Once you finish this post, you might conclude that the headline was a bit misleading. I’m sorry (I believe the cool kids say #sorrynotsorry).
When we made the decision to stay put and add on to our house, we took several factors into account. One factor was the nightmare of moving – who wants to move with two babies? I’ll admit – the sick sort of “get rid of all the things” Layne was excited about donating all our belongings instead of packing anything. Still. The reality of a move right now was too much. Moreover, the thought of maintaining a pristine home to sell was the tipping point (for me); it’s laughable to think I could have accomplished such a task.
Another factor was our kitchen – Adam finished crafting our sweet little kitchen about a year ago and we really love it. Every house we looked at had kitchens that we would have wanted to makeover.
Financially, our property value is actually increasing thanks to the addition of a big, beautiful new park and other developments going in just a few blocks away. Selling now would have likely lost us quite a bit potential profit (it’s hard to calculate any of that but the thought was enough to stay put).
The kicker? We love our neighborhood – specifically – we love our neighbors. More than all the factors I mentioned above, the one that significantly increased our property’s value to us, personally, was the fact that we live next to some quality individuals. I don’t think our situation is unique at all. In fact, we have a couple sets of friends whose relationships with their neighbors are serious #neighborgoals; because of their situations, we were inspired to get to know the people next door and across the street and down the block.
Let me stop the love train for just a minute. There is something very sacred about home. Home is sanctuary. Home is where we retreat. The idea of getting to know the people right next door poses a threat to our getaway. Our neighborhood is set up in such a way where most people don’t have a garage they can drive right into and shut the door. We have to <gasp> park on the street – we are vulnerable to conversation for at least thirty seconds while we exit our car and make it to our front door. If this scenario makes you uncomfortable – I get it. Sometimes (most of the time) when we get home, we just want to be there with no infringements on our personal space.
I’ve discovered that making friends with our neighbors hasn’t threatened my personal space. Why? Because our neighbors are defending their sanctuary, too – they don’t want to have a 45-minute conversation every time we spot each other. We’re quick to give each other an out and, if we don’t need it, we sometimes do have a glorious 45-minute conversation while making chalk drawings with Ivy or, if the heavens have parted and the kids are both taking a nap, uninterrupted!
These people have sat on our front steps with us until midnight, they’ve brought us treats at Christmas, they’ve brought the kids Christmas presents and birthday presents, they’ve made blankets for both kids, they’ve eagerly asked for tours of the new addition, they’ve graciously put up with all the noise that’s accompanied this project, they’ve offered to watch the kids, they’ve gone out to dinner with us…they’re neighbors.
We’ve started making investments into these relationships and the biggest payout has been an overwhelming sense of belonging. “We can’t leave here!” “I’m never moving!” I know that things inevitably change, people move, etc. Right now, though, we’ve dramatically increased our property’s value by getting to know our neighbors; the personal price-tag is so great that we can’t fathom selling this place.
* “But, Layne, what if our neighbors just suck?” Move. Immediately. Sell, sell, sell.