Big Changes (News!)

Isn't Fancy georg
Isn’t Fancy gorgeous? Such beautiful markings.

So, after months of Paralysis by Analysis or Decisional Impairment, I pulled the trigger, and have decided I’m going to NC. I’ll be traveling in February (let’s just leave it a bit vague since this is the internet) to do a couple things. One, hopefully find a place to live, and two, (2) check out the area, and (3) hopefully meet some veterinarians or vet techs that I can just talk to about their jobs, their field in that area of the country, etc.

I’m not sure why – maybe it was the sheer number of vet offices and animal hospitals I found within the Greensboro area, or the fact that my weather app told me it was in the 50s there this week, while we’re freezing to death up in Boston. Maybe it was the prices of homes down there and the realization that I could actually afford to buy something and have it cost less than renting.  Maybe the fact that taxes in the county areas outlying Greensboro have taxes of about one-tenth (yes, you read that right) of what I used to pay for a house in the suburbs of Boston.  I told my sister about some of this and she just laughs. I sound completely amazed and keep saying “OH MY GOD, it’s SO CHEAP!” and she’s like “um, yeah…that’s what it is for most places in this country.” (Remember, she’s in MI, a state pretty much in the shitter, but still…) Or the fact that some of my online research confirmed that there is a large number of horses that can be found in NC, along with horse events. And where there are events, I think they need vets, and where they need vets, I hope they also need vet techs.  And even if I don’t work with horses, there a ton of companion animal vet practices down there as well, and you all know how I love those types of animals too.

And maybe it was the luck that when I looked into flights to get there, I could find a non stop flight for $177 on jet blue, so I can check a bag for free.  (Good thing because little Baby O is going to go on her first flight with me. I’m going to be gone for five nights, and I always miss the furballs when I am gone. Plus, it would actually cost more to leave her at home.  And, believe it or not, but she actually will cost more to go on this flight than I will. For the bargain basement price of $100 each way, NON-REFUNDABLE of course, your pet can fly with you as one of your carry-ons. Yep, she costs $200 while, taking up a human size seat, cost less. Figure that one out…

Anyway, I was able to find a really nice place to stay through airbnb, and it’s actually on a horse farm. So yes, I get to see horses there too! I feel like things are starting to really come together. The lady with the horse farm is married to a real estate broker so he was able to refer a realtor to me who I have really liked working with so far, and she was able to refer me to a few lenders, one of which I contacted the other day and really like. So, I’m already pre-approved for a mortgage.

Now, I want you all to know – my plan is to only buy a place that, if I were to only make 10-12/hour, I can still afford the place and even be able to save money every month. That’s a possibility down in NC.  I REFUSE to be house poor.  Just because I got approved for about 5X as much as I want to spend on a house doesn’t mean I need to spend it. And I don’t plan to. I want a small house, something that is in decent shape, and not too large – a 700 square foot house or smaller would be ideal, as that’s pretty much the same size as my apartment now.  (I think i surprised the mortgage broker too, when I said, oh no, this isn’t just what I want for a few years while going back to school – I want a small home, permanently!)  And in case you are wondering why I am looking to buy rather than rent, well, it literally will be cheaper to own than to rent down there. And I would like to build some more equity in my life in addition to my retirement funds.

I’ll write more about the lending process as get further into it, but so far I’ve found that it’s actually harder to take a smaller mortgage from a lender than a big one – there is a federal law that aims to prevent small mortgagees from paying large fees relative to the amount of the loan. So I may not be able to borrow less than $50K – needless to say, I’m going to do some more research into this.  But I’ve decided, if that’s the case – if I can get a smaller home, with maybe more land, then I would be able to take care of more animals down the line. And that’s hugely important to me.

I’m really feeling like this is the plan that it has rightfully taken me a long time to come across. I know I have changed my mind more times than I can count but with every false step I took in one direction, it taught me more about myself. Small is still great for me. I still love the outdoors, and having a small space forces you into the outdoors. I still want to experience warmer weather during this time of year. And I DEFINITELY want to have animals in my life in a big way. This morning, Max rubbed up against me as I was doing some handwashing in the bathroom, and I thought to myself “how could I NOT want to work with animals every day??!! They make me so happy.”

Well, it’s time for me to get a move on, on this MLK Day. My plan is to get a lot of my letters written up so I can snail mail them tomorrow to vets down in the NC area. Now that I can tell them when I am coming down there, and school starts tomorrow! (yay!), I can demonstrate even more my commitment to the move and to the new way of life.

I swear, she knew I was taking photos of her for the blog - she stood very still for this one!
I swear, she knew I was taking photos of her for the blog – she stood very still for this one!

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16 thoughts on “Big Changes (News!)

  • Sounds like a plan! Best wishes as you house hunt. I’m in the mortgage business…in Michigan….and yes there are rules that keep you from paying too much too a lender in fees in relation to the mortgage size. Still, you should be able to finance a small house. Good luck!

