In response to the questions regarding our house, here you go. Yes, we are planning to sell our house, but for many different reasons so I thought this deserved an entire post to itself. Let me start by saying that Chuck and I pretty much love our house. It is, in my opinion, beautiful! It is in a great neighborhood and a great location overall. In fact, we are in the most sought after neighborhood for an elementary school in Fort Worth - Tanglewood. With that said, (and now I'm going to sound like a total snob, but I'm not because obviously we intend to leave the neighborhood), we're in the best part of the neighborhoods that go to Tanglewood, but, by no means, do we have the most expensive house. The house across the street from us is probably the best (again, in my opinion) in the neighborhood. It is on a huge lot overlooking downtown Fort Worth. It has a terraced backyard leading to a pool. The "Minor Estate" is huge and beautiful and I've been lucky enough to go inside for a dinner party and I can testify that it is even more beautiful on the inside. Sorry, I digress. All that is to say, that my house is not that beautiful, but it has the potential to be beautiful and sought after. So, what is strange is that our neighborhood is in a bubble in this whole housing crisis issue. It seems that people are still fighting to get into our neighborhood. When we bought the house back in 2004, we paid more than we really should have for a home, but we looked at it as a good investment because the price per square foot was low. The house was in great condition, but really pretty ugly on the inside and there are a few drawbacks that we still consider drawbacks today. For example, we never wanted a pool. Now we have a pool that was probably installed in the 70s or 80s and it is old and really, really deep with about 5 feet of shallow area - not enough to really be able to float and have fun with children. We enjoy the pool very little, although it is great for people who come over and adds an incentive for people to attend our Summer parties (this year is the Summer of Obscure Holidays and we previously hosted the Summer of Beef). A good time, if I do say so myself.
Now, our neighbor (Rudy) owns a house that is set back from the street and also looks like an Estate, but not like the Minor Estate. Rudy does not live in his house and it is falling apart. It is really an eyesore, and I've been really surprised that anyone in our neighborhood would allow their property to reach such a state of disrepair. Rudy has a guest house and he lets students rent out the guest house. About a year and a half ago, one of the renters (Shelby) had to move out of the house because the ceiling caved in! Can you believe it. Anyway, we get people who actually knock on our door to find out if Rudy would be willing to sell his dilapidated old house and say they would gladly offer a million dollars on the spot. I think this is insane, but it happens frequently and regularly. This led to Chuck and I wondering, if someone stopped at our door and offered to buy our house, what would be our walk-away price? Well, we set that price and agreed on it and thought, yeah, if we get that then we could pay down our debt and set ourselves up for a great position for a new house.
So, later on (and completely unrelated to the story above), Chuck and I were looking to refinance our home because interest rates weren't as good in 2004 as they are now and we were also considering a home loan in the refi to fix a few things on the house. In order to do that we had an appraiser come out and give us an appraisal of the house. What shocked the hell out of us was that the appraisal price was almost at our walk away price. Hence, Chuck and I said, let's fix some stuff up and put this sucker on the market. We are looking at something like (and I'm terrible at math) a 60% increase in value - which I think is insane. But, if someone wants to pay me that kind of money for my house, I have to say, yes, it is just a bundle of pretty sticks and bricks and I can find another pretty bundle of sticks and bricks. It just doesn't make sense to sit on that money when we have things we could do with it, such as putting a huge down payment on a new home and having a lower house payment. Plus, with number three coming along, we need a few hundred dollars more a month to pay for a nanny.
So, that is our long-winded story about the house. It is beautiful and we really like it, but sadly, we like the money more. I would love for people to see everything that we've done to it, but at the rate people visit us, I think it is rather unlikely.
The saga of fixing the house continues. We have granite installed Wednesday, the painter is finishing up Wednesday, and the contractor will start working on the outside of the house on Wednesday. I hope to have the house wrapped up by the time Luke gets back. Oh, plus, I have to buy a new car since my lease is up on the Mercedes. And, everyone, you heard it here first - I'm buying a minivan and I can't wait! More on the attributes of the mini van tomorrow!
Roxy - If you think we're having a girl then we're in for a big, big surprise because I was almost positive that it was a boy and my other "fetus whisperer" said boy. I'm putting you both to the test. Luke will be terribly disappointed if it's a girl though. Still, we've got a name either way it goes - I think we'll name the baby George if it is a girl or a boy. (Well, George for a boy and Georgia or Georgianna for a girl, but we'll call her George or Georgie). I don't think everyone likes these names (particularly in light of our current president), but I love it and that's all that matters!
This is a picture of our pool. The backyard looks a little different now, but can you see how it takes up the whole backyard? We really want to find a place with a big backyard for the kids to run in and where I can set them loose and only check on them every five minutes or so instead of having to stand vigil by the pool. Luke fell into the deep end only about two weeks ago and scared the living heck out of me. I have nightmares about seeing Evie at the bottom of the pool; it's just no way to live. No pool for me unless it is adequately fenced in and locked. This picture was taken at Luke's 2nd birthday. Look at all the kids crowded around the pool. It is an attractive nuisance and there's no getting around it.
Below is a picture of our house in the snow this winter. It was dark by the time we got home and tried to build a snowman, which you see in the background on the left. Although it is dark, this gives you a little idea about what the house looks like. I'll have to take current pictures so everyone can see what it looks like now. Of course you can also see my sweet angels standing in the forefront of the picture; they were really the subject of the photo.