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We Found Our Dream Home!!!

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Since I last popped in to up date all of you, Mr. BFS and I just renovated our house after some dog destruction.  That wrapped up last Wednesday.  Last Thursday morning, we were preapproved for a mortgage loan despite being self employed.  So last Friday, we headed out just to browse.  Yeah, that was the plan…

Browsing

We headed out early Friday afternoon with our friend Isabelle to meet our real estate agent at the first home.  This house was built in 2005, had all the room we ever wanted with 3800 square feet, but the previous owners had allowed water damage to get bad.  I also found some black powdery stuff in one of the bedrooms.  So despite it only costing $179,900 and Mr. BFS liking all of the space, we left to see the next house.

The next house was awesome for me and Isabelle.  It had amazing curb appeal and a heavenly back yard.  It was 2600 square feet, but the guest bedrooms were each about 11 x 9 square feet.  And Mr. BFS was not impressed with it’s compact kitchen.  We decided to give it a 7 out of 10 and headed out.

On the way out of the subdivision and back to the main street, our real estate agent pulled over into a cul-de-sac that had 2 finished homes and 2 homes being built.  She asked if we would want to see the empty finished house that looked HUGE.  We laughed, nodded, and headed in.

The Beginning of the End

Our jaws literally dropped when we entered the foyer.  This house was HUMONGOUS.  It has a flowing staircase, wrought iron catwalks, granite counter tops in the kitchen and bathrooms, tile flooring throughout except for soft carpet upstairs, 4 huge bedrooms, and 4100 square feet of living space.  It even had a closet under the staircase that was big enough to stick a person in to live, so we dubbed it the “Harry Potter Closet”.

Then we checked out the bedrooms.  The master bedroom closet could fit 2 queen-sized mattresses and still have depth left.  Isabelle decided that she would live in there, lol.  It was just majorly astounding.

It also cost $320,000.  To put that into perspective, our current 1750 square foot, 3 bedroom home cost us $114,000 in 2007.  We were looking at $180,000 to $200,000 4-5 bedroom homes before this.  We were approved for a $300,000 loan with 20% down at 4.375% for 30 years.  So $320,000 is just not going to happen.

Meeting an Awesome New Home Sales Rep

Since we couldn’t afford that house, we thought we were heading out, but our real estate agent called the home builder’s office and asked if he could make a deal or had any other floor plans.  So we headed across the street to the model home and met with the nicest sales dude ever.  I mean it.

I hate pushy salespeople, but this guy never even offered to sell us anything.  Travis just handed over floor plans, options info, all of the prices for customizations, and he even pointed out upgrades that we would want to skip since they would be cheaper to have done later.  We took a look at a couple of open model homes and made an appointment to meet with Travis Saturday morning to see another floor plan that he guessed we may want to look since it was cheaper than the mansion across the street but only a couple of hundred square feet less.

Meeting My Literal Dream Home

At 11:30am Saturday morning, I fell in love with a house.  Mr. BFS and I followed Travis to a house that was sold about a month ago to a really nice family in his subdivision.  The house is perfect.  Literally perfect.  Of course it is owned already and Mr. BFS and I would have to have a home built if we wanted it, but it is amazing.  Try picturing this:

We walked into an open, 2 story foyer.  On the left are french doors leading to a study.  On the right is a Mother-in-Law downstairs suite with a full bath and a big bedroom with a walk-in closet.  As you walk further into the home, you see the formal dining room on the right that leads to an amazing kitchen that overlooks an open living room.  Seriously, the kitchen is perfect for Mr. BFS and even has a gigantic island that could be used as prep space that can easily sit 4-5 people while it is being used.

Then you head into a short hallway off the living room that has a Harry Potter closet to under the stairs, a utility room with the washer and dryer, the door to the big garage, and then you see the Master Bedroom (aka Owner’s Retreat).  OMG.  The bedroom is huge, the bathroom is gigantic, and it has a very awesome walk in closet.  It wasn’t as big as the mansion we saw on Friday, but is is still huge and way more than I would ever need.

Finally, we headed upstairs.  This house had a 300 square foot Game Room, another 3 nice sized bedrooms (155-175 square feet each) with walk-in closets, 2 full baths, and a windowless Media Room with dimmer pot lights and all!  It is an entertainer’s paradise.

We Are Buying a Another House

All that was left for us to do at that point was to get Travis to show us his last 4 open lots.  We picked one next to power lines since it was being offered at a $5000 discount, is 1.75 lots wide, and will never have any neighbors on the left side.  It is a few steps from some walking trails that lead to the 18 acre lake with fish and ducks and a few playgrounds.  This subdivision is literally 10 minutes away from our current house.  I didn’t even know it existed.

