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Old 01-31-2011, 05:05 PM
392 posts, read 719,902 times
Reputation: 330


We bought our first home in the 'burbs about 2 years ago, and well, are considering moving back.

House itself is nice and suits us well, so it's not really buyers remorse. But the upkeep (time, effort and cost), commute and life style are bummers.

House is in decent shape, but there are "things that always happen" (whatever leaked), it needs updating (electricity, old carpets etc), even though it's liveable and enjoyable as is, plus few cosmetic issues (new painting, taking off wallpaper) - that are not huge projects per se, but combined with everything else they are the feathers that break camel's back

Utilities are much more expensive than we thought they would be.

We are not much of gardeners, and while I love beautiful lansdscaping, I see it only as a chore and added expense (weather I do it or hire someone)

Both dh and I are urban types, and while he enjoys being away from the city for a while, he is also the one who goes to Boston much more often than I do.
As for me, driving all the way to Boston to take a walk downtown seems silly and expensive, but there are not many walkable places in the area. In fact, people don't walk - they drive. I prefer walking as more enjyable thing to do, as well as least expensive. From being barely one car household (used car for dh's work, and occasioanl bigger shopping trips), we became 2 car household, with lots of mileage. Again, *I* see it as an expence, not a convenience or a luxury.

I also have hard time finding work in the 'burbs, but had a few options in the city. They didn't pay much, but I could juggle kids and PT work quite well, and actually managed to earn more than daycare would cost me.

I find the house is a tad too big for us, and would be happier with a smaller condo (less to clean as well ), but we also spend qite a lot of time at home (dh works from home a lot), and need some of extra space, that other people might find excessive.

With all that in mind, a condo close to public transportation and in an area with good schools could be all we need.

I love Brookline area, Brighton, some parts of JP...

But is that move financially sane thing to do right now?

We bought our house at a decent price, have very good rate, and looks like we could sell it for even slightly more than we paid, and there's a chance to come out even. But there's another chance as well! and we don't have any other money to bu a condo other than house money. (We have lots of equity though, had a 60% downpayment) Our house costs roughly as much as a condo close to city.

But then - the move! The buying process! Kids! We have nowhere to go if we are caught inbetween houses. If we have a contingency "subject to seller finding suitable housing" it might be a very tough sell.

Plus, having house on the market is quite an endeavor, and we nibbled on some redecorating projects (meaning, we started here and there, but didn't finish - all that will have to be done before putting house on the market), and we are exhausted from other projects, work etc.

So, do we toughen up and wait?
Do we toughen up and move?

Are there any additional questions we shoudl ask ourselves now?

Sorry it turned out so long. Thank you for reading and would appreciate any comments and suggestions!
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:51 PM
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We moved several times and it got harder and harder for one specific reason: the age of our children. You mentioned kids and schools but no specifics. Are they old enough to voice an opinion and if so will you care :-)?
Don't get me wrong, I think it is great for kids to grow up in a city. There is a lot of things in the way of culture and arts that the suburbs don't have. But they do have neighborhood schools, classmates that are also your neighbors, backyards and bicycle trips, ball games and BBQs. Maybe if your kids are young they will not mind moving, and it would be good for your family. Only you can decide. Moving is extremely stressful, it is always more expensive than you think. But if you are not happy where your are right now it might be worth it. Good luck!
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Old 01-31-2011, 06:09 PM
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Hmmm. Sounds like you have made your mind up that you need to move. The only question is timing. It's harder to move the kids as they get older so I say no time like the present. Obviously the best case scenario is you sell and buy at the same time and maybe you can make that happen. I'd say the contingency is a good idea but if a solid buyer balks, rethink it at that time. Any undone projects, take the lousy weather to finish and put the house on the market in spring.

So my answer is toughen up and move and enjoy living in a place that is more suited to your lifestyle. The single family home in the 'burbs is not for everyone and now you know that it's not for you. Good luck!
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Old 01-31-2011, 06:11 PM
392 posts, read 719,902 times
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Thank you for your input - and I do agree, moving is a big stress. My dh said, he'll need 5 years to unwind from our last move (3 more to go, I guess). It was easier to move from apartment to apartment when we were renting.

