I write today’s post with both disgust, and relief. Disgust because we shelled out over forty-seven THOUSAND freakin’ dollars on our house last year (!!!), but a sweet relief that we’re finally out of that dang place and onto greener pastures… as well as getting all those renos out of the way too.
But it still stings looking at the numbers no matter how you put it.
Anyone who tells you owning a home is the same as renting is full of crock (or have never owned before). Here’s how the numbers broke down for 2013. Take a gander while I go cry some more real quick…
- $15,328.31 –> Total interest
- $6,100.75 –> Principal paid off
- $2,430.28 –> Taxes
- $867.62 –> Rental repairs
- $2,423.33 –> Rental fees (securing a tenant, mgmt. fees)
- $2,000’ish –> Home owners fees + other stuff I’m probably forgetting
- $18,000.00 –> Rental renovations (hardwood floors, carpet, new kitchen)
Boy, just hits you right in the face, doesn’t it? Imagine what $47k could have gone to elsewhere? Or if it were saved/invested over a 30+ year period? (Don’t tell me, nerds. I don’t want to know!) Pretty disgusting… And, admittedly, pretty much our fault too. For reasons such as:
- We didn’t have to put in sexy floors
- …or a sexy kitchen
- We could have found the renter ourselves
- … and then managed it all
- We could have stayed put
- … and been bored out of our minds
So it was a move we were willing to take (quite literally!), despite those around us possibly not understanding and/or thinking it unwise. But remember what I wrote about Monday on knowing yourself? And ignoring everyone around you? Yup…
I’m all for being financially prudent, but I’m also all for living. And the idea of staying in that house for another month was soul crushing. I liken the decision to those who know they’re about to lose a fortune getting a divorce: You don’t want to give up 50%, but you just HAVE TO GET OUT! ;)
(Any divorcees with me on that one?? Or is this another of those “you’re full of crock” type deals? (and why do I keep using “crock” when I mean crap?))
The point is, sometimes you have to do stuff that stings the crock out of you when going for your dreams. It may not always cost you money, but when it does it’s a choice that you, and only you, can make. Okay, and maybe along with your wife or husband and your pet monkey too.
A number I purposely left out above was $10,000’ish – the amount we’ve collected in rent so far. It doesn’t wipe out all of the damage, but it certainly helps. And God willing, next year the input vs. output will be a lot closer aligned! Especially as we’ve got the initial burn out of the way…
The second point for today, is that your house will ALWAYS cost you more than you think. Even if you’re a bad ass and can avoid giving into desires – no one’s invincible to things just falling apart. The year before (2012) we must have spent at least $3,000 repairing the house, and our total interest then totaled a whopping $17,027.64 to boot. On the plus side we paid $2k less in interest this year, but still. Not fun.
Of course, there are a ton of PROS with owning a house vs renting too, but I’ll leave that for other bloggers who have a much less bias towards the subject than I ;) Not that I’m totally against it – I’m not, it’s a REAL smart move for some/most people! – but obviously I’m not one of them quite yet.
Tell me though – How much did YOU spend on your house(s) last year? Interest + principal + any repairs/etc? It’s pretty amazing when you look at the interest vs principal you end up paying, at least starting out… makes you kinda want to get into the business of lending, doesn’t it? ;)
PS: Mortgage means “death contract” in French
UPDATE: Johnny Moneyseed down there brought up a good point I forgot to mention – A lot of these expenses can be written off as the property is now a rental house (aka business) than one we reside in. This will definitely shave off a handful of thousands from the pain.
[Photo cred: okeefew // Revised by J$]
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Holy crap, that is a lot of money! This is why I like dealing with websites instead of rental properties. The overhead is a lot lower!
For us it wasn’t the house, but our dumb cars that really hit our finances this year. We spent almost $6,000 in “surprise” repairs last year. That stung!
Haha yeah, internet properties are MUCH better in that regard, at least when they don’t go offline and disappear on ya ;) I’ve probably owned, and sold, 10 sites now and can do that all day long vs. winning in the real estate game. But to each their own!
Nice post. When I think of how much we spend on our house, it makes me entertain the idea of just selling it and traveling instead. Still a pipe dream I’m sure but $47,000 could definitely help you travel the world if you did it right
I hope you could take a world-wide trip for $47k! Haha… if not, I don’ think there’d be any hope for ya :) (And I also wouldn’t ever spend that unless I became super wealthy and/or finally won that lottery.. I’d feel to guilty the entire trip!)
Last year we just repainted our three rooms, from dull colors to brighter colors. And also we fixed the showers and put some decors and style in our shower room.
