Downsizing

Our family recently downsized in a big way. I've had many people ask why we sold our lovely home and the short answer is: It's complicated. My husband, David, is joining me in today's episode for a candid conversation about the perils of homeownership and moving towards simplicity.

Our family recently downsized in a big way. We were privileged to be homeowners for almost a decade, owning a house in Dallas and then moving and owning a house in New York. We have now officially sold our house in New York and moved into a much smaller, much simpler rental. And I've had a lot of people asking me why, why would we leave a beautiful house loaded with amazing amenities? That seemed kind of like a dream. The short answer is it's complicated. So I invited my husband to join me for a candid conversation. This is unedited, just us chatting about the experience o being homeowners and the mistakes that we've made. Spoiler alert. There are a lot of them and some things that we've learned along the way.

Hi, this is Denaye. I'm the founder of Simple Families. Simple Families is an online community for parents who are seeking a simpler more intentional life. In this show, we focus on minimalism with kids, positive parenting, family wellness, and decreasing the mental load. My perspectives are based in my firsthand experience, raising kids, but also rooted in my PhD in child development. So you're going to hear conversations that are based in research, but more importantly, real life. Thanks for joining us before we get

Started on today's episode, I want to thank you. Put your box for sponsoring, even though we've welcomed in a new, we're all realizing that it's going to look very different and that includes our celebrations for the upcoming super bowl Sunday. Even if you're keeping it small this year, celebrating at home, ButcherBox makes it easy to get high quality humanely sourced meat, right at your door with the pandemic. I feel more grateful than ever to get a box of curated high quality meat, right to my home. That way I don't have to make multiple stops at different grocery stores to find what I want with ButcherBox all their meat is free of antibiotics and added hormones. I can choose to customize my own box or go with one of theirs. That way I can get exactly what I want in many ways. It feels like a no brainer, great meat shipped right to your door. And one less trip to the grocery store.

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But I think those laughs were more rooted in relief because there were many points in time during this process of buying and selling our home that I felt like I had to choose between laughing or crying in our family. We strive to leave the world a better place than we found it, and that included home ownership, but we moved into an older home in the country and we spent the better part of three and a half years fixing things that were broken, which costs a lot of time and money. And although it felt good leaving the house in a much better place than we found it, it's still left us feeling pretty burnout and exhausted.

There were of course, small projects like painting and decorating. And then there were big projects like trimming and cutting down trees, redoing plumbing, renovating a pool, lifting up and repairing flooring that had been sagging after decades and decades of use and fixing fencing. Not exactly the fun stuff. Needless to say, this has been a process of living and learning, and we're happy to be on the other side of it. Now, I hope you enjoyed this conversation and let our experience be a lesson to you. Don't bite off more than you can chew, making big life changes and decisions during times of stress isn't wise. And don't be afraid to admit to yourself that sometimes the things that you thought you wanted the most were nothing more than idealizations. Maybe not in fact things you needed for true happiness without further ado.

Denaye Barahona: Here's my chat with David. Hi David. Thanks for joining me today.

David: Thanks. Hey Denae,

Denaye Barahona: From the comfort of our bedroom.

David: It is very comfortable right now.

Denaye Barahona: So I think we should start by first of all, just saying that we are very privileged to have been homeowners, we've owned two homes now. Uwe, it's definitely not something that we take for granted.

David: Of course not. No.

Denaye Barahona: With that being said, I've had a lot of people asking about why we sold our house?

David: Really?

Denaye Barahona: Our seemingly dream house. Uand my response is just kind of been it's complicated because.

David: That's definitely an understatement it's complicated.

Denaye Barahona: And I think that we've learned so much about home, home ownership and about ourselves and what we want. And I don't know. Do you feel like we've learned through the process?

David: Thanks though. So, I mean, definitely I'm a smarter person just through experience. I never thought I would, you know, be that older person saying, you know what, I've been through all of these experiences and I am so much more mature and knowledgeable and

Denaye Barahona: Three years later.We've grow

David: I'm that old man now.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. Well, in many ways I do kind of feel like we're like empty nesters where like we live the dream for a couple of years and then we're like, okay, now give us the little house with the postage stamp size backyard and we'll be happy. UI don't know. Yeah. I feel like we've kind of come full circle rather quickly.

David: Very quickly.

Denaye Barahona: From young dreamers to like, just keep it simple.

David: I felt like The pendulum has swung very hard.

Denaye Barahona: Totally. So I have, I feel like I've psychoanalyzed the path out of this decision making process into how we came to own this home. And I swing back and forth between feeling like it was an Epic mistake to feeling like,uI'm glad we did it and I'm still not sure which, which of those, what do you feel like?

David: I definitely am glad that we did it.

Denaye Barahona: Okay. Definitely. So you're sure of that.

David: Absolutely. No, without, without hesitation, I am most definitely glad that we sold our house and we're in a most.

Denaye Barahona: Sold. Okay. So, bought I'm talking about, bought.

David: Oh, sorry. Sorry.

Denaye Barahona: Do you feel that buying that house was an Epic mistake?

