Thursday, February 27, 2014

Our Home Story


A short time ago I did a post titled "Our Home", this wasn't so much a blog post as a short entry. I was sooo excited that we had become homeowners that I wanted to share a picture of our first house with you and update you on the fact that finally we had signed and had keys in hand. Now that we have moved in and I have some time I'm re-editing this post. I want to include more information, I'm re-titling this "Our Home Story".

Here is our home, minus the car and the boat its all ours:

At 20 and 21, my husband and I have become homeowners. I am proud to say we did it all on our own, no co-signers, no help with a down payment, nothing! At 1523 sq ft. this house is the largest place we have lived in since we moved out of our parents and in together two years ago! 

We bought this house for only $85,500, which was under market value for our area. We, of course, had an inspection and while the house has some issues none were deal breakers, and all were minimal given the age of the house (it was built in 1975).

After quiet a bit of research on my end I found out all about the USDA rural development loan. The house we bought qualified, and the loan allowed us to put 0% down and wrap all closing costs up into the loan, so our loan is around $87,500 after negotiated closing costs from the sellers and credits from our lender. Well I don't recommend everyone get a 0% down it worked well for us since it freed up our saved up money.

Prior to purchasing we used online resources like bankrate calculators to try to determine what a comfortable loan for us would be. My husband is the sole provider, I'm fortunate that I don't have to try to work while being a full time college student. We are also hoping to start a family so we plan on being a one income household for a while. For us staying within our price point was our #1 priority (along with good schools), 2 bathrooms was probably our 2nd, land our 3rd! 

We got a 4.25% interest rate on our loan, dropping our house payments from the $625 we had been spending on rent to $580? that we will spend on our mortgage payment including insurance and taxes! While our hope is to pay it off early, to avoid paying so much extra in interest, even if we don't I think financially we made a wise decision. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Towards the Finish Line: Closing on our first home!


Growing up my family moved around a LOT, we sometimes moved more than once a year and the longest I lived anywhere was under three years. I never wanted that for my children, I want to raise my kids in a stable environment. I have also been a huge fan of HGTV and DIY for years. I can't wait to improve our house and do it myself!

Anyways here is our house

The car and the boat are not included =)
I have the final walkthru in two days and then we close on the house in four. In just five short days this will be home sweet home!
Our inspection on this house came back good, there are a few minor repairs and a couple medium sized ones. The house needs some remodeling, but I'm up for it! The kitchen needs completely updated! The inside of this house is still stuck in the 1970's, hence why I'm only posting exterior pictures right now.
As I remodel and do DIY projects I will post before and afters!

The house is 1523 sq. ft. on top of that the house also has a garage and a sunroom (pictured below).

Look forward to some DIY posts in the future as a tackle a bunch of remodel projects!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

New DIY Countertop under $800


On one of my favorite sites I have been talking about my new house. I am super excited about becoming a home owner for the first time and I have a million and one ideas for our new space.

One of the things on my to-do list is the countertops throughout the house; the ones in the master bath are truly awful! If you are a frequent reader of my blog you might recall a semi recent blog post I did about counter top choices under $500. On my list was tile countertops, however the picture that I had was nothing like this.

Don't get me wrong. I liked the other tile countertops too, and that DIY diva did a great job on them. For my cabinets however, I think that this would work better... not to mention the colors are perfect! I will probably have something VERY similar. I have been looking at backsplashes similar to theirs for weeks!

I first came across the idea of large tiles for countertops as a cheaper alternative to granite countertops. You can install a granite tile countertop at 1/5 of the price for slab granite countertops. You can also get colored grout so there aren't such obvious grout lines.

For me having granite isn't a big deal so I'm not as worried about what type of tile I use. Mine may wind up being a twinkie to the picture above which is curtesy of Jess from Kentucky!

Sustainable Alternatives to Wood


Disclaimer: This is a part 1 of a 2 part rant.

Now that you have read the disclaimer I will get started. During my college economics course we were discussing the demand for oil as well as the supply. As you might now, oil is an issue in the news currently. Russia is claiming they own Antarctica and the oil there, and they will protect their interest in it. I say, if you live there you can have it (bet you won't).

The fact that oil may eventually cause a new war has me wondering why we are still creating cars with horrible mpg, why haven't found a sustainable alternative and began mass producing it yet? I have read about various alternatives, yet there are no alternative fuel stations anywhere that I have ever seen. Living in America, our country uses much more gasoline than other countries, and according to my teacher over 50% of that is not necessary, its due to choice in car or trips we could have combined or avoided entirely.

