Monday, July 07, 2008

The Dance Begins Again

Tonight Brandi and I have an appointment to go look at a house.

We do something like this every few months or so, and I'm aware that we're doing it ass-backwards. What we should be doing, I'm sure, is deciding whether or not we're serious about it, determining what we can afford (probably nothing, ha ha) and how we're going to secure financing, and then searching out houses in that range with a plan in mind for questions we need to ask, how much to offer, etc. Instead what generally happens is that we happen to see a house for sale that looks vaguely interesting from the outside, we get the details online, find out it's in a price range that seems reasonable, talk and think about it for a while, get our hopes up a little bit, then realize it's out of the question for one reason or another.

That's what's going on again this time. I noticed this particular house on my way home from somewhere the other day, mentioned it to Brandi, and drove her past it at some point, leading to the point we're at now. Now, this is the first time we've gone so far as to make an appointment with a realty agent to actually tour a place rather than just peering through windows (for houses that are already vacated, obviously), and I asked my parents to go along as well so there's someone with house-buying experience along to ask pertinent questions that Brandi and I may or may not think of. For all of that, I'm keeping in mind that we're just going through the motions, because there's almost no way we're going to be able to do this without going through all those other steps first.

Not to mention the fact that our lease on this place runs for another full year.

As I've written before, when Brandi and I decided to look at houses prior to our move from Bowling Green to Troy, I have mixed feelings about buying a house vs. renting. My feelings haven't really changed all that much - I still have no real desire to suddenly be responsible for repairs, renovations, maintenance, lawn care, property tax, etc. - but I am starting to see more merit in the idea.

As much as I like the place we live in now, it's definitely quirky. There's one window that won't stay open, there are areas the air conditioner doesn't seem to cool as well as it should, the garage door opener is temperamental, the shower in the master bathroom squeals when it's running, I don't like the way the light switches control the electrical outlets, the refrigerator is missing its door shelves, and so on. None of these things is that big of a deal, and we could probably get the landlord to take care of at least some of them if we felt like hassling him (he said a few months ago, for instance, that he'd try to find door shelves for our fridge; we haven't spoken to him since), but Brandi's too busy and I don't really deal with people. If this were our place and our appliances, and I could take care of these things without going through a middleman, I would. So it's a double-edged sword: renting, I wouldn't have to pay to have these things fixed, but I can't just do them without going through channels.

So that's where owning our own house would be nice. I have no problem letting little stuff like that go in a place we don't own, but I have a feeling I'd be pretty picky in a place of our own. Which might suck, because I know we wouldn't be able to do everything right away; it would have to be a process. But who knows, maybe that could be fun - I say I don't want to get into performing maintenance and upgrades, but hey, maybe I'd dig it once I got into it.

(See, that's me talking myself into this. Even though I know - I know - it's not going to happen for a while.)

I suppose that's what I have to keep in mind when/if we do start to think seriously about buying a place - sure, there will be some stuff that sucks, but there's a trade-off. Yes, maintenance will be our responsibility, but we can do it without discussing it in committee. Yes, there will be lawn care, but we'll have an actual yard, and we can do what we want with it. Yes, we'll have to pay property taxes, but we should be able to get a monthly payment lower than what we pay now in rent. Pros and cons, but in the end it probably balances out. That's what I'm telling myself now, at least. Time will tell if we ever get a chance to find out firsthand.

So we'll go look at this place tonight and get a feel for what we're looking at and looking for, and I guess we'll go from there. And if looking really gives us a jones to buy a place, we'll just have to figure out exactly what we need to do to make it happen, even if not on this place in particular. It feels a little weird to be taking this concept seriously all of a sudden, but I guess it has to happen sometime if it's going to happen at all.

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