I mentioned before how my instinct hasn't so much been "let's fix the house" as it has been "let's buy a new house." For those of you who have been tuned into the program for a while now, you may remember this started a year and a half ago. Here's the synopsis:
-Jan 2006: Tim gets a new job. It's closer to the center of the county, versus being in the far western section (while I was in the eastern section). His new job means we're both living pretty far west of where we work. For giggles, we check out houses and find a few we like. We go through two.
-Feb/Mar 06: We make a (lowball) offer on a house. It's already got a contigency on it, and the owners really don't even negotiate. So, we move on.
-June 2006: We get a call that the contigency on the house has fallen through, and they've switched to a new realtor. So, we size up the situation. And we bid again. And things are going well, we're coming to a number. Then, at the last minute, another buyer swoops in and takes the house. We move on.
-July 2006: The realtor calls to tell us that the new buyer hasn't been able to get financing and close the deal. The owners said we can have it at their last number, which is still about 10k more than we want to pay. We start negotiating again, then we go on vacation. The new buyer closes on it while we're away. So, that house is gone (which is ok, we were getting sick of dealing with the people anyway).
-Summer/Fall 2006: We check out a few other houses and basically agree something spectacular would have to pop up. Plus, the market is starting to tank, and we worry about selling our house.
-Up till now: we've seen a few houses here and there, hit a few open houses, and gone through a few more. Nothing's really made us jump. We have kept an eye open, but we sort've figured we'd stay put.
So, recently, I've been nesting, as I mentioned. There's a house that's been for sale for well over a year. It needs some cosmetic stuff, but it's huge, and the price keeps dropping. It started out well over our range, and it's sort of slid into it. It was built in the early 80s, it's in Seven Hills (the southern part) and not Independence (where we were hoping to move, though much pricier than our current city), and needs all new paint/flooring throughout. We debated about going through it, but we decided it'd have to drop a lot more to be enticing for all the work that needs done.
Of course, that's not the end of the story. That'd be too easy!
Today I got another email with a house. It's also in Seven Hills, although a more northern (and thus better located) location. It also started out over our range, but it's starting to fall into it. This one was built in 2000, has one owner, 4 bedrooms, 3 bath, hardwood floors and tile throughout, and appears to need no work. Plus, there's an easement (land owned by the city) located on the left side, so you only have neighbors on the right.
I don't know. I think we might go through it. We've done that before--looks great on the outside, has a bad inside or a bad layout, and we drop it right then.
But, if we like it, then we start this whole process again. I'm nervous to go through it all. I'm strangely not nervous about buying--we only look at what we can afford--but the selling sucks. You have control as the buyer. You have little to none as the seller. And I realize we'd lose money in this market trying to sell for all the work we've done. But, all the finance people say that it balances out in being able to buy a nicer house for less (at the same discount you sold the cheaper house, so the money is still in your favor).
We could afford it, even with child care, but that doesn't mean I'm not nervous. Buying a house way under our max has given us a lot of leeway to save for retirement, fix up things when they break, etc. All with a level of security. We wouldn't be killing ourselves with a new mortgage, but it would be more of a stretch than we are used to.
I don't know. We'll talk about it tonight, I'm sure. I'll keep you posted.
Why do I feel the need to constantly find new ways to stress myself out? Having a baby isn't enough?