Why We Sold Our House After “Perfecting” It Over 7 Years!

Man oh man. Where to begin?!?

I started writing a post (a long one—I know, imagine that! 🙂 ) all about the background story to why we were selling our house and moving, but I’m not sure that’s the one I want to post.

I can tell long background stories. And I can tell background stories about the background stories. However, let’s make this as short as possible whilst also answering all your questions! (PS: Use “whilst” in at least one of your sentences today, and tell me it doesn’t make you smile inside.😉)

I’m going to skip the background story for the time being and focus on the present! We’re not focusing so much on the “selling our house” part (because that’s not what it’s about), but we’re focusing on the

“Why We’re Moving To a New Place!” part!😄

Focusing forward!


Reason #1: Lifestyle change!

For all the years we’ve been talking about this, one of our biggest desires has been a lifestyle change. (And even this section I could divide into 3 more sections!)


While clearly we love making a house into a home, and we also enjoy parts of home maintenance,

we love time with each other more!

We’re especially treasuring time with our two young children who are growing up SO FAST RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES. And even though I’ve tried every day for over eight years to soak up every moment, it’s still going so fast!

Eventually, Matt and I agreed that too much of our time is going to home work than we’d like. Or maybe I should say it as

we just can’t get enough time with our girls!

And we want to spend the short time we DO have with them left in some new ways moving forward!

We want

  • Even less time on house maintenance, even more time with family.
  • Want to teach our children that the house is just a building, they’re just things, it’s all replaceable. (Like I wrote about in this post.)
  • I actually want my children to have experiences of moving because I feel like it helps mature and grow people. To not get too tied into a certain physical place as “home.” Which begs for more detail to explain, and I’d love to in a future post.
  • TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL with them. Exposing them to different cultures and different experiences, even within our own current country. I could write a book about this subject but will leave it at that. 🙂

As much as we clearly enjoy and are gifted with “house stuff,” THESE are things that are far more important to us! And the time has come to feel like we “fit” where we’re at…which leads me to my next point…


#2: We’re happier in something smaller!

I know this might be controversial, but mama don’t care! 🙂

An unnecessarily XL house just isn’t “us” right now.

It would make more sense if we had more children, or relatives living with us, or even if our children were older…and there’s nothing wrong with ALL THE FUNCTIONALITY AND WONDERFULNESS of this house, but the fact is that it is just too big for us overall.

(For example, we have 3 living rooms downstairs, a 4th in our master, and potentially a 5th in the bonus room if we wanted it. That is just too much for us/not reflective of our needs as a family right now.)

Did you know that before we bought this short sale, we were looking for a house half this size? I wanted something compact and low maintenance, like we’d enjoyed in our New Zealand flats.

This is probably the #1 lesson we learned (amidst thousands of lessons!) by owning, working on, and living in this house.

It was super fun to work on, and we enjoyed living in “the big house” for seven years while we did all the work, but now that it was finished, we decided to go with our gut feeling and look for the right size of house that is right for us and our girls now.

I don’t care what people say about “the American dream” or what’s “normal”…go ahead and call us abnormal. In fact, I like that label when it comes to certain subjects. 🙂 This is our choice and our dream!

PS: I’ve also toyed around with names to call this house moving forward. Every house needs a name to distinguish it! Do we reference it as “The Big California House”? “The Big House”? “The Show House”? 🙂 Because I feel like it was the first house we really “showed” what we could do! Leave your vote below in a comment for us!


#3: New adventure!

If you know us at all, you’ll know that we’re always up for a new adventure! In fact, I’ve learned that it’s something I (Jess) need to thrive. It’s just part of who I am.

And staying in the same house for too long makes me feel claustrophobic…almost dare I say stale?  I just like to switch it up, baby!

When we had finalized our most major renovations years ago, after our second child was born, Matt was discussing getting our new solar panels with me and I of course wanted to know how many years it would take to “break even” (buying the panels vs paying the electricity bills). I asked him then, “Sooooo…when can we move?” 🙂

This is who he married, and he knows it.😂 And while I shake his life up, he tells me he’s thankful for it because he wouldn’t have done any of the travel or experiences we’ve done if I hadn’t lit the fire. So go figure. This cool, calm man likes having life spiced up! And I like having things slowed down sometimes…it goes both ways!

