Emotional Work Preparedness

Day 532 and Mortgage

I signed the mortgage paperwork for my first house today. We are moving to Montana. I don’t know how I made it well into my thirties without every owning real estate but I’m going to guess it involves the Great Recession.

Hell if you go further back it probably involves the bankruptcy my parents endured when Web 1.0 crashed. Point is that millennials haven’t had the best hand when it comes to home ownership. We were either totally broke or housing was so expensive it was comical to consider purchasing anything.

I was quite opposed to it for a long time. Why would you tie up your precious capital? Why would you lock yourself into one place? Why would you cut off optionality? And then the crumbles began. The pandemic hit and we were no longer constrained by geography. We could actually assess long term priorities and ambitions for how we’d live our life.

Which ironically made it even harder to decide. Do we want to live in a city? Do we want a suburb? What states will we consider? How does climate change factor into a purchase. How about resilience issues related to power and water? What about sociopolitical risks? We invested nearly two years into working through these questions.

Montana ended up topping the list even though we considered Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York and Connecticut. Our goal was a colder climate with a bit of remove from the world with minimal invasive politics. We also wanted some yuppie amenities like decent grocery stores and a good airport. My husband doesn’t like New England and I don’t like heat. But we do love mountains. Montana just kept coming up to the top of the list.

I feel relieved that after all of this effort we were finally able to buy a house. Would I prefer buying without the almost certain knowledge the house will be under water during a recession? Maybe. It’s not optimal. I don’t love the idea of having a mortgage at all.

But the idea of having a home I can rely on for years to come fills me with relief. I’ve quite literally never experienced it. But I think it’s going to be good. My body sure seems happy about it. I felt like I could actually plan. The second we were done with the notary I felt a weight lift. My mind cleared. I felt optimistic. I wanted to plan. I wanted to build.