David: You know, honestly as a whole, I would say no, because it did teach us and in particular me, or maybe reaffirmed some things for me in terms of what I really valued in whether it's home ownership, a house, a dwelling, you know, where I would reside and maybe created a new context for how you think about those same things.

Denaye Barahona: So let's start by talking a little bit about how we got to this house and why we moved to New York. Uso we were living in Texas. We were living in Dallas, Texas, and,uit was 2000 end of 2016. And I had just, I literally, it was actually the week that I defended my dissertation and was preparing to graduate. Uand you got the sort of quote unquote dream job offer. And it was in New York and outside of New York city. And,uit was just kind of a, no-brainer like we loved living in Texas and, but we knew that we wanted to be back sort of in the Northeast or the Midwest where we had four seasons and that's where we wanted to raise our family. U

David: We wouldn't think that long-term, I think we're still ambivalent about where we wanted to kind of put our roots down and really, you know, be for the long-term we've. And I mean, even, I would say up until the past three years have been kind of, you know, not fully there in terms of where we felt like home was.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah, that's true. But we always felt when we were, we were in Texas for almost five years and we always felt like we really loved it, but it never quite felt like our forever.

David: Oh yeah. It's actually, I mean, I loved Texas. The people were great. The amenities, the, the ease of living there cost of living, you know, and again, like really had a great support system there and loved it. But you're right. There's something about me. Maybe just being from the Mid-Atlantic for myself from Ohio, for you would just, it felt like there was missing something. I always missed the, but there was something that I felt like there was a yearning for something slightly different. Yeah,

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. For both of us. So when we got the opportunity to come to New York, New York is driving distance to both of our families. My family is in Ohio, your family's in Virginia. Uit felt like a good move for us. And we came and visited and drove around and looked at some neighborhoods and more of like little small towns. And I loved all of them. I was kind of like, we, we brought the kids, the kids at the time were one just newly one and three. Uso he flew from Texas with them. It was just us and the kids. And,uit's like a four and a half five-hour flight is a big trip for just a two day weekend drive around and look at towns. It was an exhausting trip. Our daughter got like 105 fever at the end of the trip. Do you remember that being in a hotel in Queens?

David: Oh, no, no, no. I do remember the Queens. It was a

Denaye Barahona: Right by the airport. Yeah. We ended up and she was so sick and I was on the phone with our pediatrician in Dallas for ever. And,uit was just, it was hard. It was a hard just, just to come for a weekend to drive around, looking at houses and they were not thrilled to be in the car, like just driving around, looking at neighborhoods as kids aren't. So we decided that we kind of narrow down where we wanted to live and you are definitely, you have more opinions about houses than I do. So I just said, you go like we online, narrowed it down and we narrowed it down to seven houses and you came and actually met your parents here and looked at the houses. And,uhow did that go?

David: So I think overall again, I think you'll, there's a theme here, right? It, anything as major of a transition in life, like a move or just moving houses is stressful is you know, a variety of emotions and, you know, going, especially with my parents, I thought it would be a good way that I could kind of one, cause I hadn't seen them in a while. And and I thought it would be kind of a good way to help bring them into the mix, but you know, obviously they had opinions and I had opinions and in hindsight I probably would've done it by myself again. Yeah.

Denaye Barahona: I mean, I, it was good for you to have company though, because it is like, it's good to have other, other views, you know, people see things that you don't necessarily, you know, especially, I feel like your parents have a good eye for real estate and whatnot.

David: Yeah. And just locations and where, you know, where it would be a good neighborhood and, you know, amenities are just being close to things and things that I typically wouldn't have considered before. Yeah. I mean, at the end of it, I think that it was, it was okay. It was just, again, exhausting, but I'm the type of person that if I go even up to a house like the front, the front door, like I will immediately know in my gut, like this is a good fit or a bad fit. Yeah. Yeah. And I felt bad because there was a couple of times when I wouldn't even really want to get out of the car with a realtor and it wasn't you, it wasn't just to kind of say, no, I don't trust your judgment, but it was more of listen. I know this is not going to work for me and I don't want to waste your time. And I know we're on, you know, a short amount of time here just two days. And I have no marching orders for my wife to go get a house.

Denaye Barahona: Well, those marching orders, I think were probably the biggest mistake. And I've always heard, you know, don't make decisions under pressure and don't like make important life changes under duress. And I was because I had been by myself because you had moved to New York already. You were living in a hotel. And I was by myself, in Texas with both kids, wrapping up all of our move stuff, launch, launching a business,utaking care of the kids all by myself with no babysitter. And it was a lot, I was super, super stressed out and it was just a long couple months by myself.

David: Well, if you want to talk about pressure, just state the phrase, I literally don't come home without a house in two days. So that was the extent of my right.

Denaye Barahona: So I take full blame for this, but part of this too, also the pressure to buy was driven by the fact that we were, it was a corporate relocation package. And if we didn't buy within six months, we lost a lot of the relocation package perks. So we felt like they were really good benefits that were coming with your relocation package. And we wanted to take advantage of those. And those I think are in place for some, the reason that they want employees to stay. Right. So like they want you to take them up on the relocation package and get sort of lucked into a mortgage and stay at the job.

