Have you ever had the privilege of watching a farmer, up close and personal? One my fondest memories are of watching my grandfather plow up the earth, year after year, getting ready to “put the garden in”. I knew what that meant!
Yummy carrots and cucumbers and green beans we would be picking and eating just 20 minutes later as part of lunch. Good stuff, good memories and a good lesson that sticks with me to this day.
The lesson was simple but profound; before planting, take the time to “break up the ground” for a plentiful harvest.
This can mean one or more of many different actions depending on what the planned outcome you desire may be.
For instance, in thinking about leaving renting behind and buying the next place where I’m going to live, breaking up the ground meant starting with research. Preparation before planting.
It meant reading a ton of articles about renting versus owning. Getting perspective from those who had gone before, hearing the ups and downs and wins and losses. Learning about how to compare the cost of one as opposed to the other. Checking the list of pros and cons of those who had already journeyed this wilderness and writing up my own list. It meant really considering how the hoped for possibilities lined up with the realities encountered. The most difficult decisions were about how the lifestyle that was desired compared to what could be reasonably expected.
Following the habit patterns observed in my grandfather, I began to lay out the rows carefully, long before any planting took place. That meant a lot of homes were looked at, online and thanks to Open Houses, in person.
A variety of styles were toured; condos, townhouses, lofts and single family houses. It was important to get a good feel for what each had to offer, how each made me feel. In each, I asked myself, which of these property styles would most likely be a good fit for where I am right now in life and where I plan to go in the coming 5-10 years?
In those visits to Open Houses, I not only got a feel for the real estate market which I'd been totally unfamiliar with until then, but I met a lot of real estate agents. I found that while they all had many common traits and all were very helpful, eager to offer insights I wouldn’t have found otherwise, I didn't relate to them all the same.
One agent in particular offered valuable information while managing to make me feel especially confident and comfortable. That's the one I choose to give my contact information and have them stay in touch. I appreciated how they followed up, providing articles about mortgage loans, title insurances and what to look for when I finally got to the place of needing a home inspection. I was very thankful since a lot of the information provided were things I hadn’t even known I needed to know!
One other thing that stood out about Grandpa’s vegetable garden was that it wasn’t ever “all business, no show”. Hard to say if he did it to please Grandma or was intended to entice us girls out to help, have those great conversations we always seemed to end up having, or he really just wanted to please us. (I think it was all of the above) Grandpa always planted a few rows of his girls’ favorite flowers. Daffodils for Grandma, pansies for Lucy and daises for me.
Those flowers drew us out, day after day, to visit with Grandpa while he worked. Those visits are the unforgettable memories that warm my heart on many cold, hard days. We’d chat while we worked, turning the soil, sorting out weeds from veggie shoots, sorting out the stuff of life as I grew up and moved out into the world. That wisdom he shared has held me steady through many storms as I grew up. A garden was an absolute must have for my life!
I realized renting was never going to be a good long term solution, because I could always lose a lease before the tomato plants were full grown! Owning was the only solution that made sense, to allow roots to really take hold so next year's crop would be even better than this year's.
This kind of long term investment is a deeply personal decision. The right timing is a matter for each individual to determine for themselves. But preparing the land? That looks about the same for all of us.
1. Consider the cost; owning or renting, there are expenses involved. The question becomes how much benefit those expenses return to you. Ask yourself “when I write the check each month, am I building toward my financial future?”
2. Consider lifestyle; ready to go anywhere with a minute's notice or holding steady for the foreseeable future?
Owning a home isn’t the ideal for everyone, but if you’ve been thinking it might be the right move for you, GET MORE INFO from your local RE/MAX Alliance Associate. They know the neighborhoods where you can plant a garden of your own.