By the end of Saturday, we placed a $2000 refundable deposit, signed the first beginning contracts, and made an appointment to start picking out options on Monday.  With any upgrades that we may want, we will be looking at a $245,000-$260,000 house that should be built by September.  Since we are putting down 20% at closing, we will be looking at an approximately $200,000 mortgage at 4.375% for 30 years but plan to pay it off in 5-10 years max.

Our Future Plans

We may have two mortgages for a couple of months.  We still owe $26,500 on our current home and will be taking on another $200,000 in debt in August or September.  We may have the cash on hand by then to pay off the current mortgage and put 20% down, but we will see.  We are planning to rent our current home out once we move.  That should bring in $1200-$1300 a month minimum according to comps in our area.  We’ll put this in a savings account for landlord maintenance.  After that hits $5000, we’ll start using the monthly extra to pay off the smaller mortgage if it still exists (it is at 4.5%) and then then the larger mortgage when that smaller one is paid off.

Our overall goal is to be completely mortgage debt free before I turn 40 in 2022…hopefully by the time I am 35 in 2017.  But that depends on our business.  If all of our income comes crashing down, at least we know that we could sell our current home at a loss and pay our new home mortgage for a couple of years with the remainder of the sale after taxes.  And we could rent out the downstairs Mother-in-Law suite of our new home if necessary.

If all goes to plan, we should be able to rent out our current home indefinitely or at least until the home values rise again.  We’ll be staying in our new home for as long as we can…I really just can’t wait until it is built and I can show you pictures!!!

What is your idea of a dream home?  Are you in the market now too?



FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!).  I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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62 thoughts on “We Found Our Dream Home!!!

  1. I can’t even begin to describe how jealous I am! While my husband and I aren’t actively in the market, we’re planning to get pre-approved in the next month or so. We have a free living situation right now (caretakers of an historic home, all utilities aside from phone line included) just north of Boston, and we can’t wait to own our own home in the next couple of years.

    I’m rambling, but the reason I’m jealous is that you’re building your dream home from scratch for $260k (on the high end) where we’d be lucky to find something that was held together with duct tape for that price! At the same time, we love our town, and my husband is a fire fighter here so we’re committed.

    I can’t wait to see pictures!




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  2. If we stayed in the city that we live in now, our dream home would be a historic 3-4 story home. There are a ton of these, but they are SO expensive.




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  3. Awesome! that is so great. I really want to buy but we haven’t entered the market yet. I want a 3-4 bedroom house that has tons of space!




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  4. Congrats Crystal! That is so exciting and awesome.

    My wife and I aren’t currently in the market but I really can’t wait to be. We bought a house 3 years ago that was nice (but didn’t have a basement). We’re regretting that decision and the next house we buy will definitely have one!

    We’ll probably start looking again when we get debt free (hopefully in the next 1-2 years).




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  5. That house sounds amazing! It’s so nice to hear that there are some good things coming after all the craziness you’ve had going on lately.




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  6. And…you can rent the in law suite and get money from that too. Yes, we are looking at a place with a similar setup, however, you can’t even touch a property like that in the price range you are talking about in my area. It’s at least 2x that cost in MA and more if you have a decent chunk of land. Your home price is about what my current home will sell at and it’s 1700ft on .2 acres. Ah, it’s nice to be in a low cost of living area isn’t it?




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  7. How exciting! I’d love to buy a house but in my area the cheapest you’ll find is $150,000 and that just isn’t in line with my budget. The only option I have is to buy family property and that’s not even guaranteed to be cheap. Hopefully one day I’ll be a homeowner!




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  8. Our previous home was our dream home. It was a 5 bedroom, 3 bath home on a cul de sac with a view of Northwest Los Angeles. I put in a pool and it bordered a private country club. I overlooked the first hole. It was magnificent! It was brand new and all the other residents moved in at the same time. Mostly young executives with young families. It was perfect.




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  9. Congrats Crystal. From just your description that home around me would be probably close to a million or so. We are in the market but I am not emotionally there since we have yet to find a buyer for our current home. We aren’t allowed to rent it.

    I love the cash flow plan! If you have a couple great months before you close you could even tweak it a bit putting more down (lowering your monthly nut) or paying off the other home so your cash flow increases by 1300 (profit).




