Friday, June 7, 2024

decisions decisions

We're at that age where we're thinking about what we want to do when Brian retires. Do we stay here, or do we move? There are many pros and cons. We have a ranch house with a basement. We basically live on just the main level, which is 1120 SF. The basement ~ which has a big family room ~ is wasted space. We're never down there except for when there's a tornado warning.The unfinished part of the basement houses our washer and dryer, an upright freezer, extra pantry storage, Sterilite boxes full of out-of-season clothes because we have tiny bedroom closets, and lots of "stuff". I'm still in good shape and my knees are fine, but it's getting to be a little scary going up and down the stairs, carrying a laundry basket full of laundry. How are the stairs going to be for either of us in ten years? Or 20?

We are also surrounded by houses full of children (why do they all have trampolines in their backyards?!), which means it can get quite noisy here at times. Another thing I don't like: having well water. When there's problems with the well, it not only costs a small fortune to fix, but it's never a simple fix. It usually takes several days, lots of frustrating phone calls, and then we're without water. Sometimes the water stinks, and it leaves slight rust-colored stains in the tub and shower. If the electricity goes out, we have no water because the well is generated by electricity.

Our house is now 36 years old. We'll need a new roof again in a year or two, we need new siding, new exterior doors and all new trim, both bathrooms need updating and so does our kitchen. There's other little things that need doing, but these are the main (expensive!) things. we stay here and pour our money into this house, or do we sell as is and move into a newer place?

Last weekend, we dipped our toes in the water to start exploring options. We looked a model homes in an over-55 community not far from here. I think we looked at nine models and I took so many pictures, I now can't keep track of which ones belong to which model. They all started to look the same and I got overwhelmed. Turned out, I only truly liked two of the models. All the homes in this community are one level. Most are two bedroom, two full bath and have a two car garage. Here's a couple of photos of one of my favorite models. I think this was the one with 2112 SF. I loved this open floor plan with the huge living room going into the kitchen with the big eating area surrounded by windows. There's also a covered porch off the living room.

Looking into the kitchen...

The covered back porch...

Some other things we liked: there's a lodge you can use for large gatherings. They also have a small fitness facility with treadmills and weights.

Walking trails go throughout the community.

The biggest negative of this community is the montly expense. It's a bit on the high side. You own the house, but not the land. Therefore, there's a monthly land lease (not a HOA). The monthly expense includes property taxes, lawn mowing (you are in charge of your own trees, bushes and/or flowers), snow removal, garbage and water. Of course, there were some things I didn't like about the houses. Most of the bedrooms are carpeted (I hate carpet!) and the vinyl decking and railing material is super cheap. Definitely not quality Trex decking and railings, which we had put in at this house five years ago.

Our next door neighbor sold his house a few weeks ago and is retiring to Wisconsin. We were told there are "two families" moving in. ๐Ÿ˜ง We don't know if that means a generational family with grandparents, or two separate families. We will be finding out in a week!

In the meantime...I look around my home that I've lived in 34 years and think, "do I really want to leave"? 

There are no easy answers. Moving is hard ~ and extremely stressful.

At least we're not in the position where we have to move. 

In other home news, the dreaded mulberries have already started falling. They're early this year. And it's all the unripe berries. In all the past years, we've only had a few unripe berries fall. Don't know what is different this year except maybe all the rain we've had. We're already dealing with mushy berries all over the walkway to the patio and on the patio itself. Worse yet, they're also falling on the roof and into the gutters. Oh! And speaking of the roof, we had storm damage a few weeks ago where the soffits blew out of the j-channel and water got in. Some of that water also leaked into the guest room and left light water stains on the ceiling. We're in the middle of working with our insurance company and roofing contractors. The fun and excitement never ends when you're a home owner!

Of course, once the berries ripen, the problem will get much worse. The berries rot and attract flies, plus they stain the patio.

We can at least talk to this newer neighbor about the tree. The woman that previously lived in this house (some of you might remember) was very nasty. This newer neighbor is nice, friendly, and cooperative. He understands our frustration with the tree and was going to cut it down last fall (he works with people who can help him do this) but had a freak accident at work where he broke his jaw, so was out of commission for awhile. In the meantime, we had a tree trimmer come out and look at the tree and he can at least trim it back to where we won't get so many berries falling on our property.

It looks to be a beautiful weekend here. A friend is coming for a visit tomorrow and Sunday I'm going back to the over-55 community with another friend because she wants to look at these homes, too. I hope your weekend is filled with something to look forward to and time to relax.

