After nearly 8 years of city living (12 if we're counting the 4 spent in Boston - way longer for my husband), we're making a hard push toward our next housing move. It's a thing we've talked about for several years already, but I spent many of those years convinced I couldn't leave the city. I'm still on the fence about how I'll feel when the day comes, but after the last year and a half, moving out of the city feels like the best and most responsible decision for us.
When we first really started to make a concerted push in our home buying process, we looked in Brooklyn and Hoboken. There were some potentials, but for various reasons, things never really lined up perfectly. (Except a $2+ million beautiful Hoboken brownstone, that was perfect and I could have lived there forever. But that price tag wasn't really working out.)
So we've settled our search almost exclusively in Maplewood, New Jersey. It has a direct train to the city for an easy commute, a great up and coming downtown (and an awesome Starbucks!), and it's generally pretty walkable. It's a great transition town from city living, and I think that will be important for my own mental health.
So what are we looking for? We're either looking for a complete gut reno (we've looked at houses that don't even have electricity or water) or something that needs at least some work (new kitchen and bathrooms). I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty! We're looking for something that has some of its original charm, ideally in the form of a colonial. We want 4-5 bedrooms - room to grow, at least one guest room and a place for my office. At least 2 bathrooms, and either an existing master suite or the potential to create one.
Why the need for renovations? Given the nature of my work, it's hard for me to walk into someone else's vision and find it appropriate for us, from a design, construction and layout stand point. And I'm dying to use this house as a canvas for my own creative ideas and vision. It's a thing I haven't gotten to do over the many years of apartment living, so I'm ready to tackle this.
I really want a giant colonial, but I'm trying to keep perspective - this is our first house, we'll likely move again in 5ish years and SO much can change over time. We don't need to have everything in this house, it's just a starting point for us. We've already seen a ton of houses since Fall (God love our amazing realtor!), and I have a hunch that we'll see quite a few more. But I'm also confident that when we find the right house, we'll walk in and know right away.
Until then, we'll continue to hunt for our unicorn home. Can't wait to share this journey with you all!