On finding a place to live

I promised I would discuss this topic, so here we go…

Jimmy and I are getting married in June. We will move in wherever we live after our wedding, due to our belief that couples shouldn’t cohabitate before marriage. As of right now, we still haven’t found a place to live.

We would love to own a small, cheap starter home once we’re married. Finding one has been such a tough process, though! We have been torn about where to live since we got engaged. Right now, we live about an hour away from each other. Jimmy is a welder for his family’s business, and lives about five minutes from where he works.

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In February, we put an offer on an inexpensive duplex near where I live, but the seller wouldn’t drop the price, so we gave up on that. We have been in some homes that felt like they were going to cave in. We’ve visited a condo, and also had some fun experiences with eccentric home owners looking to sell their houses.

Then, earlier this month, we found the perfect house. A super affordable three bedroom (babies!) house with a fenced yard (dogs!). It didn’t need any work, came with all major appliances, and only one family had ever lived in it. The only downside of the house was its distance from where Jimmy works. It was about an hour away from his workplace (and super close to where I currently live).

We weren’t sure what to do, so we decided to just put an offer on it and see what happened. Well, the offer got accepted. We started going through the process of buying the home, and yet… it didn’t feel right.

My dad and Jimmy inspecting the house.

My dad and Jimmy inspecting the house.

We prayed and talked a lot about how it would impact our marriage if Jimmy had to drive two hours (in Pittsburgh traffic, which is often horrendous) every weekday. We want to spend as much time as possible together when we’re married, and Jimmy having to drive two hours a day doesn’t mesh with that goal.

So we sheepishly backed out of the contract. We both were a little embarrassed to be changing our minds, yet relieved that we were following where God was leading us. We figured that it’s better to back out before buying the house than to regret our choice in the future.

It seemed like the perfect house because of the price and amenities, but in reality, it wasn’t perfect because of the location. It was a hard choice because only one aspect of the house was negative (the location), but we knew that that one aspect would make a big impact on our lives, you know? We learned that a cheap, seemingly perfect house doesn’t automatically mean we’ll be happy, especially if it doesn’t allow us to spend a lot of time together.

The window that I fell in love with...haha.

The window that I fell in love with…haha.

So, we have finally decided to look at houses exclusively in the area by Jimmy’s workplace (which we really should have done all along…). The only problem is that the houses are about twice as expensive as the houses in the area where I live (where we’ve been looking). We have tried looking at houses in his area, but the inexpensive ones often need so much serious foundation-type work that they’re not even worth the low price.

Obviously, we know we can rent. We really don’t want to, but it’s not the end of the world. Right now, we’re still looking at houses and just being patient and trusting God. It’s tough to feel like “time is running out” to find a place to live before we get married, but I know He has a plan for us and rushing into buying a house just to have a place to live when we get married isn’t smart.

Wherever we end up–whether renting, living with family for a while, or finding a house–is part of God’s plan. He’s got everything under control! I also know that we’ll be happy because we’ll be together. We may not get what we want right off the bat, and that’s okay. I’d rather follow where God is leading us than follow my own path. I am extremely blessed to be getting married to such an amazing guy, and even being able to consider buying a house.

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I have learned so much in the process of looking for a place to live. I definitely want to discuss more about what I’ve learned, but this post is getting super long, so I’ll go more in-depth about it in the future. I just wanted to update everyone on what’s going on!

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25 comments

  1. Allie – that’s difficult!!! My husband drives almost an hour to work daily, and I can’t say that I recommend it. It’s sort of okay, because he’s patient and can handle it. Also I work second shift type hours so I’m still working when he gets home anyways. But it’s not ideal, especially when you’re first married. Our first place here was about 5 blocks from his office, but it was an apartment and not in the type of neighborhood we wanted to buy in. House hunting is so fun but a little stressful too!!! We actually ended up getting our house super last minute, right before we had to renew a rental lease. Good luck, and scour Trulia daily!! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your honesty about the commuting! Jimmy is patient about things like that too, but I also feel so bad making him do so much driving if he doesn’t have to, you know? Hopefully we will find something soon–patience is hard for me, haha. Thank you for the comment!! I really appreciate it!

