This blog is all about getting you want out of life on your own terms. It doesn’t necessarily have to apply only to wealth, success, or happiness, although those things do tend to be at the center of much of it. I’d like to talk more about ways you can approach having your very own dream home. Again, I think every person has their own formula they need to follow, so I’m not going to give you mine. This should be taken as just one example of how you can go about getting what you want even if it seems to be outside of your financial means. Hearing others’ stories can often give us ideas regarding how we can shape our own. Trying to emulate what someone else has done does not always work out, but it is worth learning tricks and tips from them.
For many people, their dream home exists outside of their budget. We all want more square footage, new amenities, upgraded kitchens and bathrooms, etc but those things come at a price. A home is already one of the largest investments you will ever make without piling even more onto your list of “must-have” features. That isn’t to say that you should settle on a house you do not feel satisfied with just because of your financial constraints.
If you are not one of the fortunate people who are able to afford to build a custom home or purchase a turnkey property, there are other ways to get what you want. Consider, for example, buying a smaller home. Do you really need all that extra space, or is it simply a luxury? Often smart design decisions and clever organization can greatly change how big or small a space feels. With a smaller home, your renovation budget can go a lot further. This means you will be able to make drastic changes and bigger upgrades for your home to customize it to your tastes.
This was the route I went. While it would have been nice to have an extra bedroom to turn into an office, I saw a perfect nook that would just as easily accommodate my desk and provide a quiet space to work. The kitchen and living room weren’t massive but they were far from cramped. I liked to imagine myself hosting parties and getting people together but upon further contemplation, I realized it wasn’t something I would be doing nearly as much as I imagine, and the spacious backyard would provide plenty of room for entertaining every now and then.
In my last post, I mentioned there was a serious plumbing issue I needed to take care of as soon as I moved in. I took that opportunity to simultaneously have my master bathroom remodeled and upgraded. To me, that is one of the most important areas in the home. Just moving things around and replacing the fixtures made an old, outdated and uninspired bathroom into a luxurious home spa.
I am by no means what you would call rich. I live comfortably and have the ability to afford a few luxuries here and there. I consider myself fortunate as far as your average American is concerned. I own my own home, my own car, and have enough money left over from each paycheck to put towards savings and investments. I know there are still many people out there who struggle to make ends meet, and I do not take what I have for granted even if it is not necessarily the most lavish life.
This explanation of my circumstances is relevant to my post. While I could afford a home in my neighborhood of choice, concessions had to be made. I did not have an unlimited budget – in fact, far from it. I didn’t want to become a slave to my mortgage, so I made the decision to settle for less. I did not want to have to use the full amount I have been pre-approved for. I knew there was no way I could live the type of life I wanted with mortgage payments that large looming over my head. Here is where I would advise home buyers to think carefully about their house hunting budget. It is easy to just go with the number that a financial institution provides you, but it is not always the wisest decision. There is a difference between what you can afford, and what you can comfortably afford without having to make due without the things you enjoy.
The house I went with was a fixer upper. It had its fair share of problems, although luckily they were mostly cosmetic. It didn’t look fancy or luxurious. It didn’t even look modern. The important thing, though, was that it had potential. I knew it would take work and further investments to turn the house into my dream home, but those were things I could take care of gradually because I planned to make this my forever home. It was priced well below other homes in the area for obvious reasons. Most people want to buy a home that is move-in ready, but that’s a luxury you pay a premium for. If you are willing to take on a few projects, that can save you some money when buying a house.
The first major task I had to tackle was the plumbing. It was an older home, and through the years tree roots had grown into the water line causing damage. This had the potential to lead to a whole bunch of disasters that I did not want to have to deal with. I was informed of this problem before purchasing the home and decided it was worth it to move forward after some negotiations. As soon as I left the closing table the first thing I did was call in a plumber. After that issue was taken care of, I slowly started to work on the rest of the home.
Many people claim to have a foolproof formula for success, happiness, wealth, or some other highly sought after pinnacle of achievement. They sell books, give motivational speeches, and teach workshops to help others attain what they have already found. I used to buy into dreams being sold by these people. I truly believed that getting what you wanted out of life was simply a matter of taking all the right steps and having the right mindset. To me, failure to achieve success or happiness was a direct result of something I had obviously done wrong. I wanted to believe these people could show me exactly what I had to do to become one of them.
After what seems like trying and failing with 622 different foolproof formulas prescribed by others, I am now on formula 623 concocted by none other than yours truly. No matter how closely I tried to follow the advice of these so-called gurus who promised me I could have the world if I only adhered to every word written in every book they have published, I found myself no closer to my own goals and occasionally even further away than I was before.
It took me a long time to realize that self-help advice could never tell me what I needed to know about myself and the best approach for me as an individual to take in the pursuit my very unique ambitions. After all, everyone is different so how could one person ever provide a formula for success that would complement every type of personality and personal situation? This seems obvious now, but I find a lot of people neglect to consider this and I was among them.
It’s easy to see others doing well and assume that if you emulate them, you can have what they have. But let’s not forget about the many factors that lay outside of our control, such as luck and coincidence. Don’t underestimate how far being in the right place at the right time can get you. While you can argue that successful people create opportunities for themselves (and I do not disagree), that doesn’t change the fact that there is still some degree of chance involved when it comes to have the right opportunity present itself at the right time. Some people can spend a lifetime opening doors before coming to the right one.
This blog is about my pursuit of my goals on my own terms. I am going to create my own formula for success based on my understanding of myself, my situation, and what does and does not work for me. I suspect it will be a work in progress for a long time, and I doubt it is foolproof, but in the end, I know this is the right approach for me to take if I want to achieve my dreams. Follow me as I develop and test the effectiveness of formula #623.