: I finally made it to the end of the thread!
We're in one of those high-priced over-inflated areas. We have a small, 1968 built 3 bedroom, 1 bath rambler that needs a lot of work - when we bought it, it seemed to mostly just need some cosmetic stuff and updating in the "future". We closed two weeks after Sept. 11, 2001. Two days after we moved in the fridge died and we had to replace it (we bought used). Then DH lost his job 2 weeks later. He was unemployed for 6-1/2 months. We still haven't truly recovered.
We did have a 3% down loan with PMI through a 30 yr. fixed gov't loan. Then we refi'd and got am 80%/20% loan with two mortgages. Last year we refi'd again and used the equity to pay off the 20% loan which was a 10 year loan with a balloon pymt. The other had been a 30 yr fixed.
We have some equity to "spare" and still have a 30 yr fixed mortgage. However, our property taxes have gone up each year quite a lot - right now they're around $3800-4000 per year. Our house appraised for 100K more than our current loan so that's good. But we need to do a lot of work on this place. And right now, we just don't have the money.
DH's current job has been a bit rocky lately. When we first bought the house, we had $0 debt. Now we have added debt besides the mortgage. At this time, we are trying to decide if we should try to stick it out here or try to find more affordable housing. Or if DH will have to find a new job that makes more $$. (He really likes where he is at and that means a lot too and the whole job issue is very complicated. He is paid pretty well and I currently SAH.)
I could go back to work. but I'd have to go to back to school to make a decent wage. And we don't find it feasible or reasonable to pay someone else to care for DD while I work a job I don't care much about and end up making less than $2.50 an hour after day care and expenses. Plus we want to homeschool.
We have one car which will be paid off in about a year. DH works from home 2/week and then takes the bus into the city the other days. The commute sucks.
We've been considering selling off and on for a couple years now because we just don't have the money, the time, energy or know-how to be DIY'ers. It often times feels like just too much. I'm anticipating possible roof/siding issues coming up. We need to paint the outside - but how do I know if it's OK to paint, or if I should just get the siding replaced? (Not in the budget right now anyway.) There are so many things to do we don't know where to start. And we've had to hire out to fix both gas-line problems and plumbing leaks in the past 3 years.
Right now, our neighborhood is kind of up and coming - people have been coming in and "flipping" houses all around us. I'm wondering at this point if it may be in our best interest to sell to an investor or to someone who likes to buy fixers and live in them while they improve them.
If we do that, we're faced with the options of renting for awhile and possibly staying on this side of town. Or possibly downsizing to a condo - 2 bd tops if we stay in this general area. Or maybe venturing out to more affordable areas in the general region that would have a comparable commute??
We could get nicer houses farther away from here (not in the boonies either) for less money - esp if we can recoup a decent amt on the equity. But then we have to decide - condo or house? Either way, it would have to be something already in good condition that would only need general scheduled maintenance for some time and we'd need to have an extra $ put away for emergency stuff. And probably only a small yard without so much maintenance involved. For us at this time anyway, owning this house has been rather overwhelming.
And we've lived in this general area for 8+ years now (some renting before this house). We have some acquaintances in our neighborhood but no close ties. However, there are now many families with young children living here so there is definite potential if we decide to stay. At this point, we just have a lot of thinking to do. We're also trying to re-evaluate what is important to us in our lives - what brings us joy - because lately we haven't been able to do many of those things.
Plus, I have no retirement savings at all. DH has a 401K but could use more and we want to save some money for DD for college.
So point of all this rambling? I guess just that we're kind of in the middle of the whole rent vs. buy - what the heck should we do thing ourselves. We'll see how it plays out. It's been great to read everyone's thoughts, experiences and opinions on this thread. Thanks!