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Random financial updates

March 30th, 2014 at 05:36 pm

Last night was the end of birthday month in my household. Friday was my mom's 80th bday; we sent her a handmade card from the girls and ordered a bouquet. Saturday SL turned 2 (can you believe it??) and we had some grownup friends over for dinner. We ordered delivery and it probably came to about $40 per person (since the three of us split the bill and treated our friends).

Today was *meant* to be a free-ish outing, except for the carshare (which we have a line item for). We had tickets to the science museum that we'd won at a fundraiser auction last year; the package even came with a free parking pass.

But when we got there, we discovered that the exhibit we wanted to see cost $8 extra per person. So that was $24 (kids got in free). I was bummed because we gave a ticket to our friend who doesn't make a ton of money, thinking it would be a nice cheap outing, and I think she had to spend $12 on parking and $8 on the exhibit ticket. Ah well. She was gracious about it.

SO, that should be the end of spending for March. I'm way in the hole still on my own spending money and looking forward to acting like a cheapskate for the month of April to make it up.

I can't believe it's already April soon! It's not as big a month for us as March, but there is AS's business trip to England the 2nd week, and our 5K near the middle of the month. There was a big thaw today, so I'm hoping I can practice outside soon. I haven't run in a week, so I need to get back into it, and I think getting to be outside vs. the exercise room will motivate me.

Several big money things are kind of pending or unsure right now, so I feel a bit in stasis. I think it contributed to not feeling motivated to run; I felt like I was waiting vs. moving.

- The land deal hasn't had any visible movement in a couple days, but as far as I know it's going through. Now that I've come to peace with it, I just want it to go through so I can contact a tax guy and figure out how much of it I'm actually going to get. I also researched nonprofits and decided which one I'm going to support.

- We saved up enough UK money to make up the rest of the 10K the management guy said we needed, and sent him an email. Turns out he meant 10K MORE (not counting what we spent last year), and he meant it as a minimum, and he meant plus VAT (making it 12K). He also mentioned the current tenant leaves in July, not May as we thought, so that gives us more time to save up money. Still, I did some calculations and we're only going to be able to come up with about 8100 plus VAT.

So NT's going to contact the guy and ask if we can do a modest reno for that amount or do a payment plan for the amount we're short. I really don't want to send any US money over there if we can find a reasonable way to avoid it, though if the land deal goes through that would be an option too.

- On Saturday, our realtor friend took us around to look at several condos with renovated bathrooms in our association. We got a good sense of what others are doing, and it's nice but not super high-end. That makes me think we might actually be able to do a budget-conscious reno and still make the place sellable. One of the places had sold for $137K recently, but it was a 1-bedroom. So that gives me hope that we could really sell for $145K in a year or so if we fix our place up.

- We discussed the possibility of buying sooner rather than later if the land deal goes through and we decide to stay in the US. If we didn't sell the UK flat, we might only be able to put 10% down at this point. Out of curiosity, I checked out what it would cost to have a mortgage, PMI and property tax on a $425K home (which might be what we would end up paying unless we decide to go a bit outside our area). It was about $2600 per month, about $900 more than what we pay for mortgage plus condo dues. (Of course I know our condo dues include utilities, so it would be even more than that if I added utilities, but I started there as a rough estimate.)

If our incomes stay fairly steady, there will be offsets next year. Hopefully student loans will be paid off, which is $157 less. We should get about $350 more per month as a result of not setting aside $5K in flex spending. We shouldn't have to spend any more on NT's tuition, which should net us $500 per month on average. So that's over $1000 per month more we'll have per month, which makes the increased mortgage seem more reasonable if we went that route.

And, there is the occasional cheaper home in our area that looks nice; I saw one the other day listed for $275K that looked great and made me wonder what the catch was! So that would mean a cheaper mortgage (especially if we could afford 20% down and avoid PMI).

I've never sold a home before, so I don't really know what the best strategy is; do you wait for it to sell and then start your search? Or do you start your home search with the hopes it would sell before you close? I think we could manage a couple months of overlap in mortgages by cutting back on fun money and maybe even IRA contributions, but anything more than a couple months would start to suck the fun out of life, not to mention stall our retirement planning! I suppose we could try to rent our old place when we bought our new, but I feel like the renters might spoil the renovations we'd made. And that's if we could find renters to cover most of our current costs.

Lots and lots to think about. I feel like things will be clearer once we find out about the land deal, once AS has her business trip and can sit back to consider her prospects in both countries, once we hear back from NT's management company about whether we can work out a deal for the UK reno.

4 Responses to “Random financial updates”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    We look before and during the time our house is on the market, but we do not make an offer until our house has a firm offer with bank approval and inspection.

  2. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I'm hoping to make April a pretty non-spendy month as well (with the exception of Spring Break when NE is here, and possibly securing my moving truck.) I hope you're successful in making April non-spendy! Smile

  3. bluesfemme Says:

    We're going through this at the moment, and am similar to ccf. We've been looking for three months around the possible areas so we get a good feel for those markets and what compromises we will live with. We've also been going to home opens in our own area to check out agents we might use and what we might get.

    We got pre-approval from the bank, dependent on us putting in a minimum amount from the sale, but wouldn't put an offer in til we're on the market and under offer ourselves, even if that means we have to temporarily perch somewhere else (as simultaneous settlement can be a harrowing process). FinX we're three weeks away from going on!

  4. Looking Forward Says:

    It doesn't hurt to look. Smile You can always look to see how long it takes for similar condos to sell - that should give an idea of a timeline. Plus, you could always make an offer contingent on the sale of your home.

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