Wednesday, February 25, 2009

When are you moving to the suburbs?

My ex-boyfriend stopped by my office yesterday. That may sound odd but we are friendly and work in the same industry so I see him from time to time. I enjoyed talking to him - I'm way too old to hold romantic grudges - but it seems despite former intimacies he clearly has no idea about my life goals. Srlsy? I may have to devote a couple of posts to the things he got wrong, but here's the first one.

In talking about real estate I mentioned to him (let's call him X) that if my husband-to-be and I ever decide to move, the houses in one of our potential neighborhoods, X's current neighborhood, all seem to have only 1.5 bathrooms at the most. Those in our hypothetical price range, that is.

X was confused. He said "well you guys shouldn't move there, you're going to move to the suburbs, right?" Hello? Have you met me? I loathe the suburbs!

This isn't the first time people have made this assumption. People think that just because my fiancee bought a condo downtown that this purchase was cheaper than a house or just a "temporary" home. They think our priorities will change once we are married and god forbid start reproducing. Wrong. We LOVE the condo life, we love the downtown, having a sustainable walkable lifestyle, and hope to stay in this immediate area for the foreseeable future.

And, just to clear things up. Fiancee's condo cost just a little over $150k, an amount that would pay for a modest home in the suburbs. He didn't buy such a house because that's not the life we want. Mowing the lawn? Commuting to work? Driving everywhere? Nope, not for us.

As for children, I would love to raise kids in a diverse urban area where we can go to museums, the library, the park, without having to get in the car. Every time I go for a walk in our city I'll run into friends, co-workers, neighbors. I am friendly with shopkeepers and all the people with cute dogs. I don't want my kids to be sheltered!

Besides, why spend money "upgrading" to the suburbs when the money we would pay in increased mortgage costs, increased taxes, increased commuting costs, house upkeep, etc. could go towards our other goals: early retirement, world travel, college savings for the little ones?

Everyone says my priorities will change. But you've heard it here first, we're staying put as long as we can!


paisley penguin said...

I live in a condo and I would like a house but in reality we are staying put cause in 5.5 years the youngest will hve graduated and Iwill only be 42. We have a plan to pay off the debt by then so we can travel and lay for a year. Early retirement - yeah!

c.c. said...

I like condo living too. I think it's less stressful on the homeowner. I don't hate the suburbs as much as you do, but I picture myself there when I'm married. And it scares me.. :(

Fabulously Broke said...

Agreed. And the suburbs are not necessarily better for living. It's a longer commute, more space than you need ,maintenance on the garden etc, and you can easily raise a family in a condo (if you wanted one) the same way in the suburbs -- many families have successfully done that in far worse.

Anyway.. :)

ldub said...

i'm in the exact situation - people keep asking when, after my wedding, my husband-elect and i will be moving. i point out that we own our condo and love our neighborhood, and they're like... confused. we live right in the city, we're close to everything, there are amazing restaurants and lakes and an ice skating rink all right here! honestly, we talk about wanting a fireplace and a fenced yard, but those are pretty small complaints - certainly not enough to make me want to move anywhere. plus, our condo fee is insanely small and covers all utilities!


I know exactly what you mean. My husband and I have lived in the same one bedroom rented basement apartment for the 5 years we’ve been together (married 3.5). People think we’re nuts. It’s a tiny place but we love it. In this case, we’ll have to move if/when we have kids due to just space issues. But I don’t want to move to the ‘burbs! I want to keep our commutes as short as possible, and like you, raise our kids in a diverse area.

Miss M said...

LA doesn't have this great urban core, rather there are many smaller areas that could be called a downtown. Instead the city is a series of suburbs, hence the sprawl. I like that I can have a house with a yard and yet be only a few miles from downtown. I think a condo will be perfect when I'm older, for now I want a yard for the dogs and a place to grow my vegetable garden. A lot of people prefer city life, different strokes is all. It's funny your ex doesn't know you that well.

QL girl said...

I found this post amusing, I never thought of "the suburbs" as somewhere people go when they get married and have kids. I never understood that concept until I got older (ahem, like my first years in college? lol)

Anyway, I hate it when people make assumptions.....which is why I always lose my temper with my sister. Whenever I start to look at properties she sends me links to houses out beyond the suburbs and she gets mad when I look at the address and delete them without looking closer.

Ditto on raising kids in the city. I'd LOVE to live in the city, but downtown living is just too expensive for me right now. [sigh] (Wait, that wasn't meant to imply I wanted to have kids any time soon either...) While there might be a certain "charm" (or whatever you want to call it) about your kids playing on a lawn, I think it'd contribute way more to their development to live in a city.