Jumping in with both feet?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Jumping in with both feet?
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 1:42am
It's just starting to scare me a little... Another mortgage payment and the CC's dangerously close to their limits.

Some background: After four years of struggling, we have our debt under control and making wonderful progress. Refinanced our house a couple months ago for a better interest rate and shorter term, have only three active credit cards (one $0 balance for gasoline, pay entire balance every month; one at Home Depot for home improvements, had that almost paid off; and one MasterCard for emergencies and major purchases, was paid down about half). We were making such great progress, but recently...

We're in the process of buying another house 3 blocks away, to help my fiance's folks move back to the city and as an investment for them and us. Plan to rent out the basement apartment to help with mortgage payments, and the folks will rent a couple of bedrooms to their other son. In a perfect world, this house will cost us nothing out of our own pockets.

Yeah, right. Dream on. We got this house so cheap because it needs A LOT of work (and we agreed to do the work ourselves rather than letting the seller do it and jacking up the purchase price to cover his materials and labor). Structurally it is sound, but needs stuff like plumbing repairs, completely new bathroom (rotted floor and ancient fixtures), light fixtures, windows replaced (not the glass, the whole windows), a few new doors, paint, carpet, lineoleum... and the list goes on. So guess what? I've spent all 3 days last weekend and about 4 hours today running for supplies - and have another list to get tomorrow. The Home Depot card is nearly maxed out again. The workers there know me by name and wave to me when I walk in the door. (My my, back again, or did you never leave? Ha ha, funny.)

I totally trust my fiance's financial judgement - he got me out of the debt/credit disaster I was in a few years ago and has done wonders with our money. It's just so foreign to me to walk into a store, buy $1,000 worth of materials, say "charge it" and never bat an eye (and I've done that 4 times - count them-FOUR - times in the last few days. Me, who used to agonize over whether to buy a gallon of milk, or just a half gallon and a carton of eggs - because I couldn't afford both. Me, who sometimes let my phone get cut off so I could pay the electric bill. Me, who never knew what cable TV was until a couple of years ago.

I know we're doing the right thing, buying smart (good materials but not fancy), doing all of the work ourselves with lots of family members helping (no labor costs), charging on the 0% interest for 6-mos plan, getting some stuff for free (carpet from an office building doing remodeling), and new appliances from the scratch-and-dent warehouse, etc. - but it still scares the devil out of me. I'm just not used to this spending mode after pinching every penny and struggling so hard to get out of debt. I dreamed last night that I was on top of a 28-story building, leaning over the edge and about to fall...

Keeping my fingers and toes crossed that it all works out... (Ever tried to walk the miles and miles of Home Depot, pushing one cart and pulling another with your toes crossed? No wonder my feet hurt so bad.)

But 6am comes early, lots of work to do tomorrow (I'm learning to install cieling fans and light fixtures) and the work crew wants biscuits and gravy for breakfast.

I just needed to vent a little. Thanks for listening. Someone please keep the lifeline handy...



Avatar for cl_phocid
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 11:40am
Hey you! I know it's stressful to be spending so much money so quickly...but I *have got* to tell you I'm so jealous :) I would *love* to be doing all those home repairs. The idea of getting my hands dirty and learning how to install an entire window??? I'm so there!

Have fun with the ceiling fan installation - REMEMBER that the most important thing is to turn off the fuse that controls that fixture. Don't want a fried Msfit!

I hope the investment turns out to be a good one. I know with the market the way it's been, people have been flocking to real estate as a solid investment vehicle.

All my best,


All my best,

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-26-1999
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 11:42am
I know it must be scary, but I kept thinking, wow, how nice to be in the positiong to be fixing up a rental property. I know it must be so freaky to be charging up the cards again--I started doing that myself last weekend, but for shoes and food, and I had been living without charging for a long time, and my stomach has kind of twisted in a wake up call...--but anyway, I think that this could really pay itself off many times if you keep it as an investment property. Sounds like you are doing all the right things to do it as cheaply as possible, and it sounds like a good investment to me. Try to think really long term, and perhaps it will help ease your mind a bit? Good luck, and to tell you the truth I'm almost a bit envious...I would love to have an investment property, but we're still renting ourselves.