Would you Walk Away from a Mortgage?

The other day I was talking with a friend about how we pay so much each month for our mortgage payment, yet maybe 10% goes towards principal.  It’s frustrating, and often makes me dream of selling my house and being mortgage free.  Of course, then we’d have to pay rent and who knows if that would be better for us.  I told her how I had been paying extra on the principal to reduce the amount of interest we end up paying and to shorten the length of our mortgage.  She had some objections, and I listened to her while taking mental notes.  Here’s what she thought about us paying extra on the mortgage:

-Because we don’t plan on staying in this house forever, she thought it would be in our best interests to stop paying extra on the mortgage and to start putting that money elsewhere.  Maybe a Roth IRA, investments, etc.  Over the long term, she thought it would be better if we invested the money over it being tied up in (maybe) equity in the house.

-There’s not really a way to get the money back that you pay extra on your mortgage unless you take out a home equity loan, and that’s not really something I ever want to do unless it was an emergency.

-Cash is king.  If we take the extra money we’d be putting towards the mortgage in a savings account, we’d have access to that in case of an emergency.

-If our house value ever dropped dramatically and we wanted to walk away from our mortgage, the less money we had into the house, the better.  I don’t know if I could ever walk away from a mortgage, but with the economy roller-coastering like it has been the past few years, who knows what will happen with home values.  I don’t want to be stuck with this house and not be able to move or sell it.

I can understand why people would walk away from a mortgage.  My parents’ house in Michigan was worth at least $240,000 at one point and now is probably worth less than $100,000.  Had they had a mortgage on the house, it probably wouldn’t be worth paying the payments on a house they probably would never recoup the money.  Of course, their house has been paid off for years, so they’re only screwed if they go to sell, which I don’t see them doing in the near future.

Do you think you would ever walk away from a mortgage? What circumstances would cause you to do so?


Home Improvement Ideas

It seems as though the home improvement list is never ending. I thought I would share the list of projects I want to partake here, as well as details on the projects themselves as I attempt to DIY a lot of them. Anything over my head will definitely be a professional’s job. Part of me is so tired of working on this house and wants to sell it and move, and another part of me wants to stay here forever and revel in the fact that I made my house my home. Here are the things I’d like to accomplish soon:

-Make a chicken coop. I’m thinking of something like a chicken tractor that I can move, but that sounds a little complex for me!
-Paint the guest bedroom. A few years ago we painted it a nice, gender neutral light green. I hate the color, and have found which color I really want to paint it (Olympic Bamboo)
-Build a clothesline. I already have the plans, I just have to get the supplies, time, and energy to do it!
-Finish our French doors leading to the dining room. They need the hardware replaced and the hinges replaced too.
-Refinish or replace the dining room floor. It’s old hardwood right now, but not in great shape. I’d love to refinish it but that’s going to be a job! I’m thinking about replacing it with cork!
-Replace the guest bedroom’s flooring. I’ll either lay the wood floor myself, or buy new carpet. With it being the only carpeted room in the house, I kind of want to rip it up and replace it with the wood flooring.
-Clean the siding. I considered buying a pressure washer but decided I can just do it myself using a car washing brush. It will save me time and get me exercise!
-Clean all the windows. Boo.
-Organize and paint shed.
-Fix the fence that was damaged during a storm. Three years ago.
-Paint the shutters a nice deep red color for more curb appeal.

Looking at this list is intimidating, but it will feel good to cross things off it! Now I just need the time to do the projects!

Do you keep a to-do list of home projects?


When Do-It-Yourself Turns Disaster DIY

I’m all for doing home improvements to help save money.  In our house, I have painted pretty much every surface in our house, replaced flooring, installed baseboards and quarter rounds, and even tiled one of our bathrooms.  I’ve become pretty good at home improvement (but definitely have made mistakes) and I’m proud of what I’ve learned and accomplished.  I think it’s funny because at our house the roles are pretty much reversed.  Mr. Money does the cooking, and I do home improvements.  I do a lot of the other domestic duties, but that’s because I enjoy doing them.  He is good at cooking and I’m good at everything else. Just kidding. 😉

There are some projects that have been over my head, and I’ve turned to Mr. Money because they are “man jobs”: electrical, plumbing, etc.  I know that if I put my mind to it, I could probably do it, but I’d rather not electrocute myself, thanks.  I have to give Mr. Money credit, though.  He will attempt almost any project I ask him to do.

About a year or so ago we would recognize this awful smell that would be in our basement every so often.  I attributed it to the sump pump stinking, and started pouring a tiny amount of bleach in the sump pump to kill any bacteria that would stink.  We’re on a septic system so I had to be careful not to put too much in, or do it too often.  It seemed to help, so I didn’t think anything of it.

A few weeks ago Mr. Money decided that he couldn’t finish fixing the outdoor faucet that he tried to repair.  He couldn’t get one side in, so we decided to call a plumber.  The plumber came out and gave us a quote on repairing that faucet, replacing the tub trap, installing another outdoor faucet, running a gas line, and replacing some of the pipes under our kitchen sink.  We decided it wasn’t too expensive, so we told him to go ahead and do it.

The reason he had to replace the pipes under the sink was because Mr. Money had replaced them, but they were loose and leaked at certain times, driving me batty.  I’d open up the doors and there would be a bunch of water pooled, warping the wood.  So…

When the plumber was here, he got to work under the sink and realized that he’d have to cut through the bottom part of our cabinet to get to the next pipe.  When he did that, I swear it smelled like a cow had defecated and then died under there.  It smelled like raw sewage.  What happened was when Mr. Money replaced the pipes, he didn’t link the bottom one into the one underneath it so all of our grey water was draining into our crawlspace and then into the basement.  No wonder it would stink like that occasionally!  We had to put down 40 pounds of lime down to soak up the dampness and odor.  It worked pretty well, but has definitely taught us a lesson: when you’re in over your head, it’s better to hire a professional than to try to do it yourself.

I am so thankful we won’t have to deal with that awful smell again, and I’m glad all of our issues have now been dealt with.

Do you have a do-it-yourself story that turned disaster diy?

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