JN83.5: Holy ferret…I think we just bought a house

Dear everyone,

Yesterday, I soaked morel mushrooms in water and salt, hoping to drive away gross, horrible creatures that tend to make homes in them. No, not Tea Party Republicans, but little bugs and insect. We were saving them to eat in celebration when our offer on the house is accepted, but hearing no such news yesterday, I sautéed them in olive oil and garlic, and ate them anyway over fettuccini drizzled with truffle oil.

They were awful. I mustn’t have cleaned them right, and they tasted very, very sandy, as if I had soaked them in cat litter instead of sea salt. It was strange, because I rinsed them at least three times. It was very disappointing.

Today the sellers faxed in their counter-offer. Nope, they said, no reduced price. They wanted full price. They’ll help pay some of the closing costs. But they’ll let us keep the kick-ass stainless steel fridge and oven. You know the oven with the smooth ceramic top that you can clean by simply wiping? There are TWO inside this house!!

So I rushed to Jameelah’s school to be stared at by her 28 students while she initialed the counter. On the way over, however, I just had to call my brother Long, who is a real estate investor who has made quite a load of money flipping houses.

“Are you nuts?!” he said, “That’s way over what you should be buying! Do you want to be a slave to this house? At that house payment, you won’t be able to enjoy life! You’ll be trapped in your house forever, and when you sell it, you’ll lose money. And renting out your basement may sound like a good idea, but you might encounter horrible tenants who trash your place and be a nuisance.”

“You two are young,” he said, “Don’t you want to travel the world? Don’t you want to explore Africa? Trust me on this, you don’t want to tie yourself down, working only so you can support your mortgage. You don’t want your house owning you!”

He’s completely right. We could wait and find the perfect fixer upper. Long would make sure it’s a good deal. He would help us fix it up. We would live in it, and he’d help us sell it, and instantly, we’d have 30 to 50K. “Your first house won’t be your dream house! You need to use this opportunity to invest!”

But we’re not real estate investors. We’re just trying to find a place that we’re comfortable living in! I want to be able to go home each day and relax in my yard and plant herbs on my deck and stare at the clouds and raise ferrets if I want to. We’re homebodies! On my birthday Jameelah and I stayed at home and cooked and then we watched “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” on Netflix. And I was happy. We could travel every season to a different country if we had the money, but home is always where we’ll be spending 90% of our time. I want it to feel good.

And this house feels good. We’re not going to make 30K when we sell it in five years. We might even lose some money. But during those five years, dammit, we’re gonna enjoy the hell of it. Needless to say, we agreed to the counter-offer. The house is now pending inspection. If the inspection passes, we start financing, mild renovations, and finding tenants.

Long’s words linger, like those morels, crunchy and slightly bitter.  Sure, we’ll have to cut back for a year, probably have to survive on ramen and pasta, and those have to be on sale at Grocery Outlet. But just thinking of being able to eat ramen on our deck, or cooking oatmeal that we dumpster-dived for our guests on our awesome stove, or picking apples from our neighbor’s trees late at night when they’re sleeping, those thoughts fill me with happiness.

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19 Responses to JN83.5: Holy ferret…I think we just bought a house

  1. Vu Bunnie says:

    Congrats & Fingers crossed :D
    Now onto the closing process ;)
    Vu Bunnie

  2. chevy says:

    I miss shopping at the grocery outlet.

  3. Jovial says:

    Good luck!!!! Congrats. Yes, I can’t imagine you flipping homes, best to just find the right home now.

  4. debra says:

    Congrats, best wishes. the garden sounds wonderful!

  5. mary says:

    I would’t buy it. Your brother is totally right! This is the buyer’s market, so if you’re going to have ramen for the rest of your life…totally not worth it.

    • There is no such thing as a buyer’s market i Seattle, Mary. Honestly, we could probably buy a 6-bedroom, 3-bath mansion in the midwest. But don’t worry, I was exaggerating, of course. This house just cuts down on the amount we put into savings each month, but we’ll still have a pretty comfortable life. And the mortage payments themselves are savings. Unless the market tanks again, we shoud recover all of it when we sell.

  6. Paul says:

    Exciting! But I’ll hold my mazeltov for the closing.

  7. Obnoxious Republican says:

    Wow, I am so torn here. Hmmm…whether to be nice and contribute to your overwhelming need for validation that you are not making a huge mistake OR be truthful and express my opinion in an unbiased, possibly sarcastic and maybe dream-dashing manner.

    I think I must agree with your brother. You must force yourself to look beyond the glitter and glitz of the stainless steel and consider what lies ahead for you as well as other contributing problems with this.

    1. If you are planning on having children, that is a huge expense that can/may last for 30 to 40 years after the first child is born.

    2. You are too wimpy to have renters. I know you and you will not be able to evict a single mom with 6 children, forcing them into the street when she has fallen 6 months in arrears on the rent.

    3. You will not be able to confront anyone who is not caring properly for your property. You will just let the anger build until you explode or implode, thus leaving your wife a single mom with 6 children.

    4. I know you hate to hear this, but this is your brother’s arena. You need to heed his advice. Would you want him to do some social work without listening to you?

    5. You need to consider that due to the depressed economy, this is a buyer’s market and there are many homes out there, that while not being as appealing as this one, would contribute positively in your future.

    I will end this with one more observation/question/comment. Is what they are offering, aka: stainless steel and some of the closing cost, more valuable than what your original reduced offering price was? Can you buy the stainless steel lower than what you will be paying at the full asking price? And how much are they talking about when they say SOME of the closing cost? Okay, I know that was more than one, but still…

    Perhaps you should consider an alternative. Maybe you could find a tofu farmer somewhere nearby and share crop for 5 or 6 years. You are bound to make more than what you do now, which would give you more of a down payment and lower your need for a higher mortgage loan.

    Just a thought. Hey, that WAS nice.

  8. Andy says:

    Huy, go for it! If it feels right for you then it is right. If it all goes sour then you can always get out. Anyway, I’m sure you can make a fortune with that ‘ferret levitating’ trick of yours.

  9. Bob says:

    Congrats and good luck, Huy!

    I think you should buy a house now precisely because it’s a buyer’s market. What is a buyer’s market if people are not going to buy?
    The whole process is stressful. There’s no way in heck to really say for sure if you’ve gotten the price down to exactly the “right” price. The main focus is to not let your vision of your future cloud too much of your rational thinking. I’m excited for you!
    And Ramen does taste better when you are eating it in your own home!

    • Thanks, Bob, for the encouraging words. We’ve been researching and analyzing. It’s crazy-making. Probably best altogether to live like nomads in Vietnam. It’s less stressful.

  10. sedgehammer says:

    Buying a house is like bargaining with crabby old ladies in a crowded market. They’re always bitter, stubborn, deliberately misunderstand you, and generally are gleeful about making the whole process as miserable as possible. And at the conclusion of your bargain, you’re inevitably left feeling cheated and wondering why you even wanted those dirty, stunted carrots anyway. However, the whole point isn’t how much the old lady thinks she swindled you for, or how much cheaper your bargain-savvy friend got his carrots for, or even what the market value of carrots is. The whole point is what the carrots are worth to you, which is exactly how much you should be paying.

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