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  10. Congrats on the new home! I am just wanting to get one and have it paid in full. I cant even think about a “dream home” at this point. Maybe paid in full is the motto for now. Sounds like a sweet deal though. Hopefully you two will knock out that current loan before the new one is finished.




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  11. I wish I could see pictures! I’m so jealous – it sounds beautiful. A house like that over here would be…well, I don’t even want to think how much it would cost. Definitely a million+. Congrats on finding your dream house!




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  12. I know I sound angry, but I am NOT.

    Do you find it funny how you went from living a frugal life, to spend, spend, spend, in like 1 year. I do! You are proof of the adage make a buck spend a buck. I’m right along with you. I just bought a $50k car, because I was silly to take my checkbook to the Audi dealership. LOL!

    When you started this business,I was just starting to read your blog. Today I am in awe. You are setting GOALS, and achieving them. My only question is are we going to get dog training FIRST?

    Congrats.

    PS: Does the Husband miss the school district,yet? We also should get a new projected budget soon right? I wonder what that payment will look like? Also, How are you going to show two years on self employment income to the bank?




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  13. @Leah, I’m jealous!!! You two are living for free, why not stay? Sounds awesome to someone who is looking at big debt, hahaha.

    @Michelle, yeah, “historic” usually means pricey sadly.

    @Daisy, you can have our 1750 square foot, 3 bedroom for $120,000. 🙂

    @WorkSaveLive, basements in Houston would be called swamps/swimming pools, lol. But I have watched HGTV enough to know how cool that extra space is. 🙂

    @Callme, you can have my current home for $120k, just head on down. 😛

    @Nick, holy crap…

    @Sheryl, thank you!

    @Tie the Money Knot, Houston really does have some great prices. Thanks!

    @First Gen, yeah, I’m just lucky I grew up around here so I love the area.

    @Steve, LOL, thanks!

    @Aggie, best of luck!

    @Squeezer, that sounds fun.

    @MikeS, yeah, moving sucks. Alot. Thanks for the congrats!

    @Aloysa, thank you!

    @Frugal Portland, thanks!

    @Jenna, yay brewery!

    @krantcents, sounds awesome. I know you downsized on purpose though – glad you enjoyed it while you lived there. 🙂

    @Evan, that’s the plan – live super cheap for 4 months and pay off the current mortgage right after handing over the 20% down. We aren’t going to change anything including our mortgage right now so our credit stays exactly the same, but yep, this home loan will be dead by the end of the year.

    @Thomas, Paid in Full does sound great. Maybe I can say it again in 5 years…

    @YPF, I will totally post pics as the home is built and at the end. 🙂

    @Emily, thank you! Good luck when you do hit the market. 🙂




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  14. @Steve, you don’t sound angry, just a little bitter. But I have also seen that we are spending more, but we never lived a super frugal life. That’s why I started this blog. 🙂 We no longer have Oreo since she ate out of the metal kennel (a post a couple of weeks ago), so no dog training needed.

    Nope, Mr. BFS and I have decided that we can never go back to what we did before. If we do ever need to job hunt again, I will be looking into other online endeavors and Mr. BFS would be looking into working for public libraries or maybe even move his reffing hobby into the college arena for better income.

    A new projected budget has been put on paper and we are working out the little stuff like the new HOA dues now. That’ll be a fun post, lol.

    Since our credit scores are over 800, we were able to use just one year of self employment tax returns instead of two. That is how we were preapproved for the 4.375% already. That post is in the works too – “The Joys of Self Employment Preapproval”. I will say that the process sucks.

    I think lifestyle inflation is normal. Overall, as long as we still pay our bills and save for our future, than I am okay with increasing our spending. It does help that we’ll have rental income or a property to sell…that padding is nice.




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  15. @Nick, the 30 year and 15 year rate that we were offered thanks to self employment were the same and there is no prepayment penalty, so we are taking the 30 year loan and paying it off in 5-10 years or less hopefully. But the lower monthly necessary mortgage payment would be nice if the sh*t ever hits the fan, lol.




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  16. Congratulations!!! I can’t wait to see the pictures :)) We should dream and put foundations under them. It is a wonderful feeling when hard-work is rewarded and you can live well. Enjoy every moment of tile, backsplash, doorknobs and paint selection. Send your smaller home this way, I’ll rent it and take good care of it.




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  17. Congratulations!!! So exciting! I love that you are planning to rent out your current home because that should make the building process much less stressful. If things get behind schedule (and they almost always seem to with building projects) you won’t be wondering where your family will live until you get the keys.

