Back in 2000, my husband and I were struggling to pay our bills, so much so that we were 3 months behind on the house note, and stayed 3 months behind for over a year. We kept telling each other that if we didn’t sell the house, if one of us were to get sick for a day or two and have to miss work, we would lose that house. It was terrifying to think we were one sneeze away from being homeless. We finally decided in August of 2000 to put the house up for sale rather than lose it. We’d rather have the equity out of the house if at all possible, instead of losing what we had worked for 16 years to build up. Surprisingly, it only took 10 days after putting the house on the market until we were sitting at the closing table. It was a whirlwind, and then were homeless for about a day.
We took the money left over after paying off the mortgage and other bills we had, and paid cash for a travel trailer. We have lived in an RV for going on 12 years now. We have enjoyed our life on the road, and still do, but we decided a couple of years ago that it was time for us to buy another house while the market was right. We have looked at houses online for a little over two years, in the West Georgia area, because that is where we are from, and it is where we would like to wind up after our traveling days are over. Because we have been looking online, we pretty much knew what was for sale in this area, where the houses were, and what we could expect to find in our price range.
But I have to tell you, looking for a house at the age of 59 is pretty scary! Even though we KNOW we can pay for it, we still worry that we will get into a situation like we had back in 2000, where I was laid off from my job of twenty years, and we lost more than half of our income. For that reason, we decided what we would feel comfortable paying if the only income we had was social security, and looked for a home to fit that scenario. We figure if we budget the house payment now, while we are still working, for a time when we are on a fixed income, we will be much better off in the long run.
We don’t need a huge house. All the children are grown and gone, and if they come to visit, they can use the RV for a guest room. We decided what we wanted, and only looked at the houses that fit that plan. Our ideal home would be a flat ranch style house, with 2 or more bedrooms, no stairs, on 2-5 acres, in west Georgia, for less than $50,o00. Lots of people laughed when we told them what we were looking for, but I knew from our online search that such a house could be found. The house that we are buying is exactly that: a ranch, 2 bedroom, 1 bath house on 5 fenced acres, in west central Georgia, for $45,000.
Now that we are so close to closing on our dream home, I still get scared. What if one of us gets where we can’t work before our “planned” retirement date? What if one of us gets sick? What if? What if? This is why I am so happy that such a thing as mortgage insurance exists! It makes buying a home so much less scary, and eases my mind so much. Even though we have planned for this and looked forward to it for more than two years, it is still a major purchase and is quite scary!
Our closing date is just around the corner now, and I am looking forward to having a stationary house again. We don’t have any furniture at all, so I am also looking forward to decorating and furnishing the house that will be my last home. Can’t wait to spend time with my children and grandchildren there!
This post is sponsored by Genworth Financial, but all the content is from my life story. For more information about mortgage insurance rates, visit the Genworth Financial website.