If you’re a regular reader of the blog, you may have noticed that I’ve taken a little break from blogging.
That wasn’t my intent, but things got very hectic, very quickly in July.
So let me catch you up…
In May, my husband, Mike, and I decided to sell our house.
Since August 2013, we’ve been on a journey to pay off all of our debt, including our mortgage, by the time we turn 40. Our total debt at that time was $319,689.13!
I just turned 34 in July, and Mike will turn 35 later this month. That means we have 6 years to meet our goal.
Paying off that much debt in such a short time means that we need to make BIG strides every year.
Even though we’ve been on a single, middle-class income, as of May 2015, we’ve paid off more than $88,000 of debt. That includes both of our student loans ($13,281.42 for Mike’s and $24,287.62 for mine) and most of our home equity line of credit ($51,878.20 in August 2013).
Still, our goals for 2015 were ambitious.
As I outlined in our January 2015 Debt Freedom Progress Report, we planned to pay off our home equity line of credit (aka HELOC) by June 1st and boost our emergency fund to $25,000.
To meet both of those goals, we needed to come up with $41,469.33!
We knew selling our house and buying a smaller, less expensive house would help us achieve those goals.
So that was then. Here’s what has happened since.
After putting offers on three different houses that didn’t work out for various reasons, we decided to change up our search and look in a lower price range.
What we were looking for seemed to change by the day, but for the most part, Mike and I were on the same page about what was important to us.
We were looking for a house with:
- three bedrooms, plus an office,
- a bigger garage,
- an open floor plan, and
- I wanted to be able to watch the kids play in the backyard while I wash dishes. (If you have kids and do a lot of dishes like me, then you’ll understand!)
And we began to warm to the idea of moving to beautiful Camas, a small, nearby town with top-rated public schools.
We finally found The One!
On June 18th, I received an alert on my phone for a house in Camas with three bedrooms, a bigger garage, an open floor plan, a window over the sink that looked straight to the backyard, and an unfinished basement where another bedroom (or office) and bathroom could be added.
The price was right so I asked our awesome real estate agent, Jennifer, if she could add that house to the list of houses we planned to visit that afternoon.
I clearly remember telling her, “This one looks perfect!”
When we arrived, we fell in love. It WAS perfect!
We loved the open floor plan and the fact that it was a ranch style with all of the bedrooms on the same floor as the living space.
The square footage of the house was just over half the size of our house, but the garage was bigger and had built-in storage. Even with the storage space, there was still room to park two cars, which is exactly what we wanted.
And it passed “the dishes test,” as we began to call it! I could stand at the sink washing dishes and keep an eye on the kids playing in the backyard.
We knew we had finally found THE ONE!! We were so excited!
But first things first.
Unfortunately, we still hadn’t found a buyer for our house so we decided to have an open house that weekend to prompt some lookers.
BUT NO ONE CAME. 🙁
Then we got serious.
We knew it was only a matter of time before someone else put an offer on our dream house so we had to do something to find a buyer.
With the encouragement of my friend Kasama, who is a real estate agent in California, we decided to drop our asking price for the third time. Her advice was to determine how low we would be willing to go and then set our asking price at that amount.
We reduced the price from $419,900 to $399,900 — a $20,000 reduction.
The list price for the house we wanted was $300,000 so we had plenty of wiggle room to reduce our price and still come out ahead.
It turned out to be a smart move because once we dropped the price, the interest in our house and requests for showings spiked dramatically.
With that, we felt more confident about putting in an offer on our dream house, even though it was still contingent on the sale of our house.
The sellers accepted our offer of $295,000, which coincidentally was the same purchase price on our house six years ago.
Anticipating the Fourth of July weekend, Jennifer told us it might be slow for house showings so we wouldn’t be disappointed if interest dropped a bit.
But calls for showings actually increased!
We had several showings scheduled throughout the holiday weekend, which was perfect because we had plans to visit my dad and his wife on their farm.
On July 4th, while lounging in the cool creek in the hot summer sun, we checked the Alarm.com app on our phones. It was synced to our alarm system in our house and reported when there was activity throughout the house. We could see updates when doors were opened and closed and when there was motion in the living room and upstairs.
The noon appointment arrived as expected.
We kept checking the app and were excited when they were at our house for longer than 10 minutes. That meant they didn’t hate it.
Then we saw they were still there after 20 minutes! That must mean they liked it!
But when we saw that they were still there after an HOUR, we knew they LOVED it!!
In our experience, if we walked into a house and didn’t love it, we would leave within 10 minutes. If we saw the potential and thought it could have possibilities, we would stay a little longer, but if we LOVED it, then we found ourselves not wanting to leave.
We had several more showings that weekend including one couple who was there less than 10 minutes because one of the buyers had a pet allergy. Their agent said they had to run out of the house because of a reaction to the cats. Oops!
We Got an Offer!
By Wednesday, the 8th, we had our first offer — a disappointing offer of $385,000, plus they wanted us to pay $5,000 of their closing costs! After recently lowering our price by $20,000 we were not about to accept an offer of $385,000.
We counter-offered for our asking price of $399,900 and agreed to pay $5,000 of their closing costs.
Luckily, they accepted!
Our house went pending (i.e. sale pending), and the house we wanted went pending on July 10th!
Things were moving right along. The inspections were scheduled, and the appraisals were ordered.
But then we hit a snag with the inspection on our home.
We knew we were going to need to get our hardwood floors refinished because our dog’s claws had scratched them up so we expected that expense.
And their inspector pointed out some dry rot on the trim that needed to be replaced — a common issue in the rainy Pacific Northwest. No problem; we agreed to get that taken care of.
There were some random plumbing parts left by the builders in the crawl space, and the plastic covering the ground was flipped up in one area. Not an issue; Mike went down there, pulled the plastic over to cover the ground as best as he could and removed the plumbing parts.
And, finally, their inspector noted that the siding needed to be re-caulked and painted over. This was a problem. If we took care of that ourselves, then we’d need to repaint the entire house because the paint had faded on parts of the house so the new paint wouldn’t match.
Because of this, our agent suggested that we offer the buyers a credit for the re-caulking so they could have it done when they were ready to get the house repainted.
That made sense to us so that’s exactly what we did.
And then they rescinded their offer.
To be continued…
Thank you so much for reading and following along on our journey.
Now I’d love to hear about you!
What have you been up to this summer? How did you make progress on your financial goals? Please share in the comments below.
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