How I Made $102k in Real Estate and Am Poorer For It

Welcome to Seattle.  You Should Buy a House.

In Y2K I arrived in Seattle for a new job and immediately set out to buy a house.  I have no idea why; I was just following the rules society had laid out.

I had just received an offer on my Chicago area house for 178k.  Houses close to work started at $550k.  I was experiencing major sticker shock.

Price forced me to widen my search to nearby commuter communities, where I found a great looking house in a nice neighborhood.  It had easy highway access, a nice view from the upstairs office, and was barely in my price range at $292,500.  Nearby was a newly constructed office park that would attract potential future buyers, and an elementary school in a good school district was a 5 minute walk up the hill

With a 20% down payment of $58,500, I had just purchased the biggest house I could afford, the smallest house in a good neighborhood.  Remaining in my bank account was a lonely $20.

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Renters For Life

Photo credit, turkeychik -

Photo credit, turkeychik

“Beep you, you beeping beep!! I’ll kick your beepity beep!!!”

Hmmm, who is that? I don’t recognize her voice

“I ain’t lying, I can’t have you be talking to my Momma like that”

That’s Carl. Good for him standing up for his mother.

A few weeks earlier Carl had introduced himself by handing me a burger across the hedge separating our houses. He and his buddies were cooking out in the back yard and tossing back a few cold ones on a fine summer day, celebrating his release from prison. He had just moved in with his Momma while he got his life back on track

“Beep you Carl! You can’t have her treat me like this!”

That must be Carl’s new girlfriend. Classy

*BAM!!!* A door slammed, followed by the sound of crying and a car racing off. Then silence.  This would become a regular occurrence.

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Monthly Expenses (March 2015, Taipei, Taiwan)


Happy Birthday Winnie!

(I will trickle out 1H2015 Monthly Expense Reports over the coming weeks)

Nesting is in full effect.  Winnie is ready to pop any time now

Most of this month was spent at or near home, preparing for GCCjr’s arrival, and hosting dinner parties, including Winnie’s Birthday party.  We washed baby clothes, baked bread, and ate.  In the down time, Winnie crocheted a baby blanket

We received a few large boxes of used children’s clothing from Winnie’s friends, and now GCCjr has more clothes than Winnie and I combined.  We’ve also been gifted a few toys and some diapers, and lent a bottle steamer and small crib.

Unlike last month, March expenses were reasonable

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Accidental Income: Blogging

Top Story on Forbes (and Yahoo, MSN, & More)

Top Story on Forbes (and Yahoo, MSN, & More)

Life has been busy as of late.  Newborn babies are exhausting little creatures, and sometimes we aren’t sure if it is day or night.  To parents who survive these early days while holding down a job, we salute you

But each day is a little brighter.  GCCjr sometimes sleeps 3 hours before screaming bloody murder, a big improvement over the usual 2.  He’s also figured out that his left hand is really tasty, which has improved his self soothing skills.  And I’ve learned to change a diaper without getting peed on

All of this to say we are beginning to feel less like one of the Walking Dead, and a little more like our old selves.  Sometimes we even have a brief moment of clarity during which we actually accomplish something!  I took advantage of one of these moments recently to process all of our income & expenses for the 1st Half of 2015 (Yeah, I know how to party! Woot!)

Imagine my surprise when… *GASP*…  this little blog accidentally made some serious bank!

Instead of continuing the income trend of previous years…

Blog Income
2012 – $0
2013 – $0
2014 – $1,987

We got:
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Monthly Expenses (February, 2015, Taipei, Taiwan)

Pink Elephants at Taipei Lantern Festival

Pink Elephants at Taipei Lantern Festival

Chinese gift culture is awesome.  Whether it be for a wedding, an anniversary, a birthday, a baby shower, or for Chinese New Year, everybody gets and gives cash.  Just stuff a few bills into a plain red envelope and your gift is ready.  Fortunately the wrapping paper industry hasn’t been able to corrupt the culture via advertising in the same way as the diamond industry.

Chinese New Year is a big gift giving holiday.  Employers will pay a bonus of at least one month’s salary, or even much more if business is good.  People also receive the gift of time; many businesses close for a week and people leave town to visit family.

We stayed in the city, and celebrated by attending the Taipei Lantern Festival, joining and hosting dinner parties, and via the giving of gifts… to our friends and their children, the door staff of our building, and the lady who helps us with house cleaning

Preparation for GCCjr’s imminent arrival also began in earnest this month, with mass purchases of baby necessities.  For the next 18 years, I’ll be reporting our child rearing expenses on a dedicated page, still a work in progres.  As such, GCCjr will have his own expense report section going forward.  Lucky kid

As a result of wild spending on baby stuff, an unexpected bill, and overall large living, our total expenses were embarrassingly high in February.  Total was a new monthly record

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