Blessings in disguise.

Some day, if it hasn’t happened already, you’re not going to get what you want. For me it was a blessing, and I hope it is for you too.

Last year I had the brilliant idea of buying a Co-op in Riverdale. It seemed perfect.

  • I didn’t want to throw away money on rent
  • The government was giving new homeowners an $8,000 tax credit
  • Mortgage rates were at an all time low
  • I had been saving my pennies, so it seemed like a down payment was the only responsible way to spend my savings.

Responsible. Ha!

We found the cutest co-op with a giant garden of Rhododendrons, and a sweet air of romance. We quickly began the process of getting a mortgage approval. Since Mike had just graduated from grad school he wasn’t employed yet. The whole mortgage would be on my shoulders. Even with the loan, I would still need to borrow $20,000 from my parents, which they were happy to do because I would be moving closer to home, and there was an extra room that was perfectly sized for a baby (can you blame them?).

And then we did the real math.

  • The monthly maintenance fees were $1,100 a month!
  • On top of that I would be paying $2,000 for the mortgage and the parental loan.
  • Plus my entire savings would be gone.

I wanted to buy a co-op so I wouldn’t be throwing away rent money, but in the end, over $1,500 a month would go towards interest and maintenance – money I would never get back. I would have needed $40,000 a year just to make the payments. I figured, oh well I’ll just take on more clients, and Mike will just have to find a job that pays well. Immediately.

In the back of my head I was screaming, “Nooooo don’t do it!” No house is worth staying in a job you don’t love. Even at that time I knew I wanted to quit my job, and yet I was eagerly stepping into a situation that would force me not only to continue the job, but also work even harder. At the same time I was talking to old college friends who were saying they wanted to quit their jobs but they had mortgage and car payments. Why that didn’t tip me off I’ll never know.

Anyways, The co-op board was being a pain in the butt, the owners were not willing to negotiate, and the underwriter at the mortgage company backed out, so we lost the mortgage approval. I was upset to say the least.

We even got to paint that walls. We went a little color crazy. Teal in the hallway – oh yeah!

However, we found an amazing apartment in Long Island City which is the same rent as the maintenance fees for the Co-op. Ok, there’s no Rhododendron garden, but our landlord is awesome, we love our neighbors, we’re closer to our friends, AND we can actually afford to go out with them!

When I made the difficult decision to quit my job it was made all the more easy because I didn’t have a crippling mortgage looming over me. I am living off the money I would have used as a down payment. Sure it’s not the responsible thing to do, but neither is ignoring your intuition. I feel like I’ve extended my youth. I have the rest of my life to pay a mortgage – why start now?  Mike was also able to take the time he needed to find an amazing job that he loves – something he wouldn’t have been able to do if we had to make mortgage payments right away.

Almost every day I thank God that we didn’t get that co-op. Sure I would have been achieving the American Dream, but it’s certainly not my dream. We are bombarded with ideas of how we should spend our money, what our goals should be, what is satisfying in the long run. But only you can make those decisions. If you don’t listen to the little voice in your head, it will stop talking to you, and you’ll lose your authenticity compass forever. Dun dun dunnnnnn.

So, take a moment to look back on all the things you couldn’t get in the past. Were any of those disappointments a hidden blessing? Take a moment to smile about it 🙂 What are you working towards right now? Is it what you really want? Are the sacrifices worth it?

p.s. After writing this post I looked up the property on Trulia.com and it sold for $50,000 less than our initial offer. Just another reason I’m grateful I didn’t buy.