On the hunt for our first investment property.

We finally went out to look for our first investment property. We had all 4 kids with us, and Jane and Michael were taking turns being in charge of  holding the new microphone. Sound quality is off, but we will work on that for next time! Watch and see what changes we would make to this house and why we think it would make a good investment. Leave a comment with any questions and we will do our best to answer!

This house:

3 bed/2 bath 1,356sf single family home listed at 239k.

After pulling comps (comparable home sales within the last 6 months) we felt like this home was overpriced. A goal offer price would be 210k leaving our payments around $1200 a month (with a 20% down payment). Based on what’s currently on the market for rent, we feel we could rent it for approx. $1550 once all the updates were made. Which would leave us at a cash flow of $350 a month.

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Buying houses, Fixer Upper, Investments

Could we live here forever?

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Zach and I bought our first house during the big housing crash of 08′. During 08′ a lot of people were not buying homes in fear of housing prices continuing to plummet and with major lack of trust in the housing industry. Because we came out of college at one of the worst economic downturns our country has ever seen, when we bought our first house, and subsequent houses, we had this question in mind “Could we live here forever?”

History has shown time and time again that after a housing crash, with enough time, the housing market will recover. This gave us confidence that buying would be ok. But of course, like others, we were concerned that we hadn’t seen the worst of it. So, each time we purchased a house, even though we weren’t planning on any of these houses being our “forever home” we wanted to make sure that if Zach lost his job or the market worsened, we would be able to stay in the house as long as needed.

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Be decisive, Buying houses, First time homebuyer, Planning, Small living

My inner JLO vs granola.

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This concept is one I learned from one of my best friends, who also happens to be my sister in law, Emily. She once told me how she had this inner struggle of her JLO vs granola and I couldn’t believe how much it resonated with me, and I adopted it as my own. So here it is.

There is a part of me that wants all things glamorous, and this is my JLO. I want a big house with a spa like master bathroom, gourmet kitchen, my own office, beautiful decks overlooking amazing views and a large open living area. I want a brand new van that smells new and rides like a dream. I want cute clothes that make me feel like a babe, and lots of them. I want eyelash extensions. I want a manicure, pedicure and massage every week.

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Debt Free Living, Planning, Small living, Smart money

My engagement ring, and why it says so much.

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When Zach proposed to me, he defied all rules. He didn’t ask my Father’s permission, he went against his parents advice, he didn’t kneel down on one knee, and he asked me to marry him with a simple, white gold band- no diamonds. We were sitting in his car parked on a street that had maybe a little bit of a city view and that’s where our eternal commitment to each other started (I later found out he was so nervous he was just driving around with me in the car looking for a place to propose).

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Be decisive, Debt Free Living, Move forward, Small living, Smart money

How to control your pre-approval process, and come out ahead.

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When you are a part of a gift exchange at work, or with your extended family, and there is a max budget for the amount to be spent on the gift, what happens? Most people feel like the max budget is how much they have to spend. If the budget is $30, most likely everyone spent the full $30. Even if that budget is simply to make sure people don’t over spend, it somehow becomes the minimum budget for most people.

This is what can happen when you get pre-approved for a home loan. You fill out your application, give all the information and documents needed to get pre-approved and you are told the maximum amount you can borrow for your home purchase. I can tell you from first hand experience that a lot of the time, this amount becomes the homebuyer’s budget. But, when getting pre-approved, does the bank take into account how much you want to save towards retirement or  how much you need to save to go on the awesome trip you’ve been planning to Brazil? Nope, they only look at your debt to income ratio, and your credit score (of course there’s more to it, but these are the big ones).

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Be decisive, Buying houses, First time homebuyer, Investments, Planning, Smart money

How to do a real life fixer upper.

After watching season after season, and loving, HGTV’s Fixer Upper I couldn’t help but be critical of the fact that the buyers budgets were just not realistic for the average American. Of course, it’s a show, and I shouldn’t expect full transparency. But after having multiple buyers ask me if they can just “take out an extra loan for repairs on a fixer” I thought it would be good to set the record straight. In this video I go over the most commonly used methods of financing the repairs on a house as well as share a realistic approach that anyone can do, even you!

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Buying houses, First time homebuyer, Fixer Upper, Investments, Smart money

The power of starting small.

When purchasing your first home, or even subsequent homes, it’s tempting to buy the nicest, biggest house your budget can afford. A house you can grow into and raise your kids in for years to come. However, if you want to invest in real estate, the most affordable way to do that is buying a home as a primary residence (more on this in a later post). So when you purchase a home, making sure the home fits your current needs, along with the needs of the near future (1-2 years) is important, but being cautious of A. Your spending B. rentability and C. being motivated to move into another house sooner than later, is important.

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Buying houses, First time homebuyer, Investments, Small living, Smart money

Don’t listen to the naysayers.

Too often in life we are swayed to do things, or not to do things, based on what other people say. Of course there is a time and a place to look to people we know, love, and trust for advice… but sometimes, even these people can’t know what’s right for you.

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An example from our personal lives took place when we purchased our second home, that was smaller than our first home, we decided to keep our first house as a rental. We had numerous people who we looked up to tell us that we should just sell our first house, then use the equity to buy one bigger house. We were determined to keep the first property to rent it out and did just that. We continued to get this advice (as well as other reasons to not purchase) on each and every property we bought, but we stayed on course with our long term plan. It would have been easy to sell and get a nicer home. However, we always had a detailed, thought out, business plan. This plan helped us see past immediate wants and needs and allowed us to stay focused on our end goal.

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Be decisive, Business planning, Move forward, Smart money