Home Stuff

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Owning a home is a lot of work. (Duh, I know).  I think every ounce of energy I have that isn't already used by work had gone into this house.  As exhausting as it is, I have to say it is pretty satisfying work.  I guess I understand why people continue to own homes even though they are non-stop work.

Most of the work we've been doing over the last two months has been in the yard.  The biggest project was finishing our fence.  Because of the way our driveway comes into the backyard, we couldn't just fence in the entire yard so we got a black chain link fence installed roughly half way through the yard.  We would have liked to fence off more, but we have to keep reminding ourselves that this will be rental unit some day and giving one tenant 100% of the back yard doesn't make much sense.
After getting the chain link installed we had to install three portions of the wooden fence that goes around the perimeter of the yard.  Of course those three sections have been gone for years and in their place was a mountain of poison ivy and poison oak.  We treated the whole area pretty much the day we moved in, but it took almost two months to die enough for us to start removing it.

Then, when we went to remove it,  we realized the roots were so deep that we couldn't actually pull them up by hand which mean we had to borrow a roto tiller.

Then, when that was all cleared out and we could finally install the posts and the fence pieces, we realized that the roots of a nearby tree ran right through where we needed to put the posts.  We ended up needed a power auger and a pick ax to get through all of that.

Installing two posts and three fence panels should taken a few hours of work.  It took us probably closer to 20 hours of labor to get everything done.

On top of that we were also told by our insurance company that if we didn't reshingle our shed they would drop our coverage.  Luckily my sister saved us and did 90% of the work.

The yard is finally done.  Other than regular maintenance like mowing the lawn, there is nothing major that needs to be done out there (for now).  While I'm very happy the outside works is done, it really just means that it's time to start all the inside work we've been saving for fall.

$60,000 in Debt: Month 26

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Wooo!  Past the 30k mark!  Other than that... nothing too exciting.

$60,000 in Debt: Month 25

Thursday, June 30, 2016

I've been so busy with the house that I almost forgot to post this.  I still have a few big house related purchases coming up so I'm not quite back to attacking my student loans, but I do plan on getting back to that soon.  At the same time though I'm going to also try to save a little more for miscellaneous things.  We have a trip coming up in September, I eventually want a newer car, investment property #1 already has got me thinking about investment property #2, etc.  So many things that cost money.

I didn't realize it until just now but my undergrad loans are below 6k.  That almost feel like nothing... almost.  And my grad school loans are now under 20k.  I'd prefer if that was under 6k, too, but under 20k isn't too bad.  Also it's not visible from here, but my highest individual loan is now under the 10k mark!  No more double digit loans!

...well except for that new mortgage, of course.


The Loss of a Great Man

Monday, June 13, 2016

We laid my grandfather to rest this weekend.  I know often after someone passes away people tend to wax poetically about the person even if they weren't necessarily the most deserving, but my grandfather deserved every second of good words and praise he received this weekend.

I think I can safely say he was the greatest man I have known.

He was a brave firefighter, a caring father, a loving husband, an amazing friend, the greatest grandfather, and a devote Catholic.

I could honestly go on for hours about him, but this week has been unbelievably exhausting so I'm not sure I have the energy to put everything to paper.

His funeral was simultaneously the saddest and most beautiful event I've ever experienced.

On the day we buried him I wrote that I hope I can live up to his legacy.  I've been doing a lot of soul searching since then and while I am still unsure of where it may lead me, I know that I need to start taking steps towards a new path... one that will hopefully make my grandfather proud.

We Bought A House!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

I didn't want to jinx anything before our closing, but as of Wednesday I am officially a home owner! Myself, Josh, and my parents are now all co-owners of an investment property.  Josh and I will be living in one of the units for a while as "tenants" but eventually the property will just be a second source of income for all of us.
Unfortunately, because this is a rental, the unit we are moving into is pretty beat up.  We were hoping we could move our things in and just update as we go along, but we're going to at minimum need new paint and a deep scrubbing of everything.  I washed one of the windows the other day and my paper towel came back black... and that was just from the glass.

I've spent most of the last three days there doing work on the house.  Our goal for now is to just get our bedroom and the living room/kitchen painted so we can get that stuff all moved in.  My father and I painted the kitchen ceiling today and I'm concerned it looks like crap, but I'll have to see how it looks once it's actually dry.

Josh's two weeks of annual training with the National Guard of course started the day after we closed on the house, so most of this work is on me until he gets home.  I want us to be able to move in as soon as he's back so I'm going to try to get as much done as possible, but it's exhausting. I am sore all over. At least I won't have to worry about going to the gym for the next few weeks.

Possibly the best part of this whole thing is that our tenants seem to be perfect.  Because we were buying the house as owner-occupiers, we had to pick which tenant needed to move out.  That was much harder than I thought it would be. We met one of the tenants when we went to look at the house, and he told us that he and his family only moved in about three months ago.  The owners of their previous rental wanted to move back in and kicked them out and "if we have to move out again it will be the second time this year."  He also told us he was paying $200 more in rent than the other tenants.  For a few reasons we still chose to ask them to leave. We felt really bad but the other tenants had been there for 8 years and seemed to have taken great care of their unit.  I had a lot of guilt about kicking out a young family,  but I think I would have felt worse kicking out people who had made this place their home.

We found out after the closing that the other tenant had flat out lied to us.  They hadn't been there for three months.... they had been there for three years.  And they weren't paying anything more than the other tenants.

I didn't feel bad at all after that.

The tenants that are staying have been so friendly and helpful.  They've basically treated this place as their own house all of this time and I feel like that is more than I could ask for as a first time landlord.

$60,000 in Debt: Month 24

Friday, May 27, 2016

It's hard to believe I've been tracking this debt pay off consistently for two years now.  And I'm almost exactly at the half way point!  I think I was really hoping I would be done with all of it now, but I spent much of the last year working on saving up for a down payment on a house.  I think it would be a lot more satisfying to have all my debt paid off, but purchasing an investment property (and giving myself a place to live) is way more practical.

I think it's also mainly because I was tracking my spending so closely that I was able to save up for the down payment in a relatively short period of time.  So it was really all worth it.

And even more exciting... our closing is next week!  I know I'm going to have a ton of expenses right off the bat, but once I'm settled in it's back to getting rid of loans.  Possibly have them all paid off in the next year?? I'm not making any promises to myself because I know there will be other major expenses in the next few years, but there's nothing wrong with setting lofty goals :)