We’re still not sure…

We're still not sure where we are on the budget. The short version is that we can afford the current plan, unless something goes wrong. If one major thing goes wrong, we'll be a little tight, but can manage. If two things go wrong, we lose our discretionary spending, which makes us pretty unhappy. If three or more things go wrong, we could have to sell the house (and probably take a significant overall loss, given the current property market). What are the odds of three or more things going wrong? It's hard to say. That includes things like:

  • Kev's grant not getting renewed (it's a significant chunk of his income)
  • my job being cut (one of the English department staff was just laid off yesterday -- goodbye, Veronica -- it was a pleasure working with you, and I'm glad to hear you already have another job) -- and me then not being able to find an equivalently-paying position within a year
  • property taxes being significantly increased (they're already very high)
  • more than 10% cost overruns on the project
  • someone getting seriously ill (we have health insurance, but I don't think that would cover everything)
  • needing a second car to manage kids to childcare and both commutes in the fall (don't know yet what Kev's teaching schedule will be)
Etc. and so on. We've already had a string of bad financial luck in the last year (losing three house contracts in short succession, paying many months of rent instead of moving into our house, having our tax appeal denied, etc.) -- but superstitious as I might be, I do know that the negative events so far have pretty much no effect on the likelihood of more negative events occurring in the next year.

Jed asked if we could just borrow more money from the bank, but sadly, we actually have to give that money back every month. So pretty much no, not unless we want less childcare, etc. Our monthly expenses shouldn't climb any higher than they currently are.

We had thought we could just leave off an addition or two, but as the retired architect noted in the comments to the last entry, that may not be the smartest move. From crunching numbers a bit and thinking about potential resale value if things go wrong (see above), it seems like maybe the right thing to do is do all the additions, make the envelope of the house the size and shape we want it, and just do the cheapest, most minimal finishes on the inside. (Or even leave things completely unfinished, but with small children underfoot, I'm not sure how much of that we can do, aside from in the basement, which will be unfinished and off-limits to kids.)

I'm hoping that we can make a decision by Monday. We'll see. Our architect seems to think that since our plans haven't been reviewed yet, if we decide on a scaled-back layout, that we may be able to just substitute in the new plans and not lose our place in the queue. Which would be great, if true. We would have to get lucky, though, and our luck on the housing front has not been so good.

Does the one piece of good financial luck, getting to actually buy a foreclosure, cancel out all the bad, before and after? Maybe. We'll see. I think it depends on whether we actually get to finish our house and then keep it and live in it. Kevin keeps muttering about maybe the most prudent thing to do is to just clean it up, sell it, and buy a different, already-finished house for ourselves. Which, argh. Just argh. I can't even think about that. After all this time and stress and work???

I know, that's all sunk costs. No longer relevant to deciding how to move forward. If he thinks selling the house is really the only sensible option, that's what we'll do. [bangs head against desk]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *