I know there is one school of thought that says I should have quit looking at new real estate listings the minute I went under contract (so I wouldn't see something better and feel like I'd made the wrong decision) but I couldn't resist the temptation. First, if something dramatically better did come along, I would have sacrificed my deposit on the other house to get out of the contract. Second, if the first house fell through, I wanted to be prepared to jump on whatever else was out there.
For the most part, I have been pleased with the results of my continued looking. I haven't found a single house that I would rather have than the one I am buying, largely because I am very happy with my house's location (and very picky about acceptable locations).
But when I started seeing much larger houses than mine coming on the market for the same price, that's when I felt some buyer's remorse. One of the few things I compromised on with my house is that it isn't quite as big as what I wanted. It's definitely big enough for my needs, but I really would have liked an extra 100-250 square feet. And now there are houses with an extra 700 square feet selling for the same price I'm paying for my house.
I'm sure it will only get worse. I'm fully expecting housing prices to fall even further, but I want to move now. There is so much turmoil in the markets right now that I think it's impossible to predict what will happen with mortgage interest rates, how easy it will be to qualify for a loan in the future, or what will happen with housing prices. We have a new president coming into office in a few months and that's likely to change things significantly. I know that I can afford a house now, I can get a loan now, I like interest rates now, I found a house I like now, and I don't plan on moving again (ever) so I can handle being upside down for a while if that happens. As the old saying goes, "un pajaro en la mano vale dos en el arbusto" (a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush--for some reason, I learned this expression in Spanish before I learned it in English).
The thing is, with a bigger house come bigger expenses--namely, heating and cooling, furnishing, and renovating (I can barely afford to put hardwood floors in the house I'm buying--I couldn't afford to put them in a big house). So really, the smaller house makes more sense financially. If it ends up being too small down the road, I can always move or build an addition. But if I buy a big house that's located near the train tracks or on a busy street, I can't move the house to get some peace and quiet. And peace and quiet was number one on my list (tied with safety).
Photo by JOEM500 (of a house I definitely cannot afford!)
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