The Life of Bon: How to choose a house and not sacrifice your marriage: A survival tale

Friday, May 23, 2014

How to choose a house and not sacrifice your marriage: A survival tale







My favorite swimsuit this summer is definitely THIS ONE from Leonisa.  I love the bold royal blue color and the bust is amazing for adjusting to any sized... well... bust.  It's not meant to be a maternity swimsuit, but I have been amazed how it has easily accommodated my growing belly.  The other thing I love about the suit is the options for straps.  You can use the tie like I am wearing in these pictures, or you can hook straps on the sides and have it come up around your neck.  Make sure to check out Leonisa for other suits (For a smoking hot and affordable one piece suit I love this one), bras, and even menswear

On Wednesday, Greg and I picked out features for our townhome.  The place we are buying is being built right now, and we got in at exactly the right time to have some say in the features.  We get to choose our counter tops and wall colors!

How exciting!
How fun!
How absolutely terrifying!

Some things I care about.  Some things I don't.  Paint color?  Don't care.  Just not lime green.  Tile color in the bathroom?  Whatever floats your boat dude.  Carpet?  I'll take the regular.  (Also, there is no "regular" carpet.  There are 100s and 100s of options.  FOR CARPET.)   While I don't care about most things, the things I do care about, I care deeply about.  I was unwilling to give on the kitchen colors.  I dug my heels in and stamped my fist and refused to budge.  It was a lovely time for all of us.

I tried to not get too grumpy when the seller was showing us all our options and pushing upgrades on us.  Usually I get really mean when people are trying to convince me to spend money.  But I tried my darndest to not get stressed out.  (Because spending $200k has never stressed anyone out, right?)

I knew we might run into a few kinks and a few disagreements here and there, but guess what?  We agreed on absolutely nothing!  Nothing!  After an hour of trying to come to a decision on every important house option in the book, we pretty much probably kind of hated each other a little bit.  Agreeing on 100 decisions about appliances, counter tops, and colors will do that to the healthiest of couples. (Right?  RIGHT? The healthiest?!?)

I wanted white kitchen cabinets.  He wanted dark.
I wanted the cheap flooring.  He wanted the expensive stuff.
I wanted one toned paint.  He wanted two.

The single decision we could agree on was the size of our bathtub.  Big!  (Hot baths are the only thing that gets me through November- February in Utah.  It's a survival skill, people.)

But a big bathtub is a $3,000 upgrade.  Ouch.

Spending money stresses me out.  Really stresses me out.  I was born to be a miser.  If I could have my perfect world, it would be me in a cave, counting and hoarding money.  Never spending it.  Just counting, re counting and then maybe hiding it in a safe place so I could take it out tomorrow to count it again.  I'm like a freaking dog who always hides his favorite bones- never uses them, but gets a terrific amount of joy out of just knowing they're there.

Greg doesn't have the same problem as I do.  If anything, he has the opposite problem.  That money burns a hot hole in his pocket until it is good and spent.  Two days is two days too long to have an extra $20 bill lying around.  And buyer's remorse?  You can forget about it for Greg.  It does not exist in his world.  (I'm so incredibly jealous, can you imagine the feeling of no regret after spending money?!?)  I swear, he could lose $50 in his jean pocket and never think about it again.  Never miss it.  (I know this for a fact because I often raid his pockets when doing the laundry and take all the cash I find.  He never asks about it.  I figure it's my payment for doing the laundry.)

Naturally, this has made for an interesting marriage.  He begs to spend our money, live a little, enjoy life.  I beg to save more, put money in retirement,  do activities that don't cost a cent.  In three years we have come a long ways toward meeting in the middle.  I can splurge on popcorn and a full priced movie once in a while, and he's getting better at just making a pb and j sandwich for lunch instead of stopping for fast food.  But it's a long process.  (Also, interesting fact about Greg:  He spends yes, but he doesn't make any big purchases ever.  His entire credit card bill is a series of  daily or twice daily $2 to $10 transactions at Maverick, Wendy's, Popeye's, etc.  Greg could go nowhere for a year but a gas station and a fast food joint and be the happiest man on the planet. It's kind of the cutest thing ever.)

