We love our budget, it is the most tricked-out budget that you could ever imagine. It has tabs for retirement forecasting and color coded stock allocation metrics. We know that not everyone aspires to our level of nerdiness when it comes to using Excel or maintaining a budget, but we wouldn’t blame you if you did. About a month ago we did something that made our complex and awesome budget a little less complex… we sold our house!
Yes, the lull in posts from your favorite frugal couple wasn’t just something that you imagined. We spent most of the spring and summer handling the sale of the house and this article surmises a rundown on why we sold it, how we sold it, and why we probably won’t be purchasing another one in the near future:
Why We Sold
A few key items to remember about our housing situation: the house that we owned, which Mr. Winning Williams bought near the height of the housing bubble in 2007 (and fully paid off by 2012), was being rented out. In January 2015, we moved into a condo (that we rented) that was walking distance to work for Mrs. Winning Williams. Between the Florida housing market still trying to recover to previous levels, the idea of obtaining a source of cash flow from rental property, and a bit of sentimental attachment to the house, we rented it out. Caught up? Good!
Do you also remember that awesome trip that we took to see the Great American Southwest where we saved over $1500 on our travel expenses? It was a truly amazing trip, but it was definitely stressful in its own way.
The day that we left for our trip we found out that our tenants weren’t getting along. That’s actually a pretty tame description, but during the entire trip we were fielding calls from the tenants, their respective lawyers, and trying to think out a possible scenario in which we didn’t have to go to court and/or evict one or possibly both tenants. It was not fun at all. What had been our stress-free means of supplemental income had become a nightmare. In the end both tenants moved out with only minimal repairs required to the home.
We knew that taking on the responsibility (and liability) of becoming a landlord would be a new challenge, but we definitely underestimated the mental effort required. The level of stress that we both experienced and the amount of time spent worrying over and working out this situation helped us to both realize that we wanted to sell. As we have been embracing a more minimalist lifestyle we knew that the mental clutter of managing a rental property would be a great source of stress to eliminate.
It also helped that the housing market in our area was on a tear this summer. However, we thoroughly vetted the financial implications, including cash flow analysis, return, etc. and the numbers definitely supported our decision to sell. We’ll follow-up with a post on this soon. We would definitely consider owning rental properties in the future, but for now it didn’t make sense.
How We Sold
After our tenants vacated near the end of May 2016, we went to work getting the house cleaned up. We spent all of Memorial Day Weekend cleaning and repairing and getting the house to look great for a meeting with a realtor. We thought the house looked amazing, even better than it did when we first showed it to prospective tenants in January of 2015. We were so excited and ready to sell.
Then we met with the realtor and quickly realized that what would work for us, would not work for the many prospective home-buyers on the market whose minds had been brainwashed by endless hours of HouseHunters and Love It or List It.
All of the items that we had discussed upgrading but never got around to when we lived in the house, became must-do items for preparing the house for sale. We spent every single weekend working away at applying new paint, refinishing the wood cabinets, and scrubbing the baseboards. (Our 1800+ square foot home had a LOT of baseboards.) We slept on an air mattress in the living room of our empty home and had one last summer to say goodbye to the house where we fell in love, hosted our post-wedding reception party, and spent a good amount of time together.
When the house was finally ready to go onto the market we waited, very impatiently, for the offers to start rolling in. As the summer was drawing to a close and families were starting to settle in for the school year we started to think of back-up plans. If we couldn’t sell within the first two months or if the listing price dropped below a certain price we would take it off the market and look at renting it again. But this was a last resort.
Fortunately, it never came to that. We had a cash offer from a company that purchased homes to rent in our area. Their inspection was beyond thorough and we had to pay for a few more items, but the house was sold. We got our big fat wire transfer and began working on our plan to invest the profits to help us get to F.I.R.E that much sooner.
A Future Free of Homeownership (for now…)
One of the questions that we have been asked many, many times this summer and fall is “so, where are you buying your next home?” To some it isn’t even a question that after selling our house that we would immediately purchase another one. (The same assumption also includes that this house would naturally be much bigger than our previous one with more tricked out appliances and fancy architectural features that make no sense).
To answer everyone all at one: WE ARE RENTING, FOR NOW.
While we know the advantages of homeownership, we also know the hefty cost. Not only do homes need to be insured and maintained, but they tie up a lot of our savings for new roofs, new air conditioners, and all of the myriad problems that can, and will, arise.
Since our current location is still ideal in the sense that we are saving A LOT on transportation costs is we don’t see a reason to move just for the sake of moving. We also save significant time and stress from reduce commutes. And until we are sure that we want to be in one specific place for a long time (like 20 year – the rest of our lives) we don’t think that the costs of purchasing a new home will be justified.
Let’s add the sale of the home into the “WIN” column for us WinningWilliams and look out for more in depth articles on the cost of home-ownership. If you have specific questions that you would like us to answer directly or address in an upcoming post, please let us know in the “comments” section.