Trying to put down roots

Lately, I’ve been seriously thinking about the idea of trying to buy the house we’ve been renting for the past five years. I’d love to put down roots and find some way to stay here permanently. (I know, I know… I’ve also been talking about wanting to move out of Texas. The two are not necessarily contradictory; I’m just pondering my options.)

Of course, that depends on several factors. The first and most significant is whether or not our landlord would sell it to us. I don’t think he likely would, since he owns several properties that he rents out. He probably wouldn’t want to give up a steady stream of his investment income.

My husband dismissed the idea when I mentioned it to him, saying that the house would be too big for me alone once the kids all move out. But I’m not terribly worried about that, as I don’t think the house is exceptionally oversized. Yes, it’s 2000 square feet, so it’s definitely not small, and it does have four bedrooms. That’s more than I would need once all the kids move out, for sure, but unless I rent an apartment, I’d still probably have 3 bedrooms anyway because 2-bedroom houses are rare here.

I think that a big part of it is just that I’m really comfortable here and I don’t foresee myself wanting to move, even once my husband and kids are gone. I like the neighborhood, it’s safe, and I know my way around. I know all the quirks of the house, too, because no house is without them, and I can live with the ones this house has.

Interestingly, although I mentioned the other day that my middle son and I both have some nomadic tendencies, I am also a creature of habit. We’ve lived in this house the longest only after the house we owned in Michigan. If we owned it right now already and my husband didn’t have cancer and continued his career growth and made a lot more money, I wouldn’t see myself wanting to “trade up” to a bigger or fancier or newer house in a more popular neighborhood.

One of my criticisms of the people in this area is that for those in the middle class who are upwardly mobile, they tend to move to newer houses in newer suburbs pretty frequently. Where I live now isn’t the most popular suburb by far; it’s actually seen as kinda lower middle class and a lot of the houses are considered “starter homes” (a term I hate for many reasons.)

My husband isn’t interested in approaching our landlord to see if he’d sell us the house. And in truth, with the kind of money we’d be able to put down now, our payments (including property taxes) wouldn’t be that much cheaper than what we pay for rent.

But with my husband gone and with the life insurance payout, I could put half of that money down and then I could have this house for about $800 a month, property taxes included. And that’s significantly cheaper than what it would cost to rent a 1-bedroom apartment. Who knows? Maybe the landlord would be more likely to sell to me if I were widowed and just didn’t want to leave my home.

Yes, this is mostly just daydreaming to distract myself. But it also occurred to me that staying put could actually be not only an option, but a financially smart one. And if there’s one thing I really don’t want to do after losing my husband, it will be moving. Just the comfort of my surroundings is something I’d really love to maintain, especially at a time of losing my biggest source of comfort of all.

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