The Fat Hydrangea

Cleveland, Ohio

Choosing our 1st Home over the Dream Home (Budget & Location)

Sara B3 Comments

I'm not going to lie, lately I've found myself dreaming about a new house QUITE often. One with a bigger yard, an open floorplan, more storage, an additional second floor bathroom, better curb appeal,  bigger kitchen, etc. I am loving the idea of buying land, building a farmhouse, having a huge garden,  room for the kid(s) to run around, and a house we can really put our mark on! We've toyed with the idea of upgrading more times than I even count. Here is our current home (well, before we painted the shutters!):

And here are the visions in my head of our DREAM home:

However, when we step back and REALLY look at our situation, this has been a perfect first house for us the last 4-years, and will definitely continue to be for at least a few more. Here is why:

1) Location. It is a great, central location between my job, Evan's job, and Evan's parent's house, which makes logistics of getting Miles to-and-from my inlaw's house Monday-Thursday pretty darn seamless. Plus, we are within walking distance of some awesome parks, the pool, and Miles' future elementary school. There is a Target and a Whole Foods within walking distance as well - which makes life so much easier! Not to mention some good restaurants, ice cream shops, and Starbucks within a few blocks! I love the walk-ability (is that even a word?) of our community. We also have amazing neighbors and friends nearby. There were 5 kids on the street born the same year as Miles, and I picture him romping around the neighborhood with them and becoming great friends! Though the appeal of more space is nice, there are oodles of blessings of where we currently live, too, that I need to keep in mind!

2) Budget. This house is also reallllllly nice on our wallets! Though I won't share the specific numbers, I will say that our mortgage payment is less than 10% of gross income, which is great for our budget. It allows us right off the bat to live below our means, and put money into retirement, college savings, an emergency fund, and our "future dreams savings."  When we first got married, we were not making much money and had a pretty hefty amount in student loans. We lived in one bedroom apartments for over 3-years while we paid off debt and started to build our savings. We rarely ate out, we didn't take vacations, and we pinched our pennies at every corner until we kissed Sallie Mae goodbye! (One of the best days of my life, lol) That being said, we know what it is like to feel pinched, and we never want to feel that way again! Not that building a new house would make us feel pinched by any means (we'd never put ourselves in that position!), right now we just have the awesome opportunity to save our excess cashflow. When we sit down and look at our budget, if we can continue to live here for awhile longer, we can truly maximize the investment can we make in our savings and in our future and that really, really excites us! It would mean us not just being in a good financial situation, but an absolutely GREAT one!

All of this being said, we still have the goal of moving into our "dream house" -without a doubt! But I think for us for right now, enjoying the blessings of this great location and financial situation make this a great place for us. Not to say we won't continue to consider alternatives, watch the market, and keep an eye on interest rates (and of course all plans are subject to change!) but still, it is really encouraging to be able to circle back to these major benefits when the frustrations of being in tight quarters or the temptation on splurging on a house on the top end of our budget right now creep in.

One great piece of advice I received is to balance working towards your dreams while enjoying where you are currently are in life, and that is exactly what we are doing!

PS - I'd love to hear your thoughts on your house budget, including how you budgeted for your home, how you feel about it, mistakes you made, and things you are thankful for!  Also, how you balance your living in your current home vs. wanting your dream home! Please share!