Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kind of a Big Deal, Right?

Tonight we are celebrating. Sort of. I've thought for a long time about this post, if I ever had confirmation to write it. There are mixed emotions. Today we closed on our very own, first house. This is huge, no? For the past year I've worked two jobs, combed real estate listings, talked to lenders in three different states, crunched and re-crunched numbers and mortgage calculators. And here we are, finally with a title in our names and a looming thirty years of hefty payments. Yeah! 
The thing is, this is a house that we didn't pick, in which we'll never spend a weekend refinishing the floors, never mow the lawn, it's a house that we'll never live in; it's in Idaho for heaven's sake. Sorry, no offense, but we're kind of neutral toward Idaho in general.
How, why, wha...?
The answer goes like this, we wanted to put our sweat and savings into something tangible, into our own plot of land, that much was decided a year ago. It didn't hurt that the prices and interest rates kept dropping. As previously mentioned, we explored all options- buying in Philadelphia to sell when we leave in three years ( but we would only break even), buying in Oregon to have a place to go home to in three years (but Oregon is still expensive!), or, more recently, buying in Idaho where I grew up. We ended up buying my grandmother's house from her in Boise, a house that has been in our family ever since I can remember. She's ready to move in with my parents and contingent upon a quick sale of her house together they are buying a beautiful home (her room overlooks a small lake) big enough for all of them (plus any siblings who decide to join).  So here we all are, all of us getting the good end of the deal. We will rent it out for the next four years and then, market willing, when we sell we'll have a little nest egg for the cottage of our dreams. That's the plan (fingers crossed!).
It's just confusing, emotionally speaking. I'm remembering when Meg bought her first house. They were excited (perhaps even giddy?) and she posted a virtual tour. It seems to me that there's something very rewarding and special about living every day in that house that you've earned; you can't wait to get home to it because you've spent all day working to pay for it. And we're missing all that with this, our first home. Above is a picture of my celebratory wine because I don't even have a picture of the house to show you. This house is a way to help out family, with the bonus that it's a wise use of our savings. Those two things themselves are very rewarding. It's just not the giddy reward usually associated with choosing, buying and getting to live in one's first home. It's not the house's fault, it's the decisions we've made, to not yet put down roots, to keep drifting for a few years yet. It has its goods and its bads. It's a big deal I tell myself; we own a home tonight. There is no doubt that we've worked and planned and saved very hard for that plot and four walls our names are now on. But it's very far away, that home, and it doesn't have much to do with our lives. It's a check we'll write each month just like the phone bill. I am infinitely grateful for the opportunity to get this start in this 'buyer's market' right now when it's feasible for a young couple to scrape together their dollars and buy something of their own (many thanks to realtor Uncle Thom and financial planner Dad). But I can't deny that after tonight I won't think much about our house unless the tenant calls in a broken water heater. Someday... I look forward to actually house hunting, actually thinking about whether the bedroom gets morning or evening light and what paint colors I might choose for the kitchen. When I plant a garden outside my back door and know the dirt is mine. When I get to live in what I've worked for. 
Oh, but now I'm sounding all melancholy and I didn't mean to. The truth is we're lucky and happy for this opportunity. We appreciate this and all of the amazing help and work from people making this happen for us. We are fortunate indeed. Who knows, if the world (or the economy) fall apart we might end up in that house after all! In a way that'd be nice. There's a neighborhood pool. Yeah, that'd be real nice. 


meg said...

It is a big deal and you still deserve congratulations. It may have been the first house you bought but one day you'll still be able to experience buying your first home.

Melanie said...

Congratulations. I'm glad it all finally came together.

Valerie said...

Yeah, in case I haven't said it yet, congratulations!