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 fiancée. 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.
- 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!
- the commute
- taking a bit longer to pay off the student loans? (maybe?)
- not California 😦 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.
As for California…maybe someday later…