Houses & Babies & Cars – Oh my!

Go big or go home, right?

We’re moving across the country at the end of July. Before we even knew the move date (or the location), we knew we wanted to trade out our current not-so-stellar car for something that will definitely last us through baby and snow and the next 10 years.

Then we found out we were going to Michigan and we started researching rentals. The average rent seemed to be about the same as here, which – okay, we can obviously do that. Then I made the mistake of looking at houses for sale.

Holy housing market, batman! You can buy a house in Lansing for less than a new car. And not even a fancy new car. Granted, that house is in dire need of a few repairs, but even the nice, perfectly in shape houses are a 1/3rd what they are here. A third of what we were seriously considering buying a few years back, but ultimately decided not to because we didn’t want to deal with the hassle of moving at that time.

Renting would be 100x easier, especially considering the cross-country move and impending baby. Yet we kept looking at sale prices as we perused rentals and it became increasingly difficult to justify spending so much more each month for the convenience of a rental. Especially when so many rentals looked like they were woefully neglected and so many rental companies had incredibly negative reviews.

I crunched the numbers five different ways (including all relevant taxes and insurance and associated upkeep costs) and we’d still come out ahead of renting even if we sold the house for a loss. It’s insane.

So we decided to look into it. We’re going to contact a realtor and line some houses up for when we visit in July. We’re going to talk to friends who have bought recently and people we know who live in Lansing. I’ll also accept any advice from you guys for a first-time home-looker/buyer. I have the mortgage and title and property part 100% down because I worked in that sector for 6 years, but I have no idea what house buying looks like from the outside.

And of course we still want to buy a car before we move. Because we’re already planning on making one large financial decision. Might as well make another!

I have fallen head over heels in love with Subaru, specifically the Impreza Wagon. It’s kind of a problem. Especially because it’s waaaaay beyond our original price range.

But really, any big sedan/hatchback or teeny SUV would be good. We just need something that will last, will handle snow with grace, and can fit a car seat comfortably. Our plan is to head out and test drive a bunch of different makes and models over the next few weekends and hone in on what we want. Assuming I haven’t already made up my mind 100% about the Subaru.

And then there’s baby. ‘Nuff said there. These things just seem to go together. I’ve watched a handful of other bloggers do the exact same thing before giving birth: find a house, move into a house, and buy a car. So I know it’s possible. I was just kind of… hoping to avoid all that.

Oh well. Better to do it all now, while I still have energy, right?

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19 Comments

Filed under gaybies, pregnancy, simply informative

19 responses to “Houses & Babies & Cars – Oh my!

  1. We did all of those things too, although we didn’t buy a car until last week. I wish I had some car advice, but I have only driven in snow once in my life, so it’s not exactly a big concern of mine! Good luck!

    • Also, while I absolutely HATED the stress of buying a house and moving when I was VERY pregnant, I’m glad we did it because the nesting instinct got shit DONE. Way more done than it would have been if we’d waited!

      • That’s a good point. I’m itching to nest already, so I can only imagine how much more intense it’s going to get. Having a house I can do (almost) anything I want with will help a lot.

    • Me neither! I always made my wife drive whenever we found ourselves up north in the snow. Guess I have to learn…

      • The one time I drove in the snow, I almost slid off the road. I had to stop in the middle of traffic and look at the manual to figure out how to work the car’s 4wd. So pathetic!!!

      • Haha, I’ve done that before! Well not the snow bit, but had to pull over and consult the manual. 🙂 That’s why there is one, right??

  2. Definitely better to get it done before baby time! You should not underestimate the amount of stuff you will NOT have time to do once you have a kiddo. And the sooner the better, because you should not underestimate the amount of stuff you will not have the *energy* to do in your 3rd trimester. :-/

    • Oh! Good point! I hadn’t even looked at it that way. That makes me feel better about potentially taking on more than I can chew beforehand. Better than after!

  3. House prices in Lansing are so so cheap. I hate all our friends. We can’t afford a Subaru so bought a Hyundai Elantra hatchback that was a year old. It’s a small hatchback but we love it.

  4. I’d be wary of the carseat fitting into the Impreza wagon. The newborn bucket will probably work, but when you have to upgrade to the backward-facing carseat, it’ll be pretty tight. I highly recommend a used outback or forester. Subarus last FOREVER, so you’ll save money and have a solid car. Good luck!

    • Good to know. I haven’t touched an Impreza yet, only oogled online, but that reminds me to bring the measuring tape. I’m hesitant to get something as big as the outback or forester, but we’ll see. Test driving should help with that.

  5. I can’t say enough good things about Subarus, having been a proud owner of a Forester for all of 1 week. I did grow up in Cleveland and then move to Boston though, so I know a thing or two about snow. If you can get all wheel drive (standard on Subarus), definitely do that. Subarus also hold their value really well (which you probably know if you’re looking at used ones and wondering why they are so expensive), so that’s a plus in the long game if you can look/imagine that far 🙂

    Good luck with everything! We bought our first home a couple of years ago. It was initially stressful but has been VERY worth it as we’ve watched rental prices skyrocket. I saw this awesome tool online where you can use little sliders to decide whether it’s worth it to buy vs rent by looking at home price, how long you plan to stay, etc. check it out!

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/upshot/buy-rent-calculator.html?smid=pl-share&_r=3

    • Yeah, we were lucky for a while – rental prices stayed pretty stable. But ours in AZ has gone up every year for the past three years now and we’ve been itching to stop renting. Now’s the chance!

  6. As someone who purchased a home halfway through my pregnancy, it’s totally doable. And yes, better to do it now while you still have energy and not later when you have a squirmy baby to deal with on top of moving. Good luck!!

  7. We bought a house and moved in my 3rd trimester too!
    Our biggest criteria when house shopping was the school district. My advice is to research that aspect and use that as at least a consideration, I’ve had many friends be upset that their kid has to go to a crappy school because they didn’t consider that when they bought. My other advice is to be picky! Tour lots of places in lots of neighborhoods! Don’t get a fixer upper, it’s too much work/time/money with little kids!

    • We won’t be living there long enough to worry about schools, thankfully, because that area is apparently pretty bad.
      Definitely going to look for something that either has nothing to fix or things we can live with for a while. Thanks!

  8. Ladibug21

    Whatever car you buy, I strongly recommend reading about how car seats, ESPECIALLY convertible car seats will fit into that car. We have two pretty common cars – a Toyota Tacoma truck and a Toyota Corolla sport. Both 2010 and they’ve been tricky with car seats.

  9. So many exciting things happening!!! I just bought my Subaru Outback a little while ago and love it! Having a bigger, heavier car helps a lot in the snow, the the wider/longer wheel base makes for a very comfortable ride. Plus the ground clearance is amazing. I seconded what others have said about looking into a used one. Also I’ve lived in the snow belt of western ny my whole life and my piece of winter driving advice is a good pair of snow tires! All wheel drive or not, they will make a huge difference and are well worth the money!

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