I have to say I've been a little stressed lately thinking about our housing options as we plan to move back to Alabama. When we last lived there, we had a house about 30 minutes outside of town and commuted to work, church, friends, everything,... However, our mortgage was under $600 a month which made it really nice when we moved to SC and bought a new house without selling our AL house. Dave's income had gone up from the time we bought our first house and, though it wouldn't be easy, we could technically carry two mortgages for a time even though our new mortgage was more than twice as much as the old one (we opted for a 20 year this time around). Luckily our house sold just in time and we never had to make a double mortgage payment.
This move is a little different. We are moving back to AL but we are actually moving into town. This time renting is going to cost us almost as much as our current mortgage payment (craziness but...the area is just more expensive). The best scenario would be that our house here would sell before we make our move and we could transition to renting/other housing without double paying. The more likely scenario is that we are going to be doubling our housing cost for an unknown number of months.
Most nights I stay up thinking about how our precious emergency fund that Dave worked so hard for (55 hour weeks in Seattle for 7 months to pay off the car and save up the fund) is going to be eaten away into nothingness. Last night Dave and I had a great talk about ways to prevent that from happening. He figured that with the money from his raise and working an extra hour a day and a Saturday here and there (still less than he worked in Seattle), we could minimize any emergency fund dipping.
Another "unknown" we face is where exactly we are going to rent. There is an apartment complex near our church that we have thought about for a while but for "only" $150 more a month we could rent a house (plus added utilities and house-related costs). I was more of a fan of saving anything we can and going for the (2 bedroom) apartment but Dave was thinking that, with the new baby coming and family wanting to visit, we should go for the house and get an extra bedroom. Overall we just weren't sure enough about the options to make a firm decision and commit to either. We now have four weeks to secure housing before we "land" in Alabama with all of our stuff.
Tonight I was talking to our Real Estate agent Joanie (who is great) and she told us that she had already talked to the builder of the neighborhood we have been thinking about eventually buying in and that she could negotiate a lease/buy on the house we have been drooling over online. We would essentially sign a contract saying that we would lease the house until our current house sold and then we would buy that house. She even thought they would put some of our lease money towards the price of the house so that we wouldn't be completely throwing our money away in the months that we had to rent.
We will be getting more details tomorrow but it sounds like a great plan. We could move once instead of moving into a rental and then whatever house we bought when we were able. With the new baby coming in January that certainly sounds great. It's two houses down from some of our friends and near everything that we do. The only major problem is that we haven't actually been in the house and we are not big fans of making that kind of commitment without seeing it and making sure that's where we want to be long term. So, I may be biting the bullet and making a house hunting trip soon. It would be great for my stress level if we could get settled into a good situation, have peace about the decision, and ultimately sell our house. We appreciate any prayers we can get!