  2. You are so smart to consider your goals in picking a place to live. Neither Christopher nor I have ever had more than a 15 minute commute to work and that is super important to us. We know several people who drive an hour or more a day to get to and from work and that just isn’t for us. Like you said, we want to spend that time together! And girl, don’t feel badly about backing out on the house. Guess what, we did the same thing! I actually haven’t thought about that in years because it has been so long ago, but now that I think about it, it felt huge and super embarrassing at the time. But really, it’s no biggie. You are right that you’d rather do it now than regret purchasing the home!

    And I know you know that renting is an option, but I have to tell you – for us, renting as newly weds was definitely the way to go. We started in a teeny tiny 400 square foot 1 bed/1 bath apartment. It was awesome. I could be in the bedroom and carry on a conversation with Christopher while he was in the living room (the two furthest points from each other). When something broke, we called maintenance and they fixed it. We couldn’t own much stuff because we didn’t have space for it. It was a very simple life that first year. We moved into a 1000 square foot 2 bed/2 bath next and had access to a pool and gym and that was the BEST THING EVER. I still miss that pool. I mean, I love my house and all, but the pool was amazing. Apartment living was cheap, maintenance free, and simple. And then our second year of marriage, we bought a house. And it was awesome. And the perfect location. And we fixed it up and have loved it. It gave us a fun project to do together. Anyway, I know not everyone likes to rent, but just wanted to throw it out there that there is a lot of good that can come from renting for a time as well. 🙂

    1. I have to second what Rach is saying! 🙂 Nate and I were pressured to buy a house right away, because we were told that renting would be throwing our money away. But in the end, we ended up having to rent… and it was the best decision ever! It was simple, yet so wonderful. I look back on those days and just smile from happiness. Don’t get me wrong, owning a home is absolutely amazing too!! But there are more responsibilities that come with it, which can mean headaches too. Sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy renting when you first get married, so that you can just have fun… being married!
      But all that to say, I’ll be praying for you, Girl! The right thing will happen! And you’re right, God will open doors for you if – and when – it’s meant to be. 🙂

    2. I’m glad to heard we aren’t the only ones who have backed out on a house! It definitely was embarrassing, but you’re right, it already feels like less of a big deal now! I definitely hope that we can live very close to where Jimmy works–I want to be able to see him as much as possible :). We are definitely considering renting! We’re not totally against it, but we would definitely love to have a home. We are just going to follow where God leads us and be happy no matter what situation we end up in! Thank you so much for your comment! I means a lot to hear advice/encouragement from a Christian woman that I look up to!

  3. You are soooo in the right place (haha – pun intended?) with this. The important thing is not the amenities of a house but how well it will allow you to live the life together that you want to live. Him driving two hours a day is not conducive for that goal! It is great that you guys went with your gut and backed out of the contract. Wise decision, in my opinion!

    I also agree with what Rach said above. Maybe renting is the way to go! Call someone else when stuff is broken. Take the time to find a forever home or a next-phase-of-our-life-home on YOUR terms and schedule, not driven by the deadline of the wedding.

    1. Exactly! It all came down us wanting to line our choice up with our goal. So many things seemed right, but one big thing was wrong, and that made all the difference! I like what you said about taking our time, too. Intend to be in a rush about things like that, so I am definitely being more open to renting and other situations :). Thank you for your comment! I really appreciate it!

  4. You are such a smart girl. Rushing into a house that wouldn’t leave you absolutely happy is definitely not a good decision. Trusting God on the other hand, though, is a very wise decision. As you’ve said, everything will fall into place when it is supposed to 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for the comment! It makes me feel good to know that you care and are so supportive! I know you’ve been through/are going through this process (house hunting and wedding planning) and can totally relate!

  5. I think you should definitely delve into this topic further as you learn more! I’m going to be doing some serious apartment hunting myself in the coming months. Hopefully I’ll find something soon into my search, but I can see that it’s definitely a challenge.

