My rental house was the perfect size for me and my two girls. Patrick's house was more than enough for him and his daughter. But it turns out that my house is a wee bit snug for all of us. (I can already hear you, NYC peeps, snickering at what I consider "snug".)
There are lots of kids and a lot of stuff and with me working from home and Patrick sometimes working from home, well it gets to be a bit much with all the closeness and proximity and whatnot. Plus, both Patrick and I are long time home owners and living at the discretion of our landlord is not exactly ideal. (See also, flooded house, a/c repairs, etc.) Nor is paying for Patrick's house when no one is actually using it routinely.
So ever since last spring, we've been looking for the right house for our whole family. We want to stay in the same neighborhood, ideally even in the same elementary school section, and we wanted enough room to not only be comfortable with the people and work arrangements we have now, but also have room to grow.
After doing a lot of searching, we put in a contingent offer on a to-be-built home in the neighborhood and listed Patrick's house for sale. But after months of no movement on his house (despite being the least expensive home in his neighborhood by $35K) the builder began to pressure us to come up with more money. Frustrated, we decided to go back to the drawing board and check out more options.
As luck would have it (or perhaps it's something else), our realtor found a foreclosure in her section of the neighborhood that very day that seemed like it might suit our needs. We went to take a look at it and one other house. The non-foreclosure showed beautifully, but in the end, didn't actually have the configuration we wanted, or room to grow, despite being large. The foreclosure showed poorly - no power = no a/c = hideous heat in 106 degree weather. They had stripped out the door knobs, taken mirrors, shower heads, and light fixtures here and there. The carpets looked hideous.
But if you looked beyond that, and factored in that all of that was easily fixed, you could see the fact that it was a huge house with giant bedrooms and closets, a big lot in a beautiful section of the neighborhood (our neighbor would be the mayor), four sides masonry, wrought-iron balustrades, double oven, crown molding, and so on and so forth.
We decided to investigate leasing Patrick's house instead of selling it. Taking that expense off our plate and combining our budgets gave us plenty of room. Again, as luck (or whatever) would have it, Magda just happened to have a friend moving to our town. Whiz-bang-pow, one week later we have a signed tenant, a prequalification letter, and an offer in on the foreclosure. It took us about two weeks of negotiating (the house was listed as a bidding situation, much like ebay, but for real estate), but we learned just a short while after our engagement that our bid was accepted.
We're paying less than $60/sqft for this house.
Tomorrow is the inspection, so we're keeping everything crossed and praying a ton that things will go smoothly. Patrick has his house packed into a pod thingie and is putting the finishing touches on getting it ready for the new tenants. We're hoping for a mid-September close date and about another week before we'd move in.
It's been a whirlwind summer, to be sure, and with this house there will be quite a few immediate fixes to cross off our list. But for all the rest, we're prepared to just slowly stay the course. We're not going anywhere and we're in no hurry to turn this into some sort of impress the Joneses house. Both of us came from relationships where we were pressured to do more than we were financially capable or willing to do. It's such a relief to be able to go into this with someone who looks at it from the same perspective: The bones are here. We can make do with very little alterations and turn it into our "home" over the many years to come.
It's the same perspective we have on our life: Our life is amazing RIGHT NOW. We have everything we need RIGHT NOW. We are happy RIGHT NOW. Tomorrow may bring us the opportunities to do more, have slightly different things or circumstances, travel more - whatever. But it also may bring adversity or a bump in the road. Regardless, we have everything we need to be happy. We have each other. And as the stellar Dr. Luz once quoted: "Home is where the snuggle is."