The one thing I don’t have.

Obnoxious as this may sound, right now, I have everything I’ve ever wanted: love, my health, both of my parents, great friends, a great job that let’s me be creative and set my own schedule, sweet pets, and lots of lots of things (computers, cameras, cars, tvs, furniture, clothes, etc). So, naturally, I’m obsessing about the ONE thing I don’t have — a house.

I have a place to live, yes. I have an apartment in a great location, with decent views and friends that live right next door. But I don’t have my OWN home. I think about the money I spend on rent every month and I think… damnit, I really wish I could be investing all that dough into something for our future… like a home, or a savings account that will eventually afford me a home.

For years, every time I brought up the subject of buying a home to Aaron he scoffed at me, explaining how a house isn’t even on his radar of achievable goals. It’s like he just gave up. I get it. I never thought I’d be 30 years old and still living in an apartment. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I were almost 40 and still had never achieved home ownership. I mean, we both come from families full of homeowners — hell, my parents own and live in THREE properties all over the US! So it’s definitely easy to feel like losers from where we stand.

But I feel like if I don’t do something NOW, if I don’t start to focus my mind on achieving that seemingly impossible goal, I just might feel as hopeless as Aaron does, and then give up completely.

Recently I found the seemingly impossible — a house in our theoretical budget (under $275,000), in an amazing location, with character, with land, a fireplace, a two car garage, and not a LOT, but enough room for our small family. I showed it to Aaron and, for the first time ever, he actually got excited about the idea of buying a home.

He called up his parents, and they offered some help. We started to think, maybe we could pull this off! We rang in the new year cheers-ing “to possibly buying a house!”

And then it all fell apart…

My parents told me that they can’t help us with any part of the downpayment. And then within DAYS of our dream home hitting the market, an offer had already been made on it. Leaving the market, once again, completely bereft of options for us. We realized then that the idea of getting out of this apartment and improving our living situation will more than likely have to wait for many many years, if it ever does actually happen.

So what am I doing about the whole home sitch now? About the only thing I can do: I’m trying to save. But the savings are meager and it never seems to grow very much. You know how life is… you save up money and then BOOM! some emergency happens and you have to spend all those savings… over and over and over again. So, at the rate I’m saving I should be able to afford a downpayment for a tiny house in… 30 years? Sigh.

So why, then, keep focusing on the one thing I don’t have? Aaron, once again, sees it all as a waste of time. I see it as my way of focusing energy on something in order to help it come to fruition. It may seem like fruitless search that will only serve to make me feel even more hopeless.

But focusing on my pipe-dream of homeownership reminds me of the awesome things to look forward to in life — owning our own place, having a yard for the dogs, getting out of an apartment, or perhaps getting out of Los Angeles, or even California in general! We could go anywhere in our future and do anything. Perhaps one day we could even make enough money to afford a wonderful home somewhere that we love to live.

And i think that’s what my search for a make-believe home represents — infinite and awesome possibilities.

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10 comments

  1. Beretta Fleur · February 28, 2012

    There is nothing “wrong” or “bad” for wanting to own a home. In the same boat here. Late 30s, husband is 40. WANT HOUSE. No help.

    A down-payment is part of the issue for most home buyers, but there could be a way to make it more feasible than you think.

    Maybe your parents, a family member, or friends have good financial advice… or you could consider meeting with a financial planner. One that will help you project your financial future for the next 5 – 10 years and come up with a realistic idea of what to save and when, and most importantly, how/where. I didn’t realize how much we needed to do these things, but even if you feel you don’t make enough $ to even “count” it, you do. And even if you don’t feel you have the extra $, you might.

    Don’t give up on your dreams. And meanwhile, it sucks that we’re renting, but we found a kick-ass home in the valley for dirt cheap to rent, and we’re in hog heaven with our dogs in the meantime, even if we’re not paying ourselves. (Come over sometime!)

    • meganfinley · February 28, 2012

      You know, we’ve been talking about renting a house instead — that’d give us all the things we SO SO SO desire, and it’s achievable. But giving up money to rent is so hard to stomach. We’re lucky because we’ve got a sweet deal on rent, so we’ll probably stay put. But MAN does it suck to be so far away from something you want so bad.

