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is this a bubble?

March 24th, 2016 at 05:07 pm

A house near to us went on the market for $868k for 4 bd/2.5 ba, 3028 sq ft with a 4400 sq ft lot. It went on 3/23/16. The craziness? It was bought last year 2/20/15, yes 13 months ago for $789.9k and no work has been done.

The house was built in 2012 and sold 6/1/12 for $669.9k. Then sold less than 3 years later for $100k more, but now in 13 months the sellers are asking $78k more than they paid or 10% appreciation. How much longer will this type of appreciation last?

The sellers are moving back to where they are from. They bought because of course you make money and renting is a waste. So if we had bought last summer before DH quit, with our cash and credit would we have made 10% in 6 months? I think maybe.

I'm sitting here pondering because we planned on looking this summer. But I'm really nervous this is going to turn ugly. That we'll again buy at the peak of the market in a market we don't fully understand.


Real Estate questions

March 12th, 2016 at 07:55 am

Okay everyone talks about how to pick real estate and we touched on bad house in good neighborhood versus great house in bad. But what factors are involved? What's important in buying a house?

1. Condo versus house? Let's assume you can't afford a house in your chosen neighborhood but you can buy a condo. Which is it? Condo let's say is closer to work but house is farther way? How important is a commute?

2. If you did buy a condo what if you can't afford a 2 bd but only 1 bd?

3. If you could buy a house in your chosen neighborhood what if it were only 2 bedrooms instead of 3 bedrooms?

4. What if the house only has 1 bathroom? It also depends if there is a logical area to add a second bathroom. Or is a second bathroom unnecessary?

5. Do you buy a house in the "right" neighborhood but on a busy road? What if it's not in a neighborhood but a commuting traveled road?

6. Do you buy a home with a bad layout and not easily fixable due to constrained lot size?

7. Is it ever worth to buy a home fixed up or better to always buy a fixer?

8. Is it worth looking for a bigger lot with an older house or newer house on a smaller lot?

9. What about buying next to places likes a little strip mall or gas station? It's nice to have things but at the same time is it less desirable to be next to things?

I heard a quote from my old realtor. The time to buy a house and move up in size/price/location is during a recession. Yes you'll sell your house at a loss but you get a better deal. But the time to sell your house is during a boom. Then all the "negative" faults of your house, too small, one bathroom, busy road is more likely to be overlooked by the buyer and bought without question.

What do you think?

Are we in a recession?

January 11th, 2016 at 10:20 am

Are we in a recession and don't know it? A few of my friends have had close calls with their jobs. They've had layoffs and survived. One friend went back in the middle of maternity leave because her boss called her and told her layoffs were coming please come back so he could save her. She did and she was saved.

I feel like more than a few of my friends in different industries and different jobs have mentioned feeling insecure and looking or switching jobs. It's weird because gas prices are down but food prices are up. The housing market is supposedly still really "hot" but it's hard to tell with the seasonal market and if it hit a peak.

How is the economy where you are? How is the housing market?

new neighborhood

September 11th, 2015 at 09:30 am

The neighborhood we live in is great. People seem less rushed and less stressed. The houses are very middle class and if I had to guess most people are solidly middle class.

But what struck me is a lot of the phrases I'm hearing. Before we lived in a very upper income, affluent area for the country. Average house price was $1M, condos were around $500k+, so you can imagine that the average salary I think was $100k. Where we lived that was scraping by.

Now the area we've moved to the houses are running around $400-500k and it's considered one of the more affluent areas of the city we live in. Honestly expensive compared to many other suburbs. Most people here are 1 or 2 working professionals like where we lived, and I'd guess the average income is also $80-100k.

But I've heard from a lot of people that they are on a tight budget, living paycheck to paycheck, and stretching it. I don't get it.

I know where we moved from people made a lot of money, but I also know there were MANY two income professional couples trying to keep up with the Joneses. But here people don't seem to be driving Audi, Lexus, BMW, Benz. They aren't sending their kids to tons of activities that cost exorbitant amounts or hiring nannies to pick up the kids and chauffer them.

But they are talking about leasing a new Rav4, not affording activities for kids, and being paycheck to paycheck. I am surprised. I thought that they are living so much more modestly they would be saving more. But it seems that no matter what the house price, income, or area, many people aren't saving and struggling.

I thought it was mostly those who tried to keep up with the Joneses at the highest levels of income that were in trouble. Now I think that at all income levels people are trying to keep up with the "joneses" of their level.

FWIW we fit in better in the neighborhood carwise and stuff. We don't seem so frugal. But I wonder if knowing we can afford more might not encourage us to spend more?

Home Sale and Debt Free

July 8th, 2015 at 09:19 pm

Our home sold on Tuesday July 7th. We officially are debt free and don't own a home. In many ways it's very freeing. Since we've been on the road I'm not sure what fees and will look over when we have a chance. But overall life is GREAT.

I can't explain the relief and lack of anxiety I now feel having finished the sale of our home. Sounds nuts but this home sale was giving me a lot of grief and ulcers.

Besides the fact that the packing moving was very slow and a lot harder than I thought. We had 80% done a week in advance of moving. But that last 20% was so difficult. We got to the point of no return honestly. We just started throwing things in boxes and loading the trailer. We ended up with 15' linear feet, a foot less than estimated.

We did hire movers for 3 hours at $60/hr and it really helped move things along. According to the tracker our trailer is in PA waiting to go to Dayton, OH. Sounds crazy fast.

Plan is still to arrive and find a place and have our trailer stored and then delivered end of August.

FWIW, it's a little weird not being a home owner for the first time in 13 years. It's also weird knowing we owe nobody NOTHING. That we have no big debt hanging over our heads. We also have a nice big cash number in our bank accounts so life is a little more rosie. Now onto our road trip.

