We Live in an Awesome House that We Almost Certainly Can’t Afford

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Fun Fact: If you type “rhododendron” as “rotodendrum,” or “rodadentron,” spell check just basically looks at you and says, “You really should have paid more attention in school.” I had to Google that sucker.

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You people better buckle up, because I’m about to get real with myself on a number of levels with this post. Come to think of it, I guess I had better buckle up too…

We live in a rad house that we purchased a year ago this past June. We’ve had 3 homes go on the market in our gated community this year, and each has been listed (and sold) for $1-$1.5 million bucks. At the same time we’re kind of “out there” in the country, so it’s a really nice quiet community mostly filled with hard-working blue collar Contractors and Boeing Engineers who have built a hell of a good life for themselves and their families.

Our house wasn’t a million dollars for sure, but we do get million dollar views. We have views of both the Cascades and the Olympics, and I tend to post buttloads of these photos on my Instagram Account.

I mean, just look at this view I get to experience from my back yard:

houseviews.png

(Ignore the  ratty lawn in the middle one. I hadn’t mowed yet this year.)

Now I know what you’re thinking right now; you’re thinking, “Awesome, d*ck. Great of you to post on your blog about your awesome view and house. Maybe for tomorrow’s post you can show us your killer sports car. JERK.”

BUT IT GETS EVEN BETTER! The absolute BEST part of my house?

I don’t think I can afford it.

When we were looking to purchase this house, we did the dumbest thing we could possibly do: We set a “comfort zone” that we felt we could afford and still be comfortable in, and then we BLEW RIGHT PAST OUR DAMN COMFORT ZONE. I mean we overshot that stupid comfort zone by so much that it was laughable. Go ahead and laugh. You really should.

Sure my wife and I had discussions about whether or not we could afford the mortgage payment, and while we absolutely could for a while, what we didn’t factor in was that it left ZERO room for awesome things like 401k plans, savings, and college funds. I hope you’re still laughing, because hopefully the sound of your laughter will drown out the sound of me sobbing into my hands.

So while we were convinced that we were going to lose the house back in the February timeframe of this year and believed that to be the epitome of failure were it to happen, I’m kind of starting to wonder if that might have been the best thing for us had it actually happened.

The reason being that now we can pay the mortgage… just barely. We are paying all of our bills, and we live in this killer home. I don’t mean to go on about this stupid house, but this morning we watched two twin fawns and their mother nibble on the leaves of our rhododendron not 5 feet outside our front window as we sipped coffee and watched the sun rise.

Fun Fact: If you type “rhododendron” as “rotodendrum,” or “rodadentron,” spell check just basically looks at you and says, “You really should have paid more attention in school.” I had to Google that sucker.

My kids have chased wild bunnies, my daughter had two “pet” skinks that she would visit and hold every day in our yard last summer, we sit around a fire pit and cook marshmallows, we throw all sorts of balls around in the yard, and we watch those amazing sunsets as often as we can.

All while putting a laughable amount into our long-term savings.

“So just sell the house, dumb*ss,” I hear many of you say.

By the way, can I just point out that you people are super-aggro today? I need you to all take it down just a smidge.

I know I could sell the house, and I know it would alleviate a bunch of stress to downsize and reduce our payments and upkeep. I know it would bring piece of mind to see money flowing into savings and retirement.

And yet it’s probably not going to happen.

“Well then you’re a moron,” I hear many of you respond flatly.

I guess moron is slightly better than dumb*ss. Thanks for at least trying.

The reason it’s not going to happen is actually a few reasons. Allow me to explain:

  1. My family absolutely loves this house. My wife refers to it as our “forever home,” and  my kids think it’s the most amazing house ever. The animals, the scenery, the freedom of 5 acres. I really just don’t think I could ever take that away from them after moving them away from our previous town and all of their family and friends for the promise of this home. I couldn’t 13 months later say, “Well, we’re moving again. Good news is that it’s to a smaller, crappier home in a worse neighborhood.”
  2. Both my Dad and my Mom have been to the house (separately – they are divorced), and both asked me, “Are you sure you can afford this house?” To which I assured them that I could. No going back on that now! In my Dad’s case, he REALLY laid it on me when he told me he was proud of me. My Dad saying he’s proud of me is about as rare as seeing Warren Buffett at a Jimmy Buffett concert.
  3. My ego is a big fat jerk. I like the house, and unfortunately my ego probably isn’t going to let me part with it.

