As most of you know, we sold our house this summer and moved into a temporary rental home while we looked for a new place.  And, it’s been interesting.  Our old house was 2,400 sq. ft. , after all, which is pretty darn big compared to the 1,168 sq. ft. rental we’ve been living in.  Regardless, I’ve enjoyed this small space aside from a few challenges.  It’s been fun!  I really like having the kid’s bedrooms so close to the kitchen and living room.  In addition, this place has been super easy to clean!  If you want to read about our move or house shopping adventures, you can find them here:

The Small House Experiment…In Pictures

Thoughts on Small House Living

House Shopping: Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget

Buying a House: HOA Fees and Other Shenanigans

Anyway, after looking at over 50 houses, I am relieved and excited to announce that we finally found the house we’re looking for, put in an offer, and struck a deal.  Here are the details:

  • Price: $188,500
  • Interest Rate: 3.5 %
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 2.5
  • Lot Size: .33 of an acre

Yep, those are the basics.  Basically, it’s about 400 square feet smaller than our old house, and about $28,500 more expensive.  Why, you ask?  Because it’s one of the cheapest houses in an extremely nice neighborhood in one of the highest rated school systems in the state.  Yep, that costs money.  We could, of course, choose to live a little further away from Greg’s work and find cheaper housing.  But, he doesn’t want to commute and we like the walkability of this place.  And since we’re too cheap to pay for private schools, this is the easiest way for us to get them into an excellent school district.

A few weeks ago, I talked about crazy HOA fees and ugly sheds, and I’m happy to report that our new house has an HOA that I feel comfortable with.  The neighborhood has two community pools, several parks, tennis courts, and basketball courts.  One of the pools is only a block from our new house as well, which will be awesome when I can walk the kids there this summer.  Our new HOA fee is $360 per year including access to the pools and parks and maintenance of the common areas.  In addition, a friend from high school lives in the neighborhood and I was able to ask her if the HOA had ever gone on a crazy power trip.  Fortunately, she said that there are no shenanigans, power trips, or power-hungry soccer moms to deal with.

House Remodeling Plans

Although this house isn’t cheap, it was pretty much a steal when we compared the recently sold homes in the neighborhood.  It was actually hard to find any comps less than $250,000 since most of the homes in the neighborhood are bigger and more expensive.  But, there’s a reason why this house was so cheap.  It’s kind’ve a fixer.  Nothing crazy, but it does need some cosmetic updates.  And so far, this is what we’ve decided we are going to do:

  • New Carpet
  • New Floor in Office
  • New Kitchen Countertops (they look nice in the pictures but they are mismatched and cracked)
  • Some added built-in storage in the kitchen
  • Paint

Things I love About It:

Our new house isn’t perfect.  First, it’s at the very top of the size range we were looking in (1,500 s.f.-2,000 s.f.).  And in addition to that, the house does need work.  Regardless, there are many redeeming qualities about the place that I am ecstatic about:

  • The house is tucked back in a neighborhood, away from all major roads
  • The guest bedrooms all have plenty of room for furniture and queen-sized mattresses
  • The house has pull-down access to an attic and built-in garage shelving
  • It already has a fancy reverse osmosis water filtration system
  • It is within walking/biking distance of so much stuff
  • The property taxes are surprisingly low
  • It’s 5 minutes from Greg’s work and 2 minutes from the grade school


master bedroom


master bathroom

kitchen new

Yes, I do realize that the house is half tan/half green in the picture of the back.  They just painted all of the wood siding and our pictures were taken in the middle of the process. I’m happy to report that the house is now brick and dark green with white trim.

How Does Affect Our Finances?

Unfortunately, our new house costs a little more than our old one.  Fortunately, we are transferring almost all of the equity from our old home into this one and continuing on the path to utter and devastating mortgage murder.  We’re doing a 15 year mortgage and plan on prepaying it as much as possible without sacrificing our retirement savings and other goals.

It’s weird….we were so stressed out about selling our old home and moving.  But now I can honestly say that I think it’s all for the better.  We’ll be in a better school district, in a nicer neighborhood, and nearby almost anything we could want to do.  I love our new town and I think we will love this new house once we fix it up a little.  We get possession on January 6th….and I cannot wait!

Would you pay more for a better school district?  What size house do you feel would work best for your family?