Sunday, May 17, 2015

A New Direction and a House Hunt

I've had a hard time writing on this for awhile and I couldn't quite figure out why.  Finally, on a four hour ride home after a couple days spent house hunting (continue reading to get to that part) I was able to put my finger on what the problem was.  I need to open up my blog more.  I'm not talking about marketing and sharing it, I'm referring to what I discuss.  I originally began this project as a way to discuss the life of my family and the ups and downs that come with being the caretaker for a disabled veteran.  However, if that was all I talked about it would be damn boring.  Hell, if I don't even want to take the time to write about the hum drum of everyday life, then why would anyone want to read it?  So, that said, I'm talking this blog in a bit of a new direction.  I'm still planning to write about things that go on in our life, issues that come up on my care taking roll, ect but I don't feel as though I want to limit myself to just that anymore.  I already have two posts nearly finished that I was holding off on because I was trying to be fairly strict in my discussions.  They came from things that happened with us but they're not things that can't or don't happen to other families.  So, rather than be strictly about being a VA caretaker and husband of a disabled vet, I'll write about life as a husband, as a man, as a step-parent, as a youth coach, as an American (yes, that's my way of telling you I may get into politics from time to time)..I don't know exactly what I'll discuss but they'll be my thoughts and my views and perhaps from time to time will be a way to open up a discussion.  So, with that said, today's post is about us, is about some trials that come with being a VA family, and will hopefully make you laugh a bit from time to time.

We're actively trying to move.  Actually, we've been trying to move for a couple years to no avail.  And through all this I've learned something:  House. Hunting. Sucks!  Seriously, what an absolute pain in the ass.  A couple years ago I thought planning a wedding was no fun.  That was a free craft beer weekend compared to this.  A good friend who's bought and sold some houses in the past told me the other day that ours has been the hunt from hell.  And he's right.  It's been zero fun, a large amount of stress, and we're still no closer to being able to move than when we began this trip into the devil's maze.

This week I went and looked at 13 houses.  I think that puts the total number up around 30 thus far.  Last summer we found one we loved, starting working on getting the offer together and bam, someone came in behind us with a cash offer and just like that it was gone.  It was a good time around here having an upset wife and child.  Really, it was.

About a month ago we found one we liked, put in an offer, paid for the inspections, and then found out after we'd paid out over $500 that it was in a flood zone and we'd need flood insurance.  The previous owners had paid cash for the house and never considered it.  So, Shawna inquired about the extra insurance it made our monthly premium 3 1/2 times higher.  Awesome!  We ended up getting out of that house because in the end it would have pushed our monthly payment to the very top of our budget.  No joke, when I calculated it out, the cost of insurance and taxes was more than the mortgage payment.  Not a good deal obviously so we lost that one too.  Unfortunately, it also meant that we had to eat the cost of the inspections.  That's money we'd saved specifically for getting a house and it was gone in the blink of an eye.  One expensive lesson learned.

So now we've had one house we lost because we didn't get the offer in quick enough and one that cost us a few hundred dollars because we put in the offer too soon.  Hell.. absolute hell.  Anyways, back to this week.  I looked at 13 houses.  I've lowered my land requirement to 5 acres and up from the 15-20+ I was hoping for.  (I grew up on about 80, currently live on about 100, and want to be able to work in for anyone wondering why I'd want/need so much) and agreed to look at modular homes and trailers at this point.  I thought that doing these things would open up our options a bit but they really didn't.  13 included just about every house that would fit our wants.  Unfortunately none of them fit our needs.  One house was decent but would have required some major remodeling to enable Shawna to get around in her wheelchair on bad days.  That was a no.  Some had no bed rooms or bathrooms on the first floor.  Nope.  Some where beat to shit and would never get VA approval.  Those are out.  And then others were ok but in my opinion were over priced, and not by a little.  It came to the point where I was just excited to see a decent house even it was something that wouldn't work for us.

And then, before I came home yesterday I went to see a house and I actually really liked it.  It was a bit of drive to get to it but nothing unreasonable.  It had an open floor plan, an attached garage for Shawna's pottery studio, was off the road so we wouldn't have to worry about the dog, and was in an area that would allow Caden to go to a decent school system.  Unfortunately it's priced out of freakin site!  Personally, after looking at it and the work I'd need to do (drywalling, painting, ect) to move in, I was even more annoyed.  If they weren't asking so much I'd likely tell Shawna we should jump on it.  However, as is, there's no way we or I think anyone else, will pay for it.

All this is being done from 200 miles away.  So many trips back and forth and believe me I'm sick of it.  I just got home yesterday and we're going back next weekend to look at another one that came up right before I left.  I'm tired of it, Shawna is tired of it, Caden is tired of it, and I'm pretty sure the Realtors that we're working with are tired of it.  It's to the point I actually feel bad for the amount of work they're doing just to try and help us.  I can't say enough good things about the people Shawna has found for us to work with that's for sure.

The reality is that we can't just look at a house and say yes or no.  We have to take into account what the VA inspector will say.  From our own knowledge we know that certain things are necessary to make it livable for Shawna.  She needs an area to continue to grow her pottery business.  And these all come before we even consider the normal things like location and school system.  It's an absolute cluster and overly stressful because not only do we want to move, the reality is that we need too.  Shawna needs better medical care and it's simply not available here.  Caden wants to be able to see his family on a more regular basis.  I want to be close enough to family that I feel comfortable going back to work because I know if I'm away someone will be close by.  Moving is a necessity or believe me I'd likely have just said to hell with in we're staying by now.

Someday I'm sure we'll be looking back at all this and laughing.  Even now I find some of it comical.  It does makes me envious of people who've lived in the same house for 50 years though.  While subject to change in the future, as of now, I plan to die in whatever house we find just so I don't have to do this ever again.