David: No, not necessarily. I think it's, they realize the toll that it takes on you both professionally and personally, like it's a major thing. And so they want to try to accommodate that major transition for a family because it is, it's a very stressful, very time consuming endeavor. And so, especially if you're, you know, professional or, you know, for those that aren't working, like it's still all encompassing and stressful, you know, and then you throw in kids and it gets very overwhelming. And so they, you know, I think they try to recognize that and then compensate for that.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah and in Texas, we had been minimizing already for well over a year and our house was very minimal and we were really happy in that house. And actually this year of my life was what inspired the mental unload program that I run because I had completely simplified my home, but yet really needed to figure out a way to simplify my brain. Ubecause I was so emotionally overwhelmed and stressed out during this time, especially being on my own without you for a couple of months. So, we sold our house in Texas, pretty seamlessly. That went really, we were very fortunate that it was, it was an easy, straightforward process. Uit was a small little ranch house in a cute little neighborhood with a bunch of other ranch houses that were exactly the same in layout. Ubut we loved it. Yeah. Loved it. In retrospect, we were nostalgic for it. Right.

David: The simple times, the better times

Denaye Barahona: We had one, one little flower garden in the front, it was probably like two foot by six foot.

David: We could not keep alive.

Denaye Barahona: Okay. Red flag, number one, if you have a two foot by six foot flower bed and you cannot keep a flower, a single flower alive, you don't need a garden.

David: I like to think that it was a Texas heat that prevented us from growing anything, but literally I could not put anything in there without a dying within a week.

Denaye Barahona: Okay. Well that, that comes into play later into the story, I guess, red flag number one, or maybe not even run it. There's probably other red flags in this story. The, the marching orders were probably red flag number one. So, so, okay. So you, you looked at the seven houses. Five of them were not even like, not even under consideration at all.

David: I swear it was more than seven houses. I think it was seven houses a day. It just felt much, it felt like I had a binder.

Denaye Barahona: Okay. I think I had seven houses lined up that I had picked out that you and I had, like I had written down and then I think the real estate agent tacked on a few more. So maybe there was more

David: Makes more sense. Yeah. Because I, I definitely recall going to multiple different towns and houses. And then they all kind of blurred together except for you know, saw a small select few that we really were eyeing. But yeah, it was, it was very long as stressful as one can imagine her for anyone that's been through that.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. So, so we, down to two houses, we narrowed it down to after your visit. Yep. Uone house was 1900 square foot. Uhad a lot of charm, it was a restored train station, the train Depot,uwhich was something we wanted. We wanted a house with character that was unique because we had come from a ranch where every single house on the street looked exactly the same, have the same floor plan. So we wanted something unique. So,uwe liked this house, this ranch, it was in her cute town on let's call it main street. And,uit didn't have a first floor bathroom, I think, which made us.

David: Well, but you know what, that was your kind of red flag. I know. And I w I was kind of, you know, that really wasn't the deal breaker for me, but for the deal breaker, for me in that one was the ceiling height on the second floor where all the bedrooms were in the bathroom. I literally could not even, I looked at the shower because I think there was one shower and I could not take a shower with me, fully stood up. Like my head would hit slanting roof if I wanted to take a shower.

Denaye Barahona: So you're taking a shower. Okay.

Denaye Barahona: But there's no bathroom

Denaye Barahona: You get your work then you get a shower at the same time

David: No. So anyways, that, for me, it was kind of a pretty hard,.

Denaye Barahona: We were still considering it though. They weren't deal-breakers, but they were like, hesitations, I guess.

David: I mean, that's the only thing I've found throughout this whole process is that there's no perfect house. Like the ideal house is a figment of an imagination. It does not exist. There will always be a trade off in something, whether it's a neighborhood, whether it's a room, whether it's a size of a bathroom, whether the number of bathrooms, the size of the yard, you know, your neighbor, whatever it is, there's always going to be something that is not 100% perfect. Like

Denaye Barahona: Not even close to perfect, maybe a giant money pit, which brings us to exhibit B. So the other house was we'll call it the greenhouse, which is the house that we ultimately ended up buying. Uhad a lot of history. It was the stable for the Guggenheim family's country home when they would come out of the city. And,uit was their horse stable that someone had converted into a house. And it was just loaded with amenities. I mean, it had a pool, a gigantic 10 raised bed, garden trimmed with beautiful old wisteria,ua yoga studio, a guest apartment,ulots of space. It just, it had very whimsical, very romantic. And it was the exact same price as the train depot house. Yeah. Uso I think that I kind of fell back into my old ways of like, get more bang for your buck. And like, it was really hard for me to kind of be like, well, if we could get all of this for the same price as that, like so much more for our money, like why would we not pick the greenhouse?

