The Waiting Game…

We recently signed another six month lease on our apartment. Our original plan was to start looking for a house to buy when our lease came up this spring, but after stalking the real estate websites for the past few months, we’ve realized now is just not the right time.  So while we are still conducting frequent searches to see what’s out there, our plan is to maybe try again in six months.  If we think things are looking better then, we’ll go month-to-month on our lease. If things look about the same, we’ll probably do another six month lease.

We are pretty lucky.  We love our apartment, and while I wish we had a bit more storage, we don’t need it so much that it’s worth renting out a storage unit in our building. We have a nice kitchen and our bathroom is huge.  We have views of the monuments from our window.  There’s a nice gym in the basement.  We have access to a great running and bike trail, can walk to many restaurants and shops and the metro, and we’re as close to everything in DC as you can get without having to pay DC rent.

We don’t want to buy a house just for the sake of buying a house.  We know a lot of people who bought a few years ago and are ready to move onto something bigger already, or at least in the next year or so.  When we buy we’re not doing it for investment purposes, or because everyone else thinks we should. We want the house we buy to the the only house, barring any huge life changes, we live in for the next 10-15 years.  We want at least three bedrooms, preferably two bathrooms (although I grew up with 1.5 and one less shower/tub to clean is fine with me!), a dining room large enough to host Thanksgiving dinner, and enough yard to have friends over for a barbecue.  We want access to public transportation, preferably the metro within a mile, so we can remain a one-car household as long as possible.

One sticking point for me, though, is that I work out in the suburbs.  A lot of people have assumed that means we plan on moving closer to my job, but my reaction is the opposite… I want to remain as close to the city as possible.  If I was just going to live and work in the suburbs, I could do that anywhere. I don’t want to lose everything I love about living in (or a 15 minute walk from) DC.  Sure, the city won’t be that far away and we could drive in to go to restaurants and museums and baseball games, but would we?  I just don’t see it happening.  Commuting sucks, a lot.  But I’d rather commute out to work during the week, then be able to ditch my car and walk or metro everywhere on the weekends.

Of course, wanting to live in a location where there are restaurants and shops within walking distance, where the metro is within walking distance, limits our options.  Obviously, the houses in those areas are more expensive.  Also, I don’t want my commute to suck much more than it already does, so living in the more affordable parts of DC or Maryland are out of the picture.

All this said, now is not the right time.  In order to get the house we want, we have to keep on saving and maybe hope that prices come down even more (which I doubt).  It might be six months, it might be a year, it might be two years.  We’re happy where we are, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t have that itch to go out and find a place to call our own, where we can choose whatever colors we want for the walls, where we can sit outside having a drink on a spring evening, while dinner cooks on the grill. But for now, we wait.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “The Waiting Game…

  1. Daniel

    Melissa and I are having the same problem…obviously, both rent and mortgages are waaaaaay cheaper in Capitol Region of NY than DC, maybe the cheapest anywhere (what’s cost of living in Bozeman, MT?). But it just doesnt make sense right now to move – the apt. has great amenities similar to yours (gym, pool, porch, etc), it’s quiet and close to quiet back roads for running, and it’s close to everything. Even Melissa’s commute is less distance now.

    Every time we look at the real estate market, it’s something else. Too small, too expensive, too beat-up, bad neighborhood, too far away from work. We have similar requirements in terms of rooms and size, and thats the problem. Homes like that in areas we want to live are either way overpriced or someone is living in it! The ones that are more reasonable are either too far away in the sticks for our taste, or they’re too much of a “fixer-upper.” I’m not afraid to roll up my sleeves and work on a property, and heck – Melissa’s a civil engineer for gods sake, but we have friends (and Melissa’s sister, too) who got waaaaaay in over their heads in terms of how much money, time, and backaches it would cost them to bring the house up to their standards. I wouldnt wish that upon anyone. A coat of paint or new carpet is fine. Even cabinets. A new foundation? Dig a new well? Septic? No thanks! Errrgggghhhh! Why does real estate have to be so hard?
    – D.

    • Stephanie

      We’re fine with minor renovations, but we also have friends that have had to sink a lot of money into their homes just to make it more habitable. I have no problem with, and probably prefer, un-renovated kitchens and bathrooms because then we can update them to our own tastes, rather than just be stuck with whatever the previous owners did. One problem around here is that a lot of people do those upgrades with the express purpose of being able to re-sell their house at a higher price, now that they have fancy-pants kitchens and such, so they basically priced themselves right out of the price range of people who would actually be willing to buy a 1400 square foot house.

  2. Sarah

    We are opposites. You want a house near restaurants/city life and I want to move to the middle of nowhere. It’s actually funny that Dan mentioned Bozeman. We have looked into moving there (we have also looked into moving a LOT of places though). I am sure you’ll find what you’re looking for. In fact I bet if you sign a one year lease next time, the next day you’ll find the perfect house!

    • Stephanie

      Wouldn’t Bozeman be freezing cold in the winter? Doesn’t that go against everything you stand for, Sarah? :-)

      • Sarah

        Yes, it would be horrendously cold. But, a small population + grizzlies, eagles, elk, moose, bison = me being okay with cold weather. I heart Yellowstone and desperately want to live closer to it.