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Archive for March, 2012

Snowflakes, Houses and Books

March 29th, 2012 at 02:55 pm

The money stuff first. I received a $3 payment from Pinecone today. I also redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 iTunes e-gift card. I was saving up for the Amazon one, but decided with today's deal it was better to get the iTunes. I will definitely give this to one of my daughter's for Christmas!! So I'm left with over 500 Swagbucks which is more than enough to get my an Amazon gift card on April 1. Yipee!!

House news. No showings today. No reponses from the two showings yesterday. However, we have a showing tomorrow!! Keep the showings coming I say. Fingers crossed there is an offer this weekend. I know that sounds like great expectations, but what can it hurt really? The hardest part is keeping the house tidy. I've done more laundry recently because I don't want our dirty clothes/towels hanging out in our closets for showings. I'm tossing those things in the washer each day and then running a load as it gets full (which is about every other day).

I'm reading The Great Gatsby for the first time. Very enjoyable. It's a classic and it has come up several times recently for me, so I decided it was time. Anyone have a favorite classic book? I've always loved To Kill A Mockingbird.

The Swagbuck links above are referral links.

House Update: Another Showing Today

March 28th, 2012 at 09:36 am

We have had one showing this morning, with a possible return this evening. We also now have another showing this afternoon! Excited that there is interest in our home!!

While I was away this morning for the showing I was going to return an item and shop for something. Darn. I forgot the receipt I needed to return the item and the coupon I was going to use to buy the other item!

I ended up at Target and spend about $12 on some needed items. And then I picked up two books at the library. I hope I don't spend money everytime there is a showing. That could add up fast.

I will bring water and a snack in the car for later when I pick the girls up from school to avoid buying them a treat. Maybe we'll make those other errands I didn't get done this morning.

Fingers still crossed!!

A Showing Scheduled Tomorrow

March 27th, 2012 at 10:48 am

The listing went live this morning and our realtor had a call after 10am to schedule a showing for tomorrow morning at 10am! Yipee!!

It sounds like the buyers are motivated. They don't have a home to sell and they already put an offer in on another home, but they missed out on it because of multiple offers. They are preapproved, too.

The agent even indicated that if they like the home they may come back later in the evening for a second walk through.

My fingers are still crossed!!

Professional Photos

March 26th, 2012 at 10:17 am

The house is going on the market today! Professional photos were taken this morning. I can't wait to see them. The agents and the photographer are thrilled with how the house looks. They said it looks professionally staged. Smile I guess I have a career I could turn to!

I really have my fingers crossed for a quick sale. It will help everything else go smoother for our move. We sold our last home in five days for $500 more than list to a cash buyer. If you have sold a home how long did it take to sell?

Spent $20 For House Spruce Up

March 22nd, 2012 at 05:34 pm

I went to Home Depot and purchased two sets of 8 pack annuals. Pansies in burgandy and violas in purple(these smell sooo good!). I was able to fill four pots with last years potting soil. One pot on the front porch, one on the back deck, and the two smaller pots on the side of the house that can be seen from the street. Nice pop of spring color!

I also bought fertilizer. This is way earlier than I normally would do this, but with recent rains weeds are already showing up. And of course, a green yard sells better than a brown one!

I spent about $20 for a spring spruce up. I expect we will actually get out and mow tomorrow evening, so that that yard looks trimmed up in our marketing photos. It all seems to be going according to plan!!

Notification and Uhaul Rental

March 22nd, 2012 at 08:20 am

DH is soooo ready to come home. He has already given his 60 days notice to his apartment complex with a move out date. Funny thing is the accountant said they would be able to prorate the May rent since he is moving out before the end of the month, and the apartment manager said that they don't prorate. Who knows. I'm really just glad he'll be out of there!!

He also stopped in Uhaul a couple days ago and made arrangements to rent a trailer for his move back. He called me to see if we needed to get insurance...yes, because our insurance doesn't cover it and I don't want to be out $3000+ if it gets damaged.

Today, I'm doing regular cleaing of bathrooms, vaccuuming and dusting. We also need to tidy up and put away back packs, library books, games and things that are out and visible. Fun times here! Is anyone else spring cleaning? I need to know I'm not alone!!

Truck Loan Drops Again

March 21st, 2012 at 05:55 am

Thanks to our regular truck payment the balance on our loan has dropped again. The last payment consisted of $31.90 towards interest and $297.23 towards the principal portion.

The new balance is now $11,527.31.

