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Hey FrugalTexan

June 7th, 2010 at 12:07 pm

A librarian position is opening up at my employer in Austin TX. The job starts in January but they will be hiring soon. I don't know how far you are from Austin but I know your in Texas. I am pretty sure you are going to school to be a librarian...right? If you want more info let me know. I don't know how to do private messages.

Spent a lot on not very much

June 3rd, 2010 at 01:48 pm

I have not been around because I have been painting whenever I am not at work. The tenants moved out last weekend and I have been working hard on getting the upstairs apartment ready for the new tenants.

Everything costs more than I anticipated. I have spent $500 on not very much.

I had a guy come out to look at the plaster walls. He told me it would be $220 to repair the cracks plus I buy the supplies. I knew that was high but I am an awful negotiator. So I agreed and hoped he would do a really good job. Well he did a mediocre job and was “finished” in 1.5 hrs. I was taken advantage of but I tell myself it was a learning curve to control the anger inside of me. I had “that feeling” in my stomach when he set the price and I ignored it. Not next time. I say “finished” because the sheetrock mud needs a day to dry but he has jobs lined up and couldn’t sand the repairs down after it dried- so he provided me with sandpaper that I bought- and told me how to sand the walls when it’s dry. (I was even mad he used sheetrock material- these are plaster walls- I don’t want sheetrock on my original walls!)
Anyways- I spent like 10 min sanding and stopped. It’s a lot of work and I paid him to do it! So I never did sand it down. I just painted over it.

And the paint. $250.00 for 7 gallons of paint (primer in the paint) and some brushes. EXPENSIVE! I nearly fell over when the cashier rang me up. The sad part is that the Primer in the paint works so well I have 2 gallons left over. I cant do anything with them.

Sucks.

So that’s $250.00 right there.
I decided not to replace the carpets. They are in much better shape than I thought. The old tenants didn’t own a vacuum (lived here 2 years!) so after I vacuumed they look REALLY GOOD. Plus the new tenants have dogs so it’s better this way.

And there has been a leak in the bathroom. Water got in through some molding and ran behind the latex paint and ruined the wall. It’s all soggy to the touch. I’m going to get to that repair next week.
But the apartment looks GOOD! I should have waited for it to be empty before showing it to tenants. I could have gotten an extra $100 a month at least. Next time I’ll remember not to be impatient and panicky. An empty apartment is way bigger, cleaner and nicer than college kids apartment.

And I am still in love with this house. I know I have commented on and off about my conflict in moving to the new house and renting out both halves of this duplex rather than converting it to a SFH. I’m still conflicted. I still love this house. So much. BB comes home for 2 days next week. I am trying to get the place sparkling so maybe he will love it too.

Carpeting prices...ugh

May 27th, 2010 at 05:53 am

I keep wandering away from this blog…start feeling uncomfortable about my finances (what is going on? How am I doing?)...and then come back and provide a vent that gets my head cleared up again. I guess it’s a new system I have in the works.

I was able to transfer the utilities with no problem. Relief. One thing I learned: the power company has an option called a “Landlord Agreement” where you pay one fee of $30.00 and you can then transfer the power back into your name whenever you want without paying a fee. So I got hit with a $30.00 fee this time but in the future that should be a helpful feature.

The boys are moving out this weekend. I talked with the boys who tentatively said they want to move in…and they DO want to move in. Relief there too. Their lease is up July 1st. They want to move in earlier but now I have a carpet conundrum.

This is about to get boring- you might want to go view another blog.

The carpet in the 2 bedrooms is gross. Definitely needs to be replaced. I have $3-400 put aside for new carpeting. I go to a local flooring store and get the basic renters carpet in a cream color and after they measured yesterday the price is $700.00!! For 40 yards.
$370.00 for carpet
$80.00 new pad
$160 installation
$60.00 remove old carpet
$31.50 tax

I know I can remove the carpet myself…at this price I will do that. And I know that maybe the pad underneath is still usable and I wont have to buy that. But it would still be $561.00 AND I would be doing a lot of heavy labor ripping out carpet!

I went to Home Depot and found the same type of carpet for cheaper. Their pricing is:
$250.00 for carpet
$78.00 padding
$97.00 Installation
$36.00 remove old carpet
$ tax
Total $461.00 plus tax

WAY CHEAPER!! Here’s the kicker…the Home Depot carpet COLOR is that UGLY shade of Brown. Really ugly and wont match any paint. PLUS Home Depot takes up to 3 weeks to install the carpeting. The first place will do it next week.

I am going to TRY to negotiate with the more expensive place today but I am awful at it. I already know I wont get anywhere. So it looks like Home Depot and ugly brown it is.

Update

May 24th, 2010 at 05:48 am

Things are going well. Busy weekend with lots of fun stuff. The 2 boys (with 2 dogs) who said they think they want the upstairs unit now say they do want the upstairs unit. They cannot move in for a month after the previous boys have moved out (this coming weekend)- but that gives me time to update the apartment.

New question: What do I do about water & electricity? The previous tenants plan to shut it off, and I need it on to paint/replace carpeting and clean. How does that normally work? Will a utility company just transfer the bill into my name on request?

In other news: my job has given me a pretty awesome title-ish promotion. No pay raise associated with it, no title change- but I now get to do PR write ups to submit to various online sources who publish the articles. Our corporate PR person is overwhelmed and since I have a Masters degree in PR they asked me to do the work. I’m thrilled. My first article was published over the weekend! I love my job because it is so liquid. I find myself taking on different roles on a regular basis. It really challenges and teaches me about myself.

Still for rent- maybe

May 18th, 2010 at 08:30 am

The upstairs unit is still for rent…I think. The very first guy who came to look at the unit liked it but told me he has a pitt bull mix dog. BB wants no dogs because of the heart pine floors (scratching), and the noise of a dog running around overhead would annoy downstairs tenants (currently me).

It seems like a hypocritical thing to say because we have 2-3 dogs at any given time. But it’s different when it’s OUR dog scratching up the floor. The scratches are worth it because we love our dog. We don’t want scratched up floors from some strange dog.
So I told the guy no. Then I show the apartment to 5-6 other groups and no lease is signed. So BB relents and yesterday the guy, his 2 roommates and their 2 dogs (not 1) come over to look at the unit. The dogs are not old as I was told. They are very much hyper and energetic. But friendly, and there was no barking during the time that I saw the dogs.

What can I say- they caught me a little tired and resigned. I said yes to both dogs with a $100.00 non refundable security deposit for each dog.

So the boys looked over the unit. The original guy loves it. His friend who owns the other dog likes it. The 3rd friend is not happy with the neighborhood. That’s been the mantra I have been hearing at each showing- that they are too nervous about the neighborhood. Hello- I live by myself in this neighborhood and I weigh 100lbs! Why are grown men scared? Not to mention that we had students living in the unit for 2 years…they are still alive to graduate school. Isn’t that proof enough? Plus there are 2 dogs living there!

Anyways, the original guy told me that he really likes it and might even just go into the apartment with the other dog owner and leave the 3rd roommate to find another place. The 3rd roommate has options because he does not have a dog…and I think the 3rd roommate makes the most money of the group. So he has options that the other two do not.

