I’m Pregnant: With a New House

I feel like I’m having twins. Except one is a baby and the other is a house. My first house. My house. Well, our house. In the middle of our street. In the middle of my check book.

After a 300k+ downpayment, you’d think we could stop bleeding cash for a while. But a “new” house in these here parts is an old house. A pre 1970s house. Which, when I bought it, didn’t seem that old — given many houses here are from the 1920s. Then, after buying it, I realized it is pretty old. Old enough to need a whole bunch of new things.

I set aside 50k for first year repairs–and I’m going to spend it all up front. Fumigation – 3k. Roof – 2k. Electric – 15k. HVAC – 15k-20k. And that’s before we get to the nice-to-haves, like an electric garage door opener, a hallway bathroom remodel (so we can have a bathtub), and maybe epoxy on the garage floor to make it into a gym (ok that’s a luxury but “only” 2k.) I don’t love the layout of the house and the two bedrooms we will be living in for the foreseeable future (while my FIL lives in the master bedroom suite) are tiny. I’d like to add on to them and rip out everything in the house and redo it all but… ok, I’m not that crazy. Maybe I am. But I’m also actually pregnant. And tired. And not ready to complete a massive remodel and cash out all my stock to build on to this house. It will probably never happen. I need to be happy with the house as is.

I’m trying to be. It’s scary to be a homeowner. I think homeownership is kind of bullshit but I’m doing it anyway. It’s a total scam. The “American dream” my ass. In a HCOL area it takes 35+ years to break even, if that. That’s not counting all the upgrades you put into your house because it’s your house. You know, home ownership and this dream is really just the government wanting to convince people to take care of a little plot of land and pay more taxes for that land and feel stuck. Being stuck is good for the stability of a nation. Not so much for its people.

But I did it anyway? Why. Oh, I don’t know. As our networth creeps towards 2M, and as we’re approaching baby #2, it seemed like the right thing to do. Give my kids some stability. It’s good for them, supposedly. I don’t know. I lived in the same house my entire childhood and look how I turned out–and now I’m just an emotional mess on my mom having to sell that home. And I’m almost 37. Maybe I’d be better off if I moved around as a kid and didn’t have such an emotional attachment to a piece of real estate.

Anyway, I did it. The home is ours. And right now it’s actually ours but we can’t go in it because the sellers have a rent back and they’ll be out on Nov 7. Then it’s ours ours. Ours to put a massive tent over and fumigate. Ours to replace the old fire hazard electrical panel. And redo the vents so we can put in AC. Ours to move our king size bed into the 100 square foot bedroom with a tiny closet because that’s what my life is now. Spending 1.5M+ on a home should buy some luxury but it doesn’t here. I have a little more space than a 1.3M home but not much more. I don’t know what I have. A 1.5M+ headache. A 7k a month mortgage. A whole lot of new stress. Neighbors — god — people I will have to get to know and can’t avoid if for any reason I want to avoid them.

I’ll miss my apartment — but we couldn’t stay in our one bedroom anyway. I’ll miss my neighborhood and town, and the last town I lived in where we tried to find a place to buy but gave up with everything going 300k above ask. I feel like this is kind of the end of everything, versus the start of it, which is the wrong way to be approaching home ownership. But it’s kind of a let down. You save and save and save and then the best you can do is buy a half-decent home with a lot of repairs needed that’s over an hour from your office. Is it an accomplishment? I don’t know. Hard to say. Maybe it will feel like it is when we have it fixed up. When it’s really ours ours. When I can tell my son this is his house, for real. His front door. His bedroom. His backyard.

I’m looking forward to the space. The grass I can lie on during the day with no one giving me funny looks. The same grass I can sleep in without worrying I’ll wake up and my keys will be gone. All the walls that we can do whatever we want with. So much responsibility. 85k a year of it, plus whatever it costs to keep the house “alive.” What a fancy life I lead.

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8 thoughts on “I’m Pregnant: With a New House”

  1. I’ve resigned to live in a shoebox condo or at best townhouse for the remainder of life in the city even if I’m fortunate enough to have kids. I’ll budget $100k for a mobile home or cabin in the woods where we can go on long weekends n they can run their hearts out. We… Who am I kidding. I will go there on long weekends and summer mths.

    If I live to retirement age I’ll cash out the condos n live in a bungalow in the burbs n work on the house full time so long as my health allows.
    Financial Orchid recently posted..Mid-Autumn Festival aka Chinese Thanksgiving Traditions and Celebrations

  2. Less than two weeks! Happy for you! All planned costs and within budget 🙂 Enjoy the space and the home for you and your growing family to call your own. Make it just the way you want it!

