It’s time for another riveting update from yours truly. As is the norm these days, there has been a development that has flipped everything upside down.
On July 31st we handed over the keys to our old home to its new owners. We’re now officially living IN the new house.
We were supposed to be living IN the temporary “trailer” home in the back yard – but we’re not…
It all began on July 28. It was a Friday, and we had been looking forward to get our new temporary home installed – and to get settled in. We were handing over the keys to our old house on Monday 31st, so we only had 3 days to move everything and settle in.
The “tiny-house” arrived on time and was craned into our yard. It didn’t take them long to “install it”.
It took up quite some space in the garden – almost all of it, actually!
My wife walked inside the new living arrangement and shortly after she uttered the famous words: “Right, I’m not sleeping in this”…
The room where our daughter was supposed to sleep in had clear indications of black mold! Granted, this unit was a bit older than we had hoped and since black mold is a pretty severe safety hazard there was only one thing to do; Move into the house instead!
Mind you that we had not intended to live in the house at this point, but since the actual renovations hasn’t started yet – it was/is livable. It just doesn’t have a kitchen, and there is furniture and boxes everywhere…
Anyway, a few hours later – some speed-cleaning and moving stuff around, we had a bedroom that we could sleep in. We of course called the “tiny house” company, which said they would send a “cleaning crew” first thing on Monday. The thing with black mold is, once it’s been there it’s not that easy to remove – and it cannot be done by standard cleaning products, so we demanded that they sent us a new mold-free unit. We agreed that we would let them attempt to clean it, and then we would have it tested for black mold afterwards.
Now, I should state that before all this happened, I had actually begged and pleaded with the wife to actually CANCEL the tiny-home and move into the house instead – since it was THERE. Originally we had expected to be mid-renovation at this point, and thus we would have not been able to live inside the house. But because the renovation is paused (because of the ongoing insurance case) the house was/is actually livable. BUT, at this point my wife did not want to move into the house, but would rather that we followed our original plan with the tiny home…
Alas, the universe wanted it otherwise, and I distinctly remember my wife uttering the following words on that day: “You were right all along, honey- we should have cancelled that damn thing and just moved into the house instead”. YOU READ IT HERE FIRST, FOLKS! I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG! 😛
Anyway, we had the tiny-home tested for black mold (so now we can add this to our ever-growing resumé of shit we now know how to do!), and sure enough – it had “severe black mold growth”. Ouch. The company then decided to remove it again AND said that they could not promise us that a new one would NOT have black mold in it! OMG! So they will refund us the money and then I guess we are living in our new house for now!…
I then scoured the yellow pages for kitchen cabinets and appliances, and we have now built a pretty well-functioning kitchen for less than €500. And this is where it becomes quite interesting. We’ve now been living in a house for about 14 days that has every basic functionality that a house needs – and yet we’re planning to MOVE out of it (at some point) to tear it all apart, and install a new €10,000+ kitchen (among other things). But why? It works just fine the way it is. Granted, it’s not pretty – but it works! Unfortunately my mental state and my wife’s seem to have gone in opposite directions here. I’m now questioning this whole renovation ordeal, while she can’t wait to get it back on track. But where will we then live?! At this point, we don’t really know…But as always, I’m sure we will figure it out eventually. I put my faith in the universe once again! 😉
The situation has spurred some tension in our household… I’m trying to see things from both sides, but no matter how I look at it, it seems frivolous to spend €100,000+ renovating a home that isn’t faulty per say. – It’s just outdated and a bit obscure 😛
I’m preparing mentally to spend the winter in our temporary living situation, while my wife is on the phone with the insurance company every day, trying to get them to speed up the process. I think she’s battling a lost cause here though. There is no cure for bureaucracy and short-staffed insurance companies. You just have to be patient – and while historically patience hasn’t been my strong suit, I’m SO prepared to wait this one out! HAHA. Apparently I’m much more willing to live in “temporary accommodations” because I know that it’s temporary. Certainly there are people out there in the world, who are living in much worse PERMANENT living conditions than we are. My wife on the other hand, is NOT happy…And you know what they say; Happy wife, happy life. So as you can imagine, currently unhappy wife = unhappy life…
