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House of a Different Color

Sometimes you get a sucker punch when you least expect it.  Not always a bad one but definitely in the category of “things I did not expect today.”

Starting a few months ago I informed G that I will NOT be renewing our lease again on this or any other apartment.  Rent keeps going up and it WILL keep rising, and so on.  G, meet real life.

Meanwhile the sales prices of homes are starting to creep back up in this part of the world.  They could still shift the other direction, obviously, but I am disinclined to believe they’ll see any more crash and burn territory below the current market.  Back when initially wracking my brain for options, I was hoping that by summer we could get into – if we were damned lucky – an overpriced rent-to-own on a mobile.  Hardly ideal, since park prices are literally nearly as high as apartment rent, but at least then you have a chance of eventually buying a piece of land for it and eliminating the park rent.  Plus it would be MY HOME.

However… after talking to a mortgage specialist this afternoon it turns out I qualify now for a $0 down program to buy a house.  Even with nothing down, our payment would range $100-200 a month below what we’re paying now on rent.  We’re talking newer houses, 3 bedroom 2 bath.  One I saw in our price range isn’t even finished yet; the majority are less than 10 years old.  Slam dunk, right?

You’d think so, unless you were G.

And since we’re married I cannot buy without his John Henry on the paperwork, so unless he agrees it ain’t gonna happen.

To be fair, his concerns are legitimate: when you buy a home you are also necessarily responsible for all repairs.  Water heater toasted?  I’m on the hook for the bill.  Roof leaks?  Again – my baby.  Plumbing backs up?  Yeah, I totally get that.  In the past I HAVE owned places that literally fell down around my ears.  However, what we’re talking about here are genuinely nice homes, newer places where the likelihood of failing roof or AC is lower.  I also have the savvy to get a home warranty plan.  Best $400 you can spend: for the first year any major problem with the house is fixed, from major appliances to AC to roof.   Learned that trick from my sister.

He’s also worried about living that far out and my driving a rattletrap of dubious remaining life.  I pointed out that it has to be replaced very soon, with or without the house, anyway.  We have been extraordinarily lucky to drive an $800 car for this long.  G’s right: before we move that far east we really have to find better transportation.

And lastly he’s insisting that we wait until after my surgery, to which I have to agree.  It’s a more or less routine procedure.  Routine stuff can still create unplanned complications.  Furthermore, we need to see several houses before we commit to buying anything.  Between my knee and G’s ankle it’s been a bitch to do much walking anywhere lately.  I still want to talk with the realtor and see if we can setup to view one or two places next weekend, on principle.  I think if G sees what we can get and the fact that it will cost so much less, it may prove to be the tipping point.

This is one of the homes I am asking to see next weekend:

Exterior Kitchen
Living Dining view Exterior 1

It’s 3 bedroom, 2 bath, just under 1600 square feet and as one of the older homes in the area was built in 2001.  Obviously nothing fancy but a heck of a lot bigger and newer than our apartment and this one would run about $125-150 a month below our current rent.  It’s actually more like $240 difference, but I’m taking into account that 1) our rent here includes water and 2) there’s a nominal (less than $50) HOA fee.   This particular home is a midpoint in pricing; we could almost certainly be approved for $20K over this, and there were several that were lower in cost in the area, also nice and some newer.  I am asking to check this one out because it was a livable price and fairly generous in size.  We’re now in 1150 sf, give or take.  Another 450 sf would be a big jump!

By the way, I think a miracle may have occurred in the last half hour or so.  G may actually be coming around.  I put down pros and cons on paper and put the paper on his desk.  After he stomped off pouting and hemming and hawing, then left to walk the dog, he returned with a different attitude.  Before he left he was definitely in a huff.  But now that he realizes I’m serious, that this is extremely doable, and that since we have to live somewhere we might as well make it somewhere comfortable, he’s kind of thinking maybe it might not be such a bad idea after all.

The house pictures may have helped too.  Maybe he was expecting to see places in our price range that were trashed or so old that they would become money pits.  Last year when we were looking at mobiles for rent-to-own that’s what we encountered.  (Gave a whole new meaning to “trailer trash”, heh.)  This time I’ve piqued his interest.  So cross your fingers.

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