We’ve always just pretty much assumed we’d never own a home. We will be celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary in November – and – for us – it has never seemed an automatic that we should or would join the ranks of homeowners. We decided long ago that it was far more important – for our family anyway – for me to be home with the kids (where I want to be) than to be out in the work force. Yes, that means we have much less income coming in. Yes, that means we must be very intentional with every little penny.
We’ve been so blessed to be renting an older home – in NW Portland – on half an acre. It’s not a fancy house at all. In fact, it has original a bunch of stuff – not good stuff to have original just to be clear – you know, wiring, plumbing, etc. It’s not insulated. It has issues. Big issues. But it’s affordable – AND – it’s HALF AN ACRE IN NW PORTLAND! The reality being – our landlords are pretty committed to not improving the place. So, we must do with what we have.
For years now we’ve been working diligently to pay off debt – including mountains of school loans – we’re exceptionally well educated but of course, in fields that neither of us ended up working in. We’ve put our extra pennies into savings, and done without as much as possible.
As a result, we find ourselves in a place we didn’t think we’d be… contemplating purchasing our first home.
If the truth were told, we’d confess to longing for…
A home with enough room for all of us – the human contingent of our little world – two adults, the three kids, with an additional nephew thrown in for good measure at the moment.
Enough land to grow what we want to grow – lots and lots of organic stuff.
Enough land to have our chickens – and maybe even a small flock of turkeys.
Enough land for a goat or two.
Enough land for a couple of cows.
That doesn’t exist in the area where we live right now – at least not in our price range. Speaking of price range – ours is pretty modest – compared to the values of the places that we can see in a five mile radius of where we live. VERY modest. It’s a given that if we end up buying a house it won’t be nearby.
We figure we’re gonna need a place to be within an hour drive for John’s commute to work. We know we won’t move to a place that has schools that don’t meet certain criteria. We know it’s going to be a big deal – moving our kids from one set of schools to another, as well. And we know that it will be a big adjustment – going from suburbia to a more rural lifestyle. When we lived in Kentucky we lived about 20 miles from the nearest town. The places we’re looking at now are nowhere near that far out.
So we’ve been looking. A bit passively, actually. Not many places come up that fit our criteria! But of the ones that do – it’s kind of funny how many places look amazing on ads – but not so much in real life. Seen a bunch of those. But what do you expect given our price range?!
Today we did a drive-by on a place that at first blush is beautiful. See?
We were happy to learn from our real estate agent that it is vacant, so we could peek in the windows. Bottom line… from the outside it’s REALLY cute. Come Monday we’ll actually peek inside to see more.
But the real question is this, I guess: Just because the lender says you can afford to buy this house – can you really? Or more specifically – can we? Or should we?
There is a great yearning in our hearts to own some land… Usable land. Land that we can do something with, and that will sustain – well – not just us but our animals.
But at what cost?
I’m guessing we’re not the only ones asking that kind of question right now – given the current state of financial affairs in our country.
Owning, of course, has it’s advantages. Not owning does as well.
Oh – if only we knew what it was we really ought to do.
It may well be we’re not the first ones to ponder that very question while standing a ways off gazing at the potential of this being our home – it was built in 1890, after all.
Hmmm…. we’ll see.
On a completely different note…
We get the magazine Backyard Poultry and this month’s issue arrived today. There’s an article on Barred Rock chickens. Know what? I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that our BB and Speedy just might be Barred Rocks! But after reading this article today – I’m convinced that Ducky (below) is a Dominique. (Our only Dominique pullet – out of the six chicks we started out with!)
Wasn’t it nice of her to stop and pose for me?
And here’s Rooth – not to be outdone by Ducky – she wanted her picture taken, as well. Isn’t she growing up?
Sigh… it really would be nice to have a place of our own…