The House on Swan Lane

Sometimes it’s difficult to believe how stark the contrast can be from one moment to the next—how life can change in an instant, in the time it takes to blink.

Sally Sparrow agrees with me.

Sally Sparrow agrees with me.

It’s been a little over a hundred days since the last I posted on blackfield. What has changed, you say? Only everything! We’re buying a house—a very, very, very fine house. Erm, there won’t be two cats in the yard (far as I know, anyway), and I can’t remember the other lyrics to that song so I can’t tell you how else The House on Swan Lane differs, but I’m guessing it does in some insignificant way.

I ramble. Never mind.

The point is that we hadn’t planned on buying a house. I mean, at one time, when we were newly-ish married and reasonably-sized houses in the area were priced at around 500,000 dollars, we had despaired of the possibility. Then, either as a coping mechanism or the realization that owning a home was a terrifying responsibility (no, really), we decided we weren’t really interested in buying; we’d be completely content to rent (I rhyme!) for the rest of our days. It really didn’t seem like such a bad deal—I mean, you pay your rent and when something breaks, someone else pays to fix it as long as whatever wasn’t your fault to begin with. With the minor stuff, the husband does the work (which is awesome and sexy…very useful) and we don’t have to deal with the landlords at all. No big deal.

A few years later, when the housing market imploded and real estate prices were dropping like the sky was falling, still—this did not inspire in us the desire to own a home. We were in quite a bit of debt (not so much we couldn’t pay the bills, but enough that we had little-to-no margin) and we quite honestly couldn’t imagine that any sane bank would be willing to loan us any significant amount of money after so many financial institutions struggled under the fallout of high-risk loans gone wrong.

It wasn’t until we began to be very frustrated with living in a condo attached to other people’s homes that we reconsidered our position.

One day at work, a friend of mine began to talk about re-financing her home. She said that over the course of her 15 year term loan, she saved a whopping $200,000. My eyes bugged out, of course, and I wanted to know how all that worked. I didn’t know anything at all about interest rates, you see, and how they are lower now than they have been since just after the great depression. All I knew was that 18% interest rates on my credit card means that I paid a lot more than 500 bucks for that camera I couldn’t wait to save up for back in 2003—the camera that I don’t even have anymore.

To make a very long story a little bit shorter—the bottom line is that I got tired of paying a thousand bucks a month for a two bedroom shoe box I hate living in when I could pay a couple (okay, a little more than a couple) hundred bucks extra for a three bedroom house with a garage and a yard that I’d OWN, with money loaned nearly for free at 3.5% interest.

(It’s not free of course; we’re still talking in the hundreds of thousands paid in interest, but still—that’s nothing compared to what we’d owe at 5% or 7 or 8.)

So, we’ve done everything we can to pay off debt. We found an amazing real-estate agent and a mortgage broker guy that works hard for us. We found a house we love and Escrow has nearly closed on the deal. The place has so, so much potential and it’s going to be fabulous. In the coming months (and years, probably), I hope to share with all of you the process of making The Swan House a home. Sound good to you?

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