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Old Posted Jul 22, 2019, 6:25 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,310
My family's first house was a 1,260 square foot rowhouse in a highly urban and walkable neighborhood (by Pittsburgh standards). I bought it when I was single shortly before my wife and I got engaged. Even though it was a small home, we made it work for some time as a family house. Before our daughter was born, we had the attic completely redone into a finished and climate controlled space, moving up there and setting up the front half of the "great room" as a nursery. As she got bigger, we moved her downstairs into her own room. But once we had our son, we knew we had to move on. There was theoretically another second-floor bedroom, but in truth you needed to walk through it to get to the bathroom, which made it unusable as anything besides an office. Thus we kinda had a countdown to when our son would be aging out of the "nursery" space. Plus my wife honestly has some hoarding tendencies, meaning our tiny house was packed to the gills with stuff I would have thrown away if it was up to me.

Theoretically, we could have easily afforded to remain in our old neighborhood, even though while we were there the neighborhood gentrified and had a huge jump in property values. However, my wife, unlike me, is from Pittsburgh, and was convinced that if two people with a combined salary in the rage of $100,000 buy a home which costs over $250,000, they're going to be "house poor." Thus, we were priced out of the neighborhood.

We ended up landing a few neighborhoods away in a streetcar-suburbanish part of the city. The area I live in now isn't incredibly walkable - it takes about 15 minutes to walk to either of the closest two business districts. However, there's a bus stop literally outside my front door, which makes commuting to work by transit even easier than in my old hood. The detached house (from 1905) we landed in five years ago is about twice as large and arguably has six bedrooms (though we don't use three of them for that) and 2.5 baths. Plus it's pretty historically intact, with hardwood floors, stained glass, original grand entrance stairwell with unpainted woodwork, etc. Small yard (houses eight feet away on either side), and no off-street parking, but I don't really mind about that.

I do miss having commercial amenities closer to my house. Our neighborhood finally got a coffeeshop again after two years, and just has a single mediocre neighborhood bar/restaurant. But honestly as parents we don't utilize that stuff as much, and paying the full premium for a lot of these amenities doesn't seem worth it.
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