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first world problems - to move or not to move, AIBU

(11 Posts)
No1blueengine Thu 09-Feb-17 16:55:06

I have name changed for this as it is fairly identifying.

We have a nice little 3 bed semi in a town just outside London.
we have 3 DC plus a DSD who comes to us eow plus half the holidays.

Our house is small. The bedrooms are of middling size, 2 doubles and box room. The living areas are poky. The outside space is fabulous but this being England, generally unusable for 8 months of the year.

Currently the two eldest DC (6 and 4) share the master bedroom with DSD (14) bunking in with them when she is here. The youngest has the box room. DH and I squeeze into the second bedroom which is a small double. We are like sardines in there and it drives me mental. I literally have 50cm between my side of the bed and the wall.

We have just done some investigations into loft conversions and extensions. We live in a conservation zone so anything we do requires planning permission and we are limited in scope. Nothing too big or flashy.

The loft extension wont fly as it would require dormers to be usable which the council are historically unwilling to approve. The living space extension would probably be ok but costs are likely to be around 100-120k to do it (based on neighbors quotes for the a very similar extension).

I am sick to death of the kids sharing with DSD. They get sulky when she is with us because she takes over the bedroom, sleeps late on the weekend (which means their room is off limits for play) and she gets sulky because she has to share with a 6 and 4 year old in the first place, cant have her friends over to sleep over/hang out etc. School holidays become quite tense. I have sympathy with both complaints. Storage is also a huge problem as DSD keeps clothes etc here and so storage for 2 has to be shared with 3. There is just no room for a third chest of drawers/wardrobe etc and the clutter makes my teeth itch.

The living space issue is probably most keenly felt by me. I go a bit bonkers when i feel suffocated and having all 4 kids plus two adults in the living/dining room, each doing their own thing, making noise and generally taking up space stresses me out.

I appreciate that my sensibilities are unusual in that regard. My sense of space comes from growing up in Oz. I have been here 17 years and i still haven't gotten used to the size of British houses.

Given the costs and disruption of an extension, which in the end wont give us the 4th bedroom we need, i am inclined to sell the house and upgrade to a proper 4 bedroom place asap. Doing so would probably mean moving to the next town along the train line, which is fine. I commute to London 3 times a week and don't really care about an extra 15 minutes on the train each way.

If we took the cost of the extension and applied to buying a new property we could buy a very nice 4 bed fixer upper. Stamp duty is a bitch but it would be less than the cost of the loft conversion we were hoping would have been possible. We would get most of the living space we need and the extra bedroom. As i see it, all of the pressure points are relieved.

The problem is DH. He is very attached to our house and the area we live in. He has friends in the area and enjoys living in the community. He has transformed our garden and is very invested in it. I like our community too but think that we would only be moving 20 minutes down the road, not to the moon. He can keep his friends and we will also make new ones in the new town.

He thinks we should tough it out for the next 5 years, do the living space extension in the mean time and then when our eldest is heading to secondary school, look to move locally into one of the currently unaffordable large detached homes in the area.

The idea of that fills me with dread. I cant wait 5 years. I dont want to keep living in a sardine can. I dont want my kids to resent their elder sister and i dont want their elder sister to resent them. I think that the current living arrangements are such that DSD is going to start voting with her feet and just not coming over unless she gets the privacy and space she needs. She is an only at her mothers and i think coming over here must be like entering a war zone for her at the moment.

i think DH's reluctance stems for two things. One, a fear of extending our mortgage and taking on further debt. As i see it, now is the time to do it. Interest rates couldn't get any lower and we always lock in for between 5-10 years which should see us through any Brexit uncertainty. If we did it we would go into the purchase with just over 50% equity so could absorb a drop in prices if it happened. This would be a forever house though so short term price drops aren't that relevant to my mind.

Secondly, i think he fears a loss of community. We are both immigrants to this country and have no family to fall back on. I think he thinks of our community as a bit of a safety net. I think that it is a lovely community but that is not to say that we wont join an equally nice one elsewhere. It will just take a bit of time.

By the way, affordability is not really an issue. our combined income is well over 150k and could easily afford a significantly bigger mortgage than even what i am contemplating. DH's reluctance to increase our mortgage debt comes from a philosophical view that all debt is bad.

I guess i am using this post as a bit of a sense check because DH thinks i am being reckless and entitled. Is my thinking here dodgy? i really dont think it is. i think i am being practical. AIBU?

I throw myself on the mercies of Mumsnet's collective wisdom.

Waterfeature Thu 09-Feb-17 17:02:51

Very much depends on your financial situation and how that is likely to progress/how stable your jobs are.

I don't think it's U for DH to be attached to the area. That's a rare blessing these days.

How often is DSD with you? Maybe you could do the living space extension and the/an extra room could double as "hers" when she's there?

Is there any option to separate off your living spaces? We had open plan in last house -- actually a nightmare as you can never escape from the mess and noise...!

gleam Thu 09-Feb-17 17:04:20

I think you're being very sensible.

Sell it to him on the basis of 'having a new garden to transform'.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Thu 09-Feb-17 17:09:45

Your children will get bigger and it will be more difficult for them to share. Plus the fact that there will be more and more stuff to fit into the same space as they get older.

In five years time, your two will be 11 and 9, so you'll be in the middle of looking at secondary school. If you move now, as well as the bigger house, you'll be able to look at areas that have the kind of school you'd like.

Moving to a new area is not easy and I can see why your DH doesn't want to lose his sense of security, but half an hour further away doesn't mean you have to be cut off from the people you know. There'll be new contacts and acquaintances anyway.

Go for it!

deblet Thu 09-Feb-17 17:10:14

My husband persuaded me to move away from an area I was really happy with to a cheaper area and bigger house. I still hate him for it 10 years later. I am not saying don't keep discussing and perhaps get your children and him around the table and have their input even little ones can see things clearly. But tread carefully because it put a hole in our relationship which can not be fixed. Admittedly mine was further away though. And btw I used to get my step sons up when the others got up because if you have to share a room you can't just lay in your bed.

QueenMortificado Thu 09-Feb-17 17:18:13

I'd move in a heartbeat. You spent 8/10/12/14/16 hours each day at home.

You see your friends for 2/4/6 hours each week.

I'd move for the space and then make more effort to see friends / invite people over to yours.

DoNotBlameMeIVotedRemain Thu 09-Feb-17 17:27:10

How old is your youngest? Could set the boxroom up with a good quality sofa bed and cot. When DSD there the cot goes into biggest bedroom with your older DCs and DSD goes in sofa bed. When DSD not there sofa bed away and cot in there. If décor is neutral could work to give DSD a space away from young siblings but used as nursery most of time?

Msqueen33 Thu 09-Feb-17 17:36:10

You say it's a three bed but why do the other dc share? How often is dsd staying? Any chance of a small extension and make into a downstairs room? I'd maybe take your dh to see other options to give you both an idea without the pressure to move.

LadyCallandraDaviot Thu 09-Feb-17 17:37:24

I agree with DoNotBlameMe give DSD the box room when she is there and put your 3 little ones together.

In the mid term, I agree with you - all the children will be getting bigger, and have more stuff, you will need to move to a bigger house relatively soon.

Msqueen33 Thu 09-Feb-17 17:38:07

Slightly different but when I was 24 dh persuaded me to move jobs as our jobs were quite far apart and we couldn't find a house in the middle. He felt his job was more advanced than mine (opportunities etc). So I moved jobs and really wished I hadn't. It did make me feel slightly resentful.

Msqueen33 Thu 09-Feb-17 17:38:40

Sorry just seen you essentially have four kids.

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