We came to an agreement on our house situation. It may be more of a concession on my part since my wife is determined as ***searches google for simile for determined and finds nothing***… she’s really determined to have this house. I still prefer to rent, but we came to some agreements that I’ll discuss in a moment.
She contacted a realtor that was listed on Zillow and he wouldn’t even take us to see it without a pre approval for a loan. I suggested she call the realtor we used to sell our house and she offered to come out that afternoon to show us the house.
After seeing the house I can see why she likes it. It really does hit all her dream house items – 2 story, kitchen cabinets that aren’t oak, granite countertops, screened in pool, and a 3 car garage. It’s the house she has always dreamed of.
It’s bigger and grander than our old house and fixes most everything she disliked about our old house.
She has never really felt at home in our apartments. She had all the common complaints about renting – noisy and rude neighbors, lack of prime parking spots, lack of privacy. She’s more sensitive to these things than I am and there’s no denying the dissatisfaction it’s caused her.
After much consideration, a couple of temper tantrums, some alone time, and considering how our two futures can be one, I have decided I can be ok with this house purchase. I agreed to the house and in exchange my wife agreed to some of my requests.
The most important request is that we approach this new house from a minimalist viewpoint. I don’t want to go back to where we were four years ago with a cluttered up house.
I believe one can be minimalist in a variety of surroundings. I like to view minimalism as a sliding scale. On one end you have a large house and on the other end you live out of a backpack. Minimalism can fit both ends and everything in-between. I know we have readers here at all points on that spectrum. Minimalism is more about how you live in your environment rather than what type of housing you live in.
For the new house, our minimalist environment means we won’t be buying stuff for the house until we reestablish the savings that is going towards our downpayment. We’ll buy essentials, but nothing else. That means no furniture purchases for a while. Also, when we do buy some furniture down the road, we are shopping second hand – likely on craigslist. And most importantly of all, we aren’t stuffing this house with furniture. We will choose right-sized pieces that keep an open and minimal feel.
My wife already tested me on this last night, when her mother offered to give us a desk for one of the rooms that we will be making into an office. The desk is huge and is full of built in cabinets. It’s probably eight feet long and is designed to go up against a wall. I had to tell her no to that desk. Her initial response was, “but it’s free.” Free or cheap is a common trap that leads to clutter.
After a short discussion she agreed that it’s not the right desk for us. It would be a magnet for clutter and would be too big for the room. I want a more zen like feel to our office with a single small desk and maybe a small filing cabinet or shelf hidden away in the closet. An office will be a nice addition for her since she works out of the home to do all her paperwork in between client visits. Like everything else in this house, it’s not a need to have, but it will be a nice to have.
She has also agreed to take on most of the maintenance in the house. One of my favorite things about renting is that I don’t have to worry about maintenance. She has agreed to handle all the maintenance, and what she can’t handle she’ll either call family for help or call in the professionals. (I’m not going to be a jerk about it, I’ll help out when needed, but she’ll be taking the lead on getting things done.)
The final concession is that she has to go back to work and pick up more hours than she had been working. She had already planned that when she fell in love with this house and is currently working with an agency to fill up her case load. Her work as a behavior therapist pays well, so her extra income will cover the extra expenses of home ownership.
She’ll finish her master’s degree and certify at a higher level in about a year, which will result in an even higher income. That should help reestablish our vacation fund.
She is making a lot of sacrifices to have a house. I don’t necessarily agree that those sacrifices are worth it, but she believes they are. Perhaps in the short term they are worth it. She’s more motivated than I’ve ever seen her. She’s tackling the financial aspects, managing all the people involved (real estate agent, mortgage brokers, banks, inspectors), and really doing everything that needs doing.
And in the long term, who knows, maybe everything will work out. Worst case, we can always sell it a few years down the road and go back to renting or do something else. We’re buying this house at just a little more than it sold for just before the housing bubble began, so I don’t suspect it will lose too much value and will more than likely increase in value.
I want to mention one thing that I really like about this house. The master bathroom has a really sleek minimalist feel. There is very little counter space. In lieu of counter space they have slim vertical cabinets mounted on the wall beside the sink. To most people a lack of counter space would be a negative, but I always hated how cluttered a bathroom counter can get. With this setup, all our stuff can be stored in the cabinets, and the bathroom can always be clutter free.
At this point, our offer on the house has been accepted. We’re waiting for the final paperwork back from the seller and then our next step is to arrange for an inspection. My wife is busily working on all the details, shuffling paperwork off to the realtor, finalizing details on the loan, and will soon get the inspection lined up.
As I said at the beginning of the post. I’m ok with the purchase now. From a blogging and coaching standpoint, it may even be beneficial, as it gives me more perspective on the intricacies of relationships as they relate to living arrangements. Up to this point my wife and I have always agreed on our next move. With this new house we had to work through some major disagreements to reach a point of compromise. I have much more insight into what most couples are going through when one decides to downsize and the other does not agree. Honestly I am much more sympathetic to that situation than I was before.
That’s where we are now. I’ll keep you posted as things progress. I’ll continue to mix in some other posts about decluttering and organizing as well so we don’t lose focus on what’s important in your life while our story develops.
I want to thank everyone that chimed in on Facebook, in the comments section on our differing dreams post, and those that sent me a personal email (I haven’t responded to all those yet but I got them.) I am very thankful for all the advice you gave and it helped me immensely as we worked through our disagreements to come to a consensus. I really couldn’t ask for a better or more understanding group of friends.
If anyone ever needs help with a tough situation that relates to decluttering, downsizing, or even upsizing, I am here for you, and our community is here for you. Feel free to ask for help in our Facebook group, send me an email through our contact page, or schedule a free one hour coaching session. This blog is all about helping others on our unique path of downsizing, minimalism, and simplicity. When you share in the comments sections and on Facebook you aren’t just helping me, you are helping thousands of people that visit looking for advice. And for that and for all the help you’ve offered me personally I am eternally grateful.