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work your network

July 8th, 2019 at 09:43 am

Mid-May we were able to see a townhouse in an area we wanted to live before it went on the market. I learned about this unit through a coworker of mine who lives in the save development. We heard they wanted a just a certain amount and so we checked it out. It was still a work in progress and there were parts that were great but some not so much. We struggled and decided not to put in an offer, plus the agent who the owner directed us to said that it was $5-15K above what we heard it was going for. I was nervous because it was ok but not quite there. Also the lower level didn't have any way out of the basement except for stairs so we couldn't use it for a guest sleeping space because I worry about a fire.

A week later we went to go see another one that wasn't on the market in the same development and we both LOVED it. It had the no carpet(allergies) that we were looking for and the lower level was a walk out which also overlooked a creek. It was beautiful and simple not too overdone (so much trending gray). We asked them what it would take for us to buy it and they gave us a figure that was higher than the first one we looked at. We just said YES. And so we close 9/4. They are selling it by owner and because they have lived there 21 years and already have their winter home in AZ and their summer home up in the woods, they are leaving some really lovely furniture for us, like multiple bookshelves.

All our energy went into packing and storage to get our house on the market. So last Wednesday 7/3 our house had it's first showings and last night we accepted an offer. It was $5k above asking price but we are also paying closing costs for the buyer so it all evens out. The close date on that is 9/9 which will give us time to get the rest of our stuff out of the old house.

I also turned 50 so my spouse had a surprise birthday party for me on Saturday. It was very lovely.

It just doesn't get better than this!

update

May 28th, 2019 at 03:32 pm

We've made attempts at purchasing but so far we've not had good luck. News reports say our current housing market is like Denver or Seattle. Many empty nesters are selling their family homes and buying townhouses which are on short supply.

We've made the decision to pack up most of our stuff in a storage container and sell our house. Thankfully my father's project truck has been sold. We were on a previously planned vacation but now we're back in full steam ahead. We'll empty the house and live minimally until it closes. We will live at the cabin (85 mile one way)while I'm working the lighter summer schedule. Month to month efficiency apartment until we find something. If we buy after we have sold our house, we can do a cash offer and hopefully have less competition after school starts back up.

We've sourced free boxes, used moving blankets and priced other packing supplies. What an adventure and amazingly my spouse and I are doing well despite the stress.

Disappointment

April 14th, 2019 at 09:10 am

So normally we would have gotten our taxes done in March during my spring break but apparently we were a bit delayed making our appointment. I'm glad that we finally got the taxes done with a small refund. What we also learned was because we moved back to the house that we had rented for the last 3 years, we would have to live there for FIVE years not 2 like we originally thought**. Now we want to leave ASAP. The market is HOT and we're probably going to have a hard time finding something because our price point is going super fast and usually $5-10k above asking price due to market. We need to pack so we can move. We have a trip planned mid-May and once we're back we're kicking it into high gear. There's quite a bit of stuff that we need to go through and figure how what to get rid of and etc. The biggest challenge that I have to deal with is navigating getting rid of my Dad's partially restored truck. He's been gone for almost 12 years and it's been in my garage since before his death. I don't know how to get it gone and my dream would be for someone to buy it and restore it and sharing pictures of it but I doubt I can find it. It's not a fancy truck and very niche. My siblings need to help and if they don't, it's possible it will be scrapped.

We meet with the realtor on Tuesday and we should know more.



**We have heard from dearly concerned friends that we should double check this but I expect it's true.

Sights on the future

April 1st, 2019 at 10:08 am

We're looking forward to our move. We discovered that to avoid capital gains tax, we can't sell the house we're currently in until end of April 2020. We're so ready to move. The market is crazy where we want to move towards but we have an idea of what we want. I think 9/2019 we're going to get pre-qualified which won't be a problem. We have no debt and can probably come up with 20% down payment. I'm guessing an ARM should be fine because our plan would be to buy in October or November and close in December or January. Do a slow move in Feb or March with the house put on the market by March and then sold and close by end of April. That's my hope. I hope that buying something in the slow period and selling at the start of the high market will allow us to benefit.

Anyone have any thoughts about that? Know any special tricks or finance vehicles? Our current home is paid off and we're trying to stay in the same budget but with realtor fees and closing costs, that might be a bit tough. We'll see depending on what we buy and where we can sell at...

