My Journey to Homeownership

I've come quite a long way to get to where I am today. From dealing with my mom's alcohol problems and the housing issues those caused,  to living with roommates and all of their more interesting moments... 

It's a wonder how I honestly survived it all... but I have to admit, all the crazy I went through really allowed me to grow up, get fiance savvy and really work for the things I have. 

It took No Spend Months, Recycling, opening many online savings accounts, working lots of overtime... but I finally did it.

I finally got to celebrate as I wrote the biggest check of my life and actually closed on a cute little one bedroom condo! My goal was to be in my first property by the time I turned 25, and I did it when I was 23 which is not too shabby in my opinion. It all started back in 2007 with $4.03... and by 2009 i had $14,118.52 saved.

Original House Down payment schedule
08/01/09 $14,118.52
07/01/09 $12,527.66
06/01/09 $12,486.09
05/01/09 $12,486.09
04/01/09 $11,784.50
03/01/09 $10,614.79
02/01/09 $9,403.87
01/01/09 $8,274.00
12/01/08 $7,057.41
11/01/08 $6,003.00
10/01/08 $5,018.75
09/01/08 $4,002.52
08/01/08 $3,001.59
07/01/08 $2,500.74
06/01/08 $2,126.34
05/01/08 $1,717.68
04/01/08 $1,211.08
03/01/08 $790.95
02/01/08 $628.36
01/01/08 $550.71
12/01/07 $464.92
11/01/07 $385.22
10/01/07 $229.27
09/01/07 $184.94
08/01/07 $48.85
07/01/07 $27.76
06/12/07 $4.03

After 26+ offers, dealing with foreclosures, short sales, and horrible people who never give you straight information, I finally closed... (Remember, but what you can afford... not what the bank tells you!)

Cashier's check-----------------------$7.00
Home Inspection---------------------$275.00
Appraisal Fee------------------------$465.00
Credit Report Fee--------------------$35.00
Account Verification fee-------------$10.00
Down payment (hold money)----------$4,000.00
HOA Dues 9/23-9/30--------------------$8.22
Lender Fee--------------------------$550.00
Flood Check Fee----------------------$26.00
Prepaid Interest---------------------$33.90
Taxes (10 months)-------------------$507.46
hoa transfer fee--------------------$150.00
Notary Fee--------------------------$150.00
Title Insurance---------------------$315.00
hoa fees for October----------------$250.00
Recording----------------------------$42.00
remaining down payment--------------$200.00
service link-------------------------$25.50
Cashier's check-----------------------$7.00

Total Spent to Move in and Get Keys: $7,057.08

After I got the keys, I had to make the place livable. It was a rental long before it was my home and at one point dogs, cats, 5 kids, and some adults were all crammed into my little place... everything needed to go... especially the dead bugs behind the counters in the kitchen... 

A lot of wonderful people helped me, and it was their hard work & hours that allowed me to really make most of the projects DIY. 

Locksmith Fees ---------------------------$70.00
2 Parking passes-------------------------$50.00
electrical and lighting-----------------$459.83
feeding my friends-----------------------$66.64
paint, primer, supplies------------------$231.13
random tools-----------------------------$12.11
medicine cabinet------------------------$44.00
tub resurface---------------------------$350.00
Baseboards/door frames/tub fixtures-----$265.59
door knobs, few paint supplies-----------$63.24
Bathroom Sink/faucet,kitchen lighting-$233.55
Truck Rental-----------------------------$20.66
Stove cord-------------------------------$23.77
Stove/Ceiling Paint/Wall texture--------$424.95
Paint/Shower stuff/TP holder/Shelves----$154.87
Lighting/Ceiling/wall patch--------------$34.91
plummer ---------------------------------$415.00
baseboards/kitchen sink & faucet-------$381.58
Mirrored closet door--------------------$123.66
random home depot------------------------$24.43
Sliding patio screen doors---------------$42.33
Decorative side wall molding/door frame--$37.57
Wall Air Conditioner--------------------$498.00
Plantation slider shutter doors---------$950.00
Microwave/garbage disposal/sink stuff---$400.03
Kitchen cabinet install/plumbing fix---$600.00
Extra materials for install--------------$90.00
materials for granite counter---------$1,038.56
Granite Installation--------------------$900.00
Granite Installation part 2-------------$150.00
ac install------------------------------$140.00
plantation slider shutter doors---------$950.00
Kitchen Cabinets---------------------$4,397.48
Floors--------------------------------$4,028.40

Total spent on the Remodel: $17,672.29
GRAND TOTAL for everything: $24,729.37

Breaking Even

I was in the hole $24,729.37, but then
  • In 2009 I got the First Time Home buyer's Credit giving us $8,000.00. I also got to write off some of the property tax I paid in addition to taking the standard deduction. This gave us an extra $90.10... but then I had to pay an Electrician $95.00 to fix an outlet... We also got a refund from my botched tile job that gave us another $1,265.00.
  • In 2010 I saved $1,087.00 on my federal taxes and $461.00 on my State taxes from itemizing my homeowners expenses. (This is what I received ABOVE what I would have gotten back with just the standard deduction).
  • In 2011 I spent $12.97 at home depot and $72.29 on a kitchen door. When we subtract those costs from what we saved by living in our condo instead of renting, we came out ahead $494.04 (See Mortgage Update + Condo Costs December '11 for that break down.) We also received a small $70 refund check from over paid closing costs. We didn't Itemize our taxes in 2011.
  • In 2012 we finished our Kitchen/Laundry door which cost us $103.24.. We also replaced both our glass slider doors which cost us $2,957.00... and repaired our dryer for $81.42....It ended up being $3,383.47 cheaper to OWN our condo than to rent an apartment on a monthly basis, (See Housing Costs 2012 for the break down) so even after we subtract the windows and other minor repairs, we still came out ahead $241.81 by owning our condo instead of renting...
  • In 2013 we got $52.53 back from challenging my property taxes in 2012. I also refinanced our condo, costing us $447.00 up front for our home appraisal... but we got a check back at closing for $747.20 and a check from my old escrow account for $489.74... We also got to skip a mortgage payment too! In addition, they automatically lowered my property tax value, giving us a check for $86.77.. and we saved $5,191.81 by NOT renting a place!! (see Housing Comps 2013 $16,977 for an apartment, $11,785.19 for the condo)
All of that "math" leaves us $6,994.37 in the hole. If we assume our home is worth at least what we paid for it ($120k), we have $9,479.42 in equity...

Leaving us $2,485.05 in profit !!!
At last check, in January of 2014 a one bedroom condo in worst condition then ours just sold for $220,000!!

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