A New Year for New Experiences

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Happy New Year to all of you. I hope 2019 ended the way you wanted…and if not – there is always tomorrow.

Brian and I fell off the face of the earth in October. Do you recall past posts in which I championed simplicity and a more minimalist lifestyle? Well…let’s just say, Brian and I put a pin in that for now. While life is not terribly complicated, it certainly isn’t as simple as I would prefer it to be!

Brian and I decided to buy a house.

Choosing Change

I have plans.

I have plans for my plans. If Plan A fails, I move to Plan B. I plan for failure, just as I plan for success. We weren’t truly looking for a house. In fact, we very loosely and quite casually browsed the housing market for the last 6 years. I simply like to keep an eye out for interesting investments.

With no mortgage for the last few years, Brian and I have been able to sock away a nice percentage of our income. We spend money with intention, always with a keen focus on reaching our ultimate goal of financial freedom.

We spotted a newly-listed home during one of our “open house” ventures. The area is due for a revitalization. The price was on par with other comps. It was beautifully finished with some old school charm. Brian and I threw in an offer. Because the sellers had already placed an offer on another home, which was contingent on their home selling, they worked with us on the price.

So – we bought the house!

Our New (old) House

A nicely updated home built in 1965 with great bones and interesting history. Home to a chemist, a widow, a young family…and now us.

Despite upside down outlets, a few two prong outlets, and some strange DIY plumbing, we don’t have much to fix around the house. What remains are the renovations we would eventually plan: expanding the master bathroom, upgrading our windows, finishing out the partially-finished basement. We know ONE DAY we will have to replace our AC unit, circa 1989. It still works, if you can believe it!

So many people talk about a “forever home”. I’m not sure what that is, exactly. This home is more Brian than it is me, but that’s because I would be perfectly happy living in an RV and roaming around the country. I’m a strange bird, I know this…

RV or not, I embrace this home as ours. Whether or not we stay here for a while or just a few years, it’ll be ours until it isn’t. I’m excited and interested to see how the area and housing market progresses. We bought the house at the right time. Just days before we closed on the house, a press release revealed that developers are confirmed to be moving forward in reviving local commercial properties close to our house!

I bought my first property in 2009. I have kept an eye on the local market since then, with specific interest in certain areas since 2013. While I say this is more Brian’s house than mine, it’s not because I don’t enjoy the house; I’m just not a person who gets attached to homes (or things, for that matter). I’m interested to see how the value progresses and what might happen in the future. Always a planner.

What’s Next?

Brian and I are 90% sure we are selling our other home instead of renting it out. We’ll take some time to paint and clean the home over the next couple of months. Once finished, we will take a look at the numbers, the area, and city council plans to determine whether we should rent or sell.

In 2017, the city next to ours, which is less than a mile down the road, nixed a massive “Live/Work/Play” development due to concerns of increased traffic. It’s back on the table now, with potential to pass in February. If it passes, it would be a very interesting time for the neighborhood and housing market.

In the meantime, while we clean up our old house, we are slowly working to move in and feel at home in our new house. We’ve changed the locks, installed new carpet, and added new furniture (that I SADLY did not get to dumpster dive for). Moving in and getting settled is a process for anyone, but for me: I like to honor the home. It has a past. In my eyes, a house has a soul. Is that a funny thing coming from someone who doesn’t get attached to things? Maybe. For me, it wouldn’t feel right to move in without appreciating the home’s past and thanking it for inviting us in.

What’s New?

Other than buying a house, Brian and I also acquired raises and new work schedules. We have arranged for our schedules to be more remote to allow for flexible travel.

When we purchased the house, we decided that we did NOT want the house to change our traveling. Luckily, our jobs decided to work with us and have permitted 100% remote access whenever we are traveling!

While in the thick of things, we have not set up any major travel plans other than Stephen Ambrose’s Band of Brothers Tour. We have some ideas of what, when, and where, but no other set travel plans as of yet!

Lastly, of course, we now have a new budget as we take on a mortgage. Our dining out and grocery habits have certainly changed, though we have always been pretty budget-conscious and are just taking things in stride. The key is, if you can help it, you never want to put yourself in a situation you can’t afford: experiences, homes, cars, kids, etc.

Embracing Change

Cheers to a new day, a new year, and a new direction in life! I’m looking forward to the year ahead and am interested to see what challenges might come our way. While we might not have simplified life the way I originally planned, minimalism begins as a mindset: I will focus on what I can control and let go of the rest.

Change is good. It’s what moves us forward, so we are no longer stagnant. Change forces us to learn about ourselves, to face who we are, and to grow in all kinds of directions.

Till next time,

Embrace the change. Embrace 2020.

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