August 2010 Weddings
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House buying anxiety

This may be a little long.

DH and I live in Rockland County, NY. We have lived here for a year and a half, got married here and have friends here. Most of our friends live in the same town we do. Two of the couples we know recently bought homes, and both have paid more than I would like to pay for a small, old home on a rather small land.  The problem with me was: DH's family lives in ATL and I see how they live, and what they pay, and it just hurts having to pay so much more to live so much worse.

However, last month DH made me realize that we may be better off buying after all. Right now our rental apartment costs us about $1300 a month. It's about 1100 sqft large, but has only two bedrooms, a huge kitchen and a huge living room.  DH works from home, so he uses the smaller of the two rooms for his office. Our neighbor is a psychotic weirdo who screams and curses at his parents, who in return scream at him. He has no friends, works 5 minutes from the house, and vacuums at midnight. We definitely do not want to have kids in this apartment, if not for the lack of space, then for this neighbor. DH made me realize that with as much as $500 a month extra, we could have our own place and get lots of write offs.

Considering that the mortgage rates may wind up much higher next year, DH and I have been more inclined to search around. At first we thought about buying a small 3br/1bt home, but then we realized that for a minimally larger cost, we can get much larger homes in the town that's about 20 minute drive from where we live now. Today we went to see a bunch of the homes there, and saw one that I think could be it!

It's a nice ranch home with four bedrooms and two full baths and an unfinished basement. The yard is not ideal - it has a huge drop with trees on it on a third of the property, but overall, it's really nice.  It has a original brick fireplace, a large new deck, a wall of windows and newly renovated bathrooms. If you ask me - the fireplace is what wins me. It's located in a subdivision that has two lakes for the members only, a man made beach and a large jungle gym. The community has a lot of young families so if we had kids, it would be nice to make friends with other moms. What's best is that it's over $100K less than what the majority of the homes are in the town we live in now.

For those of you who have recently bought homes - did you have this weird anxiety? Other than our wedding, I have never spent so much money on any possession. I did not have a car, because I lived in Brooklyn when you can get everywhere on a subway, I rented and I am a saver - I save my money  not spend them.  I am so anxious about getting a huge loan, and owning a home... How did you feel? Any advice you can share?

Re: House buying anxiety

  • It was crazy at first to consider the amount of money required to get the kind of house we wanted to be our first home.  Esp. living in the Bay Area, where house prices are still really high compared to the rest of the country.

    But honestly, we were so excited to own something, and to put money into our own investment instead of somebody else's that we barely felt the sting in the end. :-)  

    The trick is to be 100% sure you are buying within your means, period.  And buying within your means on top of having money to spare for your life needs: food, car fixes, any school debts, savings, EVERYTHING.  And shop around for a good loan with good service and good rates, and make sure your realtor is working for you on the best deal at the time of closing, and put as much down as you can!

    Nothing should have to suffer just so you can own a home.  In fact the only things that may need to get scrimped on is the regularity of expensive dinners out, and shoe shopping :-) 

    I think if you are smart about your buy, you think through the best choices and financial scenarios, and treat it as an investment in your future and not a burden, you will see the light.  We've only owned for 4 months...and I would nevernevernever trade our cute little house for anything.  


  • I can definitely say that there was some major anxiety involved in buying our house. And we were even buying it from family, so we didn't even have to worry about the whole making offers, and waiting to hear back and worrying about losing it issue. We closed on the house 3/11 and have only lived in it for three weeks and it's unbelievable how much money we've had to spend on the damn thing so far.

    That being said, as pp said, there is nothing like knowing that you OWN the place you live. If something breaks, yes, you have to fix it yourself, but at the same time, if you wanna move a wall, or create a bathroom, or whatever, you CAN. And knowing that you're not paying $xxx.xx a month and getting nothing out of it, but that it's actually helping you out is great. 

    I can't say that I love this house yet, because it feels like it's fighting us on every little thing, but it's our house, and no one can tell us what to do in it. 

