A Change of Plans: A Blog Exclusive

We aren’t announcing this via email blast to the whole family yet, because all plans aren’t final. However, if you are one of the loyal readers of this blog, you will find out ahead of everyone else. See, there are benefits of reading my blog!

Long story short, we are going to be in Jacksonville another 2-3 years—and are in the process of selling our house and buying a new (larger) house. Wow, we know. It was a big shock to us, as well, since the last anyone knew, we were planning on coming home to Michigan within the next year or so.

Why did we perform a 180? Well, Tom had a talk with the head of the Business Technology Division and a prior colonel at 2MARDIV. He had no problem with Tom extending for one year here at base, but he thought it would be in Tom’s best interest to go for augmentation. Augmentation is a two-year commitment that changes his status from a reserve officer to an active duty officer and permits him to continue on in the Marine Corps if he decides he wants to go back into the Marines (I warned him that he might not like working in the real world!). If he were to decline his augmentation, he would be burning a more secure bridge than he expected.

When Tom told me about this we discussed it for a while and decided that a two-year commitment here at base would not kill either of us (although we really want to come home, we want to make sure we are in the best financial position to do so). Staying another few years will also allow Tom to go further in his masters work. Also, Tom has to figure out his schedule for getting his degree—there is only one class he can take this fall semester…so depending on the rest of the semesters he may need the entire three years to finish!

Another factor in our decision to stay is that Tom’s company commander said that he wouldn’t send him anywhere and that his company has too many officers that haven’t gone overseas yet. Of course, this isn’t a 100% guarantee (nothing is in the Corps), but we’re comfortable with it.

We also discussed our finances. Since I work for a real estate agent, we have been tracking the amounts that the houses in our area have been going for. The way we look at it, right now is probably the best time to get the best chunk of money out of our house. We could still get a little more if we waited another 2-3 years, but if we were to roll our money into a larger home in a more prestigous area, in 2-3 years we will be able to leave with a more substantial profit. We are just trying to leave Jacksonville with the most money possible and if we were to stay in the house we are at now, it wouldn’t be as advantageous as a new, larger home. As a positive, we’re fairly certain the new house will appraise for more than we’re paying, so we will actually start off ahead of the game. (Our neighbors, who moved into the same subdivision four or so months ago, have already had their house appraise for about 10k more than they paid). Of course, buying this new home is all depending on the sale and appraisal of our current house—and if we can’t get what we want (either sale- or appraisal-wise), then we can wait. The goal is to pay off the car (which payment will actually rollover into our new mortgage) and make a comfortable, yet dedicated, investment.

Ultimately, it’s a huge step we’re both excited AND scared about. The prospect of a new, larger house is exhilarating…but the prospect of doubling our mortgage is frightening (even though it all logically figures out). We figure everything happens for a reason, so if it was meant to be, it will be.


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