We've put up our small travel trailer for sell. Lots of interest in the less than 24 hours but we'll see how many actually come an look at it. After that, it's a partially restored mid 30s Ford Farm truck. I need that OUT of my garage. It was my Dad's project and he's been gone 10+ years but it's still painful to deal with. I wish a really nice person would come along. Cross your fingers as we deal with that.

Big Sigh

December 19th, 2018 at 08:30 am

This has been a very busy semester. I'm glad it's almost over.

We just completed buying out my sisters of our Dad's cabin. It got a bit sticky towards the end but it's done. I've got a few days left of work before a couple of weeks time off. We've figured out the schedule which includes a week at the cabin but a couple of days in a hotel for swimming and etc. We're going to spend some time with my sister. It will be good to relax.

I also got some unpleasant news, recent diagnosis of just over the end of type 2 diabetes. I know that it's likely my destiny because my Father and younger sister had/have type 1 and my mother and maternal grandmother had/have type 2. I'm too young. I've done some research and I'm planning to reverse it. I've gone completely off added sugar even though it's hard to avoid as it's in everything. I'm looking into taking potato starch and something called berberine. I haven't lost as much weight as I had hoped to do but it's only been about 6 weeks. As soon as we're back into the cities, we hope to have an elliptical and get moving more. I'm trying to move as much as I can before that. We had two hikes last weekend and plans for more during winter break.

We bought tickets for a May trip to AZ, bringing my mother and perhaps my son and his GF will come and visit when we're there too.

Not much spending for Christmas but some. I hope this time of year is bright for all of you.

Summer is nearly done

August 13th, 2018 at 12:03 pm

I'm mostly back to work full time except for a couple of days. So much has happened this summer, landscaping, road trip, sister got married, visit to my son in WA and he was here for the wedding too. We're starting our foster care training. Work is heating up, and I will have more responsibilities. I feel like I've got to mindfully pay attention to self care. There's not a whole lot of wiggle room for getting sick and etc.

As far as net worth, I've been hanging around $800k for the last few weeks. I did meet with a Tiaa Cref representative to see when I could retire. With the marriage and my spouse not having great retirement, if we can figure out healthcare, I could probably retire at 62. I love what I do but I'm not sure where things are going. This is the longest I've been at any job (10 years) but I feel like I'm working with golden handcuffs.

With the current state of the country, I also dream about leaving. Listening to podcasts and reading blogs about expats. I loved New Zealand and heard that Thailand is a great place to be as well.

Townhouse sold

June 4th, 2018 at 02:12 pm

We sold the townhouse, after closing costs we received a check for over 108k which is pretty good since I bought it for 35k in 2012. I used a chunk to pay off the mortgage on the house we're now living in and will use some to buy my sisters out of the family cabin(they both want to sell). I've got it currently in Ally bank because that online savings account has the best interest annual interest rate at 1.6%. Anyone know any better rate to keep it liquid in? The rest will be used to do some things around the house. I feel pretty good about it. I'm now completely debt free at age 48.

Our family is a single income family right now and our plan is to begin the process for foster care licensing.

While I don't care to live where I do because it's so conservative and rural, the house is paid for and if we lived closer to the metro area, we'd have a higher housing expense. We will plan to live in our current location for at least two years to avoid capital gains. It's been hard to return to where I lived because of the isolation I feel. We just returned from a nice two week road trip to see some of the National Parks. Roosevelt, Estes Park, Arches, Canyonlands and hiked Bear Butte. It has me dreaming about purchasing some kind of campervan or simply a van for future road trips. We spent more on hotels than I'd like because camping wasn't has comfortable as it has been when we were younger.

I've also been dreaming of living abroad for a few years....but I'm not sure what country I would want to live in that is affordable. I guess I feel like I'm trying to position myself for future.

Stock Market correction?

February 5th, 2018 at 12:38 pm

I don't pay too much attention to the stock market because I'm young enough that I can still be a bit aggressive in my investments. I figure that anything too terrible will correct itself eventually. I also figure since my most active retirement account is my 401k through work, it's just buying more shares when the market is crappy. The current ride of great returns has been nice but it seems that is changing.

I wonder if this is a big long term change or if it is only a temporary blip.

My wife recently retired and rolling over her retirement account. We're also going to get her going with a ROTH.

I must confess, I'm hoping eventually we'll have better saving interest rates.

How are you taking today's stock market news?

slow but sure

January 29th, 2018 at 07:01 am

Rooms all painted, flooring installed. We now are dealing with serious cleaning and repair of the bathrooms and kitchen. I was able to get the upstairs bathroom sink to plug up and then replace a gasket in the tub so it would also plug up so we could clean the jets. It's clean but there is mineral build up so we're going to have to soak some vinegar rags in the jets. The downstairs bathroom needs work. The shower stall has a hole and is cracked. I went to the company we bought it from and it's no longer made so we're going to have to replace the whole thing. We got a few quotes and we're going with the guy my wife thought was the most easy going, happens to be the cheapest price. Although, this weekend she saw the Frankie and Grace episode where the contractor take the money and all the copper pipes so she's nervous. I think it will be ok.

What we have to start doing is getting packed up. We're probably going to have to hire someone because most of the folks who have helped us have already been very generous and our friends are getting up there in age or have medical issues. Soon we can start bringing over car loads but the big stuff like a sleeper couch we have will need stronger hands. I expect we'll be in within 6 weeks. It should take a day or two to fix up the townhouse for sale.

Family budgeting software?

January 11th, 2018 at 02:13 pm

I am really accustom to doing things on my own and now that I'm married, I'm hoping that I can find some kind of software or program that I can share with my wife that allows us to do some budgeting.

I do use mint but mostly to see my net worth, I don't really use the budgeting aspect of it. I don't really want to pay too much...I peeked at YNAB and it's $$$.

Care to share what you use? Can two people equally use a budgeting plan or does it really boil down to one person managing it and the other following along?

Thanks

slowly but surely

January 8th, 2018 at 03:26 pm

We have access to the house. There has been some damage. The carpet in the master bedroom, hallway and lower level bedroom have all been ruined by the dogs. The master bedroom door is scratched up, basement door is completely missing, the lower level bathroom has a cracked and hole in the shower stall, I looked into this and it seems that it can't be replaced separately so I might have to install a new shower. I just looked it up and it has been discontinued but they direct me to replacement...I wonder if that will work? There's also a small utilitarian light fixture that is broken. I'm trying to work with my management company to help me claim all of the deposit (1 month rent plus $500 for dogs) and I'll put it into the repairs. I know that it will cost more than that but I just want to move forward.

It needs a deep cleaning...

We have pulled up and recycled almost all of the carpet ($20 for 2 truckloads), 2 bedrooms are painted. We have a carpet installer coming to measure for the carpet which is from a wholesaler.

We're starting to purchase used furniture and etc. I expect we'll start to move in within a few weeks to a month. I'll do some repairs to the townhouse and then put that on the market. It's a sellers market so I'm looking forward to being in the big house with the mortgage paid off.

Seeking thoughts and feedback

December 25th, 2017 at 05:25 pm


Background:
My wife and I have been living in a small 2 bedroom townhouse (no mortgage) in the metro area and walking distance to my job. We are planning to return to our 3 bedroom 2 bath house (almost 30k remaining on the mortgage) (30 miles away) that we’ve been renting for the last 3 years to the same renter with the purpose of doing foster care. I will be largely the sole income and while I know foster care does some reimbursement, we know it won’t be a lot. I’m 48, my wife is 54. I’ve got good retirement but am too young to retire especially with health insurance being such an unknown. We have no big plans beyond the next two years at least. I also think that while we’ve lived for 18 months in 800 square feet, long term we need more space.
Additionally, I’ve got shared ownership (with my two sisters) of a small 1 bedroom cabin (no mortgage) on 40 acres (no lake) 2 hours away. They are no longer interested in owning it and so I need to buy them out. The tax assessed value is almost 100k. One sister wants the buy out in one lump sum and the other is open to payments.
What I need help on is trying to figure out once we have re-located to the house, what do I want to do with the townhouse. There is no mortgage and bought it 5 years ago and it’s tripled in value.
Question and other details…
Once we’ve fully moved into the house and the townhouse is empty, I am trying to figure out what to do with it. I see two options rent or sell, perhaps you have another idea?

Renting option:

If I rent it, between property taxes, HOA, renter management (I don’t want to deal with it) I might clear around $500 a month. I could use this to make payments to one sister and pay on a loan for the lump sum payout for the other one. The benefit is that I would hold on to the property and we could always move back into it down the road….but we might not want to go that small again. We have dreamed about using it as a home base while traveling extensively in an RV once we’re older. It’s one level, walking distance to my current job of 10 years, and supposed to be on the light rail line eventually (maybe 5 years) and very easy to close up and leave for long periods of time. When we rent a property, we’re always at risk for damage, including a built in oak Murphy bed in the living room area.