ABF U Pack and Moving Costs

June 30th, 2015 at 08:07 pm

So an interesting thing about ABF U Pack since we are using them, they sell you that things are by the linear foot but in truth it's by 2 linear feet. The measurements for putting up the bulkhead is only 2 linear ft per set up so it's actually $300 per 2 linear ft and it's really easier to take stuff rather than worry about it.

Our costs to move are at $6k. We spent $1962 on an interior painter. We paid $1600 for the exterior painting of our house just the front and 40%. Only $1730 for our foundation repair work!!!! WooHoo!!!! Came in below total cost of the low of $5k. Came in total with engineering at $4326! Amazing. And $714 on 2 hours of moving labor help, buying moving supplies, renting steam cleaner, and storage.

Not bad so far. I think we'll be at close to our estimate 16 linear ft which should put up with a month storage at $4300 for the move. This is not including the gas for driving 2 cars cross country or hotels.

Of course for us it's a vacation but for DH it'll be non-stop hard labor. But since his time at that point is worth nothing and we're saving on shipping the dog. Instead he plans on driving to his parents in Canada and then driving back to the States it doesn't seem like much of a hassle.

This is it!!!!! I've also sold $1890 of our stuff. So I would say that we are paying to move around 1/3 of our stuff and less of it.

T-5 or T-6

June 30th, 2015 at 07:59 pm

The insanity. I still haven't figured out if we are leaving on July 5th or 6th. Uggh. I still haven't booked our hotels. I am still hopelessly not packed yet. What have I been doing? Everything else.

Tomorrow I finalize the documents for the repair of our foundation. More about the cost in another post. This will mean that we are officially set on our side to close on the sale of the house by July 7th.

Our trailer has been delivered. I'd say around 85% of our house has been packed. Tonight I threw in the towel for food and are moving to eating take out, leftovers, and other people's food. No more cooking. We cooked Salmon Burgers for our last meal.

I was happy to turn over a bag of fish (2 salmon and 4 pieces of Mahi) to a friend, 6 smoked sausages, 1 bag Kahlua Pork, and that's about it from the freezer. I also gave away our spices, unopened condiments. All we really have left is our snacks and 4 boxes of pasta, and instant oatmeal.

It took me two hours from 7:30 this morning to get the dog's international travel certificate. We are good to go until July 9th. We have 10 days to travel within.

The dog food has been delivered to my in laws and we don't have a booked flight yet. I find myself stressing and tonight I have to backwards outline our trip since we've decided to stop in Toronto and ship him out.

I've organized all our passports, kids medical and school records, my medical records, and I have to pay bills tonight. This is insane. I've managed to pack the kids clothes for the road trip and August. But DH and I are not done. And DH hasn't packed his work clothes yet.

I feel like a hamster on a wheel that can't stop running. Any more tips or ideas? We've set aside all road trip stuff we can think of. Please let us get on our way already.

Counting down the days

June 25th, 2015 at 04:01 am

We are now probably driving out of dodge on July 5th. We'll drive straight through to Niagara Falls, ON and drop the dog July 6th in Toronto. Well the plan is DH will then turn back and we'll do Niagara Falls. I've got him booked for his international health certificate this Tuesday. I had to go to an special vet whose FDA certified. I am paying $80 which is a huge deal since I got a coupon for a free 1st time patient exam and the paperwork is just $80. I have to call airlines and figure out what is the best price for the dog cargo. I also ordered dog food to the tune of $105 from Amazon.ca and it's shipping to my MIL.

Next up is contacting all the utility people, getting medications and records. Also finishing up selling stuff, right now according to my craigslist spreadsheet we've sold $1835 worth of stuff. Almost enough to cover half our expenses in selling our place. I had no idea I had so much stuff to sell. Granted about $1k was big ticket items, but still $800 in "junk" I am impressed. Although we have a few more items to sell.

Booked our movers only 2 movers for 2 hours on July 3rd for $120. I wonder if it's enough. I booked them only to load the big items thinking they can do boxes if they have time but we can manage the boxes ourselves. Plus looking at everything we are pretty well packed. From the tips to be completely packed up and the truck loaded in 2-3 hours I honestly don't think that's an unreasonable time frame with everything in boxes. Right now we are solidly at 80% I'd say and in the next week before the movers I'd say 95%. Most of the stuff unpacked are our beds, TV, Dinner Table, Couch, and some clothes. The furniture we have mattress pads and holders to put the mattresses into. The clothes I need to segregate into road trip and staying in dresser and DH packs his work clothes.

I have a complaint about realtors. Our realtor hired a guy to install Carbon Monoxide detectors because we needed them for our city inspection. It's a crazy inspection for $50 by the city. But their real estate agency hires this guy so they pass in 3 minutes. Sounded fine. But they of course didn't tell me the cost, $450! Had I known I might have had my DH order and install these things himself. Uggh what a rip off.

And we are still trying to finish our frozen food. Sadly I don't think we're as much on track as CreditCardFree, whom I tried to emulate. But on Sunday we are having people over for an eat the freezer party.

Countdown continues

June 23rd, 2015 at 06:36 pm

Things are insane and crazy busy. We had our DK preschool "graduation"/moving up ceremony. Very cute and quite sad. It's been 3 years at the preschool and they are awesome, wonderful, truly great teachers. I can't say enough about how appreciative we both are to them. They were flexible, accommodating, talented, incredibly patient people. We've actually known most for 5 years.

I think we are 11 days out from leaving, potentially 12 or 13. We close on the sale of our home July 7th or 14 days. We currently are on track to finish our foundation crack issues. The work is done and we are waiting on affidavit from the structural engineer and the building inspector to come out and stamp us as solid. Then siding back on the house and the project should be completed, signed, sealed, and delivered. We are set to close. If we had stuck to our original close date of June 29th I think it would have been tight.

