Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reflections on Our Princess Getting her own Kingdom

      Our daughter is the eldest of our now five children.  She was born in the mid-eighties, and then her first brother was born a year later.  She has been very interesting to raise, in part because she is nothing like me.  I am verbal, and tended to do well in those types of pursuits, and I am not terribly good at spatial relations issues and mathematics has challenged me. I have a primarily auditory memory   Our daughter, is terribly gifted in art, spatial relations,mathematics and physics, and primarily relies on visual inputs to learn. Many parents might not know this about their children, but having homeschooled everyone, I am very aware of the learning styles of each of us.
            Now in her twenties, a university graduate with a good job,  it is time for her either to get an apartment, or to buy a home.  Living in a rural community and commuting a distance to her job and her clients, we don't have apartments here. Many young adults remain with their parents after college until they buy or build their own homes.  Some of them wait until marriage to buy.  A few rent apartments and share the rent with friends, but less so these days, because many young people have no idea whether their jobs will last as long as their lease.
             Our daughter decided that with interest rates low, and some house prices low, that this might be a good time to buy. Rather than buying a car after college, she kept her old one, and began to put away her money. She paid her student loans each month, but saved as much as she could.  We charged her a modest rent which we thought helpful in allowing her to save sufficiently to buy a home.
             The adventure in selecting a home and ultimately buying one, would make a good contemporary book. We are told so much about "How great the interest rates are" and "How it is a buyers market" that it's easy to forget that the process is almost never easy.   As we have mentioned, our area had a rather significant earthquake and many damaged houses which should probably be bulldozed, simply sit for sale on Multiple Listing Services. For some of these homes,  "As is" might as well mean,  "Home is a worthless hazard, value is in the land, and septic and well which are on the lot."  She might be pre-qualified to get a mortgage. She might be ready to tackle normal homeownership, but she is not ready to tackle a challenging job with the rebuilding of a decimated house !

This funny picture seemed somehow fitting.  Our daughter is moving her twenty something years of books, art supplies, bookcases, and everything else herself in multiple car trips, and it is likely to look a little bit like this.  In addition, the car in the picture is a Peugeot.  My first car was a Peugeot and I miss it.  Even the turbans on the heads of the men in the car is a giggle for us. As hot as it may be during her move, we may have to do the same thing.

             Each time a new home is listed, our realtor e-mails us information and pictures, and I do a quick drive by. I can rule out most homes for her. If there is any promise at all, I e-mail the data to Stephanie at work, and we arrange a showing of that property with her realtor.  Unfortunately, when something good does appear, Stephanie often cannot get away from work quickly enough to view it.  Sometimes she can go and see it, but while she is sleeping on the decision overnight, someone else puts a contract on it.  She has lost a couple of great houses this way, and the process gets frustrating fast.   We went on like this for about seven months.
             One day a couple of months ago, a house came to my e-mail.  I went out immediately to look, and it was charming.  I made an appointment for Stephanie to see it as soon as possible, and fortunately, her own schedule allowed this. My husband and I went with her, and after she looked at everything, she placed an offer on the house immediately, contingent upon a whole house inspection. The contract was accepted, and the journey toward homeownership began.
              In most first home purchases, there is plenty that can, and does go wrong.  Often, it is problems with the house inspection itself, and those surprises leave the prospective buyer wondering if they wish to buy or not, or the seller wondering if they wish to pay to repair the deficiencies.  Sometimes, the appraisal does not meet expectations.  In our daughters case, the snags were surprises.  The house turned out not to have any major deficiencies and the well and septic were in good shape. Anything that must be done there is purely cosmetic.  However, while her loan was in underwriting, the company changed their requirements and would not approve her loan.  This left her scrambling for a new loan company in time to meet anything approaching the contractual closing date.  Things looked bleak as the original company recommended a mortgage broker who specialized in "unusual cases".  Our daughter's was unusual in that she doesn't use credit much, and therefore has a limited track record on her credit report.  Finally, a company was located who would make this loan, and would keep it as an investment themselves, rather than selling the loan bundled with others immediately.
             It is a great house and I could not be happier.  It has a wonderful large yard of several acres. It has a pond. It is large enough to provide space for all her interests and projects, and even a roommate if she so chooses, but it is small enough to allow her to maintain it properly.  It is far away enough that we will not trip over one another, yet close enough that we can see one another when we need or wish to.
             I think I am supposed to be a little bit melancholy at the prospect of our only daughter moving out to her own house.  As much as I adore her, I am elated.  I know what my first home meant to me, and I am excited to see our Princess make the jump to her own kingdom.   Daniel would be really proud of her also.  In fact, he once said that when she moved out, he was going with her, in part to deep an eye on her, as a protective brother might, and in part because it would be an exciting and new experience for him.  In a sense, I wonder if his spirit will not only watch our farm, but her home as well.

For someone who doesn't yet have a house, our daughter certainly has enough stuff for one !

This is a prior post on this subject:


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