So chances are I’m not going to sell the home anytime soon. I think we’ll probably be here for 10ish years, or just long enough to get our daughter through her Senior year of high school. By then we hope to have built up enough equity to buy a smaller home outright, and stop worrying about mortgages and junk.

Until then though, it’s not going away, so now I have to look at my options.

Option 1: I could win a gold medal in the Olympics, land several high-paying sponsorship deals, and use the money to help pay the mortgage.

Why This Won’t Work: I have a trick knee that sometimes wiggles and feels weird. Especially when I run.

Option 2: I could survive on nothing but a diet of tree sap and harvested blackberries from the gajillion bushes that surround my property, thus saving a substantial amount on groceries each month.

Why This Won’t Work: Blackberries give me gas.

Option 3: I can get a side job or multiple side jobs, while focusing on paying off other debt as quickly as possible. Thus freeing up that money for retirement.

Option 3 seems to be the clear cut  winner here, and thus I’ve started looking. I’ve received some great advice from readers of this blog and other online communities, and right now I’m leaning towards my semi-steady freelance gig, coupled with my wife signing up for Rover.com, and finally seeing if I can pick up a third gig for us such as bartending or something along those lines.

I know, I know, “Sell the home and you wouldn’t have to do any of that stuff, dummy.”

I get it. Selling the home would probably ultimately reduce stress, it would undoubtedly reduce bills, and our overall quality of life would probably increase after the initial shock wore off, and yet here I am writing a blog detailing how I just can’t bring myself to do it.

I’m a simple man, people, and when I tell you that all I want to do is give my family the best life they can possibly live, I mean it beyond a shadow of a doubt. If it means some added stress and pressure on me, then I will take the stress and still do everything in my power to make it happen.

Normally at the end of a post like this, I ask for your opinions on whether or not I’ve made a dumb choice. The problem is that I pretty much already know the answer on this one. So here we are, you and me and this giant elephant in the room. I’m going to pretend like it didn’t just take a dump so large that it destroyed my coffee table, and you can just sit quietly off to the side and watch as the elephant falls asleep and crushes me.

It’s going to happen. Don’t say I didn’t warn me.

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Think I’m making a dumb choice? Want to give me advice? Oh who in the hell are we kidding here? Just tell me that my pet elephant has pretty blue eyes. It’s the least you can do after calling me all of those names!

3 thoughts on “We Live in an Awesome House that We Almost Certainly Can’t Afford

  1. What percentage of your post-tax income goes to your mortgage (including property taxes)? Over 30%? I think every homeowner goes through similar emotions on housing affordability in the beginning but as you grow your income or reduce other outstanding debt the burden gets easier. Keep up the fight! My wife and I had a similar sensation last year, how can we afford this house on just one income?? What if one of us lost a job? We used those emotions of fear and anger and attacked our outstanding nonmortgage debt and wiped out $240k in 3 years and now the mortgage and our lives can be handled with one income. Good Luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • With your post, I feel like Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in “Stepbrothers”…

      “Did we just become best friends?!?!”
      “YEP!”

      Your situation sounds like it is almost nearly identical to the one we are in now. One job, lots of debt, and the constant fear of the “what if” scenarios.

      Right now our mortage is slighltly over 30% of our income, so we are now feverishly paying off debt as well. Cards closed, all available income going towards them, etc.

      I am now following you blog, but would also LOVE to have you point me at any particular posts you think might be useful. We’re on a clip to hit between 150-200k paid off in the next 3 years, but I’m always looking for ways to accelerate it.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s awesome! Keep it up! When all your none mortgage debt is gone you’ll be saying, “There’ so much room for activities!” Really enjoy the sketches! Thanks for the follow!

        Liked by 1 person

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