As it stands I believe that we are probably going to close on July 7th. We could do July 1st or 2nd, but this gives us a little bit of a buffer for paperwork.

We are going with ABF U pack and the trailer will be delivered on July 1st. It is scheduled to be picked up July 6th. We have two movers coming to help us move our boxes July 3rd 9-11 am. My DH thought we could do it ourselves but honestly for $120 it's well worth it. We will have enough to do without having to strain our backs doing the big furniture.

I'd say we are at 80% done packing. We still have a quite a bit left but part of the problem is that we have to sort stuff into two road trip piles and still have food left to eat and kids toys out.

Our biggest issue is the dog. Do we ship him before we leave or take him and ship him out of Toronto? There are so many headaches not to mention scheduling his health certificate without 10 days of travel.

We are struggling with the space issue. We are unsure about how much we can carry on our road trip. We just ordered a bigger camping tent. We've had ours for over 15 years and it was a 4 person backpacking tent by coleman. Very tight with kids and dog. We've upgraded to 8 person but it'll only be for car camping. We are planning on camping at potentially St Ignace, MI, picture rock national lakefront, badlands national park (booked site), mt rushmore, yellowstone, and glacier.

It's so stressful since as of right now we haven't booked hotels other than our end destination since we aren't sure how it'll go.

I'm debating resurrecting my site on blogspot so that I may put up pictures easier.

Sale and the Move

June 8th, 2015 at 09:34 am

So last week our buyers asked us to close early. They were interested in closing early and were now willing to take over the construction and repairs and allow us to close without finishing. We said no. We are set to close July 7th and honestly my DH and I were too nervous to allow our fate into someone else's hands. They wanted us to do the repair so we are. Plus it would honestly be bad karma I feel to leave my neighbors hanging. Although a friend told me that it's always better to close sooner rather than later. But in this case aren't we more at risk being on hook for the cost of the repair after we sell and don't have control?

As it is, the time line is going to be tight. We started last Wednesday. Hoping today the engineer comes out to inspect and give approval to move on. Tomorrow the city building inspector comes and gives approval to move on. Then work commences on Wednesday. That should be another week. Then the engineer and inspector come back out. Then final work and the engineer comes out again for stamp on plans and we file with the city and are good to go. This puts us I think at 2-3 weeks from now putting us close to our July 7th close.

Some stuff about our move, we are nervous about not knowing where we are going to rent. Or what it will cost. But this is to big a decision to do online. So tentatively we are arriving July 28th and then searching. We are then heading to Hawaii August 2nd and DH back to work for 2 weeks. Then he'll do a second cross country trip August 14th with our second car and pick up our dog on the way.

New wrinkle we are sending the dog to Canada and DH parents for the duration of our road trip and move. It'll be too tough to take him so we decided that we would fly him direct to them and pick him up en route. We did that when we moved cross country last time we sent our last dog to them and went to china for a month traveling then moved and picked up him after we settled.

Good thing this happens only once every 10 years. And we are still waffling on the minivan idea.

Used newer minivan and dump the sonata. Space versus cost. Long term I think we want a minivan, but right now it's pricey and we can't buy the loaded minivan we want. So what to do?

Our timeline is tightening up and the insanity of neighbors

May 31st, 2015 at 07:39 pm

Our timeline is tightening up for the sale. We picked a contractor and he'll start Wednesday if the weather cooperates. The project in theory should take a week. However that is just work, not including the permitting, the inspection for the city, the inspection in the middle (after supports are put up) by the engineer, and the ending inspection/stamp certificate by the engineer. So I'm guessing solidly another week. This of course is all contingent on our weather cooperating since we're having a mini monsoon right now for the next few days.

If this works out we could in theory be done by June 17th with plenty of time to close by July 7th. We in theory are hoping to leave and start driving out west July 7th. Then we are hoping to arrive at our destination July 27th/28th.

Then we'll find a place by the 1st of August. Now we realize we may not be able to move in so the plan is I'll head to Hawaii with the kid and DH has to come back to give notice and work another 2 weeks at least. At which point he'll either fly or drive back. We will be back by the end of August in time for school to start.

The insanity of our neighbors? They said since they are selling they didn't want the responsibility of the association checking account. They wanted us to turn it over to our buyers and not offer it to the other owners of unit A. I said that would be tough due to social etiquette. But more so are they sure they want to relinquish control and trust people they've never met?

My stomach is still in knots over everything. This is not an easy process getting out of this "business partnership" we bought into 10 years ago. I'm glad we did because we learned a very good lesson. Never again are we buying in a 3 unit condo, never. We will buy in a large complex with a management company but never again.

I hope everything goes smoothly.

Home sale update #2

May 27th, 2015 at 10:30 am

So last friday I got the plans from my engineer about the repair to our foundation. We've spent so far on engineering $2125 as a condo. $1500 for these plans and $625 for investigation and initial estimate.

I submitted the plans to 4 different contractors and only 1 got back to me so far. He got back to me yesterday with a quote for $2500. Great deal. Plus he can start next week.

I am going to call and follow up today with the others but if they can't get their act together to get me an estimate I don't know why I should bother, except to appease my neighbors.

I think that we are getting a deal. The only thing I asked of him was to add on a bundle of repairing some stairs.

I have to admit I'm stressed out over the timing of this repair since we still have to have it permitted and inspected by the city. And we need the engineer come out and stamp it. I have until July 7th to finish everything and I feel like every day counts.

If it comes in at what the contractor estimated I think I'll be out around $2k instead of the $15k cash we offered our buyers. But at the same time I had to deal with negotiating and finding all these repair guys and dealing with my neighbors who are lovely but it's hard timing and just making everyone happy or at least compromised.

