Didn’t know we were thinking about it? We were.
It started last year while we were attacking our debt snowball. We looked into refinancing our current mortgage into a 15-year. To do so, we had a realtor come out to the house to give us an idea of the value.
The news was not good.
When I say not good, I mean…not. good. We were expecting it to be bad, but not that bad. And the longer I let it set in, the more it got to me.
You know our house is my hobby. It’s also now a big (HUGE. MASSIVE.) part of my business. So to learn that what we’ve done to the house didn’t really mean much, well -- it was hard for me to take.
I’ve poured my blood, sweat and tears into this house because I love it, I enjoy it and it’s my passion. But I was hoping my improvements would help the bottom line a little bit too. At least right now, they don’t.
There’s a number of reasons why – first of all, if you haven’t noticed…uhhh…the market pretty much sucks right now. Royally. We live in one of the best areas in the country (based on schools, incomes, jobs, yadda yadda), in a fantastic location, in a great neighborhood.
But the neighborhood is part of the problem. No one ever moves. Seriously. Our realtor had, like, five houses to compare us against in the past two years. That’s a good thing, in that it’s a great place to live. A bad thing because there’s so few comparables.
Another issue was that we built this house –- picked all the fixtures, upgrades, elevation, all those fun goodies. But those goodies are so inflated when installing them through a builder and rolling them into your mortgage, compared to buying them outright. A $100 light fixture is going to cost you a lot more than that, for the convenience of having it done for you.
And there’s that whole mental thing -- “What’s another $120 on a 30-year mortgage? Let’s do it!!”
(We didn’t do a lot of that, but all the little things certainly added up.)
So off the bat, I’m quite sure we paid more than we should have for our house. We were also in the first, say 25 percent, of homes to be built in our neighborhood. So there were plenty more built later that were a LOT bigger for less money.
So our square footage compared to the others in the neighborhood really dinged us. We’re tiny compared to most of them, but we paid more for our house.
So when we got the news about the value of our house, I wallowed for a couple of days. Boo hoo’d a bit. Got really mad. Then decided we just needed to move. Pronto.
But there was an itty bitty issue. We had no money.
We were still in major debt back then. We didn’t have a down payment. And we weren’t moving with tons of debt and no down payment.
I looked at houses online for about one day. I was freaking out people. I felt like we had to cut our losses and get out of dodge. Please remember, we had just gotten this bad news, I was emotional, and was not thinking clearly. At all.
So anyway, looking at houses didn’t help things one bit. Or maybe it did.
I didn’t find one house we would want to live in. Not one.
Cause, oh yeah…WE LOVE OUR HOUSE.
We built it, remember? We picked out every little thing. I took a second job for a bigger down payment, we saved like fools, I drove by the lot every. single. day. to check the progress. I had our superintendent on speed dial and he was my BFF for five months. We watched it go up bit by bit, falling in love a little more every day.
One day, I visited after they had finished spraying the walls with our Beechwood Grey color. I stood in the middle of the house, taking it all in and SQUEALED very loudly. Then added a fist pump and screamed “YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!”
And my BFF superintendent walked out of one of the rooms just a few feet from where I was standing. :)
We love our house.
One day after we got the bad news about the value, I had a long, emotional conversation with my Dad, and to say he put me in check is an understatement. And after that hour on the phone, it’s like the clouds had parted and it had all clicked in my head.
We are so, so, so insanely fortunate to have this HOME. A house we love, that’s the right size (probably a bit too big, really), in a beautiful neighborhood.
We aren’t upside down on our house. We can afford the payments (our mortgage is well within our means). And if we’re intense with it, we think we can pay off our house in five years or so.
How many people do I hear call into the Dave Ramsey show every day who can’t pay for their home anymore? They are quite literally walking away from it. It breaks my heart for them. Kills me.
So basically, I told myself to BUCK UP BUTTERCUP. You know…to shut my (own) trap.
We’re not moving.
But here’s the thing – we’re still going to spend money on our home. We’re not going to live in it and not live in it. We’re going to finish the basement (which will help the value), we’re going to install new faucets, plant more trees, make it what we want it.
Is that the best idea? I don’t know. But it’s what we’re going to do.
Who knows what the economy will bring? I know for certain the value will go up again. I have no doubt in my mind. What I don’t know is if it’s ever going to be where we want it to be.
But right now, I don’t care. We don’t know if it’s our forever home, but it’s our forever home for right now.
Just without the pumpkins and corn stalks. (I just love that picture.) :)
Of course, please know…if you’re thinking about moving, you just moved, your getting ready to move – I am NOT talking to you. I’m just sharing what we’ve experienced with our specific situation and how we got to our decision. (I’ve heard Dave Ramsey tell plenty of people to sell and take a bit of a hit on their house, just because they can make it up so easily on a new purchase right now. It is definitely a great time to buy.)
And if you are moving I’m so freakin’ excited for you and I want you to blog about it so I can see pictures of your new house. Seriously. Moving to a new home is daunting and overwhelming, but it’s also pretty darn exciting. :)
So, I know I’m not the only one who’s gotten bad news about their biggest life investment – their house. Anyone else been through it lately? What did you decide? Stay or go? Are you happy about it? Sad? Frustrated? Excited? Do tell.