My kids are still young, oldest started kindergarten this year. Truth be told, we are still in the process of making new friends. I feel people have more secluded and private lfe style in the burbs, it was easy for me making new friends on a playground in Boston...I actually befriended 2 new families last year while we were in Boston for errands and stopped by at a playground, yet I'm still not on first name terms with many of classmates' parents. Everybody is very nice, friendly, and polite, but I have hard time making actual friends.

At this pont, kids arestill too young to influence our decision too much, but we certainly think about what they would prefer, if not now than in the future. But I also felt that I was taking them places much more often when we were in the city, and there's more meaningful things to do in Fall / Winter when weather is bad (theaters, museums, last minute tickets etc). Here everybody goes to the mall... Nothing wrong with that of course, but Im not a mall crawler.

I guess I just don't fit in as well, but did't think it might be such an issue down the road.
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Old 01-31-2011, 06:23 PM
392 posts, read 719,902 times
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Beachcomber4, thank you for your insight I think "I" made up my mind - a while ago to be frank. But dh didn't.Problem is less real estate related, as I see it now. I'm ready to admit it wasn't the best move for us, and make a change. He is ready to admit, but not ready to move.
I bring financial issue in, because I think that in the long run it might be cheaper for us to live in the city. We can sell second car, save on maintenane (even though condo fee seems to be high, it's a saving for us).

You are so right about timing, especially when we are talking about kids. It'll be easy for thrm now. But later on, when friendships are deeper? It's not a huge distance though, we could keep seeing their friends in the burbs...
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:13 AM
234 posts, read 520,737 times
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I can relate. We moved out of the city 7 years ago, before (2) kids and a few years later I wanted to move back. However, with where I was working at the time, condo prices in the city being sky high and us not being able to swing it at the time, here were are. Like you, I like our house. I love our location, our neighbors, local friends we've made, walkability and proximity to transit- we're a one car family. However, I also love actually being in the city- rather go to a museum than a mall. I just feel the city calling again and it is a possibility for us, even a better move for my husband's commute and my work (home right now).

So...the big thing for me would be schools- our son is going to be entering kindergarten soon- do you send your kids to private school? Because, if not, then I would definitely consider Brookline over JP or Brighton. The other thing is outdoor space. We have .1 acres, so it's not much, but it's definitely something, and being a lover of nature and proponent of kids (and adults!) getting outside, I'm having a hard time thinking about giving up outdoor space, which is why if we do move back into the city, I'd hope to get something with some outdoor space, be it a very small yard or patio- a condo in a two or three family? I love just having them to be able to go outside on a whim- hard to do if you're on the third floor of a building with no yard.

If you really want it and can do it financially then I say go for it. You're much better off than we are because we're definitely not going to come out even on the sale of our house!
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:25 AM
249 posts, read 742,514 times
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You echo a generation: No McMansions for Millennials - Yahoo! Real Estate

If you can do it now, go for it. It will only get harder with time.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:39 AM
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I'm not trying to be person here but...a 60% down payment! I know the housing market isn't in good shape but that seems extremely high. I could see 30%.

But I do agree that the maintenance can be a drag. The other thing is back in the day everything was larger but not so much now. Huge album collection..went from LP's...to tapes, to cd's to now mp3's. Books? get a kindle, tons of clothes? spacebag. Tower? try a laptop..lan line? get a cell phone.

Some of the other long term issues deal with aging. If people cannot see well and cannot drive then how are suburbs supposed to work? Plenty of towns in mass don't have sidewalks so unless there is a council of aging with bus service they'll be stranded.
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:40 AM
Location: Sacramento CA
1,342 posts, read 1,645,271 times
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As a generation Y'er, I seek cities as livable solutions or closer knit places where if people move new, its never too late to make friends, but never a place where new people move, but hide away without ever going out much. Being in a far out subdivision or cul de sac designed neighborhood depending on how far it is to stuff (like Milford area for instance, Ashby), you can become a real hermit never wanting to go outside. It is very stiffling. I myself want all these things listed in the article or in this thread.
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Old 02-02-2011, 05:29 AM
234 posts, read 520,737 times
Reputation: 134
Originally Posted by wmass View Post
You echo a generation: No McMansions for Millennials - Yahoo! Real Estate

If you can do it now, go for it. It will only get harder with time.
Interesting. That's very much us. Suburban but very walkable, one car, housing is minimal and we said exactly that we just wanted enough space to have a BBQ! However, we're married and have other families over for dinner/brunch rather than eating in front of the TV
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