My hair I swear is turning more and more white with the stress and anxiety. I can't wait for this to be underway and done. Then maybe I can focus more on packing. Until then I feel like we haven't a real home sale and it's hard to pack up.

We aren't leaving until we sign the papers selling our house. IF it means staying and flying at the last minute that's what we are doing.

What are you going to do?

May 22nd, 2015 at 06:39 pm

I've been asked that question a lot lately. Along with are you afraid? Absolutely I am TERRIFIED. I'd have to be insane to not be afraid and crazy not to be worried.

Fact we are moving literally cross country with a "semi" mapped out plan. Fact we are moving without a job. Fact we do not know where we are going to live. Fact we are giving up a lot of income and gambling on finding a job. Fact we will be without income September 2015. Fact we have enough saved in cash for 3 years without a job at current burn rate.

Guess - we are guessing that we can rent for less money than we are currently paying in our mortgage (high likelyhood). Guess - DH will land a job in April 2016, so we will be 8 months without an income. Guess - that I may find work. Guess we will be without health insurance but will be able to buy some. Guess that our burn rate will be close to what we spend now. Guess that we will get a large tax refund because we've been overpaying this year at our normal rate something like $10-15k potentially. Yeah we didn't know we were moving so we've just been giving them an interest free loan.

My thoughts are if I manage to even land a minimum wage part-time job like starbucks then perhaps we can minimize the drain on our savings. If we aren't working and see the money going away we may also minimize expenses. We can also focus on lowering our spending.

But the bottom line and truth is we aren't doing this because it makes sense financially. We are doing this because we want to do it. We are moving because long term this is something that will make us happier both lifestyle and career wise. This move will bring us closer to family and friends. This will allow DH to try a new field. And he's moving pretty much home and I'm just much closer.

Even if we take a paycut we are doing it before we get settled with buying our "final" home. Before we got used to the big income and needing it.

It's a hard truth to digest and most people think we are nuts. BUT sometimes life isn't about $ but rather living life. At the end of the day we still have to live our life at a level each of us can be satisfied.

I'm not sure but I think this move could derail us financially for a few years. BUT I believe that overall good financial habits will right the ship and we'll still be able to retire when we choose. And we'll still be able to afford a lifestyle we enjoy.

So we have no plan and will be hemorrhaging money but it's life. And for the record I am afraid.

Home sale update

May 18th, 2015 at 06:17 pm

We signed our purchase and sale and are solidly underway on selling. We have a 5% deposit and are getting work started tomorrow on the foundation. Cross your fingers. we have 7 weeks left for this to all pan out. But now it's harder for them to run away from us....

The plot thickens

May 12th, 2015 at 07:45 pm

So what happened now? Our attached neighbors are buying a new place. They haven't listed their identical unit yet but they will. What'd they buy? Lol well only a $1.749 million dollar single family home two miles from our current house in the same town.

What can I say? Way out of our price range. Gorgeous and perfect. But good thing we are leaving the area since it's obviously too expensive for us. Good luck for them. And I assume they are listing as soon as we sell. And I know why they have been so cooperative.

Negotiations settled

May 12th, 2015 at 06:58 am

We are moving onto the next step in our home sale process...signing the purchase and sale. Easy? no. But we finished negotiations yesterday at 5 pm and then had to negotiate with our neighbors.

We are doing the repair #1 with a range of $5-10k. We are doing it for less money out of our pocket than if they had taken the cash we offered $15k. We were willing to go up to $20k. Yes that's right we were going to throw a ton of money at the problem and they wouldn't bite. They didn't walk away but they instead they said less money and you deal with the headache. And my head does ache thinking about doing my construction project in the next 8 weeks.

We then negotiated with our neighbors about starting IMMEDIATELY as in yesterday. I already sent an email hiring the structural engineer to draw up the plans. I'm hoping they are done next week so I can bid out the project around memorial day and start the work projecting the 1st of June. That will give us a month to do the week, which is estimated at 1 week (I am guessing 2 weeks) and having the bank come out to reassess the repair and give the mortgage a final stamp of approval. Unfortunately this may impact their ability to get a mortgage which will in turn potentially snag our home sale.

Again I'm working as fast as I can. I have contractors coming out this week to look and see if they'll do the work, give an estimate off a report, I've explained about the building plans being worked on, and see what their time frames are and estimate on time to do project.

Talked to my lawyer this morning and he was in disbelief we negotiated with our neighbors in less than 24 hrs to start and pay for a large repair. How did we do it?

Well Neighbor A has an identical unit and is our direct comp. They plan on selling next year and this will tie up their sale and if we put it back on the market and dump it for say $679k they'd get that next year. It was in their best interest for us to not lose our buyers and to keep our comp extremely high. They are hoping to get our $720k pushed higher and next year they may hit $729 or $739k. Who knows. They know which way the bread is buttered.

Neighbor B only holds a 20% equity share in the property because it's a smaller unit. They are in financial difficulties and Neighbor A was calling to see if they could afford it because they agreed. They said yes, but that's not the whole story and we told neighbors A the truth.

The truth is we are giving Neighbor B a 0% personal loan. We are fronting the cash at most $2400 for them to be able to afford the foundation work. We decided privately that we can afford to eat $2400 to sell our home. Right now they are into us for around $1100 anyway because we've paid for association work (painting the house $4k) and other stuff $625 (hiring engineer) out of our own pocket. And our other neighbors owe us something like $2200.

The association owes us and both neighbors agree. Yes we are seriously throwing around money left and right this home sale. The association will need to settle up with us.

But what else can be done? Only thing I can say is thank god we have a ton of cash right now on hand. Thankfully my DH just stashed a lot of cash around $200k for us to move without jobs. We don't need to touch retirement and investment accounts. And while we were debating investing some of this $200k we've been revisiting whether or not we should keep 3 years of expenses in cash.

