Why trading my big house for a tiny condo was the smartest decision I've ever made #Neighbors & Hoods#living small#real estate#Seattle#suburban#tiny home#urban February 4 2011 | Ariel arielmstallings In front of our first house in 2005 When Andreas and I got married in 2004, each of our fathers gifted us with a generous bit of cash towards a down payment on our first home. It was the height of the real estate frenzy, and OF COURSE now that we were married we would be buying a home. We were renting a one bedroom apartment on Capitol Hill, Seattle's gayborhood where we've lived off 'n' on since 1997. We considered looking at condos, but everyone told us that we simply HAD to buy a house because they appreciate better. And so in 2005, we bought our first home: a modest but sizable three-bedroom house in Seattle's southend. …And it was a good house. The three bedrooms meant Dre and I could each have our own offices — plus we had an enormous finished basement that we used as a guestroom/tv zone. We had a big backyard, and did a major home improvement project to add french doors to the bedroom that opened out onto it. We had a garden, a garage for the camping equipment, lots of storage, nice wood floors, a pond in the backyard, and a sweet hammock between two asian pear trees. So, why was I so unhappy? Related Post Why having our family living in 730 square feet is our ideal scenario "Well you'll have to move, of course" a close friend said to me the other day when I brought up our next adoption. She said... Read more I grew up in a pretty rural environment, tucked away in the woods on 10 acres of land at the end of a long dirt driveway. Then I'd moved into the city, and gotten used to being surrounded by people, stacked up in apartments in high density neighborhoods. I thought that an in-city home would be a great place for me to live — more breathing room than I'd had in an apartment, but not as isolated as my rural upbringing. Instead, I found it the worst of both worlds: I wasn't in the neighborhood I loved, but I still had people everywhere. Granted, our neighbors were on the other sides of yards and fences, but they were still wthin eye shot. And the fucking maintenance. All of a sudden I had this yard I was supposed to care for. Remember, I grew up in the woods, with ferns and forest duff as the only landscaping. When the in-laws were in town once, they asked me if we owned a lawn mower. I answered that yes, we did … and realized they were asking because they thought our lawn looked like shit and assumed that the only way it could possibly look that bad was if we didn't have a mower. My lonely red office I also felt terribly isolated, both from my life in the city and even from Andreas. We'd each go into our offices to dink around on our computers, and not see each other for hours. Our house was only a 20 minute drive from our old neighborhood (or a 45 minute bus ride from my job downtown), but I was used to being able to walk everywhere. I hated driving. As Andreas and I started thinking seriously about starting a family, I looked around at this supposedly perfect family house with its nursery-ready bedrooms and kid-friendly fenced backyard and realized it was a prison. If I felt isolated in this home already, having a baby was only going to make it ten times worse. If I hated driving, it was only going to get harder with loading a baby in and out of a car-seat every time we wanted to go anywhere. Then our house got broken into. Despite my laptop sitting out on the bed, the thief only took some jewelry, weed, and a bottle of wine. He left some used q-tips on the table. This is all to say, not an especially bad break-in, but it added to my feelings that it was TIME TO GO. And so in 2007, we sold our house and moved into an amazing one-bedroom condo back on Capitol Hill. I felt an immediate sense of relief — I could walk to six grocery stores, four parks, five museums, and hundreds of restaurants and bars and boutiques. The car got parked for weeks at a time. Life was good. In 2009, when I got pregnant, the questions began: "Do you regret leaving the house? Where will the baby sleep? How long can you stay in that little condo?" My son's room, a former walk in closet I'm happy to report that having a baby in this neighborhood has been SMART. Smarter than smart. The first year, which can be so isolating, was liberating — getting out was as easy as strapping the baby in a sling and walking out the door. Within a block or two I'd run into neighborhood friends, or my favorite baristas, or the sweet owner of the local tea shop that acted as my second livingroom. Yes, my son has a nursery in a walk-in closet. Yes, we have to keep our possessions streamlined. Yes, my husband and I trip around each other in the hallway sometimes. But all these challenges are nothing compared to the isolation and frustration I felt living in a single-family house. It comes down to priorities. For me, being in a neighborhood with a high walk score and lots of friends and easy access to parks and museums is important. More important than a yard and a garden and extra space for more stuff. What are YOUR priorities? How do they shape your housing choices? Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Ariel Author of the Offbeat Bride book, Ariel acts as the publisher of all the Offbeat Empire websites. She lives in Seattle with her son, and if she's not reading or writing books, chances are good that she's dancing or happy-crying. You can get to know her better on her Insta stories. PREVIOUS From Head to Toe: an animal-themed book that could inspire your kidlets to move and pretend NEXT Ditch the magazine: Improving house-esteem Show/Hide comments [ 39 ] We happily live in a smaller home than most of our friends – 1000 sq ft in a rural area where 1300-2000 sq ft homes are the norm. We wanted a lower monthly mortgage so we wouldn't be stretched so tight financially that we couldn't afford to travel / go on big vacations. I'm glad I realized early on that owning a home is only a blessing, not a burden, when it supports the rest of your life's priorities. My priorities definitely include regular international travel! Reply We are looking for a single family home. But you are right, it is all in what you are used to. I grew up in an old 2 story farmhouse that got enveloped by the town around it. My Fiance grew up in a 70's ranch in a subdivision outside a major city. (Well a Major city for Iowa, which is a tiny city for the rest of the world) So when we go to open houses, he perks at every ranch, and I perk at every old 1800's 2 story with gorgeous woodworking. It all depends on what you get used to living in. We both have only ever lived in our family homes or crappy college living spaces. So I think for us a home is defined by what we grew up in. Reply Yeah, it's weird: for me it's less about the kind of home I grew up in (which was a log cabin my parents built in the woods) and more about the kind of lifestyle I've grown to prioritize as an adult (walkability, access to culture, etc). Then again, my adult lifestyle may be a reaction against my semi-rural upbringing — who knows! Reply My priorities are the same in terms of walkability/access to culture/etc. I grew up in the suburbs but moved to San Francisco to go to college and LOVED IT. I never needed a car, the public transit was awesome (and ran 24 hours!) and I could walk almost anywhere. There was a grocery store two blocks away! Heaven! Then I moved to Boston for grad school and I currently live in Brighton-which is city-ish and I don't need a car, but it's definitely not the same. My fiance moved to Baltimore for work and it is even worse there. Baltimore City can be kind of dangerous so he really wants to move to the suburbs when I join him in June. I am terrified that we might have more space but I'm going to be miserable. Reply My husband and I live in a 1700 sq. ft. house in a town outside of Austin. When we were looking for homes, we knew we wanted something that wasn't in a "Master Planned Community" where all the houses look the same and they cut down all the trees. There are 4 parks, a hike and bike trail, the neighborhood community center/pool, a grocery store and schools from K-12 all in walking distance from our house. If we want to go into the city, nothing is more than a 20 minute drive away. Our house is also big enough for our current family's needs, with an office, guest bedroom and craft room, but any of those rooms can easily be changed to a nursery/kid's room when the time comes. Reply Holy smokes your old house was stunning!! It makes me want to moooove out of my tiny 1 bed flat. I long for a garden! Reply It was a great house … but since it wasn't a good fit for my lifestyle, I never quite felt at home there. It just never felt like MY house, no matter how much I tried to settle in. Reply Struggling with this question is something the man and I have been debating for what feels like forever. I hate my car too, but I really want to live among green things that is *close* to a city/town… goodness…. That walk in closet nursery is great. Reply My dude and I have prioritized the neighbourhood as important: My house is in the artsy neighbourhood, within walking distance of a grocery store and neat shops, it's safe, and pretty while his is in an improving neighbourhood with a view of train tracks and irritating neighbours. We also decided owning wasn't for us as we don't have the cash for repairs, so we're happy to rent from my mom and sell his house. Space is also an issue. I craft and have an entire room full of supplies, he is an