I would love to be hitting this loan with extra funds, but those have to be saved for moving. Smile

Today Only: $10 Amazon Gift Card

March 20th, 2012 at 07:39 am

You can purchase a $10 Amazon.com gift card from their new AmazonLocal site today only for $5. I heard about it from MyMoneyBlog.

Since this is my primary funding for Christmas this year, I decided to pull the trigger and buy one. Are you going to buy one?

Realtor Date

March 19th, 2012 at 11:11 am

We have a date with our realtor for Saturday! I really had to motivate myself to make that call. I guess a big part of me still doesn't want to move. Frown

However, I'm glad that things are moving forward. It also means more cleaning and organizing before Saturday. Right now it seems to be just regular cleaning. I've done most of the deep stuff recently.

And I need to keep junk from just piling up here and there. I'll be doing stuff just about everyday until it sells. Fingers crossed it is fast. Otherwise, I don't know if I can keep up!

No Air No Heat

March 17th, 2012 at 07:44 am

It has been so warm here over the last week, we have not been running the heat. We probably could have turned on the air conditioner as the house did get up to 82 degrees the last two days. It just doesn't seem right to turn it on in March!!

Windows are open, fans are running and I'm sure we are saving some nice cash. I did turn on the house fan to get a bit more cooling yesterday afternoon. And, it is very nice and cool in the basement. A good place to hang out when it gets hot.

How are you handling the heat and air at your home?

Now It's Official

March 16th, 2012 at 07:35 am

We have orders from the US Army to move!! We are moving about 2-2.5 hours east from our current location. Well DH, will be moving farther since he is on the east coast now.

Next weekend we are taking a day trip to check out the excitement this new city will offer. I think we've narrowed down to two school districts, so that is helpful.

Now the fun really begins. First order of business is to pay rent for April and submit a letter to DH's apartment complex indicating his notice to vacate. It will be so nice not to have to pay that bill!

Second order of business is to contact our realtor. I will plan to do that today. It will definitely feel more real once there is a sign in the yard. I'm guessing it will be up in the next week or two. I'm hoping for a quick sale where we can vacate at the end of May.

The really nice thing is that the Army will pack our stuff and drive it down the road and unload it to our next destination! It's amazing how slick that works.

No FSBO

March 15th, 2012 at 11:42 am

I'm pretty sure that we have decided not to go For Sale By Owner on the sale of our current house. We haven't listed yet, as we are still waiting for order from the US Army. Could they be any slower? Apparently.

I'd love to go FSBO to save the money. The truth is we might not actually save that money on FSBO route. We might not negotiate well. We might list too low. We might not get any buyers to visit. We might spend too much time with open houses. Of course, I could say the opposite of all of these.

There is something to be said for a good realtor that knows the market and how to negotiate with a buyer and their realtor. The money to pay an agent, might net us a higher offer, a better list price, advice based on years of experience. The agent has contact with multiple agents around the city and elsewhere.

I've decided that it is worth the money to pay an agent to make this sale go as smoothly and as stress free as possible. I am after all one person and can't do it all. I'm already doing enough to handle the finances for two households, prep the house for sale, keep it cleaned daily, feed my kids and cats, grocery shop, sew costumes and return library books on top of researching our next place to live (and schools), deciding whether to buy or rent, and....well you get the idea.

Thanks for all the feedback on my FSBO post earlier this month. I appreciate your insights. It was interesting that not too many had actually sold their home by owner. Only one person commented that they had. I'm sure some day, I'll try it, but for now I've decided it is worth the money.

That's the latest. How are home sales in your area?

A Few Updates

March 13th, 2012 at 08:23 am

Thanks for the Blogoversary wishes!! So glad you are all here, too.

I cancelled the Goodyear credit card that DH opened in November when we purchased tires and wanted to get the rebates. I didn't have it all paid off until early last month, but it is finally cancelled! It was a Citi connected card, so I just emailed the desire to cancelled and received a response with in a hour or two. Easy!!

Orders from the Army to move should likely come any day. Tomorrow? I'm still working on things around the house to make it in saleable condition.

Today, I'm using paint I have on hand to touch up our kitchen cabinets. If I have time I will also clean up the dead leaves from last years daylillies. They are beginning to poke through on the south side of the house! Spring is here it seems.

Yesterday, we had several pieces of our driveway pumped up with concrete. It does have patched holes that are still drying, but it looks so much better and is not nearly as much of a safety hazard! That will set us back about $400. I am waiting for an invoice.

It has been a bit spendy lately, thus not as much savings to speak of. DH had about $500 worth of maintenence work done on the truck this past weekend. Always frustrating to me when he does this and it suppose to just be an oil change. Ugh!

So, what's new with you? Is it spring where you are?

