In 2007, we received a significant raise! I thought I was on top of the world so it was time to purchase another house to keep up with the Joneses. My savings account was on “fleek” as millennials used to say. I was still maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I had no student loan debt, but I was still mismanaging money by not budgeting and not living within my means.
House Hunting Again
My dad and I decided to parade around Baltimore County again to look for a single family house. It was time to upgrade from a row home into a detached house because that’s what people are supposed to do when they make more money right? Realistically, there was nothing wrong with where I lived. I could afford the mortgage, public schools in the area were great and we had enough space. In addition, I had completed all upgrades within the house.
In the process of searching for a new house, my house was officially for sale. I was determined to sell my house and buy a house at the same time. I saw several houses that I loved but one, in particular, stole my heart. The house was a gorgeous cape cod built in 1928. It had the original hardwood floors, 3 bedrooms, a family room, an unfinished basement, and a pool. It was huge! I completely ignored the fact that it needed so much work. The owner was selling the house for $245,000. Sold!
Meanwhile, a first time home buyer who also happened to be a single mom signed on the dotted line and purchased my house. This was a smooth transaction. She was going to move into my current house as I was set to move into my new house. I hired a moving company so my sons and I went to lunch while they moved our property. While I was in the process of buying and selling houses, I took my children to Disney World for a week. I’m telling you this for a reason.
Dear reader, did you realize that I purchased this house at the same time the recession was happening in 2007? I signed up for an interest only loan (big mistake) which was set to increase my mortgage in 10 years. I thought, “no worries, I will refinance this place in a year, lower the interest rate which would lower my mortgage and I would begin renovations.”
During the first 2 years, I had to pay almost $2000.00 for electrical work or we would have died. I had a new water heater installed for $800.00 because the one that was there was over 10 years old. I bought new appliances for $1500.00 to replace the prehistoric appliances that were there. Guess what? I used a Best Buy credit card! When it stormed, I saw a puddle in the basement. Here we go again with the water damage issues! I had experienced this with my first home. I had to install a sump pump and a battery backup for $3000.00. Apparently, the house had no “footing” according to the man who installed the sump pump. Maintaining the pool cost me approximately $600.00 every summer. Money was being washed down the drain, literally.
I Am Drowning
During the third and fourth year, I had major plumbing issues that cost me approximately $1000.00. I had heating and air conditioning problems that cost approximately $900.00. During the fifth or sixth year, the expansion tank that operates the boiler went up. That cost about $500.00 to replace. Did I mention that my mortgage was $1980.00? Afterwards, there were more electrical repairs and plumbing repairs throughout the years.
In the midst of everything, my children’s activities were expensive and I decided to take out student loans to finish my undergraduate and graduate degrees. Tuition reimbursement from my job and refund money from student loans were used for house repairs causing more debt. Keep in mind that if you decide to take out student loans and you receive refund checks in the process, you still have to pay the loan back. It would behoove you to only take out what you need to complete your classes and use your tuition reimbursement to pay on the loan. I wish someone would have shared that information with me.
In hindsight, I bought another house because I thought we needed more space and other people in my circle were purchasing bigger homes. I was comparing myself to others which never helped my financial situation. I had not really changed my spending habits. Sure, I was saving, but I didn’t bother to cut out unnecessary expenses.
Just because the bank approved the loan for $245,000 didn’t mean that I could afford it. I didn’t take into account house repairs, car repairs, childcare expenses, and other monthly repairs. The house was beautiful but I ignored the fact that the house needed so much work. I did not put a down payment on the home to help ease the pain. Instead, we went to Disney World for a week! The pool made the kids happy which made this house an emotional purchase. I tried to refinance the house and it was denied because it was underwater. I tried a loan modification but it was denied because my income was too high and it was underwater. I too felt like I was underwater and I really can’t swim.
Today, houses in that area are going for $170,000. You do the math. Reader, have you ever made a bad investment? Were you ever in a sink or swim situation? If so, how did you get out it? I’ll explain how I got out in another post. I would love to hear your comments!
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