On the plus side of all of this, our monthly expenses have now settled somewhat (since our mortgage on the old house has now been settled) and we can now already start to see some of the savings that we will be reaping every month. Most of these savings will go towards amortization though – which means it will be transformed to equity. Just to re-cap for those of you who aren’t up to speed with what’s going on; We moved to a smaller and cheaper home for two reasons:
- To get closer to our daughters school so she could walk to/from school
- To lower our monthly expenses (to be able to save more towards FIRE)
From day 1 in the new house we’ve been reaping the benefits of #1 reason. Our daughter has been walking to and from school every day – and she loves it. The freedom that it gives not only her, but also her parents is priceless! 🙂 Because our traffic patterns have changed drastically, we believe we can live with having only 1 car (please, there are people out there living with 0 cars! 😛 ), so this will be the next step of the journey. Next month our lease is up on our little EV (Renault Zoe). I’m finding it hard to say goodbye to this little trooper. It’s not pretty or fast, but it gets the job done! It’s quiet and very economical. Unlike our soon-to-be only car, our 10-year old Skoda Rapid…It’s not quiet and it runs on gasoline…*deep breaths*. We bought it 2nd hand 6 years ago, and it has been very trustworthy. But as it ages (close to reaching 200,000km now) it’s going to need more and more repairs. It’s one thing going from having two cars to one – I think that will be doable for us. The weary feeling that I have about this, is that I don’t like the 1 car we have left. It’s my wife’s car, and I don’t like driving it. But it’s cheap (until the major repairs start to arrive!). I don’t know guys, I feel like a replacement is imminent, although given my rant above about being OK living in an old house, why wouldn’t I be OK with driving an old car?…I just hope it’ll get through the winter without any major hiccups 😛 – Because at the first sign of problems with that car, I predict it will be replaced! HAHA.
Anyway, the #2 reason for moving was lowering our monthly (living) expenses. We were on track for a 30% decrease in direct living expenses – but then this shit happened:
While our new mortgage is actually 40% smaller than our old one, the interest rate is 350% higher! Yikes! So we decided to go back to amortization on the new mortgage. This means that our overall budget only decreased by 4% from the old house to the new house – but, we were not amortizing in the old house with the old mortgage, so a big chunk of the new budget is obviously going to be turned into home equity. We will continue to do this as long as the interest rate remain at the current levels. Should it once again return to ~1-2%, we will probably stop amortizing and prioritize investing instead.
This is our new budget compared to the old one:
I’m clinging to the fact that it IS still (slightly) cheaper in the new house…Unfortunately, overall this is not going to get us closer to our Total Balance goal any faster…It’s back to the drawing board on that one, I guess!
But this is when it starts to get a little licorice (it’s a Danish expression. – It means: now it’s getting interesting/exciting/thrilling/nerve wrecking). Remember when I said that our new mortgage was 40% smaller than our old one? Some of the difference is currently now in our bank account. This amounts to around €100,000 actually, which happens to be our renovation budget (surprise, surprise). If you remember, I’ve been moving my cash stash around between whichever bank was paying the highest interest. Lately this has been either Norwegian Bank og Santander. They both currently pay 2.10%. But I’ve just discovered that our main broker (Saxo Bank) is currently offering 2.8% on deposits above €90,000. This means that our renovation budget is currently generating just shy of €8/day in interest at the moment. That’s €240/month. This is of course not a fortune, but it translates to almost €3,000/year. This amount of money could actually finance a small car…So this is where we’re at; Do I want a new kitchen/new bathroom/new living room/new bedroom/new driveway/you-get-the-idea or do I want a new car?!…Decisions, decisions…
The Classic Growth Chart
As long as we are not contributing to our Total Balance, I don’t think it makes sense to keep updating this chart (also, I’m very lazy). We have started dipping into the cash stash to support our crazy building project, so I will temporarily retire the Classic growth chart from the monthly update for now… (It shall return!).
In Conclusion (TL;DR)
We are now living inside of our renovation project, because the tiny home was infected by black mold. YAY!
Since the actual renovations hasn’t started yet (because we are awaiting the outcome of an ongoing insurance case) the house is livable, albeit a bit funky…
I’m strangely comfortable with the whole situation, albeit my wife is NOT. So naturally, none of us are happy right now! 😛
Well, I’m kind of happy, because our renovation budget is currently yielding a cool 2.8% interest in the bank (give me a break, I have to have something that I can be thrilled about! I know that 2.8% isn’t a lot, but mind you that 2 years ago we were actually PAYING 0.60% to have money in the bank!).
See you next month!