Pride of Ownership
We got married young. In fact, we have been married longer than any of our closest friends our age. We’ve made some pretty good choices so far, I would say. Finances, belongings, family were all considered and we made the best informed decisions that we could. We didn’t buy a house right away…for that there were several reasons, but I did feel pressure to own a home. Have you felt this way in life? Like you know there is time but you really want to reach a goal…like instantly? Yeah, me too, I love immediate results and I have to tell myself to slow down sometimes.
When we got married the market was high…but just about everyone that wanted a house could get one…you remember that don’t you? It was a few short years before the market collapsed. Home values were really high and construction was booming. Every part of our city was expanding. Where there use to be empty fields, neighborhoods were being built. I loved walking through model homes. Name a part of town, east, west, north…ok, not the south, I could have passed on that part of town, but I walked through houses all over town. I loved the new community parks, the crown moulding, the use of wallpaper…but it didn’t happen for us. I really wanted a home, but back to those reasons that we didn’t purchase…
1. We didn’t have the savings for it- remember, we were young and in love. Apparently it takes time to put away 20%. Dangit!!
2. We didn’t have much credit yet- young. I literally went in for a car loan at one point early on in our marriage and the dealer was shocked. He ran my credit and looked at me while holding a piece of paper that came out of his printer. He looked at me with big eyes and told me that I had no credit…like none. Haha! Unfortunately we have to go into debt to get entrusted with more debt…so lame, but I would need more time.
3. The interest rates weren’t fixed- this one I didn’t care much about…I just wanted a house, but my annoyingly-smart husband just wouldn’t budge on the fact that we wouldn’t purchase without a low fixed-rate.
So, UGH!…no home for us for a while. We did get to rent some beautiful houses, nice gated communities, we tried out different parts of town to see what we liked best. It was a good 7 years into our marriage when we were able to buy a home. I am so grateful that he lead us carefully. I’m glad that the years of renting helped us to be very appreciative to become homeowners. It was a great lesson for us to save and be diligent with money and to build credit over the years.
Unfortunately, before the appreciation I did more comparisons than I’m proud to admit. I kept thinking, why did the process seem quicker for other couples? It was hard for me to see that it all seemed a bit easier for friends to get things that we had been working toward for a long time. But here’s the deal…I grew in this process. I realized that a grateful heart is more important than a house. Sometimes the journey is ugly and long, but it helps to mature and grow us. I was happy for my friends but I was also wondering when my turn to throw the house party at our new place was gonna be. When our turn came we were so proud. We had a big party and let me tell you I did the new home tour like a paid docent and took family and friends to each room of that awesome house. Look at this dimmer light, isn’t it cool?!…see this huge room- this is our family movie spot, this closet under the stairs is the kid’s clubhouse…the backyard is gonna have a flagstone patio and grass, eventually. I was proud. We were overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment. We did the thing we had set out to do, together. With no help from anyone else and met the goal we were striving for.
In that process I learned two things…the struggle really was real. It took more time than I had expected and it was worth every minute and two because of the struggle, I treasured every nook and cranny in that house. Life isn’t all about having everything figured out. Just because we finally reached our home owner goal didn’t mean we had arrived. Yes, we achieved something great, not only did we buy a house, we bought an amazing house. It was a house that I pictured us living in for the rest of our lives. I thought maybe our kids would come down the stairs to their awaiting prom dates in high school. I imagined our oldest son getting to move into the down stairs bedroom when he was a teenager and wanted a little more privacy. None of that happened though. We lived in that house for less than 2 years before we moved. Haha. It wasn’t on my radar to leave that home, city or our families. But an opportunity came knocking and we moved to the coast. Heck yes, also dreamy! I am grateful for that first home. We still own it and I want to revisit the process again in our new town. The housing market is completely different here. The prices are twice what they are than where we moved from. The supply is also less which makes the process more of a hectic race than a smooth pace. It’s so funny that I fought so hard to get that first house and I thought my life was all set. Little did I know how our lives would change.
Life is wild. It finds comedy in throwing us for a loop, sometimes. I learned so much about myself, mostly that my scope is narrow and so is my patience. I freaking love finish lines! I always played sports and getting to the end brings relief. There is no real finish line in life, I’ve found. You just “keep swimming” until you get to wherever your next target is. The important thing is to set goals. May they be financial, health, security, intelligence…whatever you are striving for, set a goal. Create a timeline and a plan.
When others reach goals faster than you, do your best to celebrate with them. It may seem easier for some…but that’s not really your concern. Take the time to put in the work and you will come out with the prize, as well as, pride and joy, and that is worth everything.
Keep reaching towards that goal you have, YOU WILL get there!