You may have wondered how the house-hunt was coming along. Well here's the answer: it's not.
After careful consideration, many honest conversations, and numerous budget worksheets that have been worked and re-worked, we've come to the decision that we are not ready to buy a house. Yet. I know that there are some who will argue that this IS a good time to buy a house, but there's a flip side to that. Yes, housing prices have been coming down. Yes, interest rates are at their lowest since...well, sliced bread. However, the flip side of the argument is that we live in California. Southern California to be exact. I daresay that, save for perhaps New York City, this is the only place in the country where $40,000.00 down on a house is a mere pittance. It's also probably the only place in the country (or darn close to it!) in which a $400,000.00 house is a 'fixer-upper'. And that is being kind. Some of the houses we've seen in that price range are really more like 'are you KIDDING??'. Besides that, over and above the down payment, the monthly mortgage/interest/property taxes/homeowners insurance/PMI would be triple what we are paying now. TRIPLE. Ahhhhh, yes, the joys of living in Southern California!
That said, we're both surprisingly happy about our decision to postpone buying a house and stay put. One of the reasons we felt compelled to buy NOW, is the situation with the landlord and his being behind on his mortgage. However, now that he's re-negotiated his loan and has no plans to sell the house (I know this because I just came out and asked him...), we have no reason to rush into the purchase of a house. We decided that we would much rather stay where we're at for as long as we can and just keep stashing our money in the bank. Afterall, even with it's faults (and there are plenty), the house is cozy and very charming, we have it fixed up the way we want it, and the rent is ridiculously low (well, for our area. Say it with me: Ahhhhh, yes, the joys of living in Southern California!). We just don't feel that it's worth it to strap ourselves and perhaps end up in a messy situation -- like so many are experiencing with their homes during this crazy economic situation we're all living through at the moment.
So - there you have it. What this means for us (in addition to being able to set aside more money) is this: it's time to relax, enjoy and ... get back to work on the business of making THIS house our home! To that end, I've got a wonderful, very detailed, room-by-room list of things we can (and will) accomplish over the upcoming summer months. A new faucet here, a new picture there. Here a sprucing, there a sprucing, everywhere a sprucing, sprucing!
(...and yes, Kevin has read the list - is it possible to grimmace and smile at the same time?!)