artist and musician and requires space for that, and together we could start a library. That doesn't count our 3 cats and two ferrets. An apartment would be doable, but we like not having to deal with neighbours and noise on the other side of the wall. Plus the price here is crazy whereas we can rent from my mom for cheaper and could negotiate buying if that worked. His house is just too small to fit into because while we can streamline, I still need somewhere to do some crafts and he needs space for his drafting table, supplies, guitars, amps, etc. My yard is minimal work, his is gorgeous, but we're rarely outside. We may put in paving stones in the backyard next summer to have a fire but we don't garden. Reply Walkability and community are definitely our top priorities. Our San Diego neighborhood, and the neighborhoods around it, are a great balance of both worlds. Lots of 2-4 bedroom homes within walking distance of good food, bars, small galleries, parks, etc. If only we could afford a house here! Reply my s.o. and i own a home that's about 800 sq ft, on .05 acres of land. Just about the tiniest yard possible. It would cost more in gas to start the lawn mower than to mow our postage stamp of a yard, so we grow food and flowers on it. It's our little goth garden with haphazardly planted midnight tulips and pompom aliums, with a whole row of red quinoa on the side. And 5 trees. We actually cultivate dandelions in half of the front yard, and instead of asking if we have a lawn mower, people always want to know about the waist-high yellow flowers. Newsflash: Ifyou don't mow them down, the dandies are tall, bright, and surprisingly delish. Our priorities really dictated that we had to have walkability, as neither of us have owned a car for over 6 years, but still affordability, we live one block away from a neighborhood with 3 TIMES the property taxes. And we have separate bedrooms. We both have back problems and need a place to sleep alone. I think it boils down to the same thing as picking a wedding dress… We had to choose something that fits who we are today, not the dream house of the 10-year old girl in the fantasies I've been reliving for my whole life, before I ever knew I would be a lush, tattooed walkaholic who reads every label in the grocery store. That 10-yr-old drove a mazda miata, too. Reply youngfart, wow: I desperately want to see photos! Care to submit a home tour? Reply Space for all my art stuff is huge. I'm an artsy neatfreak, so I'm always stressed about tripping on stuff in my 1bedroom apartment.(my organizational skills are rather subpar) I want a house that is the opposite of open concept— so I can shut unavoidable messes I make away! I do really want a backyard with a porch and a veggie garden and some tulips that come up every spring. I moved around a lot as a kid and never had a big yard, so I always envied my friends who had lots of running around space and memories in their house. My bf was one of those kids– his parent's yard is huge! So I definitely think we're going for a bungalow. I love living close to the ocean and I love being close to both our families (mine were always far away), but the house prices are ridiculous. In the end, as long as the house isn't falling down and we have a bit of green space to love in this city, I think we'll be pretty happy 🙂 Reply In other news, your and Andres' duvet? Also my duvet. That is all. Reply You know, I always though I wanted to buy a big house with enough room for us, an eventual kid, an office, and so on. I was in love with this big old house I'd pass on my walk from college to the train home. I felt this way for many years, but now…married and living at home with my mom and brothers making minimum wage, we make due with sharing our space and I think we could be just fine in a small apartment or small house. I know when I started changing my mind before I got married though. My dad's mom passed away and his father has moved to a little community home. My dad just had so much stuff that he and his wife had accumulated. He was frustrated. He told me that it doesn't matter how much you have: own little, but do more. I would love now to cut down on what we own, buy less and just spend more time out in the woods, with just a small place to live as our base. Things have really changed. Reply Ohmygoodness. As if house hunting hasn't been strange enough you had to put all my suppressed concerns into words??!! We keep going back and forth from should we buy land and build a steel cabin and have horses or buy in a established neighboor hood and be in "regular debt? To wtf are we thinking?? We don't have to settle down and buy a house! So as of yesterday we are opening our minds to every rental possibility. Do we want safe quiet neighborhood living or a rockin duplex downtown? I