Our “Forever Home” Wish List

Our "Forever Home" Wish List

We’re house hunting – again! Are we ever NOT, though? What with rental properties, house flips, and now a forever home, sometimes searching Zillow feels like a full-time job.

In case you somehow missed the latest news, we’re currently full-time RV living. Thankfully, out of the three months we’ve lived in the RV, most of that time we spent traveling. But despite this fun and adventurous lifestyle, we’re ready for something more permanent – at the very least, something bigger than 350 square feet, ha! That, as you can imagine, complicates our house search a bit, because we don’t want to make any rash decisions out of desperation.

I’ll be completely honest, though: The “forever home” concept is so absurd, in my opinion. I cannot imagine staying in one place forever. But I realize it’s an idea a lot of people relate to, hence the title. To me, the closest we’ll come to a forever home is a house we live in for longer than 2 years. That’s the longest we’ve stayed in any house so far, so anything longer is basically forever, ha! Hence, the quotation marks around “forever home.”

The fact that we’re looking to stay in our next house long-term has definitely changed our wish list, though. Up to this point, every property we’ve acquired was with the intention of reselling, so our needs haven’t been as specific.

So, let’s dive into what exactly we’re searching for, and how it differs from our previous wish lists.

Our "Forever Home" Wish List

1. Land

Our best-case scenario is at least five acres, preferably cleared and level. We do own a bobcat, so the last two aren’t absolute must-haves, since we could do a certain level of clearing and leveling ourselves.

We’re excited for the possibility of our kiddos growing up on a farm-like setting. While we don’t necessarily have plans for a full-blown homestead, you never know what the future holds. We’d definitely like to plant a garden, fruit trees, and possibly buy chickens in the near future. We also dream of putting up a sauna in the backyard, so a small natural creek would be the total package.

We haven’t even started discussing the actual house, and already we’ve drastically narrowed down our search.

Our "Forever Home" Wish List

2. Not in a neighborhood

Our biggest reason for not wanting to be in a neighborhood is to have complete freedom over updates we make to our home, and what we park around our home. Over the years, we’ve acquired quite a bit of outdoor equipment that doesn’t necessarily fit in with a cookie-cutter neighborhood – equipment like our RV, bobcat, trailers, riding mowers, etc. A neighborhood – even one without an HOA – typically has strict rules on storing things like that.

Our "Forever Home" Wish List

3. Built after 1990.

You may be wondering about such a specific timeframe. One word: Asbestos. Do you know what that is? It’s an uncomfortable topic, but it needs to be talked about more, because I feel like most homeowners – and people in general – are unaware, unfortunately.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used in construction and building materials from the 1930s through 1970s in both residential and commercial settings. It was popular due to its durability and resistance to heat, but in the 1970s asbestos was found to be a carcinogen linked to chronic lung conditions. On rare occasions, after heavy and prolonged exposure, asbestos can cause a specific type of lung cancer.

The use of asbestos in certain applications was restricted in 1978, but it wasn’t until 1989 that it was completely eliminated from new construction and newly-manufactured building materials. Insane as it may sound, asbestos is not completely banned in the United States to this day; for example, it continues to be used in the automobile industry.

Of course, there are ways to test your home for asbestos, and hiring professionals specifically trained in removing this material is extremely important. But like I said, most people are simply unaware of this possible hazard hiding in their home, or are unable to afford proper removal.

All that to say, we’d rather avoid dealing with this hazardous material altogether.

Our "Forever Home" Wish List

4. 1200-2000 square feet

The square footage of our “forever home” is probably the most surprising part of this list. In a culture that pushes for more, More, MORE, we’re happily pursuing less and hoping to inspire others to do the same. The idea of a massive, dream mansion sounds lovely in theory, but I’ll be honest: The maintenance alone is not worth it for me. That, and the fact that a bigger house would require a renovation budget that is not realistic for us.

When we lived in the Greenfield Remodel – a house with almost 2400 square feet – I kept 3 rooms completely empty and locked, because it was far too much space for us. (Locked, because I didn’t want the kiddos to scatter their toys further than was necessary.)

So, we definitely don’t need a house bigger than 2000 square feet.

Our "Forever Home" Wish List

5. At least 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

In light of the point above, we do need at least 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

The plan is for our girls to continue sharing a room, and use the third bedroom as a guest room. Granted, a dedicated office space and separate playroom would be ideal but not deal breakers. I imagine having lots of land for the kids to explore will make up for the lack of a playroom. Besides, with our recent downsize into an RV, we own far less than the average person – toys included.

Our "Forever Home" Wish List

6. In need of a remodel

Being in the line of work that we’re in, buying an updated home simply doesn’t make sense.

First of all, updated houses are rarely remodeled to our personal standards and aesthetic preferences. So paying top dollar for updates we’ll end up demoing anyway is not financially smart.

At the same time, the house needs to be somewhat maintained. We don’t want another abandoned bungalow scenario.

Our "Forever Home" Wish List

7. Barn, shed, or some other outdoor structure

Remember all the outdoor equipment I mentioned earlier? They need some sort of covered storage, so a property that has a barn, shed, or some other outdoor structure is most ideal.

Our "Forever Home" Wish List

8. Single-level living

Although we’re not opposed to two-story homes, a second floor typically equates to a higher price.

In light of all our other extremely specific must-haves, one-level living becomes more of a want rather than a need. Ideally, I’d love not to deal with stairs. However, it’s not a deal breaker.

Our "Forever Home" Wish List

9. Tall ceilings and lots of natural light

This last must-have is more of a want-to-have as well.

Small, humble homes rarely have these desirable characteristics like tall ceilings, large windows, etc. Natural light and the feeling of space is so important to my mental wellbeing, and while I of all people know there are design tricks to make a home feel airy and light, I’d still prefer taller ceilings and large windows. At the very least, our “forever home” needs to allow the possibility of raising the ceiling and installing larger windows.

Our "Forever Home" Wish List

So, that about covers it.

I had an inkling that our “forever home” wish list was specific, but writing out our needs and wants definitely confirmed it.

Basically, it sounds like we want a farm without it being an actual farm, humble but still nice, in need of a remodel but not rundown. Some of our needs feel mutually exclusive, and budgets only complicate the matter further. Our “forever home” feels like a unicorn, honestly. We’re very aware that in order to get most items on our wish list, we may be looking at a major, major renovation – possibly one we’d need to do in gradual phases, which is a foreign concept to us, considering our line of work.

For the record, the houses you see in this post are some of the oldest from our town. I took these photos on one of my afternoon walks. I’d love to one day restore a historic home such as these, but it’s a pipeline dream. In case you’re wondering: My favorite is the very first one.

Now I’d love to hear from you: What’s on your “forever home” wish list? Are you currently in your “forever home,” or is that idea totally overrated?

Looking for more inspiration? Check out the following:


One Comment

  1. I live in a “forever” home now, although I don’t think it will really be forever – but hopefully a few decades. I don’t think we will sell it even if we move before then. The house has sentimental family value, plus we moved from a HCOL area to a MCOL area so the price of extensive renovations was more palatable (still painful though!). We do have stairs and don’t have land (by preference), but I love having big windows and lots of light in my compact 2000sqft overall, only ~1200sqft above ground level, house. We were lucky that the original owners had built the foundation and framing to maximize light, although we enlarged most of the window openings since we were moving walls and re-siding anyway.

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