Well, they say it only takes one buyer to want your house, and one buyer did we get!
WE SOLD OUR HOUSE, GUYS!
I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!!
Over a month on the market, over another month for the closing, and then BOOM: docs signed and the biggest financial mistake of our lives officially came to a close! 9 years from not knowing jack about money all the way to where we are now having a MUCH better understanding of the way the world works. And, most importantly, the way *I* work. After all, they call it “personal” finance for a reason, eh?
And one word sums up the biggest change in my mentality since: “Congrats”. A line that was repeated 18 times to the buyer of our house, and one which I almost gagged at hearing the first 17 times.
“Congrats on now being in $300,000 debt??” I almost blurted out loud.
“Congrats on being tied to maintenance and extra bills and a job for years and years to come?” I followed it up with inside…
Quite a difference from the decade prior when WE were the ones on the receiving end of such “thanks,” and feeling on top of the world, haha… Little did we know we were chasing the wrong thing at the time and it would become one of our biggest financial mistakes. And coincidentally enough, we sat in the exact same chairs in the exact same conference room, and in the exact same office as we had just 9 years earlier signing away the paperwork! Pretty wild stuff…
Of course, for
some many home ownership is The American Dream* and one worth fighting for, no doubt about it, but it took me a while to realize there are other paths one can choose too which are equally OK. And while others may snicker or tell you it’s stupid (after all, renting is just throwing money down the drain, right?), it’s still perfectly fine to chase them. Again, if you’re putting your own ideal lifestyle ahead of everything else – even (especially) conventional wisdom.
(The main reasons we no longer wanted to be homeowners, btw, outside of all the expenses that come along with it, is the freedom and stress-free living that renting gives you. And since you can invest the difference of the money you’re saving in doing so, you can still easily “invest in your future” as you would a home. If you believe your home is even a true investment.)
But even knowing we didn’t want to be homeowners anymore, and especially landlords which we ended up becoming by default, it was still hard to break free and continue on our merry way. Our house was barely above water and we didn’t think we could sell it and come out alive anytime soon, so we continued renting it out until one magical day when we didn’t have to.
We just didn’t know that day had come :)
The Pros and Cons to Selling Our House
Two and a half years into renting out our house, our renter notified us that they were moving out early in September (military orders) so we joked about how awesome it would be if we could somehow unload it now. “No way” we thought, but we started running the numbers anyways playing the “what if” game, and eventually threw it out to y’all to get your opinion on whether it was the right time to sell or not.
Over 150 of y’all chimed in and told us what you thought (thanks!), and while it was pretty divided down the list as to what we should do, we were of course heavily leaning towards getting rid of it once and for all. But it was certainly a tough call, and here’s why:
The pros to selling the house:
- No more worry/headache
- No more bleeding of $$ every month ($600’ish with no extra principal being paid, $900’ish with – and we had been paying off extra like clockwork since the very beginning)
- No more anxiety any time a call/email comes from the property manager
- No more feeling like you have an extension of yourself somewhere. And far away at that.
- No more having our largest $$ mistake on the books!
Cons to selling the house:
- Winter was coming! A bad time to sell!
- It would cost us a big chunk of cash out the door (we estimated closing costs to be around $20,000-$30,000)
- We’d be selling it at a loss (we bought the house for $360,000 and it was only worth between $280,000 and $320,000 – depending on who you asked/where you researched)
- We’d lose any chance of turning it into an extra income stream over the years
- It would take some bandwidth to get it prepared and cleaned up and ready to be shown properly
- It might not be the best time to sell as the market hasn’t fully recovered/improved?
- And, in a weird way, we’d lose our back up home if the $hit ever hit the fan
We went back and forth for weeks, and eventually the emotional side won out while wanting to preserve our cash flow at the same time. And who were we kidding – $900 (at least!) going out the door each month compared to renting is a massive line item in the budget!
So we pulled the trigger and held our breaths.
The Final Result?
Well, this is what I guestimated would happen before even sitting down with our realtor:
(I know I know, shame on us for using a realtor! The nerve of not doing it ourselves and saving thousands in commission! :) If I thought I was smart/diligent enough to pull it off without blowing something up I would have, but I’m not so I didn’t even risk it. We did get 1% shaved off the usual 6% though since we stuck with our same (awesome) realtor so that was a nice win.)
Anyways, the prognotion:
Best case we walk away with $10,000’ish if we sell and no longer bleed $600/mo, and worst case we need to come up with $40,000+ to seal the deal, but we still get to stop the bleeding every month. And more than likely it’ll be somewhere in the middle.
A big gap between earning $10,000 or losing $40,000+ to offload it, haha, but correct I was in stating it would be somewhere in the middle :)
The final sales price was $300,000 (we started at $310,000 and dropped it after a few weeks) and we ended up bringing $14,000 and change to the table to wrap it all up. So not the best, but certainly not the worst case either. We also spent $3,000 fixing it up (carpet, paint, odds and ends), and then lost about a month and a half of rental income on top (an extra $2,400)
But – and this is a great but! – we lucked out in that not only did we find the perfect buyer for our house in terms of our unique layout, AND in the middle of winter, but he also wanted to move in ASAP! It was Christmastime and the poor guy was living out of a motel, so he literally paid us (above market) rent for 3 weeks straight while going through the paperwork and home inspections, yada yada yada, which helped offset it a bit. So that gave us a bump of $1,500 in cash and a little in utility savings as well.
So, in a nutshell, we paid interest for 9 years straight (totaling $160,000+), mortgage principal for 9 years straight ($70,000+), over $30,000 in repairs/maintenance/upgrades, and then in order to unload the house once and for all we had to pony up an additional $12,500.
A grand total of over $272,000 to “own” our house – what a bargain! ;) And that’s all *after-tax* money too, btw, so we had to earn about $400,000 just to pay for it all.
Of course, there were tax write-offs in there too and rent checks that softened the blow, and if we were renting something similar during that time we still would have had to dish out a ton of money (though closer to the $150,000-$180,000 range, leaving $100,000’ish to be saved/invested somewhere!) but however you look at it we were spending gobs of money for something we no longer cared about anymore. And that sucks no matter how you look at it.
But now??? We’re home-free, baby!! Literally!
We got our freedom back, our money back, and most importantly – our mental energy back. And I couldn’t be happier. My wife on the other hand is going through some sort of sadness phase right now (thinking about all the great memories we once had there like our newlywed days and the birth of Baby Penny), but she too knows deep down it was the right decision and was time to move on.
What the future now holds only time will tell, but what I do know is that there is no way in hell am I dropping a third of a million dollars again ON A WHIM for something just because everyone else is doing it. And certainly not with $0 money down and 100% financed!! *shakes head*
Every action going forward will be made both consciously, and towards what we ultimately want in life… And not what someone says is what we should want in life. I’m all grown up now y’all, look at me! :)
Oh, and there’s another cool win in this too, albeit a nerdy one:
We now have SIX less bills to track and pay each month! Hooray for minimalism! One (not so simple) transaction that further eradicates a handful of bills going forward. Particularly:
- 1st mortgage ($1,875, which we rounded up to $2,000 each month for extra principal payment)
- 2nd mortgage ($60, which we rounded up to $200 each month)
- Home owners association #1 ($95’ish)
- Home owners #2 ($45’ish – why we had two I couldn’t tell you)
- Property manager fee ($150’ish)
- Rental property insurance ($186.10/year)
6 less things to worry about totaling a whopping $2,500’ish/mo after you throw in maintenance, upgrades, and of course all that extra principal payment so you don’t have to be in debt for the rest of your lives… Not gonna miss that!
So all this to say we’re extremely glad we took the risk three months ago and went for the gold here. Would it have been that bad to keep renting it out over the years and eventually come up cash flow positive with a nice rental on our hands down the line? No. I’m sure it would have worked out. But man would it had drained us over time… And that was not something I was looking forward to.
You all know by now I harness my emotions in everything I do with our money, and I’m not afraid to continue doing so despite what the gurus may say. It’s one of the best ways I know how to stay excited and motivated with my money! I’d have given up long ago if all this stuff bored me!
Anyways, our house is now sold and we continue forward working on the next thing… Our net worth is about to be pummeled losing that gap in home equity and the extra $13,000 we just dropped on it, but short term pain for long term gain!
Upwards and onwards!
PS: I should note, I don’t regret buying the house for a minute. Going through this 9-year process and learning about myself – and money in general – was one of the best things that could have ever happened. Not only did it shock me back to reality, but it’s BECAUSE of this house that I went online and eventually started this random blog! Which changed my life and career and opportunities – and especially my friends! YOU! So the biggest financial mistake on the books, but the best move ever for a completely changed life… Crazy how things turn out :)
* I know I’ll receive some hate on this post because it seems like I’m bashing home ownership here, but please know that I am not. I’m just bashing it FOR US and what we want in our lives at this given point in time (maybe it’ll change later?). If your home is awesome and giving you mad love, financially and/or emotionally, I am envious of you! And congratulate the hell out of you for figuring it out and not being such a dumb ass like us! Keep killing it over there and listening to that inner voice of yours… it’s obviously working :)
[Photo by MsSaraKelly / tweaked by J$]
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Congrats! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist) So, what’s next?
