The new Puzzoni world headquarters

posted by Jeff | Sunday, July 28, 2013, 10:59 PM | comments: 0

The 2009 do-over continued today when we bought a house. Well, not buy one, technically, but put the money down to fire up a contract to build one. That didn't take very long.

Now that it's all in motion, it seems like the perfectly rational and obvious thing to do. It wasn't obvious to us at first, because we were very much stuck in the world of moving in 2009 to Seattle. To recap, we moved to Seattle that year with two unsold houses and a mountain of debt. Houses in the area we liked, specifically Snoqualmie, were nearly $150 per square foot, and that was one of the less expensive areas. Basically, there was no chance of us buying anything for years. Even renting was a buck per square foot per month.

It's a different world now. No houses to sell (mine is pending, technically), no real debt, prices around $100/sq. ft. Honestly, it had not occurred to either one of us that we could buy or build a house here until after we committed to the move. When I started to work the numbers, it didn't take long to realize that the monthly cost of buying was at or below what rent would be. So while you certainly have to put a big wad of cash down to buy, the monthly cash flow works to your advantage to buy, especially if you can minimize the closing costs.

The area that we so quickly grew fond of has quite a bit of stuff on the market, none of it lasting on the market very long. It's mostly new, less than 10 years. But there's also a lot of new construction going on. Diana and I have said since we got married that when we would finally buy a house, we wanted it to be uniquely ours, so building makes a lot of sense.

Getting to this decision seemed pretty casual overall, but I think that was largely because it just made more financial sense. If you don't count the down payment, it's going to cost less monthly to buy the house than it is to rent the place we just moved into, and we'll have about a third more space. We negotiated the closing costs down to almost nothing, so we won't piss away too much on that. The only real negative is that we're putting down only 14%, so we'll probably be paying PMI, which is totally pissing away money, for a year or two until we make some extra payments toward the principal, and/or the house appraises to 20% equity. Mind you, even with the PMI, we'll pay less than typical rent in the area.

We decided on a two-story house, clocking in at 2,667 square feet. Truth be told, that's a lot of space for a family of three. That said, we had several goals in mind. First, Diana and I both want work spaces. Our hobbies are also side jobs, and we really want space to follow those pursuits. The layout of the house is pretty flexible in that sense, so we'll be able to work without being on top of each other. Simon will have plenty of space as well. And of course, the floor plan is very open around the kitchen. It's really a beautiful living space.

On the space issue, we couldn't have scored even 2,000 sq. ft. in Seattle for the same money. So it's hard to say if we over did or not. We won't be house poor, which was the first and most important consideration. I think we indulged a little, but we didn't go overboard. The lawn and pest control is provided by the HOA, which also operates a beautiful club house with a pool and splash pad. Oh, and we'll hopefully be able to see fireworks from Magic Kingdom every night from Simon's room or the loft area.

We've got about six months to watch it go up. In the mean time, I have to do the mess of paperwork and documentation for the loan approval. We're "prequalified," but of course I have to prove I actually make what I do. Exciting times!


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