Freee-domm……

freedom

As expressed by the legendary thirteenth century Scottish hero, William Wallace, “Freeeeeedddddoooooommm…..!!!!”

Yes.

Freedom, indeed. Financial freedom speaking, that it…of my rental property.

As of the 19th of November, I’m finally free of my home that was forced into a rental property back in 2009 when I couldn’t sell it because of my lack of funds and inability to sell in a down market.

It truly was the bane of my financial existence.

I bought it for $193,000 in 2007.

In 2009, I had to move away from my home when it couldn’t sell, so I rented it out in November 2009 when the appraised value came in at $171,000.

At that point, the mortgage was around $1,550, though, my rental income was only $1,100.

I was at a $400 loss for about three years. It affected me to the point that I wrote about how much these payments pissed me off back in October 2011.

Thanks to the HARP 2.0 program that the Obama administration introduced, I finally got a chance to refinance my rental property in 2012 even though it was SUPER underwater.

This had brought the mortgage payment down to $1,150, which was great because my renters had recently negotiated a $50 monthly decrease in their rent.

My $400 monthly loss was minimized to a $100 monthly loss.

Still, I wasn’t comfortable with the loss or the fact that I had to hold on to a property that provided zero cash flow.

Furthermore, at the time of the 2012 appraisal my home’s value dropped significantly more than the previously appraised $171,000 value. I think it dropped to $146,000.

Then, in May 2013, my tenant since 2009 had begun missing rental payments by the tune of 30 days. Instead of evicting, I kept giving her chances to catch up. Eventually, she left the home in August 2013, unbeknownst to me.

When I went to visit the property, it was a trashed. I had to sink at least $6,000 into it before I could finally attempt to sell it in October 2013.

Unfortunately, it sat on the market for three months with no luck. I finally decided to rent it out again in January 2014.

Beginning in January 2014, I chose to have my real estate agent’s team manage my property for a fee of 8% of the rent. This meant that an additional $84 was added to my net loss of $100.

I didn’t really mind it since a loss of $184 monthly was much better than the previous three month’s loss of $1,150. I met one of the spouses of the married couple and was excited that she was seemingly pleasant.

Despite my net loss, I was happy that the home was leased under contract for the next 12 months…so I thought.

From January to August 2014, payments came in as scheduled. However, towards the middle of August 2014,  I received an email from my property manager letting me know that my tenants were moving out. The husband legitimately invoked his military clause to end his lease. There was nothing I could do.

A Decision I Had to Make

I was tired of being a landlord, especially for a home that didn’t net me any cash flow. Being a landlord sucks even if you have a property manager. This is the main reason why I sold my Charlotte personal residence and my Charlotte investment property in the summer of this year. I could have cash flowed $1,000 per month and built up a portfolio of rental properties, but I decided to sell the properties and take my $70,000 in profits instead.

The great thing about those transactions is that they gave me the capital to make the important decision to finally sell my Georgia home.

I’m lucky that the home only required about $800 in repairs after the inspection.

The seller must have known how motivated I was to sell my property.

Although I owed $170,000 on the property, my asking price was $142,900.

After being on the market for about two months, a buyer gave me the asking price. Unfortunately, he also asked for 3% in seller’s concessions.

In total, I had to pay my realtor, the seller’s realtor, the concessions “fee”, AND the total amount that the property was underwater.

I had to pay $40,800 to get rid of my headache. But guess what?

It hurts so good. Like I said in the past, psychological independence is a wonderful feeling.

Mortgage Loan Paid in Full

I now have one less financial drain on my finances and I am now happy to report that my total monthly fixed obligations are less than $1,400 month.

Mortgage  $                       958.32
Life Insurance  $                         19.99
Comcast  $                         29.99
Gas/Electricity  $                       150.00
Auto Insurance  $                         70.00
Water  $                         50.00
Son’s cellphone  $                         12.00
My cellphone  $                         35.00
Netflix  $                           9.64
Google Storage  $                         10.00
Total  $                   1,344.94

I anticipate keeping my expenses in this manner for some time to come. I have no reason to take on any other payments.

In 2015 and beyond, all my extra money will go towards growing my wealth number and buying my financial independence.

I now have much greater freedom to do what I want.

Life has just become about choices that are within my control and it feels great to know that I can effectively walk away from my job, if I desire, to pursue just about any career I want without worrying if it’ll pay the bills or not.

It’s an amazing feeling…

Shortcuts

Ab belt short cut

Shortcuts.

It seems like we all want to take them. All the time. But for good reason. I, mean, why put in the work to do something the hard, timely way when something promises that it can magically give us the same results?

This is why the diet/exercise sector is a billion dollar industry. Because of shortcuts.

I remember back in the year 2000 when the ab belt was a huge hit. It was on every infomercial.

The ab belt promised a six-pack in your ab region as long as you put on the belt for 20 minutes daily.

The belt was powered by electrodes and a gel that delivered pulsations to your midsection. The pulsations were supposed to mimic the moment of an ab crunch exercise.

I watched those infomercials probably ten times during the late nights when I was up feeding my son milk from his baby bottle.

One night, I was finally taken over the edge. I bought the belt.

It was a “what do I have to lose” moment. I told myself that I’d try anything that minimizes my time at the gym and that doesn’t alter my diet.

The belt’s infomercial promised that I didn’t have to alter anything about my lifestyle.

I could continue drinking beer, eating my cinnamon swirl rolls, and my McRib from McDonalds.

The belt certainly promised…a short cut.

I think the belt was $40. A small price to pay for a six-pack that would be delivered from wearing a belt around my waist.

Why wouldn’t I take the opportunity to get “six-pack ripped” in a month?

I was excited when the ab belt was delivered to the front door of my small 600 square foot apartment.

I ripped the package open and prepped the belt with the gel as quickly as I could.

Next, I wrapped the belt around my abs, turned it on, and waited for the magic to happen.

After a few seconds of pulsations, I begin to cringe…with every pulse.

My abs were contracting like the infomercial claimed, but it hurt like hell.

It was very uncomfortable. And messy. The electrode gel was everywhere and I couldn’t stand the feeling of the electric shocks.

To make a long story short, I stopped using the ab belt within the week. $40 gone.

The point is that we come across “ab belts” all the time, all of them promising quick results to a lean, healthy, you.

The truth of the matter, though, is that the only solution to a quick healthy you is clean eating and exercise.

Period.

We can’t expect to get superior results if we’re not willing to put in the work.

The work may be hard, but we know that it’s worth it.

We can’t give up. But somehow we do.

And then we forget.

And then we end up right back where we began…

…taking a short cut.

 

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