Category Archives: housing

House bought and we are hitched! Now what?

just-married-9617033

We did it. We really did it! We closed on our house on August 31st and got to move in and hang out in the final weeks leading up to the wedding. It was pretty amazing. The beach wedding! So much love and happiness! Everything has been great! We are both back at work for the next week and a half, and then it will be honeymoon time in North Carolina.

Perhaps I’ll do more blogging about house shopping and¬†wedding details/budgets (I did add up all the final numbers…*cringe*) but in the meantime, I’ve missed another monthly update, so here’s a two for one:

September 1st: updated total $68,551.47. Decrease by $330.80.

October 1st: updated total $68,212.29. Decrease by $339.18.

I also missed the 2-year anniversary of the blog! If we go by my updated total on 9/1/2015, from the birth of the blog (9/5/2013), I’ve paid off $26,475.40 in the last 2 years! That sounds huge!

As far as goals for this month, we put most of our expenses on our airline credit card (paying the balance off each term), so we have until November 2nd to pay that off. It was amazing how generous people were, we did not expect to receive so much in wedding gifts! We racked up quite a few expenses between the new house and the wedding. The good news is that it looks like everything’s going to balance out and be all right. It’s been a super stressful time and I feel like we can finally breathe, relax, and enjoy the moment!

Until next time. I’ll do some blogging during the honeymoon!

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Keeping calm in May and June and July, humming along under $69k!

Oh…hey, Bacon Payoff fans! I’m still alive and survived the last 3 harrowing months. Today I woke up and it’s August. Haven’t updated since May 14th and we are 2/3rds done with summer?! And I’ve probably lost all my readers as I haven’t even done my absolutely minimum of once-a-month financial updates.

Alas, May was spent trying to completely replan a wedding.

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June was spent cramming in as much training as I could for my half-ironman triathlon.

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And July…July was a surprise because we started house hunting locally on July 3rd, saw at least 20 houses inside and out…wrote up a first offer…negotiated over last weekend…and this past Monday (July 27), our offer was accepted!

buy a house

So, no blogging, BUT holy crap, a wedding was replanned, a half ironman was completed, and a house was bought! There was definitely a lot of “keeping calm” needed. ūüėČ

There really hasn’t been much that’s exciting about paying off the student loans, because my minimum payments are humming along on auto-pilot ($557 a month). This essentially brings my grand total down by a measly $337-ish every month (or $4044-ish per year), but when my 1-year work anniversary kicks in, my employer will be contributing $10,000 each March for the next 5 years. I even did a very rough¬†spreadsheet where if I keep kicking in $557/month during this time period, my loans will be down to only $347¬†TOTAL after that 5th and final $10k payment. Of course after the 3rd payment, my loans with the higher interest rate will have been wiped out, so I won’t¬†have to contribute the whole $557 per month–my minimum payment would be knocked down to $241 per month. That’s not until March of 2018, so I have some time before I re-configure that spreadsheet!

Of course, several months ago, I changed my subheading to “The Great Bacon Payoff…bringing home the bacon to (buy a house and then) stomp down the student loans” and I am as surprised as anybody that we are able to actually buy a house this soon after moving back to this area. More on the house later…we are hoping to close on August 31st and most of wedding planning should be getting done this month, so I hope life slows down just a little bit and I’d love to get back to blogging more!

Keep-Calm-And-Blog-On

In the meantime, here are the boring ole numbers for the past 3 months that I’ve neglected:

May update: $69,562.57 total as of 6/3/2015. (minus $323.35)

June update: $69,237.29 total as of 7/4/2015. (minus $325.28)

July update: $68,882.27 total as of 8/1/215. (minus $355.02)

Our budget has been pretty unusual because of all the circumstances, so I’m not going to nitpick or beat myself up. We’ve gotten so much done in terms of “big life stuff” and it is only getting better!

I hope everyone else is having an awesome and productive summer!

Rent-free fist bump!

Woohoo, I have some great news! While our place near DC still has not been rented out in two months, our landlord has been very reasonable and decided to give us back our security deposit this week and let us off the hook in paying the rent for the remainder of the lease. Wow, since when does that ever happen?! It pays to be amazing tenants!!

This is such a huge relief for us financially, with the random costs of moving, the unexpected Cali trip and our upcoming wedding. Now that we are rent-free (house-sitting for Mr. Bacon’s dad), we can pay off the credit card balance and my bike next month, then June through August will all go to the wedding fund! Looks like we’ll be able to move out by the end of August too! Super exciting!