think safety is our biggest concern about living in downtown houston. I'm going to show my man this post and see what it makes him think. Thanks Ariel! Reply oh ps. The point I was making that I forgot to make was for the last year we have been crammed into one bedroom, we are in my gramas old house waitng for it to sell and are literally using 80% of the house for storage. The weird part is this post made me realize how much I kind of like being right on top of each other. The past year has been stressful but living together like this really hasn't been, for me anyways he might disagree lol.anyways my point is It kind of makes me consider we might not need a giant 3 bedroom house for just the 2 of us and our 7 pound dog… besides if I haven't even thought of the stuff I hve in boxes in the last 1-2 years do I really need to haul it along with me?? Reply Oh jeezus sorry for all those posts, my phone is in time out now. Reply You're good! You made my alerts buzz, but no harm no foul. Reply I lived my entire life until 17 in a 2-story house, in a you-can-go-for-a-walk-at-4-AM-and-not-be-scared suburb. When I turned 18, I moved into my now-fiance's parent's house in Miami. It was scary. Yes, everything was in walking distance, but I was warned NOT to walk anywhere. I saw a scary, homeless person for the first time (the homeless people in my hometown were cleaned up in shelters). Then we moved out on our own into an apartment in what seemed like a nice enough neighborhood. I was so very wrong. If you step out the door and walk to the left, you are faced with some scary shit. Walk to the right, and there are posh restaurants and hipster bars. Not exaggerating. At all. We're hoping to move ASAP to my hometown and rent a nice townhouse. When we start a family, we plan to move to Virginia's coast, to a home that can accomodate us, guests, and 4 children (with individual rooms for when they're older) Reply I grew up on a farm in rural Iowa,and I miss having sky without light pollution. While Derrik grew up in the Des Moines with street lights and neighbors. I'm 'stuck' in an apartment in one of Iowa's bedroom communities. I can't wait until we can move away from light pollution and *people*! We are compromising on our 'final' house and plan on finding a home in the outskirts. Which should be a good mix of fewer neighbors and quick trips for food. Reply We are looking for a single family home in an urban area (Portland, OR). Our priorities are: – Neighborhood. We want to be in a neighborhood that's in close proximity to the city's center but has a more traditional neighborhood feel (single family homes, yards, etc.) We've been really fortunate to live in neighborhoods so far that have engaged, aware neighbors who hang out on their porch and offer you a beer and not the kind that drive into their garage and enter their house through a door inside the garage and never say hi. – Walkable. We don't need to be within walking distance of everything we need but a grocery store and parks are a must. – Backyard for urban gardening/chickens. We want to be able to grow a lot of vegetables and provide for ourselves on some level. That's really about it. The rest of our list is mostly wants and not needs. Reply I grew up in a suburban subdivision, huge house by necessity because I have four sisters and a brother. I always thought I'd want the same for myself as a parent– a backyard for my kids to run around in, and cul-de-sac to ride bikes in with the neighborhood kids, etc. Then, I moved to NYC and I really appreciated being able to be self-sufficient. We spent the last year living in a small city in the mountains, in an apartment but even though we were living in a city, I still was very car-dependent and I hated it. Now, we are back in our 700 square foot 1 bedroom in a quiet Bronx neighborhood with two kids. I've realized that I don't want the maintenance of a big house, and that I don't want to be car-dependent but we definitely need more space, so we will find a bigger apartment in a dense neighborhood that is kid-friendly (Hello, Williamsburg!). Reply Thanks for posting this. My husband and I are currently wrestling with this very same issue. We kind of caved to the pressure of buying a house (instead of staying in the townhouse we owned) because everyone told us it was the better investment. Now, we have twice the upkeep in an area that's not very walkable or close to our favorite places. The things I like about having a bigger house and yard definitely don't outweigh the things I don't like about it. Reply My partner and I own a just-shy-of-900 sq ft condo in an amazing neighbourhood. We used to live in an apartment in a very bar-heavy neighbourhood, and while it was great to be within stumbling-home distance, it wasn't so great to hear all the other people