Right now who knows what our future holds.

negotiations for home repairs

May 11th, 2015 at 08:59 am

We are in the process of negotiation home repairs that came up during the home inspection. We already had a structural engineer come out and give us a report. Repair option #1 is $5-10k with $1500 engineering work. This is recommended repair and option #2 is $20k including the engineering and only recommended in 5-10 years if there is movement of the crack after repair #1. If we choose to do repair #2 then repair #1 is not necessary. We are responsible for 40% of any repairs as per our association.

Buyers asked for repair #2 started immediately. Our initial response was we will give you $10k to do the repairs. Our realtor said that wouldn't fly they don't want cash (we offered $15k) they want us to deal with the problem. We didn't want to hassle with a construction project and negotiating with the neighbors and just all things that happen during construction.

But that being said to not lose them we then offered repairing the crack at option #1 because that's what our association (2 other owners) agreed it. Yes it's less money our portion would be $5k instead of the $15k we offered them. But I'm about to have a headache embarking on chasing the engineer, bidding out the work, supervising the work, and packing/moving, and trying to close. If they had taken our cash offer I would have been extremely happy.

So now we are waiting. Waiting to see if this offer is acceptable to them. They may still demand repairs and option #2. In which case we have to decide what to do. We don't want to lose them because we can't start the process over again. But at the same time our neighbors are correct in not wanting to pay for more than $10k repairs which is the suggested repair and not jumping the gun to the $20k repairs which he said are unnecessary and not typical. $10k repairs are expected and typical. And $10k is high end.

We should hear back by the end of close today. Cross your fingers, I never knew selling my house would be so hard. I knew we'd have to pay but I never expected I might be running a construction project to sell my house.

Further thoughts are that my realtor said it does make our association look not penny pinching and proactive by agreeing to do this work and doing it quickly. But who knows if the buyers even want to work with us.

Home Inpsection update

May 8th, 2015 at 06:18 am

The home inspection did not go well. Well I guess overall it did. But a crack was found in the foundation and the buyers are obviously worried. This happened Wednesday afternoon. The one pro is that this is all they are worried about. They haven't really asked about the roof, the water heater, furnace, which are all original to when we bought 2005. Now all they are focusing on is the crack in the foundation.

So yesterday (thursday) I had our structural engineer come out and tell me what was wrong. He said he couldn't tell really without taking down the wall because from our crawlspace there was another wall three feet away from the original foundation. What he thought was it's coming apart because it's 1880s house and it's par for the course and area. Nothing uncommon or unknown.

So he said he really couldn't tell anything until taking apart but he said he could give a report on what he thinks is the problem and could be done. The price? $5-10k and $1-2k for his stamp as an engineer.

Now we're on the hook for 40% of the costs and our neighbors are concerned because they want to sell next year. We're okay shelling out the $5k as a credit to the buyers.

The problem? We don't want to deal with the construction. We don't want them to walk away from the deal because it's PIA to do construction. We are on the hook with them and right now my DH and I are planning on moving and they have given us the time frame.

I don't think we can do anything else but wait and see what they want. They are obviously waiting for the report.

They were unable to get a structural engineer out to our property yesterday. They sent an email stating that they were calling and no one could come until next week. When we did it they were pretty excited that we were just moving forward with our own report.

I'm thinking that perhaps they want to work with us and aren't running for the hills yet. Keep your fingers crossed. My DH and I have always been on pins and needles selling our place. There has always been problem we've worried with an old home and I will never, ever do this again.

an accepted offer

May 4th, 2015 at 06:34 pm

We got an offer and accepted it. We got $720k with a home inspection and mortgage contingency of course. Home inspection is Wednesday 3 pm. We'll see what happens. They are preapproved with wells fargo as priority buyers.

Today my DH chatted with recruiter and we are moving in July back to the west coast. It appears to be clear. Things are moving along they way they should.

We need to now clear the home inspection and we should be good to close end of June.

Open House #2 update

May 4th, 2015 at 03:13 am

Okay so we ran our second open house which had issues since half the road to my house was close. Hence why we ran even two open houses. That is not my realtor's strategy normally.

But it wasn't bad there were 11 buyers who came. 1 was a broker/buyer she was expecting Saturday. 1 was a broker who came for a family who came and sent him on Sunday! She said she was trying to pump him about his clients but he didn't want to chat with so many people about. Apparently they all came at the same time probably due to traffic the last 30 minutes of open house.

Today bids are due on our house. I am have severe anxiety. I realized last night we are seriously underpriced compared to the market. We are sitting at $360/sq ft and everything else on the market (ie my town) is pricing at $400+/sq ft in our price range. EVERYTHING. There are 12 other properties both condo and SFH between $600-800k. Most are 3 bedrooms and some are 2 or 4 bds. VERY few have as much sq ft as we do. Most are much smaller around 1200-1500 sq ft.

So by that simple metric and not considering that ours are in better condition from the photos (updated kitchen/baths, etc) we could easily have priced at $380/sq ft = $733k, or $400/sq ft = $772k. I'm nervous what a fair price for our house might be. I know my realtor's strategy was to underprice for a bidding war and she's sure that the market will correct us to what we should be. But all three realtors we interviewed suggested $699k and said we'd end up in the $700sK+ guarantee. But where?

Now a lot of our competition went under agreement the first weekend for above asking like a condo that was $729k and 1790 sq ft. They were 3 bd/3ba but with an underground garage. So they were around $405/sq ft and new construction 2010 versus 2005 renovation (us). But our location is superior by FAR, they are across a busy main road from McDonald's. Not that there's anything wrong with that but we are off a main road on a dead end that's on the superior side of a highway for our town. My views are much quieter and nicer. And two units from that complex went on the market 3 and 4 weeks ago and sold the first weekend for $729k+. How much I have no idea.

