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I’d like to tell you a story today. I debated on posting this or not, since it’s not the usual practical tips to help your life I like to share, but I believe there’s a lot to be learned from our story. I hope that it encourages you, and if you’re in a place like I was, I’m sure you can apply it towards your life as well. Thanks for reading!
We made a huge mistake.
I remember like it was yesterday how it felt when we decided to start shopping for a home. After all, it was only two years ago.
The Excitement of the Beginning
We were beyond excited. We had lived in apartments for about two years, and that was long enough for us. We wanted space, privacy, and covered parking would sure be nice too.
On paper, we could afford to purchase a home. My husband and I both worked full time at good jobs, and we were pre-approved for a mortgage the first day we applied.
We picked out the perfect home, and after a few months of going through paperwork (lots and lots of paperwork) we signed on the dotted line and they handed us the keys.
It was thrilling! Our friends and family came over and were so impressed and happy for us. I remember my dad saying that this wasn’t the starter home people typically purchased–this was more like a second or third home.
I remember feeling a twinge of guilt, but I pushed that feeling down. After all, my husband and I worked hard and were always pretty good with our money. We even bought the home for a little bit less than the bank fully approved us for. We had made good choices in life, and were reaping the benefits from those choices.
When the Payments Started
From the first mortgage payment, I believe deep down my husband and I were a little uncomfortable. Due to issues with the appraisal and closing costs increasing, our lender agreed to pay some of the closing costs if we went up a half percent on our interest rate on the home. At that point we wanted the house so bad that we agreed. This led to our mortgage payment being slightly above the max we wanted to pay, but we went through with it anyway.
Fast forward a year later, and our payment increased again, this time due to taxes going up. It was no small increase either–we were now paying almost $200 more a month than our initially too high mortgage payment.
Every month we paid the mortgage, it stung. We made it work, but there was not much leftover in the budget to put towards our financial goals for the future. We made it through the year, living paycheck to paycheck, and felt the weight of that each month.
The next year we got good news–our mortgage payment was going down, much closer to our original max payment we wanted to pay. This came at the time we decided to get really serious about paying off debt, so it felt good to have some more breathing room in our budget.
The Turning Point
But by that point, we had already decided that this home was too much for us. As much as we love our home, it is simply not the right choice to keep living in it. Buying it was never the right choice in the first place, even if it seemed like it at the time.
Because the truth is, our plans change. We decided we don’t even want to live in the town our house is in–we want to be closer to family, especially when we decide to start our own family. We want to start our own businesses, instead of working our way up the ladder at our jobs. We want to be able to stay home with our future children, and that would be nearly impossible with a mortgage payment that is too high.
Sometimes our plans change for us too. Job layoffs, medical emergencies, unexpected pregnancies. The list could go on and on. Your perfectly planned out life could change in a single day. We did not want the weight of a hefty mortgage payment on our shoulders if something big and unexpected happened. The idea of more margin in our budget and financial freedom sounds much more reassuring than a nice house.
So, less than two years later, we are going to try to sell the house that we purchased. We don’t even know if it will be possible yet, but we’ve talked to a real estate agent and they are optimistic. It was embarrassing making that phone call, and it will be embarrassing to put that for sale sign up in the yard and make eye contact with the neighbors. It will be embarrassing telling our family and friends.
It’s so easy to say that I don’t care about what others think, but it is so much harder to actually not care. The feeling of feeling like a failure is so strong, but in the end, I know selling our home is the right decision for my family. To not sell it and keep struggling would be much more of a failure than feeling a little embarrassed.
I want you to be encouraged if you’re in a situation where you maybe feel like a failure. I want you to know that if you’re making the hard choices for your family, that you are doing the right thing. It can be hard to admit when we mess up, especially in a big way. But the only way to get out of your situation is to push through it to the other side, as painful and embarrassing as it may be.
Don’t let the seemingly negative thoughts of others stop you from doing what’s right for your family.
Once the home sells and the new buyers move in, your neighbors will hardly even remember you were there anyway.