Given our spending habits and backgrounds, you can imagine the trouble that Wednesday presented us.  Greg wanted to go with the nicer, more expensive options.  I wanted everything standard.  As low as we could go.  Greg said we'll be able to get more out of resale if we upgrade.  I said we'll have a lot more we have to recover if the price of the home keeps going up.

My must haves/ really wants:  (Because really, nothing is a "must have."  I kind of hate that phrase.)
- White cabinets
- Light countertops
- White tile backsplash in kitchen
- Big bathtub

Greg's must haves/ really wants:
- Hardwood floors
- Ceiling fan in bedroom
- Two toned paint
- Big bathtub

Notice- only one thing in common for our must haves. (Big bathtub ftw!)  We are two totally opposite people.  Sometimes I have no idea how we are in love.

Greg said he was fine with letting me choose the kitchen colors and going with the oh so important "backsplash" upgrade.  Tile on the wall is pretty pointless, yes, but he knew I really wanted it. (It's so purty!)  So I let him have the two toned paint.  (Which, I mean talk about a useless upgrade.  An extra $1500 for two colors in our house instead of one?  According to the pros though, it's UBER important in resale. I don't believe them, though.  Do you ever notice if a house is two toned paint?  I told Greg I'd just get one color and then go in myself and paint all the trim white before we moved in.  He laughed in my face and said there was no way I would be doing that at 8 1/2 months pregnant.  He might have a point, but you didn't hear it from me.)

The good thing is Greg said he could go without the $3000 fireplace upgrade.  I said I'd live without the $1,000 sink in the laundry room.

My kitchen inspiration.  Tell me it's not beautiful.


It was two hours of decision decision decision, upgrades I'd never even heard of that were suddenly of the utmost importance, and an extra $10,000 later we were signing a lot of papers and trying not to be sick.

But guess what?  Somehow we survived the two hour choosing process.  It wasn't easy.  I feared for our marriage.  But we did it!  

At the end of the meeting we walked out holding hands, and with all of our decisions in place.  I promise you, there is no way in h-e-double-hockey-sticks we would have been able to do that three years ago.  Look at us, growing up, getting mature, learning how to compromise!

I'd call it a victory for everyone! Me, Greg, and most definitely for the man who is getting all of our money.

And now who wants to come over for a big bowl of Top Ramen for dinner?  It's on me!

27 comments:

  1. I bought a house that had one tone paint and blah tile and carpet. We ended up putting in laminate flooring and painted everything ourselves to save money. If I could go back I would have splurged on hardwood floors and paid someone to paint. Doing the work again down the road does not sound appealing to me which is what we will have to do if I want hardwood floors. My advice is that if you are thinking you will eventually want to upgrade the floors or go with two tone paint in the next 5 years or so, do it now. Save yourself the hassle down the road. Oh and painting ceilings and trim is the worst thing ever!

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  2. We are in the process of buying a new house that is being built too and I am amazed at all the decisions we have to make. It's crazy what things matter to each of us. I want the white cabinets and he wants specific countertops, I wanted a fireplace and he wants upgraded carpet, I want to pick out all the light fixtures in the kitchen and dining room and he wants a completely finished backyard. I know we will make it through it and be super happy with it in the end, but I'm sure it's going to be stressful as well! I can't wait to see how your house comes together!!

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  3. One more thing, you don't have to go crazy with the upgrades but if all the other townhouses have upgrades and yours doesn't that will definitely hurt resale.

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  4. Wow, that's completely opposite our experience! Luckily, a few upgrades were already included for us (like hardwood and granite), and we also had a credit to spend, which helped us with budgeting. Also, I don't know if it's the same with whatever company is building it, but don't paint anything the first year! Typically, the builder will come back after a year to fix cracks and nail pop outs that come from the house settling. You'd just have to paint it again after they fix that.

