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Well we did it! We closed on our New Orleans townhouse on Thursday of last week! We had a bit of an emotional roller coaster during the period of trying to sell our current home and buy a new one. We definitely had fights, frustration, and tears (on my part)... Here's a bit of a back story to how we arrived at this point.
We bought our first house in a very small town outside of Baton Rouge in 2009. We picked that location because husband was working in BR and I was working in a town about 30 minutes away. It made perfect sense b/c it was right smack in the middle of our 2 jobs. We got the house for a great price. The house is perfect. It has really nice upgraded features and a nice size yard for the dogs. We also got the $8000 first time home buyer tax credit. This meant we had to live there at least 3 years or we would have to pay it back. We spent most of the money on our wedding that October and getting things for our house.
In June 2010 my company moved their office to a town 50 miles away from my house! I've been making this commute for nearly 3 years now. Its pretty tough. The amount of money we spend on gas and the time I spend in the car sucks! We traded Matt's truck in about a year ago to save money on gas. He got my Volvo S40 and I got a Hyundai hybrid. It definitely helps us save some money on gas. But the amount of mileage I have racked up on the cars in the past 3 years is just crazy to me!
So we made the decision that we would put the house up for sale to move closer to our hometown and my work as soon as our 3 years were up (July 2012). But we never thought about the fact that Matt's job was in BR. So moving us closer to my work and home doesn't make a whole lot of sense. We started toying with the idea of moving to New Orleans (33 miles from my office) because his company has a branch there. He spoke to someone at work about transferring, and they said But we just never acted on it. Every time we would visit we would pine over gorgeous houses and living in that wonderful carefree city with so much character! We're from a very small town (no red lights at all), and the town we live in now is very rural too. So the thought of living in a city is pretty new to us and most of our friends/family too! We talked about moving a lot, but we didn't officially decide to start the process until December.
We called a local real estate agent to list our house. We were quickly brought back to reality when we realized our house was the most expensive one in the neighborhood (and it was cheap)! The amount of money we owe on the mortgage vs what things are selling for there is about a 10k difference. This doesn't even include paying an agent to sell it. We got a lot of showings on the house. People loved it. Everyone said it was priced too high. We even did a realtor tour, and the agents loved it. They said it was priced too high. But we couldn't budge on the price b/c we priced it exactly what we owed on the mortgage. We were going to pay the agent out of our pockets. This meant spending every dime that we have worked so damn hard to save over the past 3 years for a new house.
After much much discussion amongst ourselves and with the agent we decided to take the house off the market after only being for sale for 2 months. We realized we had 2 options- stay in the house and pay the mortgage down or rent it. We already made up our minds that we would move closer to my work. Plus, we were just tired of living there. There's nothing to do there, and we have no family or friends there. It really just didn't make sense anymore. Our agent even suggested renting it out. So we put it on Craigslist, she screened the applicants (credit checks, background checks, reference checks), and we found a renter within 1 week. He signed a 1 year lease, but is interested in a lease to purchase down the road. He's moving in April 1st. I don't think "investment properties" make sense for everyone. But for us, it did. We can afford to make the mortgage and another one if we had to, and hopefully the housing market will pick back up over there in the next 5 years. Until then it looks like we're landlords.
I'll be back tomorrow to talk about the search for new home and buying process!