Author Topic: 34yo lady mustachian-in-training wanting to start family and buy 1st home  (Read 3295 times)

labrat

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 92
  • Location: USA
  • Lady Mustachian-in-training!
Hi all,

I am 34 and want to start a family asap in order to diminish chances of age-related pregnancy/birth complications.  We also want to buy our first home just before our future child arrives, hopefully about 1 to 1.5 years from now.  My husband and I currently rent ($850/mo) a run-down single family 2BR home, which has had the following problems since we started renting 10 months ago: 
-bugs (this place is an entomologist's dream)
-sewage line backup (ugh - but at least we didn't have to pay for it!)
-flooded basement and garage (it's a sunken garage) during heavy rainfalls
-allergy issues due to previous occupant's pets & extremely old carpet (even after 2 rounds of professional carpet cleaning, and scrubbing and repainting walls
-electrical issues (crackling lights, burned out microwave, wiring likely not up to code)
-moisture problems in bathroom due to lack of a vent fan (!)
-crumbling grout in the original 1950's tilework surrounding the tub/shower
-doors swollen due to humidity will not close, and even if they did the doors don't latch properly
-doors on original kitchen cabinets actually falling off of hinges
-oven door broke off hinge first time it was opened (after 2 years of non-use by previous occupant)

To sum it up, the place is a real stinker!  The owner is not interested in putting any money into the house since they are severely underwater on the mortage, and interestingly will not allow us to rip out & replace carpet, fix the grout ourselves (as if we could make this place any worse!).

We are concerned that this isn't a safe place for an infant or small child, and prefer to buy a very modest 2-3 BR home in good condition.

A little about our monthly finances:
Income: $4K
Student loans (ah, our misspent youth = $67K at 3.5%, one of the loans on IBR): $500
Rent: $850
Utilities, internet, 2x cell phones, groceries, sundries, gas: $550
Savings cushion for clothes, automotive repair, gifts to others: $100
Monthly cash flow: +$2K

Cash: $10K
HSA: $4K (maxing out contributions this year in preparation for hospital bills)
401K and Roth IRAs: $17K (stopped contributions to max out HSA and save)
CC debt: none
Car payments: none

Possible income from side hustles next year: $3K-5K.

Side-hustle income aside, as long as we keep saving cash at our current rate we should have about $30K 1 year from now, which would be enough for 20% down on a $150K house.  We have moved 4 times in the past 4 years and are ready for a break.  The rental market here is pretty expensive so we will likely have to spend more money in rent for anything nicer than we have now.  We prefer to stay in the same area close to our jobs.  My husband is able to walk to work and I have a 10 minute commute by car (or 40 by bus+shuttle).

Do you think it is realistic for us to buy a house or should we put our efforts into finding a better rental? 

We appreciate your thoughts.  Please let me know if further info. is needed.

marty998

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6379
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Stating the obvious, but when your baby starts crawling how many of those bugs do you think she'll scoop up and pop in her mouth?

In your situation I can't see much of a (financial difference) between renting and owning.

But one thing's for sure just move...for your own family's health and safety.


savingtofreedom

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 247
I would agree with marty998 please move as soon as possible - this place seems terrible.  Can you also move to a cheaper cost of living area?

As a 33 year old female also trying to get pregnant - It can sometimes take longer than expected - I know from experience.  I recommended to another poster to read  Taking Charge of My Fertility if you are not familiar with it.

Is there any opportunity to make more money at a different company?

Are you planning on daycare or will you have a stay at home parent.  That is going to dramatically impact your monthly spend and I would be concerned that could make it difficult to afford a new home or may create more stress due to lack of flexibility.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.


olivia

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 770
  • From Consumerism to Minimalism
I know you're tired of moving but can you move out when your lease is up?  That place sounds truly terrible.  I would absolutely save as much money as you can and buy a house ASAP.  Have you considered buying a place with an FHA First Time Homebuyer's loan so you can buy one now instead of renting for another year?  I believe they only require a 5% down payment.  You could then aggressively pay down the principle and get it refinanced into a traditional mortgage without PMI.  Just a thought, probably not very Mustachian of me to suggest it, but since you're looking at a $150k house, you already have the 5%, plus some more to cover closing costs.