Sale option:

If I sell it, the proceeds will be used to pay off mortgage on the house, pay lump sum to sister for the cabin and balance to other sister and any balance set to payment schedule. If I sell it, it would also free up some of my cash flow during the month because I wouldn’t be paying property taxes and HOA fees (on the townhouse) or mortgage (on the house). We would also lose the Murphy bed because it’s too expensive to move. This would simplify all the property we own from three down to two.

Bonus question:

The cabin was started by our father before he was killed. It’s very sacred space to me and has annual expenses of approximately $5000 between taxes, insurance and operating expenses. Some of the land is rented for agricultural purposes and we gain somewhere between $1500 (corn crops) or $600 (hay crop). Unfortunately, we are only out there approximately 6-12 times a year. My life is too busy to do much more and I feel like we should leverage this space a bit more. We’ve thought about Airbnb or VRBO and the challenge is that we’d have to either hire someone to manage it or at the very least clean after each guest. It would require very special guests to stay as it’s small and simple. Electric and water but minimal cooking facilities and no internet. It might be really nice for a writer or artist as get away. Many people might be interested in renting it for hunting but my Dad was against hunting and I want to hold the land as my father would have wanted to. I do realize at some point, I might have to let the cabin go but I’m not quite ready to do that yet.

Let me know if you have questions and thanks for your thoughts….

New used car purchase

December 12th, 2017 at 12:02 pm

I bought a Honda Fit, it was the first time I spent more than $3200 on a car (except for when I bought the truck from my Dad's estate). I looked at a private party's car over the weekend but it had more damage than he indicated. Thankfully, I've got a good mechanic that checked it out. He recommended that I find one at a dealer because then I know it's been looked over and not a salvage title. I knew I would have to pay more but I guess it was worth it. I found one that was a manual transmission and the price was dropping. I also ended up calling Costco's auto service which automatically got me $200 off. I also get 50% off a repair up to $100. It was totally worth it! I'm glad I checked it out. I prefer manual transmission but it's been a while and it has a feature that I can monitor my mpg which I hope I will adapt to because otherwise I focus too much on it.

In 19 days the renter will be out of the house and we'll be able to go check it out. I sure hope it's not too trashed and we won't need to do too much work to repair it. I'm looking forward to the simple things like a dishwasher and much better water. I think I will actually enjoy the commute too, a chance to listen to podcasts and audiobooks. What are your favorite podcasts? I used to listen to Dick Gordon - The Story which I LOVED, sadly, he returned to Canada. I like The Moth radio hour, dinner party download(for as much as I've heard it), This American Life (of course!).

I'm going on holiday break soon, 3 days after today.

future plans coming together

November 7th, 2017 at 02:47 pm

Sitting with the future of possibilities my wife and I have figured out some next steps. The renter of my house is moving out at the end of the lease which is the end of the year. We have decided to move back and do foster care. We have both always dreamed about this and there's going to be challenges, we're excited about it. We have continuous conversations, we're going to go slow and check in to see if we want to continue to do this. I will be the sole provider for the family. We're going to have to make some big purchases (pull out carpet from the house, install laminate floors due to allergies and asthma) purchase commuter car(likely used Honda Fit). We both feel like we have a lot to give. I know that these expenses will impact my current net worth but I've been so lucky in my life, it's good to try to make a positive impact in the world, one starfish at a time. We both know it's not always going to be easy but we're willing to try it. We can always stop if it's too much.

Our plans are to work for a crisis nursery (parents need emergency care while they deal with other crisis) or respite but nothing long term so we can also enjoy each other and have breaks. We don't intend to fall in love with any child and adopt.

My question for you all, have you ever done foster care? Any tips or suggestions?

Thanks in advance

Thinking to the future

October 10th, 2017 at 02:27 pm

Anyone else use Mint? I just passed a milestone (for now) as my net worth is showing up at 750k+ for the first time. This is kinda exciting but I also know that it's bound to go down too. I have heard rumors about the market correcting itself. I don't expect it to matter that much because I still have a few years to go. Although, I'm trying to get in a planning mode. Every few years I get a little itchy. Right now I feel like I've accomplished much of what I set out to do. I could coast for a bit but I like to have at least some kind of financial goal. I'm still relatively young but I have done well financially. I could look at working part time I think if I could figure out health insurance.

I don't trust the current political environment to think the insurance market is here to stay but something needs to change.

Do you know of any creative solutions for health insurance for those not old enough to retire?