Hah! I’ll gladly take a congrats myself! We actually only got like one of them, and it was from my realtor ;)
Next up, for now, is to just keep on renting where we are currently until my wife finds a job which will lead us down a new adventure… She recently finished her PHD but so far haven’t problems finding a good spot :(
I have to give you mad props J. Money because I don’t think I would have had the courage to sell (if I had a house to sell). And I hope there will be a post about life post home ownership. :)
Thanks Silvia! I’m sure there will be as I won’t be able to keep my mouth closed about it :)
Yes!!! That’s amazing news so congratulations!
It’s been over a year since we sold our house and I still often think about how much better life is now that we’re renting again.
Jill and I actually forgot about our anniversary this year but celebrated the one-year anniversary of selling our house (which was just a week later), haha!
Congrats again and welcome back to the community of happy renters :)
Hahahah… that is awesome!!
Congrats on selling J$!
Home ownership is completely a personal issue, which it should be. Owning a home because other people say you should isn’t the correct reason. We enjoy our home and haven’t had many issues so far so it really hasn’t cost us much more than renting. Of course, once things start breaking more, which I’m sure will start happening soon, I will probably completely change my tone and wished I was renting!
I hope it continues working out well for you, bud :)
Congratulations! I have owned two homes and now I rent. Renting is way better for my lifestyle too. It’s less expensive, less stressful, and allows a lot more flexibility in my life.
Congrats on selling that financial ball and chain ;) We’ve recently been considering selling our abode to buy a multi-family property. The idea of drastically reducing (or eliminating) our living expenses us ridiculously attractive. I need to get over the obstacle of the guilt I feel over selling the only home my child (she’s 6) has ever known. Any suggestions? Posts like this are motivating!
I’ll let you know once my wife figures it out! :)
I have heard great things about owning a multi-family unit though. One of my best blog friends, Paula Pant over @ AffordAnything.com owns one and swears by them. Check out her blog if you haven’t before – she’s incredible at real estate investing!
3M – After having gone through the same process as J$, though less of a financial bleed, I am also not much into buying houses. Multi-unit places, though, I do still consider. I see pros and cons, and don’t have that real world experience yet – but have been doing that research.
One of my big concerns, after running into it at my last apartment, is bedbugs (mismanaged by the management company, resulting in weeks of laundering, baking, or alcohol-spraying every nook of all my possessions). Landlords are legally responsible for bedbugs, even if tenants bring them in, and treatment can be never- ending. On the plus side, most tenants don’t know how to follow through on a lawsuit (I did, and was able to get out of that rental without $thousands of penalty – but was out all the treatment costs). My new rule, as a renter, is no rental with more than 4 units. I suspect that same rule would apply to owning a multi-unit.
Oh, and crazy people who you can’t evict. A friend dealt with that. I suspect that selecting tenants carefully, including finance check, might help. I like three idea of posting a rental flyer at hospitals (my theory, based on observation of a handful, is that nurses and doctors work long hours and tend to sleep or putter when at home)… But am not sure if that would be illegal somehow.
In your research, have you heard advice on those concerns?
Interesting about the hospital flyer idea!
And the legality of everything/finding good tenants is exactly why we used a property manager to handle our stuff too – besides not wanting to take calls all hours of the night ;) Cost us about $150 but the peace of mind was worth it… And it’s awesome to be able to say WAS now – woot!
Oh, I’ve been wondering how much a property manager costs. $150 per month, or year, or per client? Do they handle repairs and coordinating plumbing etc, too?
Superbien, property manager usually charge a % of the rent. Mine does it for 10%. I had a previous manager for cheaper, 8%, but some services, like quarterly inspection, were additional costs. It definitely worth it if you are not close to the property, don’t have a handyman or other repair people on call, and don’t want to deal with the month to month issues that may come up.
We are all so proud of you and your family for finally taking that step that you’ve been wanting to for so long. I’m sorry to hear how badly homeownership worked out for you. We have been in our home for 2.5 years now and have been so thankful that we bought. We haven’t had very much maintenance costs and at the pace we’re at we are hoping to pay it all of within the next 5 years, meaning that our monthly housing expenses will be less than $500 per month (including all of our taxes, insurance, utilities, and HOAs). That is what we are looking forward to.
Hell yeah!!!! That’s a beautiful thing, way to go!!
If we ever go back to buying again (which is always an option with kids and compromising in a relationship – hah) we’d def. choose a place we could have paid off super fast and WELL within our #’s vs at the top.
I’m not against home ownership at all when it’s done right :) So congrats on doing it right!
Congrats! But I am curious where you will live now and what will you do with your stuff!
We’ve been renting in another state for the past 2 and 1/2 years – so will be staying here until it’s time to move again :) That was part one of the “grand scheme” – move out of our house and start enjoying our lives how we wanted to, and then alter figure out how to sell the house. So mission complete!
Congrats! Not as much of a loss as I feared. Certainly not an amount that will greatly impact your future. Way to go!
Congrats! Way to go against the cultural grain and do what you found to be best for your family. I’m glad you were able to sell and get some freedom! We are looking forward to be mortgage-less later this year, too.
Congrats J! So happy you two got the house sold. Hope this next chapter is awesome – can’t wait to follow.
I completely agree with you – Home ownership can be a good thing, but everyone has to look at their goals and circumstances.
We’re about to sell our place next week and we’re excited. Getting another house, but much smarter about it. We’re getting rid of the HOAs (yep we had two as well!) and got a layout and location that suits us much better.
Oooooooh how exciting! I wish you loads and loads of luck! Way to choose a different route this time! :)
Huge congrats! We felt the same way when we were in a similar situation- we had to come up with about $7k to close, but we were so happy to get rid of the house that at the time it almost felt like money well spent!
Congrats on being “home-less.” :) It’s silly but it feels like a big leap to take when it’s the other way around. But I can see the pull. Me? I’m staying ensconced in my money pit for now. lol
Congratulations! Looking forward to seeing how this shapes your future, and your net worth, with the home off your hands.
Congratulations on selling the house. DC area market is still in pretty good shape I guess! Nice way to unload some stress and 6 bills.
I’m kind of in the same boat. Bought a place in 2006 that was underwater, now renting it, probably going to sell when the tenants move out. My issue is I have a lot of equity built up in it and that would be better invested elsewhere. The unit sux as a rental too, even though the cash flow is positive.
One less thing for you to worry about when, oh, say… a BLIZZARD passes through town.
I KNOW!!! I was sooooo damn glad it all closed before that hit, ugh… I kept catching myself getting worried and then had to remind myself it’s not ours anymore :) So surreal!
Very true about having cash tied up too not earning anything near what the markets yield. Obviously I won’t fight you on that call :)
I’m in the same boat with you regarding a vacation property I purchased in Lake Tahoe. I’ve long considered selling it to simplify life , but the market still has a ways to recover as it went down so much.
I really am curious to hear from J a year from now, and maybe 5 years how he feels about this decision. I know I’ll probably feel relief selling, but it also crystallizes my losses, which kinda bums me out too!
Woohoo! Congrats. I don’t think you’re bashing home ownership. You’re just pointing out things that don’t often get mentioned in the glamour of the American Dream.
Great job! We went through the same home-selling process a few years ago. It is such a relief to not have to worry about a house anymore. I do miss some things about home-ownership (like not having to worry about putting too many nail holes in the walls, letting my dog poop wherever i want, etc) but overall renting has been a huge stress relief (especially with small children).
I also love reading how your perspective on money and home ownership has changed since buy that house. Its amazing what a few years can do to your outlook on money and what’s important.
I put a lot of holes at our place too while renting :( But figured worst case you lose the deposit and that’s that. Not that I won’t be trying to fix them all up and leave the place as clean as possible, just that the idea of losing a small chunk of money to gain all that other freedom is well worth the trade off for me. And even more so when water spots start showing up in our ceilings! I caught three new ones here at our rental and MAN I’m glad I’m not the one in charge of fixing/paying for it all now, ugh…
I’ll join everyone else in saying congrats :)
It sounds like you did the exact right thing, at least for your personality. I’d feel similarly — I HATE having obligations that aren’t producing current value, and I’d literally pay to get rid of them and stem the bleeding going forward, even if it’s not the 100% most optimized financial move. The peace of mind is worth it.
I kinda want to rent until the next housing crisis. Not sure if that’s a smart move or not. Maybe you’ll get a new place at that point in time as well.
Welcome to being a renter. It’s bliss. I fully support ownership for other people but man am I happier as a renter. I know other people with much higher net worth than my scrambling butt making the same decision, too. It’s a trend that somehow seems to parallel the tiny home trend. I think ownership made a lot more sense when job locations didn’t change. If I pretty much knew I’d work at the same building the next 20 years, buying would be a no-brainer. Congratulations. I’m so happy for you and the family.
I’d go back to owning a house in a heartbeat if it were a tiny one! My wife, on the other hand, would divorce me :)
Wow, what a story! I’m in the same boat myself: I bought a house with my husband 6 years ago on a zero-down VA loan, and we thought it was the best thing ever at the time. Boy, were we in for a surprise a few years later!
