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.