So I told the guy that I am not listing the apartment right now- I’m going to hold off until the improvements have been made. This gives him some time to "work on" the 3rd roommate. He was asking questions about the lease and deposits…all questions no one else has ever asked me. So I feel pretty good about him. If I don’t hear from him by tomorrow- I will call him.

If all goes as planned…I will be collecting $10 extra a month than I get now…but the $200 in non refundable dog deposits is an extra $16.00 a month over 12 months- meaning I am really getting an extra $26.00 a month. And that number makes me happy. Smile

So we’ll see how it goes.

For Rent...still

May 15th, 2010 at 06:48 am

Well it's been some time since I posted. I went to Las Vegas for 3 days. The whole trip including airfare cost $620.00. I was prepared to spend double that- so I am thrilled. 7 women in Las Vegas gets you lots of free passes into good clubs.

I am still trying to rent the upstairs unit. I have 3 showings today. Every day I think is THE DAY where it will rent and I can forget about it. But not yet. I started out on the high end of the rent scale and now I am a little lower than I feel comfortable being. I plan to put $500 into the unit in new carpeting/re plastering/painting walls...and I will only be collecting an extra $10 a month than I am collecting now.

I feel bad for the boys currently living there- 4-5x a week I am going through the unit for a showing. They don't help it much though- they have posters and black out curtains over the huge lead glass windows. They have cables running all over the floors...and the laundry sits in heaps everywhere.

I cant wait for the unit to sit vacant so I can give it a good cleaning. I feel that once the upgrades have been made- the unit will command much higher rent than I am currently listing it for.

So I don't know if I should take it off the market until after the boys move out and the upgrades are in place. So I can list it for a higher rent. Or secure the renters at the lower rent, put in the upgrades and know that I have probably secured long term renters because they will be living in a posh place for a low price.

Ahhh...I'll just show the unit 3 x today and see what happens. Time to stop over analyzing things.

Till Debt Do Us Part

May 2nd, 2010 at 02:25 pm

Does anybody (in America) watch the TV show "Till Debt Do Us Part" that comes on right after Suze Orman on Saturday nights?

It's a Canadian (I WISH they would bring it to America!) reality show that features a couple in debt and the shows host comes in and gives them some money saving challenges to complete in a month. If they do well- she rewards them with $5k. If they dont- no money.

I think this is my new favorite reality show. I think the challenges can be a little silly- like walking around a mall in a T Shirt that says "Ask me about my $40k of debt"...but last nights episode had 2 lines that made me pause to think.

The first episode (There are 2 seperate episodes on each Sat night) featured 2 teachers pulling in around $100k a year with a little baby. The wife was in debt control mode and never spent any money even though she felt really deprived. She never allowed herself to buy anything because the husband spent every dollar he earned. He belonged to like- 4 different mens sports teams and regularly went to poker night with friends. And he would often gamble online (and lost $8,000 to online gambling.) His wife was trying to control their rising debt but the husband always had an excuse, like, "Some friends from out of town are visiting- I have to go out" and the wife said she was always wondering what excuse he would offer next to spend money.

Well they got him in a confessional setting and he said "I don't understand why my wife wants to save money. The purpose of money is to spend it. I would rather have a good life than have $30k sitting in some bank account doing nothing." And then! he says "I don't think we need a savings account since we'll always have access to the credit cards and a line of credit."

His whole attitude was ...awful. He was a brick wall. He never understood the point of saving anything. The show host tried everything to get him to understand how precarious their financial situation was. The show host even gave the wife $300 and told the wife to go out every night for a week so the husband could see what it felt like when the wife walked out every night to go spend his money. Because the wife felt like he had gambled away "her" $8000. (I assume it's because she had saved the money and in the course of a few late nights online- he lost it all.) But he never got it. The shows host ended up telling the wife to separate her finances from him.

The 2nd couple featured a man 35 yrs old. He is a student at a University who had accumulated $50k of undergrad loans. Married to a pharmacist who was pregnant with their child. And they lived in his parents basement. Wife made $35,000 a year and husband made $12000 a year. The shows host said to him "What makes you think you can pull this young woman from her home country (the wife was Asian), marry her, get her pregnant- but not be able to put a roof over their head?"

That kind of hit home for the guy and he got a part time job after that. And he decided to give up his plan to go to medical school and instead get a teaching job.

Anyways, I like this show. I hope it comes to America.

Today I got a Pretty Darn Good letter in the mail

May 1st, 2010 at 04:27 pm

Is it possible that today is one of the better days of MY LIFE!??

It's close. It's up there on very good days.

I open my mailbox and see a letter (bill) from my mortgage company. If it wasn't a bill it was a harassing letter badgering me to get mortgage insurance or accident insurance or to make bi weekly payments (I get something from the company nearly every week).

So today I open it and vaguely comprehend the words "Check included from escrow overage" as I am skimming the paperwork. As I started fumbling through the papers looking for the check I thought, "Great! A check! I could really use that right now- it's probably because I homesteaded the place a few months ago and they finally have it straightened out." I was hoping for something over $10.00. If it was $30-40.00 range I was in for a great weekend.

I finally found the check and its for $768.00!!!!! I almost screamed out loud. I was in total shock. Then I started jumping up and down before carefully reading the paperwork to find out how the heck I was getting a check for such a large sum of money.

I bet you just thought the $768.00 check was the best part of the story- right? No its not. It gets BETTER.

So as I was reading to see if this was a real check and not one of those fake checks that you can cash IF you sign up for some insurance/cash advance/money making scheme...I read "Your previous mortgage payment was $980.00 a month, your new monthly payment is $889.00."

MY MORTGAGE PAYMENT IS BEING LOWERED BY $100 A MONTH!!!

WTH!! OMG!! This is AWESOME!

And that, my friends, is why this is one of the better days of my life.

FYI: What will I do with the $768.00 check you ask? I'm going to put it towards my mortgage principal. Boring but it seems like the right thing to do.

Not as bad as we thought.

May 1st, 2010 at 04:48 am

Well, BB was slightly melodramatic when he explained the back surgery to me.

He wont be in the hospital for a MONTH. He will be there 3-4 days. He'll be pretty immobile at the house for 10-14 days until the staples come out. After that he will have pain but can do most average things.

Rehab will be about 3 months but he can do that here in GA.

So we are looking at about 2 weeks in FL for the surgery and recovery and then daily rehab here in GA.

BB is now pretty excited (if you can be excited about major back surgery). He talked to the big league trainer for his team who has rehabbed about a hundred of these surgeries. The trainer said BB will be in pain when he wakes up from surgery- but immediately he will notice that his legs no longer tingle or go numb.

The trainer also said that there are about a dozen players still playing in the big leagues after having undergone the same surgery. BB feels better that they are still able to competitively slide/run/throw with the best talent around- then he should be able to do normal activities like workout and play with his kids. BB is talking about being able to go on walks with me, canoeing with me, bike riding...all things he could not do before.

So now BB is ready for the surgery. He was upfront with his employer and told them what he was thinking. The team boss was cool and told BB to do what he needed to do. They are familiar with the surgery and know he will be ready to coach again next year. So it seems like we have job security but you never know.

