A Ringing Phone and a Tricycle Sent Me Homeshopping

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Education & Training with Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals.


"The price of buying a home is what you pay. The value is what you get."

-Warren Buffett


My foray into homeownership started with a ringing phone and a tricycle, neither of which were mine.  

When I first moved to Wenatchee, a cousin's wife offered to let me live with their family until I could get a job and afford a place of my own. I didn't move out as soon as I got a job, but I did start paying them a modest amount for room and board.  Within a year, a friend and I decided to rent an apartment together.  We found a nice 3-bedroom apartment that we could afford which gave us each a bedroom and a room for visitors. 

Although the apartment was nice, it had thin walls, and I could hear the neighbors phone whenever it rang.  Also, there was no place for the children in the complex to play.  Their playground was in the driveway. My apartment happened to be in the back of the complex, and I felt like getting to the apartment was like driving through a minefield (of children). One day it just hit me... it was time to go home shopping.  At that time, it was purely an emotional decision, not financial.  I had no concept of the long term financial benefits.  I just knew I wanted to get out of the apartment.  That was in 1973. I was 21 years old.

My softball coach was a licensed REALTOR® in his Dad's office, so we started looking for homes.  One of the things I told him I wanted was a fireplace.  I had never lived in a home with a fireplace until I moved in with my cousin, and I wanted one in my home.  My agent and I looked at a few homes and then one day he showed me a home without a fireplace. The home was perfect except it didn't have a fireplace. 

The agent said he already had the home structurally inspected and the living room wall was the perfect place for my beloved fireplace.  I did buy that house and quickly made arrangements to have a fireplace installed. The cool thing was I got to design the fireplace and have it built to my specifications.  I can't say the brick mason was thrilled when I told him I wanted an arched opening, but he did what I asked.  It was perfect. 

I enjoyed having a home of my own. I loved being able to paint the walls any color I wanted and make other changes to fit my style.  When I decided to sell it 6 years later to buy a larger home on a bigger piece of property, the financial benefit hit me square in the face.  The equity built over the 6 years was 3 times more than the the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance payments I had made during that time. Plus, I had been enjoying the tax benefits of paying a mortgage instead of rent. 

I had, unknowingly, been living for free AND making money to boot.  I had a considerable downpayment on the next house.  After one more rollover, by 1995, my husband and I had enough equity to buy our next house for all cash, never to make another mortgage payment.

I know there are arguments to be made for not paying off your mortgage and using that money for other investments, but that's a whole 'nother subject.  I have enjoyed NOT having a mortgage payment for over 20 years now.  As a widow, living off investments and retirement income, not having a mortgage gives a wonderful peace of mind.

The decision to buy a home started out based on an emotional desire. Each home we have bought was a result of our changing phases of life. I started with a "starter" home and then purchased a larger home with more land and a view. After my husband and I got married, we sold that house to buy a house on the river that would accommodate visits from kids and grandkids. We downsized due to my husband's health.  Our final move was to accommodate a live-in caregiver to help me take care of my husband in his final years. This is where I will probably live the rest of my life. It's been an emotional journey of evolving lifestyles, and the financial benefits have tagged along. 

Little did I know in 1973 that a ringing phone and a tricycle would set me up for a mortgage-free retirement.


* This is my entry into Debe Maxwell, CRS June Homeownership Challenge.

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"The best way to predict the future is to create it!"
- Peter Drucker

"Information is FREE. Knowledge, Experience & Integrity Are Priceless."

-Carol Williams

Retired: Real Estate Broker/Owner, Property Manager 
Coaching, goal setting and marketing consultant by appt.

Active: Golf & Travel Blogger
"Golf isn't a sport. It's a lifestyle."
SeniorWomenGolfers.com
TopTeamCarol@gmail.com


 

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Rainmaker
2,537,914
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

This post is a well written testament to the value of homeownership and the motivation some of us experience to get there.

