What a title, huh?
For the record, Plecosaurus Rex is the name of the clown pleco the well-meaning clerk at the pet store sold us. I was convinced, once I brought him home, that he was going to die a horrible death in the tank. But alas, a week later, he is alive and seems to be doing well. He has also managed to get the fish tank so squeaky clean and algae free that ironically, I have had to buy algae chips to feed him. Who would have thought. I also rewarded him with a piece of driftwood, which in theory, they also like to eat and lounge on.
Anyway, as y'all know I have been obsessing about whether or not to buy a house now, or wait for another year or two. That has not been decided, but I will say that I have learned a few things about myself in the few short days we've been discussing it.
First, I should probably just go ahead and pay off the car. When thinking about reordering our budget, and cutting expenses, the car just glared at me. We have to pay for full coverage insurance (cut!) as long as we have the loan. We have assets, so why not pay it off? That's 200 less a month in bills and lower insurance. So, whether we do or don't buy the house, I will be paying the car off this year.
Second, we have too much stuff. I have always felt like this, but looking around and thinking of moving, my list of what I am willing to transport has gotten significantly shorter. Moving or not, it's time to start selling, giving away, and purging purging purging!
I have also come to terms with some of the things that will not change between now and our original one to two-year time frame:
It won't be any less scary trying to sell our house
It won't be any less work moving, painting, and prepping this place to sell
The money I will get for my house won't be significantly higher.
So, all of those things are no longer deciding factors. They will be universal, now or then. Moving is never easy. Moving with kids is never easy, and you will never know how long it will take to sell.
The factors that do count, and are specific to now:
Driving 15-20 min longer to the preschool and babysitter. That will disappear once kindergarten starts, but we are committed for at least another year. Already paid and enrolled, and we love the program.
Paying for childcare, to the tune of $400 to $600 a month, until kid 1 goes to kindergarten in two years. Then, we'll only be paying a yet to be determined amount for kid2. In four years, we won't be paying for any, so there is savings in the future. But for now, this expense isn't going anywhere, which would mean a tighter budget if adding in a mortgage.
On the money front, I have mulled our options:
I need to talk to the bank, and look at our assets. I would prefer a monthly payment, including taxes and insurance, of closer to 1200 a month. (which would be a mortgage of up to 130,000 on a 250,000-260,000 house.)
We can generate a $50-60k downpayment now out of tax refund and bonus plus non-retirement brokerage accounts. That would put our loan payment at 1600-1700. If we took out a bridge loan of 100,000, we could get the payment down to 1200 ish. I would have no reservations about a mortgage payment of that size.
Just not sure if it's a viable route until I talk to the bank.
Or, if we opted against the bridge loan, my plan would be to drag out closing or put in a contingency clause on the new house, so we can get our current home on the market and see if we can get a bid.
And, in worst case scenario. Say we bought the new house and our current home doesn't sell in six months. I may consider renting it out at 1,000 or more a month, and putting all of that toward our new mortgage. Being a landlord wouldn't be easy, but it would be an option if we are in a pinch.
If we didn't want to do that, and we found ourselves in a pinch, we have options. We could
-adjust witholding on hubby's checks to free up more cash. We get a huge refund every year.
-use my freelance money to pay expenses, rather than sending it all to savings/retirement, etc.
-and if we were absolutely desperate, we could temporarily cut back on hubby's retirement contributions. We max out every year at 16,500. When we were in a bind after Katrina, we suspended them for about six months to get back on our feet.
Essentially, through the process, I have realized that we are incredibly blessed and lucky. We have options, we have flexibility.
And as our realtor said, we are in much better shape than a lot of people out there trying to buy houses. But I suppose that is what worries me! Will the person who wants to buy mine be in good enough shape to seal the deal!
Plecosaurus Rex, and things I've learned about myself while house shopping
What a title, huh?