Friday, August 3, 2012

Operation Vacate to Operation Pay-off Update

In the last two years, I occasionally mentioned what I called "Operation Vacate"! It was our slow but steady plan to do some long overdue remodeling and attempt to sell our home and for the ultimate goal of becoming debt-free and acquiring our dream property. Since our home wasn't lavishly decorated  nor are we the greatest of housekeepers, we decided to live temporarily in an apartment at a parents, which afforded us the luxury of it costing us very little (besides more gas expenditure) to live somewhere else. The costs were probably evened out completely by not having to pay a high utility bill on an occupied old home (read: no wall insulation, old heating/cooling system, etc). In addition, being out of the home made remodeling go much easier.

After our house sold in December 2011, our plan was to then buy a foreclosure or some other fixer-upper for much less than we paid for our first home. And we did! We found a great place closer to my husband's work but still close to mine and to all of Knoxville.

It's taken some adjustments. Our old home was not just spacious for us with a full basement and four bedrooms, it was also super cute. Even though I know I'll never buy another house based on curb appeal, that's what I miss the most. I miss the tall ceilings, wood floors, the charm and most of all, the stone exterior.

Besides struggling with nostalgia though, our decision to move has been overwhelmingly pleasant. Though I look forward to a day when I have a gigantic garden, hen house, woods, a pond and can't even see a neighbor's house from my window, I am thoroughly enjoying our neighbors and the sense of community here. The new house is small enough that we can actually afford to decorate it! And to landscape as well. Our home is solid and most of all, it's completely affordable, which brings me to the core of our direction for operation pay-off.

We wanted to accomplish several things with our move:

  1. Have a low enough payment that either of us could afford to live here alone (if we were to become separated by death or divorce)
  2. Have a low enough payment that we could handle it even in case of a job loss.
  3. Have a 15 year mortgage
  4. Have a higher cash flow that we could use toward debt
  5. Have a home that would easily be changed into a rental home (or be resold if desired)

We have not yet activated operation pay-off (but we are super close) because we are still in the midst of fixing up our new home. When we finish, we'll begin putting all we can toward one debt at a time, till they're all gone. Doing that and also hopefully acquiring another rental property in the meantime, will take our guesstimate of about seven years. 

We anticipate several large bumps in the road along the way, of course. We hope those bumps are additional child(ren), newer vehicles or other anticipated events, but some bumps may end up being job loss or other calamities. And so we brace ourselves as best we can and continue moving forward! 

Our new home with sunflowers and new, baby trees and flower beds planted.

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