I moved from AK to CO and couldn’t sell my house the summer I moved. So I rented it out over the winter (no one buys houses in AK in the winter) and have been trying to sell it every summer since 2014.
Wish me luck this time, and I’ll have a similar blog post to follow when I sell my house! :D
GOOD LUCK!!!!! I hope this is the year for you!!! You’re gonna feel so good once it’s gone!!
Congrats are in order! Sure a short term dip, but all about the long term plan.
I am so happy for you and your family. I owned a house for 5 years and felt really tied down. I love to move to different neighbourhoods in my city in Canada, and it is so much cheaper than owning a home. Especially now that I am semi-retired, I could move anywhere in Canada if I so desired. Freedom is right.
Congrats to you for being semi-retired!
That’s awesome! Congrats! Definitely a big weight off your shoulders, and make sure to share that hate mail :)
I am reading this article before enough coffee and before dressing for the day, and for the life of me, every time I read this sentence: “it took me a while to realize there are other paths one can choose too which are equally OK.”
It went through my brain, even on re-read, as “it took me a while to realize there are other PANTS one can choose too which are equally OK.” Which confused and then amused me way more than it should – you started out in cargo pants, then jeans, then in fetching cropped striped capris, and then it got weird! :)
Hahaha…. if it solves your curiosity, I am wearing jeans right now :) With massive holes in it because my minimalism is ruining my wardrobe, haha
Jeans with holes … and sequins, right? In my head there are sequins! (I have a weird sense oh humor)
That is awesome for you guys! I bet you feel like you lost 100#’s. Looking forward to seeing how it all shapes out…it might be a hit on the financial picture at first but I am sure that you bounce back……
Hey, that’s exciting! Glad to hear the burden has been lifted. :)
congrats on selling the house! we live in an area where we were able to get a cute but small twin home for under $100k. It is an older home (1940 built) so it has it’s kinks but having an affordable mortgage make the repairs possible (and we were able to do 20% down). I can’t imagine buying a home for more than $200k though! If homes started that high and went up in an area we had to move to, we definitely would rent. In our line of work, we’d never make enough money to justify that kind of mortgage, unless a magic fairy gave us a $50k gift, lol.
Under $100k and plenty of room for maintenance costs is def. key! Especially if you plan on living/working there for a long while. Way to be smarter than me :)
This is AWESOME NEWS! Thanks for sharing. It’s weird, but math tells us that a 30 year home mortgage is a terrible investment. How does that “it’s a good investment” lie keep going? If we had not inherited a home, we’d probably be renting today. I’m with you, freedom is great and congrats!
I like Aja’s comments “How does that “it’s a good investment” lie keep going?” I think it could be that some of us bought into the saying that to rent is to throw money down the drain. I personally don’t like owing anybody anything, and I like space. When we bought our house with no money down, we had plans to pay off the second mortgage within a few months, after our first house was to have been sold. Well, life happened and we still have two mortgages, and the house is now under water.
We have talked about trying to get a short sale, and renting. But, upon looking at rentals, it seems that the rent would be close to our mortgage, and we would have less space than we have now.
Reading J$’s story is causing me to rethink things. Thanks for posting this timely article J$. Best wishes to you and your family.
Glad it helps! These things aren’t always easy decisions :)
Very happy to hear this. Congratulations!
So happy for you! Home ownership is definitely not for everyone, and if it’s not the right fit and you’re upside down, it can take years to rectify the situation. Finding a buyer during the holidays and getting a decent price and a fast close, plus rent for a few weeks? Sounds like you scored all the way around to me. Your life just got much simpler, and every month you don’t have to pay those six bills (let alone the added, unexpected maintenance and repairs), you’ll be increasing your net worth. I know it took some cash to get it done, but you’re blessed to have been in the enviable position to have been able to do so. It’s all up from here! Enjoy your hard earned freedom from the bonds of owning a home. What matters most is it’s what you truly wanted, and that’s what money’s for.
Thank you Laura!
It’s true – this $14,000 was the best money I’ve spent in quite a long time, haha…
What a great read on a Monday morning. You’ve got me smiling cheek-to-cheek :)
I love that this is the only community that actually congrats someone on selling, not buying, their house HAHA! That said, congrats J. Money on making a great long-term decision for you and your family!
Haha me too!
Loving the support here – really appreciate it! :)
I’m envious! 9.5 years of being underwater on my mortgage is definitely affecting me in more ways than I can count, but at least my monthly payment is manageable, and i as actually less than most of the renters in my complex are paying. So even though I’m in a tough spot, it’s still cozier than it could be.
That is good you’re able to afford the payments okay. We were in that same boat (even if we didn’t want to), but there are/were tons buying up places around that same time that unfortunately could not :( And the reason for all those bankruptcies/economy crashing – scary! So def. something to be thankful for for sure.
Congrats! I think this is the best decision for you in your circumstances.
I, too, went through the transition from owning to renting within the past year. Terrible HOA at the condo I owned made getting out at any price a necessity. And using a realtor (unless you are a real estate attorney) is a MUST in my opinion. My condo sold quickly, but a week before closing, the underwriter on buyer’s loan decided they would not approve the conventional mortgage they had pre-approved, but FHA only. My condo building was not approved for FHA and in order for the deal to get done (after waiting another month to close), my realtor was instrumental in getting all the paperwork necessary from my HOA (which was awful and extremely difficult to work with). I took a loss, but used the proceeds to buy a used vehicle and now I have no car payment! I try to ignore the “real estate is the best investment” folks and just know I need to do what is best for ME. Which at this point in my life is renting.
I’m glad it worked out in the end!!
Congrats on selling your home!! Less stress and MORE FREEDOM!! I am of the same mindset!! :)
Congrats on extricating yourselves from a bad situation so you can move into a better situation. I’m a fan of homeownership when it makes sense in terms of lifestyle and finances, and the first one to say it’s stupid in many cases where it’s a fraction of the cost to rent instead of own.
At least now you have one less problem and one less drag on your balance sheet!
Oh, and hope you and your kids are enjoying buttloads of snow. Looks like your area got hammered pretty hard. I saw a friend in DC proper almost hide an entire yardstick in the snow in front of their row house.
Haha yup! We have approximately 17 snow forts in our yard right now :) It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
This was an exciting email to get this morning.
Great news for you J Money.
Well done. I can hear your joy in these words. In my business as a small farm owner we have a saying about cows. When you raise a beast (beef cow) for meat you must be very careful about the actual animal you are feeding up. If you pour money into the wrong one it can break that season. The ones with long legs and giraffe necks will not fatten. They will destroy your budget. You can feed them like crazy, with all your best bales of alfalfa and they eat fields of perfect pasture (my beef is grass fed) but they do not put on weight. As a farmer I learn to identify the giraffes as calves and sell them as calves. I get rid of them fast. I want a short fat calf that looks a bit like a walking refrigerator with a head on it. A bulldozer. He will fatten up strolling through a field. Giraffe versus Bulldozer. Make the decision early. There is a wee metaphor for you!! Good luck. c
Oh wow, haha… please don’t ever tell that to my kids if we ever come to visit! :)
I will show them the little pigs – playing with pigs will distract them! c
Woohoo!!! I’m happy you guys finally managed to unload it. Sure it might be a short term net worth loss for now, but it’ll stop being a net worth loss every month, so you’ll get back in no time.
Hey J$, could you give a little more detail on the tax break for mortgage interest? That seems like it would impact the total amount quite a bit, since ~1/4 of your mortgage interest was actually pre-tax dollars, right?
It def. helps, yes. As will our $12,000’ish loss too for THIS year! :) Unfort. I’m not smart enough to tell you exactly how much it’s saved us over the years, but I suppose I could ask my accountant the next time we chat. I leave all that to her :)
Yay! I voted for you to sell. We are doing the same and I can’t tell you the relief we have being able to be mobile and just go where we want. Since we started this new focus of live the where you want to retire, renting in those places seemed more realistic and allowed us to stay in locations we couldn’t afford to buy. Also, it is allowing us the freedom to work doing what we enjoy and not what pays the most. Congratulations on figuring out the lifestyle that fits for you. In some cases where a person doesn’t want to move for 10 to 30 yrs, buyin may work better. However, watching my grandparents trying to take care of homes they would later have to give up to either a reverse mortgage or senior facility to get benefits seemed so unfair. We decided we wanted to rent to be able to easily move where our kids moved.
Way to go Nita!!! This is the year for us! :)
It’s a big congrats to sell your house, kinda bigger than congrats you now own and owe alot!! We listed our beloved first home in November and is under contract to close next month! The only way I would ever have a mortgage again is if we did it the way we did. We bought a victorian fixer upper in 09′, and did the work ourselves and now are selling for double our original mortgage. We still had 15 yrs left and with it being a 3000 ft victorian our utility bills are 350-400 a month. The only sad part is leaving the memories of our first two children here growing up (3rd on the way), but my oldest is 4 so he won’t really remember it, So now with our extra equity we bought some acreage and are now going to have built a 600 sqft log cabin (lifetime roof and log warranty), so we’re basically trading a large home for a small home with 7 acres and a lake, plus we will be mortgage free, so I’m convinced it’s a win for us! I brought this decision to my husband after I got ill from calculating mortgage and utilities for the next 15 years which is 800 a month we will now save. Something about turning 30 really changed my perspective. I’m 31 now and have spent the last year formulating this plan and searching for the right land. Both sides of our family thinks we’re nuts for giving up this house for a smaller one, but we wanted outdoor space, more than house space + mortgage + utility + 107yr old home maintenance free.
woahhhhhh that is so cool!!!! OMG I am so excited for you guys!! The kids will LOVE having so much yard and water to play around – way to make this happen! totally get leaving a beautiful place like that too – I love Victorian homes :) I was literally on a log cabin site yesterday and salivating haha… have you ever checked out CabinPorn.com? Genius!