Anyone else have amazing news or an awesome landlord??

Redux: Living with the parentals?

So with the new job beginning in March, we looked at our housing options. It will be back in Mr. Bacon’s hometown, and his father lives only a couple miles from what will be my company’s headquarters (and later 5 miles away from¬†my new office, once it opens up). FFIL¬†Bacon (future-father-in-law!) also has a beach house about 1.5 hours away and intends to live there full-time during the summer with Mr. Bacon’s stepmom (though whether he does or not is to be seen! He is considered “semi-retired” and has been known to go back and forth some).

Anyway, FFIL Bacon has offered us up the main house to stay in, rent-free, provided Mr. Bacon mows the lawn (which he loves to do). We hemmed and hawed, as it would be nice to have our own place, but in the end finances won out, and we figured, even if we could last 3-4 months there, that would let us save up for the wedding fund!

Remember when I was hesitant about moving back in with the parentals? Back in October, I was thinking MY parentals (in California) and not HIS. So this will be an interesting twist! But we will do it as long as we can, and hopefully it works out and isn’t too awkward. Heck, if we can last through September (our wedding), we may even have enough to grow our down payment/housing fund!

That’s the plan for now. We don’t have a horrendous amount of stuff (we’ve only filled a studio, and then our current one-bedroom condo), so we’ll put our stuff in storage and see how long we can stick it out!

*Escape Plan in process*

Details shall be kept tightly under wraps until it is time for The Big Reveal.¬†Things are going quite well though. We will be finding ourselves in a happier situation pretty soon… In the meantime, I was making an updated “Home Savings Plan” and thinking hypothetically, if we were to live rent-free somewhere and I was still making minimum payments on the loans, I’d be able to save up a maximum of $2500/month. Maybe even as much as $2700 if we are extra frugal!

Then I saw my old post from October (“speeding tickets, and a tentative home savings plan…”) and was kind of like WHAT?! What kind of crack was I smoking? I had said something like how we would be saving $4500 to $5000 per month if we moved in with my parents. UM… I’m really not sure how I came up with that gigantic number, as that was assuming we were making the same salaries. Even with no rent, we’d still have a car payment, groceries, utilities, minor student loan payments and other living expenses.

Anyway, ha! It is kind of fun cataloging my thoughts so I can look back (and that was only 3 months ago!) and compare the reality to what I was originally calculating and kind of laugh at myself.

Do any of you find it hilarious how naive you were when you first put together a personal finance plan, versus realistic numbers?

Snow Day #1 of 2015!

Good morning, snowy DC! It’s our first snow day of the winter (we didn’t have any the second half of 2014), so as is customary on snow days, I shall take a few minutes from “working from home” to update my little place in cyberspace. ūüėČ

I have a really great lead on a new job opportunity that will take us back to an area with a much more desirable cost of living, slower lifestyle, and nice places to live within a very reasonable commute! We’re talking $1050/month in rent for a 2-bedroom/2-bath “luxury apartment” that was only built in 2013. There is even a rent-to-own program for brand new beautiful homes in that same new development. Check this craziness out:

cheaper homes

WTF, right? Not just real houses, BRAND NEW GIGANTIC real houses!

Now compare that to where we are at right now…we’re paying $1500 to rent a one-bedroom, one-bath condo that is definitely not a brand new “luxury apartment”, and I’ve seen 2-bed/2-bath “luxury apartments” in this area go for about $2650. What the WHAT?! Not to mention that I recently drove by a neighborhood with brand new construction homes about 20 minutes from work and this is their starting price for something similar to above:

not cheap

It is ridiculous that a similar product in a different geographic location can cost 2.5x more! Anyway, this is what we are currently striving for. We’ve realized we are not really city/traffic folks (well we already knew that, but it’s reaffirmed on a daily basis) and the only thing holding us here was my job, which isn’t so awesome any more.

That’s the update for now, more developments to come very soon!

Playing House Hunters = not impressed!

Yesterday was our two-year anniversary. Whoop whoop! Mr. Bacon asked me what I wanted to do, and I said “play House Hunters!” He loves to watch all kinds of house-fixing and house-shopping tv shows (Million Dollar Listing, Flip or Flop, Flipping Vegas, House Hunters etc etc), and random fact–he took real estate agent classes once but didn’t ever go through with it because he didn’t¬†like the idea of “embellishing the truth” to potential buyers.

