On Buying A House
buying a first home
Last July we decided that we were not going to buy the house we were living in and that it was time to downsize and move. We found a great apartment, small enough to be easy to maintain with sufficient storage space, an excellent landlord, close to downtown and my wife's work. There was one downside, stairs, two sets. The apartment was on the top floor of a three story house, it has a fine view but in winter the stairs are a bit tricky and we are not getting any younger.
We have been through the first winter and while at times the stairs were difficult to negotiate the use of a combination of shoveling or sweeping them and adding a mix of salt and sand keep them relatively safe. Climbing them several times a day is a good workout, especially when carrying groceries.
I have begun designing a balcony garden, we have two balconies we can sue for gardening and this gives us considerable space to use. I was settling in and while there is some work to do in arranging things just so, I was comfortable and not really considering moving. Then one day we found out that the house directly behind us was going to go up for sale in a few weeks. The owner was planning on selling it herself and moving, so she asked us if we wanted to take a look.
The yards, back and front are ample and a good garden could be designed to grow, food, herbs and flowers, so that is a temptation. The price is right, much lower than anticipated. On a preliminary first look, a more detailed inspection is needed, all looks good. New windows were put in last year and the current owners has restored the hardwood floors and redone the kitchen within the past 18 months.
When we got home, my wife and I spent most of the evening talking about what it would mean to purchase a house. We are almost debt-free and buying a home changes that, sure in time there is equity but not for the first few years. This is a buyers market and selling a home can be difficult so if we wanted to sell it in a few years we could lose money, not an appealing prospect.
On the other hand, we would be investing in our future by buying rather than contributing to someone else's income. We are relatively secure in our work and can afford the extra costs, the mortgage would be close to what we pay in rent and aside from the other costs associated with buying a house, we would have to pay for heating which we do not now do; so buying would up our monthly costs.
A large yard and more indoor square footage mean more work, now the yard work, cutting the grass, for example, could be contracted out and I love growing things so that is not a problem, but when making a decision of this magnitude we must give thought to all aspects. At the moment I am leaning towards making an offer.