Oh no I haven’t seen this, thanks!! We are in Kentucky and will be going with a cabin from one of these, http://www.deerruncabinsusa.com or http://www.amishcabincompany.com. Thanks for your reply!! :)
You did what was best for you and the family! All the best on your new journey. Can you get your wife to write an article on how she funded her PhD and kept things on the up and up whilst studying? Thanks!
Scholarship and being super woman! :)
Also lots (and lots) of $2,000/mo daycare, ugh…
Right on!! Way to go unloading that albatross, JMoney:)
I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and feelings on that entire process. Even larger than the specifics of your home, your story is really helpful as it shows the growth process you’ve been through over the last 9 years. Really inspirational!
Over the last 2 years I have sold over 10 rentals that were bought during an investment binge in 2006-7. I had very similar feelings to your celebration here. Many were time-sucks and in bad locations. The creative energy and enthusiasm those sales freed up was amazing! I bet you’ll have the same thing.
Keep sharing the awesome stories!
Oh wow,. you go big or go home, don’t you? Love it! Been really enjoying your articles too over there – so fascinating how people’s lifestyles can be so different but all tied to the freedom of money! Keep hustling, bro!
Congrats! We sold our home over the summer and it was seriously the best thing EVER!
Shaking the maracas for y’all! Congratulations! I’m glad this money mistake brought you to us all those years ago but so very happy for you to unload the burden and headache that it’s been! <3
For a second I got caught up in your excitement and was like yes!! Let's sell!! Oh wait, no, that's not part of our plan. We have very different circumstances so we're just gonna be happy for you and keep a roof over our heads ;)
It’s so weird to read this considering our situation. We live in the SF Bay Area and we are having to leave our current rental because the owners daughter is buying it. We have only been here 2.5 years and we were told it would be at least five years before she sold.
This is the second rental that has been sold while we lived in it. We lived in the other one for 13 years and that was hard to leave, but in the end brought us somewhere we never thought we’d live and we like it more than we thought.
We have been given one month to leave and trying to find a rental in this area that doesn’t financially strap you can be hard. We have gotten lucky the last two times, but maybe not this next time.
We would love to buy a house and have the peace of mind that no one can make us move until we are ready, but at the same time, prices here are absurd and I can’t pay them and feel good about it.
Unfortunately for us, to move somewhere with decent affordable home prices means taking a huge salary cut and then perhaps that house isn’t so affordable anymore. On the other hand, staying for a good salary and crappy home prices isn’t really working out so well either.
Congratulations on being able to sell and feel good about it as well as being able to rent and feel good about that. Congratulations on not living in the SF Bay Area!
Oh man, for real – I know how crazy it is out there! So sorry you have to deal with such mess :( That is a perk of owning for sure – being able to call the shots and be in total control (minus calamities), but you’re right – in San Fran they cost small fortunes. Sending you positive vibes out there!!
Howdy neighbor, sending you my empathies. Your post is exactly why we might normally target renting but not here! Even though CA is very renter friendly, one month is nothing like enough time to find a new affordable rental. :( I hope you find a new place soon!
Maann, first off, congratulations!
I played that same mind game for years. I bought the house in 2007, had to rent it out in 2009 –so I became a long distance landlord. My first renters moved out and eventually caused $7500 in damages in 2013, then my second renters moved in under a 1 year lease but left 6 months into the lease due a military deployment clause.
When I first started renting the home I was coming out of pocket $450 monthly ($1600 PITI vs. $1050 rent). I eventually used HARP 2.0 to refinance and ended up only losing about $100 monthly out of pocket.
At the point in 2014 when my second renters bailed on me, I was $40,000 underwater. I could have rented it out again but I was so over it. My decision point was…well, it’s only money. I was in a position to pay $50k+ if I had to…just to pay for piece in mind. Having piece of mind is priceless.
You know how much I brought to the table to get rid of my underwater mortgage? $44,000. It’s one of the best decisions I made with no regrets.
Holy $hit man, you weren’t joking around! I don’t know if I’d have the balls to pull that trigger, I am impressed. Good for you… And now you living large and free, right??? with a beautiful girl in your arms? :)
Yeah man. My biggest financial decision was whether to choose add more shares to my stock portfolio or add a new tv with soundbar to my man cave. I chose the latter.
That’s amazing news! Congrats *snicker* J$!
Congrats to YOU! Way to make the decision that was best for you and make it happen. It’s far too easy to dwell on past mistakes and feel stuck, but you have a great attitude about taking the hit and moving forward.
BTW – I like your “upside-down” artwork.
Haha… thanks. That was back when I used to design all my own artwork for this site :)
Congrats J Money! I feel you on buying the house being the biggest mistake ever, but I’m still on the fence about selling my house based on the market where I live.
Welcome to the no debt club! You are literally 100% debt free!
We had this same feeling about two years ago when we offloaded our last debt (a condo we sold for $30K less than purchase price 8 years later), and I don’t regret it at all. Maybe you guys can come down to Raleigh and buy a nice house for $60K like us (or maybe you can just keep renting which is likely our next move when we move somewhere with higher house prices).
North Carolina is always on our list of potential new moves – so beautiful down there!
Love this post. Me and my husband still rent although friends and family encourage us to ‘hurry up and buy.’ The housing market in our area is not favorable to buyers. Currently we cannot afford to buy a home where we currently rent. Renting allows us to have flexibility to move with my career. And our next step is to travel around the world. Maybe after that, we will consider buying. But it doesn’t make sense for us right now.
I’d choose traveling the world over home ownership all day every day :)
Congrats, J! It’s SO apparent what a load off it is for you to have sold that house. Hope your wife gets to a happier place about it soon. About two years ago I convinced my dad that we didn’t need to own his home — we had the total old school view about it. But now he’s happily renting, and never wants to go back — of course, his landlord is ME, so that makes it easier for him, but I totally see the upside to renting. We happily own, but we also bought in 2011, so got a crazy good deal, and we’ll have the house paid off in less than two years, for a grand total of a six year payoff. Whether it makes sense to buy or rent should be purely a numbers game, not an emotional thing based on the pressure of the American Dream. In our case, it was great, but only because we super duper lucked out on timing!
Sounds like the perfect situation indeed :)
So does this move up your potential approximate Financial Independence date? I would love to see the before and after, **cough** Blog Post Idea **cough**.
Sounds like you made the right decision for you and that’s what matters most, congrats sir!
Ooooh good call!
*goes to make a note in his to-do list*
I didn’t want to read the other comments to avoid being influenced away from my original thought. First, that was a lot of extra money tied into your monthly mortgage. Fee’s I’ve never even heard of. I’ve owned my home for about 5 years and for my family, it is an investment. For my family, our overall dream of financial freedom would include becoming mortgage free by paying it off and having a roof over our head without the obligation to work.
I think you did the best thing for your family and that’s all that matters! Congrats on dumping $300k of debt!
Way to Go! We were waiting for this news! Renting or owning is not good or bad. It’s an individual decision and depending on ones circumstances and where they are in life it has to fit their situation. You did what was right for you and your family.
Simplicity is one of the reasons I sold my rental condo this past year. Closed in Dec for $312,500. I owned it outright but it had appreciated it to the point where the profits from it can be used to pay down my main mortgage. Hopefully that will be in the next year or so and no house payments ever after that.
While your net worth might take a temporary hit I’m sure in a few months you might notice that cash flow building up as you don’t have so much cash outflow going to that place.
Dare I say it? Congrats!
I’ll gladly accept it in this circumstance, thanks :)
And congrats on being so close to having a fully paid off place! Can’t even imagine how THAT would feel.
Glad to hear you’re making the right moves for you!
Knowing the amount of money you’re saving by not buying a home is a great piece of information to have. I keep hearing from friends, colleagues, et al. here in Silicon Valley that they’re moving, again, because their rent was just increased, again. Not a big problem if you’re single, but moving children, especially if they’re in a public school, can be a real hassle, especially if you’re trying to stay in the same district to avoid the social dislocation it causes. Having the true cost of home ownership readily at hand makes it easier to absorb those rent increases without turmoil.
Yup, totally. Pros and cons on either end of it.
Congrats! A TRUE CONGRATS!! I don’t think there is any better feeling then not owing anyone on a dime!
“Congrats on now being in $300,000 debt??” … I absolutely love this!!
