Ignoring the nagging doubts that festered in my gut like an undercooked McRib sandwich, I threw down half of my remaining cash for a down payment and bought another house. That's right, folks, while the stock market plunged to a place that had been forgotten seen since the previous century, and most people were buying gold and stuffing cash in their mattresses, I took out a second mortgage. The monthly mortgage payments on my two houses now equal 80% of my take-home income. Awesome.
But life is not without risks, eh? And the sucky housing market and economy are exactly the reason I decided to take this plunge. The house, a foreclosure, was a goddamn steal. It will be no trouble covering the mortgage with rent. At worst I should break even (which is basically making bank, since you have someone else paying the morgage on your house while it appreciates). At best I should clear a few hundred a month.
I put an ad on Craig's List yesterday to fill up the 3rd room in this house. Myself and a friend will be occupying the other two. I got two responses in the hour after I posted the ad. I got about 6 more last night. I think this will be a piece of cake to rent the room. The location is pretty good - 12 minute walk (about 6 blocks) to the Georgia Avenue/Petworth metro, residential street, and there's a little commercial strip a block away for picking up 40s.
Like any house I would buy it needs a little work, though this one is in WAY better shape than my current residence. It's perfectly livable as-is, though I will be taking care of some minor issues. Pictures below.
The Great Experiment
Because I am a super-green enviro-wizard, I have decided that house #2 or "PetProject" will be the subject of a great experiment in green renovating (and ultimate cheapness). My goal is to do all the work on this place -- and furnish it -- for less than $5,000 and using recycled fixtures, products, and building materials whenever possible. Since I'll be doing most of the work myself, that cost is largely materials, and if I need a new roof, the game is off. And I don't intend to do a crappy job - everything I put into this house must be of decent quality and in relatively good condition.
There are three primary components to this plan which, together, will make it possible:
- Freecycle DC
- Craig's List
- The Community Forklift and The Loading Dock
The first is an awesome mailing list where people just give stuff away. A lot of the stuff that comes across the list is lame-- I mean, does anyone REALLY want a used toothbrush? But there are plenty of finds to be had every day, like appliances, furniture, anything. The Community Forklift and The Loading Dock (in Hyattsville and Baltimore, respectively) are recycled building supply warehouses. People doing renovations can donate what they tear out and get a tax writeoff, and then people like me can go and buy the used stuff for pennies on the dollar. Great place for doors, windows, cabinets, tiles, you name it.
In just one week's time, I have already acquired the following:
- Washer and dryer - $140
- Toilet - approx. 1 year old - free. This will go into a new 1st floor powder room.
- Vintage sink with new, quality fixture - replace existing ugly bathroom sink with broken fixture - $60 from The Loading Dock
- Small sink - free - for powder room
- Eight bar stools - free
- Brass chandelier, 5-light, excellent condition - free
I'm going to set up a page with a running list of everything I've bought or acquired and the cost for this house to see how it goes.
No, I don't plan to keep the fridge in the dining room.
The kitchen definitely needs a little TLC. And a dishwasher.
Bathroom? Check. Interesting note... there is no shower upstairs!! Apparently, everyone showered in the basement for the last 92 years. That is high on the list.