Garage and newer is definitely worth a lot. But superior location and slightly bigger and better street is worth something too. Especially since nothing close to our location is on the market. And homes on my street go for $1M plus usually versus the other area doesn't touch that. I live where a lot of SFH go for $2-3M+ and my street has "smaller" older homes that are "only" $1M. Actually the multi-family on my street for sale is under agreement for $1.8M+ and needs a gut rehab.

According to redfin we are a "hot" home with over 250+ views and 30 favorites. I'm not sure how they predict that we will sell in 8 days and we are "hot".

Let today's anxiety begin.

Open house update

May 2nd, 2015 at 06:51 pm

Our open house was apparently a success. We had 17 buyers, 3 came with brokers. Two were expected and 1 was an unexpected broker/buyer. 12 were serious buyers apparently and two were return showings. One was a woman who came back with her dad after coming with her mother on Thursday.

Something funny apparently people couldn't believe that we were living in our house it was so staged and clean. I have to say I'm pleased with that comment.

Perhaps I can learn to always live like this who knows. It's insanity to have to clean but the organization I could live with.

Tomorrow another open house and DH is working and me and the kids are going to the zoo for the day.

Further planning needed

May 2nd, 2015 at 04:23 am

So last night we were discussing more about the future. Everyone asks us where we are moving to and the answer is "when the house sells we'll decide." It's the truth. Last year alone I had two friends whose condos (one in our town) that didn't sell.

Friend W didn't sell because she priced it too high $629k for her 2 bd condo that this year she listed at $539k. But last year she wasn't willing to drop it that low. Friend K had massive repairs that they did over the summer and winter and no one wanted to take on. This year they listed for $339k versus $359k and got an offer and are selling. So for reasons beyond or within their control I can see how homes don't sell.

Well I'm not about to sign onto a lease without guaranteeing I don't have to cover it and a mortgage. I don't get why people don't understand the financial aspects of planning. If we don't sell, we stay. If we sell then we can easily find a rental if we needed too because we are flexible in the sense I don't "need" more than a 2 bd/1 ba and can live with the kids in a 1 bd if need be.

But we were talking more and last night I think we've figured out we're moving out west. A few things have clicked recently and we should be moving July 1st out west.

Next on my agenda figuring out where we are going to live out there because my DH wants us to rent in a town we are likely to buy in. Since his job prospects are looking up that changes our financial picture short and long term. I'm looking at us clearing around $300k on the home sale which we haven't decided yet if we'll pay cash for a home or we'll put down 20% and invest the rest. Plus we've saved another $200k cash for living without a job. Financially I think we could pay cash for a house but I'm not sure I want to.

I'm starting to research movers because our situation is slightly different in that we're moving cross country, may need storage for a year while we find a permanent place, and we certainly aren't renting the size of what we are buying.

Finally the RV thing is a dream, but we've talked and think we've come up with a pretty good compromise. We were thinking maybe rent an RV for a week and go on a vacation on the East Coast. Then start our relocation. So the RV rental is $895 for the week including 100 miles/day and 25 cents a mile over. So we are looking at 2700 miles (on the high end) so we will be paying $500 extra for mileage. Then gas and food. $1395 for RV and I'm guessing $1k for gas and $500 for food? All in for a week $3k and an opportunity to see places we'll never see again?

Well today we have our first open house 11-1. We had two showings yesterday 6 and 6:30. 6:30 person had to cancel and is coming to open house but she had wanted to see it last Sunday when we weren't ready. The 6 pm couple came with their two small children and they loved it and stayed over an hour. My realtor had another appointment and she had to leave but they were standing outside and she had been waiting for them to scoot. They currently rent in the next town over the same layout of townhouse. Crossing my fingers.

I think this plan of waiting until Monday for offers is more stressful than accepting them as they come in. Of course if we were accepting them as they come in and nothing was coming in then I'd probably be more stressed out.

On the Market

May 1st, 2015 at 07:08 am

We went on the market Tuesday afternoon for $699k. We had a broker showing on Wednesday and yesterday a broker open house. Three buyers came with their brokers to the open house, and one returned with her husband. We had another showing and she already returned with her husband Thursday night. Late last night my broker called me and said that one of the couples wanted to know our closing date because they were putting together an offer. Keep your fingers crossed. We have our open house this weekend and no showings scheduled as of yet today. But mostly we've been out and I haven't been able to post photos.

It's been incredibly hard to live show ready and be out of the house all the time.

my realtor, the rich, and Tim Ferriss

April 24th, 2015 at 06:21 pm

Just some odd and end stuff. My realtor pulled up in her blue porsche sports car. And my painter says "are you sure it's a good idea to hire a realtor who drives a nice car?" I say she literally two weeks ago sold my friends house for $886k for a 2 bd condo listed at $799k (same town as me) without a home inspection or mortgage contingency the first weekend. And that's the 5th deal she's done for my friend including selling two of her previous homes, one multi family rental, and buying her current property. And each time she's got full asking price, twice before it hit MLS and sometimes without home inspection contingencies. So I think she's a smart realtor. And I'm hoping she'll want to work hard enough to get the biggest commission so she can buy her next porsche. Perhaps I'm crazy but in realtors I don't mine fancy cars.

So my friend Ms S comes over to see my place and give an honest evaluation. Her quotes to me are "You should have hired the painter to do the whole house. Then you wouldn't be stressing out about getting the place listed. You should have hired a stager they would have brought in furniture, your stuff doesn't match. You should have hired an organizer and hired a babysitter so you could have been faster in purging you place." All true point. But the real truth Ms S doesn't get and will NEVER understand is that "with what money?" Her response "you have to spend money to make money."