      As bad as it sounds, I also love knowing that there are other “Late 30s, husband is 40. WANT HOUSE. No help” people out there. SOLIDARITY! ;)

  2. Jenny Porter Tilley · February 28, 2012

    Ugh, I feel the same way. I will be 30 this summer, and I’m living in a college town with overpriced housing. Great location, crappy duplex, no space. Saving just seems impossible! I have so many friends with houses who either had help from parents with a down payment, or, they just did it before banks started going, “nuh uh, your credit isn’t good enough.” I have an average of a 640, but all three of my scores have to be 640 before I qualify for PMI insurance. So unless I have 20% to put down… wait, who has 20% that didn’t win the lottery?? And then when you stop to think… most people I know with mortgages pay LESS monthly than I do, even with fees for PMI/HOA/whatever! I CAN AFFORD A MORTGAGE BITCHES!

    Between the two of us, my husband and I make almost 60K, and most of our extra would-be-savings money goes to medical bills. (Can’t even make student loan payments!) On top of that, when we got married apparently our employer started taking out less money for taxes. We had no idea this would happen, and now we’ve had to sell our second car to help come up with the $1,000 we owe.

    I haven’t been unemployed. Ever. Never even had a lapse in health insurance. We both have degrees… in fact, I also have a master’s. But we can’t get a mortgage. The state of this economy is absolutely insane if someone who’s done all we do to be responsible and grown up can’t own a home. It’s not like we just blow money on stuff… we feel terribly guilty for anything we buy that we don’t absolutely need, for having cable, a nice car, etc. I just bought a brand new laptop, and it’s the first computer I’ve ever picked out and bought myself, and every time I look at it my heart drops into my stomach because I feel bad for spending the money.

    Then friends are like oh when are you going to buy a house? etc., because they totally take it for granted. They got lucky and got their house before things were so terrible.

  3. Lisa · February 28, 2012

    Dude, buy a camper! With a cute little doggy trailer and find that place you WANT to live in! You have the perfect job to do such a crazy ass thing and you know what…half way through you will probably wonder why you ever wanted a house in the first place! Plus it is cheap! Like $10 a night cheap some places…imagine the savings! I know its a wild idea but finding ‘home’ before you consider buying a ‘home’ is for us our biggest priority!
    Miss you guys! We could be nomad buddies!! Xxx

  4. Beretta Fleur · February 28, 2012

    While a camper as a primary home in LA is sketchy, if you plan on wanting to leave in the next 5 years or so (our Exit Strategy involves Virginia) a camper might be a fun middle-ground home for a more rural area. And you’d get mad Offbeat Home Cred. ;)

    Husband also said that his co-worker is buying a camper and he’ll get a house-like tax write-off for it (due to the size I guess?) That might be as much as a quarter of the price of a home AND get you some write-offs.

    K I’m done lurking your blog now. Great post!

  5. Jenny Porter Tilley · February 28, 2012

    Oh my crap… I have to add that after I commented on this yesterday, literally MINUTES later I got a FB message from a friend with a house listing and “This would be perfect for you guys!” CRINGE. Yes, yes it would.

  6. kaledrina672 · February 28, 2012

    My husband and I bought a house about a year ago, and we had no money for a down payment. We make enough money for the payments, and have good credit though, so we financed it through an FHA loan (CHFA in CT which is where we live). we got a second loan for downpayment assistance which we qualified for, so we have two 30 year fixed rate loans at a full percentage point lower interest than the regular banks were giving at the time. It’s something to look into if the only problem is a downpayment and you’ve never owned a home before (or not in the last 8 years anyway). My parents did the same thing abotu 6 months before us. There are income thesholds, and you do have to take a class once you’ve got a closing date (this covers things like “remember to pay your mortgage” and “don’t go crazy buying furniture and cars to match your new house”) but if you want to check it out, for CA the website is http://www.calhfa.ca.gov/ <3 good luck either way :)

    • meganfinley · February 28, 2012

      Wow, thank you SUPER DUPER much for this info. I’m going to check that out! Seriously, thank you for taking the time to post that.

  7. Katherine Moore · February 28, 2012

    I hear you. I had vision boards all over the place depicting what kind of house I wanted. My husband and I lived with my parents to save money towards buying a house. I thought it would never happen for us or that we would be 50 and buying our first place. I have to say that it wouldn’t have happened any time soon without my parents helping out but we managed and we all managed to stay sane in the process.
    By the way my vision boards were fairly realistic they were not mansions, but small nice looking houses with enough space for the two of us. Last year we managed to buy a very small house with enough space for the two us and our two cats.
    Don’t give up hope some times things we think are impossible become possible.
    I am turning 40 this year and my husband is turning 37 so it is never too late.

  8. Pingback: Attempting to escape our gilded cage | funk in deep freeze

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