In early February, we discovered that our neighbors who have a house that is very similar to ours, at least size-wise and that is pretty much all that matters to the appraisers, had put their house on the market for $20,000 less than ours. And ours was priced to break even, so we had no wiggle room to drop our price and be competitive. How neighborly of them. Then, we discovered that the builder who built our house was building more just like it in a new subdivision less than a block away from our subdivision. And he's pricing them $40,000 less than our break-even price. Nice.
If you know much about mortgages and loans, you know that before a bank will give someone a loan to buy a house, they send an appraiser to go figure out if the house is worth the asking price.
They do this by driving by the house (they might go inside--which would help us--if it's a really expensive house, but normally they don't) and then looking up the records for other similar houses that have been sold recently in the same neighborhood/area. They compare the houses and the selling prices and determine your house's value from the comparisons. This means that if a house like yours in your neighborhood sells for a drastically lower price than you can afford to sell at, you are out of luck. You basically have to either drop your price to match the others (which, in our case, is impossible because we can't afford to sell at a loss) or take your house off the market and wait however many months or years it takes till the cheaply-sold houses are no longer in the "recently sold" category and till the houses that are the "most recently sold" are being sold for a price that you can afford to sell at.
Okay, you can wake up now, my explanation of appraisals/sale prices is over.
All of that means that we had to take our house off the market. We won't be able to sell till the housing market recovers enough that we can sell our house for at least what we owe, if not a little more to cover the closing costs and down-payment on a new house in the Portland area. Which means my best guesstimate is that we're probably going to be here a minimum of two more years, possibly more like five.
In other news, after three months of being in "Still Under Consideration" limbo about the job that he interviewed for at Boeing, Steve finally got the news that he didn't get the position. He was disappointed, but after waiting for news for three months, it wasn't a shock. And honestly, because of the house situation, it's probably for the best. Getting the job would have meant that he would have had to go to Portland without us for however long it took for us to find someone to rent our house. (And renting is a bad option for us because we couldn't rent it for anywhere close to the amount of our mortgage payment and we'd be losing around $500-$700 a month if we rented.) So it's not an entirely bad thing that he didn't get it. However, the job he's doing now barely pays enough to cover our bills--even when he gets overtime, it doesn't leave much for diapers and groceries, let alone trips back home to visit friends and family. So that stinks. The fact that spending 8-10 hours, 5-6 days a week holding a heavy welding torch is giving him arthritis-like pain in his hands is also pretty stinky. Getting up at 3:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday: also stinky. (At least they're really impressed with him there--feel free to pray for a promotion!)
I've been trying to readjust my attitude and remind myself that this is pretty obviously happening for a reason, that God is telling us that we need to be in Boise right now. And with Steve's dad battling cancer, and our four remaining grandparents (who all live in this valley) all getting on in years and/or dealing with poor health, it's pretty obvious why it's good for us to be here. I know all of this logically, but it's not easy convincing my heart to be in it. I'm longing for home, and it's hard to accept that I'm just going to have to get used to it. Before, I always had Steve's impending retirement as the light at the end of the Exile in Idaho tunnel. Now that moving home has fallen into the nebulous "we hope it works out someday" category, I have some major attitude adjustment to attend to.
Frankly, it's no fun.
I wanted Bennett to grow up surrounded by my friends' children, and now we'll be lucky if they get to see each other more than once a year from now till they're in grade school. And I miss my friends. I just don't have any close, Christian friends out here. I have acquaintances whom I'm friendly with at church, but if those relationships were going to move into the real friend category, they would have by now. The only friend (my awesome former boss) I have who I can go to lunch or the movies with has a demanding job and three kids who keep her busy, so I don't see her much...
And sitting here whining pathetically about not having any friends takes me back to my pathetic loser days, so I'm going to shut up about it.
So there's my downer of an update post. Woo. hoo.
To end on a nicer note, I have a husband I love who loves me back, a son who is just too cute and silly and smart and fun for words, wonderful loving parents, a brother who is awesome on a historic, award-winning level, and a church family that is genuinely loving and supportive. Not to mention that I really like the house we're stuck in. Plus, my dear friend, Tom, very obligingly decided to get married June 1, thus giving us a legitimate reason to spend a good share of our tax rebate check on a (much too) quick trip back to Portland.
So I got that going for me. =)