Over the weekend, in the snow, I went with my Realtor to see four more houses. There was a fifth on my list that we couldn’t see (the owners were moving out), but we drove past it and I ruled it out immediately based on location. It was on a very busy street very close to the road, and that wasn’t what I wanted.
The other four houses? Nice, but not as great as the house that I have the contract on. They all needed visible work done. Two were absolutely adorable though, little cottage style colonials. But an adorable house like that in my budget isn’t going to be all that spectacular.
So nothing has changed, but this additional searching really reaffirmed my decision that if the repairs are done correctly, this house is the right house for me. Is it absolutely perfect? No. But I’m a firm believer that when you look for a house, you make your dream list, and then you aim to get 75-80% of that. For example, I would love a place within walking distance to the metro. I would also love a place with three bedrooms and two full baths and a decent amount of living space. And in my budget, those two things don’t work together (well, they might, but then the condition is bad, and you know what I’m getting at). So I have to decide what’s more important. I managed to balance the two. I found a house with good space that is walking distance to a bus to the metro.
(Of course, given the shape of the Metro as of late and the fact that the ride is so jerky that I get nauseous every single trip, I think I’m going to start driving to work, but that’s a story for another day.)
I’m still waiting for the final word on the repairs, but I’m getting more and more hopeful. The seller’s agent is continually contacting my agent to let her know the status of the repairs, sending paperwork and receipts. And they are spending a pretty penny to get everything in ship shape condition. That’s a great sign that they’re doing it right. Of course, I will still get it reinspected, but I’m starting to get a good feeling about everything that’s being done.
It doesn’t mean I won’t be sinking money into the house once I move in, of course. The fence on the house is pretty trashed, so I will need to get a new fence at some point. The driveway also either needs new gravel or needs to be paved (I would prefer paving, but may have to start with gravel, depending on budget issues). And there’s also all the safety things (fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, escape ladders, etc). I’ve got a big list of things to buy and am categorizing them as “needs,” “kind of needs” and “wants” in order to prioritize. Needs are fire extinguishers. Kind of Needs are things like a table for the breakfast nook. Wants are a couch for the living room.
Of course, until everything is said and done, I’m not buying anything. I may run to a few stores to price things this weekend, however. Just to see what I’m getting myself into. Yikes.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.