David: But I think for me, it was not just that, I think just having a little bit more space, like I grew up in a house in the rural part of quote unquote, like rural part, but tons of space between our neighbors. Like, I couldn't even see my neighbors you know, played in the woods and this had trees and, you know, places to kind of play and hide. And like I could envision our kids kind of playing around the property. And so for me, that was really important. And you know, just how updated it was versus the price. And like, everything kind of felt right, as well as it had a character, like you walked into it and it felt homey. It felt like it was not a cookie cutter type of place. And not like that. I like having that, that little bit of kind of whimsical unique place filled with character. And it definitely appeals to me.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And it helped that the former owner was a fashion designer from New York city and had impeccable taste, beautiful furnishings. Uand I mean at that helps any house. Like, it just really elevates it, I think. Uso you and we decided to put an offer in a couple of days after you got back from, well, I guess you didn't even come back cause you were living in New York at that time. Uso just be a phone, we talked about it and you FaceTimed me. And,uwe decided to put an offer in and they accepted the offer and we moved forward, chugged along,ugot to the house in July. We had ended up being July. We got to the house and I remember walking in the first day into the empty house. And my first impressions were it's falling down. Like it's crooked. Like just like visually, like being in the house. Like there was like, just like a slant. Everything was slanted. I think I just breathe or no, I sighed very heavily. It's like, Oh yeah. I actually feel like I had a lot of the same feelings that I had when I saw that house for the first time as I did, when I held our first child for the first time, I was like, Oh, S H I T what did I do?

David: Am I allowed to cuss? Is it a family podcast?

Denaye Barahona: I'm gonna have to bleep that out. But literally that's how I felt. The first time that I held our son was like, Oh crap, what did I do? Because it was just like, I just made this huge, huge life decision. I hope it's the right one with our son. It was the right one. So that was not one that I have any regret over, but it definitely was the sort of the shock to your system where it's like, Oh,

David: It felt like it was just such a bigger invest. Non-Investment like monetarily, but just the scale of it was much bigger than.

Denaye Barahona: Our other house responsibility.

David: Yeah. It felt real very quickly.

Denaye Barahona: And just like walking around, I was like, I feel like I'm at summer camp, but there's no camp staff here. There's no maintenance, man. There's no lawn keeping service. Yes, yes. I said, okay. Maybe I didn't think about maintenance. I did because it looked like it was falling down. I don't even know what I was thinking. I was just thinking it's this is just so much period. So period much, period. It just was so much, and it was just felt so overwhelming. And I so whimsical, romantic, overwhelming, and it just all the fields. Yeah. And, but none of the fields were quite right. Like, it didn't feel like this is it. Like, this is our forever home. Like I, this is the place that I want to live. This is the perfect house for me. I didn't ever feel like that. I just think I felt I was already so overwhelmed. And then we got into that and I was thinking that was going to be like the fix to my overwhelm, you know, like once I felt quote unquote settled and that was not true.

David: Yeah. But I think when I got there, I definitely, I was overwhelmed, but then, you know, going around like the immediate neighborhood wasn't ideal.

Denaye Barahona: Well, and that was your, your biggest reservations for the neighborhood from the very beginning.

David: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that was the, I mean, probably just wasn't when I say ideal, it just, it didn't feel, yeah, it didn't have, it didn't sit well with my gun, like thinking that this is where I want it to be long-term with you know, as, as a family and grow our family, like, cause you know, when I, after leaving Dallas, I really grew to appreciate walkability and being around neighbors and, you know just having stores you could walk to, and this was totally the polar opposite. I mean there's no, I mean, it was super hilly neighborhood. Nothing you could walk to you know, no stores or shops. I mean, you literally had to drive everywhere to go anywhere.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. I actually distinctly remember you calling me after you looked at the house and you're like, the house is cool. The house is great. I liked the house, but the neighborhood,uyou had a lot of reservations about the neighborhood and I'm pretty sure I like pish posh that and was like, Oh, it'll be fine. It'll be fine. The only name I had basically only, only seen it on Google earth.

David: I don't know it would be fine.

M,so I mean living there from the beginning, I, I didn't know for, from the beginning that we weren't gonna stay, but I think we, we probably knew maybe a year in like at that point. Well, no. So we moved in, in July kind of rehashing all this out. It was March pretty much when we realized how over our heads, we were in the landscaping, we were when we had the spring cleanup. Totally. So we were like, Oh, we'll just do the spring landscaping. And uwe had been paying someone to mow the lawn twice a month in the summertime. And then when the spring land landscaping came, he was like, well, usually cause he had been working at their house. He's like, usually I do a spring cleanup where I spread mulch and I prepare the garden and does all these things. And they were like, Oh no, no, we can do that.

M,and then he kind of like laughed at us and we were just like, Oh no, we can do this. Not a big deal. Like if we'll do it, we'll split up.

David: I'm shaking my head in disgust.

Denaye Barahona: The kids at this point are like two and four and uwe've got this. So it turns out we had no idea the manpower that it took,uto prepare the house in the spring, like from the winter. And the reality was that he, we ended up paying him to do it because it took him three, four guys, three, 10 hour days. That's like, what? What's the math on that? Like 120 hours of manpower of skilled landscaping manpower with like real tools and equipment. There was no way we were ever, ever going to be able to do that on our own.