stumbling home, especially on weeknights. Before we even started thinking about buying a place, we came to the neighbourhood we're in now to hang out one Sunday afternoon and I fell in love. 10 minutes by bus from the downtown core, it's a very mixed-use area, with cafés, galleries, amazing shopping, tons of yoga studios and gyms, a theatre… but also has a ton of beautiful homes and low-rise condos. When we found our place, I would have bought it if it were nothing but a cardboard box, I love this neighbourhood so much. But we lucked out – it's a really funky, loft-style building with a lot of thought put into small architectural details that made it stand way out from everything else we saw. Sure, we could have bought a 4 bedroom house for less in the burbs, but why? I grew up in the suburbs and have had enough to last me the rest of my life. We don't need that much space for 2 adults and a great dane, and we even have a big enough walk-in closet to copy Ariel's nursery when the time comes! We save money because we don't need to buy a car, we don't have to worry about house maintenance, and when we go overseas, it'll be a heck of a lot easier to rent this place out than trying to rent a big house in the burbs! I've always maintained that I'd rent forever rather than move to a neighbourhood I didn't like, but I feel so lucky that we were able to buy a home in an amazing part of town. Reply Love it! My fiance and I bought our first home just under a year ago. It's a single family with a decent-sized yard, but only 696 square-feet of house. We definitely have our moments of wishing for closet space, but overall it's great. We definitely traded space for location – we could have bought a really nice new home on the edge of town with over twice the square-footage for what we paid for our tiny box (which is, incidentally, a perfect square), but we wanted to be able to walk to our favorite coffee shops. I am all about my tiny house! Reply We just bought & moved into our first (and hopefully only) house in January. Sadly, we had unpleasant pressure from both side of the tale… "you have to buy a home, you are married & thinking of children & both in good stable jobs & you’ll miss out if you don’t get in soon", AND "oh no, buying a home is a total sell-out, you are just falling into permanent debt to 'the man'". Couldn't anyone just say "ooh how exciting, I hope you find just what you want/need"? Anyhoo, as it turns out our thoughts & arguments & searching & planning all paid off. We found a little brick veneer 3 bedroom house that fit all of our "must haves", and plenty of our "would really really likes:" – in the forested hills we each had wanted to be since we were kids; – enough room (just!) for our many books, computers, sewing supplies, guest bed, my reading nook and the two cats; – a lovely open kitchen with gas cooking; – a wood heater and central heating (for those lazy/wee hour of the morning times); – half an acre of lush green gardens and trees, with very little lawn; – easy walk to bakery with coffee, grocery stores, pharmacy, school, hardware store & bus stops; – not-so-easy but still doable walk to the "main township" with little cinema, restaurants, bars, lots of cafes & funky little stores; and – a creek! We didn't buy a house that is going to accumulate wealth, and we haven't ended up to our neck in debt either. We love our little house in the woods. Reply What an insightful post! Actually, me and my significant other are struggling with the exact opposite problem. Well, not exact, but close. Right now we are renting a two bedroom townhome, but the owners want to sell. So we've looked at other places to rent, but most would be smaller and closer to town, and we view that as a downgrade. Now we are thinking about buying. The best part is, our budget is exactly the price of this town home, plus the owners said they'd give us a great deal since we've been such good renters, however… We just don't want to raise a family here. We'd love to live here for 2 or 3 more years, but we don't want to be stuck here. And we are starting to feel claustrophobic. And we'd really love to have a dog! We are looking at houses much like the one you left. Thought that it was interesting to read an opinion from the other side of things. Thanks! Reply I too learned this lesson the hard way! I was in grad school in Austin, TX. I had been living just a few blocks from campus in West Campus, but rent was expensive and I wanted a bit bigger apartment. So I moved further out of town where I couldn't walk to anything without crossing a major Texas freeway. I learned then and there how much more important location location location was over size. My husband and I just bought a 768 sq ft house near where I grew up in KC that we think is just HUGE after living in our 