Wednesday, August 27, 2008

burn, baby, burn

This morning, I am sending off a letter that marks a milestone in my adult life. It is the payoff check for my house mortgage. For the first time in my life, I will own my home outright.

And, yes, I know: I am about to incur debt as I fix up the house for sale. But for one brief shining moment, I will tread upon hardwood floors and manicured lawns that I am not renting from the bank. There are earls and dukes who have not felt that sense of financial freedom.

Then, if all goes well, I will be relieved of any further duties of home ownership once the house sells.

I once read that no man is free unless he can carry everything he owns on his back. I often have romantic notions that I truly believe that. I will certainly have an opportunity to put the adage to the test these next few months as I sort through all I own.

But I will not be sorting if I continue to write.


Michael Dickson said...

Mortgage? Mortgage? We don´t need no steenking mortgage!

One hopes that if and when you buy a home in Mexico, you will pay cash. After you own a home in Mexico further costs are usually minimal.

American Mommy in Mexico said...

I know how I feel when I pay off a car. I can not even imagine a house!

1st Mate said...

Steve - I've never owned a home, but if I ever do, it will be in Mexico and I will pay cash. I just looked at the finance charges on my credit cards the past couple of years and had a lightbulb moment. Debt-free is where it's at, even if the bank balance is a little light. Life's too short to enrich some bank.

Babs said...

Ahh, a major milestone! Exhale.....

Brenda said...

Fantastic feeling isn't it.

Charles said...

Congrats. I agree with the philosophy of financial freedom. If you own a lot you can be trapped in an unfavorable situation because you are afraid to lose what you have and can't do what you want.

Steve Cotton said...

Michael -- Buying a home in Mexico with cash is the only way I would buy. Now, we just need to convince some buyer that putting cash in my hand will give me the ability to buy a place -- but only when the time comes.

American Mommy -- I hope I get the same feeling when the deed arrives as I do when the car title arrives.

Bliss -- I am doing my best to keep my credit card under control. I have purposely restricted my cash flow to a retirement level to ensure that the plastic is not used for extravagences.

Babs -- I am going to do nothing but exhale for at least the next eight months.

Brenda -- Fantastic only begins to describe my elation.

Charles -- Most of us are captives of place because of our possessions. I recognize that more and more as I try to get rid of stuff -- and spend more dollars on a house where I will never again live.

Calypso said...

Hombre - Congrats on the mortgage freedom - Freedom is another word for having nothing else to lose.

Now go forth and sin no more!

"We don't need no steenking mortgages!"

Steve Cotton said...

John -- And I hope not to have another one -- except for the loan I will need to get the place in shape for resale. Can I pretend that is just a short-term debt?

Islaholic Trixie said...

Congratulations Steve!! Sure hope the fixups go smooth.

Steve Cotton said...

Isaholic Trixie -- Me, too. I just need to get started on them. It is amazing how the job gets in the way of these projects.

mexpat said...

Congrats on the whole paying off the house thing! That's BIG!

Steve Cotton said...

Now I just need that little piece of paper -- the deed.

Todd said...

Re Selling your home, a couple of points.

In the current market I think it might not be a bad idea to talk to a real estate "Home Stager"

We did, and feel it was an outstanding investment. While it can improve the price of your house, to me the biggest thing is the speed of sale.
Look into it, in might make sense for you.


Way too many real estate agents come in with a point and shoot camera, leave 15 minutes later with a couple of mediocre pictures.
If you have a friend who is a skilled photographer, get them out there and take some quality pictures.
Or better yet, spend a couple of bucks on a pro.

Of course, take the pictures after the staging!

There is a guy who splits his time between Salem and Seattle who does real estate photography and also blogs about it.

Todd said...

PS, when you do stage, learn to love beige!


Steve Cotton said...

Todd -- I have worked with my realtor for years -- both in real estate and politics. She is a house flipper and landlord in her own right and has a great eye for marketing. I recall your tale about the house staging of your last home and the beige bombardment. I have a similar issue. My house was built in the 1920s. It is currently decorated in black and white with Italianate overtones. We have talked about moving out all the furniture in favor of a 20s look. But -- Well, you've been there yourself. I look forward to my own red living room one day.