David: Denaye Barahona: Nope. And we never, that was never a discussion. Like how did we not realize that that feels so blind to me that we went into this house that was like living in a park, admired the beautiful flowers in the landscape landscaping, but never discussed how to maintain how we were going to maintain that.

David: No, but little do we know that actually it was kind of, you know, from my understanding and talking to the guy who took care of it is that the former owner kind of let it just go, but right before they, they sold it, they did this massive overhaul and like cleaned it up and made it beautiful. So we were duped.

Denaye Barahona: Call it what you will, but it worked. I mean, we did keep it up though. Like we, it was just, it felt like if we didn't keep it up from year to year that it would have just been a jungle. Like we would have never gotten out from under it. Like, because it just grew, so everything grew so fast and it was just, it was utter chaos. Uyeah, we were in so far overhead. I remember one day you went out to the garden and the garden was just, I'm telling you it was massive and beautiful and gorgeous, and we couldn't grow a single thing. Like not a single thing. Yeah. I mean, embarrassing. Like it just was

David: Well we grow chives from tribes that were already there and planted. We actually killed them,

Denaye Barahona: Which is a, quite an accomplishment. U

David: That was year one. And then what did we do over year two?

Denaye Barahona: I think the Garden is what made me realize that this is a dream house. It's just somebody else's dream. Like, I, I think that it helped me to realize that there were definitely a lot of idealizations going into this house thinking that I was gonna like, you know, garden and do yoga and like do all these things. And I just wasn't like that.

David: Yeah. But I had no imagination about that. I knew that that was like straight up, knew that that was going.

Denaye Barahona: You tell me we're going to garden.

David: No, no, So I was pretty realistic of that this was this fantasy of Denaye that she was living in. Would never work out.

Denaye Barahona: Again, I came to the realization that it was a dream house, but it was somebody else's dream. So. Okay. So you went out one day to do some landscaping. This was before we hired our landscaper and you went out to do some landscaping and you were literally out there like hacking behind the garden. And the, I don't know if you remember this day, but the machete for 12 hours and you came back in like, looking like you had been in a battle and you were so exhausted. And I was like, Oh,

David: I didn't put A dent in it. I was like.

Denaye Barahona: Oh, let me see what you did. And I was like, what'd you do? Like, there was just so much that you worked there for like hard for 12 hours and didn't even touch it. And at that point, I think you realize

David: I was like, I can't do this. I'm not doing it.

Denaye Barahona: Well, you just don't want, and you just don't want to.

David: No, no, that's the other part of it. It was like gardening or landscaping, you know, after kind of a long week. That's the last thing I want to be doing. Like, I'd rather go for a bike ride. I'd rather be outside for a hike, but being in a garden and like toiling in the soil. I know that a lot of people get a lot of joy and excitement of that, but it does not spark joy for me. Which I'm totally okay. Admitting like, right.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. I know that about myself now and I have learned that about myself.

David: And again, I've definitely reconfirmed that through this experience.

Denaye Barahona: So I think that the landscaping was definitely the thing that made me really see that I felt like we were, going to be constantly trading time or money in this house that we were going to be either paying someone to take care of the stuff. Or we were going to be paying with our time to take care of the stuff. And at the point in our life that we were in with little tiny kids, like, I just didn't want to be giving away my time or money to a house. Did you feel that at all? Like, I mean, it just, it felt like it was one or the other, and that was just not where we want it to be allocating our resources.

David: No, I, it was the last thing that was on my mind. And I think that's kind of where we for a while have thought about, okay, well what, how do we remove ourselves from the situation? And like, what can we do proactively to just remove that burden. Right? Cause it felt like it became to feel as though it was a burden. Whether that if we, in two ways, one, whether we weren't there enjoying the property, right. It felt like we were just had this wasted space that we weren't fully utilizing and that taken for granted. And we just weren't taking advantage of it. And then, or if we were, we were trading off time doing other things that we really loved or wanted to be doing. So in either case though is still felt as though we were giving something up.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And I think of that in choosing a house, it is important to think about how you use a house like this house. I was homeschooling there. I was working there. We were living there. So I was in the house. I was using it and living in it a lot. And even though all of those things, like I still felt like it was just way too much for us, way more than we needed. Like our kitchen had empty drawers. Like we had bookshelves that we had no idea what to put on. Like it just, there was just too much space for us and inside and outside. And that, to me just felt like more, it was more than we needed more than we needed and more than we wanted. Right. So we had decided in February of 2020 that we were going to put the house on the market and we were doing some preparations.

Denaye Barahona: And then in March COVID hit,

David: but there wasn't a straw that broke the camel's back. Right. It just was.

Denaye Barahona: February. No, I think we were just like, it's time we knew we wanted, we wanted something simpler, something smaller. And at that point, but we had been talking about it for two years and hadn't done it. And now we were just kind of like, if we're going to do it, we need to do it. And we decided we were preparing to put it on the market in February, then COVID happened and the real estate market shut down. So we were just like, well, guess we're not selling this year. Uso we decided to renovate the pool. I mean, and we haven't had a chance to talk about the pool yet.