560 sq ft condo in Sydney that fit us perfectly (with a tiny little space for a baby or two in the future). But our families can't understand why we bought such a small house. It is great to have so much more room (and a garage to stick junk and our bicycles in) and be able to be as loud as we want without having to worry about the neighbours on the other side of the wall, but I think I am much more a low maintenance apartment-dweller in the long term! Reply I think one of the hard things is when you have the internal conflict about you want. My FH and I have a lot of the same views on what we want but these views conflict with each other. We both grew up in a rural area so we want a yard where we can have a veggie garden. We want space, not a lot of space but somewhere separate to go every once in awhile, we like stars. But we love the city. We like walking everywhere. We like the farmers market and the shops and the bars. We like seeing random people. The place we just moved into has been our best compromise yet. Three bedroom 1 bath row house in the city with a tiny fenced yard but enough space for a small garden. But as we get used to this I am sure we will start longing for wide open spaces or less space or something. And that is why I totally agree with Sara's post "Renting is MY American Dream" on 2/14. I can give into my "dream" house of the moment after each lease term. Reply My husband and I rented a tiny, crappy little house in a tiny town in Nebraska a month before we got married, almost 2 years ago. We had 2 cats then, and now have a white german shepherd as well (he was a wedding present, oddly enough). We've been looking since we got married, because the female half of the landlords is a drunk and a total nut job, my commute is 45 minutes one way, and the grocery store closes at 6 pm (major annoyance for me, because I love to cook, and they're always closed when I decide to make something and realize I'm out of one key ingredient). In those almost 2 years, I have not found one rental listing that will take pets. Not one. So, we're working our butts of to get our finances back in shape, and then work towards buying our own home, removing pets as a factor. Then we'll get to hash out if we live in the country (we're in Nebraska), a city, or a small town, because each of us has different opinions on different days of what we want. Reply My future husband and I live in Memphis, TN, so our number one priority is safety. There are some super sketchy parts of town, and if you want to live in the inner-city (which we do) you're going to pay dearly to live in the not-ghetto. This has been the hardest part of our home search. We love the part of Memphis we currently live in (East Memphis) but it's just north of one of the cities largest (thought, most mild-mannered) ghettos. We pay over $700 a month for our 580sq ft apartment–which is expensive for the city, especially considering that just down the road there is a complex on the out skirts of the aforementioned ghetto where a three bedroom apartment is a mere $540. So, we have had to compromise and are buying our first home in an annexed suburb called Cordova. For a suburb, it has the same fantastic urban feel that I came to love in East Memphis. The place we're putting an offer on tomorrow (wish us luck) is an adorable brick townhouse within walking distance of a grocery store, a book store, and over a dozen restaurants. I, like Ariel and many of you guys, HATE driving, so this is a plus for me. Overall, I'm really excited that we have been lucky enough to find a house that meets our needs so well. Reply This is precisely why I'll never move back to the suburbs! Well said! Reply Its strange how much we just kind of fell into our house. When we were first looking, I wasn't too particular about the neighborhood. My husband and then boyfriend only had one stipulation: within the city limits–after living in the city for two years, there was no way he was going back to the burbs. My first priority was finding a house with charm and character and most importantly–had a good layout for parties. If you would have told me at the start that I'd find everything I wanted in a 1 bedroom shotgun single, I'd have laughed in your face–but as soon as I walked in the house, I knew it was what we were looking for. I'm a mile away from work, groceries, bars, farmers markets, coffee shops all within walking distance. After commuting all my life and seeing nothing wrong with it, I LOATHE getting in my car now. And when I don't want to even go out, I'm uber comfy on my brick patio watching my grape vines take over the yard day dreaming about all the fond memories we've already created in our humble abode…and planning all the great parties yet to come! Our friends all have 3+ bedroom houses and I just can't