Home & DIY

Switching from Building a Home to Buying a Home

Okay, we’re not switching necessarily, but we are open to the possibilities. 

As I shared in my last post, building a home is turning out to be a lot more expensive that we ever dreamed. Building a home even close to my wish list will take every bit of our budget 

Which is why we’ve also been looking at available homes in the area that also fit our criteria:

  • two-five+ acres
  • 3 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • large living space
  • open concept
  • newer construction or newer remodel
  • nice finishes
  • pantry
  • foyer
  • laundry area
  • lots of windows
  • office space
  • within 1 hour commute to Anchorage
  • prefer Palmer
  • open to minor renovations/ finishing touches

That’s a pretty hefty list. See, the thing is that we really love the home we’re in. It’s been the perfect start home for us and is filled with such amazing memories. We could live here comfortably for another five years but as the kids get older and our extended family grows, we’re getting tighter and tighter on space. And my tundra-born husband is feeling downright claustrophobic living in town. We simply need more room to breath. 

Ironically enough, that list is pretty similar to the one from 2011, when we were first looking at buying a home:

  • At least .45 acres or more. Would prefer .95+ acres
  • At least 3 bedrooms. Would prefer 4 bedrooms
  • If it does not have a 4th bedroom, then would need an office
  • At least 2 bathrooms, if not more
  • Garage a must
  • Built in 2000 or newer
  • Still like 2 story houses (not split-level), but am considering ranch houses if a unique design
  • At least 1300 sq ft, would prefer 1600+
  • Try to keep it under $190,000
  • Nice kitchen a must
  • Fireplace optional, but a plus
  • Porch optional, but a plus
  • Still prefer Trunk Road area, but am willing to go farther into Wasilla and Palmer, as long as it’s within an hour’s commute of Anchorage

We actually came pretty close, now that I think about it! We ended up with .19 acres (a city lot) but came up with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and have a separate office space as well as a garage. Our home was built in 2013 and we purchased it in 2014 and are the first owners. It’s 1460 square feet with a beautiful, functional kitchen. We don’t have a porch but we do have a deck, which we’ve since expanded. And it’s in a great central location just north of downtown Palmer and is 45 minutes to work in Anchorage (55 minutes to my husband’s work). All that and we got it for $185,000, with an energy rebate, too, which was a nice bonus. 

So you can see why it’s difficult to even think about leaving when we’re in such a great position here. Believe me, I’m one of those people that loves to dream about things being different but absolutely hates change and am mostly afraid of the “what if’s?” Last year I was considering moving to a new studio space and simply could not bring myself to actually go through with it. I kept going back and forth and driving myself (and Micah and the landlord) crazy. Finally Micah had enough and told me to just go ahead and do it, and he promised that I wouldn’t regret it. Well, of course, he was right, something he loves to point out each time I say how much I love my new studio.

But that’s kind of how I’m feeling in all this. Every worse case scenario is running through my head and we keep going over the numbers and worrying about it all, even though it’s still so much less than all the insane debt we were carrying around a few years ago. I worry that we’ll get in over our heads or one of us will lose our jobs (which DID happen just a few months after we moved to this house!) or we’ll hate the new house and will have give up a home we love for a pipe dream. All very real fears. 

But it could also be wonderful. And while there’s no undo button, we can always turn around and sell and recoup most if not all of the money we will have put into this. And yes, that wouldn’t get us our old house back, sometimes I need to be willing to take a chance on an adventure. Who knows, I could end up loving it and Micah will get yet another chance to say he was right all along. 

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