Since we had been seriously house-lusting for the past couple weeks and I had come up with the new plan for saving up for a house first, we decided to check out Annapolis after all, and see how listings on the interwebs compared to the real thing. Well…we looked for things in our price range (under $350k) and let’s just say a picture is worth a thousand words:

not-impressed

I guess for the most part, yes, Annapolis is an adorable town and of course there were amazing houses right on the water. The only thing is…if you can’t afford something nice right on the water, you will either get a tiny shack somewhat near the water, or a decent house that might as well be in any other town. In fact, in any other town that is within a more reasonable commuting distance!

Our conclusion is, we didn’t see anything we could afford that screamed “hey! this is definitely worth commuting an hour to work each day for!” Because let’s face it, a 40-minute drive when there is no traffic really means at least one hour to 1.5 hours each way during rush hour, or 2-3 hours total per day. Yeah. Um…NOPE!

In related news, Mr. Bacon realized (after being hell-bent on a “real” house, not a townhouse or condo) that perhaps a 2-bedroom, 2-bath¬†townhouse (with a garage!) that is only a 20- or 30-minute drive from work is probably the way to go. Which I’m totally down for (but I have to make him think it’s HIS idea ūüėČ hehe). There are definitely plenty of those within a 10-mile radius of us, and even some under $350k. We got this!

Seriously House-Lusting!

So I mentioned in the November update about how we’ve been house-lusting for a bit. We’ve been scoping out¬†Trulia for various single-family homes (not a townhouse or condo!) in all kinds of different areas, but have been striking out as they are¬†too far for work (we’re talking 90mins to 2 hours! no way!), not anywhere desirable (up I-270 is nothing spectacular), or way too expensive. (Side note, I love that the co-founder/CEO of Trulia is an awesome triathlete and endurance athlete. Huge fan here!)

I really haven’t considered buying a home in our area at all, as Montgomery County is just extremely overpopulated with condos, townhouses, and high rise buildings AND WAY TOO EXPENSIVE. There’s new construction just a few blocks from where we are currently renting:¬†beautiful 3-story “brownstones” starting at 1.2 MILLION DOLLARS. WTF. The 1-bedroom condo we are currently renting out goes for over $300k, and the 2-bedroom ones in our complex are $350k to $400k. WTF. (Right now we are both within 2-5 miles of where we work, which is the nice thing about being renters!)

Then…there was a bit of an AHA! moment just last week. For some reason, I thought about Annapolis and haven’t been able to shake it. It’s a 40-minute drive (without traffic), and one of my coworkers (who is 4 years younger than me, annoyingly) recently bought a house there with his fianc√©e. 40 minutes wouldn’t be bad, but I know it could be terrible in traffic. I would probably just drive out earlier in the morning, and get in a swim or run workout before work!

Now Annapolis would be gorgeous. It’s right by the water, has its own cute little downtown and thriving running community, and is only 30mins from Baltimore airport, and 90mins from Mr. Bacon’s family.

Best of all, there are 3- to 4-bedroom houses there from $250k to $299k! If we end up having kids while living there, the crime is rated as “Lowest” and many of the schools are “Exemplary”.

Holy smokes, that is all pretty amazing! As you know, I’m from California and just can’t believe you can find real (read: detached) houses that big, living close by the water, in an area with good schools and low crime for under $300k!

This revelation has been a bit of a game-changer (or game-plan-changer??)…as we would only need to save up $30,000 for the 10% down payment, which is much less than the previous home savings plan of needing $55k to $70k just to get a house in California! And realistically, this could mean that after our 2-year lease is up in April 2016, we might actually be ready to buy our first home! Which is super exciting, because we really do want our own place (without having to live with my mom for a year after being married…).

So I’m doing some research, as stated in the last post, about funneling more of the extra student loan payments into the home savings account.

Pros:

  • lower county tax by living in Anne Arundel County vs. Montgomery County (my coworker has mentioned getting up to $1000/month more in take-home pay. WTF?!)
  • all those tax breaks for being a homeowner, and first-time home buyer!
  • our monthly mortgage would probably be similar to our current rent…but it goes back to us instead of the landlord!
  • having our own place would be SO AWESOME!