BB said last night that he wants to use the Big League trainer for his rehab while he is recovering in FL. The trainer is an employee of the team and does not work through insurance- so BB will have to pay him out of pocket. I am all for BB getting quality rehab, but I was a little irritated when BB just casually stated that he wants to use the trainer and pay him on a per session basis. The guy is the head trainer on a big league payroll. How much money you think he makes an hour? I bet a lot. When we have health insurance that will pay for rehab! I'm going to let BB work that out on his own- I am hoping the team will help out BB and set up something with the trainer.

As for The Impulsive Purchase? Things are up in the air. We'll see.

BB needs Back Surgery

April 29th, 2010 at 02:34 pm

BB needs back surgery. Major back surgery.

He ruptured 2 disks about 5-6 years ago preparing for spring training and has been gimping along since. He never went in for treatment because no team would take him and the liability of his injury if they suspected they would have to pay for surgery/rehab and maybe disability. So he pretended nothing hurt and downplayed his back injury whenever a team asked about his MRI results.

Now that he is no longer playing, BB went in and had a cartilage shot put in to relieve some of the pain. The shot worked for about 3 days and the pain returned.

This made BB even more sensitive to the pain and now he is almost in agony. He went to a Back Specialist who diagnosed it as Degenerative Disk disease and said there is no option other than surgery. They need to put rods and bungee cords in the back to lift the disks that are crushing each other.

So...this leaves so many questions. BB does not want to get surgery during the baseball season. He is open to the idea of getting it done in the off season but he is very concerned about still getting The Impulsive Purchase renovated in September. I told him to decide what he wants to do with his back and then we will schedule everything around that- but he is still prioritizing The Impulsive Purchase.

I am very confused. I dont know what we should do.
Here are the facts:
If BB gets back surgery- he will be in the hospital for about a month lying flat on his back. The Back Specialist is in FL and that's the guy we would use. He's the Back Specialist for all the baseball teams up and down the east coast. BB's father has offered to come down to FL to be there for BB because his Dad works from home and can work from FL.

I would still be in GA working and use my vacation days to travel to see him. There might be a possibility I could go on some sort of Disability? to care for him? I don't know if that is an option. There is also a possibility I could work from FL because everything I do is through the computer and phone anyways. That would be complicated and I don't think my work would like that idea. More than likely I would have to stay in GA if I wanted to keep my job.

After a month- BB would go through 3-4 months of rehab. He can do that here in GA. He would need to travel flat on his back which would be a little complicated but we could manage. During the 3-4 months BB would not be working obviously. Not a big deal as long as his MLB team renews his coaching contract. His contracts are only a year long. As long as they renew his contract he will continue to get paid year round. If they do not renew it then his paychecks will run out in December and we would have to rely on pitching lesson money- which would be difficult to get since he only had 1 client last year. He was planning to build up his client base this off season- but that wouldn't work out with the surgery.

And now we come to The Impulsive Purchase. We were planning to start renovations in September. That means we would ask the tenants to leave and we would carry the mortgage ourself. BB still wants to do the renovations even if he has back surgery. I don't feel comfortable taking on the additional $1300 a month debt plus $40k renovation debt when he is getting surgery and we don't know how it will turn out. (I forgot to mention that the doctor told BB its a 50/50 chance that the surgery will help relieve his pain.)

We could put off the renovations till after BB is back from Surgery...in October. I just don't really want to take on all of this at once. I don't want to work 40 hrs a week, care for BB and monitor a renovation. And BB knows this- so he is saying that he wants to come home in September to start the renovation. He wants to oversee the project and then get the back surgery. But that's not really enough time for him to complete rehab before the next baseball season starts in February (Assuming his contract will be renewed).

I feel like this is a tricky situation. We are going to have to be delicate in the decisions we make so that we don't get into financial trouble.



For Rent, Parking Tickets & Private Parties

April 25th, 2010 at 06:34 am

I posted an ad on CL for the upstairs apartment last night. The upstairs tenants are moving out May 30th. I still don't see the ad posted though! I know CL has a delay or lag before postings can be seen but this is worrisome. I tried to make a new ad and was flagged for already having a similar posting. grrr...

I went out to a private party last night before going out downtown. A woman a few yrs older than me owns the house we were in and it is directly across the street from a house BB & I looked at when we first moved to this town. The house needed too much work and was overpriced so we passed on it. Huge Victorian that I LOVED in the online listing.

Last night at the party I was thinking about how our life would be if we had bought that house. This woman would have probably become a friend of mine and I would have integrated into her social circle. I was looking around at the guests wondering what life would be like if these people were my friends. I still would have met my current friends (because I was at this party with them) but likely would have been traveling in a separate circle cuz the woman and my friends don't know each other well. I like my current life, I am glad we bought the house we bought and it happened to be next door to a couple our age who are now our good friends. I am glad we integrated into the social circle we are in.

The party last night had a live band jamming in the backyard. The woman's boyfriend is in a band. Kind of fun to be in a small party with a live band rocking out.

After a drink we decided to head downtown and walked back to my car where I found a PARKING TICKET on my car!! $12.00 because it was a street sweeping night. The street was packed and all cars were ticketed. I'm a little annoyed someone would host a party on a night when their guests cant park on one side of the street- but $12.00 is the price of a bar cover charge and 2 drinks...so I have to look at it as an expense that would have been paid if we had seen the same band downtown. I guess.

...and at the end of the night we ended up at a bar charging $10 cover where a band was having a CD release party- but the cover was waived for us as we knew the owner. So it all evens out in the end. I guess.

Baby Names...trend over?

April 17th, 2010 at 04:04 pm

It seems that during the last few years, "Trendy" baby names have been taking over the earth. I am not a mama...but saw "hot" names such as Jordan, Chase, Hayley, Kaylie, Aidan, Ava, and Addison and Madison become as commonplace as the name "Jennifer" or "Christina" was to my generation.

Then in the last few months I have heard of 5 babies being born (thank you Facebook)..and 3 of the 5 were named Elizabeth!! 2 were named Sarah Elizabeth. Traditional spelling and everything. None of that Elyzibyth stuff.

Are traditional names making a comeback? I cant be sure because the other 2 babies were named Lana and Tanza.

The pregnant people in my life are going through a baby girl boom as well. 2 years ago everyone was having a boy. Now its all girls.

Appliances, Savings & Concerts

April 16th, 2010 at 06:14 am

Had a great time last night. The Savannah Music Festival has been hosting bands around the city for the last few weeks but also charging for admission. Last night they hosted a band to play in the “Central Park” of the city and allowed people to spread out blankets, bring food and drinks and listen to the music for free. There were about 3-400 people who came last night. It was a treat. On the financial front- I didn’t spend any money at all even though I spent several hours with friends drinking and eating. Love it when you can bring your own!

I think our refrigerator is on its way out. It sporadically starts making loud noises and then randomly will return back to the normal level of noise that fridges make. 2 friends of mine work in an appliance store so I asked them if they could beat the $300 Lowes deal I found for the upstairs rental unit a few months ago. They couldn’t, but explained that if I tip the fridge onto its back and use a leaf blower to clean the coils underneath- that might fix it. Apparently underneath is where the fridge “breathes” and pet hair/dust/bugs clog it up. The appliance store makes a fortune accepting “non working” fridges and cleaning the coils only to have the fridge last another lifetime and reselling it as a used item. So- tip- clean the coils before you toss a fridge. My friend said to wait an hour or so before plugging it back in once it is rightside up again…this gives the freon time to drain back down into the fridge. I am not so sure I have the strength to go around tipping over fridges and lying them on their back…but we’ll see.BB & I each put $100 a month towards “1st house Expenses” so we have money for a new fridge if we need it.

