Welcome to a piece of our sweet journey of life. This blog is about our family life-- my husband, my type 1 diabetic kindergartner, my spunky pre-schooler, my newborn baby girl, and myself! Enjoy!

Friday, February 19, 2016

What We're Looking for in a House

Our house has been on the market now for about 8 1/2 months.  Pretty typical time line these days.  We had briefly put our house on the market in April of 2014.  We received one offer in June of 2014 and the buyers pulled out of their contract.  In August 2014, we took our house off the market.  Our oldest son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes two days later. God protected us during that time in our lives.  He knew it would be way too stressful to have our house on the market while we were in the throes of learning diabetes care.

Fast forward nearly one year to the end of May 2015.  We chose to put our house back on the market.  Aaron and I had painted both of our bathrooms a bright white in March and April 2015.  We had our patio screened in to create a screened porch in September 2014.  We felt like it was time to put our house back out there.  Within two weeks time, we lowered the price by $7,000.  We really wanted to sell.  Another month passed and we lowered the price by another $1,000.  We had a few lookers within the first couple months, then things slowed to a crawl.  In October, we had an eager couple come look at the house and we received an offer.  It was low.  We bantered back and forth for a week, but we couldn't come to an agreement.  A few more lookers rounded out 2015.  We've had two showings this year so far.  We're debating lowering our price again by another thousand or so.  They're building two new homes across the street from us and a couple lots down.  That tells me that someone thinks living in this area is desirable, right?

Aaron and I have made another home improvement and are going to make a few more home improvements over the next week (hopefully one week will be sufficient!)  About two weeks ago, my dad came over and installed a new faucet for our kitchen sink.  An updated faucet was something I had been thinking about since we were first looking to buy a house back in 2010.  I'm surprised it took me over 5 years to actually do it!  We love our new faucet and now I know how easy it would be to replace a faucet in our next place (I say "easy" like I'm the one that did it-- although that's hardly true.  I observed and I cleaned out some pipe while my dad and Aaron installed the faucet.  But it looked fairly easy, and we paid my dad with a chocolate chess pie and homemade lasagna.)   :)

Tonight, we went to Home Depot and bought cabinet/drawer pulls for each cabinet and drawer in our kitchen and bathrooms.  We currently have no cabinet/drawer hardware at all.  I believe we got a really good deal.  We picked these (or at least something very similar) and Aaron says he can install them tomorrow afternoon or Sunday evening.  Cabinet/drawer pulls are something we've thought about doing before-- pre-kids and when we didn't have a "home improvement budget."  I'm glad we both agreed that it could spruce up our kitchen, and I'm glad we decided just to go for it and stop hemming and hawing about it.

We also bought some caulk and a caulk gun to fix our bathroom shower/tub trim.  When we painted, we inadvertently used a putty scraper instead of a paint scraper, to scrape stray paint marks from our shower/tub combos in our bathrooms.  The putty scraper didn't have as sharp of an edge as a paint scraper has, and it kind of messed up the trim between the shower/tub combo and the wall. We are hoping that a fresh line of caulk will make things look seamless again.

Finally, we bought a gallon of fresh white paint for one of our spare bedrooms, which is currently my office for work.  When we bought our house, we decided to keep one room painted blue (as the previous owner's had left it), and we decided to paint the remaining spare bedroom ourselves.  This room was designated as the "man room" and we went with a Detroit Red Wings theme since that's Aaron's favorite hockey team.  We chose "Wing White" and "Wing Red" from Glidden.  We painted the room "Wing White" (which is really just a can of Glidden white paint in your choice of finish-- satin, high gloss, eggshell, etc).  We then painted a "Wing Red" stripe about 14 inches wide around the center of the room.  Then we hung a Pavel Datsyuk Fathead on the wall, and also hung the accompanying Red Wings symbol Fatheads around the room.  Needless to say, this was a very personalized space.  Aaron outgrew the need for a "man room" and when Noah was born, this room became his bedroom.  Then when I had the opportunity to work from home, I needed a designated office space.  Noah benefited from moving into Michael's room to share with him, and I took over the spare room as an office.  I don't really mind looking at a bright red stripe along the wall as I work, but we both recognize that this room is a bit too personalized for potential buyers.  After all, we live nowhere near Detroit, and although we're not Alabama football fans (Auburn Tigers all the way! War Eagle!), we recognize that the bright red isn't the crimson hue that Alabama fans desire in a "fan room"-- so we don't really have hope that the room will appeal to a potential buyer who might be an Alabama fan.  It certainly won't appeal to any fellow Auburn fans who sport orange and navy.  So, we bought a can of Glidden "paint & primer in one" in the eggshell finish.  We also looked up how to save the Fathead decals to preserve them for our next house. The plan is to remove the Fathead decals and paint over the red stripe this week.

