Everyday I'm Hustlin'

The house hunt is an all consuming process.

Last November, I successfully completed National Novel Writing Month, which is where you write 50,000 words in the month of November. My novel consumed me. I wrote every day, I brainstormed during work hours and read and reread constantly, revising. My thoughts were in a constant whirl of plot points, character flaws, character designs, world building, dialogue. Some nights I could barely sleep, unable to make my brain go quiet.

The house hunt is more intense than that. I'm a week in, and my life schedule has suddenly started revolving around it. I have to schedule in free time. There's a three day weekend coming up. Instead of going up to Tahoe and having fun in the snow, we are staying home and going to multiple open houses, talking with our lender, checking out neighborhoods, and building our spreadsheet of notes.

What have we learned thus far, after many hours of googling, scheduling appointments, making phone calls, going out and touring? That we have got maybe a 30% chance of getting a house that fits our criteria and doesn't destroy us.

The first thing we learned?
To get our budget in check. Memorize those numbers and stick to them. Save every penny, because buying property isn't cheap. There are permits, foundation problems, sewers to replace, pest inspections, etc. to pay for. Also, taxes. Did I forget to add 300 page disclosure forms?
Yes I did.
300 page disclosure forms.
Budgeting is not as simple as it sounds. the two of us being a data analyst and programmer respectively, we needed to have easy to access data and accurate data, so for months we have been working on a pet programming project, lovingly named Budgetron, to combine our money data, generate charts, and email us when we are close to reaching set thresholds.

It sounds nice right? But budgeting is hard, it's hard t get the data to come out from our banks in an easy format, it is hard to combine it, and it is hard to grasp it. We aren't big spenders, having grown up in a low-income household, I fall victim to the "save it all, hide it in your mattress" mindset, so sticking to our ideal budget isn't super difficult, EXCEPT for the fact that we use mostly card, not cash. That makes it harder to not overspend. I end up agonizing over every decision, like "do I buy this tomato? 12 cents? Jesus fuck no."

So lesson one? Learn how to make your money easy to visualize, and then die the true death.