Denaye Barahona: Pool was a nightmare. I will never, well, we didn't want a pool originally when we, bought the house, we were going to tear the pool down because it was an above ground pool.

David: Because we knew going Into it. The maintenance.

Denaye Barahona: We didn't want to, we didn't want the maintenance. Like it's covered in trees. So it was never going to get warm. And then we got there and realized that it was a huge, huge landscaping project to take the pool out. So we left the pool and we didn't swim in it.

David: I think I had this vision of just turning into like a bace quarter or something, just ripping it out. Cause it's always both above ground pools. Yeah. There was nothing structurally there. It never happened though.

Denaye Barahona: Well, because of the, around the surroundings, like we're just so like, I think we would have needed like six goats probably To like eat all of that vegetation that had grown around it. It was just so much. Uso yeah, that, so we didn't, we opened the pool the first year the pool was open and it was in like reasonable shape. It was just freezing cold. Uthe second year we opened the pool or didn't open the pool. I don't know. We were so overwhelmed. We were just like, we cannot handle one more thing. Like I can not spend another hour skimming leaves off the top of the pool that I've never swim in because it's always freezing cold. Yes.

David: You with the leaves?

Denaye Barahona: I was giving the leaves. You were a work 12 hours a day. I was the one at the, at the house,

David: all that I'm thinking of it during the pandemic.

Denaye Barahona: Oh no, I'm talking about before.

David: Yeah, yeah.

Denaye Barahona: So that experience, let us just not open the pool for two years. And then so the pandemic hit and we're like, okay, well we're going to be at home.

Denaye Barahona: And we also had our AU pair living with us, which that the extra space did end up being a blessing because over our garage, we had a little, a bonus space over the garage, which was like a little studio apartment that she lived in and having that separate space with a separate entrance was really wonderful in that circumstance. Uand gave her some privacy and gave us some privacy. And it also,uallowed us to co-exist I think better considering a 20 year old girl doesn't necessarily want to be quarantining for months and months with a family of four with little kids. Ubut I think that helped to ease the process, but when COVID hit, I feel like I would, my inclination would be that like, Oh, I'm so glad that we have all these amenities to use since we can't go anywhere. But all I could really think about was how I didn't want to pool.

Denaye Barahona: I wanted to join a public pool. Like I wanted a community pool with other kids around and other families around. And like, I didn't want my own yoga studio. I wanted to go to a yoga studio. Like I wanted to be a part of a community. And all these things that we had at the house felt began to feel very isolating even further than we already felt isolated in COVID. Uand I think that further reaffirmed, especially during the summer that, you know, like, I don't want my own garden, like I'll go to a blueberry farm and pick blueberries for a day, but I don't need to grow my own blueberry.

David: Yeah. Well it gives you a lot more freedom to go do the things and be flexible to saying, okay, well maybe today I do want to go to the community pool or to you know, pick fruit, right? Yeah. But you're not committed. And I think having that option in your life frees up, like just the, having that freedom to choose what you want to do at that day just feels very empowering.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And I feel like another thing was that I lived in constant fear of something breaking, and then we had a tree grow into our plumbing this past year at the tree, grew into our plumbing and we had to dig up the yard and tear down the most beautiful flowering cherry tree and dig up the yard and redo the plumbing because the roots had grown into the plumbing. And it was just like, stuff like that, that I felt like was constantly happening being an older house. Uit just, it was unpredictable.

David: But I think all of this just goes to the fact of there's so many unpredictable things that can happen with home ownership. And then in granted, I mean, it is a privilege, right? It's a extreme privilege to have these things and to be able to like talk about this, but it, you know, it is in a way this heavy burden on just responsibilities and uncertainty and a commitment that, you know, really is not all that it seems to be right. Like it's, it's not as appealing when you take a step back as others may perceive it to be.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. So August came and we felt like if we were going to put the house on the market before winter that we had to either do it now, or we wait until the next year or so we went ahead and put the house on the market, knowing that this was a good time to sell because the market was really hot. And there were a lot of buyers coming out from the city to buy houses. And,uour house was one that the layout was kind of wonky. It wasn't, it's not a house it's not for everyone. So we knew we needed a lot of eyes on the house in order to find interested parties. It's not like every single person that walked into the house was gonna want the house. Uit was kind of a unique, more of a unique, I would say.

David: But at the same time we knew that there would be someone that falls in love with it.

Denaye Barahona: And we'll take really good care of it. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And I mean, part of me always felt like I wish we would have been able to give it that love that I felt like it deserved.

David: I wish I would've loved gardening.

Denaye Barahona: I know, trust me, everyone listening to this podcast, it's not room, but a lot of people are thinking that same thing, like, because it was such a beautiful.

David: Me put beehive, me put some like wild flowers

Denaye Barahona: we didn't even mention all of our dead chickens.

David: Oh Man.

Denaye Barahona: We did, we had chickens cause we had chickens in Dallas in the city and it was beautiful experience. Then we got them in the country and

David: Waffles.

Denaye Barahona:Oh my goodness.

David: Rest in peace.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. We had a lot of predators.

