A few months ago, one of my neighbors started some new construction on his house. My wife and I was curious about what pandemic feature they were adding. Was it an indoor pool? Was it a chess room? (I’ve always joked about having a chess room.)
My wife knows the husband better than I do as they shared some military work talk. She found him one day and asked what about the expansion. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a pool or a chess room. His wife was diagnosed with something (Parkinson’s, I think) that makes stairs difficult. The expansion allows living on one floor a lot easier. It took a while to recover from that gut punch, she definitely seems too young for her body to start to go.
It naturally made me think that this house we are in may not be our “forever house” like I had imagined. I can definitely see the advantage of one-floor living as I get older.
That opened up Pandora’s Box. If this house isn’t the one we are in forever, what would that “forever house” look like?
Designing My Dream House
If you are a regular reader, you have probably read me mention that I need some hobbies, things I like to do, and/or a bucket list. I have a long list of things that I don’t like to do such as travel. Teleportation technology can’t come fast enough for me. My challenge is finding things that I do like.
One of the things that gets me excited though is looking at houses on Zillow. I think it’s because I’m naturally a “grass is greener on the other side” person.
It seems that once or twice a month, Zillow reminds me of this house I saved a couple of years ago. I don’t know why it sends me these emails as it isn’t for sale. I also don’t have a spare $7M lying around to make a bid on it.
It does make me smile though.
I started thinking about what I would want in a house. It doesn’t need to be that big, so maybe I could get by with a cheaper place. It also doesn’t need to be here in Newport, Rhode Island. In fact, someplace warmer would be better.
Rather than work backward from a $7 million dollar house, I thought it might make sense to move forward from our current house (we paid $400K for back in 2011). Here’s a short wishlist of things that I’d add to what we have:
- I want a bigger closet – it’s very tiny now. My wife has a walk-in closet.
- I want a mudroom area as a place where the kids can change their shoes, hang their coats, store their backpacks, etc.
- I would like an indoor swimming pool (necessary in Rhode Island) or live in a place where outdoor swimming is easy (Florida for example).
- I want a big spa tub. I’m secure enough in my manhood to admit that I like baths. Hopefully, I won’t be upset by the costs of heating it.
- I want my own space – call it a man-cave if you want. It has to be big enough for a deluxe massage chair. The house should also have a she-shed for my wife.
What are some of the things that you would want in your dream home? Maybe there’s a master list out there somewhere to inspire us?
While I’m still figuring out what that ideal place may look like I’ve got the perfect transition house:
HGTV’s Dream Home
No, this isn’t a surprise advertisement for HGTV’s Dream Home. I wouldn’t take money, because then I’d probably be ineligible to win it. Yes, this year’s HGTV’s Dream Home is a couple of miles away from where I live now. It would mean driving the kids an extra 10 minutes to school each day, but I think I could manage it. Yes, it is also missing some things on the list above.
As beautiful as the HGTV house is, it might not solve my dream home goal. It turns out that almost no one keeps their HGTV Dream Home. Everyone has had to uproot their lives to move there. Fortunately, we don’t have to do that. HGTV should jump save everyone else’s time and just give us the house, right?
Moving to the house is only a small part of the problem. The much bigger problem is paying taxes on the windfall. The winner has to come up with $700,000 in cash to give to the IRS.
While the house comes with some prize money, it’s not nearly enough to pay the taxes. If we sold our house now, we could probably pay off all the taxes. It would be a stretch and we’d be “house rich, cash poor”, but not any poorer than we are today. It would be hard to dissuade my wife from taking the house.
Personally, I’d like to take the cash prize. It would mean instant retirement for my wife and the opportunity to move to a house that is more middle of the road than their dream house… just like my dream house that I described before.
Have you thought about your dream home? Joe from Retire by 40 has a Hawaiian paradise as his goal. I like the idea, but we’d have to settle for buying an ownership share in that. I’d have to win the lottery to afford to do it. That’s particularly difficult for me to do since I don’t play the lottery.