    Congrats again on your new home!!




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  18. Wow that’s awesome! Sounds like a great deal and it’ll be even nicer once that mortgage is paid off. It’s nice you don’t owe much on your current place so you can get rental income and that mortgage will be paid for in no time and then the rent will be extra income!




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  19. That’s great Crystal. I have a “Harry Potter” room too, and refer to it as such. Sounds like a wonderful place – I’m jealous!:)




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  20. Very Awesome… The interest rates are soooo low 🙂

    Congratulations!

    I wasn’t in the market, but the rate are so low I’m thinking of looking too.




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  21. Crystal — one thing that stood out to me in your description was that you chose a lot immediately adjacent to power lines. I know I risk sounding like a wacko here, but have you looked into what kinds of power lines these are and how high their voltage is? There are well-documented medical risks to living immediately adjacent to high-voltage transmission lines…it may save you $$ right now, but this could be a case of a short-term gain with very long-term health (and financial!) consequences.

    This is anecdotal, of course, but my fiance grew up in a house with high voltage transmission lines just beyond his backyard fence, and his whole neighborhood was a nexus for cancer. His best friend next door died from leukemia at age 10, and that boy’s mother had a half dozen miscarriages. My fiance’s brother died from pancreatic cancer at age 19. Four parents within five houses of him all died of cancer during his teenage years. Standing in the backyard, you can hear the lines crackling, but it’s not the electric field that’s really the danger; it’s the magnetic field. Electromagnetic fields have been classified by the EPA as a Class B carcinogen, and while some studies about power lines have been inconclusive, the EPA says:

    “Based on studies about the incidence of childhood leukemia involving a large number of households, NIEHS found that power line magnetic fields are a possible cause of cancer.”

    If you’re not planning to have children, maybe it’s not so big a risk, but if that’s in the cards, I just hope you’ll consider doing some research and reconsidering if there’s a chance you can back out of this deal.

    The greater the distance between the power lines and your house, the more protected you are. (A fence or trees are not protection; only distance will reduce the risk of EMF exposure.) Is your lot at least 400 feet from the power lines?

    On a financial note, houses immediately next to power lines generally appreciate much less slowly than houses across the street or another street away. In my neighborhood in Virginia, there is a 15-20% price difference between the houses adjacent to the power lines and the nearly identical houses across the road. It may be cheaper to buy this lot now, but much harder to sell down the road.

    I hate to be a wet blanket, I just know that people that I love now deeply regret that they ever lived next to power lines. My fiance’s parents thought it would be great because there was un-buildable open space behind their house. But now their son is gone, and they’re left forever wondering whether the years of exposure may have been part of the cause.




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  22. @Bridgette, it’s all yours for $1300 a month. 🙂

    @my honest answer, the business stuff settled a little…we won’t be making as much as before, but it is still more than we were making with day jobs. So we will keep on keeping on. 🙂

    @Anna, I like that too. We just will not list our house to rent until we are completely moved into the new one. 🙂

    @Wealthgoals, that is the plan. Thanks for the support!

    @Ellen, yay for Harry Potter closets! 😉

    @Don, step away from the dark side…it’s expensive. 😉 Good luck whichever way you go. 🙂

    @Maura, these are the huge metal power lines, but it’s not the ones that are close together and crackle. These are the tall towers with the 6-10 lines being shuttled down to the big center about a mile away. Our home will be centered on our weird shaped lot, so we should still be 325 direct feet away at a minimum (our lot is a long, weird trapezoid), so the distance between us and the actual lines should be even more since they are way up in the air too. I don’t know exactly how far up they are, so I can’t do the triangle math…so I am not sure if it is 400 feet or not. Thank you for the warning though.




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  23. Congrats on finding your dream home, I know how awesome it feels. I’ve found 2 dream homes so far, but haven’t been able to get them. My new dream home (not sure if it exists yet and is subject to change) is a 1,000 sq. foot home designed to my wishes with a tropical/ocean view. We’ll see how that works out. 🙂




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  24. I loved buying new construction- getting to pick out my flooring and countertops- it really made the house feel like ours. Just make sure you visit a lot during the construction and keep an eye on things. We had some upgrades/feature changes that weren’t done until the last minute and only because we kept asking. When we did a “final” walk through with our real estate agent, we had the wrong kitchen sink and the bedrooms hadn’t yet been wired for ceiling fans (which was the only way to get them wired for overhead lights).
    Also know that if you choose something non-generic, they might try to make you pay more. We chose red carpet for our great room (with two dark colored dogs, red carpet is a life saver) to add to an overall warm color scheme for the downstairs. The builder wanted to make us pay for the entire carpet installation, instead of just our upgrade fees, because if we backed out, there was no way they could sell a house with red carpet and it would have to be replaced with a beige. We pushed back because our contract very clearly did not state that they had any control over our color choices.
    But overall, it was a great experience and I love that house. I still miss that house, actually.