Matt and I have discussed this “Jessica Likes To Move Forward” phenomenon in detail because some people on the outside mistake this “liking to move” as discontentedness, and it’s not that at all. I enjoy so many things about this big house, and I feel HONORED to have gotten to fix it all up and live in it for so many years. I could stay in the house and live there for decades if I needed to…but we don’t need to.

And if a better opportunity presents itself, you take it!

It’s like a new job, right? If you’re working at one job, and it’s fine, you’re content with it, etc., but a BETTER job comes along that’s beneficial for you and your family, you take it, right? No one tells you you’re “discontent” because you didn’t stay in your old job.

I have dear friends who have lived in the same place for decades and I’ve heard in great detail why that works for them. Most people in the world want to set down roots and stay in one place. I get that. And we’ve had seasons in our life where we’ve done that.

But we also have seasons where we shake it up a little and go on a new adventure, and it’s good for us and our family and so many areas of our lives!

We’re all different. This variety of personalities and likes/dislikes is what makes the world go ’round.


#5: Financially wise.

With the market having gone nuts-o here in California, it felt like a pretty swell time to make our next big adventure a reality.


What will we “miss”?

Hands down, THE BACKYARD. We’ve all agreed on that one. 🙂

The inside of the house is absolutely wonderful, but it’s the backyard that sold us on the house and it’s the backyard that isn’t as easily replicable anywhere we go. (Those two huge ficus trees! You can’t buy those!) But you know what, as I remind my children, you never know what’s in our future! Our next “long term” house could have even bigger, better trees in it. We just don’t know!

But what we do know is the Lord already has His eye ahead on that place, and He knows where He wants us, and He’s always moving us onwards and upwards so we’ll always know it’s a better trade to go from Step G to Step H.

We believe this is all part of who He made us to be and how He wants to grow us, both individually and together! He’s moving our hearts to step forward, even when we might be tempted to fear or doubt the direction, but we’re still taking the steps as He literally leads us with a big, knowing grin! (He’s such a know-it-all.🤣)


Where are we moving to?

OK, so there’s a looooooong story behind this, and it’s very cool but I’ll have to save it for another time.

The short version is that it’s no secret I love the beach and ocean.

  • I was born on an island.
  • Everywhere I’ve lived has either been on an island or bordering the ocean.
  • Even my grandma’s house—my safe haven as a child—was near the beach.
  • One of my favorite lifelong movies is Swiss Family Robinson where—hello!—they get to be stranded on an island! Look at all the bamboo and seagrass in my house!

So many clues everywhere!🤣🤣🤣

The girls absolutely love the beach. Matt loves the beach. When we lived in New Zealand, before moving to California, “more beach time” was one thing on our list of things we wanted to bring back with us.

Here in the big suburb house (see how we need a name for it? 😉 ), we’re about 30-35 minutes from the closest one, which doesn’t sound bad but still…you just don’t get out there as much as you think you will. We’ve tried it for 7 years and it just doesn’t happen with our schedules and life.

Also, JESS AVOIDS HIGH IMPACT WORKOUTS. Bleh. It’s low and slow for me, baby! This is another topic I could write a short book about, but one of my favorite ways to exercise is walking in naturally beautiful areas. And the suburbs, lots of houses and cars driving by, the freeway in the distance…not so much with the natural beauty + fresh air. So we decided to trade it for long beach walks out our front door! (Matt loves to run, so it’s also a win for him.) And we’ll see if it lives up to our expectations! Stay tuned! 🙂

After discussing for years, we finally decided to take the plunge! It depended on a few factors, though:

  1. We didn’t want to buy—we wanted a rental. The idea was “for a safety net”—if it turns out we really don’t like living by the beach like we think we will, we won’t be tied down!
  2. I fell in love with one beach neighborhood and was pretty adamant we’d only sell this house and move if we found something in there. I mean, if we’re gonna leave this amazing house, it had better be a good trade, right?
  3. We needed it to have some outdoor/backyard space. This is rare in tiny beach lots. Many rentals completely build out to every inch they can, leaving a rooftop deck as the “outdoor space”—which is all well and good for adults but I also was ADAMANT we needed a backyard space for the girls to play in safely. I didn’t want to be concerned about letting them “go outside and play” then falling off a roof.