understand why they need all that space. Or why they'd want to live so far away! Now if we ever for some reason needed to move and find a new place I'd be sure to know exactly what I'm looking for. Sure, when you have no pantry, no linen closet, and one shared bedroom closet, sometimes it takes getting creative to store things (or realize when its just time to get rid of it) but for us, the benefits far out weigh the problems. And that's the key–finding out what you can live without and what you can't. Reply I know you wrote this awhile ago, so this comment is probably coming to your in-box sort of out-of-the-blue (but hey, what can you expect when you have that nifty featured posts banner thingy?), but I wanted to thank you for sharing this perspective. I grew up in an "ideal family house" (out in the suburbs, with a gorgeous wooded back yard – we even had a stream running through it!), and don't get me wrong, I loved it — until, that is, I went off to university. The first summer, I was home for two months, and suddenly I couldn't stand living there. The isolation, the driving — no, thanks! I'd gotten used to walking, biking, or bussing everywhere, and being back in the 'burbs was nearly unbearable. Now, my husband and I are living in a small two-bedroom apartment in the middle of a small city, within walking distance of a farmers' market, our favourite bakery, a number of good thrift shops, one of the best concert halls in the country, the children's museum, a living history museum, the train station, the bus terminal…. The list goes on. Oh, and our best friends live in the apartment right below us. I can barely stand the thought of someday living somewhere other than here, but I've always assumed that we'll need more space before we have kids. But maybe not… (I'll admit, my ideal would be a duplex somewhere close to here, with the aforementioned friends in the other half of it… and if that's not possible, two houses close together, and close to here — hey, I can dream…). Thanks for reminding me, though, that "The American Dream" doesn't have to be my dream, and giving me ammunition against those who think it does. 😀 Reply I like my condo fine and being close to everything requiring a short walk works for me. My place is quiet , no neighbors from hell thank god. Reply It's interesting how so many people want walkability and how high it ranks. For a short time I lived in a small town (in a tiny apartment ) where I could walk to everything excepthat a decent grocery store And I loved the ease if that. It was the first time I'd lived some place truly walkable. But the downsiddownside to that was a lack of privacy. Even of I had my own home all the yards are small and close together. Unless it's a hugreat old house I could never afford. I live in a mobile home community now and actually have a bit of privacy but I hate having neighbors so close. I hate hearing their music or the one person's motorcycle or the pers I need who mows the lawn at 8 am. I want privacy. I don't want to hear my neighbors and I want to see them as little as possible. Luckily my current s.o. feels that same way so when we move in together finding an affordable place with acreage is important. And if the house isn't set far back enough from the road I want a very high privacy fence. He likes to mow so that isn't the issue. When I was growing up I lived both far out and in town but no walkability in either place due for various reasons. And in both places were the early morning weekend mowers. I wish I could have 5 or 10 acres down a side road with few people around. I'll deal with driving I just want a refuge. Reply I'm thinking about buying a condo in an urban area rather than a house, but I'm also thinking of trying to have a baby soon. My worry is more so in that when the baby cries like at night or something would that cause problems with the neighbors, if it's an apartment like building, which is what most condos are like here. Thanks for any thoughts? Reply Home is where the Heart is! Great viewpoint. While I am approaching my late forties with our children leaving for and in college, I totally relate if even from a different perspective. Regardless of what type of living situation we humans decide is best for us, I think a few items of importance are universal: connection to one's space, ability to adjust and trade the plus and minus's(sq. footage, storage) Privacy, yet community etc. But mostly, I think if more home seekers would look(and many are, for sure) beyond what was done prior or what others have done successfully-the blueprint can be vastly different but very achievable with honest expectations and some work to find your perfect nest. DS Minneapolis, MN Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. 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