labrat

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 92
  • Location: USA
  • Lady Mustachian-in-training!
Thanks for the responses everyone.  Our lease is up in September, so we have a bit of time to come up with a plan.  One thing we are considering is moving back into a large 1BR apt for a year, which would allow us to save some rent $$ and put is in a better position next spring/summer.  We would also likely have to store some of our stuff (extra bed, one of the sofas, washer and dryer) so we'd have to find a place with a large, free storage locker.  My only concern with moving into a 1BR is possibly having the kid earlier than anticipated and having to cram in, but it certainly wouldn't be the end of the world. 

savingtofreedom, I was fortunate enough to read TCOYF a few years back and have been charting religiously since then.  FANTASTIC resource!  I realize it may take us longer to conceive, but we're just taking it one step at a time.  To answer your other question, I could increase my salary by taking a sales or field position; however, I'd want to wait until after a baby arrived to build clientele.  A 3-month lapse would probably not allow me to reach quota.  In one year I am due for a promotion in my current career track (~14% raise) so that would definitely help. 

Daycare is undecided at this point - hubs works a 25h gig during the week (5 x 5h days) for $10K/yr (musicians get paid beans), and daycare costs would be approximately $10K so right now we're leaning towards him staying home.  His other position is 10h/week and pays $15K and he would keep that.  He has a doctoral degree so he is hoping to pick up some adjunct work at the very least, maybe some tutoring and private lessons as well.

olivia, our goal is to avoid an FHA loan, PMI, and refinancing if at all possible. If we are really in a pinch and have no other option, we'd consider it but honestly - we'd rather keep renting and saving until we're ready for a traditional loan.

I also should have clarified - $150K is the high end of our range.  There are less expensive places to be had, so we're hoping to find a gem in relatively good condition in a good neighborhood (lots of sketchy areas close to the city center here unfortunately). 

**I'm surprised nobody's asked how we moved into such a bad place to begin with - we were actually renting a great 2BR condo last year and the owner decided to sell after our lease was up/when interest rates started getting really low so we had 45 days to find a place right in the middle of prime rental season last August.  There are 2 large universities in town, so everything was getting snapped up very quickly.  We came down to the wire and were lucky to find anything reasonable.  At least that's what I keep telling myself when thinking about what a crap-shack this place is!

olivia

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 770
  • From Consumerism to Minimalism
Well I did wonder how you ended up there but didn't want to add insult to injury!  :P  Totally understand about wanting to avoid all the PMI/refinance stuff, and it sounds like you can save up a traditional 20% down payment pretty quickly.  If you're up for moving again I would definitely move to a 1 bedroom to save up even more $.  I've been in shithole places before and it was seriously miserable.  I'm a bit of a homebody so I need a reasonably nice place since I spend a lot of time here!

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9644
  • Location: Seattle
I agree that you should try to move as soon as you can.  That place sounds like it is about to fall down around your ears.  Are there prohibitions against subletting?  If not, I would try to move out sooner rather than later (like in June or July, when students are moving out) and either eat the loss or try to rent it out temporarily through Craigslist or Air BnB to students who are arriving and need a place to stay while they look for their own place.

I would focus for now on finding a safe, affordable baby-friendly rental.  A 1br will be fine -- unless the main bedroom is tiny, it is actually easier with an infant to have them in your room.  Consider co-sleeping, especially if you plan to breastfeed -- everybody gets more sleep that way.  Watch out for things like multiple flights of stairs between your apartment and the basement (mind you, we lived in a 3rd floor walkup in NYC and I managed to cloth diaper while working full time, so don't get all complainypants on me!).  A kid friendly park in walking distance is nice to have, as are places you can push a stroller to for socializing/hanging out.   Since DH will likely be the SAHP that alleviates the need for daycare, which is good.  You might want to try to find a place near local schools -- that would make it easier for your DH to pick up afterschool lessons/tutoring (and maybe you could find a high school girl to help watch the baby)

While you are renting, continue to save to the max and keep your eye open for good properties.  Unless you get some gobstoppingly amazing opportunity to buy a place that will save you loads of money I would NOT buy anything until you have had the baby and gone back to work for at least 6 months and you can verify that you can manage working full time and have all the childcare arrangements settled.  Also, what if DH manages to land a job elsewhere?  Is he trying?  I know faculty positions are few and far between, and maybe he's already decided he doesnt' want that, but best to stay flexible until you are both sure.

Sounds like you are doign great on fairly limited income as it is.  If you can find ways to step that up you'll be doing even better. 

Good luck and keep coming back to let us know how you are doing!