We Sold Our House! (and why we’re downsizing by choice)
You may have noticed I’ve been virtually non-existent on the internet this past few weeks. That’s because we’ve had a whole lot of life changes happening over here.
Yep, you read that right: we sold our house!
In 72 hours, to be exact.
But first, let’s back up a little bit!
It was the end of May when we finally decided we were ready to shake things up. We’ve been living in our current home here in Omaha for the past 6 years. We’d painstakingly gone through the process of custom building it ourselves and become rooted in a neighborhood we love.
But do you ever get that feeling sometimes, even though you love something so much, it just doesn’t quite feel right?
That’s kind of what happened for us. As our family has evolved, our needs have changed, and we’ve developed an increasing desire to travel more, we realized this house is just not quite right for us during this season of our lives. So, what then?
The Home Search
We spent a couple of months browsing the market, gathering ideas for what we might like in a home better suited for our family. We knew for certain we wanted something a bit smaller and more manageable, especially since our goal is to travel several weeks (and, hopefully, eventually, months) out of the year.
Well, only about a week after we’d met with a realtor to start the process, a cute little 3 bedroom ranch home popped up on the market. It needed some work, but we saw it’s potential. We went to look at it on a Friday, pondered about it over the weekend, and by Monday, it was ours.
Since we’ve started telling our friends and family that we’re selling our house, we’ve been met with some shocked and puzzled looks.
Why would we sell this beautiful house with a big backyard that we’d worked so hard to build not all that long ago? Especially for a smaller, fixer upper down the road?
Well, there are several reasons, actually. Here’s why we’ve decided to downsize our home (and lives!):
We’re in Need of a Change
Honestly, we’ve never been the type to stay in one place for too long. The fact that we’ve lived in the same home for over 6 years is a downright miracle!
And to tell you the truth, I’m not sure we’d have even lasted this long if it weren’t for Matt’s job and our California adventures to keep things interesting. It’s allowed us to put down some roots here in Omaha, while still satisfying our wandering spirits.
But here’s the thing: these roots of ours are growing deep. And we really are craving a change!
We’re far from the workaholic, childless 20-something’s we were when we built this house. We have new goals and new reasons to get out and explore the world now. And we need a home that allows us to do that without feeling guilty about what we’re leaving behind.
And of course, we want a home that feels calm and peaceful, not burdensome. A respite from busy travels and therapy schedules. Renovating this new home to make it into something we really love is, I think, the most exciting part of this all!
Change is good. Change encourages growth. And we’ve learned to lean in and embrace the change.
A More Accessible Home for Sophie
Having a more accessible home for Sophie was an equally driving force behind the move. Sophie’s development is progressing, but it’s still quite slow. She’s severely physically disabled and at almost 18 months, still can’t yet crawl or scoot, let alone walk.
I dream of the day that Sophie can make her way out of her bed in the morning and crawl into the living room on her own. I believe it will happen, but it will still take a lot of work. It’s important to us to eliminate as many obstacles as possible that might hinder her ability to be independent in her own home (like a bedroom on the second floor!)
After much debate, we also decided that our new home wouldn’t be too far away from our current one. While we’d love to settle in a more historic neighborhood closer to downtown, staying in suburban West Omaha, in our same great school district, means continuing therapy and early intervention services with the resources we’ve grown to know and trust for Sophie.
A Big House is Expensive
Obvi. But when we looked at our budget and where we could carve out more money for travel, our house was by far our biggest expense!
It’s not just the mortgage. It’s the property taxes. The home insurance. The utilities to heat and cool it and to water that big, beautiful lawn.
And if we’d want to go away for a month? Then this whole big place would just sit here empty. It felt like such a waste, and really wasn’t ‘us’ anymore.
We’ve calculated we’ll save at least $7000 per year in taxes and insurance alone just by moving to a “smaller” house. That’s like two big trips to Europe! (and in case you’re wondering, yes, Nebraska has one of the most ridiculously high property tax rates in the country…)
We Just Don’t Need this Much House
Really, what it all comes down to is, this house just isn’t right for us, and we don’t need this much space anyway. We’ve lived in a 900 square foot, 2 bedroom bungalow in California for a month and actually found it quite cozy. We spent 2 weeks in a 500 square foot apartment in Lisbon where the kitchen, dining and living room were all in one room, and we survived just fine.
We’ll be just as happy, if not more, downsizing our lives from 4000 to 2500 square feet. And if anything, it will push us towards the more minimalistic, purpose-driven life that we desire.
So there you have it. Tomorrow we’ll close on our new home and begin the renovation process. We’ve got a month to get as much work as possible done before we move in! I’m so excited to show you what we do with the place!
You’ll still find me popping in and out for the rest of the summer, but don’t be alarmed if I unexpectedly fall off the face of the Earth again. I’ll probably just be sitting under a pile of drywall dust!