ONE house popped up that checked all the boxes, and it was a MIRACLE we got this house. I mean, the rental market is FIERCE for this stuff. (And yes, I’m using all caps because IT WAS THAT BIG OF A MIRACLE!)

As scary as it can feel some days, we truly believe this is the road we’re meant to travel down!

So, we’re moving to a small beach community and will be MERE STEPS from the sand. We’ll have a small backyard for outdoor time, and a big backyard in the form of sand for miles!

And it’s back to renting for us! We’ve owned two houses but rented too many times to count—there are pluses and minuses to both! Right now we’re ready for the freedom a rental gives you. It’s our perfect season for it!


“Will this change anything on the blog?”

As mentioned before, don’t be surprised to continue to see blog posts and photos from “La Casa Grande” continue, because we still have so much about it to share that we haven’t yet!

So you may see some new content on our new place and new things mixed in with “catchup” about our last house!

And when we do buy our next house, we’ll have to buy more storage space on this blog because you know it’s going to be BLOWING UP with new content! But I think we need a little “beach rental fun” first before ramping up the momentum for that. 🙂

First, we’re in a testing phase to see if the “Mere Steps From the California Sand” Life is for us, as we suspect it might be!


“How long will you live there?”

If I knew the future, I’d love to tell you! 🙂 So many factors…but if we love it, I am 99% positive we’ll be buying a beach house and renovating it AND YOU AIN’T SEEN NUTHIN’ YET! 😂

Honestly, a whole new home design is already taking shape in my brain (it’s fun for me! naturally happens and brings such joy!) and I’ve redesigned things and re-thought functionality and all kinds of things so by the time it happens one day, I’ll be ready! At least that’s my general idea.

We also have some other ideas up our sleeve for what’s next for us, so you’ll just have to be patient along with us as we take it one step at a time!

Thanks for joining us! We’re so glad you’ve found us and that you’re here no matter where we live! 💃🕺

Hugs & high fives,

Jess & Matt

PS: Our next post shares the 3 features we’ll miss most about this house!

UPDATE: See our 7 fast tips for staging your home to sell! 🙂

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Lynette Pruett

    Blessings on your whole family as you follow God’s leading to whatever comes next in your lives. Whilst I only discovered your blog about a week ago through a Pinterest link, I have spent much (probably waaaay TOO much 🙄) time reading about your renovation of The Big California House (or whatever). And I’ve loved every minute of the reading, the planning, the dreaming.
    Lest (another great word!) you think I’m a spring chicken, just starting out or a young married with children at home, I’ll tell you that both my husband and I are septuagenarians…and WE’RE PLANNING TO BUILD A HOUSE! 😳 Why? Friends ask…this doesn’t make sense! Are you sure you’ve considered the reasons you SHOULDN’T???
    But, for us it makes perfect sense. There are things we want that can’t be had in a suburban neighborhood, and like you, we are seeking to follow God’s leading to the next place we will serve him and fall more deeply in love with Him, with each other, and with the people we know and meet. We’ve bought our property, and named it (terrific idea, BTW!), and will meet with the draftsman soon for the second time to finalize our plans. The goal is to break ground in the fall.
    Thank you both for including us, your readers, on each step of your journey. I can’t wait to hear what happens next!

    1. Jess

      Thank you for your kind note, Lynette!

      And congratulations on your build! We’re happy to hear you’re enjoying reading as well as finding many helpful resources on our site. 🙂

      – Jess & Matt

  2. Yman

    Name it after the street you live on. I call my houses Artisan and Columbia

  3. Colin

    Great personal testimony. Blessings on your new journey from ‘Down Under’

    1. Jess

      Thank you, Colin! We’re so glad you’re here! 🙂

      – Matt & Jess

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