Our street has gotten four new homes built in the past year. One of them was a Parade of Homes home, which was aply named. There are a lot of people looking for homes. Sure, many were looking AT homes, but we've heard through the neighborhood grapevine that several offers were proferred -- and refused! The builder believes he can get his price.


Our whole neighborhood is teardown central these days. It's older, with smaller homes, so it's prime for such turnover. Twenty years ago, we were "those people," buying and tearing down a factory-built home, back when term had less high-tech connotations. We were ahead of the curve, building the home we wanted on a lot we loved.

The nest is semi-empty now, though. Other friends are downsizing, trying to gauge how little house they need versus how much money must be saved, depending on how their later years develop. (Wow, is there any more reluctant way to write: in case they end up in a  nursing home.)

So it's little wonder that the conversation emerges: Should we sell? We've gotten our prime use from the home. I put in many, many square feet of garden that seems to grow a bit more each spring. The porch is sagging a bit. Street repairs are on the civic calendar. The driveway definitely needs a major redo -- unless we decide to be ahead of curve on the return to gravel drives. (You read it here first.)

It's not so big a house that we're knocking around, but there's extra space. We could put the excess funds to good use, believing as everyone does that replacement costs will be nowhere near what our selling price will be. (Someday, I want to be a fly on the wall of a Realtors' happy hour when they start telling war stories.)

We talked seriously -- more seriously than I thought we would, frankly. But the decision to stay wasn't difficult. We love our neighbors, and believe they also are here for years. The neighborhood, while changing, still is terrific. The punchline, of course, is that we just can't bear to think of packing everything up and schlepping it somewhere else -- only to have to UNPACK it again.

The best thing is that while I love my house, I learned that I could leave it. I really could. But if I don't have to (duly knocking wood) I don't want to. Maintenance will only grow more pressing. Paint is needed. The driveway --argh and argh! In other words, I suspect we will have the conversation again, maybe in 10 years.But for now, I'm happy to stay.

I hope I won't fear that next conversation. We've moved one set of parents from their home, somewhat reluctantly. The other set of parents probably should follow suit, but no one's willing to push the issue. But they need to talk about it, and know that it's OK.

How often do you think of moving? What has made you stay? What goes into the idea of downsizing? Those who have downsized --- any regrets?

And honestly: What do you think of gravel driveways?