My wife and I were just pondering this last week. Why do we people congratulate others on going into serious debt and becoming a slave to their lender?? Congrats on your newly financed $50k car?? Makes no sense!! I wish someone would come punched me in the face before I decided to finance that $50k car or $300k house. Luckily our poor decisions when we were younger helped us avoid a mortgage, which I look at as a blessing in disguise because now that we are in a good financial position and more educated we are so thankful we never got a mortgage.
I’m a freelance web developer and my wife is a stay at home mom with our 2 little ones so we have the flexibility and freedom to live and work wherever our heart desires. Which is something I wouldn’t change for anything.
If we can’t pay for it with cash, we don’t need it. Something our parents never taught us but our children will certainly know!
Congrats and keep up the good work! Love your posts!
Yeah – there was NO WAY we should have been able to buy our house when we did. We were fortunate enough to be able to afford it, but had they asked us to make a deposit of even $10,000 or $15,000 we would have said no! Because we barely had the money! Yet we were able to take out a 100% loan for over $350,000 – crazy. Of course still our faults for doing it, though…
The “congrats” to new cars and shiny things always perturb me too now, haha… funny how differently you see life as you get older :)
We know the feeling! We were so excited to sell our condo we bought three years ago and start renting. No more maintenance bills, homeowners association dues, mortgage payments, and $130000 in debt hanging over our heads. We even made money on the deal and were able to pay off the last of my student and auto loans. Debt freedom is truly an awesome thing to have. Now we get to decide what we do with every dollar of every paycheck. Such an awesome feeling. Congratulations on the freedom!
Well I am just hella happy for you! We’re mortgages slaves – I mean, homeowners – and it’s bittersweet. We’re glad to have the house – we love it. BUT two weeks into buying the house we had to shell out $3500 to get a dangerous tree removed, and now we need to install central heat and air, which will run us around $6500. We end up spending only a few more dollars each month owning v renting when it all comes down to it. The thing I guess I’m the most yes about, other than the cash we have to pile in this place every few months it seems, is that we’re STUCK WITH IT for at least the next 14 1/2 years unless we sell it. I hate the chains of a mortgage. We lived abroad two years ago – it’s so sudden to be chained down to a house to me. Cue Freddie Mercury: I want to break free-ee! BUT the good thing is… I think we found a steal of a deal. The houses just like ours all around us are selling for 75% MORE than ours, and I’m thinking, hey, maybe we can use this house to settle some of our debts! Live in our own place, fix it up, make improvements and then sell it, using the profits to knock down our $150K of student loans. YIKES, right?! So… bittersweet for us, SUPER STOKED FOR YOU!!!!!!
That’s good all the homes around you are flying out the door so much higher!! Hopefully it’s at its peak when you go to offload yours – that would be incredible!
When we first sat down w/ our realtor to go over comps near our place, we were confident around the $320,000 mark. But then – only one month later – other houses had sold and the highest we could try for was $310,000. And even that was a long shot :( So right off the bat we lost (at least in our heads) $10,000-$20,000 which did not feel good. Still so thankful it got capped at $300,000, but man… all feels like funny money, ya know?
First off, congrats! Second off, thank you! For what? Remind us that home ownership isn’t the only option. I’ve always had a bit of pressured guilt weighing on my heart for NOT being a homeowner yet, at the age of 31 because ALL my friends and family are doing it. As a family of 4, sure I’d love to live in a house…but it just hasn’t been in the cards and lately I’ve realized that I’m CONTENT with renting. We recently moved from MI to KY and now rent a beautiful townhouse that is PLENTY big for my husband and I & our two young kiddos. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and the THREE times we attempted home ownership always fell through, and now I know it was a blessing in disguise. ;)
It very well could be :) And it’s a blessing to be *content* too – many search for it their entire lives and never figure it out! Always wanting more and more and more. So good for you!
I am SO HAPPY FOR YOU, friend! Sorry your wife is feeling nostalgic, but I’m sure it’ll pass soon… Remind her that it’s just like any other item/belonging in our lives. If it’s not used/loved, you don’t need it! :)
Damn straight! :)
BOOM! Good work mate!
Looks like the right decision for you guys. I’ll bet it was tough to sell as well, common sense seems to want to tell you that holding onto it is the right thing to do. So awesome work, I’m sure a lot of people would have just carried on bleeding out money each month after convincing themselves that holding onto it was the right thing.
Congratulations!! I was on the “sell sell sell” side of it when you posted about it last fall. We bought on a whim when we were 19/20, market collapsed, neighborhood declined, and we felt stuck. We did a short sale and it was the BEST decision we’ve ever made. We did buy again, for $35k, annnnd we just bought another house (cash!) and are selling our old one that’s now worth $130K. So homeownership has many factors. Thankfully we live in a low cost of living state. I imagine if we were up north again, we’d remain renters though. Fingers crossed we can sell ours quickly, because I am really hating the double bills!
$35,000?? That’s the price of a car! Haha… Wow. Way to take advantage and get back to rocking it again… no shame in that!
Congrats man, one less thing to worry about!
That’s awesome! I lucked out and got my house super cheap, but if not I would have stayed renting forever.
Yay for you!!! We only bought a home because it’s cheaper than renting here in the suburbs of Houston, TX (even with property taxes and the repairs and whatnot). BUT, I totally understand the awesomeness of renting too – the repairs are somebody else’s problem. If I lived where mortgages were way higher than rent, than I’d rent too. :-)
Thank you for posting this J, with all the details. Man, we lost about $40K when we had to move for a job a couple of years ago, and I’ve been beating myself up about it ever since. I love your attitude about being HAPPY about closing out the deal, and moving on. Sometimes I get nostalgic about our old house, and my wife reminds me how much I complained about that house – “You hated it!”. We now own another house, and it does tie us to the area, and has some maintenance involved. On this one, I’ve decided to just make our stand – stay here another 12 years and pay it off. You present great points – and not everyone should be a homeowner!
Sorry for your $40k loss – never fun :( But good thing you have your wife reminding you of your true feelings towards that place! haha… I tend to only remember the good parts too :) So I guess you went with a 15 year mortgage, yeah? Smart way to go right there… That def. changes the game a bit.
This was so interesting to read! We have considered selling our home but for different reasons. Our home is valued at about $70,000 to $80,000 more than we purchased it 4 years ago. However, rental costs in our neighbourhood are the same, even slightly higher than all mortgage/taxes/insurance/maintenance costs. Plus, with a family of 6 we worry about being discriminated against due to our family size when it comes to finding a place to rent.
Ahhhh interesting about the discrimination. Hadn’t ever thought about that before, probably since we moved into our first rental here with only 1 kid. Now we’re with two, and who knows if there will be more down the line… You’ll have to let me know how it goes if you end up pulling the trigger later! And what tricks you come up with in case I need to borrow them :)
AWESOME! You know what? I have zero interest in owning a home. I’m okay with that. Glad you have less bills!
Rent is good but not when you retire, our house will be paid off way before I retire, after that it will just be property taxes, utilities, & repairs, I do my own repairs since I am a handyman, It will still be more affordable then renting till I pass away.
True True… unless you invest the difference of renting vs owning and use THAT to cover the expenses down the line – including rent :) That’s the main objective with this stuff, at least on our end. But of course without that 2nd part of the equation (investing) it would be a completely different story.
Congrats on selling your home!!! I was SO excited when I saw this blog title because I know that this has been the cause of a great deal of negative emotions for you over the years and no matter what the finances look like, sometimes you just have to do the right thing for your emotional state. I personally don’t love home ownership and I frequently talk clients out of it. It’s not for everyone and there are more factors then just mortgage interest deductions to think about.
Seems like a great weight off your back! Glad you will have more cash flow and more energy to devote to more important things in life than the “american dream” :-)
I’m so glad that it worked out for you! Congrats on your freedom! :)
Congrats on selling your home. I’m a huge fan or renting. I just can’t see myself buying a house anytime soon.
Any tips on how to bring this up to a long-term girlfriend who desperately wants a house? she has no debt and a nice little nest egg for a 26 year old, whereas I am 33 and working my way through “good” school debt. We’ve discussed this and it’s one of her few tangible goals.
Tough one! Especially if it’s a real dream of hers… Do you know the reasons *why* she wants to own one? Is it stability? To be able to paint walls and do whatever she pleases? Does she want one as “an investment” (that’s the easier of the group to disprove). Maybe figure out what the heart of it is, and then seeing if there are alternatives that could be put in place for the time being? You can also come up with a list of like 10 other sexier things you could do w/ the money that might excite her more :)
Or it might just be one of those things you’ll have to accept or compromise on. We all have those :) In which case, hopefully you guys can find a place you’re both as happy as possible in, and that it’s smaller/cheaper so she still gets her house but your wallet doesn’t explode! Haha… From what I hear things do seem cheaper these days than they were ;)
Ahhh, the feeling of minimalism must feel amazing! This is great that you got rid of the albatross. I definitely want to get an update 6 months or a year from now and see how you feel about no longer owning. It’ll be interesting!
