Okay. So I should have been blogging on the house all along. Apparently, buying a house is way more interesting than joining the army, because the response on the last post has been off the charts. (It probably also has to do with the fact that I specifically asked for advice – for which I am very grateful.)
But I wanted to address a line of thinking I’m having a hard time with, but which seems to be very popular. It’s the “lots of good fish in the sea” argument.
Skipping over for the moment the fact that I’m not sure I want to compare buying a house to finding a wife, and the fact that the “plenty of fish” model didn’t really help my romance life in the first place, the truth is there aren’t all that many good fish in our part of the ocean. There are lots of bad fish, and a few really rotten ones, and only one or two fish that are passably acceptable. “Good fish” are out of our range.
Whenever we talked about eventually buying a house Valerie and I have always imagined that we would get something in the average to fair condition range, something of a fixer-upper in need of a few modest repairs that could be done over time while we lived in the house. We’ve never been interested in “flipping,” or in new houses with springy carpets and crown molding.
We also have a limited purchase range, because of our school loan constraints. The money we have available for a mortgage payment is essentially the same as the market rate for a 2-bedroom apartment. Any more than that, and we don’t have anything extra for repairs or for paying down debt at an accelerated rate.
Within those limitations, it shouldn’t be a surprise that every house we’ve looked at has been a foreclosure, and all foreclosure homes have difficulties. It just so happens that this particular house is the best on the market for our price range at this time. There are no other fish. If we don’t buy this house, we rest for a few months, and then we rent. We save up, and try again the next year.
We do want to make sure we get the best possible deal in the process of buying the house, and there are legitimate concerns that absolutely must be corrected if we are to buy. If we really do come to the conclusion that the problems are not worth the risk, we are absolutely willing to just walk away. I can do that. Really.
But to return to the dating model, there’s a difference between amicably ending a relationship that is clearly not going to result in a happy marriage, and dumping a girl at the first sign of trouble. There are steps to go through, even in a buyer’s market, and I want to go through them.