The kids upstairs are vacating the upstairs rental at the end of May, so I wanted to use the savings to lay down new carpeting and repair plaster, maybe some painting before I rent it out again. I was planning to use just about all the savings for those items…but guess I might need to squeeze out a fridge too!

And in other news…one of my New Years goal was to save up $13,840 towards an eventual renovation of the CA property…whenever the tenant decides to leave that condo…and I am only $1300 short of the goal! I am just gonna keep going at my current savings pace and see how far I can get.

HEL questions

April 12th, 2010 at 07:51 am

First a bit of good news: on my walk yesterday I found 9 pennies! They were scattered in a trail and I thought I was on candid camera- stooping down to pick up a penny, then spying one a few steps away, stooping down again just to see another a few steps away.

Anyways, on to the tricky business:
BB and I want to borrow $40-50k to renovate the Impulsive Purchase. Our contractor quoted us $40k to complete everything we want…but we are already thinking of some other things as well. So somewhere in that range is what we would like to borrow.

In late July we want to hire an engineer/architect to draw up plans for our remodel.

Construction is not set until the 1st week of September, when BB comes home from the season. He plans to be at the site everyday checking on things, learning, and helping out. As of August 1st- we will have owned the property for 6 months.

I want to get a HEL on the Impulsive Purchase. But we only put down 3.5%. The Impulsive Purchase appraised for $15k over purchase price during the sale process…and BB & I bought it because we believe conservatively it is worth $30k over purchase price as it is now. There is 1 good comp (same bedrooms/slightly better kitchen/worse location) listed at $90k over what we paid on the same street now…but it’s been listed for sale for months and no offers.

So…what is the HEL process? I know we pay for an appraiser to come out. Does the property need to appraise as is for higher than we paid for it and we will be able to borrow 80% of the equity? Or would the appraiser account for the remodeling we have plans drawn up to do?

The other possibility is this (I don’t like this possibility):
We take out a HEL on our existing home. The house that I love and never want to leave. This home had 40% equity when we bought it (because we put 40% down)- but the equity shrunk as the housing market declined…but we still have about $62k in equity in it..I am guessing. So that would be enough for The Impulsive Purchase remodel. But I know that in the event that we cannot pay the HEL off…we are putting my beloved dream home in jeopardy.

So I would much rather borrow against The Impulsive Purchase- if possible. Does anyone think it would be possible? Or would I be wasting money for an appraiser to go out to The Impulsive Purchase? Is there another alternative maybe?

…Interest rates on HEL’s tend to be much lower than mortgage interest rates…right? Does anyone know what range they are in these days?

Gardening 102

April 10th, 2010 at 10:34 am

Another picture blog! This time it's of the beautiful flowers that are in bloom. I took my dog for a walk over in Ardsley Park. Ardsley Park is considered Savannah's "first Suburb". It is an area that is all residential, and primarily high end living. I live about a 15 minute walk from Ardsley, and when you are in it- you don't feel the city vibe at all. It's a beautiful escape from the downtown energy.

Below are some examples of the vibrant Azelea bushes that dominate Savannah in April:




My dog:


Crowded out the sidewalk:




Many of the homeowners in Ardsley have their properties enclosed by tall walls...a secret garden type of look. I love some of the garden entrances:


Some pretty little cottage garden houses:





And then there are bigger houses...




There is a yellow viney plant that some of the houses are using. Its not forsyth...its something else. It's very pretty!




Here is a pretty use of the yellow plant and the Azeleas:



And these are some beautiful sidewalks:





This is a cool tree...It's like Hydrangias as a tree?



Heres a beautiful tree with pink rose blooms. I dont know what it is...the tree is very sprawling so it wont work on my property. But I love it.





The flower on the tree:



Another cool tree:



One of the street medians:


A castle house. Looks strange in Ardsley Park...but I am strangely attracted to castle houses.



And Savannah is not complete without Wisteria. I couldnt find a good example of it being used on a house, this will have to do:



Gardening 101

April 9th, 2010 at 08:49 am

Not much happening on the home front. I am still somewhat crazy in my gardening. I didn’t know it- but I love to garden. I know I spent around $3-400 last year on grass seed/plants/annuals/hanging baskets and shrubs. I am determined to spend tops maybe $100 this year.

I look around at my house and I love it. I must admit many of the plants I purchased never made it. My Mandevilla vines were spectacular- but the cold winter killed them, and I was never a fan of where I planted them- so they are gone, and I won’t be replacing them. I guess the winters are too risky in GA for them.

I bought a Lantana bush last year. It was tiny and pretty. Let me tell you they don’t look so pretty in the winter. They lose all their leaves and have dead looking twigs poking out of the ground. And after I bought the Lantana…they came into bloom in GA and they are EVERYWHERE in the wild. They are more like a weed. Why did I buy it? I didn’t know. I won’t be buying anymore Lantanas.

I bought some pretty yellow flowered succulent bushes to line my front walkway. Well- when the yellow flowers fall off you are left with a cactus looking bush- not so pretty. And cactus succulents don’t do so well in rainy Georgia either- they drowned.

And of course I spent a lot of money on annuals. I knew they were going to die but did not care. And they sure were pretty- might spend some money on them this year.

What I bought and lived…well the list is getting longer as I have become a little more educated.
I bought 3 Gardenia shrubs for the front flower bed. It was not until AFTER I bought them that I learned they are VERY difficult to keep alive. Surprisingly they are doing well. I have 1 shrub that has turned quite pale and seems to be on its way out- but I have been a busy mother hen- giving it plant food and lots of water. I am even trying to create acidic water to feed it. I hope it makes it. I don’t know what the problem is- as the other two are great.

I am a Hosta lover. I own 8. They are beautiful and I want to add more. But by September of last year they were quite ratty looking. Something was chewing on them in 1 bed. But the Hostas in the other bed survived the summer with not a single eaten leaf! So I guess the lesson is that all my Hostas need to be in bed #2.

My neighbor and I purchased Jasmine vines to run along the chain link fence dividing our properties. It had previously been overtaken by wild vines and I am still out there weekly trying to get rid of the wild vines and to let the Jasmine grow. Its coming along.

Yesterday I bought 3 pink Gumpo dwarf Azeleas to line my foundation line along one side of my house. 3 is not enough- I need about 4 more. They bloom in June and it will be beautiful! I already have 2 white ones in my front bed so I know their sizing and growth habits. They are warriors. When I bought the house last Feb they were on their last legs. 1 was already dead and had to be tossed. But the other 2 came back beautifully, and now I have a soft spot for them.

And my 2 Camelia bushes. They are my little darlings. I bought them a few weeks ago- so past their flowering season- but I cannot wait for next year. One pink Camellia has thrown up a lot of new growth- I know they are a very slow growing plant but I cannot WAIT for them to be big enough to tower over the Azeleas they are planted next to now.

Anyways, this is not a very great post. Maybe next week I will have some better topics.

Real Estate Saga

April 8th, 2010 at 05:28 pm

Yes I changed my blog colors! The garish pink was getting to me. Made my eyes bleed late at night. This is a softer look...more SPRING!

