Personal Finance

New baby, new house

We had us a baby six weeks ago. It’s July which means it is almost a year since I got pregnant with our son, and for the past seven weeks, I’ve been on maternity leave and Brandon has been home for the summer. This has been a sweet and exhausting time for our family. Anytime someone asks us how we’ve been doing, we say we greatly underestimated parenting a baby. We also underestimated the amount of stuff that babies have. Babies don’t take up that much room. Fisher Price does.

As we prepared to welcome Baby Seitzler into the world this past year, I brazenly declared that I didn’t think we needed more space, that we could manage just fine in our current two bedroom, one bathroom condo. We organized the second bedroom and arranged the furniture to be suitable for both a baby’s room and a music room. Dresser, mini crib…and piano. Drum set in the closet-turned-music studio. We didn’t even buy that much stuff, but we are still out of space. Thanks to the generosity of friends and family, we have all the baby gear we need for this first year and even a little beyond. (Maybe I’ll write a post soon about my favorite baby essentials.)

Sometime last summer, after my mom passed away, we decided to start looking for a house. The Dallas real estate market was just starting to heat up, and interest rates were historically low. We felt like it was time for our family to have a bit more space. We also decided we were ready to have a baby. For several years, we had been saying we’d have kids once Brandon was done with his PhD and when we were more prepared.  Then he finished, and we still couldn’t decide when was the best time to expand our family. After my mom passed away, it was like a switch was flipped and we started asking ourselves what we were waiting for. Life was going along whether we liked it or not. Ultimately, we held off the house purchase for one more year, opting instead to see how we felt about it after Baby Seitzler came along.

Baby Seitzler is here. And how we feel about it is that we need more space!

So, earlier this summer, we started looking for a new house. After two months and four offers on houses we ultimately didn’t end up getting (we were outbid by cash offers), we finally had an offer accepted on a house in Allen, the next city over from where we live now. We move in less than two weeks, and we are so excited to have additional space! Our new home is three bedrooms and two bathrooms, plenty of room for us, our baby and for Brandon to have a dedicated music room. We plan for our kids to share a room while they are little, so we should be able to stay in this house for several years.

I’ve been feeling kind of guilty about the fact that we didn’t have a 20 percent down payment, and so we will have to pay for private mortgage insurance for a few years until we get the amount paid down to 20 percent. I read a lot of frugality and finance writing, so of course I know it’s ideal to have that 20 percent down payment in addition to significant funds remaining in the bank and in investments. We aren’t there yet, but on the plus side, holding off for an additional year allowed us to save more for our down payment so that we didn’t completely deplete our savings for a down payment and closing costs. Since interest rates are so low, people are scrambling to lock in mortgage rates before they go up. And in the Dallas area, there’s very little inventory, so home prices are rising incredibly fast. Homes in our current neighborhood went for $180,000 or so less than five years ago. Now, the average home price around here in $250,000 or more. Thankfully, we are purchasing a home that will allow us to pay extra each month toward our principal but that is in an area that will appreciate in value as our community continues to grow.