    1. I wish you the best of luck with apartment hunting! I bet it will be smooth for you! It seems like there are a lot more options with apartments than with houses, haha. I definitely plan on posting more about what lessons I’ve learned! Patience is a big one, haha!

  6. You are so wise beyond your years. Like I had told you before, we had debated buying versus renting but who knows how long we will be here realistically. We ended up chosing a slightly cheaper place (very close to Tim’s work) and although it’s further from everything else I couldn’t be happier.

    1. Thank you for the compliment, Hollie! I do remember you telling me about you and Tim having to make that decision! I bet that was tough after all the moving you had just done, too. I’m glad that you’re happy with being close to where Tim works, too! It’s so good to hear that 🙂

  7. I really think you guys made the right decision. Driving two hours everyday would definitely take a toll on anyone! I agree with you – God will make everything right eventually. He has an ultimate plan! 🙂 ❤

    1. Thank you, Leigha! Now that I think about it, the decision should have been totally clear–who wants to drive that much?! Maybe Nascar drivers? Haha! And thank you for your sweet words. It’s all in God’s plan, and His plan = perfect!

  8. Allie, you are smart to back out of the house. Buying a home is a HUGE decision and location is a huge part of that! You can change a lot of things about a home- look at all those reality shows where they transform homes. But unless you buy a mobile home or an RV, you can’t exactly move it.

    We waited to buy a home… in fact, we waited quite awhile. The smartest thing was NOT buying a home in Florence because we ended up moving from there a year after we got married. we would have had to sell that home and deal with moving and of course, wanting to own a home here in Charleston. Clay actually was going to buy a home for awhile there and backed out (before we were even engaged much less married).

    Do not be afraid to rent for a few months or a year. You could possibly even get a 6 month lease on an apartment if that’s all you needed, give yourself time to hunt and time for more homes to come onto the market, etc. Plus, with your decision not to live with Jimmy until you’re married, it’s really hard to purchase a home and then for only one of you to be able to live there, and you have to be flexible with closing, etc sometimes when you purchase… so with renting that will make that a bit easier.

    1. You’re so right, Amy! I never thought about a house that way. You really can do a ton to a house… Except move it! It’s definitely a big decision, and it won’t hurt us one bit to rent if we can’t find a home or aren’t sure about what to do. Thank you for the comment! I appreciate your encouragement and support 🙂

  9. Allie, I can see how you and Jimmy were torn on the decision about that house, but I really admire the way you both were able to prioritize your relationship. I really think you made the right choice. Pittsburgh traffic certainly can be horrendous at times!

    I can only imagine how stressful the house-hunting process must be, but I have faith that you two will find a wonderful place to live and it will all be worth it. Things will come together in God’s time!

    1. Thank you for the comment, Carli! I appreciate what you said about us prioritizing our relationship! That’s something we really try to do, and to hear that you think we’re doing it means a lot! And yes… Pittsburgh traffic can be a real struggle! Thank you so much for your sweet words… You’re right, it’s all in God’s timing!

  10. You guys will find the perfect house!! I have no doubt!!! You made the right decision by baking out of that house. Jimmy wouldn’t enjoy such a long commute and you would never see him!!

  11. Purchasing your first house is no easy feat. I know how you feel about backing out of an agreement. We did the exact same thing and it was really tough. We talked about it a lot and even had some strong words with each other but in the end decided that it didn’t feel right at all. And we were arguing over a house! If this was something that was going to continue to cause arguments in the future, it wasn’t worth it.

    We waited SIX months until we found our perfect house. I walked into it with my Mom and said, “this is it”. And now…we absolutely love it. You know when it will feel right, and that is when you should go for it. Only you two can decide and figure that out. And don’t rush it, because it takes time for that perfect match to come your way, just like it took time for God to show you Jimmy. 😉

    1. Agreed! It has been such a long process! I’m glad to hear that we weren’t the only ones to back out of a contract! Having Jimmy drive that much would have just been really hard on us both, and we don’t need any extra strain, especially as we’re going to be newly weds soon! You’re right, I just have to give it time and trust God in the meantime. Thank you so much for your comment! It means a lot to me!

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