New Construction (Not our house, photo credit)

Greetings friends, I have big news! We’ve purchased a home! A real stick-built house with walls and everything!

I haven’t been this giddy since I was a school boy, so let me tell you all about it.

First let me say, I know what your thinking:

“You! You, Mr. Renter for Life, you bought a house?!”

Yeah, I deserve that. Sorry. I’m grown up enough to admit when I was wrong, although I’m a little embarrassed and have been procrastinating writing this because I know I’m going to get some flak.

A lot has changed in the 2 years since I wrote about our intention to be lifelong renters.

First, we became parents. I’ve never experienced something so profoundly life changing. We enjoy the nomadic lifestyle, but we have somebody else to think about now.

Second, the intention was for our portfolio to comfortably support our desired lifestyle in Seattle, where we lived prior to early retirement. In the past several years, the Seattle housing market has been on a tear… and we were beginning to worry that we would be priced out forever.

So yes, we bought a house. We actually placed the offer on a property under construction when we were in Seattle this summer. I’ve been remotely managing the project through our real estate agent, and we’ve had an interior decorator friend handle the furnishings. We plan to put the house on Airbnb until the time we are ready to settle down, so a professional photographer stopped by last weekend to showcase the property.

Home Sweet Home

I think the photos came out great, so let’s start with a walkthrough.

Kitchen

Living Room 1

Front Deck

Master Bedroom Terrace

Street View

We’ve stayed in a lot of Airbnb housing now and were careful to keep everything neutral in color to appeal to a broader audience. Once we move in ourselves, I’m excited to add a little life by painting a few walls. I’ve had my eye on some beautiful eggshell colored paint for awhile now, and also a very stunning ivory.

Specs

This home is 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, and 2,880 sq. ft, with a 2-car garage. It has a solar system, radiant heating, and water and mountain views from the multiple decks and terraces.

The master bedroom has a great view terrace, GCCJr will get his own bedroom, Winnie and I will each have a home office (a killer tax deduction!), and we will have a permanent guest room / storage room.

The kitchen, dining room, and one of the living rooms flow together nicely, which will be great for entertaining. And Winnie will finally have that professional chef’s kitchen she has always wanted.

It isn’t in the city center like we are used to, so we plan to get a small car. But one of the best biking paths in the region runs right in front of the house, so Jr and I will be able to do some nice bike rides.

It’s also in a really great school district (super important!) and within biking distance of the nearest elementary school, grocery store, library, and a nice Main Street with coffee and pastry shops. (We used the same principles for finding our very walkable Seattle apartment.)

Financials

The price after all fees and closing costs was $1,632,729. That includes furnishings, interior design fee, landscaping, etc… everything.

We paid quite a bit up front and only have a $1,000,000 mortgage remaining. This is important, since only interest paid on the first $1 million is tax deductible. I worked closely with a mortgage broker in Seattle who is a good friend, and he was able to take into consideration our portfolio and self-employment income.

This gives us a mortgage payment of $4,826.19. Property taxes are expected to be about $8k/year, but that is subject to change. I guess new construction sometimes takes a while to get a real assessment. Insurance will be in the range of $250/month. Through mortgage interest, property taxes, and home office depreciation, we’ll get about $1k/month savings on income taxes though.

That is quite a bit more than we were hoping to pay, but Winnie’s book has been doing really well and I’ve made tens of thousands more than we ever expected. Worst case, I can get a job again for a year or two until we get the mortgage paid off. Hopefully the stock market continues to go up too, that will be a big help.

I’m not a big fan of home maintenance, but we figured since we bought new construction we shouldn’t have any expenses for quite a few years. I also don’t really like lawn care, but I could mow this space in about 15 minutes. If it gets too unruly, I’ll put in rock or turf.

I did a detailed review of the cost of ownership of my last house, and this is definitely a luxury purchase. But then again, property values are up 30% in Seattle in the last few years, so maybe we’ll come out ahead. Maybe we should have purchased back then.

Special Thanks

I want to give special thanks to our real estate agent for managing this for us. I don’t even begrudge the fact that she made 3% on the closing price. She has been great through everything, and even gave us a $50 gift certificate to Chili’s.

The thing I look for first and foremost with anybody I hire is passion, so when I was looking for a real estate agent I looked no further than the comments section of this blog.

Back when I wrote about how I made $100k+ when I sold my last house, I highlighted how I would have made even more money if I had stayed in an apartment and invested more in the stock market instead .

A lot of people told me I was an idiot, but one person in particular was more sincere than the others. So when I called her to ask if she would represent us in the purchase of this home (yes, she is a realtor), she was understandably reticent. But when I apologized and explained that she had the right of it, and that she could make $90k with only a few hours of work, she became quite agreeable.

Thank you!

Final Thoughts

We are excited to move in, and also to know how many people didn’t realize this was an April Fools joke until this very moment. All photos for this very stunning home are from a random listing I found on Zillow (free advertising!)

Lots of love,

Jeremy, Winnie, & Julian
Go Curry Cracker!

Addendum

I’ve added a clue in the title that this was a joke. It seems our lifestyle choices make some people “disappointed” 🙂


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