Anyways....I might or might not (yes I do) know someone buying their first home. I am related to them. So I cannot give advice unless asked- and I know I will not be asked.

Here is the story...it blows my mind, and I could be wrong on the facts. This is all second hand info.

Lets name relative "Becca" (because I like that name). Becca cannot afford to live in her HCOL area and has decided to move to FL where real estate is tanking. Becca and her husband have a good income earning a combined about 80k a year...maybe more.

Becca saw a few houses and put in bids on a few foreclosures/short sales but was outbid. She really wants to take advantage of the $8k tax credit expiring at the end of this month, and interest rates as low as they are now. Because she was outbid on everything, Becca switched realtors.

She found someone who promised she can get a shortsale/foreclosure and close in time to get the credit. Realtor sent Becca online listings and Becca choose a house that she liked. Becca said she wanted to try and purchase it. Becca was told by the realtor that the house would ultimately sell for more than it is listed for- Becca needs to go get preapproved for $15k more if she wants to buy it. Becca goes to the bank to get approved for more.

Becca puts in an offer for $20k more than the list price and waits. and waits. The realtor tells Becca and her family confusing stories of an "Agent" who is in charge of the sale, there is no negotiating with the bank, but the agent..later they learn the agent is actually the realtors husband. The realtor spins it to sound like Becca is going to get a better deal and a faster close because the realtor has a "connection"..then finally Becca's offer is accepted.

A closing date is set, and an inspector must be found to look at the house. The realtor says "the homeowner is a contractor- he can probably inspect it for you. Call him." ...Wrong! Conflict of interest. Becca at least realized this and said- "no". That flew up a red flag for me...I was thinking- "WTH? What realtor would suggest that?"

But something still felt weird for Becca. No earnest money was given. A contract was signed..but something was off.

Finally the REAL story came out. The realtor's husband works at a bank. Before Becca put in her offer (while she was getting preapproved for more money)...the realtor's husband BOUGHT THE FORECLOSED HOUSE for cash. He is now selling the house to Becca for $20k more than he purchased it for! He has not even closed on it yet...he closes on the house the day before Becca closes on it.

And still somehow- Becca and her family are OK with this- they still think they are getting a good deal! They say its because the same house down the street is listed for sale for $20k higher than Becca is paying for her house! So they now know there is a middleman and that they are paying $20k more than he did..but since she can close and get the tax credit, and the house is still underpriced (in her head because of the house down the street listed for $20k higher)...she is going through with the deal!

I don't get it. On so many levels. Forget that most people would say "F it- I'm not paying someone $20k just because they owned a house for 1 day."...forgetting that, what about the ethics of this deal? A realtor took Becca's confidential information (how much money she had, what she could afford, what house she wanted to buy) and used it to her own advantage! She used Becca's trust against Becca! Isnt this fraud?! Isn't this enough to get the realtor fired if not arrested? I thought realtors were required to act on their clients behalf, to work in their clients best interest?! And why is Becca not backing out of the deal so quickly she leaves the realtor cold? Why is she still buying the house? I don't get it. The whole family just accepts it and tells themselves she is still getting a good deal.

If it was me- I would be so angry I would try to get the realtor disbarred from selling real estate. And I would realize that this ass man husband is stuck with a house he does not want in a declining market if I back out of the deal. I would go back and say "I will buy this house- but only for (what he paid for it...or less if I was feeling really angry).

Becca's just continuing with the sale. I am incredulous with her lack of personal judgment but actually don't think the deal will go through. I would think her mortgage company would see the title was held for 1 day before being resold and refuse to do business. Or that the house wont appraise. I hope the whole deal falls through. For Becca's sake.

Please- no one better post that this is common. It is so sleazy I want to throw up.

landloring

April 7th, 2010 at 06:31 am

Ahhh…the first 5 days of the new month have passed. That means…rent collection! And I am thrilled to say all rents have been collected.

This was the first month that the boys upstairs would each be paying an extra $175 a month because their 3rd roommate moved out 2 months ago and used his deposit to pay his next months rent. The boys remembered, and they paid the extra.

This was the first month I would be personally collecting from The Impulsive Purchase. I don’t know the renters styles so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
But the upstairs renter mailed the check as she promised.

The downstairs unit is subsidized by government help…and that check arrived in the mail promptly…but no $194.00 that the tenant was responsible to pay. Yesterday I called her and she was very sweet saying she would give me the money if I came by at 7pm that evening. And she did.

And now all the money has been collected! Whew…that’s a burden off my mind. And let me say it is not a bad life to get all this money coming at you from all directions. I know landlording is not for everyone…but it is definitely for me!

Maybe in 5 years...

April 6th, 2010 at 12:54 pm

BB and I got to spend a few days together this week. I went down to FL for 3 days over the Easter weekend and then he followed me up to Savannah because he is off Mon-Wed due to a break between Spring Training and the regular season.

BB and I went to a barbeque hosted for the minor league coaching staff. It was …different. Many of the coaches are…older. So the party was pretty laid back, the music was not my preference, and there was a lot of watching MLB on the TV (opening day and all). After partying with the players for the last 7 years…partying with the coaches was like aging 15 years. But that’s ok. BB fit right in. He’s always had a mature mindset when it comes to hanging out with people- I think that’s why the coaches all like him.

Anyways- that culture shock moment aside- BB and I had a good conversation last night. We were back here in Savannah and talking about the future. I was talking about how 1 coach tried to caution me that a coaches life is “very hard because they travel so much.” I replied that I will gladly take the traveling over the constant fear of BB getting injured or released that we experienced when he was playing. BB said the coaches feel their career is tough because they only see their families half the year. Many of the coaches played in the Big Leagues so they really don’t need the money. They do it to be a part of the game- or to have a 2nd career because they are in their thirties with no job. But they tend to burn out quickly because living away from your family 6-7 months a year gets old quickly. Especially if you don’t need the money.

A new coach is currently in this exact situation. He and BB get along really well- but the coaches family and kids live in the Mid West and the coach will be living in New England all summer. The guy made close to a million dollars a year for several years...and now he pulls in about a tenth of that. BB is predicting he will last a year or two and is kind of sad about that- since they get along so well.

So this spurred me to ask BB how he is doing without me. We are used to this lifestyle, but I know it still kind of sucks for us both sometimes. BB is doing well, he knows this is his dream job, and he knows this is how it is. BB & I threw out some different scenarios about different teams he could work for that would be closer to home. But that’s a bit unrealistic to expect to be able to hop over to whatever job is the most convenient for you.

We were able to throw some numbers around…and maybe if we keep saving and living as we are now…I might be able to “retire” in 5 years and go back on the road with him. Obviously this is only if nothing happens to us financially between now and then (and something always does come up). But if we save at our present rate and the rentals generate the income we expect- once the construction is finished with The Impulsive Purchase- we might be able to live off his income and put my income into the mortgages. We owe $118k on one house…if I put $25k a year into the mortgage for 5 yrs…we would almost have it paid off. Once that one is paid off- I could “retire” and the rent collected from the other unit would pay about double the mortgage due on it every month. So we could aggressively pay that mortgage off as well while living on BB’s salary alone.

