I think it's because now I have a more definite idea of what I want and a longer list of things I DON'T want in my next home. I remember when Jerry and I were looking for our first house. Our price range was significantly lower than it is this time around and a lot of the houses in that price range were ones I knew we couldn't live in. There was a weird house that had 2 kitchens (one on the first floor and one on the second) and was a rectangle instead of a square. This might not be weird to other people . . . but to me (I've always lived in square houses and know people who live in square houses) it was the strangest thing ever. I felt like I was at Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory walking down the hall towards that little door that kept getting farther and farther away. I knew I couldn't live there.
Then there was the house that you could see through the floor boards into the basement. We weren't looking for a fixer upper . . . so that one was out. There was one that was up on a hill a little and I felt like I had to lean back when I walked around in it . . . that might have been great for my calf muscles but I doubt I would enjoy feeling like I was going to slide down the bed when I was trying to sleep.
A lot of the houses we looked at really lacked the kind of yard we were hoping to find. A lot of them needed more work than we were willing to put into them. A few of them were in areas that we just didn't want to live in.
When we finally found the house we are in now we thought it was PERFECT! I think that part of the reason we thought it was so awesome was because of all of the BAD houses we had seen. Looking back, we probably did buy the nicest house in the area, in our price range at that time. It had 3 bedrooms and we only needed 1! It had a beautiful big deck and a nice fenced in back yard. You could stand up in the basement (unlike others we looked at). There were only 3 steps to get in the front door and it had a nice front porch. ALL of those things are still true . . . plus, we bought the lot next door when my neighbor's house burned down - so the yard is twice as big now!
However, shortly after we bought the place, I was walking around with my friend, Jason, showing him all of the different rooms and where we were putting this or that. We walked into the room that is now the twins' room and I said, "This is going to be the Computer Room". He laughed and asked where we were going to plug it in! I NEVER noticed that there wasn't a single outlet in that room!!!
Living in this house, which I thought was perfect at the time, has taught me a lot about what is REALLY important when you are looking at houses. So - I give you a list of 10 things that my next house will have! If you are looking for your first house, take these things into consideration because they are more important than you would think!
1. A storage closet on the first floor - we have cute hooks that we hang our coats on right inside the door and I HATE looking at them all of the time (looking at them on the floor after they fall off the hooks). My next house will have a closet that these coats will go in . . . and maybe the vacuum cleaner, too!
2. BIG closets - I never looked at the closet space in this house when we were buying it. I loved so many of the other things that I never REALLY paid attention. Each bedroom does have a closet and there is a closet in the hall but all of them are too small and the Master Bedroom one is just bizarre. The bars go from back to front of the closet instead of left to right. SO MUCH WASTED SPACE! Plus, all the other closets aren't wide enough for a hanger to fit from front to back . . . the hangers actually slide sideways when you close the door.
3. 2 bathrooms . . . ideally 2 and 1/2 - In part, this is due to the fact that I have 4 kids and having 1 bathroom makes mornings insane (just imagine what it's going to be like when we move in with my parents and there is 1 bathroom for 8 of us!). I would like, however, some sort of bathroom/powder room on the first floor so that guests can use it. That way they don't have to walk past every room in the house to use the potty . . . less to worry about cleaning!
4. A built in dishwasher - we have a "portable" one right now and I don't like it. It has done a good job but I really really want a dishwasher that I can load and run without having to put my sink out of commission.
5. Central Air Conditioning - I never had it when I was growing up but I will have it in my next house. The window units we have do a great job of keeping the house cool but they are SO loud!!! I would sometimes have to turn them off so that I could think and the house would heat up pretty quick once I did that.
6. First Floor Laundry - This is something I never thought about when we were buying this house because it was just the 2 of us but carrying laundry baskets up and down the steps for 6 people really stinks.
7. Storage in the bathroom - WAY more important that I realized. The little above the toilet cupboard that we have just doesn't cut it.
8. Hardwood or at least no carpet in the dining room or kitchen - toddlers eating in a room with carpet just wears on the carpet. My carpets are sooo beat. I think it would be SO much easier to use a broom and a swiffer to clean up after dinner than trying to wipe up and vacuum a carpet.
9. An office, den or family room - we NEED an extra room. Right now I use the dining room table for my laptop and all of my files and papers from work are in milk crates in the corner. I need a desk and filing cabinet but we don't have any extra room for it with the kids in both bedrooms.
10. No pine trees - they make a much bigger mess than we anticipated. I'm not saying I don't like trees. I like trees and I like landscaping and I like flowers, bushes and all of that. Pine trees leave needles all over the yard, though, and stepping on one of those bad boys in your bare feet HURTS!
*As a side note . . . . my children are insisting that our next house will have a pool. So, we at least need the yard for a pool even if we don't find a house with a pool.
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