Jun 29, 2019 02:12 PM #3
Rainmaker
2,537,914
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

CONGRATULATIONS Carol, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Jun 29, 2019 02:13 PM #4
Rainmaker
1,071,890
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

You made wise decisions and it is nice to have financial peace of mind.

Jun 29, 2019 03:36 PM #5
Rainmaker
3,335,071
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Carol - there is something very special about being "mortgage free" despite what some experts say/recommend. 

Jun 29, 2019 04:17 PM #6
Rainmaker
1,321,396
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Sally K. & David L. Hanson 
It was the beginning of a great adventure into homeownership. Wouldn't have it any other way.

Jun 29, 2019 06:49 PM #7
Rainmaker
1,321,396
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD 
Perhaps at a very young age I realized I wasn't going to find the perfect home... but I could make it so? 

Jun 29, 2019 06:50 PM #8
Rainmaker
1,321,396
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Myrl Jeffcoat 
I guess we're all spurred on by different motivations, aren't we?  And, thanks so much for the Feature in the Old Fart's Club!

Jun 29, 2019 06:51 PM #9
Rainmaker
1,321,396
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Sharon Lee 
Yes, I am very blessed!  Hope you're enjoying the summer.  

Jun 29, 2019 06:53 PM #10
Rainmaker
1,321,396
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Michael Jacobs 
Everyone needs to decide what is right form themself, don't we? 

Jun 29, 2019 06:54 PM #11
Ambassador
3,314,897
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Oh my...we both submitted our entries tonight, both citing Buffet quotes! 

I love your story, from start to finish, Carol. I wish you had a photo of your arched fireplace - would love to see your design. Building equity in your home to the point of paying cash for subsequent houses, is such a wonderful way of life. Never having to worry about paying a mortgage is a luxury that many never experience. You put your nose to the grindstone and it paid off!

Thank you so much for sharing in this month's challenge - I knew I would love your story!

Jun 29, 2019 10:37 PM #12
Rainmaker
2,915,532
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Carol.

What a wonderful story.  I haven't found the last home I'm going to live in, still looking

Jun 30, 2019 02:23 AM #13
Rainmaker
1,321,396
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Debe Maxwell, CRS 
I wish I had a picture of the fireplace too... and the custom fireplace screen I had made.  Thanks for reading my story.  There are some additional interesting details and coincidences to my story. I might write about that too.

Jun 30, 2019 05:41 AM #14
Rainmaker
1,321,396
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Good morning James Dray 
Keep looking, James.  No rush! 

Jun 30, 2019 05:42 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,218,725
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

HI Carol Williams - You learned early in life how important it is to own your own home and how it can benefit you financially as you move through life. I think it is very important to be mortgage free in retirement. 

Jun 30, 2019 06:56 AM #16
Ambassador
3,987,780
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Carol:

I so enjoyed reading your post and learning more about the path you have taken with the homes you have owned. What a wonderful place to be in - no mortgage payment.

Jeff

Jun 30, 2019 09:03 AM #17
Rainmaker
3,168,589
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Carol Williams,  wow what a great blog and love that you started it out with a Warren Buffet quote.

Jun 30, 2019 09:31 AM #18
Rainmaker
2,498,641
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Great story, Carol. I wished I had purchased a home when I was living in the DC area in the 70s.

Jul 01, 2019 07:19 PM #19
Rainmaker
1,436,337
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

What a wonderful story! Who knows what the impetus will be to get started on the home purchase process. A phone and tricycle can certainly do it!

Jul 22, 2019 03:34 AM #20
Rainmaker
1,920,615
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Carol Williams - I loved your story.  You can’t go wrong buying your house as early as possible 

Jul 22, 2019 05:52 AM #21
Ambassador
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Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Arizona's Top Banana!

Hi Carol Williams I missed this post!! I love the story and the motivation why you wanted to buy a house - all emotional. And low and behold it sure paid off for you big time! Myfirst home I bought at an auction - and that was totally a nuts thing to do but it got me started.  Everyone needs to start somewhere!!

Jul 22, 2019 02:07 PM #22
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