We know we're buying a HUD home. Maybe a wee bit crazy of a proposition, given the fact that we're simultaneously having a baby, but some of the best times of our life were the first year we spent turning neglected house into beautiful home. If you've never worked together, I either highly recommend it or insist you stay away from it. It will give you a tough-as-nails marriage and make you appreciate the heck out of your partner, or you'll call the divorce lawyer. We're category A, thankfully.
We were all set to go until inspection, when we discovered that darn near everything is wrong with that house, down to the fact that it's already occupied. By animals, not homeless people or carnies.
When we tried to negotiate the price of the home, given all the crazy repairs and work needed to bring it up to speed, we were informed that, in typical government-fashion, HUD doesn't negotiate - terrorist or otherwise. Our only option was to let it go back on the market and keep our fingers crossed that no one out-bid us a second time around.
So... we did. And it was sucky. I love that house, and feel in my heart that it's "the One" we're supposed to raise our family in. Besides that, we all know how much I rock the waiting patiently gig.
As of yesterday...
I'm happy to report that no one did out-bid us, and we were able to negotiate with HUD (at least a little) to get the house at a price we can manage. (YAAAAAAY!!!!!)
It's definitely more of an investment than we had initially anticipated; the work isn't going to go as quickly and we're going to have to settle for doing things a piece at a time. There are so many big projects that have to be addressed before we even move in (critter control, I'm looking at you) that we won't be able to tend to some of the more aesthetic things I'd like to do right away. It took us five years to get our first house truly "finished;" I'm not sure the five year plan is going to be quite enough to tackle all the projects this house has in store for us.
In the mean time, though, we get to live in a neighborhood we adore, in a house that fits our family and our lifestyle, with good schools nearby and a *FREE* community pool right down the street. For us, the decision is an easy one: that heaping helping of piece of mind is worth a little delayed gratification on the refinishing front.
And I have to go a direction that might make some uncomfortable, so if this isn't cool with you, please just read another blog. My memories and all.
I know it's not cool to talk about money, so I'll make it quick... but most of the folks we know have gotten some kind of financial help from their parents on things like weddings and houses. I don't usually begrudge my help-getting friends that priviledge, but I've never before wished it was a priviledge extended to us. It would be so.much.easier if we had any degree of parental cushion.
I've felt the weight of this choice so heavily, because the truth is that we don't have any colored-parachutes to rely on. Whatever happens, we're on our own, and that can be a scary prospect. Especially as we've tried to navigate three massive life decisions at the same time: new house, new baby, and me staying home. There is a whole lot of faith going on in our house right now.
That being said, there is a HUGE part of me that appreciates what it does for a couple to have to truly rely on one another and God rather than knowing that mom and dad can bail them out. It's a pretty cool feeling to know that if it weren't for the fact that we made quite a hefty sum of money off our last house, this literally wouldn't be possible. WE made it happen. I have to brag (what? Humility is over-rated!): that house sold for substantially more than any other house in our neighborhood, and there is no doubt that it's due at least in part to the work we put in and wise choices we made. And some seriously lucky timing.
While I wouldn't turn down the lottery or a long-lost benefactor, I am sincerely grateful for the path we've had to walk. There is an accomplishment and sense of pride in independence that I'm not sure we'd have otherwise, not to mention a deep appreciation of one another and the skills we each bring to the table. I don't take for granted the financial position we're in, and my job is to be a good steward of all the things we're fortunate enough to have. I think that point is driven home when nothing stands between your family and potential financial pitfalls except... you.
Besides, it makes me all the more grateful for those rare occurrences when I can, say, move my family into my mother's house, rather than having to pay top-dollar for a month to month in a small apartment.
And as to the three life decisions we're making right now? I don't know how to express my gratitude that, at least for now, all three seem to be coming true in the foreseeable future. That's pretty incredible.