I’m sure I won’t be able to keep my mouth shut over the months so you’ll def. see ;)
Pretty amazing from where I sit….Selling a house in winter is a challenge and to have success…well…amazing.. I have been a real estate investor/landlord for over 37 years and the homeowner dynamic has changed a bit. But many things have not. A wise RE investor once told me…”you make your money in RE when you buy it”…In other words buy at a good price. After you catch your breath and DW gets settled into a new job I would encourage you to “shop around” for a new home. There are “bargains” out there if you aren’t afraid to get dirty and have some vision. Interest rates are very low and home ownership is one of the few tax advantages left to us. Bringing that check to settlement had to be difficult….Best of luck…
I think you were the one who scared me the most when talking about this the other month, haha… so I’m glad I had good news to report back ;)
If I knew we were going to be in one place for a long time, and I could get a house cheap enough to pay off within a few years, I’d consider it again, no prob. But our lives are so influx right now and the idea of throwing my money into the stock market (which is all on sale right now!) excites me a helluva lot more than picking up another mortgage. So we’ll stick to that for now.
My intent was not to scare you… BUT I’ll tell you home sales “fall off the table” after Thanksgiving. You were fortunate….but still bringing a check to settlement had to be difficult. Just a “heads-up”, rental inventory is “tightening up” , I’m getting a lot of calls folks looking for a place….Very rare for this time of year as folks don’t like to take the kids out of school.
Congrats! Any experience that helps us learn about ourselves is worthwhile. Many people never learn the hard lesson you learned and certainly not in such a short amount of time. Your lives will be richer now, moving forward.
I had the entire extended family over for dinner, and some to stay for a few days at Christmas time, and thought it was lovely, but, this is why I’m paying every month for years for a large house? Because my kids and their cousins have room to sit down to dinner all together? Hopefully next year I go home to my little place that just fits me and my dogs, and treat everyone to a lovely meal in a party room or restaurant on the savings from what one month of large house would have cost. :)
Haha, there you go… Or you can buy a little village of tiny homes and everyone gets a place to stay! :)
I am very happy for you. I have been following your blog for a while I know how big this is for you. I just listed my house (right before the snow storm — because you know…I have a natural ability to time things brilliantly). After fees and taxes, I am taking a loss but I am okay with that since it gives me opportunity to buy a smaller home, reduce our mortgage and find a better school for my kid.
Yeahhh work it! I hope you end up with a speedy sale and even better new home find! Not the easiest to pull the trigger on, but as you’ve come to conclude def. well worth it :) Good luck! Thanks for reading the blog!
Great job! Haha and congrats! Freedom is something people always have fought for over the years and you finally got it. Renting than owning is the new trend lately!
So nice to hear a different perspective on home ownership! I went through a similar but not nearly as long (2 years) experience with our home. I’ve done the math on so many things and it just makes financial sense to rent for my lifestyle and money goals.
I am convinced that owning a home is not the true American Dream that people make it out to be. Being financially free is way better!
Enjoy those 6 less bills!
Good riddance. That’ll be a lot less stress even if there’s an upfront cost.
We sold our house. It was one where we were financed 100% for 30 years. I lived there for nine years and made little headway and came out 1500 to sell it. We rented for a few years and are now back in a house (did 10% down and financed for 15 years. I have made more headway on the loan in six months than I did in 3 years in the previous home. Sometimes it about position. I’ve always liked doing the maintenance so that makes a difference
It was actually more like we made that much headway in two years
Congrats man! You came back better and stronger w/ the new home – 15 year mortgages is where its at!
Congrats, J! I seriously appreciate how open you are with all your numbers. It really helps when I compare your situation to my own — gives me a ton more insight. Thank you so much!
I’m so glad, Lauren :) It’s hard sometimes for me to put it all out there, but that’s exactly why I like doing it – so people can see real life #’s with real life situations! No one shares this stuff in the real world and it would do a lot of good if people did!
A sponsored link just showed up on my facebook page that had a link to this post from YNAB. Its very interesting reading comments that aren’t from you regular readers.
Woah, really? They are clever! Haha…
And yes – you can usually tell fast when new people show up – at least on the feisty posts :)
Great job unloading that house. Must feel nice to get that burden off your shoulders!
It’s nice to hear folks advocate for the benefits of renting- not everyone wants to own a home! That said, I think it’s important to note that renting is not always cheaper than owning a home. In Boston, where I live, rents are sky-high and climbing. I bought a condo because with interest rates so low, it was actually cheaper to buy than to rent! If you can take advantage of local first-time homebuyer programs, you’re in even better shape. Many of my neighbors pay less for their mortgages than our other neighbors pay in rent. It all depends on the market and interest rates.
Very true – I agree. Just make sure you’re not only comparing the *rent* vs *mortgage* but including the rest of the expenses that come w/ owning a place too (maintenance, HOA, upgrades, property taxes, etc etc). People – myself old self included – tend to overlook those :)
Awesome! What a weight off your back. I love the perspective of seeing things from the other side: your excited view as an initial buyer vs the voice of experience lamenting the purchase. Don’t apologize one bit for scaring people away from home ownership. Our culture has tied early home ownership (the bigger, the better) to happiness, and more experienced voices need to chime in and encourage some caution and brevity in the process.
So tempting! The only thing we have going for us is we bought super low, never refinanced, and pay less (mortgage+taxes+insurance) than we would ever pay in rent, and renting an apt. We have for boys so I can’t even imagine that. This is so great though and I love the mentality and am completely encouraged. We live debt free ( aside from our home ) and are always looking for ways to improve our budget. Maybe one day this would work for us. Way to go on bucking the culture.
Always gotta do what’s best for you and the fam, right? My wife cannot wait to get a bigger place for our two boys to run around in, but I’m trying to keep things as minimal as possible… not sure I’m winning all the way ;)
Congratulations. If it offers you guys a weight off your shoulders then it is definitely the right move. WOO HOO!
Congratulations on a job well done, man! I’ve been thinking about the whole buying a home vs renting think quite a bit and not sure where to go … I’m currently 22 and still living at home so it’s good for saving up and deciding what to do, but time is running out! I do believe financial independence is much easier to reach while renting, but in the long run it’s going to be hard to look at money going to a landlord every month for the rest of my life… Such uncertainty, but I congratulate you on making the right choice for yourself! Keep at it!
It’s def. something that needs a lot more thinking than getting up and buying one on a whim – with no money down – as I did those 9 years ago :) I honestly think both routes can work for most people as long as its done right, but at the end of the day just comes down to personal preference and lifestyle design.
Also remember that nothing needs to last forever! Maybe you rent for a few years, decide buying is for you and buy, then 10 years later its paid off (of course) and you’re like, “you know what? I’m done with this bitch. I’m cashing out and going back to renting forever.” which you do for 20 years and then all of a sudden want to own again.
That’s the beauty of life – totally up to you! Just gotta do our best during any given stage of our life :)
Where do you live now? …I seem to have missed that. So you must rent..is it a house? in a decent neighborhood (for your boys)? It my small mind it seems like rental areas wouldn’t/arent’ the nicest areas to raise families…just my not know any other way, then home ownership ;\
Oh yeah – we live in a super nice and safe area. You can rent anything in the world from shacks to multi-million dollar mansions! There’s probably a point where owning vs renting is heavily skewed through the different price points, but you can rent anything these days if it’s what you want.
YAY! I’m so happy for you guys.
Closing costs are such a head-scratcher for me. I can’t understand why they are so much! Probably because they can get away with it, I guess
Yeah, lots of taxes and recording fees and settling up accounts and research costs and then of course the bulk of it coming from realtor commissions… It all makes more sense when you go over them line by line at closing (at least most of them) but doesn’t help much to take the sting away ;)
Great article! I’m planning to sell my condo (luckily in the few years I’ve owned it, it has appreciated). After closing I’ll likely walk away with $80,000. What are your recommendations on investing that?
I’m following your same plan and going to move into an apartment in a much more fin and vibrant place, so more fun and fewer bills – such a win!
Nice!! Even better walking away with a huge chunk of cash too – totally jealous :) Hard to advise on where to put it without knowing your situation and goals/etc, but I’d just dump it right into whatever strategy you already have set up if you have one… For me, it would go right into VTSAX where all my investing money is w/ Vanguard – right after I siphon some away to build back up my cash reserves. But hell – even keeping it in cash for a while and enjoying the dreaming and thinking about all your options would be incredible… No need to rush :)
Just found your site and I love it. So refreshing to read about real life experiences; successes and failures; and not just the “rules”.
This post is particularly interesting to me. I have had one great (albeit lucky) experience with home ownership and one terrible one where I was a joint borrower.
I have been renting for the last 5 years since I split with my ex and it was working out quite wonderfully for my daughter and I. Last year we moved in with my fiance and rented a larger house for our Brady bunch. What a nightmare! The owner ended up being a heroin addict facing prison time and listed the house 6 months after we moved in. So…we moved again! This time around we used realtors and did a little research on the owner. So far so good aside from receiving a legal notice demanding that rent be paid to the HOA until the $3600 in arrears is satisfied! Yikes! That’s not a great sign…and its left me feeling like all of the rental options that exist for a 4 bedroom home likely exist because the owner is under water. I’m not sure any of those situations will lead to a feeling of security.
So we have been contemplating buying again in the next year or 2 to regain some control over our lives. Here in NY rents are pretty high and a mortgage payment would surely be lower if we purchased a modest home. But the initial outlay of money to close would be upwards of $20k with a small (3%) down payment…closing fees are ridiculous here.
