Confession time. The Twin Family went to look at “open houses” yesterday. I KNOW! I was only just explaining how we had decided to make a life choice and pursue financial independence by rejecting consumer debt. But I had to have one last cigarette before quitting.
There was one house I had kept my eye on for months. It had an extra bedroom and that all important bathroom. The house also had a driveway, which the Twin House currently lacks. It’s not a problem on most days, but we live on a busy street and I also get a little nervous when the boys are standing free near the car as we are loading up during the morning routine. A driveway seems like one of those modern luxuries that I’m totally on board with for my own comfort and security.
House #1 was a bust. And the FIRE process had helped me reached that conclusion. Let me explain. Normally, when we attended an open house we would assess what we might offer and list all the projects that needed to be done. We reached to find the “potential” of a given house.
This time, I was sufficiently self aware to recognize that I was doing the same thing in my head. “Yeah, it’s listed too high. I would offer X because there’s an immediate need for a kitchen renovation. And there are changes to make the upstairs bedrooms function (like adding a door here and there). But the garage has potential as an ADU and I like the entrance. Maybe the seller would go for X.”
But then I forced myself to say aloud what my gut felt, “This house is not worth taking on that much debt and its inherent liabilities and projects. My gut reaction is let’s move on.” Twin Wife agreed.
So we visited House #2, which on the outside appeared to be our dream home and neighborhood, though it was listed above even our highest financing option. On the inside, the house was a total dud. Why had we wasted all that time and emotional energy pining over this place on Zillow’s website? It’s not better than our current home and costs nearly twice as much money. Let’s move on!” Twin Wife was already on her way to the car with Twin Boys and the realtor in tow when I reached this brilliant conclusion.
And, finally, House #3. I was apprehensive on the drive there. I felt like Goldilocks. “This house is too big and run down. This house is too little and quirky. But, this house might be just…right…” I worried that this premise would come true once we arrived. I both hoped it was true because I wanted to find a perfect house, but I also hoped it wasn’t the perfect house because Twin Wife and I had really started to believe in the vision of Financial Independence – which would not happen if we took on more than twice our current mortgage debt.
House #3 was a spectacularly inappropriate home. Even our realtor, who normally supports just about every house we visit, said, “This place is not for you. I wouldn’t put your kids in this place.” Again, on the surface the place looked like a dream. And we spent useless minutes to hours on the internet looking at pictures and researching the location. But inside it was a total mess. There’s a lesson there somewhere. And years from now when I catch up on some sleep and can think clearly, I might learn something.
On our way home, I think we were both 40% disappointed and 60% relieved. Most importantly, we were newly confident in our FIRE journey ahead. As an added bonus, we felt a lot better about our current home in spite of its limitations. Fingers crossed that the Twin Brothers don’t have to urgently poop at the same time tonight.
I’m going to start looking at opening a Brokerage Account, which is the next step to building wealth according to FIRE folks who’ve been there and done that successfully.
Keep Moving Forward,