I keep telling DH that what we don't need is a larger house, what we need is a house that is better built. I once did a home visit for a family that was looking to adopt a dog from the rescue, and their house, while short on square footage, was absolutely perfectly constructed. It was not cookie cutter (everything here is a center hall colonial, and this was a ranch), it had a beautiful courtyard, and the millwork and workmanship was exquisite. When I complimented them on their lovely house, I was told that the original owner was an architect and built the house for himself, so he had paid a lot of attention to detail, and it really showed. It had been lovingly cared for and updated (from what I could tell; the kitchen was modern), and I'd love to live in something like that. Smaller sq. ft. also means less area to clean, and we've established by now that I'm no Martha Stewart.
It's not that I don't like some of these giant houses that he's interested in. They have very nice features and amenities, but I'm not sure I'd ever be comfortable in that kind of environment, surrounded by people that I likely cannot identify with. Although, it was gratifying to do a drive-by, and see some dude in his sweats picking up the newspaper. Older homes in good school districts with character are extremely hard to come by, unless you have a budget that's upwards of 5 Million or so. Mostly, what you find around here is that people are sitting on a huge pile of cash in their larger lots that have become premium in these upscale neighborhoods, and for about a million or so, you could get a dinky old house on a decent sized lot that would have to be completely rebuilt. We have "seen" (in pictures) older homes with good layout/floor plan/space, but they need updating, and it's one thing to update 2 bathrooms, quite another to do 7 or 8 (or whatever ridiculous # these houses seem to have. Why do houses with 4/5 bedrooms have 8/9 bathrooms?).
If we do decide to move, it would only be to some place with better schools than the ones we currently have access to. Predictably enough, the spendiest neighborhoods that we're looking into also have some of the best schools (our current elementary is a 9, middle an 8, and high school is a 7 out of 10; theirs is a 9 across the board), but what we're looking at would be towards the bottom end of what's available. One of my bigger issues is that I don't like neighbors (specifically, I don't like buying houses that are light and bright and wall to wall windows, only to have to cover it all up because the neighbors can see into your living space), and in these neighborhoods, in the price range we're looking at, having the kind of yard space that would be virtually impossible.
I think that our current real estate taxes are something like $1.21 per $100 of assessed value.