Thursday, May 15, 2014

New Home Search

House shopping sucks.  That's the conclusion I've come too anyways.  I was told when this started what a pain in the ass it would be and I can verify that those people were correct. It's not just dealing with the actual process of finding a place that fits all your wants and needs.  It's also dealing with the banks, mortgage lenders, insurance companies, tax assessors, and so on.  It seems like people are just appearing out of the damn woodwork that we have to either work with, or try to work around.  Pain. In. The. Ass.  I seriously thought planning and executing a wedding sucked.  It has nothing on this process.

Right now our biggest issues is simply finding a place that we both agree on.  For me, the biggest concern is the amount of land we get.  I grew up on and currently live on what many would consider a pretty large parcel of real estate.  I realize I'm going to have to downgrade what I'm used to but in order to both be happy and live the kind of live I want I need enough land to create some sustainability.  And acre or two isn't enough to do that.  So now I've dropped from the 30-50 acres I desired to 20 or perhaps a little less if the house and location fits our needs.  Since we're working within a pretty tight budget, it's driving my stress level through the roof.  I don't want to settle.  I feel as though I made my decision on which college to attend because I hurried and settled and now I'm paying for something that I don't find the value in.  I'm not planning on making that mistake a second time.  Especially on a a second very expensive investment.

This is just one requirement for a home.  Like everyone in our situation, there are many others.  How are the schools in the area?  How far are we from various amenities such as the gym I wish to rejoin and hockey for Jimmy?  How close is quality medical care? (A big reason for wanting to move is the lack thereof in our current location).  And then there's the fact that Marilyn needs a big enough space to set up her pottery studio and a first floor bedroom.  It seems like there are a hundred little things that must be taken into consideration before we can say, "This is it.  This is where I want to spend the next 50 years of my life."  On a good note, however, is the fact that we're open to home that may need a little work.  Or, at least require work that will still allow us to be cleared by our mortgage broker.  I'm fairly handy so upgrades and/or improvements that need to be made won't be an issue.  This could potentially allow us to get a little more house for our dollar.

Interestingly enough, I wrote all the above and then things changed again!  HA!  We've had some hiccups with our initial mortgage information and found out that we currently qualify for less than initially presented.  We could still purchase a home but it would likely be closer to a town and have almost not property attached.  This is a big no-no for me.  This new information led us to looking at renting a home.  However, this would seriously interfere with our lifestyle.  Trying to find a place to rent that is set up, or could be set up for Marilyn's pottery studio would be nearly impossible.  Not to mention she has two huge orders that need to be filled by this fall.  We simply don't have enough time to create a studio space for her.  But through all the stress of the past couple of days another option became available.  It looks like if we're willing to stay another winter, a new heating system will be installed which will drastically reduce our winter costs as well make being able to leave for a day or two in the winter without fear of the pipes freezing plausible.  While I am in no way looking forward to spending another winter up here and being away from the things I desire to to do for another year, when we sat and looked at options it seems like the most reasonable.  We learned a lot after the first winter, even more last year, and I think by the time this next one rolls around we'll be in much better shape.  I only hope that we don't get hammered next winter like we did this one because damn, having the harshest winter in over 60 years sucked ass.

If I'm learning one thing throughout this process, it's that things can change in a moment.  We're constantly learning and doing what we can to apply our new knowledge.  Stepping back from time to time to look at the big picture seems to be a key in quality decision making.  While we're certainly anxious to find a home and move, to do so in a way that's detrimental to us in the long term is not a mistake we wish to make.  The mortgage crisis of 08' highlighted the fact that over burdening oneself with a large mortgage is not a good idea.  At the same time trying to find something you're going to be happy with does play a role.  Waking up and feeling miserable about something you're paying a good portion of your monthly income too isn't a position anyone wants to find themselves in.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Back Again

When I sat down today, I knew that it had been a little while since I'd last written.  However, I didn't realize that it had been nearly 6 weeks!  It's amazing how from time to time it feels as though life can get away from us.  We begin to make lists and write things down only to have other obligations take precedent over what we initially thought was important.  That's kind of how it's been around here.  Things have been moving back and forth from the front burner to the back and vise versa more than a meal in Chef Ramsey's kitchen.

Regardless, I'm back now and ready to put out some work.  First and foremost, I want to wish a very Happy Mothers Day to all the mom's out there!  I'm currently sitting in my office trying to hammer out a little work but later today will be time for a nice cooked meal and some quality time together with my wife.  I'll be making some phone calls to the women in my life who insured that I made it this far, and I'm hoping to get the wife and boy in the car and go visit a friend of ours who's two children are away; on as a member of the USAF and the other a sophomore in college.  The woman I've had in my life up to this point have been nothing short of phenomenal and this is one of the few holidays I'm grateful exists.  While I try to thank them as often as possible throughout the year, it's nice that there is a day set aside to recognize their efforts and the love and compassion they've shown us.

So what have I been up to the past few weeks?  It feels like we've literally been on the run.  The misses has had appointment after appointment (with another one this week).  The boy is now doing outdoor track and has had practice and meets.  He went down with his dad for April vacation and Marilyn and I spent the week looking at homes.  We've been trying to get out financial house in order to qualify for a mortgage when we do find the right one.  And to top it off I've been under the weather on and off for the past week.  Oh yeah, and the weather has finally turned and all the damn white stuff left by mother nature during the winter is finally gone!  All this has obviously been mixed in with the day to day happenings of life (of which you can read about here).  However, one great thing that has happened, is now that the winter has finally passed I can use my office above the garage again!  No more trying to sit and do things in the living room where everyone is running around, watching tv, talking, and the dog has the desire to play...ALL THE TIME!  HA!  Boy, I love that dog but he's sure full of energy.  Spring has arrived and with it has come the annual renewal of energy that anyone who lives in a cold weather climate understands well...including dogs apparently.

I had all intentions on going into more detail during this post but I'm afraid if I do it'll get confusing so I'll shut it down here with the intention of creating another in the next day or two (however, we all know about intentions right?). Take today to remind the important women in your life that you love and are thankful for them.  If you're a mom, take a moment to sit with your feet up and enjoy the wonderfulness you've brought into the world.  Remember, while it may be the big things that get all the recognition, it's the simple things that make the most difference.