Urban Family Living
Background Illustrations provided by: http://edison.rutgers.edu/

My children love playing the “would you rather…” game and usually the options are rather bizarre.  Would you rather be in a bathtub with a snake or in a pool with an alligator?  Would you rather lose an eye or an arm?  Their game has inspired me to try a house-hunting edition.

So many people want to be property developers.  Let’s play virtual property developer, shall we?  I’ve been looking at investment properties in our budget because we have sold our home.  Usually it takes me ages of searching to find something I like.  Here are two options that I’ve been seen.

Option 1:  In-Town House

This house is an older cape-style house.  It’s currently laid out as a 3 bedroom/2 bath home with a little garage on the side.  It’s sweet and very typical for Cape Cod.

photo 2

It’s been well-maintained but needs a style refresh.  For example, the kitchen is in desperate need of updating.  The pine cabinets, vinyl tiles and track-lighting are giving me the heebie-jeebies.  The poor little pink flower isn’t doing much to add cheer to this room.

photo 1

The bedrooms are small and somewhat oddly-shaped because of the little dormer windows.  If I lived here, I would be permanently banging my head onto one of the ceiling slopes.  Fixing this issue would involve making the dormers bigger.

There is room to make this a bigger 4 bedroom/3 bathroom house with a pool.  There is a large sunny, lawn with mature planting which is all very pretty.

photo 1

This house would rent easily because of its proximity to the beach and to facilities like restaurants, shopping etc.  In fact, it is currently a rental property which is rented all summer with a good income stream.

Option 2:  Sea-View House

This contemporary house is in a great location and has an amazing view.  It is 4 beds and 3 baths, all of which are good sizes and well-located.

photo 4

This house is described by the estate agent as a “house for now”.  In other words, the ocean is encroaching and the cliffs are crumbling away a little bit every year.  You may be lucky and you may not have to move the house further back from the cliff for 20 years or so.  There is space to move the house further back on the land.  You don’t want to move it though until you see which way the cliff is falling in order to maximise the views.

Currently you can walk right up to the edge of the cliff.  There’s a sheer drop on the other side where the lawn ends.  So not family-friendly.

Need I say the interior views are to die for as well?

photo 3

The house comes with its own private beach within walking distance.

photo 1

The house needs some minor refurbishment.  The major work will come in the long run when it gets picked up and moved to the back of the lot.  Apparently, it’s pretty easy to move houses, especially if they are built on basements such as this house.  You just dig a new foundation/basement, move utilities, lift up the old house and plunk it on the new foundation.  Easy peasy.

With the sea views, private beach and a large house, this house would earn a much higher rental than the the previous house.  It would have limited resale value, however, as the current owners are finding out.  They are selling the house for the same price they bought it for in 1998.  Of course, you are taking the risk that the house falls into the sea next year and you don’t actually make the rental killing you were planning.

The Game

As for the rules of the game, you need to pick between these two options.  These options are the whole universe.  Assume for the purposes of the game, that both houses cost exactly the same price.

What would I pick?  The house with a water view.  I’m a risk-taker and it’s a good income-producer for as long as it lasts.  I also don’t believe in inherited wealth so I have no interest in leaving a home for posterity.  Like some other people who’ve made the news (Philip Seymour Hoffman springs to mind), I believe children who have it too cushy have nothing to aspire towards.  Indeed, I’ve already told my children I’m planning on spending their inheritance and then some extra for good measure!

So, over to you, what would you do? Why?  Would you rather have a sedate in-town home or a gorgeous but potentially troubled home with a water view?  Please tick your choice in the poll below and feel free to leave comments as well.

Would You Rather…? The Home Edition My children love playing the “would you rather…” game and usually the options are rather bizarre.  Would you rather be in a bathtub with a snake or in a pool with an alligator?  

Today is moving day.  The movers are at the house packing up our daily life into boxes.

girl with luggage

Why the move?  I was heavily influenced by fellow blogger Doris Lee who writes at Diary of An Interior Novice.  In a post back in April (right before Easter holidays), she mentioned some great advice she had been given on marriage by a former colleague.  She was told to create a joint bucket list with her husband for what you as a couple want to accomplish whether in one year, 5 years or 10 years down the road.  I discussed this idea with Mr. N and he could not contain his enthusiasm for a “lets-talk-about-our-future-talk”.

Mr. N couldn’t avoid the topic though when he got stuck in a car with me on our 7 hour road trip from Pennsylvania down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina over Easter. He and I realised we didn’t even know what we wanted out of life in the next year never mind further down the road.  We’d just gotten into this habit of drifting happily towards whatever waited us next.

welcome to north carolina

We did agree that our family time together was most important and that we simply did not get enough of it.   The solution to this problem was relatively simple.  Sell our house in Belsize Park and downsize which is part of the 1 year plan.  We would then be in a position to figure out our next move without the pressure of a mortgage.  I would love to do a round-the-world-trip with the children but, somehow, I think that is part of the 10 year plan.  Baby steps.

Enough introspection, so let’s focus on the positives of our soon-to-be-empty home.  Our garden is looking glorious with all the sunshine London has been having.

The wisteria is growing long and I love the little jungle attitude it’s got, like it thinks it’s a bad-ass jungle vine.

overgrown wisteria

The front planters are sprouting flowers everywhere.  I love the pink colour against the dark grey. They are already beginning to fade in this heat though.  I should be thinking ahead to winter colour  and to putting in spring bulbs and winter bedding plants. That would make our garden pretty even in the dark grey days of winter when the sky matches our trellis paint.

I hope the new owners keep up the summer planting and think ahead to putting in spring bulbs and winter bedding.  Good-bye flowers!  Good-bye house!  Thank you for the memories.

You Can’t Go Home Again Today is moving day.  The movers are at the house packing up our daily life into boxes.

A Return To Regular Programming

A Return To Regular Programming

fresh flowers in tin cans

]I can’t believe I’ve not blogged in 3 weeks.  Seriously, I had no plans to drop off the face of the Earth at the end of June.  The children finished school at the beginning of July and there was the usual chaos associated with the end of the school year – sports days, school plays and prize giving.  We don’t have sports days and prize giving days in the US. It seems like ritualised public…

View On WordPress