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  25. Congrats Crystal! Buying a new home is something I have never aspired to do (and certainly can’t in my position) but the more I read about people doing it, the more I want to!

    I’m with Maura though. I’ve read a lot about cancer clusters and power lines. You may want to do a little bit of research before you get to a point where you are beyond the ability to back out. Especially if you are going to have kids.




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  26. Something you might want to look into before you rent your house out: I don’t know anything about TX, but many states have a homestead exemption that you are only allowed to claim while you live in the house. We bought a second home and decided to rent out the first house. What we weren’t planning on was the HUGE increase in our taxes. The taxes more than doubled on our rental home. We went from an average of about $200 a month to over $450 a month just for the tax portion of the rental price. It made a big difference in the price we had to rent the house out for.




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  27. Wow! That is SO awesome! Congratulations on finding a brand-new place that fits your needs AND is more or less affordable.

    Friend of mine said that you should get the builder’s cheapest standard installation for things like carpeting, countertops, sinks, and faucets because builders always overcharge for these things; the theory is, you can save a fair amount of money by having your own contractor(s) install flooring, countertops, & stuff. If you pull up the carpeting and remove the Formica counters & junk fixtures shortly after (or even right before) moving in, you can donate them for a tax deduction to nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity. This would help defray the cost of the upgrades.

    Don’t fret about the alleged health issues with the power lines. The cancer connection has been roundly debunked: http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/emf.html and http://www.clinicalcorrelations.org/?p=1425 . As for supposed cancer clusters near power lines: coincidence is not the same as causality.




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  28. @Jen, that sounds beautiful and easy to keep organized. 😉

    @Miss T, thanks!

    @shanendoah, sounds awesome! We’ll make sure to check out our home as it goes up at least once a week. Anytime we make a super non-standard choice, we have to fork over a 10%-100% deposit it seems. In case we end up not buying the house, they would use this money to “fix” it, lol. So far we only make one big change. I think fireplaces are a waste of space in Houston and there are only a couple of weeks when it makes sense to use them here anyway, so Mr. BFS and I asked for our home to NOT have a fireplace…we want to whole pretty wall. So they asked for $750 in case we don’t buy the house so they can put in a fireplace after the fact BUT if we do buy the house, they will give us $1500 back (our $750 and the $750 in savings for not building a fire place or mantle). I’m okay with that. 🙂

    @Robert, congrats!!!

    @Jessica, I actually asked an engineer over the weekend (close friend) about the power line thing and he assures me that I would need to be within 100 feet 24/7 for more than 15 years for it to cause us any troubles. He took a look at the lot dimensions and how far away the power lines are and is very happy for us. Oh, and having kids was only a 10% chance before this past month or two anyway and now it feels like a 1% chance to me…I just like puppies more. I’ll babysit my friends’ kids someday I am sure…

    @roberta, yes, we will miss out on the $15,000 homestead exemption here, but that will only amount to a $420 change a year for us ($2650 a year instead of $2200-ish). Our tax rate is an annual 2.8% total with school, utility, and county put together. But thanks for the warning! If we rent the home out at $1300-$1400 as planned (based on area comps), that should more than cover the $515 mortgage and $300 for taxes and insurance. 🙂

    @Funny about Money, yeah, anytime we pick an option we have to pay for, I call businesses in our area to verify whether it would be cheaper after the fact instead, hahaha. So far, the builder’s upgraded countertops are way cheaper to have installed now, so is their tile, but I will be having wood laminate installed in the dining room and library after they’re done because it is $3.99-$4.99 per sq.ft. installed right now in the real world but $6.99 per sq.ft. from the builder. Apparently covered patios are just darn expensive period, so we will probably have the builder do it. Thanks for the links about power lines! 🙂




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  29. Oh my gosh, I have been so disconnected lately that I had no idea you went and bought a house. Congratulations!!!

    What an exciting time in your life. You will be busy for sure, but it is a good kind of busy.

    Have fun!!




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  30. Nice post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely helpful information specifically the closing phase 🙂 I deal with such info much. I used to be seeking this certain info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.




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