Thursday, April 16, 2009

Preparing to PCS

I've been busy trying to get ready for the big move. In some ways this move is much simpler than our move here, but in other ways, it has been really complicated.

Simply put, we're buying a house.

At least, I think we are.

Maybe we're crazy. I don't want a house. Houses are expensive, they require mortgages (I am debt phobic), you are responsible for them, etc. I would much rather live in an apartment or rent a house. Really.

I'm also enough of a dyed in the wool rebel that the idea of buying a house because "everyone says we should! Look at the housing market!" makes me want to avoid home ownership like the plague.

I don't have a job there, yet. I don't know if I will be able to find a job there.

But Einstein really wants to buy a house. After weeks of listening to his arguments and viewing all of the pretty pictures our realtor (we have a REALTOR) has been sending us, I'm starting to go over to the dark side.

I mean, honestly. Einstein refuses to live on base (we all have our quirks). Rental houses there are ridiculously overpriced (compared to mortgages) and apartments are overpriced, small, and in undesirable areas.

Home ownership was on my mental list for "Things we will do when Einstein retires from the Air Force". I was not, am not, prepared for it right now. I know some of you rent and some of you own, and frankly, right now I am willing to hear ANY thoughts or advice you might have.

I'm not a fence-sitter by nature, but I am totally on the fence on this one!


Ana said...

Well, let me put it this way: whether or not we get a house while Oliver is in the Navy is my decision. Not because I don't respect him, or I'm some control-freak wife, but because he deploys. And I take care of everything else. I like the phone I can pick up and say, "Hey, this is broken, come fix it." And, someone does. Someone I didn't have to search for myself, or pay a red cent to have done.

The biggest issue for us, though, are all the people we know who have a house and can't sell it when they need to (this happens no matter what the market is doing, by the way). We don't want to risk breaking our family apart, or taking orders we don't want because it will keep us living in the house we can't offload fast enough.

So, no houses for us until we are actually stable. Quite honestly, the argument about building equity holds no sway over me because we've saved more in our years renting than many of our friends have buying houses they had to maintain and can't sell (or did sell, but didn't make enough to cover ALL the costs they incurred over the years because of it).

The Mrs. said...

I refuse to buy a house. I mean there are the little things, like the thought of that much debt makes me hypervenilate and well the cost that comes with it and despite the fact that we COULD homestead here I think the second we bought a house we would get orders. The marine corps is funny like that!

But really what keeps me from getting on the bandwagon, cause flyboy is a huge cheerleader for it, is that he's just not here enough. I like having a landlord (and we are very lucky to have an amazing one) to call when the wiring goes funny or the septic tank explodes (both have already happened). And I really like that the landlord gets to write the check for that stuff.

I just think that its just one more thing to have on my plate to possibly overwhelm me. And right now we know several people who are going to stay behind while their spouse goes on to the next base. I do not want that to be me. AT ALL. So for now.... we rent and I am happy. (like Einstein flyboy wouldnt live on base if it were the last house standing)

Tressa said...

Well, I will be the homeowner to comment. It has its good and bads. We purchased our first home at our last duty station. I didn't want to buy a home for the reasons that Ana mentioned. I learned a lot while my husband was deployed. I cut grass. I fixed sprinkler systems. I installed a garbage disposal. All with little kids too. It wasn't so bad. We sold it after 4 years at the tail end of the bubble, so to be honest, it was financially a good decision for us. Oh, we used our VA to buy our first home. We had saved enough to pay our closing costs, but had nothing to put down.

We are now is our second home. A home that we were able to put money down on. We bought at the height of the bubble and now are living in a house that we couldn't sell for what we paid. Although, we put enough down that we aren't upside down. We were able to transfer within the same region so we will be in the house 6 years before we have to move again, if he doesn't retire.

Oh, my husband also refuses to live in housing. We have lived in housing before, but he likes the ability to leave work at work.

Now that I have said all that, I do think that buying a house can be a good decision. How long are you going to be at your next command? Can he transfer to another duty station without having to move? I think those questions would play a role in my decision. If I was going to live somewhere for 2 years or less, I wouldn't buy. You won't gain enough equity to pay your realtor and all the selling fees when you try to sell. A realtor is not going to tell you this when you are buying. The competition between realtors is tight right now and they need to make sales.

If your husband really wants to buy, I would buy something that will stay sellable. Something that doesn't need a lot of money put into it. Something that a fair number of people can afford, so if you do have to sell in a short period of time you have a lot of buyers in your price range.

So, this is very long, but I hope it is helpful.

Anonymous said...

I have to comment on this too...
We wanted to live on base at our current duty station, but the wait list for our rank/size house was almost a year! We didn't want to rent an apartment for a year, with most of our stuff in storage, then have to move again. Plus, our current mortgage was comparable to a nice apartment. On top of that, we thought it would be fun to own our own home and it would be blissful.
However, now that we are homeowners our blinders are off. We discovered several things wrong with the home after we bought it that need to be fixed but we can't really afford that at the moment. And like The Mrs. said, we don't have a landlord to call up and fork over the bill. On top of home repair, we thought we chose a nice neighborhood...but unfortunately none of our neighbors are friendly. We have lived here a year, and not a single person has bothered to say hello or introduce themselves. We have tried to take the initiative and they ignore us.

Either way, it is a learning experience. I wish you the best of luck!!!