I cheated on our house.

We went to look at another one this afternoon. Not a curiosity visit to an Open House down the street, but an actual appointment with a realtor for a private showing of a recently listed home.

And now I’m home and feeling really guilty about it. Guilty about entertaining the thought of leaving this house behind. Guilty for walking the girls through another space, through bedrooms that can’t hold a candle to their own.

But here’s the thing. I’m really frustrated right now. We’re in a holding pattern on the house project which feels really crappy, and we don’t have a good idea of what the next few months hold on it. With delays come doubt, and with doubt comes anxiety. Are we even doing the right thing? I’m not sure anymore. I’ve had too much time to think.

So when an offhand comment was made about scrapping the expensive and invasive renovation plans and finding another house that already has the things that we are looking to add to our current house, I initially balked at the idea. No way, not a chance.

But the kernel was there, and the thought didn’t leave. The following day I altered my drive home by a couple of blocks and passed a house that we’d always admired with a newly planted For Sale sign in the front yard. Interesting. I forgot about it for a few days, but then remembered it and looked it up. I sent it to M. I called the realtor. We set a time. We saw it today. I feel so guilty.

We’ve always loved houses, and frequently drive and walk through neighborhoods admiring them, wondering about them, talking about how we’d live in them. We love stumbling uponĀ open houses, we used to frequent them when E was little – kind of our Sunday afternoon “thing”. But it’s been a long time since we’ve done that. We’ve been committed to this place and this street and this neighborhood and this city for seventeen years and counting. We have another fourteen or so years before the youngest is through school and college, and I picture us here for at least that amount of time.

This house we saw is large. It has many of the things we love about our current house as well as many of the things our current house lacks. The rooms are gracious and light filled. There is so much potential. There is no kitchen, which sounds strange, but is really perfect. I don’t like most kitchens, and want to do my own, so I don’t want to pay for a kitchen that I have to rip out. That was the main selling point, and the reason we both agreed to set up the appointment.

We aren’t buying the house.

We saw a hundred red flags that signal a significant amount of money in the near future. The house is priced as if these flags don’t exist, but we both see them. We’re difficult buyers, and I freely admitted that in my initial phone call to the realtor. She agreed, and came to our meeting today with a much lower number as a suggestion. After seeing the house in person, she followed up via text with an even lower suggestion. It’s still overpriced. We’ve looked at too many beautiful homes that have been hacked at by owners and flippers doing shoddy work with no plans. It makes me sad. I want to roll back the clock and start with a blank slate like we did here. It’s why we picked ourĀ house. It had good bones, but we had free reign to make it as good as we wanted to, and I think we’ve done that. We’re trying to continue doing that, but it’s taking so long.

I should be patient, but I strayed. My mind moved on, briefly, to a new project. That feeling is intoxicating, and can spiral quickly if not controlled. I just want to work on all the houses, I love them so.

Feeling guilty, feeling stuck. Kind of tricky to navigate on a Saturday night, and thought maybe it would help to write it out.

3 Responses to unfaithful

  1. hmmm. that is a tough one…sorry for the delays — that IS crazy-making. Friday night we drove by a “smaller” house (that costs twice ours, due to its central location). between finances and inertia, it won’t happen. but I say, keep dreaming. you never know. (Now where did I put that lottery ticket?)

    • I actually shared our professional opinions in a followup with the agent. And I think they realize the magnitude of the issues. I just got a text acknowledging them and saying “make a real offer”, which isn’t helping things at all. I want to fix everything, that’s my problem.

  2. Oh, Kristin. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Home renovation is one of the most frustrating things my husband and I have tackled together (and I include parenthood in that list… home renovation might top it frustration wise). We also bought a house that needed kitchens and bathrooms because we wanted to make them our own, and not pay for shoddy flipper kitchens. This was a much smaller scale project than what you are about to tackle, and there were many points where I wanted to throw in the towel. My husband is a perfectionist, and while not an architect or professional builder, he has skills and knowledge an a passion for these things, and works in affordable housing development so experience working on renovation (albeit that is quite different from an individual house), so working with a contractor was really, really tough. He is a tough customer. I remember thinking I just can’t care that much about what the pipes are made out of … or I can deal with the super shiny clawfeet on the tub because they won’t stay that way forever. While he thought my freak out over the light switches the contractor put in was completely unnecessary (I still hate the to this day – but have I switched them out, something I could likely do myself? No).

    But recently, I found out the owner of a house I have admired since we moved here 13 years ago, is now an empty nester. And cleaning out. And considering moving, and my wheels are turning. I want to tell her not to do a thing – but just let us know when she’s ready and we’ll make a fair offer. I don’t want the realtor to choose paint colors or floor finishes or “fix” things… I want to do it. It has a big front porch and a double lot with a big flat open yard on the side perfect for BBQs and games of capture the flag, and I even imagine a tent out there someday to host graduation celebrations – maybe a wedding (see, I’m really projecting well, well into the future). It’s just got so much character and is really only a few blocks away, so not a huge change. My husband thinks I’m crazy, but I walk the dog by this house three times a day dreaming, dreaming and planning. I love my street and neighbors and know with a big purge of the stuff we’ve accumulated over 13 years, 2 kids, 3 cats and a dog, that I could love this house again. But sometimes the clean slate is very tempting!

    I don’t think we’re going anywhere, and I do feel guilty for even imagining it as well. But please don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s perfectly understandable, and your house will forgive you when you help it realize its full potential (and it looks pretty amazing as is, from what I’ve seen on your blog!).

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