    BabyName Ticker
    BabyFetus Ticker
  • DH and I have looked into buying/building, but frankly, we're pretty good with renting for a while.  We're in no rush to own simply because it's the supposed 'American Dream' (which is quickly changing, btw).  We will probably build in a few years once we figure out exactly what we'd want out of a house.  We also want to save up for a hefty downpayment.  I feel like a lot of people think it's better to own rather than rent and that's just not true.  But neither is the reverse.  Both have their positives and negatives.  I just can't stand it when people say renting is wasting money.  That's so ignorant.  We have a roof over our heads, don't we?  And if something major breaks or needs repair, it's not me that has to fork over hundred of dollars.  We don't have to cut our own grass or water the plants.  We pay our rent each month and under $30 for renter's insurance.  And that's that.  It's a beautiful thing.

    We have neighbors that are eh, whatever, but that's the only drawback we have.  As long as we have rented, the positives have always outweighed the negatives.

     Coming from a financial background and considering today and tomorrow's economy, once DH and I do decide to buy/build, we want to make sure we're in a position to be in the house indefinitely.  People shouldn't own homes nowadays and think they're getting some great equity to their name.  Not true.   You can research too many articles on the reasons owning is actually not a good financial move. 

    I think most people (along with DH and I) own/will own because of the overall limitations renting sometimes gives in personal expression.  As lex said, owning allows you to make a home exactly what you want it to be.  That's so important.  A house can also grow with you as your family expands better than a rental can.  Those are honestly the only reasons DH and I have for wanting to own someday. 

    Buying a home may never be the sound financial move it once was, but at the end of the day, set your nerves aside and know that a home will be your little paradise and something you can call your own.


    Do the creep.
  • Hi Ladies, thank you for your  kind words of encouragement and advice.

    I was always happy with renting, because it gave me the freedom to move any day I chose to.  Since I met DH I earned a home office, a dog and a cat. oh and also two cars, two biked and a bunch of tools. I think my anxiety comes from having to buy instead of build (which is what everyone who owns a house does in Poland).  I am also anxious about the housing market.

    The two things that make this decision seem good (and make me feel better about it) are: this area has already seen the deepest drop on prices. The house we are buying lost 60% is value during the recession - this makes our realtor and our financial advisor believe that it will not drop in price anymore.  The town is surrounded by a national park and it's a commuter town - our financial advisor claims this means no bad element will move into the area because there are no local jobs or transportation. 

    Another thing is the unfinished basement - finishing it will increase the value of the house, and DH is super handy and my dad is a carpenter, so our cost will be much lower than if we had to hire someone.

    At the end of the day, our monthly cost will go up by only about $500-$700 which we can afford, and we will be able to write some of this off, which was not possible with a rental.  Not having a psychotic neighbor who curses all day and whose dad blocks our driveway every morning is also a plus.

    Just tell me why I am still so anxious if I can be so reasonable about it?

    BTW - as an update - we made an offer and the counteroffer was $20K less than what their asking price was... sounds like they really want to sell it. I can't wait for the inspection.

  • Good luck with everything!

     We are anxiously waiting on the closing of our new house - August 31 can't come soon enough and then for a while we will own 2 houses - I think that's where most of my anxiety has come from! We just need to figure out what's going to happen with our current house and then focus on the future!

    Buying vs renting was never a choice for us - but then again we live in a rural area where most people do own their homes and good rentals are hard to find!

  • image pearl2006:

    Good luck with everything!

     We are anxiously waiting on the closing of our new house - August 31 can't come soon enough and then for a while we will own 2 houses - I think that's where most of my anxiety has come from! We just need to figure out what's going to happen with our current house and then focus on the future!

    Buying vs renting was never a choice for us - but then again we live in a rural area where most people do own their homes and good rentals are hard to find!

    Thank you! I hope all goes well with your closing. We are going to have the inspector do his work during the weekend. I really can't wait to see if everything is OK with the house. I am falling in love with it :)

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