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A retelling of my life in DC and all the stupid ass sh!t I get myself into...



Savings

It seems like for the past year or so, I've been saving or cutting back on my spending for one thing or another. First it was for the wedding, ok that makes sense. It's a big event, lets make sure the cash is available. Next it was time for the down payment. Also, very sensible. The more cash up front the more reasonable the payments will end up being. So that needs saving for. Once you get past the down payment, then there are closing costs. Almost like Down Payment 2.0. Again, very sensible. The more money you put in, the lower your payment numbers are going to end up.

Great, those events are over it's time to relax, right? Wrong. Now it's time to boost the emergency savings up to 6-8 months of mortgage payments. That's the rule of thumb depending on who you ask. I've always heard it was six, and the average financial person agrees with that. But Suze Orman has bumped her recommendation out to 8 months. Whether it's 6 or it's 8, it's important to have that cushion and I am now working towards it. It seems like quite a challenging goal, but it will be met. However, watching this pattern, I can't help but wonder... "What's next?"

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posted by Cptn S.A. Ho @ 8:37 AM, ,




First Impressions

Welcome to the neighborhood... finally! Your house has been finished, you've plunked down one of the biggest checks of your life. So, what now? Time to meet the folks in the hood, that's what. In my row of buildings, I've only had a chance to meet my neighbors next door to me in a larger home. They are very nice and have a little dog that doesn't seem to bark very much. Other than them, I've met only one other home owner in my row and shall we say I'm already not a fan. I have every intention of trying to get to know this guy better, perhaps that initial 'I'm an a$$ w/ little man's disease' prognosis was incorrect? Who knows, perhaps we just didn't jive? Other than those two houses, that's all I've met in my row of homes for now. I'm hoping for some more cool folks moving in soon.

In an effort to meet more folks, there was a community get together this past weekend in the form of a cook out. On first glance, there are a lot of pretty people in this community. It looks like most everyone takes good care of them selves and clearly works hard to be able to afford to live here and their life style. Some folks are nice, some are a little standoffish. To be honest, it felt a little bit like the first day of high school walking in there for me. You could clearly see which folks stood off on their little crew that felt they were entirely too cool, you could see the folks that were honestly warm and friendly, and the folks that weren't sure they wanted to be there. So far, the cool kids clearly out number everyone else. I'm sure that's b/c the community has been around for a bit and I'm the new kid coming in, it just takes time to break in.

I dove right in and tried to shake as many hands and meet as many folks as were interested in speaking to me. I'm self admittedly terrible with names, but I hope at future events I'll be seeing some of the same folks so that it will become easier in time. Walking around in the neighbor hood and on the streets, everyone seems very pleasant and nice but in that group setting it did seem to get a little clickie. I'm sure I just have to get to know the folks a little better. In the mean time, I've offered assistance to help out with the community digital forum. I am pretty good with list serves and digital communications, so it makes sense to me. Hope they take me up on it and let me help/get involved.

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posted by Cptn S.A. Ho @ 4:43 PM, ,




Purchased, now let's move.

The long weekend has come and gone and I have emerged a home owner. Please, hold your applause for now. I don't remember the last time I read over so many legal documents and signed my name so many times. The lender even stopped by my closing to see me off. B/t me and you, I think he was sick of me and went out for a happy hour that day knowing that he was finally done with my deal! The overall deal I got I think was good, not that 1 in a million I was hoping for but it was still good.

After a few minutes of some nice down time to just walk around and check the house out, it was time to get down to business of moving stuff in and assembling tons of furniture. Friday, the install & delivery guys showed up. The flat screen wall mounting guy was working on the main floor while the FiOS guy was setting everything up down stairs. As it turned out, they got done at just about the same time so that worked out great! The Alarm System guy was pretty quick and easy too. Just in and out. Next, the washer and dryer delivery was a little more involved. The builders installed the floor pan sideways? No clue why, but luckily there was a trip to home depot to fix that issue right up while the installers got ready. Having never seen an install like this, I had to watch. And I must say, very impressive! The one guy was like a contortionist. The washer/dryer location is just a closet. This guy was BEHIND the machines after they had been installed hooking up all the connections and then climbed up over top of them to slide down the front of the machines and out of the closet. it was nuts!

Along comes moving day, and I thought it'd be super easy. Well, it wasn't too bad but not nearly as easy as I had hoped. The couch, which was being sold at the end of the day, was a total space hog and filled enough of the truck to force two trips. I knew I should have gone with the 26' big a$$ uhaul just b/c! After the first trip and a smooth unload, about 4 of us went to the old place to grab cars and finish up. It actually wasn't bad at all. Now, the unpacking and unboxing and the putting away... that is a tricky one that may end up taking quite some time.