My 4 Years

March 12th, 2012 at 07:01 pm

It's my blogoversary today!! I've been here for four years and have accomplished so many goals. Thanks for cheering me on.

Retirement Accounts are Moving Up

March 9th, 2012 at 06:04 am

I haven't been checking retirement balances much lately, since it is usually bad news. However, I check after yesterday's closing and was surprised to find that the total of our accounts neared $165K. It seems not too long ago that we got to the $100K milestone. I just checked and that was in late November of 2009, so just a mere two plus years. Of course, it could have been much better, but I'll take where we are.

I'd love to see $175K or more by the end of the year. It is possible just by adding in our contributions, but you never know with the market lately.

The girls college funds are just under $20K combined. Also liking this. It will definitely help when the time comes!!

Have you been keeping an eye on your long term investments or were you ignoring them a bit like I was?

Tiny Snowflakes

March 6th, 2012 at 09:55 am

I redeemed my final $5 AGC from Swagbucks for the month of March. The other $20 worth I counted towards February, since that is when they were earned. I'd love to get enough by the end of the month to earn a $25 or $50 AGC. To meet that goal, I'm running Swagbucks TV while I'm spring cleaning.

I also earned $3 from Pinecone. I did notice that I actually earned $18 per month the last two months. Not bad. I hope March turns out to be similar.

It's a beautiful day here. I will walk outside with my neighbor and try to get some more cleaning in. So far I've done two sets of blinds and cleaned the upper kitchen cabinets. If I can get the lower cabinets done, I will try to touch up paint them later this week. It's the one dreaded task I have on my list. Cabinet painting. Yuck!

No word on orders yet, which is what is keeping me from doing much regarding selling the house. I will just keep plugging away on cleaning until then.

Anyone else getting the spring cleaning bug? What kinds of tasks are you working on?

A Few Home Pictures

March 4th, 2012 at 08:09 am

Do you think I have the skills to sell our home by myself based on these pictures? I don't have a wide angle lens camera, but the FSBO package I would buy would include someone taking wide angle lens photos and a walk through video.










The biggest pro for us with FSBO is simply saving the money that it would cost us to sell with a realtor which is 6% of the sales price. This would allow us to save around $10K. I would definitely have to do some work to save that money, specifically doing the showings.

We would likely put the house on the market FSBO as soon as we get orders. Once we move, likely the beginning of June, we would list with a realtor or rent the home. It would be harder to show the house when living two hours away.

Outside picture is old, we don't own that car anymore!

Christmas Challenge Snowflake Update

March 2nd, 2012 at 08:30 am

Here's a run down of my snowflake earnings since the beginning of 2012. I'm in the middle of redeeming four $5 AGC that I earned in the last half of February. I'm counting them towards February even they will arrive in March.



My total is up by $97.80 since last month! Awesome.

How are your Christmas Fund Challenge totals coming along?

Yep, Cancelled Citi Online

March 1st, 2012 at 10:38 am

I sent an email from the Citi website to customer service today requesting my account be closed. I indicated that I opened it only for the rewards and have received those. I also indicated I did not need the credit.

I received an email back within an hour indicating the account had been closed. So happy there was no hassle. Easy. Easy!

We earned a $12.42 in interest for the month. That money just gets added to our emergency fund right now. We actually just topped $20K for the first time in awhile. I'm not sure how much of that we can hold on to with the move coming up, but I'll do my best.

I'm doing things around the house to get ready for sale. Today, I oiled a few squeaky hinges on doors and cleaned the bathroom vents. I've also got a call in to arrange a furnace and air conditioning check.

I'm actually beginning to consider a For Sale By Owner. I found a site in our area that charges about $500 to list the house on MLS and other real estates sites like Google, Yahoo and Zillow. They will take wide angle photos and a virtual tour video. And there is a sign mailed to us for our yard, as well as a QR code attached to the listing. There is no minimum listing period.

It is very tempting to consider since I don't think our house will sell for above what we bought it for. It might even sell for $10K less. And it will cost us about $10K to list with a realtor. We will leave the transaction with cash. It would just be nice to leave with more than we started with!!

We have a very nice clean home. Some updates, nothing glaringly outdated for a 1998 home, in my opinion. There is room for improvement if someone wanted to put in laminate, or paint all the trim white. Basement is unfinished.

Hmmm...maybe I'll take some photos of the house how it is and see if you think it is FSBO material. I'll get back to you on that.

Oh, and I would pay a buyer's agent a commission if they were interested in our house. I think that would be worth it.

Let me know you first thoughts. I'm off to do more cleaning. Are you spring cleaning yet?