geographical differences

I found this article online about 8 months ago. It had motivated me budget more smartly, to aim for no debt, and to put down as much of a down payment as possible to avoid having an extended mortgage. I was impressed by this couple’s ability to manage their finances off of one salary as they dwindled their expenses while expanding their family.

They paid off this big, gorgeous house in 5 years (as shown on their blog):


Check out their video posted at the bottom.

That’s where you find out that they paid ONLY $123k for this gorgeous house because they live in Atlanta.  Not this expensive region I live in the second most expensive city in the Northeast.

I’m going to show you examples of Zillow homes for sale in Atlanta .

Nice, updated, spacious homes huh? And there’s a lot of them too!

And then you do the same search for the Northeast city of Boston within the same price range of $100-200k. The search concludes with 1 foreclosed home and 2 run down homes that needs serious work.

So you expand a little bit further out. I’ve already mentioned before how we’ve decided that we would rather live south of the city as opposed to the north and west. Ideally I’d really love to live in Hingham, a cutie little suburb on the water that will satisfy my great need to be close to the ocean.

A Zillow search in Hingham for homes $100-200k homes is literally nonexistent. Zero homes listed.

Let’s move to a cheaper town like Weymouth, still relatively close to the water. We get 2 foreclosed homes.

Ok let’s try a little bit further out again like Randolph. We get a little bit more options of 4 foreclosures and 1 for sale. The one for sale is a 2 BR/1 BR 913 sq ft described as a “handyman special“.

This is where we’re forced to raise the price range. You just can’t get a decent house around here unless you’re willing to spend at least $220k. That’s double what that Atlanta couple spent! It’s not like food and gas prices are half the cost in Atlanta compared to here! I’m sure it’s cheaper but not half the cost. Nor is my salary twice as much as theirs! Now I understand that they’re also raising a family which is an additional cost. That’s a burden they chose to live with. Me, I’m choosing to live without that burden and I still can’t afford a safe home, nor do I stand a chance in paying off a mortgage in 5 years with the stats I just dished out. I’m not discrediting their accomplishment – it is still an accomplishment to pay off $123k in 5 years. But screw that, my friends have student loans worth that much never mind a mortgage. Put that in perspective.

I was pre approved for up to $180k last spring. This doesn’t get me anything except for a run down, tiny shack. And I would have to spend my life savings to put a down payment down for an affordable monthly mortgage, which would mean that I won’t have any savings to fix the place up. If I could combine my salary with my boyfriend’s to buy a home then we might actually be able to afford something. Unfortunately his terrible credit is likely to be a liability than it would help to get for a larger approval. In the meantime, I’m forced to be patient and wait until he fixes his credit so he can actually assist me in a home purchase with our combined salaries. I guess this is a good thing since I’ll have time to save and eventually put more money down. And maybe if I wait long enough, I’ll be able to purchase my dream home in Hingham.

2 thoughts on “geographical differences

  1. Chris P says:

    I just saw this link as a pingback on that other article your talking about. The 123k is that couple’s mortgage amount, not the cost of their house. They said they spent a bunch of years saving for a downpayment, which is not included in the 123k. then they had to spend 50k to make it livable. so their house didn’t cost 123k. it cost 123k + whatever their downpayment was, + 50k to make it something they could live in. (that’s what her whole blog is about)

    it’s easy to make excuses for why you can’t do hard things, but they did the hard thing for years before buying their house, and yes you chose to not have a family (which keeps costs down), but they also chose to not live in an expensive region.


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