How wasteful we as a country are with oil made me start thinking of how wasteful we are in general... but we aren't the only ones. There are so many alternatives to wood that grow faster that can be used in place of wood... yet we still see deforestation.

Alternative #1 Hemp
No, I am not a pothead. I don't and have never smoked marijuana, but I believe both should be legal. Think of the tax money we could raise to pay off our debt america! Anyway their is a difference between hemp and weed. Hemp has less than .3 THC so you can't use it to get high unlike marijuana. The fact that hemp is illegal for resembling marijuana is asinine considering all of its uses and the fact it can be grown quickly, organically, and is ultra sustainable.
Hemp has 1000's of uses including: fabric, food, bio-diesel fuel, paper, plastics, rope, building material, molded panels, car components, wallpaper, acoustic baffling and barn bedding for farm animals.

Alternative #2 Bamboo
Bamboo is another good alternative to using trees. Bamboo also has 1000's of uses and can be ultra green when we aren't clearing forests to grow it. Bamboo will grow wild, doesn't need replanted, and reaches maturity in 3 years, bamboo also converts 35% more CO2 to oxygen compared to the average tree. Bamboo has found its way into most industries including: forestry, wood, pulp and paper, food, textile, bioenergy, automotive, electronics, and farming. I found it when I was looking at green alternative house building/remodel materials. There is now a bamboo flooring option.

Alternative #3 Sugar Cane Husk
Unlike the other two alternatives the replacement value on this one is limited. This can be used to make paper and paper products, not will all of the uses of wood. I personally use ology toilet paper, its made with this and bamboo (pictured)!

Other Options?
In addition to my options there is also cork, which is tree bark which will grow back on the tree. Then there is nutshells. Believe it or not in Spanish culture some furniture is made from nutshells. They use a paste to "cement" the ground up shells together.

In addition to using alternatives how about we use wood we have already harvested? I see so much wood/wood products go to waste. I just picked up a piece of wood on the side of the road today. I plan on using unwanted pallets for wood for future products. It bothers me how wasteful we are as a society, and the impacts of our wastefulness. Can anyone tell me why deforestation is a problem when we have alternatives that can diminish our need for wood?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dog Detects Breast Cancer


Breast Cancer is a delicate subject, no one wants to have breast cancer and the idea that you might have it is scary. There is a new story on yahoo shine about a puppy that alerted a women to a lump in her breast that turned out to be breast cancer only 6 months after she had been to the doctor for a breast checkup!

The story is one of those that is heartwarming, in that the women didn't actually want the dog, it was her husbands idea. They brought the dog a miniture home as a tiny puppy and it was sniffing at her chest then she felt the bump.

For me the story is more than a heartwarming story about mans best friend, its scary... see my dog frequently likes to put his nose down my shirt... I thought he was just being a pervert ;) but this story is more than heartwarming its terrifying for all of us dog owners whose dogs do pay more attention than they should to our chests.

Is your dog sharing your cancer with you or just a pervert like his daddy ;) sound off!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

1971 Cost of Living, are we worse off now then before?

Assuming this data from SeekPublishing is correct then are we better off now then our parents were? People are always referring to the good ole' days and seeing the chart it seems they truely are behind us.

The latest figures are for the year 2012. In 2012 the average income in America was around $42,500 however the median was only $27,500. It is easy for us to see average income as $42,500 and think that that is okay, but really we need to be focused with median! 50% of Americans make LESS than $27,500.

So from data collected on a government website we know that the average Joe makes around $27,500 a year.

According to in June 2012 the median home price was $232,600 and the average home price was $271,800.

According to numberous sources including forbes and the wall street journal the average car price in 2012 was right around $30,000. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find a median price for new cars in 2012.

I won't spend the time or effort looking up the rest of these figures. We all know that it takes huge scholarships or bank accounts to be able to attend Harvard University. Gas was at least around $3.00/gal two years ago. Going to the movies can still be around $1.50 if we chose the dollar theatre and skip popcorn.

Just taking the major things into account:0

                                     1970's             vs              Now
Income:                       $10,622                             $27,500
Housing:                      $25,200                             $232,600
New Car:                     $3,560                               $30,000

Anyone else notice that housing and new cars increased almost ten fold whereas income has not even tripled?

Are we really better off than our parent?