House Hunters…my style

This afternoon, I went to an open house. I’ve ducked into a few open houses this spring; when I thought I was getting married and moving, I knew the interest rates were dropping, but it wasn’t prudent to look into refinancing. But, as I’m still putting life back together, I find that many questions have resurfaced. I’ll only dredge up the housing question in this post.

When I bought my house five years ago, the interest rates were already good. But, they’ve continued to fall since then. It’s actually my goal this week to get on the phone with a few banks to investigate refinancing. It might be a wash in the end with all the fees that are associated with the process, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Knowing that I might be refinancing is what prompted the open house visits. I figured if I’m going to be paying loan related fees, I might as well make sure I don’t want to be paying them on a new house. Taxes are really high in the city, so sometimes it’s possible to jump up a price bracket just by getting out of city.

All this sounds so calm, but really, it’s tumultuous. Here are the thoughts that race through my mind. Well, how much is too much for fees? Actually, I’ve decided this one. If I can’t overcome the fees in less than two years with the money that I save every month, I’m not comfortable with the change. Do I really need a bigger house? I already have more space than I need. Isn’t that falling into the materialistic American mindset? What exactly would I do with a new house that I don’t do in my current house? Have backyard cookouts? Entertain more? Why don’t I just entertain more where I’m at?  Whenam I going to get married, and how does that affect all this? I mean, will he have a house? Should I just say put and build equity? Would we want to pick a house together? Do I want to move if it doesn’t look like my forever house? What does my forever house look like anyway? How should I know what forever looks like? It seems like most times I try to plan, I get the rug pulled out from under me.

Whew. Yes, that is exactly what it looks like inside my head, each time I drive home from one of these open houses. Today’s house was the most tempting. It was off a little street right off 501 (one of three major parallel roads that run through our area). Other than being super close to the dog park, I wasn’t thrilled with the proximity to 501, but the street itself was quiet and overlooked some farm land. The backyard was huge. One the one hand, I thought, “Wow! Look at all the space the dog could have, look at all the space to have people over.” Then I thought, “I have to mow more, and I’d have to spend quite a bit to finish fencing this entire thing in.”  The kitchen had been completely redone in a style that I favor. There was a somewhat open floor plan downstairs. But the living room was small; I’d have to ditch a piece of furniture to get into it. There were three bedrooms, but at least one of them seemed smaller than what I have now, and I’d completely lose my third floor office space. The garage was attached to the house, which was nice, but that meant less basement space.

Hopefully, you’re not bored with this list. Pretty much, every house I’ve looked at has turned out this way. I’ve driven home realizing I’d be losing a dining room or trading in hardwood floors for 70s style shag rugs. Or, I’d be doubling my mortgage and still have no central air.Or, or, or. It’s always a balancing act.

The bottom line is that I still wish I was getting married and moving. I can’t lie about that. I had a fairly significant meltdown last night when it dawned on me that if everything had gone according to the tentative plans that Todd and I had made at one point in time, yesterday might have been my wedding day.

But, the thought I have to just keep spinning around in my head until it’s like a broken record, the first thought that I default to, is that I’m still blessed even if things aren’t going my way. When I look at houses in my price range, where it would be wise to have payments that don’t stress me out, I actually come away realizing that God knew what He was doing five years ago when He let me get this fixer upper because it suits my needs well for now and it’s nearly all fixed up. And, I need to make the flip side of that spinning record tell me that if God knew what He was doing five years ago, He still knows what He’s doing now even if it’s been a pretty tear-filled weekend when this big old house with more space than I need gets quiet.