Hmmm somehow I got off-topic pretty quickly. Little sleep and an overactive mind equals choppy blog posts. Another little random tidbit: I just pulled a small, puffy-plastic heart sticker off the bottom of my foot. Nice. :-) Aaminah's little gifts that keep on giving. lol
OK soooooo back to our regularly scheduled topic. We are now actively house-hunting! Seems the MST (Muslim Standard Time) also applies to predominantly Muslim owned and frequented businesses. We found (alhamdulillah!) a reputable Shariah-compliant lender (Ijara Loans) and the brothers and sisters there are masha'Allah very nice. However, (and not very surprisingly) between us and them it's taken since November to finalize. Well to be fair after we started we discovered A would be getting a substantial raise (please say masha'Allah!) and had to re-work the loan documents.
Long story short we have our pre-approval letter in hand and are good to go. Actually one point I would like to make on Ijara's behalf is that they are able/willing to do something more in the line of what most 1st time homeowners do which is only pay 3-5% down. We found another company online which required 20% down. Alhamdulillah this is just not feasible for us, especially with the housing market here in Massachusetts.
Another point I would like to bring up. "Where I come from" you can get a niiiiiiice little (or not so little) home with a pretty good sized chunk of land for what we are paying here for well alot less (what we get) for a lot more (what we pay). Alhamdulillah for it all, it all comes out in the wash, so to speak, because I am aware my husband also gets paid more here for a comparable job than he would in Tennessee. Oh I miss home. :-( OK sorry, back on track.
Anyway, in the area where I would want to live in TN you can get this for $200,000 USD:
|Almost 3,000 sq ft and an acre lot, beautifully redone inside, mature trees... $189,000|
Now here in MA (specifically in the beautiful little town where we live now, Hudson, and where we cannot afford to live in the future as homeowners) this is what the same money will get you:
|1,000 sqft (yes you read right) 1 acre (mostly wooded, was surprised at size of lot actually)|
Now to get a comparable house in Hudson, here's what you'll be out:
|5 br, 4 ba (??!!), and a nice plot of land.|
Alright so this bad boy will set you back (ready?) $439,900. Yes. Almost half a mil. Subhanallah. It's $165 per sq ft. I hope you guys find this as interesting as I did plus to realize a little of why I am shocked by our housing search here. I HAD NO IDEA how much houses cost here, especially in our sweet little town. We simply cannot afford to live here. :-( So it's onto an outlying area, such as the big city of Worcester (over a million population. Great. lol)
One nice thing is that the style of older houses here are really architecturally interesting. Things like wooden built-ins (book nooks, small stained glass windows, carved wooden banisters), refinished wood floors, and sometimes stone on the outside at least in small areas. However there's alot of give and take. Either in a less-than-desirable neighborhood (not dangerous, but maybe off a busy area, or house needs work, etc.)
I found a nice house, updated inside (A has the skills but possibly not the time/desire to do renovations), with a yard almost half an acre and located inside the city of Worcester. Of course, we would prefer to live in the countryside but seems here in MA that's an expensive proposition. I hate that A will have a long commute (25 to 35 minutes) because he is on-call weekends and evenings. Sometimes a few weeks can go by without him being called but it's always a possibility.
Regardless, we have to have more room for our family of 6 so insha'allah khair. Here are a few photos of a house we are considering and will see on Thursday insha'Allah:
|Almost half an acre, fenced. Alhamdulillah!|
|I am so happy the brick is a nice color. I don't like the dated "brick red" brick. :-)|
|Oh be still my beating heart! I love tile and always wanted a closed-top stove. :-) The oven is wall mounted which = great for me achy back.|
|I like open floor plans; we aren't "formal dining room" kinda people.|
|1 of 3 bathrooms. Yes, I said it. Finally 1 bathroom for guests. Yippee! And all the baths are updated alhamdulillah.|
|View from other side. I don't mind vinyl siding (we can't afford a stone house for sure!) and I like the little bit of brick accent as well as the color of the house.|
|Isn't that a welcoming little entrance way? I loooove front porches but there is a nice deck on the side. Guess that'll have to satisfy my southern roots.|
The basement is fully finished and it's huge, 25' by 23' and also has a laundry room which is nice cause I have piles of laundry. Always. Which I really enjoy doing when I have the space. I can imagine having a table for folding and all hangers there as well as bins with everyone's name. Ahhhhhhh sweet laundry. :-)
We are also about 3/10s of a mile away from Coe's Pond and reservoir. It has a public beach so I guess there's swimming. We don't normally frequent places where others are basically naked (to avoid fitnah and impressing the wrong ideals on our children) but with 20 acres, it's more than just the waterfront. A nature preserve within walking distance. Happy girl here!!!!!
|Named after the Coe brothers who owned the land. Interestingly, they were the inventors of the famous "monkey wrench". Hmmm New England ingenuity. :-)|
OK so I realize this is a loooong post and lots of info and photos. I really have come to view ya'll as a part of my extended family, my ummah for sure. :-) I derive as much fellowship and inspiration from my online sisters as I do from many of my IRL acquaintances and I am grateful to Allah for allowing me to expand my horizons in this way.
I'll keep ya'll updated as we go and maybe take my own pics from this house (as well as some others we'll see on Thursday insha'Allah). Please make dua that we are able to find a home and for us to be pleased with the provisions Allah bestows upon us, amin. :-)