PS ~ if you leave a comment as "unknown" and it comes through to my email as a "no reply comment blogger", then I can't answer any questions you may send me! Someone on my last post said she wanted to follow me on Instagram but didn't know how. I couldn't privately reply to her. So if she sees this: Go into Instagram, search for melaniescomfyhouse, and click on follow. 


  1. I know just what you are feeling right now dear Melanie and Brian, and it's not fun!!!
    First off, you must both be in agreement if making a huge decision such as this one facing you now, or at least in the next few years. Similar situation here started quite a while back but because one of us refused to ever leave this house except "in a pine box!" (you can guess who that is) we're still here.........and this year pouring money into major renovations. Now, we're already much older, and moving somewhere easier to maintain is never going to happen for the two of us together, however If I'm left I would probably move to a smaller condo without so much outdoor work. Having friends who have moved to 'retirement communities' I know that type of living would never work for me.
    Mel, I could go on in detail and become a bore so will just repeat, think it over, and over! if you both want the same for your retirement years, look at every housing option you might feel would work for you, and/or you can afford, and if a "little piece of paradise" appears, go for it before it's too late. AND......don't fall down those basement stairs!
    Love and hugs, Mary

  2. So many decisions. I know it won't be easy. You have lovingly transformed your home into a haven. But whatever you decide, your haven will accompany you. I look forward to seeing what you decide someday.๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ’•

  3. Hi Melanie! I hope my comment comes through OK - without be anonymous. I totally get where you are as you make retirement decisions. We are in the same place, and as you know, we have decided to move from our current abode - a 70-year-old house that we purchased in 2016. We have explored 55 + options. We are also looking for a one level house as my knees are an issue and too much up and down the stairs isn't great - especially carrying baskets of laundry. Our currently home is big - 2800 + square feet in both the mail level and the basement and trying to squeeze all that stuff into a smaller one level home may be a challenge for us. I know we have too much stuff! When we lived in Illinois back in the 1990s - we had 4 children in a 1400 square foot house and did just fine, and it is weird that now there is just the two of us we can't figure out how to get everything into 1800 to 2000 square feet! Crazy. The 55 + plus home you looked at looks great, but then so does your current "cozy house." Retirement brings many big decisions. Wishing you well as you decide what will be best for you and Brian! Have a good weekend!

  4. Oh gosh, big decisions for sure. The new place looks lovely, but yes, lots to think about. I remember when my mom sold our house and moved into an over 55 community. She loved it, no yard to upkeep or driveway to shovel and lots of new friends. However, I'm not sure I would like a place like the one she lived in and enjoyed for decades. I wish you luck in your quest for the perfect retirement home...even if it turns out to be the one you live in now!! Happy Weekend!

  5. My Husband and I moved into a 55+ community about 2 years ago and we are loving it. We have not regretted it. However, the pics you have shared of the one you visited look like Saddlebrook Farms. If this is so, I advise you to stay clear of this community. There are many more communities near this you should consider

  6. Hi Melanie. This is probably going to come through as no reply and anonymous because I am doing this from my phone. Can’t seem to get goggle to work on my phone correctly. The model you picked out is really nice. It is a hard decision to make. If you leave your current home you will not have to put a lot of money into it and if you move into a 55 and up community you won’t have to worry about young families. The only thing I would caution you k. Not owning the land can get pricey. We have a community like that down by me. The houses are gorgeous and the area beautiful and it includes a clubhouse. The draw back is they have raised the monthly rent of the land pretty high. Taxes go up but so does the rental of the land. The o es down here are not selling because the rent has tripled over the last few years and now retired people want out and they cannot sell because of how much the monthly lease on the land has gone up. Terry and I looked in there and a couple of people that lived in there said their monthly rent on the La d is more than they can afford now. It has gone from 700 a month to 1500 a month. That is crazy. So I would ask people that live I. There for awhile how much the rent has gone up each year. Make sure there is some kind of senior freeze or cap on the rent. Believe me moving is hard but I love not having the up keep of a home. It was hard to adjust to co ndo living but now I love it. Whatever you decide I know you will love your choice. From what I know about you you take your time and do your do diligence on major life changes. Good luck. Hugs Kris @ junkchiccottage.

  7. Hello Melanie, big decision to make. It's good that you're starting early to think about this when you're not in a rush except maybe to avoid future repair bills at home. My mother lived in a 55 plus community for many years and it was wonderful for security and company for her but I did read the above comments and Kris's especially is one to consider. Having a house on one level would be very important in the future. The only thing I would advise is to try to make the change before your 70s, having done that ourselves and knowing what it takes out of you. Best of luck as you consider your options!

  8. These are all decisions we have to make as we age. I hope you have more options than I do here. Glad the nasty neighbor moved. I agree. At our age we don't need kids and trampolines!


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