I am back from another blogging hiatus (that was a year long.. how did that happen??), this time with a big project in mind. Things have been changing pretty dramatically in our local housing market. We’re very close to no longer being underwater on our condo. It’s taken us nine years to get to this point, and as you know, it’s been a roller coaster. I’ve fallen in and out and back in love with our condo more times than I can count. But as we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel, something has hit me. We’re going to be leaving here someday, sooner rather than later it seems. In many ways, I am really excited and motivated, and in other ways I am uncertain and scared. This has been our home for almost ten years, and it’s been a great little home. It’s where we brought both of our boys home from the hospital, where we learned to become parents to these wonderful little guys. It’s where we’ve hosted parties, had struggles, played, made memories. And as much as I’ve moaned and groaned about being stuck here, and lamented the struggles of raising a family in a condo, I am going to miss these days… probably more than I’m even aware of.
It probably wouldn’t be completely impossible to buy a single family house now, but we are going to be in a better position next year. M and I have had many conversations over the last few weeks about our “plan,” and today, while on a sunny spring walk, I had an idea. What if I set a goal that exactly one year from today, on May 1, 2016, we will be preapproved for a mortgage and be shopping for our new home? And what if I blogged every day about this process – about saving up for a down payment, about readying our condo for its next inhabitants, about my excitement over this next chapter of our lives, and my sadness about the end of this chapter? It would be a neat way to not only motivate me to keep saving and keep getting ready to buy a house, but it would also be a good way to chronicle our last year in the condo.
So, I’m going to jump right in and get started!
They say that a goal is a dream with a deadline. My goal is to be preapproved to buy a house by May, 1, 2016. My other goal is to make the most of our last year in the condo, and practice gratitude. Experts say that the best way to achieve a goal is to set actionable, specific tasks. I think the best way to achieve my goal is to create a handful of smaller monthly goals. Here are the tasks I plan to achieve in the month of May:
- Up the amount we are saving monthly. I’ve already changed our automatic savings plan, and the first larger savings payment comes out today. Right now, we are 7.5% of the way to our down payment goal. It is NOT much. But I look forward to watching this number grow.
- Stick to our budget and live within our means. This one is a bit vague, but this month, I am setting our goal to no eating out for the first two weeks of the month, and only eating out once per week after that until the end of May. I will also stay out of stores during lunch time by walking instead.
- Talk to our condo association about the possibility of renting out our condo to family. They are very vague in the bylaws and the actions of the association on rentals. Basically, it is subject to approval. I want to know what our options will be next year. But I’m also really conflict-adverse, and despite being on the board (I know!), I really don’t want to deal with the association. I might make M do this one.
- Look into ways to earn extra income. M has a few freelance gigs going, and I am going to look into taking on a few writing jobs.
- Declutter our master bedroom closet and “quiet” our master bedroom. I’ll go into this “quieting” business later, but basically as an early birthday present this year, I signed up and took the Nester’s Cozy Minimalist decorating course. I totally loved it, and we really made some nice changes to our living room as a result of the class. I loved it so much, I’m going to go through the same process with our master bedroom. I don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking that because we plan to move in “only” a year we shouldn’t work on our space. If we try to sell the condo, we will want it to be looking its best. And it’s always a good idea to pare things down before moving!
- Host family and friends at our condo. In May we’ll be hosting a family dinner, my son’s 6th birthday party, and an informal gathering of friends for a BBQ. This one should be fun and easy to achieve!
I can’t even tell you how excited I am writing this all down and getting started on this project. It’s going to make a process that could be a little bit emotional and stressful a bit easier on me. Tomorrow I’ll share my progress so far and talk more about my decluttering plans.