What Would You Do?

While hoping that our container house could possibly gain funding, we’ve seen every other house out there for sale that falls into our perimeters (3 bed, 2 bath, small yard, garage or other studio space) within our chosen area around the city.  We’ve even increased the boundaries of the areas we’ve been searching, and there’s just nothing that works for us.  Things are too small, too far gone in disrepair, too expensive, too far away from work, or too boring. This past weekend, while standing in house #4561 and discussing what we’d need to do to make the house work for us, our realtor suggested that we give construction another hard push.  This was likely a not-so-subtle hint that we are wasting her time, but she may have a point.

Here’s what I think she meant: we were spoiled with the promise of new, affordable construction that was designed around our needs and with us specifically in mind.  Nothing we ever look at in this market will ever be that.  It isn’t possible, especially in a 50+ year old home.  While we are willing to do some work to make a house more functional for us, we are limited in funds if we’re paying more for it already than we would have to build, which would be the case with almost any house we find these days.  For example, that house we were standing in with our realtor last weekend is in a decent area (meaning, near friends, bars/restaurants, and within a reasonable commuting distance), but the place needed work.  It has a studio and three tiny bedrooms, but both bathrooms needed immediate attention, and the kitchen needed work too.  It also needed all new flooring.  All of that adds up quickly, and it was already listed $50k more than our house would cost, just like all the homes we see in our area.

Yes, lengthy discussions and pros/cons lists were involved here.  In fact, I even downloaded an app to help me with the decision.  The app tells me to go with the container house, as does my gut.   The only real positive thing about buying the older home we saw was that we could move in immediately upon closing…so 1 month vs. 6-8 months (that is, if the container house can appraise with the new bank, and that is no small feat).  Is time a big enough factor to forego our dream house?  So far, it hasn’t been…

What would you do?

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2 thoughts on “What Would You Do?

  1. I voted to build – but then I would, wouldn’t I? Even though to build will take longer and cost more than you think, because so will buying an older home and doing work on it, and this way when the dust settles you will have spent the same amount of money and a bit more time but be in your dream house.

    We are about 2-3 months off completion, and gah I’m struggling. So many decisions, so many decisions that affect countless other decisions, so many decisions made that have had to be re-made when the actual pricing came in. So many decisions I thought I’d made 12 months ago and can’t for the life of me remember what they were. And yet. It’s going to be beautiful. I’m just so ridiculously tired.

    The sort of questions we asked ourselves were: does the amount we’ll spend on land and build add up close enough to what we’d spend on buy and renovate?
    Is the location of the build exactly or near as dammit where we want to live?
    Are we planning to be in this house for a good long time/the foreseeable future?
    How likely is it that circumstances might force us to move?
    If we had to sell tomorrow what sort of a hit would we take?
    How easy would the house be to sell?
    Is it in a area that if we don’t sell we could easily rent it out?
    If our family makeup/physical requirements change do we have the flexibility to modify/extend the house to accommodate this?
    Have we got the insurances in place that if one of us dies halfway through the build the other can still complete it?
    Are we doing this for ourselves, because we believe in it?
    Do we think we’ll really really love it and be happy in it?
    Will we regret it if we don’t?

    There are no ‘correct’ answers, and we too wrote down (didn’t know about the app!) the pros and cons of our different options. It was encouraging to see that logic – as well as our gut – pointed towards our build.

    So if you are happy with the balance of answers to these questions and more of your own, then yes, if the financing comes through, I would.

  2. I agree with Helen – if you have considered all of the things she mentions (and I’m pretty sure you already have) then persevere with the build. The more effort taken in getting something you really want – the more you will appreciate the getting.

    We seem to get almost everything we want these days – it is so easy. What isn’t easy is breaking through the barriers and hurdles in our way and realising the struggle is all part of the reward. I like to climb mountains and take extremely strenuous treks – and they are my most memorable and exciting adventures. All the ‘walks in the park’ are easily forgotten!!

    Best of Luck. Keeping my fingers crossed – I really want to see this project succeed!!

    (ps – Helen, if you read this – is the house in your “And the garden” masthead the house you are building? If so – I LOVE it – do you have a build blog?)

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