Anyhow, I thought home ownership would solve this problem for us but you’ve at least got me second guessing my timing right now. I’m just so disgusted with our landlord experiences that I am desperate to feel in control again. I’m thinking we might wait it out a little longer and see where our older kids end up (1 going into college this year, 1 is 2.5 years from going into college).
Sorry to hi-jack the comments…just felt like rambling on…
Definitely good stuff to consider for sure!
I’ve only rented apartments and small 2 bedroom homes so there could be a difference between large family vs smaller family places (never thought about before?) but either way you gotta do what you gotta do. I like the idea of waiting for the kids to go to school and then seeing how things are shaping up, or if you might need a smaller place?, but who knows what life holds for us :) It’s good you’re thinking hard about this stuff though and not being a dummy like me who just jumped in on a whim, ugh…
Glad you’re enjoying the site so far… Thanks for chiming in :)
Hi Mr. Money!
It’s been awhile since I’ve visited here. When I saw this post I just had to read it. The last thing you need is yet another comment, but I can’t help myself!
You see, I have a small 1,123 sq ft home in Southern California. Purchased in the mid 90’s and paid off in 15 years. It is the only home I ever bought. I’ve loved this house for many reasons, but as the years go by I have started to see it less as an investment and more like a prison.
The prison analogy is appropriate because I can’t leave. If i sell, I’ll never be able to buy in So Cal again. Too expensive. I was raised here and most of my family is nearby. I can’t bring myself to rent it out because I fear someone will do more harm that good. Besides, what do we do with all of our “stuff?”
We bought a a 34′ RV last year and have driven to Michigan. Another trip to Oregon and some local trips. I love it and while living full time in that small of a space might be challenging, I have a new-found perspective on how much I can live without.
We come back home and I feel closed in.
I’ve always viewed the equity in the home to be our long-term life insurance policy. When we’re too old to take care of ourselves, sell the house and use the money for our care. Done.
If we sell now, there’s no telling what we’ll lose in this crazy stock market. So we stay in our prison. It’s a nice prison, but a prison nonetheless.
So yes, J, congratulations on your escape!
To life ~
I’ve missed you! Always so nice to see you around these parts – thanks for chiming in :) And pretty interesting to read too, though of course I can totally understand that.
I just posted up my 100 Things List today and it includes living in a RV/tiny house/other tiny space for at least 1 year :) So cool you’re testing it out by going on trips like that! If you ever make it to the East Coast you should swing on by so I can ooh and ahhh over your RV! I love ’em!
FINCON is out in San Diego fyi this year – you totally need to come so we can meet in real life :) Please???
Forgive me if I somehow missed this, but does your $272k “investment” include the income you had from rent? That should offset your total investment…………..maybe I just missed where that was included.
Nope, didn’t specify it but you’re right – that def. helps soften the blow more. Though we only had it rented for 2 and 1/2 years during that time.
My house is currently being listed in San Francisco East Bay area (Hayward) and we had over 80 people come to our open house yesterday (sat) and expect more today. My wife and I bought the home in 2012 for less than $280K (with 30k down) and now we’re asking $565K. We are expecting multiple offers.
My situation is a full time job in healthcare with a 35 mile commute. We bought when I was 29 and this year I will be 35. I wish I could use what we will earn on the sale of our house to buy an RV and not have another mortgage (living with the in-laws while we sell the home) but my wife doesn’t like the idea of living in an RV. So I guess we’ll move into a nice home in a nicer neighborhood with better schools. Is that called a lateral move ?
I didn’t read all the comments but loved the article !
Woah! Good problem and bad problem to have, haha…
Maybe you can convince her to jump into a tiny home or something equally as cool/fun but still on the smaller side?
Def. hard to balance multiple peoples’ goals for sure… and gets even trickier once kids come into the picture :(
Congrats on doubling your money on the house though!
I find this all every interesting because I AM STUCK! I don’t know what to do. Sell and rent or hold? I bought my house in the summer of 2005, at the height of the market and then lost my regular paycheck and have been renting out my lower level to offset my bills while I ponder WHAT to do and WHERE to move to.
I don’t have a job lined up, or really a good idea of where to move to. If I sell here (in Fairfield County, CT- very very very expensive) renting will be too expensive. But if I sell I’ll be mentally freed up from the exhaustion I feel from the worry of being a homeowner on the water- and having been hit twice in hurricaines over the last 5 years. Man I’m scared. I’m a single woman. I’m so unclear on what the best thing for me to do is. Here is my situation:
Purchased in 2005 for $399k, with 200k down.
Interest only mortgage for 8 years and transitioned to paying mortgage down 3 years ago now adjustable on the libor so interest has always been in the 2% range and looks like it will remain that way for a bit.
Put 150k into renovations.
If I sell my house I may be able to sell it for $430-440k. On the low end, 399k what I paid for it.
Property taxes and flood insurance run me 14k a year.
Rental income subsidizes 12.5k a year, approx. 1/2 my mortgage/taxes/Insurance.
WHAT should I do? Hold? Sell? It’s so unclear to me.
If I don’t have a job I can’t afford a house. But on the other hand, I have no plans for my future if I do move and sell.
Ack – tricky situation indeed!
Do you really love the house and wish you COULD stay in it if your finances weren’t an issue? Because if so that changes it a bit since you could get a job tomorrow or start hustling on the side and recouping that lost income, but if you prefer to move on regardless then that should help sway you as well.
Hard to really offer guidance outside of that since I don’t know you or your situation (or more importantly – feelings on stuff), but I will say that it’s GREAT you’re renting out that space and having it pay off your mortgage like that :) Also that you put down $200k to get the house – that’s amazing!!!
Not sure how much any of this helps, but I’d def. think about whether you like & want the house separately from the financial situation just to make sure that’s clear first. If you do love it and want to stay in a perfect world, then it’s time to amp up the hustle and fight for what you want. If you realize you want to be out of there anyways – even if you got a killer new job – then that should help point you to what needs to be done as well. Regardless if you go renting for a while or look to downsize and buy or whatever.
No shame in either route at all of course, but you def. have to stay true to what you want in life and do your best to go after it. Even if people think you’re crazy or it’s not ideal at the moment… It helps me to keep in mind that all down periods are just a phase if you let it be. You’ll be back to joy-land in no time if you keep pushing through! Good luck! :)
Neglected to add if I sell, the 5% realtor fee and 1% conveyance tax to city.
Oh wow. I am SO glad I came across you posting. After a divorce 4 yrs ago I have been renting out my house in NC. I live in CA. Its not been a nightmare, but its a thorn in my side. I finally decided to put it on market two weeks ago. It could easily sit for 8 mos or so. I will likely bring approx. 20K to the table, meanwhile paying 2 mortgages (after tenants leave in few mos), utilities and gardening. Is WORTH it. Peace of mind = PRICELESS. Reading your posting verified this for me. Thank you. Good luck in your future.
IT will be a happy day for me when the house sells. :)
And I hope you sell it a LOT faster than that too – I know exactly how it feels waiting around while it sucks your $$$ and energy out of you, ugh… You will feel SO MUCH lighter when its’ gone – good job making the decision! I know it can be a hard one! :)
Beautiful name too, btw – I like that.
Nice post. We live in the southeast and own 2 all brick beauties on nice lots. Paid less than $65K for both…cash. Our main pad is an all-brick 5000 sq ft beauty that I purchased for 25% off and now is worth more than that in a very nice area outside of Atlanta. My point, it is possible to have an “and” life vs “or”.
Networth around yours..just hit 40.
Current mort balance is less than 245k.
NICE!!! Way to pull that off, man… I give all y’all mad respect for figuring out the real estate game and sticking to what you love/are good at… I WISH I had the passion for it as I know how beneficial it could be!
Congrats and guess what? Hubby and I are doing the same thing. We purchased less than 2 years ago and the house is just sucking up our free time and it won’t be long before it will need a new roof. We’ll be writing a check at closing to unload, around $14,000 but the roof will cost about $10,000, so what the heck, it’s the same money. And we are going to rent an apartment where we WANT to live. Where we live now is in the burbs because that’s what we could afford, traveling to and from work 2 more hours on my work day, but now, I’m weighing all options, beach, lake, city – my options are unlimited. We’re not looking to be rent poor, we intent to make up our shortfall on the sale in our 401ks. We feel that this may be a better alternative rather than investing our time and money in our home. My family and friends think that we have lost our minds and are preaching to us all the time what a stupid decision this is, but we want our freedom back! We’re done with this real estate thing for now. Not saying I won’t buy again, but I want to take a long break from the mowing, weed eating, edging, raking in the winter, snarky neighbors, fixing “problems” and our endless walks through home improvement stores. So we are listing our house this weekend – wish us luck!!!
Ooooh good luck!!!! I feel your pain – can’t say I miss owning at all these past 7 months since we’ve sold :) Good job deciding to take action once you’ve realized the predicament you’re in!
