So now, after renting for almost a year, we are contemplating whether to buy or rent for another year. I've gotta say, it ain't lookin' pretty on the buying front. There just aren't that many homes on the market right now, and of the stuff that's out there, nothing is reaching out and grabbing me--at least not in a nice way. To put it bluntly, I think what is on the market now is pretty picked over. I'm sure most sellers who can afford to wait are hoping that they can sell in a few years when prices have recovered a little.
I know that we'll be taken care of. Somehow my scripture studies lately keep coming back to variations of what is expressed in Matthew 6:25-34 (you know, seek ye first the kingdom of God--in other words--stop OBSESSING about where you are going to live and keep your priorities where they belong). I am trying...I really am. But I have to admit that I compulsively look at the real estate websites
The comparison to Utah is what's killing me. It's hard to go from a low-rent area to a high-rent one and feel super happy about the transition. So I look at Washington real estate websites and feel like every house is a rip-off, like some older person who can't get over the fact that everything costs more now because "back in my day" everything was just a nickel.
It's not that I had unadulteratedly happy feelings about Utah real estate. There are far too many cookie-cutter neighborhoods there, and builders tend to build in whatever style is trendy right this minute, which means many neighborhoods look dated in five years. But, at least we could actually afford a reasonably nice house that fit our family.
Let me show you what I mean by comparing two houses, one in Washington and one in Utah. Both cost $500,000--which is an insane amount of money as far as I'm concerned.
This house is reasonably big for Washington (2,500 square feet) and looks like it's been maintained to a decent standard. It has 4 bedrooms and doesn't list the number of baths.
It does have a peek-a-boo view of the water and the wood floors look nice (although that fireplace is crying out for paint, don't you think?
Utah House--a "bargain" at $485k
Oh yeah. That' s what I'm talking about.
Cutest stairway evah! Awesome door, too.
Even cute from far away.
My flow blue and tea trios would look amazing in these built-ins.
The wainscoting, the french doors. Sniff, Sniff... This is such a gorgeous house. It is about 3,600 square feet and located in a prestigious historical neighborhood in Salt Lake City.
In all fairness, the Salt Lake City house is a short sale, so it is probably undervalued, but still--wouldn't you rather live in a red brick house with charm galore than a 60's Brady bunch house where you know you'll want to revamp every thing about it and it still won't ever be what you really want?
It's even more torturous to look around the country and see all the amazing houses you can get for $500k nationwide. I was looking at houses online in this great St. Louis neighborhood recommended by "This Old House" magazine, and you can get beautiful 5,000 square foot turn of the century mansions for around $500k there. Yes, I'm sure the heating bills would be another mortgage, but man are they gorgeous!
Anyway, in case you are ready to hit me over the head with my laptop, I'm ready to get back to reality now. I need to remember a few important facts:
- We are lucky that my husband has a great, steady job that he enjoys here.
- We are truly lucky that be they ever so humble/time-warped, we can even contemplate buying a house right now.
- We are lucky that we can live in a good area, with good schools and a reasonable commute to my husband's work.
- Put in a global perspective, having a warm, safe place to live (whether rented or owned, darling or lame), food to eat and my family all around me is a one of the most precious of life's blessings that I thoroughly take for granted in all my grousing about how real estate here is such a rip-off.