Our house is just fine. It really is. Our search for a house is mostly a buy low strategy, as in taking advantage of the current down market. If we can swing it, then we'll hold onto our current house until the market improves. In addition to taking advantage of the market situation, there are some other goals we'd like to attain:
1. More space. We have about 1,800 sq feet now. Not bad, but we would like a little more space for storage (indoor or garage).
2. When S's parents stay with us, the house feels REALLY small. All of the bedrooms are within a few steps of each other & we have poor insulation, so we can hear them snoring at night. We can even hear Miss J snoring at night, and she sleeps in the room furthest from us. The main bath upstairs (not the master bath, the main bath that guests use) is right up against our bedroom. So we get to hear doors opening and closing, bathroom noises, etc., ALL NIGHT LONG when they're with us. They tend to stay with us for 2 weeks, and the cramped quarters may have something to do with why we are all itching for the visit to finish as the two weeks wind down. A good start would be for the main bath to NOT be against the master bedroom.
3. More division of the bedrooms, i.e., put the in-laws (or other guests) in their own space with their own bathroom to give them a retreat-like feel.
4. We'd like a view. A water view would be very nice.
5. Our garage connects to our family room, so every time you come into the house from the garage, you walk right through the family room. It's a very awkward traffic pattern.
The thing is that our current house has a lot of good features that we don't necessarily want to give up.
* Nice neighborhood - location, location, location. We have the least expensive house in a neighborhood with houses that are much more expensive.
* Spacious kitchen - there's a lot of room to move around.
* Huge pantry and since I buy 72 cans of Progresso soup at a time, we definitely use the space.
* 4 bedrooms
* Okay closet space, including a nice walk-in master closet
We do know that since we'd like a view home that we'll have to compromise some.
Today our real estate agent was pushing us to look at two homes. We really weren't keen on either. They both compromise too much. The first home we ended up not seeing because it didn't meet our needs. It had a GREAT view, but it was 3 bed/2 bath. There was a bedroom on the main level with a full bathroom. The problem was that there were only 2 bedrooms on the upper floor, and they shared a bathroom. Since Miss J will likely have the bedroom next to us (which would put guests down below), we'd be sharing a bathroom with her. Not what we want. It was only 3 bedrooms, it didn't have a family room/den/other bedroom, so it was short on space while technically being a bit bigger than our current home.
We did look at another house. This one also had an incredible view. The view was on the side of the house. So from the driveway you have a killer view, just like in the backyard (though the front yard has a more unobstructed view). The master also has a view, but that's it. It's technically 3 bedrooms, but there is a den. That makes it okay. There are some serious drawbacks.
*Drawback 1: They converted 1 of the 2 garages into a bedroom and 3/4 bath. So it was one lone garage. Not cool. Then the conversion they did was whacked. The garage connects to the utility room. So if you're going from the laundry room to the garage, you pass through the room. There's no door to the room separate from the laundry room and garage. So if you open the laundry room door to go into the garage, you're stepping right past a shower stall (exposed to foot traffic), a small room, a sink, and a door to a toilet (thank goodness you have a door if you choose to pee). So while it technically is an additional room and bathroom, it's not really usable for guests unless you do not want to get to the garage.
*Drawback 2: The main bath is right next to the master. It's even worse than our current house. In our current house, the main bath is along the wall our dresser is on. In this house, the main bath is right next to where the headboard for the bed would be. Oh yay, I really want to hear everything that goes on in that bathroom.
*Drawback 3: The kitchen. It's tiny. The pantry's tiny. They did remodel the kitchen, and what they did is very taste-specific...and not our taste. They got these antique-looking cabinets (i.e., they painted their old cabinets), painted them cream, and then stenciled crap on them. They put a blacksplash up to the ceiling (why???). It's this black-and-white geometric stuff that, again, is not our taste.
We wanted to see a third house. It's huge, but it will need a lot of work. It's a good price, though, since it's a short sale. The owners don't seem all that cooperative - they're basically living there without paying a mortgage waiting for it to go into foreclosure. We would really like to get into that one. Maybe this week?