Friday, May 23, 2008

The New Adventure

“Are we really doing this?”

Pat Swift turned to her husband, Chick, and wondered out loud about their decision to build a new home as they drove down the street in the Allen Edwin Grand View neighborhood near Cedar Springs.

The excitement of building a new home for the first time is understandable -- typical even -- except that Pat and Chick Swift have been married 43 years.

The Swifts moved to the Grand Rapids area more than 20 years ago, and have been renting ever since. What they have in common with younger couples and families moving into the same neighborhood is that their mortgage payment is less than what they’ve been paying for rent.

“I was skeptical,” said Chick, who retired from his insurance sales management job a year ago. “But I had time on my hands to check it out, and I found out this really makes sense.” It helped that their new neighborhood isn’t far from the Meijer store near Rockford where Pat works.

Although the decision to build after all these years proved logical for the Swifts, it also put some unexpected excitement into their lives. “It’s an adventure,” says Pat. During construction, the young-at-heart couple visited the site frequently, and were pleased to see that the homesites were selling quickly. “You can see the neighborhood develop before your eyes,” said Chick.

Children and grandchildren have shared in the excitement, and the change has stimulated Chick’s interests in walking, visiting a nearby deer farm and, obviously, home building. He’s even considering becoming more computer literate.

By the time they celebrate their 44th anniversary this August, the Swifts will have put renting behind them, but will have a new “lease” on life.