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  5. Oh gosh that sounds so stressful!!!! lol glad yall made it out together :D

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  6. Oh buying a house is SO stressful. Glad you and Greg were able to compromise. I'm sure your house will look great!

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  7. House stuff is so hard sometimes! Sounds like you made great decisions and compromised well! Excited for you guys!

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  8. The big tub will be SO worth it! We're buying a historic city house right now and have already agreed the first big splurge will be renovating the bathroom so we can have said big tub!

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  9. I'm a little confused about what they mean by two-tone paint. Do you have a chair rail or similar where they're going to paint one color below it and another above it?

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  10. I love that swimsuit and you look adorable in it! I am with you on the living in a cave and counting money. Before I got help for my anxiety I used to check our accounts obsessively! Now I still know what is in them but just check each once a day. Also, I steal change out of my husband's pockets ALL THE TIME mostly because it makes me insane when it makes it into the dryer and clangs around. I usually give him the bills back, though.

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  11. One thing my father in law (a construction guy) said was be careful with certain upgrades when building because that affects your taxes I believe. Plus if there are certain things that you know you could change up yourself later why pay someone twice as much to do it!!

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  12. I think it's always important to listen to your realtor about resale stuff. It's their job to know what sales a home. Even before we had moved into our home, our realtor was giving us a list of things he would do so that when he sold it, it would get higher value.

    Have a great weekend!

    -Jackie
    http://ournashvillelife.com

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  13. $10,000 in upgrades is actually chump change believe it or not when you start out with such bare bones. That's what we did and the lady told me most people went higher. Jeez!! Well, you said you were opposites so this is just another little life bump you have to negotiate and it probably won't be the last. I'm like you. Hoarder of money all the way. Spending money stresses me to no end. My husband is your husband. He could care less. I have loosened up a lot since I met him but I'm still the money police in our house. someone has to be.

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  14. Impressive. My husband and I can barely make it out of IKEA alive. Something to strive for ;)

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  15. OMG having a house built is SO much fun!!! I loved getting to pick out all of the colors and fixtures!! It makes it feel so much more personal!! One tip I will give you, just from personal experience---get the cheapest most basic everything!!! They will charge you an arm and a leg (and a foot and hand) for the upgrades--and while they are amazing and beautiful, we have had SOOO much more fun over the last few years doing everything ourselves! It makes it that much more personal and you feel so much better showing it off!! It takes more time, but you get to make the house exactly how you want it!

    Have a great weekend!!

    Brianna
    follow along: http://keepingupwiththekeens2428.blogspot.com/

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  16. Jealous! Can't wait to see it!

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  17. And Ben is just the opposite.. NO opinion. We bought a van a few months ago. I asked him what color he wanted. He said, "As long as it's not bright orange or something I don't care." He was dead serious. I think he would say the same thing when it comes to picking out house features…

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  18. Blarg, as someone who has only lived on her own (out of dorms) for a year, the idea of BUYING a house is terrifying! Congrats to you guys for meeting in the middle - I fear for my future husband, hahaha.

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  19. Take the hardwood floors - If any of you, baby included, ever has asthma/allergies, you'll be glad you did. And ceiling fan can help save on air conditioning. But I could not care less about two-tone paint :)
    Glad you survived the whole process!

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  20. We're thinking of a house as well! We're not there yet with all the decision making though. Well, still working on finding a realtor and a lender, but who to trust?!!!

    You look great!

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  21. I am like Greg when it comes to spending so I will probably never have enough to buy a house haha! I'll be renting forever!

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  22. What a great post on the realities if marriage! Thanks for the chuckles. :)

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  23. Can't wait for the tour once it's done! By the way I love your blog!

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  25. Laundry tax. I'm glad I'm not the only one who collects it :) Super jealous of this exciting big step for you. We are planning on renting for another year then taking the house-buying plunge. I'll have to follow along with you to see what I'm in for!

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  26. Oh my. That is probably the cutest swim suit ever and you rock it, completely. That color is fantastic on you! Hardwood floors gets my vote. Less chance of allergies, and hey. It's hardwood floors.

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