And no matter where you end up, they're both great! Wish we had house choices like those. lol. And you wouldn't be the first family ever to move during late pregnancy/birth/early newborn days.
Is your current house sold or on the market?
Considering the responses you've already received I'm coming into this a little late. After reading your first post my first thought was the same as Joy's...school districts.
Can I ask what size each school district is? What do you like about each school?
Then I'd worry about commute and close to family. Square footed - I'd like enough room but I also don't want to clean 24/7 (since we seem to have to do that already) unless you are going to have help with that.
Can't wait to hear what you decide. Looks like they are both in gorgeous neighborhoods! Also - do you know how many kids are in the area for each home?
Sometimes HOAs are nice. I live across the street from our HOA president and a board member, and let me tell you, the yards in our part of the neighborhood are the nicest in the development! We really don't have to deal much with them, but when D and I were attacked by a dog a few years back, they went after the owners with a lawyer and it was paid for by the HOA. Not all bad. And we have block parties a couple of times a year (neighbor's night out, spring clean-up) and it's really fun.
I think you have gotten some great input. I don't think a HOA is a bad thing. I would ask to see if you are allowed to see the rules before you put in an offer. I really like #2 for several reasons. I think Jason's commute is the biggest factor. You want him as close as possible. Driving can be very draining (I don't drive too far compared to some, but my 40 minute commute can really make me tired by the time I get home...we won't be moving to make it less time though). As much as I don't love the kitchen, I still think it is very nice. I have a crappy kitchen, so anything is an improvement. I also think that the foundation issue with #1 (even though it has been fixed) would make me lean toward #2.
Living away from family can be hard, but it really isn't too far. Of course, my view is skewed. Craig's sister lives closest to us and it is about 3.5 hours. My parents live over 4 hours away. I hate it, but it is what we chose before we had kids, and we don't mind where we live. I live about 45 minutes from Indianapolis, so I imagine that is about the time you would put in driving to see your family. It isn't too bad. I would not want to do it weekly, but maybe you could set a schedule where they drive to you one week and you drive to them.
I agree that schools are a big factor. Although, working in the schools, I think the data we get about school is sometimes not too accurate. I would look at class sizes, school size, and what activities are available to students. You could look at testing data, but just realize that it does not always tell the entire story about a school. That part is tough.
Unless you feel like you need a new house, right now, keep looking around and see if there is anything else that works for the commute/family factor. Good luck!
I think they are both gorgeous! Tough decision! You've gotten tons of great advice already, curious to hear if you've decided on anything after your talk the other night?!?
Jackie, we have had to search the outskirts of the metroplex for houses like this. We might be able to find something like that closer to the center of the metroplex but the land would be minimal to nonexistent and the cost would be much higher. What can I say, I married a country boy. For ten years I've denied that I would want to live any further out but I guess I finally came around. Of course, it's still very "city" to Jason. It's all relative.
The school district for the Benbrook house is very small. I believe it's 2A? There are only four campuses, one for each section of grades (elementary, intermediate, middle and high school). The spending per pupil is higher than bigger districts and the class sizes are smaller. The graduation rate for the district is excellent comparing it to some of the other districts around here. I looked at the TAKS scores and they vary quiet a bit but, for the most part, they meet or exceed the state averages. I compared them to schools I went to just as a reference point. They were in line or better than the schools I attended.
We had a chance to look over the HOA rules. Looks pretty much like we expected. I can definitely see the upside to having one. Now I just need to make sure that I green up my thumb.
Tonight we are meeting with our realtor to go over an offer for the Benbrook home (the second one). We will be in contact with the company that is going to help us lease as well. They looked over comps and are pretty confident that we will be able to find renters quickly. THAT part is scary though. Although, a house down the street was empty for maybe a week? We know the prices houses are renting for around here so we are taking a leap of faith on that. Plus, we've been told this is a good time to have a house available since the school year is about to end. It's all pretty scary but I think moving is just a stressful thing to go through.
Good luck with your meeting with the realtor. I hope all goes well! I really like the second house! I would definitely shy away from anything that previously had major damage! And if you could avoid any sort of commute for your DH, I would recommend it! (I work an hour away from home... it is tough!)
Mommy to 2 amazing little boys!
Angel babies 6/9/07 & 11/16/07