My new babies

Since thedelusionist  was getting back to his feminine side the other day by publicly discussing his shoes, I thought I'd do the same and discuss my new babies.

My Mum and Dad gave me some money for Christmas, I bought these cacti and planted them over the weekend. They came from the ever so helpful people at the Great Outdoors on South Congress.

I named them, from left to right, swim, bike and run. Note that the order of size matches that of the importance to the segments in my triathlons ;-)

I've started to take an active role in my house now I've re-mortgaged, last year in principle(pun intended) because of a mess-up in the good faith estimate I bought a house I really could barely afford. At the last minute I had to switch to an interest only mortgage, which meant last year I blew $45,000 on interest. Wow.

So, I saved up what I could, sold a few shares in the share boom of September and managed to re-finance knocking some $70k off the mortgage and avoiding mortgage insurance. The net result came out pretty good, and if I deduct the principle from my current payment, the difference is $1000 approx, which makes the wasted interest from last year notionally only $14,000.

So it was that when the valuation for the re-mortgage, the house came in at $525,400. Almost $94,000 over what I paid for it. So I decided I need to take more care of it. I spent the bulk of the afternoon working on the rear yard, I even got a blister on the palm of my right hand. So much for being a softie office worker. Next w/e if the weather stays good I'm going to do work on the front yard and clean up around the tree.
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Housing is such a bummer... hell of a time to have bought in the USA... don't expect your valuation to hold up necessarily, while your market may dodge it there is a material chance of a 15-30% drop in US house prices still to come (more if there is a serious recession).
Yeah, thats the good thing though, I'm not in it to make money, and intend to see out my working life in the house, and possibly retire there if I don't decide to relocate, so I can afford to sit and wait...

I wish I was like effendi though, he's paid his off!
That's pretty awesome. $45k in interest, though? Really? That wasn't a typo? I guess not if you're figuring mortgage on a ~$400k house to be ~$4k... But then to have not paid any of that down? Ouch. Well good job refinancing, it looks like you came off pretty well, which is pretty remarkably good. I just bought a house in April and though I'm a tad worried about this whole housing meltdown, I don't think that Austin has been having the kind of bubble-like house-price-appreciation that is going to absolutely destroy other markets like, say, San Diego, Miami, or other places with ~30% appreciation/yr. My house, though, is much more in the $73k range so if we have a bit of a problem, well, then that's not the worst thing in the world. My mortgage payment (with homeowner's insurance and property taxes) is $600. It's not what I would call, "nice" though. Yet. ;) I just got inspired to start doing more work to it though so it's good to see that you have, too. Springtime in the air already!

See my comment to Alex, yes, worth worrying if you are a property speculator, or have bought a 2nd home for buy to rent... but if its a primary home and you are reasonably safe in your job, assuming you can afford the payments it really doesn't matter what the house is worth.

The problem comes when there is a really bad recession, you lose your job, you can't make the payments, and you can't sell...
Or if you just plain old end up owing $500k on a house that's worth $350 and can buy one across the street then walk away from your old one saving yourself $150k... there are some bizarre situations that may be practical if the you know what hits the fan (as I personally expect it to, although I have been wrong about how undervalued the dollar has become and the stimulative effect that has had).
Just hypothetically, I don't understand how you'd do that. to buy the 350k property I'd need a mortgage, I assume I'd get that by lending against the sale of the 500k house, when that failed to sell I'd be unable to meet the commitment I'd made against both houses, risk losing both and be really hung out to dry as I'd have to pay for a bridging loan on top...

or maybe I just don't understand...
As far as I understand it, the second property would be an "investment property" and would fall under different guidelines... and given the general state of lending underwriting in the USA I wouldn't be surprised to find that there were other ways to borrow completely excessive amounts. I don't fully understand it either (although I did work in real estate in 2004 in Las Vegas and it was certainly possible then to get a mortgage on anything if you had a high FICO score).

In general, the middle class walking away from upside-down mortgages is the nightmare of the bankers and financiers and most of them are just starting to appreciate the danger... and scenarios like that make for top news.
Right. Well that's the smart way to deal with it I suppose... Just kind of anti-flip-this-house-make-a-gajillion-dollars-tomorrow mentality that seems so popular these days...
Hey, I read your stuff, I'd post on my winter bike, but its my summer bike with new wheels :-) Hope the job is going well!
Re: Nice plants!
It's near the going rate for a decent place "downtown" - South Congress is a 10-min walk... the hike and bike trail is a mile jog, and its a nice 3-bed, new house - just what a single guy needs... duh....