Skip to main content
Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 1

Part 3: Purchase the crappiest house on the block... and fix it up!

Again in no particular order; getting on the "wealth escalator" was a key enabler for me. There are many paths towards FI, and this is just the details on mine, and I'm not there yet.... still on this journey. But as I'm crossing the 1e6 NW line, I'm reflecting on how I've reach this milestone at 39yo.

We actually jumped on this bandwagon later than we should have. Housing prices nearly doubled from 1997 to 2002 when we purchased our first home. We looked long and hard for a home, and prices kept increasing. But at one point we found a very distressed property in a very good location in an excellent neighborhood. Owners were underwater and by some miracle we closed on this property. We had to get it appraised before tearing into it to pass section 1 California repairs to get the loan. Literally capping off plumbing, tearing out walls to pass... without even owning the home.

Then over the next 7 years I put in a bunch of sweat equity and we thoroughly enjoyed the home. After having kids we needed a larger house and eventually sold in 2009... and despite the housing crash we still made about $75k net profit on the sale. And with the crash we were able to jump up to a larger home and ride the next wave on an even larger investment.

We've continued to refi and are now locked into a 3.675% 30 yr, at about 60%LTV. And threw a little cash at the principal... the opposite of most folks.

Some random frugalness indicators:
1. Built all the kitchen cabinets from scratch... dovetailed drawers and all.
2. Hand tilled the backyard with a shovel and planted grass from seed.
3. Drove a Geo Metro for 9 years.
4. Front yard vegetable garden.
5. Have always done my own brake jobs.

Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.