Dream Homes and Gut Reactions

by Sandy L on September 11, 2010

Gorgeous Ocean Front View

One of our dreams is to someday retire, have a little boat and live on the ocean. Oceanfront property is not cheap in the Northeast.   However, with interest rates as low as they are, we decided to have a look around to see what was out there.  It wasn’t long before we  found a gorgeous property just a few miles from my in laws.

The view is out of this world. It sits on top of a 100 foot cliff and you have views in 3 directions. My husband went diving right off the beach and caught 5 lobsters which we ate for dinner the next day.Dream House

The problem is that this is what the house looks like. You know it’s a fixer when the ad says “rebuild or tear down to turn into your dream home.”  Yup, you sure have to have vision to see potential in this place. And the front view of the house is it’s best angle. The back has a falling down second floor deck adorning it.  It is owned by a politician and an article was written up on it called “gloom with a view” citing severe neglect. The result is a boarded up shack sitting on severely eroded land that is now deemed a landslide hot spot.   The neighbors are very nice, but not surprisingly they are not very happy with having a dilapidated property next door.   My husband went back to it a week later and found squatters camping in the yard. (I suppose that’s a lot cheaper than actually owning oceanfront property.)  Needless to say, despite the great location, it needs a lot of work and a $180,000 sea wall.

Well, we still tried to see if the numbers would work out with a very low offer and I’ll tell you that when I saw the monthly mortgage payment for just the land + seawall, I wanted to throw up.  This was my “gut reaction.” Yeah, oceanfront property would be nice, but not wanting to throw up thinking about making those payments is even nicer.  Plus, we’ve always had an unspoken rule that our fixed expenses could always be covered by one income in case of job loss, and this would definitely break that rule.

It reminded me of the time I was trying on wedding dresses with Babci and my MIL. Every time I tried on a dress, Babci would ask “how much cost” in her Polish accent and I would respond, “not now, I’ll tell you later”.  Anyway, when we finally left the dress shop and my mom was walking down the stairs, I told her the last dress I tried on was $1500. Well, my mom just about fell down the stairs. She grabbed a hold of the railing and stopped to take a breath before she said “$1500, for one day!?!”  My MIL then scolded me for almost giving my mother a heart attack. She was right in saying that I should have at least waited until she was at the bottom of the stairs before giving her sticker shock. (For the record, my mom made my wedding dress for $250. )

I digress, but what is a post without a Babci story?

Anyway, the ocean front thing could work if we used it as a rental until we were ready to retire. I think saving a bigger chunk of down payment would definitely cut down on the gag reflex. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel comfortable spending that kind of money on anything, but hey, it’s a lot easier to save when you have a fun goal in mind right?

So my question to my more frugal of readers.  Does making a big purchase sometimes evoke a physical reaction? Am I the only weird one that gets a physical manifestation of stress that says…”Woah, Nelly, you’re going over your head here!”  The term Gut Reaction must have come from somewhere. Some people may call it intuition. I personally like that I have a backup safety reflex that keeps me from making dumb financial decisions. Rock on GUT!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole September 11, 2010 at 8:25 AM

It used to. I couldn’t even buy business clothing. But now that we have more income and are comfortable we don’t have purchases that make me uncomfortable. We wouldn’t even be thinking about a rental or second house at this point (or ever, probably… being a landlord is too much of a hassle for us). If we were, that might make me feel nauseated. All of our big purchases generally come after months of planning, so it never gets to that stage anymore.


Kevin@InvestItWisely September 11, 2010 at 1:16 PM

I guess most of the value is in the land, not the home? I would go for a tear-down, myself. The seawall sounds quite expensive though. You could build a whole home for less than that in materials.


Financial Samurai September 12, 2010 at 8:47 PM

One of the ways I inspire myself is driving to where all the mansions are and going for a jog. It ALWAYS gets me going to work harder and succeed! Always good to dream!


Crystal@BFS September 15, 2010 at 4:19 PM

My mind goes blank, I get really pale, and I can feel my stomach churn. That’s for “little” stuff like needing new tires – I nearly had heart attacks when we were looking at houses… 🙂


Sandy @ Journey To Our Home March 2, 2011 at 9:03 PM

I definitely get that bad reaction by spending money. I bought myself 2 shirts off clearance for $6 and after I got home I almost had to take them back. I hate spending money on myself.
We own land that we are dreaming of building on. The cost of some of the things we want makes me throw up a little. Seeing how much we actually pay in interest for the year versus our actual payments also made me want to throw up. BUT I have revamped the when I pay the mortgage and have doubled the principle payment. It makes me a little happier knowing it will get paid off faster with just a minor modification.


Sandy L March 3, 2011 at 5:43 AM

Sandy – when it comes to borrowing money, that’s when I can sometimes feel sick about it. We are remodeling my mom’s house and purposely bought a real dump so we could afford a second home. I don’t feel as bad buying sheetrock and stuff because I have the cash saved to pay for it. I know it’s better to be buying stuff as I go vs having it all built into the mortgage upfront and pay interest on it. Thanks for sharing that you too feel that way sometimes.


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