Apparently, his company had just sold a house in our area. There were five offers over asking price. So he was going around our neighborhood to see if there were other people thinking about selling.
When he was studiously learning real estate law, I wonder if he ever thought that he’d end up a door-to-door salesman.
I told him we were very happy here. Being the salesman that he is, he pitched one last line: “Do you consider this your dream home?”
One of the most important tactics in sales, I’ve been told, is to ask questions that you know you’ll get the “right” answer to.
That was definitely the smart query because almost anyone looking at the outside of our house would know this is no one’s dream home (by the standard definition).
It’s a perfectly nice house but there are, even from the front, some cosmetic issues. The guys who did our paint job when we moved in didn’t scrape as much of the original paint as they probably should’ve. And redoing the masonry wall/fence doors meant removing an old post, so there’s a small section of gray up against the rest of the house’s bright blue.
The yard is bare dirt with, currently, several small patches of weeds cropping up. The front window, as already discussed, is old and kind of unsightly.
And while a perfectly decent size (around 1500 square feet plus a garage), it’s not really big enough to be most people’s idea of a dream home.
So it was highly unlikely I’d say yes.
Because it’s not
My dream home would be probably about 2,200 square feet. It would have double pane windows for maximum energy efficiency and a bit more security (and to maybe dampen the sounds of the shrieking children in the park).
My dream home would have solid doors to help block noise so that I didn’t have to have a white noise machine and two fans on when Tim wants to watch TV out in the living room.
My dream home would have a master bedroom at least 50 square feet bigger so that a large bed and two dressers didn’t take up most of the available space.
My dream home would have a non-claustrophobia-inducing “master” bathroom, so that I wouldn’t have to press up against the sink to let Tim by me. (And it’d have a lovely tile shower instead of a stained fiberglass shell.) And the main bathroom would be a bit bigger and better laid out. And have a tub that didn’t have any flaking and that had a nicer surround.
My dream home would have better delineation between the living room and dining room, and the kitchen would be a separate room, rather than just being divided from the dining room by a bit of countertop.
My dream home’s kitchen would also be a bit bigger, so that you didn’t end up up against the opposite counter top in order to open the wall oven door all the way. In fact, the kitchen would have a regular range rather than an expensive-to-replace wall oven that must be at least 25 years old.
My dream home’s hallway would be more than four feet wide and probably a little taller too.
My dream home wouldn’t have a masonry wall extension that’s a different color than the rest of the wall. And the concrete on the back patio and side walkway wouldn’t be uneven thanks to the ineptitude of a previous DIY owner.
And my dream home would have attractive landscaping out front rather than bare dirt. At the very least, it’d have rocks covering the front yard.
We can replace the doors and windows. We can even landscape the front yard if we really want. (Though we probably don’t because weeds still crop up, and then you run the risk of the weedwhacker sending a rock into one of your nice, expensive windows.)
We can get (and will) get the house repainted in the next year or two. I already found a guy who should have very reasonable prices.
And we don’t really need to both be in the “master” bathroom that much, except when we’re showering together. And the small space there doesn’t really bother us.
And we don’t use the kitchen much at all, so it doesn’t really matter that it’s small. Plus there’s a ton of cabinet space,. More than most kitchens have. Plus, I’m still inordinately pleased with my funky cabinet makeover.
And the living room bleeding into the dining room does lend itself to being feeling a bit more spacious.
And the main bathroom’s tub aesthetics don’t matter because only our very sporadic company uses it, and even then it’s just to shower. And the room’s layout is perfunctory but no one really cares.
And the master bedroom may be a bit small, but there’s still enough space to move around.
And we don’t really care about the concrete, except in one spot where there’s a lip that I’m always a bit afraid Nadine or Marc will trip over. It’s on the list of things to deal with.
And we don’t really need an extra 500 to 700 feet of space. It’d be nice, but it’d also mean an increase in utility bills. And property taxes.
My real dream home
My real dream home is three bedrooms: our room, a guest room and an office. It has enough space to not feel too cluttered, but not so much that I stress out even more about how little we clean.
My real dream home has an affordable mortgage, so that we can pay it in even in the worst case scenarios without it eating up all available money. It has a lower property value to ensure low property taxes.
My real dream home’s mortgage is so low that we can pay even a bit extra each month and vastly speed up the payoff date. Which will allow us to save for some rental property to bolster income in our old age.
My real dream home is conveniently situated for our bad days.
That’s our home
Our home has three bedrooms. Each one at least 130 square feet. Not huge, but not tiny. Especially now that, thanks to Mom, the guest room is decluttered and doesn’t feel so small.
Our home has 1,500 square feet (plus a garage) which is plenty, especially for just two people.
Our home’s mortgage is a ridiculous $541.42 a month. That includes property taxes (around $1,100 a year) and insurance (around $800 a year).
Our home is one mile away from Walgreens and a Home Depot. It’s about three miles from a mall and library. There are two grocery stores within four miles. There’s a discount movie theater three miles away and a regular theater about a mile after that.
There’s a park literally next door, which lets Nadine take walks and which was great when I still exercised outdoors. It’ll be great again if we can ever get into the habit of taking Pandora for regular (if short) walks. Failing that, there’s a dog park just two miles down the road.
And most of our favorite restaurants are less than five miles away.
So yes and no
The dreamer in me has a much different idea of a dream house. She’d say no, this home isn’t it.
But the practical (and frugal) side of me — which is about 98% of my brain — says that this is the perfect house for us. It’s certainly the one our budget dreams of.
What would your dream house look like? Realistically, is your current place (rented or otherwise) better?