A bad investment is always costly to unwind. I don’t think real estate is any different. But I think we do tend to romanticize home ownership, rather than treat it like we would any other investment we make. Homeownership doesn’t have to be a bad investment. My home is mortgage free; the savings in housing costs is greater than any dividend I could earn investing my money elsewhere. I would never put myself back in the position of paying a mortgage or rent again. My advice to anyone considering home ownership would be buy less than you can afford.
Spent $7,990 last year (or $665.83/month) – all on rent. My rent is lower than that, but I had 2 months of paying double rent because I was in another city for an internship.
Still can’t wait to get a house though. ;-)
And that’s the flip side of it! Haha… all that money “down the drain” eh? Would be interesting to compare it on a year when you DO own though, just to see how drastic it is or not.
Ouch! Ever see the Tom Hanks movie Money Pit? The last 2 years we had damage due to Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, but luckly insurance coverage the repairs.
That sucks bud — but you’re not in as bad shape as you think. Many of the expenses that you listed are tax write offs. The taxes and interest paid are two of the biggest ones. But some renovations can be written off. So can finding a tenant and management fees.
Your damage — when it’s all said and done — will probably be closer to $30k.
Yes, true fact. Forgot to include the amount saved on taxes – it’ll be a handful of thousands indeed!
I’m guessing we spent around …60 or 65K. I built some built-ins, taxes and interest, plus we paid off the mortgage :-) I think we only had around $2K in interest last year. It’s not a terribly liquid asset, but our cash flow needs are now greatly, greatly reduced, plus we could pull out the equity if we ever needed to.
YES! Brilliant!!! The one thing home ownership has going for it is that once you’re done, you’re done! You still have to pay for taxes/maintenance which is a bitch, but it frees up soooooooo much cash going forward. Which was why I started pounding away at it the other year(s) – I wanted to taste the freedom! :)
Greg switched jobs last year so we had to sell our house and move. Paying for our realtor cost $9,000 even though she sold our house to someone she knew in 13 days! She didn’t even have to advertise! She barely stuck a sign in the yard! Of course, it wasn’t her fault but it was still painful.
True, but one would argue it doesn’t matter how they got to the end goal provided you got your happy ending :) If it had taken her 3 months and sold it to the exact same person in the end, would that have been better?
I hear you on that – houses have some sort of law on them that makes them cost more than whatever you budget for them. I swear, if we budgeted a million dollars on our house this year it’d somehow come out costing $1,000,001!
Wow! I just unloaded some rental property I owned for almost 10 years. Appreciation and depreciation helped offset some of the ongoing losses for me, but we got a sweetheart offer and were very happy to get it gone! We didn’t do a 1031 exchange for a few reasons, so there will be some depreciation recapture, which we’re not looking forward to seeing. And some capital gains. (YAY! GAINS!!!).
But I’m with you on exposing the other side of real estate investing. It’s not all fun and money. One month I had to put more than $30,000 unexpected dollars in. Thanks to the sweetheart offer, I got all that money back. But that was no guarantee.
Damn! That’s the scariest out of it all – at any given point in time something can go terribly terribly wrong and out the window goes your cash (or worse – your credit limit!).
When we were in the process of selling our house last year, I totaled up all we had spent up to that point on mortgages, renovations, HOA fees, etc — and I nearly threw up right there. We bought our (overpriced) house in 2005 at the height of the market for $430,000, and we were underwater for 8 solid years, despite paying a little extra nearly every month during that time. By the time we sold, we had sunk $385,000 into the house if you count everything, and it only sold for $335,000. We cleared about 2 grand on the deal and were happy to get anything at all! So disheartening. We rent now.
I’m sorry to hear :( The only nice thing about it all is that we’d never make the same mistake again, right? We know exactly what we’re dealing with now – which is better to figure out sooner than later when it could have been worse. Good for you on getting out and resuscitating yourselves. You’ll be fine from this point forward! :)
I know exactly what you mean! We just put around $10,000 into our rental home. I don’t really plan to purchase another home to live in. The only way I buy is if I buy to rent or sell. I am in the military, so the government pays for my housing, but when I get out I think I’ll rent!
Condolences… but this is a long term deal, and in the end you’re bound to find it worked out a lot better than the first year. But this is why I chose stocks as my poison, rather than a rental.
As do I, William! I only have one rental home and I prefer to keep it that way, but I love me some stocks.