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posted by Cptn S.A. Ho @ 10:16 AM, ,




Loan Companies

Here I am, 2 days away from closing and making that big purchase and who should choose to annoy me? The mortgage broker. They are ALL smiles until you lock the rate at which point they ditch you like you gave it up on prom night. If I have provided you with EVERYTHING under the sun, all the numbers are etched in stone, all the stars have aligned... why exactly can't you provide me with the exact amount I'm going to pay monthly? If I had it to do over again and if this was in my power, I wish I had a conference call with the broker, his assistant, the processor, the title company, and the underwriter at the very start of this process and worked out a time line so I could see who/where the bottle neck was. This entire exercise has basically felt like I'm flying blind and it's only a matter of time until I crash into the alps, financially speaking of course.

What I'm told, is that this is normal. This is how all home loans work. I have no frame of reference, but if this is normal or fast... this is ridiculous.

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posted by Cptn S.A. Ho @ 3:31 PM, ,




Only 3 More Days

...till the biggest purchase of my life. It's not a secret and I've got folks coming to me asking me if I'm excited. Well, yes and no. I mean, YAY new house and it's all clean and shiny and new and (insert more good things here). So, that's what I say b/c I just don't want to be a debbie downer. But to be honest, I'm scared. I've never imagined spending this kind of money on a house. I've done the numbers 50,000 different ways til next Sunday, but it still makes me nervous. Combine that with my current place being completely trashed (I know, all part of moving) and I'm pretty much a wreck. How are you supposed to get excited about a new house if you can't see past how trashed your current place is and how insanely expensive the new place is??

One thing I'm trying to focus on is the investment side of this deal. I do believe this is a good investment, so the thought of a strong return is keeping me sane. I'm not thinking crazy numbers, but perhaps a nice 10%-20% appreciation over 10 years I think is actually reasonable. The miss' & my mom must have lost their damned minds thinking we might see a 50-60% appreciation?!? Not in my wildest dreams would I think that. Don't get me wrong, it would be awesome but prolly not gonna happen.

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posted by Cptn S.A. Ho @ 10:33 AM, ,




Something New

In the months leading up to this new house I feel like I've been (more so) heading in a different direction from most of my friends. Am I finally aging? Am I growing up as they say? I still long for the party life but it just doesn't seem to fit me like it once did. Every time I go out and give it a shot... something just seems off. I can't explain it. So, it appears that it's time for something new for me. I need a new activity so that I can start over as it were. I have no intention of leaving my current friends behind, but as I have tried and tried to continue offering invitations and extending olive branches over and over my efforts seem to be more and more in vain. I don't hold any grudges, but I am disappointed.

I hoped against hope that I could end up being those amazing married couples that just integrate their lives seamlessly and things would just continue on as they were. That just wasn't the case here and I think it isn't the case for the great majority of folks either. So is it growing older? Is it married life? Is it buying a place? Who knows.

Now the question is, what am I gonna get into? Should I learn to fly? helicopters or fixed wing craft could be fun but they are expensive. Perhaps some more close combat fighting instruction? A little violent, but it's good exercise and it's always good to be able to defend yourself. More Jeep stuff? Perhaps some fancy bike riding? This will deff. require some more research. Whatever it is, I hope to meet some good folks out of it to help add to my my social circle friend base.

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posted by Cptn S.A. Ho @ 9:40 AM, ,




My SmartyPig Pickle

Pig Pickle
As the whirlwind that has been me transferring money back and forth and saving for the closing costs is approaching an end, I've managed to over look ony small tid bit of annoying information. I know SmartyPig isn't the fastest bank in the world and I was prepared to wait about a week to transfer the money from there to my checking account. However, as I went to click on Transfer Money this morning, I got an awesome rock-star error. I cannot originate a transfer out of this account until the next week. WTF? It turns out that they require 7 business days after your last deposit into their account to initiate a with drawl which takes yet another 5 business days?!? Wow. I don't even have a good word for how slow that is coming from a bank.

What does that mean?
I'm glad you asked. It means that I cannot get the money out of the SmartyPig account in time for the closing costs.

So... ummm?
I don't know. I'll figure it out if it means marching down to the credit union for a personal loan or finding a loan shark named Vinnie. It's frustrating and this online bank doesn't have any sort of work around for situations when you just cannot wait that long to transfer money. Why they freeze the entire account is beyond me. I will be thinking hard on any further transaction with them, and whether or not I even want to continue to be a member.

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posted by Cptn S.A. Ho @ 10:24 AM, ,