David: I didn't get a chance to eat mussels.

Denaye Barahona: You were not going to eat mussels anyways, but the ethical vegans out there are turning you off right now.

David: Sorry. Um skip that.

Denaye Barahona: So yeah, all these idealizations that kind of came to a head and we realized that we just not cut out for this kind of house and all of these, these dreams that come along with it. And we just, it wasn't what we wanted.

David: So I just say dreams or tears?

Denaye Barahona: Both. So there were a lot of.

David: Crying in the fetal position, in the corner of the house.

Denaye Barahona: Right, exactly. When we got the bill for the landscaping. So when we, we decided to sell and immediately we started looking because, well, where are we going to go? And we knew we wanted to live in the town that we live in. Now it's a small little community amazing sense of community walkable. So it's five miles down the road from where we were before. So we were like, yes, we want to go there. And it was just a matter of everybody wanting to go there.

Denaye Barahona: And there it's very small and nobody, once you get a house here, nobody leaves. So there was nothing on the market. Literally three months went by and there's not a single house on the market. So we kind of gave up on the dream of buying here because we were open to buying. We looked elsewhere, we looked at a lot of houses to buy and just nothing clicked. Did you find any, Oh no. We put an offer in, on one, the house that got away, that was the house that got away. Oh yeah. And we did not get it. We put in a good offer and they did not take it.

David: My heart, my heart was broken. Literally. We'll still think about that place.

Denaye Barahona: About that house.

David: Oh, that house.

Denaye Barahona: It was really, it was a great house. It was a really great house. We walked into that house and we were like, this is the one we both thought that, yeah, this is the one I wrote them like a pretty sappy letter. Like basically begging them to give us the house. Cause I knew they were going to get a hundred offers. And sure enough, we don't, I mean, I don't know what kind of offer they ended up taking, but I'm.

David: Well above

Denaye Barahona: Well above asking all cash. So there was no way we could compete with that and we did not get that house.

David: You know what I think that experience did for me though is saying, you know what? I think it's time to take a breather, not get caught up in the hype. Like let's not let our emotions drive our decisions, be a little bit more financially sound in terms of our next steps. Uso I think after that experience, I, I was much more in the place of, I think we should just, again, take a breather, see how things play out and not rush to anything. Like don't be forced to put that pressure again on us. Uand not force it because I felt like we were, we may get in the right. Oh, sorry. We may get into the same place that we were before.

Denaye Barahona: Right. And because the prices were so inflated with the pandemic that we didn't want to end up paying way, way more than the house was worth either. And that was a big concern with buyers

David: Stretch. Right? Like, because then you start talking about you know, financially putting yourself in pressure and then we didn't want to do that.

Denaye Barahona: Right. So we wanted to rent, but the rental market was actually even worse than the selling market, the buyers market selling market buyer's market. Because a lot of people that had rentals were actually selling them because it was such a good time to sell. So even the rentals, which would have normally been on the market to rent we're now on the market to sell, which made things even more complicated. So this house that we're in now came on the market and we walked in for what were we in here? Maybe 30 seconds. And we're like, we'll take it right. It's two bedrooms, 1100 square feet. So it's about what 30% of the size we were in before. And we didn't even really give it a good look around. It was the, I think the irony of all this is it's like six houses down the road from the train Depot house. Isn't that crazy that like, we literally like a rate when we started with the whole second,

David: Should take a shower.

Denaye Barahona: You can't take a shower here,

David: Standing up.

Denaye Barahona: But our bedrooms in the basement, we made a bedroom in the basement. Which actually is we've made it into a master suite, I guess. Although it was built in the real estate as the playroom, but we've, we've made it work. But we've, I love it here. I love this house.

David: Yeah, me too. Didn't didn't you just ask me that at the beginning of this episode and saying, you know, how you feel about this place?

Denaye Barahona: No, I mean, I know I asked, I asked you how you, how do you feel about selling

David: Selling? Oh, Oh, so maybe I misinterpreted. Yes. I feel great about selling. Yes. I feel great about this house.

Denaye Barahona: So this house is a rental and I wasn't sure cause we've been homeowners for so long how we were going to feel about renting. Like if it was going to feel like we were living in someone else's house I just didn't know. So it doesn't though. It feels like home and I don't even really notice, like I don't think about the fact that buy versus renter doesn't even really occur to me except for the fact when something breaks. I don't have to deal with it.

David: Right. Well, yes, this is true. This is true.

Denaye Barahona: Um so I mean, I think we're pretty content here for the time being, I know that ultimately you want something bigger though?

David: Well, a little bit bigger because again, I get, I think as our kids grow, I think we will need a little bit more space. And not, not necessarily, but I feel like it would be nice to have again, the optionality to have a little bit of a better or from home situation, for example, like if I were to work in the city um.

Denaye Barahona: But you're not going to be working on from, from home forever. And I guess we've changed. We've used our house changes too. Like during the pandemic, we were all home all the time and now like you're going to be going back to the city to work and the kids are in school and I have an office. So like.

