Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Big Changes

Outside of the whole growing a person thing there have been some big changes at Casa POMF. Last night we signed closing papers to refinance our house. Last week we paid off the Prius. Now we're just a wee bit broke.

The refinance will save us $300/month, cut out PMI, and cut our rate 1.67%. Sadly, refinancing was almost (if not more) complicated that originally purchasing the house. The biggest pain was the appraisal process. The short story is appraiser 1 committed appraisal fraud. In between appraisal 1 and 2 we were doing things like choosing paint colors, getting supplies/packages for baby, and just a general me being pregnant. Scheduling time off to meet people and keep things neat while trying to finish up at work was no fun. The up side of the crazy is our house appraised 20K higher than when we bought it. This was also 20K higher than appraisal 1.

We kept the mortgage in just my name due to credit reasons. Though I had no problem getting a mortgage the first time around this time our debt to income rations with just my income were too high. So after a few discussions of the options we decided to pay off the Prius. This wiped out the majority of our cash on hand. I just updated our spreadsheet/Networth IQ and we went from around 20K in cash to 6K in cash. Half of that is currently allocated to something specific, but liquid if we need it.

The upside is we should be able to rebuild our cushion pretty quickly. Making those two moves is saving us $810/month. For the next few months we'll send the money we would have sent to the mortgage/etc to our efund to get it rebuilt. This also reduces how much we need in case of emergency, because we don't have as many obligations.

While all of that has been going on we've also gotten the nursery painted, bought the last of the baby furniture, purchased carseats and gotten the carpets cleaned in anticipation of the baby/my mom's arrival. This weekend was my shower, so the living room looks like a baby store threw up all over it, in the best possible way.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thoughts on Space

In the 3 months since I've posted time has sped by. The baby is due in 5.5 weeks. We've gotten all of the big baby stuff (car seat, crib, dresser, stroller)- or at least ordered it. I closed out the fiscal year at work and am getting my coworkers prepped for my maternity leave. Half of the fall programming I run is scheduled and the other half is underway. We're also in the middle of refinancing our mortgage, possibly paying off the Prius, and getting ready for the added expenses of baby.

There is a lot to blog about in that last paragraph but something a friend put on facebook yesterday is bugging me. The friend is married, both working professionals, and recently they had twins. I don't know the numbers, but I'd guess they earn in the $100-150 range as a couple.

They live in a 3 bedroom, 2 story house in a suburban style neighborhood not too far from us. Zillow says it's 1800 sq feet. They have a master, an office, and the twins currently share a room. The house is upside down, I'm guessing by approx $40K, though the area is slowly starting to rebound.

With twins they feel that the house is too small. Our friend has said multiple times that they're bursting at the seams. They just found out that they can't qualify for a short sale because they make too much money. Until then the plan had been to short sell their current place and buy a bigger place*. So now they're considering letting the house go into foreclosure.

To me the whole thing just seems crazy. Totally screw your credit, ability to buy anything for 7-10 years, and your neighbors because you think your house is too small.

My husband and I were discussing this last night and I realized that a big part of the outlook has to do with our beginnings. This couple has always lived (even as kids) in suburban type homes. Hubby and I are both city kids. Each of us remembers periods where multiple relatives were living with us for whatever reason in less than 1,000 sq foot homes. Our families made due because that was the circumstance they found themselves in and what was necessary to take care of everyone.

To us enough space is a very relative thing. Our current house is large (2500+ sq ft). We bought when the market was crashing with the idea that we could stay here for 20 years, raise 2-4 kids, and be happy if necessary. But if we only had 1,000 sq feet we could make that work too.

It just seems like such a waste to ruin so much of your financial life over 500-1000 sq feet.

*Though the logistics of that makes my head hurt.