House buying score so far:
Mary 0, Panic attacks 3
So tomorrow I'll go back through the three houses I like the most. Frankly, I think I have already made my mind up. The only close decision was between what I have come to call the "cheap" house and the "expensive" house. "Cheap" has a larger lot and more space, but needs carpet cleaned and kitchen floor fixed/replaced. The LR is being painted a color I don't particularly like, but that's fixable. The "expensive" house has a ceramic tile kitchen floor, good thick carpet throughout, but the yard is untidy. It's actually the messiest house in the neighborhood. The "expensive" house is about 10K more than the "cheap" one. But I think the yard in the "cheap" one would be more fun.
I drove through the neighborhoods of each place. In neither location could I walk to some place where I could do anything. No walking to the library or the store, for example. I have lots of country roads for walking, running or biking. Better view (to me) at the "cheap" place. The "expensive" place has a view of a fenced back yard and the back of other houses. At the "cheap" place, the lot butts up against a farm, complete with shed which contains at least a few tractor/implements and some round bales of hay. IT's an actual, honest to goodness farm (corn, horses, cows). The only thing I can really walk to from the "cheap" place is Mitchell's Store, which advertises soda and ammunition (the conservation police officer was hanging out there this morning) and the county fire station (which is unstaffed until there is a call). There really isn't anything to walk to from the "expensive" place other than a different, older subdivision.
Either location puts me about 15 minutes from work and about 10 minutes from the grocery store, drug store, etc. That's about the sort of time I spend getting to work in C-U.
As far as the finances go, I can afford either house. The trick is that I'd be more comfortable with the cheaper house. I wouldn't have to be quite so strict with the budget. It would be nice to be able to relax a bit about my finances. I would be able to spend money on things like a retirement fund, new work clothes, whatever the house might need (like a different color of paint in the living room) or a vacation. Afterall, just because I have a loan approved for more than the "cheap" house is worth doesn't mean I have to use all of it.
Speaking of financing, I opened a local credit union account today. The teller girl had to look up my credit score and she characterized it as being a "do anything you want" score. Guess that is a good thing. (And here I was worried about what my score might be. Silly me.)
Off to try and sleep now..... more tomorrow.