YUP! I’ve now learned that about myself too. I’d much rather have my investments tied up in the market than physical property that can suck energy out, along with money in the worst case scenarios…
Short term it hurts but over the long term especially with a renter you’ll be better off. I love housing due to the tax shelters it provides. When I first became a landlord I didn’t make any money, but instead saved thousands on taxes as I had a “paper loss”. I deducted my trips home to Hawaii as a business expense as that was where my rental was.
True, but only if we KEEP it for that long. And I’d like to say that we will so we can more than make up for it all, but if $hit keeps breaking and it becomes more of a mental drain (even though we have a property manager!) odds are we’ll cut the ties and be free once again. But I’m not throwing in the towel just yet :)
We just bought our first house, so didn’t spend that much in 2013 on repairs, but now my eyes are open to what is upcoming! So far in 2014, I think we’ve dropped at least 1500, and we’re already talking about updating our water heater as well. It’s tough because we’re DIYers, so when looking at houses I thought, “Oh, we can fix that easily…” which is true, but all the little fixes add up and get expensive!
For sure, but it IS good you’re DIYers! We’re not, so that $1,500 would have been $3,000 or $4,500 in our case :) So good for you guys!
Interest on first lien: $15,346.75
Principal on first lien: $18,135.25
Interest on second lien: $8706.16
Interest on second lien (sold to a different investor): $2619.50
Property Taxes: $8594.50
I’m not even going to start with repairs (air conditioning alone was over $3000 last year, to say nothing of moving the washer and dryer from the kitchen to a closet in the hall…).
Owning a home in Silicon Valley is VERY expensive! What else could we have done with the money? Anything we wanted! After being in real estate all my working life (up until 2007), I can honestly say it never crossed my mind that it may be a better financial decision to rent rather than own, but in retrospect, with the changes that have taken place in our lives, it would absolutely have been the way to go when we sold our prior home in 2004 for nearly $500,000 more than we paid for it.
Just my personal observations as I struggle every month to pay off the last credit card at zero interest so I can start really working on paying down that second lien, my goal being not to retire until that debt is retired, a long way off…
Jeez… All stuff better to learn now than later, right? Though not sure how old you are so hopefully it’s not the ‘later’ stage already for you :( With a name like “Wunderwriter” you sound young and fresh out of college though ;)
J, I know how you feel, albeit on a smaller scale (for now). But this post was quite timely for me, as I’m at the point of wanting to move too. I bought this condo as an investment, but have been living here the past few years cause it’s close to school. When I finish in May and get a job (hopefully), I really want to move somewhere else… some place with a garage and where I don’t have to deal with my tenant’s dirty dishes sitting in the sink for days at a time! Of course it will be a stretch for a little while but I’m hoping my increased happiness will make up for it, haha. Not that I’m unhappy here, but at 24 I’m so ready to be done living in a university apartment complex where pesky undergrads clomp up and down the stairs and party at all hours of the night!
I do pretty much everything myself though, which cuts costs. I had it managed by a PM company but they did a horrible job – got horrible tenants who didn’t have a security deposit and then proceeded to trash the place – so I won’t be using them again and I will think long and hard before I decide to use another PM company. So all money goes directly to me, which is nice :-) And I’ve got a family member who is handy and who fixes the little things here and there that I’m not handy enough to fix… so I take him out for a meal every now and again. Last year I had to replace the refrigerator (on my birthday! The life of a landlord) which cost I think about $600, and replaced the dryer which cost about $175 (got a used one).
I’ve been on the fence for years whether or not to sell it when I move. But if I can I think I’m going to try to hold onto it. It’s a cash cow, and there are plenty of students around who will always need a place to stay! Been quite an experience being a landlord though, that’s for sure…
I bet! As others have mentioned above, it seems the longer you go the more payoff you’ll see. If you/we can just get over this initial hump and get our minds right. You may have better luck at it than I ;)
Yeah… I got asked for money in the parking lot today… so creepy! I’d barely gotten out of my car. Why do people think that’s a good idea?
Makes me feel better about “throwing away money on rent”! Of course, we crunched the numbers when deciding to buy vs. rent but there are so many unknowns with buying that the costs can really add up.
Tough hit, but you have created a revenue stream now! That is exciting! Give it some time, you may end up liking it!
If it makes you feel any better, I know people that paid over $33k in RENT here in NYC last year.
Haha, yeah – I spent a pretty coin when living up there too back in my “prime.” But all the fun and experiences I had more than made up for it ;)
The work and MONEY that goes into owning a home is so far out of my reach at this point, it’s hard to even imagine. I’ve never even made $47k in a year!