Of course the variable factor is a kid. That’s why I would “retire” in the first place…and why BB would want me on the road with him. So I would not have to put the child in day care and he can see our child more than 5-6 months a year. And it is this “kid” that would likely throw our expenses into havoc and make me unable to retire in 5 yrs. (BB has baby fever…I have to be a bridesmaid in 9 months so I don’t want to get baby fever until after I have to fit into the dress.)

So we’ll see. We have 9 months to play with the numbers before we go into maybe baby land. The cool thing was that during our conversation the money/saving concept really hit home with BB. Like…hit him like a ton of bricks. He said it never even occurred to him that I might be able to quit working because I am always harping on him not to spend money. I am always stressed about how the bills are going to get paid. It’s because I pay us FIRST (and I pay us well) by putting a large chunk into savings every month…and that leaves the budget with little room for error every month. I told him that if we keep living as we are living now, and we do not make any large want based purchases between now and 5 yrs (I see a boat in BB’s want future)…I think the numbers could work. However- it would only work if we do not add anymore monthly bills/ commit large sums of money to a purchase between now and then.

BB understood and said that he likes working towards allowing me to go on the road with him. He wants to live frugally now if that is in his future. He finally understood how strict discipline now will pay off big at a later date. He finished off by saying that the other coaches will be scratching their heads trying to figure out how BB...never got past double A ball can afford to do this when they spent years earning a million or close to it and cant get it done.

I quit you! I quit something else today!

March 30th, 2010 at 06:36 pm

I erased this entry because if you are quitting the immature beauty contest then you are defeating the purpose when you write a long ass blog about feeling ugly because you are naturally getting older.

Time to save some space for some real problems.

I decided to be an under-achiever

March 29th, 2010 at 05:41 pm

Work is still taking up all my time. I work 40-45 hrs a week...My boss works 50-55 hrs a week...and his boss works well over 60 hours a week.

Why do people aspire to be successful!? I don't get it. Yeah it's impressive to say you are president/vice president/program director/chair of this or that department...but after a person kind of looks at you in a subservient manner when they hear your title...where is the re-affirmation and sense of satisfaction!? When you get home at 9pm and realize you see your spouse sleeping more than awake? When it's the weekend and you are still thinking about work? When you feel guilty for leaving work at 5pm? When you get to enjoy beautiful weather walking from the office to your car in the evening?

I know people used to work hard because they could pass their business/skills onto their kids, and leave a legacy. But in today's corporate world- you cant leave anything to your kids. Once you quit/retire...you are replaced the next day and forgotten about within a year.

I don't know. I work hard because I have some weird need to please. I get a rush from a job well done. I work hard for the OFFER of promotion and bigger pay. I want to be recognized for my skills...but do I want my bosses job? No. I don't want his stress. Do I even want the position I am in line to be offered (hopefully when raise time comes in July)...maybe. I mean I think so. Well yes I can handle that job. That wont eat into my weekends and time off. I hope.

But I hope it doesn't become a slippery slope where I become accustomed to more and more stress and less and less life-living.

I know a sign of true wealth is when you don't have to work. You have either enough money that people are paid to work for you...or you have passive income that comes in while you golf.

So then are these guys who run around making $1-200k a year the real idiots who are trading in their life for a paycheck? Or are they maybe so in love with what they do that work has become their life- and "living" is the "work" to them? Or maybe they think they are on the brink of hitting "true wealth" where they can stop working altogether? Or maybe there is a bell curve- and once you are over the peek...you start making more and more money but can work less and less. I do see a lot of big players out there on yachts and have wondered how they have time to be partying on boats when somewhere a company is in need of being run.

I don't know. I am about as low on the totem pole as you can get. If there is a working bell curve out there, I have many years of sacrifice before I will even get to the peek...I am just not cut out for that. I am quitting now. (I am so Generation X..you would never hear a Baby Boomer saying this.)

I don't want to diminish my own job prospects (because I like being OFFERED), but I just don't see the trade off when you work your life away for a big title or paycheck.

Like someone commented in one of my previous posts, they "don't remember much from their work life, but will always cherish the memories spent with family." (I paraphrased).

Cheating on you

March 28th, 2010 at 03:42 pm

I feel like I cheated on Savingadvice.com. I spent the better part of today scrolling the internet reading other people's money blogs. Savingadvice is my one true love and I will always be a lifelong loyalist. It's just that I wasn't getting what I needed to fix a temporary financial need.

Since the Impulsive Purchase I have been swinging back n forth wondering if it was a "Big Mistake, "mini mistake", "good idea" or "GREAT Idea". Depending on the specific circumstances of my day -I swing rapidly around between "Great idea" and "Bad idea". I am craving thai food but my credit card is at the limit for the month and I just spent $10,000 on a down payment last month- so I have no extra cash to use to satiate my thai craving...this Impulsive Purchase was not a very good idea. An hour later I pass by a very pretty Salmon colored house and think about how the Impulsive Purchase would look in that color...buying it might have been a Fun Idea. And then tonight I am counting down the days till we collect rent from it and I can see how the rent compounds and maybe it was a Good Idea.

So I have still not decided...Impulsive Purchase: Best or Worst idea ever? The key to our future wealth or the turning point to losing it all?

I drive myself batty sometimes.

So I went out in search of other peoples experiences. I needed to know- how did their investment properties pay off- (or not pay off)? This search evolved into a more...How am I doing (relative to other bloggers that I found in my age /lifestyle group)? How are my decisions/knowledge/lifestyle measuring up against others? I have my own long term goal- what are other peoples goals...how have their decision to do this that or the other impacted their goals and financials?

I know all these answers can be found here at this blog site. But since I have been blogging here for almost 2 years- I feel almost too close to all of you to be able to see any of your situations objectively. Each blog here is so unique because I know all the decisions and factors that make your situation what it is today. So it's almost incomparable. I needed to go out and find a random guy blogging somewhere and use him as a reference point.

And boy did I learn some things! First off- there is some aggressive blogging out there. You can almost feel the financial frenzy. There are people blogging their net worth every month. I appreciate their blogs, but I myself couldn't get so caught up in writing that my networth is up .03% from last month (especially because I have learned that those tiny losses and gains are zereoed out after a few months). But sometimes you need to read those blogs. To see what they are doing, planning and achieving.

Also I think that some people are better at maintaining their annynimity than I am and they can let it all hang out like that. They can talk about their focus to earn a million dollars in the next 5 yrs, or 10 yrs or one person made $7 million dollars in 7 years! - but they can do that because their blog's sole focus and goal is to achieve this particular objective. Me- I think my blogging style is to just document my life. My own personal interest happens to be personal finance- how people choose to spend the money they make- how their life turns out as a result of their financial decisions- so I enjoy the blogs here at Savingadvice most of all. No one here is particularly "showy", "flaunty" or agressive. No one is looking for the fast track to a high end lifestyle. Everyone is pretty open minded, receptive to ideas and slow and steady. I like that.

But this weekend I needed the other type of blogs. The more focused blogs that simply revolve around a particular financial theme.

I learned...that no one knows yet. No one knows if buying real estate is a great thing or a bad thing. No one knows if investing $2400 a month into retirement will mean you can retire early (I do not invest this amount into my retirement- but I read about a blogger who does.)

