Let’s just say it – house hunting sucks.
I see now why they refer to it as ‘hunting’ because it really is part luck and part skill to find something that fits your needs and your budget and isn’t a big bag of buffalo donuts.
I got lucky with the house we currently have because it fell into my lap. My wife had been tipped by friends that they had a family member looking to sell so she had them tell me. I wasn’t looking but knew I needed to start thinking about What Came Next. I had been with my girlfriend for several years and it was time to figure the future and with her having a big dog, it wasn’t in a city apartment.
I looked at the house and loved it. It was an older, small, cute place that was perfect. My dad got the price down because he paid cash and I was able to pay him back for it and thus, I had a house.
Easy as that.
I was lucky (and am lucky) that I had parents that could help me out. They wanted me out of the apartment – for all its charms it wasn’t great for me – and were happy that I had found a house. The place was great and was perfect for me. And then it was perfect for me, my wife and our dog.
As time passed so did our dog and we got a new dog, a puppy, who wanted to run. Then we added to the family another dog (and then another after she died, it’s a long story) and suddenly we had two huskies who wanted to run and play and a yard that worked, but was just pushing it.
When we added a daughter to the mix suddenly this adorable house wasn’t quite going to cut it.
We need space.
We need space for our daughter to run around, a backyard that’s not poopie-trapped, and room for our dogs to run and play without fearing they’ll take out a toddler as they do.
If I am honest too, I am over Flint.
I love Flint.
I will always love Flint.
But the politics of the city, and the politics of the school board are painful. That our daughter could go to school in Flint only to have whatever schools she was in close on her – as they shrink the school system slowly – that would just add more stress than any of us need.
Time to look for a new place.
The thing is though that we have to be able to AFFORD it, which means we have to factor our NEEDS with our WANTS and then make sure it aligns with our MEANS.
Not an easy ask.
This all started with a lot of excitement and hope but as the budget I need to look at shrank and the houses we could afford shrank, so too has my hope.
We fell in love with a place only to have it be out of reach and the last thing we’re going to do is take a risk and hope for the best only to lose our new home and either have to move back to the home we have now or be homeless if it’s past when it’s sold.
In looking at homes you forget how deeply personal our houses are. How much they are a reflection of us.
You see the interests – a koi pond at one place.
You see the disinterest – disrepair and poor repair.
And you see the settling for what things are – old houses that have areas that don’t seem safe with modern eyes.
You also pick up on the weirdness of these places and the negativity that surrounds them. Almost like the scent each house carries of the people and pets and food and deeds of it all.
Looking for a home reminds me so much of what it was like to cruise dating sites back twenty years ago. You get the best images of them, the best information, and then you have to hope that the things that aren’t said or shown are not enough to make you rethink your interest.
But with the houses you see that above that photo of the beautiful wooden staircase is a hole in the ceiling. In those deep closets there is water damage, in that spacious basement there are cracks in the foundation.
Sure, you can afford it but can you afford to fix it and keep it up?
You have to watch things and wait and hope for the best. It’s like Black Friday and you have to camp out to get that inexpensive item that you need to have everyone else wants too. It’s luck, and it’s patience, and it’s the stars aligning.
How many of us are settling, as we do with our jobs, on a house that is good enough but not great?
Not the big, fancy place, or the place on the lake, but the place that perfectly fits your needs?
Probably not many.
And sure, it’s a blessing to be able to even LOOK for a house but I am not going to carry that shame for someone because I can only live my life and in my life I need to find a new house for my family. A bigger house that fits us.
With financing, and looking, and taxes, and insurance, and payments to consider though I am definitely missing my apartment living and the perceived simplicity it offered.