A Constructed Life

SOS! We’re in love with a money pit!

Any time I try too hard, it never works out. I’ve learned this over and over again – when I overthink writing and lose the heart of it, when I overexert myself in sports and fall short of the finish line (literally, and on my face. True story from 7th grade track), when I get overenthusiastic in conversations and look like a cartoon character. In other words, when I try too hard, I always end up missing the point.

And I am again trying too hard. This time in search of a new home, and just like with writing when I over-focus and over-agonize rather than just let it flow, I am losing the heart behind our quest for a new house, getting tangled in the “we need it, must find it, must fit this price and this picture and these wants,” and now I cannot find my compass – that voice I always trust to steer me in the right direction, to clam me down and remind me that the universe will handle it, no matter how hard I fight to find it, it will come when it’s meant to.

We’ve been looking for a new house for almost a year and only one has gotten under our skin. It’s priced at the top of our budget and is accompanied by crazy high taxes and the ugliest carpet, tile and wallpaper imaginable. Every inch of its 3,300 square feet (Much bigger than we ever planned on owning), needs work. See for yourself.

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Do you see what I mean? Clearly Mrs. Brady decorated this place. Too bad it doesn’t come with an Alice to help me clean all that space or watch my kids while I spend the next decade slowly updating it.

While my brain and our bank account says, “You’re an idiot,” everything else in me wants to buy this house. I go to bed thinking about gleefully tearing out carpeting and peeling off wallpaper and my family having all the space and yard they’ll ever need. This house needs tons of work, but it’s less work than our old house, which required gutting almost every room to the studs and tearing down walls and erecting new ones. That’s the things with this place – it needs a lot of work, but we are totally capable of doing it.

We’ve spent days analyzing our finances and spending to make sure we can afford this place, reviewing our spending habits from the last year, creating spreadsheets, etc (By the way, it was eye-opening to see how much cash we’ve dropped on groceries and eating out). We’ve determined that buying this house means living on a budget that would be really tight for the first 7 months and then relax back to a more comfortable amount. But vacations would take months and months and months of saving, big projects will require a loan…until I go back to work (probably in another 2 years). We can definitely handle this house and it’s remodeling demands with two salaries (assuming I can get hired somewhere besides Target or Starbucks). But until then…do I want to live for a few years mildly stressed out about paying for things and pulling back on our retirement and college savings?

Is this big, ugly, alluring house worth it? You tell me. Advice needed.

4 thoughts on “SOS! We’re in love with a money pit!

  1. Uncle Bob

    Advice is not something anyone should ever take from me. However, when faced with a serious dilemma I have found over many years that, if I remain patient, the correct respnse will, all of a sudden, come to me. Like it was a no brainer. But I had to wait for that epiphany. Perhaps you don’t have that luxury when it comes to buying a house. Good luck.

    1. Liz Post author

      Wise words, UB, and ones I’m trying to follow now. We decided to just sit on things for a few weeks until we feel the answer smack into us. We’re trying to live these few weeks on the budget we’d be on if we buy the house, just to see if it’s totally doable or totally miserable. Thanks for your advice. I think you’re good at it.

  2. Father

    Liz, you know my thoughts on this project. Because you know how to do something, doesn’t mean you should do it. It just means you know how to do something.

    Finally, after all the spread sheets, numbers, budgets, retirement, etc. Trust your heart…

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