Update!!!!! Sold our house in 2 weeks and coming out a bit better than expected. So I’m downsizing A LOT! Leaving a house 2000 sq. ft. +/- to a tiny one bedroom apartment. I’m giving furniture away, actually donating it to a charity and not regretting it one bit – and it’s really nice furniture but I don’t have any use for formal dining room furniture or guest suite so out it goes. I’m so excited!
I laugh at myself when those home improvement store commercials come on the TV or the catchy little on-line furniture you can buy with no shipping fees. I think, WOW, I like that – I’ll just pop on line and order it and then it hits me……oh yeah, I don’t have the space for it. It’s wonderful that I’m not being sucked in! I feel a huge load off of my shoulders and I can’t explain why, it just feels right.
I’m paring down every day. 4 bedrooms, 5 closets, 2 baths, formal dining to a one bedroom, one bath and one closet apartment – a lot of work but I’m plugging away – . Woohoo!
Shorter commute, less expense and one step closer to where I want to be in the not too distant future.
SO BEAUTIFUL!!! CONGRATS!!!! “I feel a huge load off of my shoulders and I can’t explain why, it just feels right.” That’s all that matters in the end! Doing what feels right :) Excited for you!
Very nice read – we are considering doing the same even though we have only owned our home for 2 years. It is a bit over sized for what we need, and I really like the freedom and allure that renting will provide. All the best and congrats :-).
Thank you for posting this! I am single female homeowner in my early 40’s, and I bought my house 9 years ago. The first few years were great, and I flew high on the thinking that I am a “homeowner” and feeling how accomplished I was. It was after all the American Dream. Then things started to break, and monthly service fees started increasing. Pest fees, lawn fees, HOA fees, HVAC unit fees to maintain new AC unit, etc. and on and on. Then the final straw to break my back was the 2 hail storms in 2016 that did approximately $25,000 in damage to my home. It was catastrophic and a major pain in the butt. The first storm in March 2016 only did minor shingle damage, so I thought i would do the mature thing and replace the shingles it to protect my investment. Then the second major hail storm struck about 2.5 weeks later and it was catastrophic. Of course, I then had a second claim which meant two claims and two large deductibles in less than a month period of time. My contractor (like so many others around me) bailed on me more than half way thru the 7 months of repairs, so I had to come out of pocket to pay the remainder of the repairs required by my mortgage company. Then I lost my recoverable depreciation (almost $6K) because nothing was supplemented by my contractor after he went MIA. I lived in constant chaos for 7 months due to water damage. I had to replace my roof decking, insulation, shingles, garage door, office windows, drywall, fascia, flooring, rain gutters, and fencing. To say that I am done being a homeowner is an understatement! I no longer feel this is a viable investment, and can’t wait to sell and go back to renting! I am done with my long commute from living in the burbs. I want no maintenance living, and to be debt free! So thank you again for being so kind to post what I have been feeling for many months now. Congrats! :)
Oh man – i want to vomit reading all of that! I’m so sorry to hear :( One day you will be free and clear again!! It’s just a phase you have to get out of now until you reach the promise land! :)
We just sold our house as well! I was so excited, I Googled about it to share the excitement with someone, and I found your blog. That house was a bane on my existence since the second we signed those papers. Seven years and thousands of dollars later, it will no longer keep me up at night.
Our stories are similar, but there is one big difference. I DO regret buying that house. But hey, it taught me that while I may compromise on many things in a marriage, don’t ever let this be one of them again.
It’s been over a year now since we sold it and it’s bee A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. In fact, the house we’re renting right now just had a water leak and now they’re doing demo in it and mold fixing and all kinds of nightmare stuff. All of which are not my concern because it’s not our house!! So hopefully you find the same peace in your renting endeavors as well :)
Great article J!
This one speaks to me because I’m battling with the dilemma of paying off student loan debt (>$123,000) or buying my first home. A few months ago I made a commitment to save $4000/mo. so I can have over 100K in two years…so far I’ve got over 12K. I’m leaning toward paying off the loan because I hate debt! However, I think of how homes normally appreciate (I live in OC, CA) and I’m thinking in a few years time, I could sell it and pay off my loan in one fail swoop and hopefully have some left over to put down on another place. My financial advisor says, “owning property is always a good thing,” but I’m stuck. Your opinion is greatly appreciated, thank you!
Oh man, I’d fire your financial advisor right away, haha… if you’re going to own a home, you gotta own it for wayyy more than just a few years and you can *never* count on it automatically going up. Buy a house because you want to live in it and keep it for a while, not to make money. That’s what *investing* is for! (Unless you’re going the rental property route – which is a whole other strategy.)
You’re sitting pretty with $4k/mo savings, so I’d either just start paying off the debt right away if that’s your priority, or investing the $$$ instead so it grows and then paying it off later. I’d also make sure you have an overall goal for your wealth too, because that could drastically change your strategy as well. For example, if you plan on settling down in one spot and working forever you’ll want to choose one route, but if you plan on retiring early and/or traveling the world you’d choose a completely different route. So I’d start with the end goal and then work backwards from there – something your financial advisor should be doing with you unless you’ve already fired him/her ;)
Good luck either way! The fact you’re able to save $4k/mo is incredible so you’ll be just fine.
Please tell me how to talk my husband into selling? I didn’t want this house to begin with, and now it’s eating us alive in repairs and maintenance. We JUST wrote a check about an hour ago for $330 in service on a furnace that was replaced not even 5 years ago, and LESS than a 1/2 hour after that, a leak that I’ve been warning him about for a year busted through the kitchen ceiling.
I’m done. I told him this house was too much for us before we even bought it. I’ve been trying to get him to sell for a year and I thought we were close this summer. Then he doubled down by refinancing and scheduling a basement dewatering. I’m so stressed out. The best time of our lives was when we rented for a year due to his job. I just want to get back to that, but he’s stuck in that “throwing money away” mentality.
Ughh is right, I’m so sorry :( And of course totally get the feeling! We had water damage here the other month but as a renter all I had to do was pick up the phone and that was that….
What types of hobbies does your husband like? What does he do in his spare time? I would focus on *THAT* because with more money and freedom you’re able to spend more time doing what you love than messing around with nonsense! Not that all homes or owning is nonsense, but it’s certainly not for everyone either..
At the end of the day though it really comes down to how bad you want stuff, and until you’re willing to go “all in” on the gameplan like your husband it’s hard to get anything done :( Just keep chipping away at him though if it’s important to you and hopefully you guys can come up with a middle ground! Home ownership or not, it’s never ideal wanting two different things in life.
Congrats! lol. I kinda want to hear that too. We are currently in a similar position, and as we’ve found it, it’s hard to find good renters. Especially for a home you’ve cared about so much and they don’t. So we will probably end up selling it and settling UP i hope.
We’re now currently paying bills for 2 houses too. ANd I just can’t wait to see that list cut almost in half when the other one is gone…..
I felt your excitement in your blog and now I’m getting kinda excited about ending ours. lol
Make it happen! You will feel so at peace! :)
(also – love your mason jars you make, so cool!)
But here’s how the situation is in our neck of the woods (Ventura county, California):
There are no rental properties. A 1-bedroom in the ghetto rents out for $1,750, but you’d be in line with 40 Hispanics, all of who want to rent it out, in order to occupy it with 4 to 6 people.
So even if you got “lucky,” you’d be living in the ghetto and in hell.
So you want a small 2-bedroom in a not too horrible neighborhood?
That’ll be $2,600 to $3,500 per month. In rent.
You’ll be competing for the landlord’s favors with many other applicants. If you get lucky, which my wife and I got twice, and get the keys, you still may get a note to vacate because the home owner all of a sudden decided to sell, as it happened to us — twice.
So for the same money, you can have a mortgage on an entry-level home, somewhere between $500K and $545K.
You’ll never have to fear having to move, and not being able to find a new place to live in time.
Priceless, but actually free, as renting costs the same as owning. That’s why renting means paying somebody else’s mortgage.
It’s a good thing I don’t live in Ventura county :)
I couldn’t imagine not having my home and having to pay rent… But, I got lucky and bought it right after the whole housing crash for 70k and its roughly got a value of double in the current market. I have also spent very little on having to maintain it. I was able to pay it off a few years ago, without paying any interest, so my expenses are only about $150 for electric/gas/home owners. I feel bad for the family that had to sell, they paid over 140k just a couple years before the crash. It’s too bad they couldn’t ride it out, but it was my gain.
NICE!!! That’s like a luxury car purchase right there – well done ;)
If the cost of living here was closer to that, and we were more stable and knew where we wanted to live long-term, I’d definitely reconsider my stance on it. And might even do so next year when we move again as having no mortgages definitely makes up for the annoyances! Haha…. So good for you man, on both finding a steal AND paying it off so quickly. I can’t say I know many people outside of our $$$ world here that’s been able to do that so I’m impressed.
Well done. I always think that rich mortgage benefits the bamker not the dreamer people.
It really is amazing how much you end up paying at the end for houses! Almost double – if not more – when all is said and done!
We are going to be listing our house this spring/summer that we bought in early 2008. With the other houses in the neighborhood selling we should be able to double our money! while we are not mortgage free, the equity will pay off all of our consumer debt and give us our 3-6 months emergency fund. Then we will start saving for a larger home.
Much better than us :)