We will then take pictures of the improved spaces and send them to our realtor to update the pictures on our listing.

I have high hopes for these improvements!  It's nice to be able to make the home more functional for us as we wait to sell it.  Each home improvement gives me a little boost as we endure these days while we wait.

So, since our house has been on the market for a while, we've had lots of time to think about what we really want in our next place.

We've toyed with wanting acreage.  We've thought it might be nice, instead, to be in a subdivision with streets our kids could ride bikes on, etc, as they grew.  We have debated choosing an older home, and we've thought about picking out a newer build.

We know for sure what school district we want to be in, so that keeps our area pretty tight where we're looking.  The schools around here keep growing, so the school zone lines are semi-liquid.  We know we don't want to pick a home that's near the current school zone border because we don't want to have to switch schools partway through elementary, middle, or high school for the boys.  When Michael goes to school, he will have an individual education plan due to his Type One Diabetes.  I really don't want to have to re-hash all of that in a different school if we chose to live on the school zone border and had to change schools.  Therefore, we want to be safely in the middle of the zone for the school where we want our boys to attend.

We also know for sure that we need cable internet.  Working from home requires me to have cable internet.  Satellite internet just won't do. It's not an approved source of internet accessibility due to its speed.  Some newer subdivisions in the area have not provided cable internet services, and rely only on satellite.  This automatically rules them out for us.  We have to be certain that our new place has cable internet-- otherwise, I'd have to return to working in the office on a daily basis and I don't want to do that!  My schedule working from home is so conducive to being available for my children's needs, that it would totally throw a wrench in the plan if I had to return to the office everyday.  This necessity for cable internet has led us to look at more established streets, and therefore, older homes, since not all newer subdivisions have cable internet capability.

It's so funny to think about what was important for us when we were first looking for a home.  We wanted brick-- no questions asked.  We wanted a flat lot, because we were thinking about starting a family and wanted a nice place for kids to play.  We wanted a fenced lot.  We wanted a master bedroom closet that wasn't attached to the master bathroom.  I wanted a regular window with blinds in the master bathroom, rather than a frosted window.  (Why? I have no idea, but I remember wanting it that way).  In our first home here, we got everything on our wish list.

We wanted to live about 20 minutes away from our parents.  Check.  Well now, I'd like to live 3 minutes away from them.  Driving 20 minutes everyday to pick up my boys is a lot.  I'd like to just trot down the road, pick them up, and be home within 15 minutes of initially leaving the house. :)

We wanted brick.  Well, now we don't care if it's brick, siding, whatever.

We wanted a flat lot with grassy play space.  Although we'd still like a grassy area, we don't mind having a few hills because we have two young boys and we know they're going to want to explore outside all day long in a couple of years.  Hills are fun!

We still want a fenced lot since we have kids and two dogs.  But it doesn't matter to us whether it's privacy fence or chain link, etc.  We know that a fence is always something we can improve later if we choose to.

I no longer care if the master closet is attached to the master bathroom.  I'd just like to have a nice bathroom and a nice closet.

I don't care if the window in the bathroom is frosted.  If it is, I'd probably still put some kind of blind or curtain or valence in the middle of it, anyway.

We're much more flexible now.

I have a fantastic amount of kitchen cabinets in this house, and that's something I'd like to keep in our next house.

We now know that we can hire a contractor to install a screened porch, and we know we can change out faucets and paint colors and use carpet shampooers, etc.  I think we're in a good spot to pick a home that offers the square footage we want (and if not, then at least offers a lot from which we can add onto the house), and potentially this next home could be it for us.  We are looking with future intentions-- can we make this what we want it to be over time?  Can this new place be our forever home and accommodate us as our family grows?

We're going into this with "flexible" on our minds.

Fingers crossed and prayers rising in the hopes that our house will sell soon!

Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba


  1. Exciting! Sounds so fun to think about a new house! I hope yours sells soon. When do you get to start looking at homes for sale?

    1. Our realtor says she'll take us to look at homes once we have a contract on our house from someone who wants to buy it. Such a long process!