  3. I’m with Mr. A. You have to be getting excited about finally moving in and getting to enjoy the space that is yours. The floor, the walls, they are yours. You can do whatever you want to it – paint it, decorate it however you like because nobody gets to tell you what you’re allowed to do with your own house. Of course it’s expensive, but it has value. And in the bay area, that value is going to keep going up so it’s an investment as well. Focus on the positives of a fresh start with a chance to make lifelong friends in your neighborhood and get to know the folks around. I’m sure some will become close friends over time!

    1. I’m trying to be excited. Right now all I can think about is how much money it’s going to cost to fix everything before we move in and how I’m moving from a large bedroom to a tiny one, and moving further from my job (though that doesn’t matter now) and further from the areas I really want to be living in. I feel sad that I will probably never sell this house and move again. While it’s a relief to not HAVE to move again, I know we won’t unless something crazy happens where I can some kind of ridiculous job offer in another state that we can’t turn down. Selling this house would cost 100k in fees which would just be a bad decision, ever. And my kids will start making friends in the area and there is no way I’ll be able to leave. So I’m mourning the loss of my freedom mostly. Of paying so much and yet still picking a place to live that isn’t one of my top choices. It’s nice to know I can make it my own but I don’t really have the money to do much. I think if I can remodel the bathroom and make THAT my own that will be a nice present to myself.

  4. As Mr. A pointed out, all of these expenses were expected and within the $50k you had allotted. Although you’re moving from a large bedroom, you’re actually moving into 2 (collectively larger?) ones. And from a small living room to two living rooms. And from having to (not) go to the park to your own, large yard. And your own laundry room. And your own garage. And although you’re moving further away from where you “want to be living,” I think you’ll actually find you like your new neighborhood. I recall you said it was walking distance to restaurants and parks. The people you meet there will either have lived there a long time and can’t afford to move or will be like you and recently bought there and couldn’t afford to live in Mountain View or Palo Alto. I think you’ll be able to relate way better.

    I also think the loss of freedom isn’t real. In a year or less, your house will probably be worth $100k more so selling will not be a loss. And again, your equity in your house is enough to buy a nice/large/new house in 95% of the country in cash. Combined with your savings, you could easily retire or at the very least get a part-time job to cover some expenses and let your nest egg grow over the next 20 years. So even if you don’t want to move to that 95% of the country and likely never will, there should be some comfort in knowing that it is always an option where you’d live a great life and where money isn’t going to be a worry.

    Lastly, I think when your next set of stock vests, you should definitely take $30k of it and remodel the bathroom, or something else that will bring you some joy and let you put your own touch on your house. You have to remember that although it’s important to save money, what good is earning all this money if you deprive yourself of the things that would help you enjoy life, especially now that you’re addressing all of the actual issues with the house. Be real for a minute. You have a NW of $2M – you should be able to spend $30k or even $40k to do one nice thing for yourself to make your house truly feel like your home. One splurge isn’t going to magically turn you into a spendthrift. Just set a budget and stick to it. It would be a nice project and focus you on something positive and exciting – designing the layout, picking out finishings, decorating it when it’s done. Just do it.

    1. You are right. The bathroom doesn’t fit into the 50k exactly with everything else, but I have the money to cover it. The bigger issue is timing because permits are a mess right now apparently and I wanted to get it done before we move in, but it’s probably going to take 1-2 months for permit, which puts us perfectly at bathroom being half-way done when I give birth. That’s not ideal. It’s possible permitting can move faster. But then there are supply chain issues for products and I don’t know yet if that will impact us. And going to showrooms is generally something want to avoid with COVID and being in my third trimester. So there are many reasons NOT to do the bathroom right now –but I know if I don’t start it now we never will do it (or it will be years.) Would rather just start it now and deal with the headache up front. If we get lucky most of the work can be done before we move in.

  5. Ah ok. I didn’t realize you were trying to squeeze the bathroom in now. But your reasoning makes sense. You should start it and force it through. Again, I think you’ll manage fine. Would your FIL consider letting you have the master bedroom for the first few months of having the baby so you have easy access to a bathroom? And then switch once the remodel is done and you have access to the other bathroom?

    1. I have a weird relationship with FIL. I couldn’t ask that, and my husband wouldn’t allow me too. So I don’t have a choice. Either way, FIL needs a shower, and he would still have to use the bathroom in the master bath to shower. I’ll just have to deal if I do the remodel now. I think it’s worth it, I’ll need it for recovery. Hopefully it will be done before then.

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