We bought a new house!
What should I tell you about it? Should I give you the plain story about how we went about buying a house? Or should I get philosophical about how I once owned a home many years ago and thought I’d never own one again due to multiple adversarial life circumstances? Let me tell you a little about both.
Setting the Financial Stage
First, let me set the financial stage. Four years ago, my wife and I decided to get out of debt. We followed Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps after hearing him on the radio and taking his Financial Peace University course. We paid off a significant amount of debt over 19 months. It was an amazing feeling to make the last payment and be debt free! No more car payments. No more student loan payments. No more credit card payments. We were (and still are) debt free! Over the following two years, we saved up a three-month emergency fund and enough money for a down payment on a house.
Our next step was to look for a house. Since we were very fond of Dave Ramsey and his instruction, we found Gordon Crawford through Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Providers. Gordon was wonderful! He took his time in showing us houses and pointing out important features and flaws in homes which we would not have thought to look for. Gordon was so good natured. He will be remembered in our home as the guy who first introduced our toddler to Fruit by the Foot.
We began looking for a home in July. We quickly realized there was steep demand for homes due to people flocking out of New York City into the suburbs. Here’s an example from a New York Times article dated August 30, 2020:
Over three days in late July, a three-bedroom house in East Orange, N.J., was listed for sale for $285,000, had 97 showings, received 24 offers and went under contract for 21 percent over that price.
Trust me, East Orange is not a town in New Jersey where people would normally rush to spend $285,000 on a house. But it’s an indication of the level of demand for houses at the same time we began our search.
We found a house we really liked on a Friday evening of torrential downpour when there was some miscommunication between the listing agent and the seller, who had no idea potential buyers would be washing up on his porch. He was kind enough to let us see part of the house. We had to wait a few days for the open house to come back and see the rest. That was a sunny day and we liked all that we saw. We made an offer quickly to get ahead of the New Yorkers.
Oh, the Drama!
Despite that sunny day, there ended up being quite a bit of drama in order to get to closing. I don’t feel like writing about the gory details. It went on for three months. At one point we walked away from the deal. Even after the deal was re-initiated, we found ourselves wishing we stayed out because of further drama. But ultimately we closed and the house was ours.
Now let me get to the philosophical part.
I owned a home at one other time long ago. I once wrote about that home. As I said there, that time of my life “feels like a tale from someone else’s life, or a portion of an old book that I vaguely remember.” That was 25 years ago. That’s almost half my life ago. Think of how much a guy experiences in half his life, all the downpours, all the waves that wash over him, and the many currents that carry him through depths and breadths in life’s ocean, until he reaches the balmy shores of his new home.
Well, isn’t that some sappy philosophical flotsam and jetsam that just washed up into your browser! The truth of the matter is that I’m now a guy that has a mortgage payment who has to fix anything that breaks around here because I ain’t got no landlord to do it for me. But the shiny side of that coin is, in addition to being free from debt, I am free from the obligation of paying another man’s mortgage to live in a house he owns while I have no real equity to my name. BOOYAH!