Housing Rosemary, Part II

In re-starting a new life at the age of 58, one of my greatest challenges is (now) decision-making. Even small decisions are very difficult, and I’m finding that larger decisions are almost paralyzing.

My nearest and dearest friends tell me that I’ve made much progress in the last few months, and I’m so grateful for every encouraging word, but when it comes to hard choices, I don’t do very well.

Last night, I looked at a house that was so appealing for so many reasons. It’s brand-new on the market and will probably sell quickly, so I need to decide soon. And yet, after seeing the house, the old familiar chest pains returned, as did the sleepless night and morning panic attack.

The house has so many good features, such as a NON-OPEN floor plan. It has rooms and walls – a big plus. It has a functional kitchen with white appliances – another big plus. I loathe stainless steel. The roof is less than five years old, so it should last the rest of my life. That’s good.

Inside, the 29-year-old home has popcorn ceilings in every room (ick), an unusually small master bedroom (drat), no sunporch (yikes) and very few windows (see pictures). I’m a solar-powered soul, and I live on light.

The mechanical systems (plumbing, electrical) are first class, but the HVAC is 15+ years old and inefficient.

The best part – the lot. It’s just the right size, delightfully landscaped and the rear is fully fenced. And – it has a massive 1,008-square-foot garage in the back corner. With an epoxy floor. And oversized doors. And a second-floor. That garage makes me swoon, and I’m not even sure why. Maybe it’s my inner-hoarder coming out. Maybe it’s 10 months of being stuffed inside a small rental, with all my worldly possessions in storage.

And perhaps the other “best part” is the neighborhood. It’s a lovely neighborhood and all the lots are at least 125-feet wide. It’s not in the wilderness, and yet everyone has their space.

The last bad thing – it was built in 1988, during  a housing boom in this area. It was not custom built, and I see some evidences of it being economically constructed.

But do I need a house that will last 100 years? No. I need a house that will last 20 years. After that, I’m leaving for assisted living or heaven (undecided as of yet).

So that’s the story. I welcome opinions, as I try to navigate this difficult decision.


The best part is the lot. Its .7 acres - big enough for privacy but not overwhelming. And its all fenced and ready for me and Teddy to move right in.

The best feature of this house is the lot. It's .7 acres - big enough for privacy but not overwhelming, and well landscaped. And it's all fenced and ready for me and Teddy to move right in, and start the next chapter of our life.



There's a 1-1/2 car attached garage, but there's a 1000+ square-foot garage in the back yard. The house has excellent curb appeal, and the lawn has been beautifully maintained.


As you can see from the rear, it just doesnt have many windows.

As you can see from the rear, it just doesn't have many windows. There are only two windows on the side of the house, and only one on the second-floor rear. And yet, it does have a new roof...and that's how these internal conversations go - back and forth.


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  1. Jenny

    Location, location, location. But if you don’t have windows to look out at your beautiful location…

    Maybe the sellers would come down a little to compensate for the old HVAC?

    It looks like there is a pool in every yard. Do you swim?

  2. Janet LaMonica

    I made a list of pluses and negatives.

    The things you don’t like, with the exception of small MBR, can be addressed.

    Popcorn can be removed before you move in. It looks like a sun porch could be added where deck is. Do you plan to keep the pool? You didn’t say. Can windows be added where they are not now?

    The HVAC system will need replaced. Yes, all money items so figure out if you can afford them.

    What can’t be replaced is the lot which you have really had a hard time finding. This is a key item.

  3. lyn clark

    I assume that all the bedrooms are upstairs.

    When I was looking for a house in town one requirement was a main floor bedroom.

    If the house you choose doesn’t have a main floor bedroom, you may regret it in the future.

    Twenty years is a long time.

    Will you ever be hospitalized in that time and come home and not be able to get up and down those stairs?

    Rosemary, I’ll be 74 this month and have no physical problems, I get plenty of exercise with stairs just doing laundry in the basement of my Lewiston.

    My husband has arthritis, broke his neck last July and is pretty much confined to the 1st floor. No need for him to go upstairs or downstairs. Main floor bathroom is another good thing.

    So, Rosemary, I don’t want to put a damper on your house, but just looking out for your future convenience.

    Living in and loving my Sears home, and I do have a sun room that was built later joining the house to the garage… with 6 windows on the front and 5 windows on the back.


  4. Sears Homes

    @lyn clark
    Good points, Lyn. It’s my expectation that I will remain healthy and mobile until my last day (as did my inimitable mother), but I do want to have a house that has the flexibility of a first-floor bedroom (or alternate space), just in case.

    And the sunroom is 100% essential. 😀 If it doesn’t have a sunroom, there must be a way to add one onto the house.

    Thanks for your comments.

  5. Gemma

    That area under the second floor window could become the sunroom.

    I see what you mean about the lack of windows.

    Perhaps at some point in the future, you could move into the garage, and rent out the house.

    Does the house have a first floor bedroom to begin with?

  6. Gemma

    On second thought, if this house causes panic attacks, then don’t buy it.

    It sounds as if you’re not ready for that size of decision.

  7. Jody

    I just picked up your book from the NPL. I’m wondering if you live in the hampton Roads area?

    I’m part of a women’s groups that studies different topics every year, and this year’s is architecture. I’ve decided to write about Sears homes. I would love to interview you about homes in the area!

    You would also be great to have as a guest speaker at our concluding luncheon in the spring. Thank you! Jody Benedict

  8. Jody

    PS I live in Norfolk!

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