Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Houses and cars and...when did I become a grown-up?

I've been feeling a little stressed about money lately.

I mean, I'm only about to write the biggest check of my life - I can't imagine why that's making me nervous. :)

Our closing date is scheduled for the first week of January. We'll have to wire $21,000 for the remainder of the down payment, and then several thousand more for all the associated fees, taxes, and so forth. That part of buying a house is SO MUCH MORE expensive than I thought it would be. I had asked around, and people said, oh, it's only like two grand.

Uh, yeah. Try like four times that. Even with getting a discount from the mortgage officer and a free house inspection. (Wow, does it pay to have relatives in real estate!)

Anyway, once we've closed, we'll also have the following expenses:

Moving costs
Rent (we have to pay through the end of April or until they find a new renter, whichever is sooner)
Lease-breaking fee
Furnishings for new rooms (guest room, mainly - everything else can wait)
Higher utilities (electric and gas)
Water, sewer and garbage (currently included in our rent)
Homeowners insurance (NINE TIMES more expensive than renter's insurance)
and the biggest: a second car

That's right, ladies and gentlemen -- Peanut and I, who just six months ago were blissfully car-free -- will be buying a second vehicle in 2012.

I'm torn about how I feel about this. I envisioned us remaining car-free when we moved to the midwest. Then I compromised and envisioned us lovingly sharing a car for grocery shopping excursions and visits to family, driving to work together when the weather was bad. I think I've accepted the fact that, while some admirable people can go car-free out here - like Moneyapolis and her DH - or share a car indefinitely, Peanut and I are not cut from the same cloth. Our work schedules don't line up nicely enough for us to reliably ride together both ways on a daily basis. The house will be far enough from public transit that winter commuting will be awfully miserable. And biking - not a chance. I thought I'd give it a try, I really did, but I think I'd have a panic attack riding in traffic before I got to the end of the street.

At any rate, we'll continue sharing a car until we've saved up enough to pay cash for a second one, and the one we have now will still be the "nice" one - so that means the "not nice" car will probably cost less than $5,000.

Fortunately, even with all the extra things we have to pay for, we kept our mortgage payment to around 21% of our monthly income, so we'll still have some money every month to set aside for everything on that list as well as saving for retirement and building a larger emergency fund (since our potential for emergencies will get that much bigger).

It's weird - looking at the numbers, I KNOW that this is not out of our reach. I mean, our mortgage payment will still be smaller than rent on our NYC apartment, and we did fine on less than what we're bringing in now! Still, it's nervewracking - even though our ability to handle this is clear on paper and in practice, it still makes me bite my nails.

Why is that? Please tell me I'm not the only one!


  1. I'm sure you've shopped around but my home insurance is nearly exactly the same if not less than my renters insurance.
    Seems unreasonable to be sooo much more.

  2. I feel your pain! We bought our house in a private sale so we are saving huge on realty fees, closing costs and all the extra stuff. Still our 2500 dollar lawyer bills to search the deed and complete our purchase agreement will sting. We bought a house well within our means - much less than what the bank told us we could 'afford' but its still scary!! Watching out 20% down payment fly out of our bank account with one little bank draft is going to hurt - it took us( mainly the bf) a very long time to save that much money. It almost feels like we are starting from scratch again. I'm having a hard time with thinking of our house as an investmet or equity - right now just feels like a money pit! All the best!

  3. I'm a little curious as to why you'd have to pay a fee for breaking your lease AND still have to pay rent through April? That seems a little sketchy on the part of your landlord, if you ask me.

    My brother is a housing attorney in Minneapolis and we were just talking about lease breaking the other day. He says that whenever landlords try to go after the rent, he recommends that they just focus instead on re-renting the apartment. In his opinion, they're not really going to do anything to someone if a lease is broken. He works against the worst landlords, too, since he works for Legal Aid and serves low income people who tend to have worse housing situations.

  4. Commitment, my dear! Apart from a kid, a mortgage is probably the biggest life commitment there is. It's why entering into long term leases makes me so nervous - cash is king, and so is flexibility. That said, when we can afford it, we are buying a house - no doubt about it.

  5. I can understand feeling the stress especially when dealing with all those big numbers and planning for everything but you are making a big move and I think you are doing great.


  6. I had the same feeling when we paid our closing costs/downpayment, and ours was not as high as yours (good thing, too, since we ended up having to carry it in cash!!). It's amazing to think about how much money it takes to own a home. It really sounds like you guys have it all worked out, though!

    It's weird to me how much more your home insurance is too...ours only about doubled, but we are in a condo in a gated complex, so maybe that makes it more similar to the apartment rates than a stand alone house would cost to insure.

    good luck!


Thanks for commenting!