This is the first post in a new series on Blonde & Balanced – Buying Our First Home – where I’ll chronicle our process to first-time home ownership!
A new home is in my near future! If things go as planned, we’ll start looking for a new house – and become first-time home owners! – in the first few months of 2012. We’ve always had the same budget in mind, but it’s a wide price range (not a high price range … the two are very different!). We never plan to buy more house than we need, but how do you find that sweet spot between being too frugal or spending at the top of your price range?
Our price range spans about $100,000, meaning the lower number in our price range is $100,000 less than the high-end of our price range. Even if we buy on the upper end of that range, we’ll still be within our budget – we’ll just be at the top of that budget.
The question is, do you sacrifice and spend less or do you go all in and spend more? We’ve been living in apartments and spending frugally for many years, always thinking of our dream house. Part of me wants to go big and get everything we want (within the budget). But the other part of me wants to go frugal and buy at the lower-end of our budget so we can pay the house off several years quicker.
Since we never really bought a “starter” house, we’ll likely be in our first house for many years to come – maybe even until our kids graduate high school. When I think of that, I want to go for the dream house at the higher end of our budget. We’d still have it paid off by then, it would just take a little longer.
The zip codes where we’re looking at homes in is the biggest driver of our price range. If we wanted to move back to our hometowns (other suburbs in Kansas City), we could probably spend about $100,000 less on a home. Sounds tempting, but we’ve made a new home in our little space of Kansas City, we love this new “area”, and it’s closer to church and our jobs.
There is something enticing about owning a home with 5 bedrooms, a 3-car garage, a finished basement, an updated kitchen, and a huge backyard. We could easily find that for an affordable amount in other neighborhoods, but it’s doubtful that we’ll find it where we’re looking to buy.
I guess I won’t know for sure which end of our price range we want to spend in until we start house-hunting with our future realtor. Who knows, maybe in 9 months, the housing market will be on a rebound and prices will be rising. Or maybe we’ll even find our dream house with all those extras at the lower end of our price range (now, THAT would be ideal).
In the meantime, I do plan to continue this series – Buying Our First Home. I think many people are interested in what it’s really like to save for, plan for, shop for, and buy a new home. We’ll be in the planning and saving for stages for several more months, but the house-hunting will be here before we know it!
What topics would you like to see in the Buying Our First Home series?