Eleuthera Bound

Downsizing for a Dream

Downsizing for a Dream

8 Comments

It’s true, we made a pretty dramatic change. For most people. including close friends, family, and underwriters at the bank, it was hard to understand.  Honestly, from an outsider’s perspective, I totally see the confusion.  We had achieved the American dream. We had two children, a beautiful home, wooded acreage, were close to the Lake Michigan shore, and our jobs.  It was truly wonderful.

Kitchen Before:                                                         Kitchen After:

5417 164th Avenue Port Sheldon MI 49460 PlanOmatic.com (2)       FullSizeRender

A big house and property is an investment in more than just money. For me, the housekeeping, alone, was daunting, and then came the annual West Michigan snowfall. Maintenance of an especially long (but beautiful) driveway, and roof that needed regular raking and shoveling of snow, left us feeling hardy, but exhausted.

Before:

Winter, 2014 (from the roof):      Winter, 2015:

1902775_10202611959692744_1684468517_n     993030_10202604616789790_113695440_n

After:

Winter 2017:

15871568_10210638979283217_8783569413186186676_n

Although we were SO lucky, I had to continually remind myself how lucky we were to have such a beautiful place. We had raised our kids in a wonderful, wooded play land. However, time spent enjoying that place had been taken over with busy lives, leaving us feeling like bees continually leaving the hive, returning to the hive, leaving the hive… never around long enough to enjoy it.

When the kids were younger, we were home all the time.

48141_10200462007625286_1159669378_n      903034_10203153037099341_1222212760921697374_o

This was all on my mind when, three things happened: First, I went on a home tour of second floor apartments over the adorable and vibrant downtown, in nearby Holland, Michigan.  The apartments were small, but close to cool stuff like restaurants and micro breweries that we love.  There were no yards to mow, or roofs to rake.  By living in town, we could walk to meet friends and enjoy all these fun places.

Second, we took a much needed family vacation to the beautiful island of Eleuthera. It was the catalyst to the change we needed. Usually, when visiting a place we love, we’ll check out real estate listings, just for fun. Holy smokes.  There were homes here, much more affordable than similar homes in Michigan. Owning waterfront property was not out of the question.

12932645_10208142901443445_3851844072658885362_n

Third, we visited my husband’s sister and her husband in Harlem, New York. They gave up a beautiful Hastings, New York home with woods, and great neighbors for the convenience and excitement of city living.  Walking everywhere, and for everything was awesome.  Witnessing the payoff of giving up stuff you love for a life you love, was inspiring.

Within a week from returning from Harlem, over a beer at a favorite brewery, I had my husband on board for selling our house, and moving to a smaller, less expensive place in town.  This would allow us walk to shops and restaurants, be part of a community, and (hopefully) the financial independence to own a small home on the island of our dreams.

Within months of this conversation, we were moving into a new (to us) home in town and readying our home of 15 years, the only home we had ever purchased, for the market.  Our new home was more than half the living space of our previous place, and down to one bathroom, a drastic reduction from the three we had before.

Even more of a surprise to everyone, including us, is that we purchased an owner occupied rental. So, along with adjusting to town life, and living in a smaller space, we were learning how to be property managers. While this is not what we set out to do, keeping our minds open to this may have lead us to the very component of this move that will help make our dream a reality.

For many reasons, having a person we like and trust in the flat upstairs, has been one of the best parts of our move. Not only is it a financial help, we now have someone around when we travel.  We love new experiences, and meeting new people, so this was the unexpected twist that might prove to be the best decision of all, no matter what path our future plans take.

Home Before:                                               Home After:

house for sale Facebook Search     FullSizeRender (1)

 

Author: elizabeelynn

I'm a mom to two, wife to one, and a math teacher to many. We live on Michigan's West Coast, in the beautiful town of Holland.

8 thoughts on “Downsizing for a Dream

  1. Congratulations! My fiancé and I live in a tiny studio apartment in the San Francisco Bay Area for the exact reasons you are describing. We’re still not sure if purchasing property is our end goal, but getting to travel more is definitely a nice pay off! And boy do we love Eleuthera…

    Like

    • Funny how things work. We moved to Michigan from the Bay Area, specifically Oakland. We had a baby and wanted to buy a house, so we moved to where we could. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • We live in Oakland, so we completely understand! It’s unbelievably expensive and crowded here nowadays. Kind of scary, not sure where we’ll go if we get pushed out.

        Like

  2. Congrats on putting your dream within reach, Elizabeth. Your new place looks great! Craig and I were smitten with Costa Rica and dream of moving there someday. Love the idea of simplifying to make it a reality.
    Enjoy your first Tulip Time in the middle of all the action, and thanks for sharing!

    Like

  3. Inspiring. I am looking forward to selling my home that I feel has “owned me” (with the maintenance and more living space that never gets lived in because we were never home) so I can “own a living space” that is lower maintenance and financially less draining.

    Like

  4. You guys are my favorite people. Love this

    Like

  5. You inspire me to follow my dreams…no matter the “giving up” of things I have come to “believe” so important…Comfort and security I am realizing rule me more than I like to admit. Love you!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s