You live in a much more expensive area than we do, so this information probably isn’t helpful at all… but here’s what we spent on the house last year:
Mortgage – $6,000
Taxes – $3,800
Insurance – $400
Utilities – $2,100
Maintenance – $700
Repairs – $0
Total: $13,000 (still less than we paid for rent + utilities four years ago)
Nice! Location definitely matters, for sure, but we’d probably still have problems on our side no matter where we lived cuz we bought for the wrong reasons to begin with (and when I wasn’t as good with my money :)). Now I just salivate at the idea of moving to a much cheaper locale – it’s so fun to think about!
Builders magazine just had an article on the most affordable communities to buy in. As cold as it is in the North, Florida might not be so bad. http://www.builderonline.com/housing-data/6-lowest-annual-incomes-needed-to-buy-median-priced-homes_o.aspx?utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=jump&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=BBU_012014&day=2014-01-20
Agreed! Just talked to a friend out in Fort Lauderdale and he was complaining about how “cold” it was there, haha… he had to go find a sweater somewhere ;)
I spent about $80 on my place last year. Some paint/painting supplies and new bathmats. I rent a one bedroom apartment but I have made it a home for probably less than $500.
I am “lucky” that the decision about home ownership is a non decision for me because there is nothing here I can afford to buy. Not even a modest condo in Cracktown is affordable unless I took a second job and I find no joy in owning a place where I have to work 60+ hours a week to barely afford it.
I don’t think about spending/throwing away money on rent because I save so much with peace of mind.
“I find no joy in owning a place where I have to work 60+ hours a week to barely afford it.” – EXACTLY!! Being tied/forced to work your ass off just to pay the bills is no good at all. Definitely the life I’m trying to avoid as well.
We threw about $50k at the house for just principal and interest in 2013, to pay off the mortgage. It was almost all principal (maybe $2k in interest?) but there are pretty big opportunity costs. Like you said, what if we had just invested that money?
Houses do eat money. Hopefully they’ll vomit some of that cash back up for us over time.
Haha… I hope so :) Way to finally kill that mortgage though!!! That’s a dream, brotha.
Good for you for doing this. I couldn’t handle looking at the amount of money that I spent on interest with my rental. Very depressing.
Replace entire A/C System and put in a new fence $12,400
So half of it was repairs. I am happy that I finally paid more in principal than interest!
We probably spent about $80,000 on our properties last year. It sounds crazy because we have 3 rental properties. The rentals made us just a little cash last year so the $80,000 is better than it sound. I think we collected about $50,000 total in rent so the only outflow is really our principal residence plus extra payments.
That ratio will be looking great over time too – at least in theory :)
I’m now going to use “stings the crock out of you” as a go-to phrase. That line made me chuckle.
I agree that sometimes saving money isn’t worth sticking in a soul-crushing situation…but at the same time if you’re gainfully employed and want to quit, at least try to find another job before throwing in the towel.
$1200 for property taxes, $350 to have an ash tree removed (stupid ash borer) and maybe $150 to reroute some electrical wire to a place that makes more sense. $0 on interest and $0 on principal… life is good :D
A note on the taxes… make sure to add the rennovations to your cost basis and take your depreciation like you are supposed to (of course your accountant should be doing this for you anyways).
Oh yeah – I give it all to my accountant, I don’t even try to mess with that. Best money I ever spend :) (And great job with the $0/$0 combo there – life is def. good!)
That’s a lot of money! But it comes with the joys of being a homeowner. This first year of being in a non-rental place made me realize how much renting is not throwing your money away. You are covering all the headaches (or most of them) with a once a month fee. But the best thing is that you’ll be able to get back some of those loses with the rent!
Nice summary (though I’m sure it wasn’t nice to spend it)! It’s always good to take a step back and run the numbers to see what you’re actually paying when it comes to maintenance, mortage, insurance, taxes, etc. Eye opening to say the least!
Interest = $1000 ($50k mortgage at 1.99% interest)
Taxes = $1,400 (livin’ large in the cheap ass dirty south)
Insurance = $700 (in case of hurricanes it getting too hot in heerrre)
Repairs = $700 for new oven, plus some miscellaneous BS I’m forgetting
$3,800 total. Can’t complain!
That 1.99% interest is pretty killer too! Way to snag that, jeez.
No matter what you sign up for. . .it’s all work. I give you credit for trying. I’m sure it will pay off. I’d like to think I could have a rental but I can’t stand taking care of my own house. Everything sounds good in theory. My baseball ticket money went right to a new water heater. I guess I’ll be watching games from my TV. LOL
Here’s my breakdown. Most of property taxes go to the school system which my kids finished with. With no mortgage, it’s our biggest cost.
