Thursday, July 04, 2013

There You Have It: Muncie Home Ownership

We're back in Winona after our whirlwind trip to Muncie. Scoping out homes was an extremely valuable experience and we ended up being very pleased with our realtor. Jim was a straight shooter, no fuss, old-school kind of guy. His driving skills were questionable and he did not laugh at any of my jokes... but was impressed with Lucas, so we were happy enough with his help.

Day one Matt and I walked through fourteen houses. Guys... this was no easy feat and I'll say... we were exhausted! We walked through homes that were staged perfectly. They smelled like apple pie and a nothing was out of place. We walked through homes that were filthy and smelled like urine. We walked through old homes and newer homes. That being said, within two minutes of being in a home, Matt and I both knew if it was good for us or not. You just know.

The home that wasn't meant to be.

In the end we settled on two homes that would be fitting for us. Great yards, move-in ready, good square
footage, good layout (I'm big on ambiance and if the home doesn't have good "flow", it won't work for me) and workable kitchens. Both homes were in similar prices ranges, and after much debate we felt like we would put an offer on one of the homes. This particular home had great square footage, two baths, big bedrooms, two shops, nice landscaping and only five minutes from the University! And... it was greatly reduced in price, which almost guaranteed a small profit should we need to sell anytime soon.

Matt and I figured out our down payment options, made phone calls... organized our finances and prepared ourselves to make an offer. We were ready.

In the end we didn't put that offer on the house. It didn't feel right. The home was great, but financially Matt and I have concerted efforts to avoid biting off more than we should. It's not our values to have a home if it means living to pay a mortgage. This particular home was in the upper range of our monthly payment options and though we could afford it, it wasn't the right time.

Owning a home of our own sounds dreamy... down right lovely. The idea of settling in and really allowing the dust to settle sounds down right amazing. There are other things we value in addition to owning a home. Travel, education and continuing to pay down our student debt are just a few other very important values of ours, and if owning a home comes between those goals, then a home just doesn't feel worth it.

So... we're back at square one. At this point, we'll find a very modest rental and look at buying again in a couple months. Matt and I now have a familiarity with Muncie and a knowledge that can only be gained in spending twelve hours in the car with a realtor. We feel educated, and that is not a waste.

For now we'll seek out a rental and we could use some good vibes on that front. Your prayers will be gladly welcomed. Muncie is a college town (Ball State) and for obvious reasons, finding a rental that is both clean and reasonably priced feels nearly impossible.

Home ownership is something Matt and I feel ready for, but when we make that big jump we want it to be right. We're attempting to remain in wise counsel (thanks Dad) and keep a level head with our finances. It's easy to jump into the pool of "let's spend our money", but deep down that's not a value of ours. Maintaining who we are in the thick of this process is our goal and for now, we're hoping it's a success.

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