Monday, May 14, 2007

Big Purchases

I'm standing on the ownership side of a new house and a new car, even though I wanted neither. It's funny how life keeps throwing curveballs at you. The very year I dedicate to improving my spending habits and doing all I can to help the poor is the same year life changes force me to live these principles on a large scale.

There's not a whole lot I can say about buying a house. It's a necessity for life (food, shelter, clothing) and because housing is an investment, it doesn't make sense to buy something substandard or in poor condition. That would just require us to spend money fixing it up in order to be able to sell it when the time comes, or worse, to sell it for less that we bought it for.

As with anything, though, there are some basic components that should guide all purchasing decisions. We shouldn't buy outside our price range. Mortgage companies love to tell you how much more house you could buy if you wanted to, but there's no reason to be taken in by that. We should buy primarily by location, and then find a house we like within that area. Good schools, safe neighborhoods, rising property values, proximity to work and availability of public transportation are all important considerations. Secondary to that is the house itself. Obviously, there's no reason to buy a ranch if I hate that style, and a house that's well built and architecturally attractive will retain it's value much better. But buying a house out of our price range because we want to impress our in laws or the people driving by doesn't make fiscal or ethical sense.

We chose a house within minutes of my husband's job so he could spend more time with his family and less time on his commute. It's a solid house in a nice neighborhood, at the top end of our price range, but with room to grow. Our family has four in it at the moment, and we certainly hope for a couple more as the years go on. With the schools, the community and the size of our house, we could live here for 20 or 30 years and be quite happy.

But where are the poor in all this? What should I do to honor and help those who don't have the luxury of picking a nice house in a good neighborhood?

Habitat for Humanity International builds houses all over the world, for people who really need it. What a great way to take the poor with me in my new home!

Cars are a bit harder. A post on that should be coming soon.

1 comment:

Jennifer F. said...

I eagerly await your post on cars! We also just bought a house and are also searching for a car. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.