    • So I might be able to get a house for under 50K and still be able to get the loan? The mortgage broker I talked to said that my loan would be a “Second home loan” since I will be qualifying for it based on my current income in a different state, and at the time that I would close, I would still have my residence up here. Thank you so much for commenting!

    • And sorry, I didn’t mean any offense to your state (MI) when I said it was in the shitter, I just know my sis tells me how bad it is, economy-wise, which makes sense given the illness of the auto industry and everything connected to it.

  • Terri it might be best to live there for at least a year before you try to buy a place. Once you have lived there for about a year, you will have a better feel for the community. I understand you have a lot of pets, and finding a place to rent is tough. Best of luck with all you do… I’m sure it will all work out great for you.. It will for sure be warmer, and I’m sure you will love the Southern hospitality that the nice people of North Carolina have to offer.

    • Hi Cary, I had thought of that – renting before buying. I just don’t think I’m going to find another landlord willing to let me have as many as I do, and the option of getting rid of any of them is just not an option for me. (I know you understand.) If I don’t get a good feel for the place on the February trip, then I will plan on going back again later in the spring. And yes, so far, the Southern folks have been so friendly and helpful. I kind of wonder “are they for real?” sometimes. 🙂 Very different from the reserved New England area.

    • It’s actually been a while since I read that book – I’ll have to review it again. I sometimes listen to his radio show on my iHeart Radio app so I have an idea of what he said in there. I know he usually tells people until you’re out of debt, or can afford to put down 20% at a 15 year plan, to not do it. At the prices of houses in NC, I actually can put down 20%. My plan is to put down 10-20% depending on the purchase price and closing costs. And then pay a ton of it early – even if I get a 30 year conventional mortgage, I plan on paying it off way ahead of thirty years. And my student loans will go drastically down once I switch jobs too. So I will still be able to save for retirement. And i know that houses do cost in terms of upkeep and maintenance. When I was married, I owned a house for 6 years. It’s part of why if I buy a house this time around, i want something small. Less to maintain and less to clean.

    • Hi again,

      I just checked his website – these are three questions I can answer yes to, and I also have a fully funded emergency fund as of right now too!

      Can I make at least a 10% (preferably 20%) down payment?
      Can I afford a 15-year fixed rate loan?
      Can I keep the house payments at or below 25% of my monthly take-home pay?

      I can’t be out of debt before I buy it because I am going to be changing my repayment plan to be based on my income. In the long run, with the new repayment plan, I will pay much less on the student loans in the grand scheme of things. A lot less, because after 25 more years it will be forgiven. (It will be about 1/5 or 1/6 of the amount I would end up paying back under the repayment plan I am under now.) And believe me, I’ve already paid back the principal and then a whole lot more.

      • First, thanks for not being offended that I gave advice you didn’t ask for. 🙂

        The point is though that, following his steps in order, you wouldn’t buy a house when under a lot of debt. If you purchase, you’ll need money for repairs, furniture, lawn maintenance equipment or service …. the list goes on and on. (I know you know this as I seem to recall you’ve previously been a homeowner).

        Glad to hear that you listen to him! Have you thought about giving him a call?

      • Hi Kim, I had this whole response written up to you last night on my phone and then well, I didn’t know the stupid password to my site and I had problems resetting, so I’m going to try to remember what I had responded with last night!

        I do like Dave’s advice for some things – living below your means (I do), doing whatever you can to not waste money, don’t go out a lot when you can’t afford it, etc. But I don’t think it can apply as “one answer fits all.” If I were to call him and tell him my financial situation, which is that I pretty much live on 1/3 of my gross, and about 52% of my takehome, he would probably still think that I need to live even more cheaply. Try that in Boston – I’m already down to the bare bones. Don’t have a car. Don’t go out to eat all the time (if I do, it’s MAYBE once a month.) I work multiple jobs to save money and pay off debt.

        However, if it were up to Dave, I would still not have even started saving for retirement, and it’s because I started a while ago that I even have a positive net worth today (yes, even given my big student loan debt.)

        For me, moving someplace cheaper will help me with pursuing more of his plan or my goals. I’ll be able to get a mortgage payment, taxes, etc., that will be less all together, than it would be paying rent. I’ve paid over 50K in rent the past four years and have nothing to show for it. If I move someplace cheaper, my living expenses (housing, etc.) will be about half of what they are now, and that’s one of the biggest chunks of my budget. I’d like to actually build equity in something for my money. And I also plan on not buying something big because I want to be able to pay for repairs, maintenance. And I don’t need much to make me happy. I really don’t.

        I do like Dave, I just don’t think his advice can apply to everyone without some little tweaks here and there.

      • Good luck on your move. Look forward to following along. And, once again, thanks for all you are doing for the animals!

  • Whatever you do, don’t buy a fixer upper. $1,000 here for repairs, $1,000 there for plumbing, $6,000 for a new roof, etc. Its ads up =)

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