Some people are very confident in their decisions. Some bloggers think their method is the track to their sucess (and they have multiple charts to predict it). Some bloggers were very confident and agressive in 2005-2006...and you can actually see them slam on the brakes and re-evaluate EVERYTHING in 2007-2008. And some take the current financial recession as a sign of the times, a "well so I lost 30% of my net worth, so did everyone else" attitude. Others are fighting tooth and nail to get back lost net worth. Some are desperately hanging onto their old system- convinced that it was (is) a good method- in bad times. Others are defeated and suddenly start talking about how money is not everything.

Reading blogs in other areas of the internet- where I am not emotionally invested in the outcome because I dont "know" them (as I know all of you LOL)- was refreshing.

So I learned that no one knows. No one knows if investment properties are a good idea or a bad idea. No one knows if there is any sure-fire method to retiring early. And that makes me feel better. Time will tell if the Impulsive Purchase was good or bad. Right now- today- it's whatever I make of it.

A few blogs I really liked and might continue to follow:
http://frugalzeitgeist.blogspot.com/

http://www.myopenwallet.net

Job-Baby?

March 26th, 2010 at 05:24 pm

Things are rolling along. Trying to keep an eye on our budget but with all these weddings coming up and the uncertainty of The Impulsive purchase I feel like giving up for a while. I cant get on a smooth routine with the finances and it stresses me out just trying.

Anyways- BB is doing really well with his job. He loves it and the team seems to love him. I think this will be his forever job.

My job is going really well too. I was getting a bit lazy at it and my boss kind of called me to task about 2 weeks ago by telling me to tighten up and then he also heaped a bunch of additional projects on me- the added responsibility and the sudden clearer understanding of what my boss expects of me made me step up in a way even I didn't think I was capable of.

I killed myself to learn how to do long processes in a shorter amount of time, learn how to do things I had never done before, and to finish my work with a polish that made the work appear that my boss did it himself. He was impressed with my sudden "abilities" and so was I! So I have kind of become second in command in the office as my boss has been leaning on me more and more- fine with me- job security.

Sometimes BB brings up the kid conversation. He wants to maybe make a baby this summer. I think I am finally ready to actually go through labor and make the sacrifices to raise a kid- but I feel like my job is finally turning into a career. My boss is being prepped to be a president of his department- and that would put me in a position to also move in a power type of role- and none of the jobs I have my eye on could be done by working part time.

I don't know. I generally get burned out on jobs around the 2 yr mark. I'm coming up on the 1 years mark- I should just wait another year and then I will probably feel ready to give up the working thing for the baby thing.

I need to stop worrying about the big picture and focus on the smaller stuff. Its the day to day finances that feels out of control. I need to get into a rhythm..even with all these weddings coming up.

Messy Finances

March 21st, 2010 at 07:44 am

My finances feel cluttered. I have been feeling this way since we closed on The Impulsive Purchase. I have been able to ignore it till about last night.

Last night I watched Suze Ormon and her show combined with a very expensive St. Patty's celebration week (numerous people came into town- it's the 3rd biggest St. Patty's celebration in the country behind NY & Boston) made me want to get the finances back on track.

I didn't get anywhere other than realizing the next few months will continue to get murky. So bear with me while I try to at least get the facts down:

On April 1st I will owe my first mortgage payment on The Impulsive Purchase. I will also be trying to collect the rent from 3 different sources before the payment is due. That should work out ok. I will still need to cough up $85.00 because the property is not completely cash flowing due to the ridiculous low rents these tenants pay.

We have the upstairs tenants of the 1st property moving out in the end of May. Have not yet decided if I want to pour about $500 into the place to smooth out the plaster walls, paint and replace bedroom carpeting so I can charge more. But then the place wont be rented for about 2 weeks and that is lost rent. I think in the condition it is in now I can raise the rent...$50 a month. With the improvements I might be able to get out another $150 a month. Trying to be conservative in this recession. I prob should do the work- but the upstairs rent pays my whole mortgage and it might be a bit painful to cough up that payment right now- having just bought The Impulsive Purchase.

The California property is going to be $400 short this month. It was $400 short last month. The fridge broke down and the tenant got a new one for $720 plus taxes and haul off fee. She is splitting the bill in half each month so I don't have to deal with the pain of being $800 short in 1 months rent. But no matter how you slice it the shortage is still painful. But the new fridge is a tax write off- next year I will reap the benefits.

I seem to have entered wedding-land. I have 4 out of town weddings this year and 3 are in Mexico! BB will be accompanying me to 3 of the 4 so then the cost doubles. Just weighing on my mind. Especially because I committed and purchased plane tickets for a Vegas trip in May before I knew about 3 of the weddings. So not sure where the money for all this is coming from. Just gotta keep in mind these are short term obstacles. And 5 vacations in 1 year is very excessive but I guess a good problem to have.

So that's whats on my mind. I am going to be entering a few months where I will be borrowing from one account to pay bills for another...I don't like living that way- I like saving money every month- not going into the red- but I think it cant be helped until maybe July or August.

Then once September rolls around we start trying for the HELOC on The Impulsive purchase so we can convert it into a SFH and move into it. OIY. That will be 2 oir 3 months of having The Impulsive Property vacant while work is done but still being responsible for the mortgage and also living in our 1st property so it cannot be rented out to cover the Impulsive Properties mortgage. Messy messy times ahead.

The only positive is that I am back to E-Baying. I made $300 this month and have more items to list. I am going to try and use that money to make up for the shortages.
So the finances are cluttered. Messy. Not even blogging about it has helped.

My lack of Domestication cost me $69.00.

March 18th, 2010 at 05:19 pm

So the upstairs tenant complained that his washer stopped working in the middle of a load. I ran up there real quick and confirmed that yes- the washer is broke.

I called Sears and agreed to pay a $69.00 service charge plus whatever it would cost to fix. 5 days after the washer "broke"- the repairman comes out and starts it right up!

Turns out the washer has an automatic shutdown if the motor gets to hot. The tenant admitted it was his second load when the washer died. If we had known to wait a few hrs and try it again- we would have saved $69! Oh well- live and learn.

I am not too upset because I thought it would be a $2-300 visit- but was really just $69. Though I should be annoyed I spent $69 for someone to walk in and press "start".

Small things here and there

March 16th, 2010 at 09:13 am

Things are going well. Work has been cutting into my days a lot. I have a new office (with a view!) but cannot cruise the internet anymore because of the way my computer monitor is set on the desk to be seen by everyone walking by.

Money has been difficult. When BB got his job it took such a big burden off my shoulders and we suddenly had so much money coming in we didn't quite know what to do with it.

So we bought a second property. We looked at the long term costs and decided we could afford it- but the 2nd property has really put a new burden on us.

Just little things here and there. But the little things remind me how expensive a BIG thing might be one day.

The tenant in the upstairs unit of the 2nd property complained that there are several tiles missing in the shower. After inspecting further the whole wall is rotting and the tiles will continue to fall. I want to do a patch job since we plan to move into it in the Fall and do a lot of demo- but in the meantime it has to be fixed.

The tenant in the downstairs unit is now responsible for paying $200 a month of her $550 a month rent. The apartment is Section 8 housing (subsidized by the government) so she has to go through yearly evaluations to see how much of her rent she can pay and how much the government will pay. The newest evaluation decided she will pay $200 which is a $200 increase from last year. It worries me that this might be the beginning of bounced checks and late payments.

