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Archive for March, 2009


March 20th, 2009 at 09:59 pm

I found my house. I have found the one I want to buy. I saw it last week and liked it and saw it again today and like it even more. It is exactly what I want. It has 1537 square feet and a perfect size back yard, a side yards. It is part of a master planned community and has a beautiful pool area and club house for all the people of the community. The mello roos are high (180) and the hoa fees are a little steep (104) but the hoa dues pay for the front yard work, grass cutting, water bills etc and the club house stuff. The mello roos pay for the lighting, sewers and sidewalks etc that the city put in before the houses were built.

So…now I need to make a decision and make an offer. It is in really good condition and was built in 2005 so it is only 4 years old. Of course I am going to go through an inspection and get a pest report to make sure everything is as good as it looks. It is a short sale though so that might take a while and the bank might not take our offer.

The house is perfect because it has the master bedroom/bath on one side and the other two bedrooms and bath on the other. It would make it easier to rent a room or two. The rooms are small but if someone wanted both of them they could have them (for a price) and then they have their own area of the house. It has a large great room concept room for the living / dining rooms and an open kitchen that is open to the large room. I think it is just fantastic and just what I want.
So the decision needs to be made.
I called my tax person to ask what I would need to adjust my with holdings to allow me to take advantage of owning a house but she needs to know the interest I would pay each month and when the payments would start. We also had a conversation about taking advantage of the new tax credits on the 2008 taxes meaning I will get back about 8 k (since I paid 10k in taxes). She didn’t know about being able to do it so I had to tell her and she had to look it up. Turns out I am right and of course now she is encouraging me to do it and to be able to get money back next year.

I know I want a house and am ready but it is still a big decision when you are buying alone.
I also found out that I came in second rank for a new position with the state. It would mean a nice money bump (about 4-500 a month) but I am not ready for it yet. I want to stay with my boss and the team I work with for as long as possible. They are good, we get a lot of work done and are slowly making progress at this state agency to change the way things have been done to correct them and be in line with the letter of the law for our programs. But it was a nice feeling to know that I placed so well. My position on the list will remain there for a year at which time I will have to retest but I am happy for the time being.

I am having sushi with my friend Amy tomorrow. We have not seen each other in a month or so and I have a gift card from three years ago that I was saving for something special. I think this qualifies.

My nephews going away party is tomorrow. He is going to boot camp and his schooling for the next 9 months or so. I am so very proud of him but also scared for him in the same breath. It will be so hard on my sister to see him go as they have never spent more than 3 days apart in 19 and a half years. At least he will be back in time for my nieces wedding in November. Big changes for the ir family this year.

looked at houses all afternoon!! Now what...

March 13th, 2009 at 11:35 pm

This has been an interesting week for me. I spent all of this afternoon looking at 10 houses ranging from 170 (short sale) to 215. I have three favorites. The first one is 215k (asking price) and it is exactly the floor plan I want BUT it has Mello Roos fees of 180 PLUS an HOA fee of 135. That one is off my list as I am not adding 300 to the amount I would pay each month (unless they lowered the price significantly.)

The second house (170k, LARGE lot, parking for RV, and room for pool) might have an offer so we are waiting to see and the third I also love is 200K (great patio and yard, good flooring, great storage cabinets in garage, cherry wood laminate floors) which is just over what I want to pay. Both of these have HOA fees of 65 a month and they take care of the front yard, cutting, watering and all. Sees like a good deal to me.
At 170k I know payments on the house would be just about $1180 at 5% which I think is a good interest rate and closing costs at 6300 or a rate of 5.5% makes my payments 1241 and closing costs about 4700. The second rate means I would pay 178k in interest while the 5% means 156K in interest. I want the 5% rate! And to pay it off faster than that!

I spoke to my tax person this week and with the new tax credit for buying a house in 2009 it would wipe out 90% of what I paid the feds based on 2008 taxes but this year I will make about 9% less with the state reductions in pay. I am playing around with my withholding calculator and trying to determine where my withholding would be for the rest of the year. Where would I move it? 5, 6, 7? At 5 my take home is 3659 or so a month, at 6 it is 3705 and at 7 it is 3750. This year with the 10% reduction in pay I will make 57k. So how do I figure where to place the with holding?

Playing with the with holding means that I pay less federal taxes overall so with this new credit, if I pay less than 8k in takes do I get a complete refund up to 8k? for example, if I pay 7k in taxes to feds (salary, new house items, interest on the house etc.) will I get a refund only up to 7 k or the complete 8k? I know usually it is only on what you have paid but at times there is a complete refund. SO…if I bought a hoseu where do I put the withholding to be sure to maximize the credit but not have to pay anything and get the most from my pay check?

I know I will not get the tax credit from CA because the house is not brand new (stupid in my opinion, give a tax credit that helps the builders more than people??) but I am unclear if there are things I can write off for my California taxes…property taxes? Closing costs?
How in the world do people figure out what to do? Buy a house? Where to put the withholding for the first year? What to write off next year?

Mama! I need your advice and EXPERTISE!

weekend update

March 1st, 2009 at 12:06 am

It was a quiet day today. I slept late because i went to bed late last night. Am fighting a bit of a cold, coughing a lot is my only symptom. I just wnated to be quiet and get rest.

I did do three quizzes for my online real estate class this morning, watched a little TV, read for a while, talked to one of my sisters, watched a couple of taped Gilmore Girls episodes etc.

I have one more quiz to do to be caught up for the class. I'll do it tomorrow sometime, no hurry.

I did do the budget for the month and i can either put 1425 toward a cc or save it for a month in my house account. I am leaning toward paying off the debt.

I got one of those california state layoff notices but i know it is a mistake because i have twice the time the agency is asking for to continue being employed. It just does not make any sense. I think i am going to pay off the chase card with it. that leaves only two cards left!! For future months i will split the amount half toward debt and half toward house savings. i want to be able to move forward with a house if i find one and i have little in terms of a down payment.

I was contacted by someone who worked as a private consultant with my previuos agency to see if i was interested in doing some side work for her. I said yes! (of course!). Now I just need to fill out the conflict of interest paperwork at work and get it approved. The project actually has noting to do with anything in california so i should be ok with that paperwork.