Bring on an apartment!

Three short years ago we refinanced our home, not to pay less each month, but to pay more.  In 2009, we changed our mortgage from a 30-year to a 15-year and took advantage of some of the lower rates.  Our goal was to pay off the mortgage by the time our kids graduated high school (2020 & 2021).  We would then have the ‘freedom’ to travel, and also free up some money to help pay our kids’ presumed college costs.  We don’t carry other debt, so the higher payment was doable with our full time jobs.

Fast forward 3 years.  Our plans and priorities have changed.  We want to travel now, WITH our kids.  We want the freedom to experience the world as a family while we still can.

Given our new priorities, we tried to change our housing situation (again) and refinance back to a 30-year mortgage to take advantage of the even lower rates.  This would free up extra money each month to put toward our travels and maybe even allow us to rent out our home if we were to travel long term.  We were frustrated to find out that, despite our stellar credit history, we didn’t qualify for any refinance options because:

1)      We pay our mortgage on time every month, so we didn’t demonstrate a “need”

2)      Home values have plummeted so much that we would need to carry mortgage insurance until our equity got back up to 20%, and doing so would drain our savings (by the way, we had already put 20% down in 2006)

3)      Without the necessary equity, we would need to apply for a government sponsored program, like HARP.  But we were 8 days past the cutoff to qualify for the program based on when we PAID for the privilege of refinancing back in 2009

So, we’re giving it up.  We will put the house on the market in the spring. 

The financial consequences are not the only thing motivating our desire to sell.  We found out the beautiful, private, wooded land behind us would be developed within the next 5 years.  In place of the greenery will be built strip malls and a 100 foot tall building intended to bring “living wages” to our little town.  We understand why (increase city’s tax base, etc.), but if we’re going to sell, better to do it now.  Finally, our first experience with a Homeowner’s Association hasn’t been great.  Too much drama and regulation (Tsk, tsk…can’t leave those garbage cans out a minute extra!  Go home kids, park closes at dusk!)  You get the idea; not very “dreamy”.

Don’t get me wrong, though.  All in all, our community has been a fantastic place to raise the boys through their elementary school years.  There is a great mix of singles, “marrieds without kids”, families, and grand-parenty types; there is also a fantastic park with great sledding in the winter and a place to play baseball in the summer.  But now the boys are older, fairly self-sufficient and, frankly, ready for more.  It’s our time to move out and move on to a simpler, lighter life.

When we bought our first home in 2003 we thought we were bidding adieu to our last apartment.  Apartments were for college kids!  We were finally adults – ready to put down roots and raise our family in a proper home.  But we have different dreams now.  Now, we are purging our 1600 sq. foot home (still small relative to most single family homes these days) with the new “dream” of moving into maintenance free 800 sq. foot place.  Now, we find ourselves wanting to pull up roots, live in a smaller structure but a larger community – the world – and we are SO excited.  It’s funny how things change.

 

3 Comments

  1. Apartment living in this economy really is the way to go. It has allowed us to move when/where we want and has saved us a bunch of money towards being debt-free. Not having to do maintenance is one of the biggest pluses! Also in the smaller space, we found that our family interacted & bonded more which was great during the later teenage years of our now 20yo.

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  3. We are SO with you!! We can’t wait to sell our house in the spring. We are hoping we can get out without PAYING for someone to buy it (ridiculous to think about, but it is sadly a reality given the housing market.) We could save at least $1000/mo in rent/utilities/etc. by downsizing and moving into a rental for a few years until we’ve saved enough to take off!

  4. AdventureBee and AroundNCircles – sounds like we are all on the same page! Who knew a small rental would be what we crave at this point in our lives! I am looking so forward to the freedom it allows our family – freedom to save, freedom from expensive upkeep, freedom from stuff, freedom from the handcuffs of the mortgage payment…so liberating!

    Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation!

    Tiffany

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