The Garden is our hobby, but still falls under the house. We expanded the Garden and grew more vegetables and got rid of some of lawn.
2013 Home Costs
Property taxes $7,994
Utilities Gas $657
Utilities Electric $936
Utilities Water $349
Painting, repair, maintenance $316
Kitchen gadgets/Garden $680
Decorating, furnishings, rugs, etc.$222
Garbage Pickup “Tax” $345
Total 2013 $11,498
Not bad at all, especially considering you included utilities in there! I left them out since I’d have to pay roughly the same whether I was owning or renting, but it def. adds to the overall picture of what we TRULY spend on the roofs over our heads. Thanks for taking the time to break it down for us and share – I love this stuff :)
My student loans could be gone with that!!! Jealous. But if it’s an income property, it will work itself out. I have no interest in buying a house ever, and you just confirmed it further. Mortgage is french for death contract, ha!
OOoff….that’s a tough one to think about. Closing costs ran about 5k…then we’ve thrown about 15k into renovations and buying furniture! Since we closed at the end of the year almost we only paid about $500 in interest. The first mortgage payment didn’t happen til Jan 1. Good news is that the buying and fixing spree has ended and the only things left are little things like doorstops, traction pads, and doorhooks. Random stuff! Our net worth took a small hit but we’ll be back up in the positive in no time!
I can relate to your story as I own rental properties myself. I understand the focus on the article is cash flow but in reality the $6000 principal pay down still contributes to your net worth in the form of equity. The $18,000 in renovations should raise your properties value, also giving you a decent return on the investment according to the line items you outlined in your other article. I think if you look at the total net worth +/- you’ll see the difference is significantly lower than $46,000.
I do agree that cash hit hurts and most people are not prepared for it when owning a home. I think the point of the article was well received but encase you’re truly fretting the lost cash, some of it is around and the rest of it is working for you (assuming the property cash flows properly). I use a 8-10% vacancy budget and a 15% repairs and maintenance (including capex) outside of the hard expenditures to calculate cash flow. I don’t manage anything myself. If you ever wanted to deep dive into the cash-on-cash return or total return after tax benefits let me know.
Hey, thx man! I like seeing hard numbers like that (your vacancy one and repairs/maintenance) – that helps put things in perspective. And you’re right – I’m not fretting all too much since most of it was my own doing and was planned for, but it’s def. a crazy number to look at. This usually has a bigger affect on me than all the “theory” stuff that comes into play with real estate and being a landlord, so figured I’d share and help wake others up too who may be interested in similar stuff. Or, even buying their 1st home to live in themselves. It’s not cheap!
You still needed a home to live in, so technically you could deduct an average rent amount from that number.
True… at least for the time we were living in before we moved. And oddly enough we rent for the same price in our new area as we’re renting it out there! So kinda like the same thing, only we lose money every month on one ;)
I’ll take your 2 cents any day – you’re a pro! Sucks to hear about that new oil furnace, jeez… perhaps now that you’ve gotten the “bad” out of the way, you’ll now have nothing but “good” for 2014? :)
I lump stuff like Target runs into “household purchases”, so my number might be a bit inflated from others, but we spent just under $30k on house stuff last year. A pretty hefty number, but not particularly surprising. We bought the house right at the end of 2012, and it has a LOT of deferred maintenance, needs some updating, and it’s our first house so we needed to buy a lot of stuff – lawn tractors and snow blowers and storage bins and pitchforks and whatnot. We just got stuff as we needed it and cash flowed everything, but it definitely adds up!
The total is pretty shocking to behold I’ll admit. I’m justifying the expense with how happy we are with our home (ridiculously so, unlike some people I could mention!) and the vast majority of that outflow is likely to be one time or rare purchases/repairs/updates. PITI comes to less than half our expenses and is less than your interest alone. I find your interest terrifying!
Also, plaster is expensive to get done.
Happiness make a world of a difference, doesn’t it? :)
Last year we had to replace our water heater, AC and just last month we had to get a new sump pump. $2,150 for those 3 things. This year we have a few more projects which so far are totaling over $8,000. This is after completing home renovations of $60,000 in 2012. I often wonder if it will all be worth it. We enjoy our house and all the upgrades we’ve made but I’m still not sure. Will we ever see that money again when we decide to sell?
I was looking at your home renovations. You got a very good deal on renovating your kitchen. We put tile in our basement. It’s not has expensive as hardwood floors which we put in our first floor.
WOW that’s a lot of money! I def. hope you love your home, haha… I’m sure you’ll get a chunk of it back when it’s selling time, but yeah – houses suck up cash like no other.
Thanks for sharing :)