The First Day of the Rest of My Life

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Apparently, I'm not as well off as I thought I was.

Yesterday, I continued down the path to home ownership by looking at some houses. I met with a family friend who is a real estate agent yesterday morning (after a pretty tiring Friday night, more on that later). After looking through the MLS, we found about 6 or 7 homes that were in my price range. We hopped in his late-model Mercury and stopped in to these houses. We saw some that were a good fit, some that weren't. After our first go-round (and the most dramatic Rose Ceremony ever), we narrowed the possibilities to 4.

I then decided to have my folks take a look at those homes that made the cut. Most of these were FHA foreclosure homes that were on auction, but with only about 36 hours (at that point) to enter a bid. We ended up going to three of them: a house that was painted blue with some not-so-nice carpeting, referred to as the Blue House, a two-story house with no flooring whatsoever and a hint of cat urine, referred to as the Stinky House, and one with a low list price and a neat covered patio, referred to as the Last House.

There were pros and cons with each house. Blue House was pretty nice: a decent size yard, and really only required a new paint color and new carpet. The neighborhood, though, wasn't the greatest. Stinky House was palacial in comparison: 2 stories, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a huge yard in a nice neighborhood. The agent stated that I should try to put in a bid near my price target or maybe even a bit below, if I got it, it would be a steal. All I would need is some muratic acid and some paint and I'd be set, he told me. The Last House seemed to be a deal, but upon further inspection, seemed to have more wrong with it then I first thought, possibly adding to the overall cost (and headache) of owning it.

That night is when the cold hard fact hit me: I'm not ready to own a home. At least not one in my original price range without becoming "house poor." So now it's either take another year or so to save up for a proper down payment (which may work if the Fed decides to stop raising rates), or buy a rinky-dink condo just so I can get out of my parents' house. It was a bit sobering, especially when I see all these "zero-down" offers for homes in the paper. Oh well... back to the old drawing board.


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