There's no place like homeWednesday, August 03, 2011
For the past year, Clayton and I have done pretty much nothing but talk about buying a house. Well, to be more precise, I've done pretty much nothing but talk about buying a house. However, late in March, Clayton finally got on board with the idea and agreed we could begin looking for a home once our current apartment lease was up. And being as I have absolutely no patience for anything, I combed the internet daily, obsessively checking out all of the homes for sale in our area. As more and more homes appeared on the market, I got more and more excited and even more and more anxious to get the process started. The idea of having a space of my own, that I actually owned, was exhilarating. I wanted my own yard, my own awesome kitchen, and my own master bathroom with a double vanity. (Dream big, Courtney!)
Clayton and I have been diligently saving our money for the past 12 months, careful to put away as much cash as possible for a down payment. When you put your mind to it, it’s quite amazing how fast you can accumulate some extra money. We were both amazed and proud of ourselves for our financial progress, and we had our down payment.
As the final months in our dinky apartment approached, we started making plans to speak with a lender about getting approved for a mortgage. Thanks to my obsessive-compulsive nature, I was doing my homework and leaving no stone unturned. We were as prepared as we were ever going to be.
However, after a particularly long night at work, Clayton and I began discussing our apprehensions about buying a house. Sure, we’d talked relentlessly about our enthusiasm and the anticipation of owning a home, but we hadn’t really had an honest conversation about all the possible cons of buying right now. We both admitted to each other that we were nervous about the process and absolutely terrified of having a mortgage. Sure, owning a home and having equity is smarter in the long run, but what did it mean for us in the short term? Were we really ready to take on a gas bill, a water bill, trash removal, and our own maintenance? And honestly, did we really want to see all the money we worked so hard to save disappear that quickly?
When I married Clayton, I made a promise to him and to God that I would obey whatever decision he made for us. Feminists can squawk all they want about how letting a man be in charge is sexist and that I am single-handedly setting the whole women’s movement back 100 years, but it doesn’t change my personal beliefs. Clayton is the head of our household and that role comes a lot of responsibility. I trust him to make decisions for our family both wisely and carefully, listening to what I have to say and honoring my opinion. So I turned over the decision to buy a house.
After a lot of consideration, Clayton decided we should wait to purchase a home. As much as my heart desires a house right now, I understand and respect why he wants us to wait. Sure, I mourned the loss of my house-hunting journey, but Clay comforted me by reminding me that the dream of owning a house isn’t dead … it's just being put on hold. With him continuing his education in the next few years, it may not be smart to take on a mortgage while he’s in school full-time. Also, and probably somewhat selfishly, we’re really not prepared to give up our savings account. We want it to continue to flourish so by the time we are ready for a house, we’ll be able to make an even bigger payment and take out less on the loan.
Yeah, I still feel a little sad at times, especially when I drive past a cute house with a “For Sale” sign in the front yard. But I have to tell myself to buck up and get over it because I know in my heart we’re doing what’s best for us right now.
Sometimes I think I’m rushing my life. Even though I dated Clayton for 5 years before we got married, we still got hitched at a relatively young age. And now, since all of our friends are buying or building homes and having children, we feel like we need to start doing the same. But what’s right for someone else isn’t necessarily right for us. Sometimes I get too wrapped up in the whole “keeping up with the Jones’” mentality and striving for “The American Dream”, rather than analyzing what I need instead of what I want. If I have it all at the age of 25, what is there to look forward to?
So, that’s what I’m reminding myself of to help make me feel better. We don’t need to rush into a house, especially if we both have any kind of qualms about it. I want the experience, the whole house-buying experience, to by joyful and fun. And if I’m feeling anxious about anything at all, then it probably isn’t the right decision.
In the meantime, Clayton and I made the agreement to start pursuing a townhouse. While we love our one-bedroom apartment, we both admit that we are outgrowing our small space and are ready for more room to roam. The idea of having two levels to spread our stuff out on (and not having to worry about pesky neighbors stomping above or below us) appeals to us and we are really looking forward to the move. We found a neighborhood that we are interested in and are currently in the process of reserving a unit for the fall. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and praying that it all works out!
But Clayton and I found a way to lift our spirits after our initial disappointment over not buying a house. We used a bit of our savings and made, what I think, is one of the best investments of our life together:
Surprisingly, it didn’t take more than an hour to put together. In fact, the tiny end table we bought for our bedroom with only 3 pieces was more of a headache than this treadmill. In no time at all it was up and running, happily blinking its florescent green display at me.
I put our little baby to the test today. It was surreal. I was running … in my living room. I didn’t have to fight anyone else for a treadmill. I didn’t have to risk heat stroke by running outside in August. I could watch what I wanted to watch on TV. Amazing. I was delighted. I kept looking at my kitchen while I sprinted thinking, “Oh my gosh! I’ve never seen my kitchen while I was running!” And I was so elated that I ran a 3-mile PR, achieving a 7:45 min/mile.
I think this is the start of a beautiful relationship.
There are few things more satisfying than sweating in the privacy of your own home.)