Thanks to Facebook's "never forget" feature ("On This Day"), it's that time of year again when it reminds me of one of my best moves, and one of my worst. The best was moving to Seattle, the worst was moving back to Cleveland. I'll probably never let myself live that stupid decision down. Fortunately, the corrective action of moving to Orange County 20 months later turned out to be a really good decision. Throw in the move while living on Seattle's east side, and from our rental to our house here Florida, and that makes for a total of five moves from late 2009 to early 2014.
Next month we move again, about a mile from where we are now. That's a three and a half year run this time, which for us is almost considered stable. This move is not really out of necessity as much as it is desire. When my BFF built a new house with lots of room, it got us to thinking about the way we were kind of squeezed, especially Diana with her long-arm quilting machine. After more than three straight years working remotely, I too felt like the walls were closing in a little. But in all honesty, we don't need a bigger place, we just want a bigger place.
My perceptions on real estate have evolved, too. Seattle skewed my perceptions about value, where everything costs more than $220 per square foot at least. When we looked at building here, we looked at a 5,000 square foot house as a joke, but at $500k fully optioned, the cost was that of a modest east side Seattle house at a third the size. We stuck with a more "reasonable" 2,700 square foot house, which is still probably bigger than one needs for three people. It certainly felt big when we moved in.
But now, our house is worth 15% more in three short years. That absurdly large house we looked at for giggles? It's worth $600k now. We haven't even closed on the new house, and the appraisal is already $10k over what we'll pay. So for all of my angst and drama around my previous house, right now at least, a house is remarkably like an investment. Sure, it's not as lucrative as a 401k, but you can't live in a 401k.
Hopefully this will be our last move for a while. We learned a lot about what's important to us when we built the current house, and while we're mostly looking for extra space, floor plan and functionality is what we're after. We're not getting more rooms in this house, just bigger, more functional rooms. And I'll admit, some things like the kitchen are more fancy. With all of the HGTV I watch, I'd like to have a little fancy.