Cons:

  • the commute
  • taking a bit longer to pay off the student loans? (maybe?)
  • not California ūüė¶ Cold winters!

But come to think about it, when we get married and should we buy a house in Anne Arundel County, I am pretty sure that my take-home pay will increase because of those two factors. I just crunched some numbers into one of those online payroll calculators, and it looks like my monthly income would go up by $380 when we get married, and only another $40 up from that if we move to AA County (my coworker must be full of BS, I don’t know where you get the extra $1000 from!).

Still, that would be an increase of $420/month in take-home pay, which is almost 2x the amount of my student loan interest per month! That would mean even more money to throw at student loans each month, while living in our OWN HOME.

BOOM!

As for California…maybe someday later…

speeding tickets, and a tentative home savings plan…

I’m really ashamed to confess that I’ve apparently gotten two speed camera speeding tickets in the last month. So embarassing! What’s extra embarassing is that my car is still registered under the parents’ names in California, so the camera snaps a photo of the CA license plate and sends it to Mom¬†& Pop Bacon. D’oh. I’ve had red light violations go to them too. (I swear I’m not a horrible driver! Just always in a hurry! Ok, I’ll be more careful!)

So the first one got sent to Mom right before I flew home. She called me about it, laughed, and said “I’ll just give it to you in person.” It was $40, not too bad, I guess. When I finally went to pay for it online today, they pulled up TWO speeding tickets under the license plate. NOOOOOOOOO! $80 down the drain! The second one is just 3 blocks from where I work…since when did they put speed cameras there?!

Anyway, in semi-related news (as I mentioned the parents above, and the potential for living with them to save money in my previous post), I’ve been trying to craft a plan¬†for the House Fund. Inspired in part by Erika’s old post on her “five-step five-year buying a house plan,” I’ve come up with a 3-step plan for…well,¬†actually,¬†the next 3 years.

Step 1. Pay off the student loan with the higher interest rate. This should be done sometime around when we get married (end of next September), and leave me with just one student loan payment a month, which is $242, instead of a combined $558.

Step 2. For the next 6 months, send the extra money that would’ve been going to student loans ($1,800 to $2,000) into the House Fund. That’s $10,800 to $12,000! (I would still send the $242 minimum payment over to the last student loan, obviously.)

Step 3. Move back to CA, and save a whopping $4,500 to $5,000 per month for 10-12 months by living with the parents. That’s $45,000 to $60,000 more, for a grand total of $54,800 to $72,000!

Holy crap, that is much more than the $50k to $60k that I projected we would need for a 10% down payment and makes it seem like such a great deal. We really do pay a lot in housing! And we do have a pretty good combined household income, it’s just that I pay a bunch of it towards my loans and we don’t live like rich people.

Of course,¬†the numbers are also¬†assuming many big¬†things…for example, that we both find jobs with similar salaries that we will get to start fairly immediately…hmm, yeah, big assumptions. But do-able. If anything, the first part of the House Fund (from the first six months of savings) may end up going to moving expenses or¬†“emergency fund” expenses as we transition to our new living situation, and the non-employment gap that exists in that space.

But it’s all very tentative at this point. Heck, it’s also only a 2.5-year span at most, I imagine the time periods won’t be so exact, so giving us 3 years from now is a good start. What do you think?

Oh yeah, after the savings plan, there’s also:

Step 4. Buy a house.

Step 5. Pay off the rest of the student loans while living in said house, paying mortgage and not rent! ūüėÄ

On second thought, moving back in with the parents may be a good idea?!

After two days of perusing housing prices in the SF Bay Area, we realized we’d have to save at least $50k to $60k to afford a 10% down payment on a place in a decent location. At least 2 bedrooms. Condo or townhouse would be ok, single family home–better. Holy crap.

My mom’s always had a standing offer for us to move back home and save money for a house (she reminds us at least once a month), and I’ve been against it for so long. Because who wants to be in their 30’s and just married and living with their parents?

But after realizing what kind of down payment we needed…and crunching the ridiculous numbers (the housing fund being nonexistent at the moment)…hey, we could just put all my income to the housing fund for a solid 12 months and have what we need! And use Mr. Bacon’s income for spending. WOW!!!

Anyone else save a butt-load of money living with their parents at an awkward age and stage of your life? I know a ton of friends that did this post-college (their early 20’s) but not too many over 30.