Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pregnancy Week 22: Enjoy your womb-house while you've got it, Baby! Once out, you'll be a renter!

Even with low interest rates, a "buyers' market", excellent credit, a generous contribution from my in-laws (thank you!), Mike's MBA and good job, we still cannot find an affordable, decent house that is close to his work and in a good school district.

We have been looking at houses since April, seeing over 100 by now, but we still carry forth with determined resolve and hope. After all, Everyone keeps telling us, "The right house for you is out there. I'm sure it will come to you. Everything will work out for the best." And Everyone can't be wrong. Right?

After being burned by two near-hit houses in the Spring and Summer, we finally decide to put an offer in on a house this week in the same town we live in now. Actually, we put two offers in on two separate houses. The offers are low, but isn't Everyone saying to us that's okay? In this economy, we have a chance? "Who knows," Everyone says, "maybe the seller is desperate to get rid of the house?"

I listen to Everyone and nod and smile and agree, "Who knows?" And part of me feels that wonder, that same covert excitement when you are staring at a lottery ticket you know will not bring you more than $2...but still...

Logically, Mike and I know better. Westchester County is a bubble within the real estate market that has not been touched greatly by the slow economy (no matter what our agent claims). It is particularly difficult in our town, since the schools are good and taxes are relatively low (Westchester was recently ranked the county with the highest property taxes in the US, our unfortunate claim to fame). Houses pretty much sell at the asking price in our town, or $5-$20K under, which, on an $800K house, is not much off the tag (and we are definitely not looking at houses even close to $800K).

Yet we make our valiant effort and get back on that housing horse once more. I submit our offers to our agent, reminding her we have excellent credit, will put down a sizable down payment, are renting and can move as quickly or as slowly as the seller wants...But I am no more nervous or excited about the offer than I am when I look at a lottery ticket. So, I am not surprised when our agent emails us back:

"She says your offer is much too low & the owners have decided not to counter offer at this time."

Well, that says it all.

Similar response for the other offer the next day:

"the owner will not come back with a counter offer, he feels it has been on the mkt such a short time & he has had a lot of interest so far & someone is coming for the second time this afternoon, also, he says he still has to put some money into it especially oil tank etc. "

Makes sense.

So here we are. Could we bid higher? Perhaps a little. Probably not enough to cause them to consider us any more seriously though. And should we come close to the asking price, we will end up struggling to pay bills, sitting in a candlelit room and contributing to the whole housing crisis we're currently trying to benefit from.

So the daunting task of cleaning out our small apartment guest room and turning it into a baby room is becoming more and more of a realization as I enter into my sixth month.

But really, when I think of the ultrasound where we saw our baby squirming around with his little legs curled over his face, when I feel him kicking me and pushing at me and banging into me because he is, after all, rather squashed in there...I imagine he will be quite happy to have a tiny apartment baby room.

And we will be quite happy to be able to afford car insurance and heat and an occasional Quizno's flatbread sandwich.

So while we did not "get" the houses, Everyone is right in one regard--that some things do work out for the best. Because Mike can tell you, renting or owning, I really do like my heat!

1 comment:

Mike said...

So true. Who wouldn't want to move into a place that's at least 200x bigger than a previous place of residence? Baby will be psyched. And maybe I need to consider a line of work that will let us sever our connection to metropolitan industries...and move out to a more affordable 'burb. (sigh)