Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Enumerating the Uncertainties

I would be lying if I told you I was perfectly at peace with our decision to purchase a home next month (we close mid-Feb). When I visit the house, everything feels right. But then I get back to the daily grind, and my confidence is shaken by the steady drumbeat of layoffs and record setting economic bad news.

I am a planner, and therefore very unsettled by uncertainty. Unfortunately, right now, uncertainty abounds. We are making this purchase decision based on assumptions and expectations about our future. Given our assumptions, the decision seems a reasonable one. But who is to say if those expectations actually play out? For instance, our intention is to stay in this home till our little ones graduate high school. But a lot can happen in 20 years (medical, family, job issues).

By the time we close escrow, we will have waited out the bubble for almost 2.25 years. Mr. BT and I are both ready to move on, and focus our efforts on other things. We look forward to designing our backyard and planting fruit trees, starting a real garden, and getting to know the neighbors.

Some days the anxiety is worse than others. Today is one of those days.....sigh.


Deflationary Jane said...

That last 10k layoffs at boeing is a killer >; (

PeonInChief said...

It's called "buyer's remorse," and it's very common. Did I do the right thing? Do I really like this house? Is there a better one out there? What if something happens?

You can't predict the future (but if you can, I need six good numbers). It will be okay--and I expect a really good housewarming party.

Buying Time said...

"It's called "buyer's remorse," "

Yes, its a chronic condition of mine. Mr. BT is trying to cure me of it. He wouldn't let me look at another mattress place after we purchased ours last summer. Man those things are expensive.

Ah, I did promise a housewarming (although I think that was for 2008 =) Perhaps a BBQ in spring time.

patient renter said...

Knowing you made the best decision for your circumstances based on all of the available data, not being lazy or selling yourself short, is all one can ask of themselves. For that you should be at peace :)

Husmanen said...

Scary - yes
Exciting - yes
Emotional - yes

You have much more knowledge and information than your 'average buyer' and that can be a two edged sword.

From your previous posts and comments your decision was made based on what is best for you and your family, with a spread sheet and bounced of specific criteria of course :-).

Risky - yes, but without risk there is no reward.

RV6Flyer said...


For four years we rented a very cute pile of junk in Curtis Park waiting for the bubble to burst. Finally, when the plumbing backed up into our master bedroom and down the stairs, I got fed up and called up a realtor. A month later we were in contact on a OUR house.

While I am sure we purchased too soon--March 08--in a neighborhood that is sure to have much more downside--Fab 40's--we can't be happier. We were sick with buyers remorse during the whole closing process. Now that we are beginning to settle in, I could give a hoot about seeing a couple hundred thousand in equity evaporate. Having our neighbors over for dinner, doing improvements that make the house ours, and not giving a crap what the LL thinks is worth every lost penny.

Deflationary Jane said...


Move in and enjoy - that's an order woman! Your decision making faculties are something I don't worry about. It's everyone else that frightens me >; )

Seriously, I wish other folks thought about what they were doing a 1/5 as much as you did.

Cmyst said...

I agree -- and I'm somewhat envious. The notion of not having to move again sure sounds like Heaven. Your eyes are wide open, and you're not trying to "invest" here in anything but a stable base for your family and a sense of community, and you've researched the area. I doubt very much that you're making a mistake, and while you might not be building equity for awhile, in the long run I think you're going to be very happy.

Buying Time said...

Thanks for the pep talk everyone. I am feeling much better today. We have our walk through.....I get to learn about all super shmazzy appliances that come with our place. We met the neighbors across the way, they have kids the same age as ours. Her hubby works for the sheriff's office. I also saw two young kids playing next door, and on the other side I saw an older boy (hmm...maybe he has a sister who can babysit!).

PeonInChief said...


We used our stimulus for a new mattress. It's a dream, but heavy and, omigod, expensive!

norcaljeff said...

I still don't see the rush in buying now. You better than anyone should be taking your own advice. The govt is going to be pulling out all the stops to get people back into homes, or stay in homes. You should have waited. Prices will continue to fall and you'll have more choices in what you can buy and afford farther out in the future.

Bryan said...

Thanks, Jeff. You're a real Mr. Feelgood. LOL.

Tank said...

It is fine to buy now if you do not care about prices going down substantially in the middle upper to lower high end part of the market. The upper middle to lower high end is going to get hit hard after those high paying salaried jobs evaporate. Expect your $500,000 house to be worth $400,000 in three years. But if you live in it for 20 years who cares?

Jacob said...

Yea it is ok to buy now if you plan on living in the place for a long time and if a loss of $100k on paper wouldn't bother you.

If the home goes down in value but you value having a home more then go for it.

Also you should be able to pay for the home with 1 income since jobs are uncertain nowadays.

I won't be looking to buy until we start to add jobs. When that happens, the bottom may be coming within a year or 2.

I have been looking tho, and if I happen to find the perfect home I might buy sooner, but with all the uncertainty in the job market, and not knowing what will happen to the neiborhood after I move in it is very unlikely that I buy anything anytime soon.

I have been patient for 4 years, I can wait another 2-3 if need be.

sacramentia said...

Don't you close pretty soon? If anyone thought it through, you did. Congratulations on the new home.

norcaljeff said...

Bryan, everyone says that to me, I'm not the nurturing type I guess, if by nurturing I have to put aside reality and cynicism lol.

And I don't get this comment either, I've seen it posted in this blog and others, its the most non coherent and illogical statement I've ever heard:
"I bought my home X months ago KNOWING that it would go down in price. But I feel good about it."

Whoa! You feel good about making a decision, financially speaking mind you, that out of the gate incurs a loss? One that you could fully remedy by waiting? That's like saying "I know this car will be $3,000 cheaper this weekend but I feel good about getting it right now. And I don't care what others might think"

Is it any wonder this world is in the mess it is.

Yes, more feel good statements by me :)