The truth is that when you are rich you buy what you want without care. Really, really rich, ie you never worked a day in your life and you never need to because you have a trust fund big enough to support you rich. A trust fund that can pay for private school for your kids at the tune of $50k/year and you not blink an eye. Big enough that when you have your kid you set aside $250k from your trust fund for her college fund. Big enough that you can buy a home cash at 25, be a single mom going to graduate school making $25k/year, and still pay for private school for said child and drive a new leased car every couple of years. That's really, really rich. Ms S is and can be very nice.

But her one fault is she doesn't truly understand how the poor lives. She likes to think she does because she volunteers doing birthday parties at shelters once a month. So she "sees" how they live and takes her kids there. But when I suggested she teach her teenager daughter about being "middle class" by putting her on a budget she said why? I'm sending her to habitat for humanity for teenagers this summer for 2 weeks to learn how to rough it and see how the poor lives.

I said shouldn't you teach her how the middle class lives? That an average family of 4 lives on maybe $800/month groceries (according to FDA) but she spends 3x that plus eats out most meals??? That most people can't afford only organic food? Her response was "oh E understands that. I don't just give her money. She babysits." So when you are that rich that you send your kid to "poverty" but haven't even taught them middle class budgeting it's hard to understand your friends counting their pennies.

So Tim Ferriss wrote the book the four hour work week. My DH tells me he's the reason why he's quitting his job. It resonated with him the idea that you can make more money you can't get back time. So he's taking the risk now to quit and do something else with the opportunity to have more time.

I figure Tim Ferriss is a lot like Mr Money Mustache but not frugal. He lives the life of luxury and isn't ashamed to admit it with lots of consumerish. But at the same time he's preaching working smarter and valuing your time.

Good News 3 Cheers!

April 23rd, 2015 at 01:58 pm

Lots of good news yesterday. First off my DH still has his driver's license. He has not lost 15% of his peripheral vision but according to the specialist he's got splotches. So when he'll have to give up driving is next to impossible to say. He does this all day testing with the top researchers in the world every 2 years. He's been going now for almost 10 years and they love him. They've been able to see the progression of the disease and determine his rate of loss of eyesight. I don't know what that means for us but for now it means that he can drive but will continue to not drive at night and minimize daytime.

He also mentioned after we move and he gets another job, depending on if he rides public transit or drives he'd like to start leasing cars. He wants the newest technology and ideally would like to eek out driving until the self-driving car is sold. He wants the car his brother just lease a Subaru Legacy with all the safety features. I think this is something we are headed too. I'm just happy he's happy and feeling less stressed with worry.

We had our photos yesterday so our house was photo ready but not show ready. Anyway my broker let another realtor come see the house for his buyer. Apparently they wanted to come in this weekend before we hit MLS to see it and see what they think. This woman is a very serious buyer and has been hunting hard and knows my broker by first name since she's visited every open house this season in my price range my broker has done.

So who knows? I think this is a first positive step. My broker told them she isn't sure we're ready for showings this weekend (I told her no it's giving me anxiety). But come Tuesday she's expecting this woman to come see our place.

So onward home sale!

my fear of organizing

April 20th, 2015 at 01:33 pm

I was reading about credit card free organizing blog and GREATLY enjoying it. I admires the photos and admit that getting my house show ready is making me desirous of an organized home. But I fear it at the same time.

I am not a person who keeps to a routine easily. I am not someone who plans menus or keeps a grocery list. I don't even budget. Yet surprisingly I am organized in one and only one area of my life. My finances.

Sounds strange and my DH would agree we both are hoarding clutterers who keep tons of crap in piles. We tend to toss mail around and our mail sorting and organizing consists of throwing all mail into a paper bag and looking at it once a week. We do that with the kids art to boot. But our finances? Its weird I am completely on top of and organized.

I can tell you probably pretty accurately bout balances and what we are spending. I can tell you how we pay our bills. All our bills are electronic or scanned in and saved to our hard drive. And monthly we back it up on n external hard drive. We also back it up to a CD in our fire safe and we backup our photos from our phones and cameras once a week.

Our bills are on a spreadsheet we creates in excel and you have to input date due, amount, and confirmation code. We have all statements in files organized for the last 10 years. We also scan in medical records and file all immunizations and stuff for us and the kids.

And granted the bulk of our investments are on auto debit before it hits the checking. And actually to make us stick to a hard and fast budget we deposit $5k a month into bank of america and the rest with capital one. So we spend $5k a month. On what? Well I know $2500 mortgage and a few of the other general bills and utilities on balanced billing. But beyond that I don't want to see why mint says I spend my money on. If I had to guess eating out and groceries.

But the rest of our crap? I wouldn't have guessed that my DH and I had $1200 worth of stuff worth selling a and still more to come.

But I am not wondering how can I organize the rest of my life? Perhaps I need to join that organized friend group. But it'd be weird wouldn't it to be live on Facebook away from being LAL?

Are you organized? Are you organized at home or just financials or both? How did you do it?

Selling and Donating and Purging

April 18th, 2015 at 08:40 am

This is the big push weekend for getting rid of stuff. Next week I am cleaning and painting more but this weekend I am selling as much as possible. I have to admit it's kinda a high to sell all my stuff. Granted a bunch of it is still going into storage but DH admits that it's pretty amazing to see us purging so much stuff.

So our stuff has never been expensive. Most stuff has been used or bought cheap. We haven't ever really spent money on adult furniture and stuff. So our stuff hasn't owned us.

But at the same time it's hard to let go and upgrade and spend the money on buying new/better quality stuff. And even just purging and being more thoughtful instead of just keeping it "just because". Sounds nuts but it really is hard to let go of things, even things you can't give away!

