is both really expensive and a sure way to waste a whole summer while wrecking the rest of your yard and the neighbor’s because of the heavy machinery they need to bring in, so status quo it is. Since it’s so big and unheated, the water is never quite warm enough and we get very little enjoyment out of it (this summer has been the welcome exception, though). To top it off, since it takes up 90% of the yard, LP doesn’t really have a place to play, and we don’t have space for anything (no swings, no sandbox, etc.)
- A big(ger) yard, space for the kids to run around!
- A place for a good vegetable patch. I only have a few things in containers, and it’s great, but I really want more, if only to increase our family’s source of fresh and organic produce.
- A sizeable shed, for storage but also for M to fix things, make furniture, restore antiques or other similar projects he loves doing but can't anymore.
- An in-suite bathroom and/or powder room
- A breakfast nook or place to have an extra table for homework/projects/puzzles and games, etc.
- A mud room
- Some architectural character or charm (doesn’t have to be grand, just interesting… In general I find new homes and newly built areas a bit soulless), with some curb appeal.
- A place that simply has a better flow and is more functional, promoting better organization/clutter control.