Saying “No” to House Fever

How to Be Rational When You're Standing in Your "Dream House"

My husband and I stood with our realtor inside our dream house on Friday.  Ok, they were standing.  I was levitating.  I had raging house fever, not caring about whether or not we could afford it.  All I wanted was to get my kids into that magical house with a fenced in back yard, attached garage and epic walk-in closets.

Photo Credit:  Orbital Joe (Creative Commons)

So how did we break the fever and make a rational decision?

As Edmond Dantes said in The Count of Monte Cristo, “With great difficulty.”

First, you need to understand that we’ve been waiting for four years to buy a house.  We came close in 2012, in the last crazy weeks before having our first child.  Desperation crept into our veins, and we began to think we were monsters for bringing our child home to a 700-square-foot apartment.

But we knew the biggest purchase of our lives had to happen when we could afford it.

So we stuck to the baby steps from Financial Peace University:  1. Get out of debt 2. Save for emergencies 3. Buy a house.

Today, our house fund is nearly double the size from three years ago, even though we’re on a single income.  Go hubby!  I’m so proud of all the hard work he is doing to provide for the four of us.

(Find out how we used the 52-week savings challenge to launch our house fund here.)


When the “Fever” struck:

We finally met with our realtor and walked through eight houses.  After the seventh one, the clouds parted and a halo appeared above a quaint, 3-bedroom home with beautiful landscaping and a look that screamed “buy me”.  It had everything we I wanted:

  • Close to work, church, friends, family, the YMCA, the library, Dunkin Donuts ::cough:: how’d that get in there?
  • A fenced-in backyard
  • Move-in ready
  • Open concept floor plan
  • Spacious rooms
  • Attached garage
  • Very little traffic

I could just see myself living there.  I visualized the kids chasing each other through the living room.  Don’t visualize, you guys.  That’s when you know you’re losing your touch on reality!

We went home trying to contain our my excitement while we thought it through.

Five hours later, someone put an offer on the house.  Our house.

My dizzy-with-delight house fever spiked.  “We can’t lose that house!” I told my husband.

“Well, are we ready to make an offer?” he asked.  That was a question worth answering.


How we battled the house fever:

We spent the next few hours crunching numbers, pouring over data from our realtor and mortgagor, and staring clueless into space.  (That last one was mostly me.)

The reality finally surfaced.  That house was at the top of our budget and the bottom of our square footage.  We’d lose nearly all our savings, have nothing to pay for appliances, amenities or even a decent lawn mower (since we’re not going into debt to furnish our house).

They needed an answer by noon.  Just before Dontae left for work the next morning, he said, “It’s not the right house.”  We both knew it, we just hadn’t said it out loud.  ::sigh::  I didn’t cry.  I promise you guys, I didn’t cry.

After the withdrawal settled and I knew the house really was gone, I felt a surprising surge of relief flood my senses.  It was like I had been staring at a mansion painted in gold trim, when it was just a house that was too small and too expensive.  The urgency is what caused the illusion.

So if you’re going to make a big purchase soon, crunch some numbers.  Ponder the pros and cons.  Stare off into space for a while.  SLEEP ON IT.  You’ll be glad you did.

More updates to come on our crazy house hunting adventure.

And please, tell me you’ve gotten this fever before.  I need to know I’m not crazy!  Leave a comment with your confession below.  🙂




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

4 thoughts on “Saying “No” to House Fever

  1. The struggle is real! And just so you know, house fever can still strike after you own a home. You start to imagine all the things you could do with one more bedroom or a slightly better location. Contentment is a life-long discipline (that I’m still learning).

    • Oh man…that encourages me to hold out for the right house, then. After waiting for so long, it would be easy to give in, but I know what you said is true. Contentment certainly is a life-long discipline!

  2. “The urgency is what caused the illusion”. Right on the money, my friend. We’ve been through this dozens of times, with the same flood of relief after we’d committed to walking away. When it’s really the right place, you’ll know it. 🙂