Still Looking

So we are still looking at houses, and there is one I really love. There is a creek behind it and a lot of real, wild greenery. I’m not into fenced-off, rectangular lawns that face 4 other similar lawns. Real nature is so much better.

Today I went to look at the house again and brought a colleague who has been living in the area forever and who knows a lot about houses. My colleague pored over every inch of this big house and helped me understand the nature of the dilemma facing me.

We could buy a house twice as small as this one without the creek and the greenery but it would be absolutely 100% new and in need of no updating. Or we could buy this one and do some updating (one of the steps in the deck staircase needs to be changed, for instance.)

The problem is that, when I think about it, I know I would be perfectly happy to die in this house (sixty years from now, I mean). And I haven’t felt like this about any other houses. I can seriously see myself there now, in a year and at the age of 80.

15 thoughts on “Still Looking

  1. We bought a house that needed some updating. To date, we’ve had to put a lot of money we didn’t have into fixing emergencies — water heater died, HVAC system servicing, washer/drier went out, refrigerator died, skylight leaking, etc. We still really, really love our house and our neighborhood, though. And honestly, I would be very hesitant to give it up, despite all the problems we’ve already faced. If I knew then what I know now, though, I would not have put as much money into the deposit. Instead, I would have kept some back (1000 dollars, probably) for emergency repairs. Also, you could always ask for a home warranty on the house. They don’t cover MUCH, but they do cover some things. (You’d ask the previous owners to provide the warranty, which would cost them about 500 dollars.)


  2. Will “a creek and a lot of real, wild greenery” still be there in the future? Is it your land, if you buy, or could another house be built in the vicinity and destroy part of the beauty?


  3. el raises a good point. Can you find out about who owns the property around your house and how likely they are to sell it to developers?

    New construction can be really shoddy. You won’t have to spend money in the first few years, but you may down the line as the house settles and things start to fall apart. If ALL the needed updates are things like a rotted step on the deck that a skilled handyperson could take care of over a few weekends, then there’s no question in my mind that the house you love is the better choice. If the updates involve big-ticket systemic expenses (roof, heat/air system, bringing electricity up to code, replacing a 1950’s kitchen, etc.) then the choice is not so clear cut, but I still lean toward the older house that you love :-).


  4. Personally, I am not one for bran new construction. I would rather pay someone (or work on some small things myself) and get a gorgeous older home with an amazing yard than have a newer home any day. And some home improvement can be fun. My husband and i are renting but we pained our entire place in different fun colors (the inside–not the outside) and we had such a good time. It took us a while to pain the whole place (several monhts) but we would play music, order a pizza, and paint. It felt good. 🙂 I just love older homes. 🙂 🙂


  5. What does N think about it?

    I’d say go for the place you’re comfortable with but if you’re there for the long haul then take a long-term process-oriented view of the necessary repairs rather than trying to get everything done and perfect at once.
    I also echo the idea of having an emergency repair fund for unexpected urgent cases. You’ll probably want to N to handle that (given your description of your money handling).


    1. Because of the house, we will now be putting an end to the separate budgets system and placing the control over our finances in the hands of the only person among us who is not an out-of-control spender. 🙂


  6. I talked with my mother and she wondered how old the house is, and told me that
    our relative’s house is ~ 30 years old and already the *walls*, not one stair, have cracked in some places.

    She looked at the photos and loved the house too, but thinks bringing a specialist (an architect?), who would be able to examine the true condition of the house is a must.

    Good luck!


    1. Bringing in a specialist to examine the true condition of the building is a must for any real estate purchase, I’d say.

      As for floods, the house looks quite high up from what I see in the pictures. I don’t know how nasty the floods get in the area though.


    2. It’s a newish subdivision, so all of the houses there are about 10-12 years old. Next to it, there is an even newer subdivision with brand-new houses. But those houses stand in the middle of nowhere and right under the scorching sun in summer. And I want to be able to see something green from the window. I think it makes no sense to have a house if you can’t have at least one tree and a couple of bushes.


      1. Actually my understanding is that brand new homes are bad buys in terms of investment. Sort of a like a new car. A home that is bran spanking new sometimes looses money. And 10-12 years is quite new for a home. I bet you won’t have too many issues with it. 🙂


  7. I find it really strange that people who know nothing of your financial situation are encouraging you to make a significant financial decision. Houses do require regular expensive repairs, so put that in your budget. We bought a 12 year old house, and after ten years it needed a new roof, which cost several thousand dollars. We have also put in new windows. Also, every single major appliance has had to be replaced over the time I’ve lived here. Your life will be more comfortable if you buy a house that you can afford easily, and don’t have to make lots of sacrifices.


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