Then the Washing machine on our upstairs tenant in the 1st property broke. Its a 4 year old combo washer/dryer and it smells like the motor burned out on the washer. I think it will be around $260 to have the repairman replace the motor if that is all it needs.

So nothing heavy- no big issues. Just some small stuff cropping up that makes me wish we did not buy that 2nd property. We barely got to enjoy BB's new paycheck before it started getting eaten up by this 2nd property.

But in the long run it will be worth it. I am just looking forward to the renovations to start so that we can start seeing why we got into this property in the first place.

A walk through Savannah

March 7th, 2010 at 10:57 am

SPRING HAS ARRIVED!!! For today at least. It was so beautiful today I could practically feel the joy of the city.

I grabbed the dog, the camera and meandered around town for a few hours.

Now that I am back I thought I might take you on a picture tour of parts of the city. These pictures are not of the commonly seen Savannah houses- the tours and guides take visitors around "The historic district" which consists of about 6 square miles- but Savannah and it's beauty stretch much farther than the Historic Districts boarders.

First picture is a glimpse of my street...


My next door neighbors house:


This next house is 2 blocks from my house. The house was burned in a fire and sold about a year ago at a public auction for $40,000! The owners live in Germany and I heard they would be coming to Savannah this summer to start the restoration work. I am very excited to see the progress.


Below is the Kiah museum. The previous homeowner was named Virginia Jackson Kiah. She was a local African American artist and was very involved in the Civil Rights movement. She turned her own home into a museum and featured art from around the world and also local artists work. Her husband was one of the first African American presidents of..I think it was University of Georgia. When she died she left the house to the local college of Arts but they have not done anything with it and it has obviously fallen into severe disrepair. It's a shame. Ironically the college named a whole building after her too.


A few blocks farther away:


Below is the Gingerbread House.That's it's real name, though I'm not sure why. It is a showstopper of a house. It is located pretty far from the Historic District so only locals and architect buffs know about this house. Apparently it is one of the best representations of this style of architecture in the South East. It recently was for sale for $2.5 million dollars.


Below is one of my favorite houses in Savannah. I don't think anyone really knows it's here. It's on an obscure street and is a bit run down. But it is just so cool looking. King of like a Victorian Castle.


I snapped this house because the colors remind me of Alice in Wonderland:


This is the only house in Savannah that I can find with Heart Handrails. It's another house that no one notices- but I always delight in walking by it and wondering what it is like to live in a house with hearts carved into the architectural details!


Someone was VERY courageous to choose these paint colors:


Some cool houses. I don't know what type of house they are though.


These are some more run down castles houses. One is abandoned and the other looks like it might be close to abandoned. But I think with some TLC these buildings could be show stoppers.


Another run down house that will one day be beautiful.


This is the "Funny Eccentric Wing House". It's located in a not so great area of the city so I always have a ball walking friends by it. Even people living in Savannah have usually never seen it! I cant figure it out other than it's painted wild colors and someone put a lot of effort into it!




These are "BB's Castle Houses" These can be found when you turn onto the street that also has our "Impulsive Purchase". BB has been in love with these 2 houses since we came to Savannah and I think a big reason he wanted to buy The Impulsive Purchase is because it is a block from these 2 beauties. I must admit- I am looking forward to getting to know the owners of these houses and getting a chance to go inside.


A better pic...


And THIS is the reason I wanted The Impulsive Purchase. This purple Victorian sold just as we moved to Savannah and it has always been on my list of favorite houses. It's only 4 doors down from The Impulsive Purchase!


This is a Church that was converted to condos. Construction is just about done and the condos are up for sale now. This church is a block from The Impulsive Purchase in the other direction.


And since The Impulsive Purchase is on the edge of the Historic District, the houses start getting prettier and better kept up...


And once you are in the Historic District, you will be able to relax in one of the 21 historic squares that fill the 6 square miles (though there are also many squares outside of the Historic District). Below is Whitfield Square:


progress

March 6th, 2010 at 05:00 am

BB just had a meeting yesterday to learn about his retirement options. If he contributes 4% to his retirement, his company matches with 8%!! That seems a little odd...I wouldn't be surprised if he misunderstood- but he (and I) are pumped.

I met with both tenants of The Impulsive Purchase and finally everything is cleaned up in a neat and tidy bow. I have collected the deposits from the previous owner, the pro-rated rent, and the March rent.

Taxes were completed and it looks like the refund will put a small chunk back that we deducted to pay closing costs on The Impulsive Purchase.

Finally- things are getting back to where I was hoping they would be.

BB is doing well with his new job

March 1st, 2010 at 02:09 pm

I might have mentioned this before- but BB was able to go back to the FL baseball school he worked at for the last few years and re-negotiated his payment for providing baseball lessons. He still splits the lesson money 50/50 with the school, but now charges $100 an hour rather than $50 (which personally I think is highway robbery- but people pay it!).

BB knew this would decrease the lesson load- but with his full time coaching job he no longer needs or has time for a big client base.

He just called me to tell me that while he was working today the baseball school set him up for 4 1/2hr lessons tonight!

I am very happy for him. He gets paid by the school 1x a month so he has to wait for the paycheck to come in, and then gets taxed on the lessons- but it's still pretty exciting that he is able to earn so much money.

Here in Savannah BB was charging $50 an hour and only got 1 client out of it. (I admit our advertising was lacking.) I knew for the Savannah economy $50 an hour is a premium price to pay- but in FL the baseball culture is much more competitive and extreme. With spring training, and nice weather year round, and pro athletes living nearby- baseball seems to be taken much more seriously by the parents and getting on JV, Varsity teams is very competitive. (And I'm not saying that's a good thing!)

But the 1 Savannah client BB taught this season was very reliable and his father emailed BB this week requesting tickets to a spring training game! The family is going to go down for a long weekend and wants to see a game against the Braves. BB gets tickets for free so he is happy to give them to the family. The child was in his first game of the season last week and did well enough for the father to email BB a happy report. We are hoping to get more Savannah students next off season through word of mouth from his current client.

Anyways- BB also told me he had to throw batting practice to a few very expensive players and the top "brass" (managers/scouts/coaches)were all behind home plate watching the players intently. He said he felt the old rush as if he was the one being evaluated. I asked him if he regrets retiring and he said "No way." His body is too achey to permorm anymore and like the Tobey Kieth song "I'm not as good as I once was- but I'm ALMOST as good ONCE as I ever was." That wouldnt cut it as a player so BB is happy to no longer worry about pains and injuries. He said he's happy to be on the coaching side now.

I'm relieved. It was a long time to get to this point. BB and I went through some rough spots- but he was able to live out his dream and now we can let that dream go to someone else.

Not much to report

March 1st, 2010 at 12:30 pm

A fresh month for me. I came out considerably ahead in February if you dont count the $12,000.00 spent for closing costs/down payment on The Impulsive Purchase.

This month BB is away in FL and I cannot track his spending. So the numbers will be a bit off- just as they are every season. But BB is on a $1,000.00 a month allowance that gets transferred into his account, so I will just deduct the $1k and catagorize it "BB's spending".

Otherwise not too much is happening.
Which is great. I like it that way.


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