But I've sold $1k worth of stuff and I bet if I were more serious I probably could sell another $1k if I had more time and did a yard sale instead of just donating. But on friday I went to a couple of consignment stores and dropped a big pile of donations.

The relief I feel from seeing things leave the house is unbelievable.

Update on house...The front is getting painted and we'll see how the rest looks. It is aluminum siding so seriously the back was never painted and I'm not sure if the sides are going to be done. But it's costing us 40% of $4k = $1600 plus potentially a few more repairs. We'll have to see how much more the other repairs cost.

I still plan on taking a brush to the neighbors crappy stairs. I also plan on washing and staining our deck. My DH calls me nuts. But I will have no children and time to clean our house. I am doing this as of Tuesday. Four days to clean like no one's business.

Wish me luck. I might if I can figure out how to post pictures, post of our place.

Negotiating in a condo

April 16th, 2015 at 08:39 am

So this is why you don't buy in a condo. Right now we are getting the front of our condo painted, railings, wood rot, etc. All in $4k. We had quotes from $2700 to $4k, and the guy I picked was $3200 but he fell and broke his leg on Monday. The $2700 guy couldn't do it till the end of May. There was a quote for $3500 but they kept not returning my phone calls though they said they could start Monday. My DH and I decided upon approval of my neighbors given Monday we would move forward. The neighbors gave approval for work for wood rot and repairs. Not necessarily painting.

Now we list April 28th and our realtor had people drive by who said they wouldn't come into our condo because it looked poorly maintained because of the the paint. So my DH and I decided we would either have the front of the house painted and done by April 28th no matter the cost. Or we would hold off and do the whole house for $11k potentially or nothing.

It would depend if the home buyers wanted it painted or we wouldn't be willing to pony up any money. As it stands our condo breaks down common maintenance as 40%, 40%, 20%.

So it's become contentious because the 20% owners do not want to pay. They also want work done for stairs leading to their unit which was exclusive use and which they never maintained. I don't want to pay for their stairs and neither do the other 40% owners. BUT my DH and I are willing to do so to get out of this situation (ie selling our condo). But the other 40% owners are not.

So things are quickly disintegrating. I find it hard to deal with both parties. We want to throw money at it and make it go away but the others have to fork over something, they have to agree, and they have to live with each other after we leave.

So we are needing to discuss the situation and determine whose responsible for what. All I can say is I'm dying and ready to get out. I was the only person who calls, meets, chases down contractors. I meet all repair people for gas, water line work, rescheduling tree trimmers, gutter cleaners, termite inspection, etc. My DH pays all the bills water, insurance, etc.

So the bulk of responsibility falls on us. I admit to liking the control but at the same time I can't wait to fully control my own destiny. This has been a privilege because we couldn't afford to live where we live otherwise. But at the same time we are ready to move on out.

Selling my junk

April 14th, 2015 at 04:51 am

Well I've been selling off the house left and right. Truthfully if I had time and the weather would cooperate I could probably sell a lot of stuff at a garage sale. But as it is, I haven't the time and the weather hasn't cooperated so I'm going to donate. It's definitely not worth taking things to storage to take them out again to sell. Some stuff it is worth it so I will move to storage.

Anything worth selling has already been sold. So how much have I sold? According to my spreadsheet $905.

The bulk of which were two items my maclaren double stroller for $160, I bought it new in 2013 for $169. Yes I looked up the receipt on Amazon. Great I rented it for traveling for $10.

And a Dining Table Set we bought in 2005 to sell our condo in San Diego. We bought the entire set for $99, I sold it for $160 this weekend.

I made another $90 at consignment stores selling stuff and I'm doing another consignment store run today. So from that we made $410.

Rest were odds and ends I sold like a rocking chair and ottoman for $70. Got it free from a neighbor who moved away. A cosleeper I bought for $40 I sold for $50. And a lot of other kid stuff.

I've still got a lot listed including a huge lot of thomas trains I'm trying to sell for $450. Yes it's a lot to be asking but it's a lot of trains and a huge lot of tracks. After we list I'll probably break it down into 2 lots and sell for $250 each. I think it might work better.

What I haven't sold is a Versagate baby gate for $75 NIB + 2 extensions, worth $150 according to amazon. A bookcase for $25, $10 Ikea Coffee Table, Shoe Rack $10, and wooden high chair $25, area rug $30. I'm thinking they will sell eventually but the rest I'll trash.

But on the other plus side everything I'm donating is a tax write off so we'll have quite a bit written off.

How do you decide what to sell and what to donate?

Counting down the days

April 10th, 2015 at 07:41 am

So I am counting down the days till we list. We have 12 more days until photos of our place. We have 18 days until we list, then 25 more days until the open house and then hopefully it's sold by 27 days from now May 5th. I am praying we list, we have showings, then open house and all offers/bids come in on May 4th. One week of being "show" ready in our house and living like crazy people then we are done.

Some expenses we are spending on getting the house ready is a storage unit at $70/month with 1st month free. We painted the interior and have to get the exterior painted. Now the interior if we had decided 6 months ago we were going to sell this spring we could have done it ourselves. But deciding 6 weeks before listing we were going to sell probably wasn't the more financially efficient thing to do. Of course all the painting the = eating out because we were avoiding the painters and fumes all day. Plus we had to send the dog to daycare so he wouldn't be in the way.

I'm feeling rather indulgent because the week before we list I got the two kids into camp for 4 days all day 8-6. Pricy but $160/day for 2 kids and I have a chance to clean up as a last push. Right now I feel a lot of guilt letting the kids watch too much tv and not making as many playdates or activities like we normally do.

But I feel like as of April 28th we'll be free. No more playing in our house for that week but we won't be as busy. We've been up most night until 1 am packing and cleaning and up again at 6 am getting ready for school and the day.

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