The other night, I strolled into B’s man-cave and asked what mischief he was up to. He said he was looking at his retirement accounts, so I seized that opportunity to talk about future planning. We talked all sorts of personal finance goodies, but we also talked about housing and where we’d like to settle. We both agree that (for now) it’s favored between San Diego or Washington, primarily for family proximity purposes.
B’s pretty up to date with housing markets, and he set the parameters both in San Diego and Washington starting at $500k. I
yelled inquired if he was out of his ever-lovin’ mind, but when we saw the results I was pretty shocked. I know that there’s a shortage in San Diego and know that it’s about location, location, location, but the houses were just… not very $500k-plus-looking. So then, we check out Washington houses, and they were a lot nicer, but even then I noticed a lot were 3 bedroom, which would be tight for the gazillion kids he wants (okay, 3-4… I’m on Team Two-Three). He did lower the parameters to $350k in Washington, and there were a lot of modest looking houses with 4 bedrooms that were decent and less tougher to swallow than a half-mil house. We did the same thing for San Diego, and there’s some in that range, but in BFE.
We then took schools into consideration, and when comparing the San Diego houses-schools versus Washington houses-schools, the better deal with the better schools tended to lean on the Washington side. Employment-wise, San Diego is favored with our current conditions (i.e., employed), though we do have to pay state income tax. Climate and lifestyle is a no brainer, but is it worth the cost?
So what did we decide? Well, we didn’t… though we did agree that in five years, we will have determined where we are going to settle and stay put. Since our place now has two bedrooms, I think it would be comfortable enough to stuff a kid or two here. But, come when they start school, I’d like to have a place established and stay there by all means possible. Meanwhile, from now until then, we’ll just truck on to save a 20% down payment on the original parameter he set, which he proclaims can be raised “easily” in less than that (it can?!), as well as keep monitoring the housing market, employment prospects, parental/family needs, etc.
While it’s pretty exciting to talk about all this, it’s also terrifying, and at times discouraging. It’s exciting to finally have a partner in the same mindset as me in terms of future goals and wiser than me in terms of finances, but then I think of all the expenses that come with raising kids (from childcare to college and everything in between) and I wonder how we’re going to make the magic happen. I know it’s not magic, per se, but hard work, savvy planning/investing, and determination, but the task and expenses themselves are pretty daunting. But then it all clicked, that what I’m doing now with the self-entitled “Year of the Suck” in paying down my debt, is something I will need to implement for the rest of my life. It’s just nice that, this time around, it’ll planned and for things that really matter (to me) rather than paying my dues on past frivolous wants. So, I’m starting to plan annual and long-term metrics/life goals in order to not make past mistakes recur.
I’m curious to know what the housing prices are in your area (say, for a three or four bedroom)? Or, what things do you take into account when ‘settling’ somewhere?