Archives For breakfree

Why I almost bought a bus

October 20, 2014 — 2 Comments

I didn’t have a business plan, I had no idea what it takes to maintain a bus, I don’t have a commercial driver’s license, and I have no place to park a bus. There are a thousand reasons why I have no business in owning a bus. So why did I almost buy one?

It all started when we were traveling and we fell in love with the idea of running a mobile retail business after seeing the “RE: START” mall in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was intended to be a temporary mall after the terrible earthquake destroyed 80% of their downtown, but soon they realized the converted shipping containers could be permanent. We definitely saw the potential of doing the same thing in the United States.

However, the logistics always presented a problem – I’d have to buy a big truck and a crane attachment to move them around. That’s on top of the expense of converting the storage container into a suitable shop. So I kept thinking. Continue Reading…

Home Renovation, Part II

August 21, 2014 — 2 Comments

After three years and a total renovation to our old house in New Orleans house, there were times we said we’d never do it again. However, most of the time we realized we like doing it and felt very rewarded when it was all said and done. The financial reward also made it worthwhile as it paid for our Round the World trip!

We weren’t determined to buy a fixer upper in Dallas, but it was always a possibility. We put one offer on a house that was move in ready and two offers on houses that were pretty much full gut jobs. I cringe when I say “gut job” because Jocelyn kept calling the house we purchased one before we started renovations and I kept saying it wasn’t… but now I think she’s right!

It doesn't look too bad in pictures, but it was in need of a full cosmetic upgrade

It doesn’t look too bad in pictures, but it was in need of a full cosmetic upgrade

Some of the work was obvious – we’d have to replace the electrical, redo all of the floors, and re-texture and paint all of the walls. Technically, it wasn’t a gut job because we weren’t going down to the studs, and we weren’t going to do our kitchen yet. The house didn’t look too bad in pictures, but when walking through it was obvious that major work hadn’t been done in the last fifty years. Continue Reading…

I’ve been somewhat absent from blogging as we’re currently in the middle of a move with a simultaneous renovation.  I even have a post almost complete comparing what the house looked like before and what it looks like now.  However, we’re still in serious renovation and move in mode so the post is still in progress.

In fact, it’s so bad that we’re reverting back to our time traveling the globe!  When we turned on the gas to our house when we finally moved in last week, it smelled like the whole neighborhood was filling with gas!  The gas was turned off the last six weeks while the renovations were ongoing so we didn’t really notice.

So, now we’re stuck living in a house without gas.  It doesn’t affect our cooking too much because our kitchen is still gutted, but it does affect our hot water!  We’ve been without hot water for a few days already, and we have a few days to go.

That leaves a few options – most we used while traveling – cold showers, creative showers, or no showers at all!  Cold showers really aren’t fun so after we took a couple we knew it had to change.  It reminded us mostly of our time in Nepal when we were backpacking through the Himalayan foothills and hot water was hard to find.  No showers happened occasionally while traveling, but as we’re both working now it wasn’t a good option. Continue Reading…

Redfin Dallas Review

July 9, 2014 — 5 Comments

When we started our home search in Dallas, we were faced with the customary option of determining who’s going to make a lot of money off of our purchase. Seriously, 3% of our purchase price (THOUSANDS of dollars) to meet us at 10 houses and work the contract of a final purchase??  Realtors work hard, and I wouldn’t want their job because of the constant availability required, but that’s a lot money. If only I could get a cut of that cash pile… enter Redfin!

My brother in law told us about Redfin because they were looking for a house in Denver and the whole “getting paid to a buy a house” part appealed to them as well.  After he mentioned it, we decided to give it a try and see if we could get a nice check from them after purchase.

What is Redfin?

They have it summed up pretty nicely on their website:

“Redfin Agents are full-service agents who get to know you over coffee and on home tours, with one big difference: We’re paid to be on your side.”

I don’t think we ever got a cup of coffee, but we did get a full service realtor. Redfin is different than traditional realtors and most realtors seriously dislike them as they’re a complete game changer in the real estate market. They’ve made buying a house a very transactional process and have become very efficient at it.

They’re not in every city, but they’re growing quickly and will be in every city before they’re through. If you can’t tell, I’m a big fan. However, Redin may not be for everyone – here are some quick thoughts that should help you decide if you should use Redfin: Continue Reading…

We bought a house!

June 2, 2014 — 6 Comments

As I mentioned after we bought a new(er) car a while back, we’re now fully engrained back in the domesticated life where concerns aren’t where you’ll rest your head for the night, but instead how bad traffic will be on the way to work.  Now the real test, could we stay within the 2X income for buying a house?

The 2x income rule basically says when you buy a house, your total loan shouldn’t be more than two times your gross annual salary. It’s not necessarily based on the price of the house because you can subtract the down payment.

That being said, we managed to stay within the 2x income rule!

We were at a high risk of going over it as we we’re finalizing which city we’d move to. After we got back from traveling and I started working, I got a promotion and part of the deal was I had to move to either Houston, Dallas, or Austin. We quickly ruled out Houston as we don’t have many friends there and it’s farther from our families in Oklahoma. That left Austin and Dallas. Continue Reading…