July 29, 2010

house-hunting update

yesterday morning, i began a blog entry that i couldn't finish. it started like this:

last night, after looking at three decent houses we came home and sat down with a budget worksheet in front of us.

actually, i left pea with papa while sprout and i ran off to meet my mom, sisters, aunt, and cousin (who lives in L.A.) for a late night visit at one my favorite places. then i came home, and with a sleeping baby on my lap, got to budget business.

let's just say it was very disheartening to look at what we make every month and what we spend.
can you say all of it?

my stomach never hurt so bad.

the odd thing is? we don't have a lot of consumer debt (well my husband's is mostly all business related and mine might be considered a lot for a non-working spouse but it's not too terrible). we are certainly not lacking for anything and it doesn't feel like we live beyond our means.

now, a week ago i honestly divulged the amount of my credit card debt to my husband. he was shockingly cavalier about it and i felt the weight on my chest lift, considerably. but last night when i told him, roughly, the amount of money spent every month on servicing that debt, he raised a discerning eyebrow with slighly more intensity. it still felt good to have finally come clean and with the numbers staring us both in the face it was a very useful excercise.

our current mortgage payment is not very high but it is our highest monthly expense.
insurance is the next.

being a small business owner, my husband pays entirely for our health insurance and other various insurances. there may be a way to reduce our healthcare costs but we can't really cut back in other areas because being heavily insured offers my husband just a little bit of peace of mind.

and he totally deserves anything that helps him sleep at night.

we're not giving up hope but after looking at the budget i can see how waiting "another year" still makes a lot of sense. the problem? we've been saying that for so many years that i worry we'll be saying it forever if we don't just take this leap of faith. selling our current home and buying bigger and better isn't the most devastating thing on paper and it will actually help pay off some business debt much sooner - but our reserves may deplete faster. without going into the gory details - buying another house right now isn't impossible but if i were to be a responsible adult i'd say it may not be the most prudent thing to do.

yet, we're still dropping off more paperwork and this scary budget at the mortgage lender's office today. we might even go look at one more house. it was recently reduced $30K and is within our realm of possibility but if the sellers will go down even more, it might just become really possible.


fast forward to now:

we went to look at that other house and omfg! i just don't even know what. excited, like whoa!

when we dropped off the budget worksheet the mortgage guy explained how we weren't supposed to show him our current financial picture, but the "proposed budget for our new home" which is what the sheet of paper said right on the top, so despite being pretty observant, both my husband and i looked like idiots. now mortgage guy was ready to just make shit up but there is an anticipated raise that my husband can give himself soon and there was a minor miscalculation which i caught right off the bat and net us an additional $300 a month. after our budget discussion, which was rather inspiring and motivating, i decided to open a preschool in our new home (where we'll have plenty of room for such a venture) and on the conservative end of what i could make, i added my potential income to the proposed budget since right now it's all make believe and arbitrary anyway. i also shaved a wee bit from the grocery fund and came up with a much better residual income. not great, but at least we weren't running a deficit as it first appeared. my husband thought i'd worked some accounting magic (read: made a mistake) but he looked it over and seemed satisfied - then he shaved a bit more from a few areas and nearly doubled the residual. he promptly faxed it over to the mortgage guy even though it was like 8:00 pm. this tells me he liked the house as much as i did.

and speaking of the house. omfg. i know, i said that already. when i saw this house last week, online, i was not impressed. then it was reduced $30,000 and i was sort of interested but the pictures are terrible. there is nothing and i mean nothing that compelled me to look at this house based on the online representation - the only thing it had going for it was the size, number of bedrooms, location, and price so i figured it was worth seeing despite how ugly it looked.

it is so not ugly. can i just say, it is darn near perfect? like in my world, where i fully accept that nothing is ever perfect, i'd go ahead and step out on a limb here and just say yes, this house, quite frankly is perfect. but darn near works, too.  it doesn't have a roomy front porch or an oversized garage but those are just nice things to think about...what this house has, is like everything else we want and/or need in our home. none of these features that i am so crazy about were even highlighted in the listing and they are like big huge deals. only two of the five bedrooms we photographed in the listing, i mean, seriously - we were shocked to see how freaking awesome this place is.

it has four large bedrooms upstairs, a spacious laundry room also upstairs (no toting laundry up and down, yay!), a humongo linen closet in the hall and another in the master bath, a double vanity in both the master bath and the kids' upstairs bath, and accent lighting going down the staircase.

some of the awesomeness downstairs includes two seperate living areas, an eat-in kitchen with an oversized pantry and island (where i can envision myself serving lunch to preschoolers), a fireplace and a secluded office but the best? a harry potter closet under the stairs. i don't think anyone can understand how huge this is for me...ever since i was a little girl and my aunt lived in an apartment with under-the-stair storage i have fantasized about having my own such closet. this has been an important consideration in nearly all two stories we've looked at and quite frankly, a lot of builders just don't utilize that space (or they make it a powder room) so i was super stoked to see that...i mean, for real, this house could not be more perfect.

sure, i could nitpick, but so much of it is just so right. i have only detailed about half of the awesomeness, i swear, it gets better.

if we had our pre-approval letter i would have made an offer or at least begged my husband to make an offer before we left. i want this house!

so now comes the part i'm not good at. the waiting. the hoping no one else makes an offer first. the telling myself i know how to be rational and patient and accept things as they are while trying not to get my hopes up, without simultaneously feeling deflated.



  1. Oh how exciting! I *knew* that our house was our house within a minute of walking in the door. There were some hurdles to overcome but it has worked out well! How long do you anticipate the approval letter to take?

  2. hopefully, we'll have something concrete next week. of course, now you know the new development so i'm not sure what our next step is...but i felt the same way and even though we looked at other homes and i saw their potential, it was like i could "see" what life would actually look like if this was our home. now i have to research short sales...


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