David: Yeah. But I think long term it would be nice to have maybe another, I don't know, It's not even a multi-purpose room, but just a place where I could either do work. You know, the kids could play a little bit with a little bit more space or just like give them a little bit more of a joint room where they can like hang out with their friends. Cause right now there's no place for them to really do that with us too. Like I don't see that. And once they get a little bit older but really for the next, I don't know, three, four years ago, this is, I couldn't really want anything more. Like I feel like I'm born in a great location, perfect size house, like

Denaye Barahona: Great neighbors.

David: Great neighbors. Yeah, just really happy with where we landed. Very fortunate. So now I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna lie. There's a lot of luck.

Denaye Barahona: Oh, it was totally. Cause we came into this house and we were like, it was the only one only rental. And we're just like, we'll take it. Give it to us please.

David: Yeah, no completely. I mean, timing is such a core factor of luck.

Denaye Barahona: That this has worked out as well as it has. Absolutely.

David: It doesn't fall upon me, you know, with, I don't take that for granted. I'd rather.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah, no, absolutely. So now we are in the position where we have to figure out if we want to buy another house and I don't even know, at this point in a position where I'm even failing. I want another to buy another house. So we are trying to decide what do we do? Do we take our equity and invest it or do we save it for another house? And so I have a question for you, which you're not ready for.

Denaye Barahona: So, if you could, so we just sold the house and I kind of made a joke that when you were going to cash, the check that whether you might just run off to Mexico since that's the only place you can go, right. You can't get into kid.

David: I'm actually, I'm actually taping this from Mexico.

Denaye Barahona: Yes. So what would you do if you could just take that money and do anything with it?

David: You mean.

Denaye Barahona:Like, what would you do and spend frivolously?

David: Spend frivolously.

Denaye Barahona:: Yeah.

David: Oh, wow. In a Pre-pandemic world?

Denaye Barahona: We're going to buy another house.

David: Pre pandemic world?

Denaye Barahona: Why not? Now. Okay. What a pre-imposed.

David: honestly I'd put a lot of it in retirement because.

Denaye Barahona: That so boring no, no, no, no. I said spend frivolously,

David: Frivolously. Okay. Knowing that my retirement was,

Denaye Barahona: Yeah, you're a diver's fully secure. Your good, kids have fully stocked five to nine. It's like you're good. What would you do?

David: Oh, that's a great question. I would travel. Get like an electric car.

Denaye Barahona: That's funny. I actually was thinking that too. I want a self-driving car or like a car that I didn't have to drive.

David: They don't really make those and the autonomy. They're not fully autonomous. You still need to put your hands on the wheel.

Denaye Barahona: Somebody. Okay. Somebody has to make a drive a car. They can drive me. So I have to drive and deal with my driving anxiety

David: Travel. I'd probably travel. Okay.

Denaye Barahona: No specific place?

David: Oh, there's so many places I'd want to try and pick one. Okay. So assuming no pandemic, the one place in the world I like to go to.

Denaye Barahona: Bhutan.

David: Bhutan would be amazing with kids without kids?

Denaye Barahona: Both.

David: Okay, with kids Peru.

Denaye Barahona: Oh, really .

David: Because it could be amazing or Kilimanjaro love to hike.

Denaye Barahona: with the kids?

David: Yeah.

Denaye Barahona: When they're older?

David: Yeah. Yeah when they are older.

Denaye Barahona: That makes sense. The other thing, the random thing that I was thinking that I would like to spend a lot of frivolous money on is.

David: No idea where this is going. No idea where this going.

Denaye Barahona: I was thingking about this is the carpool line today

David: Please enlighten me.

Denaye Barahona: I'm pretty sure.

David: I love, I can tell you about this laughs and knowledge, truth of what you're really thinking.

Denaye Barahona: I'm pretty sure that because Broadway has been dark for so long that when Broadway comes back. Yeah.

David: Hamilton.

Denaye Barahona: No, no. When Broadway comes back that Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron are going to do a live performance of the Greatest Showman.

David: Ah.

Denaye Barahona: I know it like I'm starting a rumor right now and they're going to do it and I'm going to be there and it's going to be the fourth best day of my life.

David: I can only assume what your number one, two, three are.

David: I hope it involves me the day you met me, the day you married me, and today with me.

Denaye Barahona: But the, yeah, for sure. So I would spend any amount of money to get those tickets.

David: Yeah.

That'd be my free list spend on an imaginary Broadway show that doesn't even exist.

David: That's fair.

Denaye Barahona: All right. So, well, thank you for indulging me and chatting with me today.

David: No problem of course. Anytime.

Denaye Barahona: Thanks for tuning into this episode. I hope that you found it useful or maybe moderately entertaining. I'm so glad to have you as a part of Simple Families, have a good one.

Denaye Barahona

Dr. Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She partners with families to tackle the challenges of raising children. Denaye is a minimalist who claims to be a decluttering expert (don't let her near your closet). She loves to travel, talk health-and-wellness, and give unsolicited advice. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, The Minimalists, Motherly, Becoming Minimalist, and numerous other media outlets. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Clinical Social Worker with a specialty in child and family practice.