An era has come to an end

7 12 2015

And it’s all good!

Late in October we had a call from the real estate agent that someone wanted to look at the final investment property we owned. Within a week contracts were signed, building and termite inspections done (and passed), and the waiting game began for final settlement (‘closure’ for my US friends), due to occur before Christmas. Considering we haven’t had even a nibble in the 5.5+ years it’s been available for sale (though on ‘silent listing’ for most of that time), this was a very welcome surprise.

One of the sets of documents we had to sign was for the discharge of two (small) mortgages that were linked to that property. And I realised that with the discharge of those mortgages, we would be totally debt-free as far as housing is concerned! (Yes, there’s always credit card debt, but we pay that off in full every month.)

After more than 35 years of mortgage payments, suddenly there’ll be none.

And that got me thinking about the properties/houses I’ve bought and that we’ve (my DH and me) purchased together (all in Western Australia; all dates approximate)…

  • Me: Guildford — 1979 to 1987 (residence)
  • Me: Subiaco — 1987 to 1991 (residence)
  • Us: South Perth — 1991 to 2007 (residence)
  • Us: Busselton — 1995 to 2013 (investment/rental house)
  • Us: Geraldton — 200? to 2010 (investment/rental unit)
  • Me: Nedlands — 200? to 2007 (commercial investment/office)
  • Us: Bridgetown — 2004 to 2015 (investment/rental house, and main residence from 2007 to 2010; this is the one just sold)
  • Us: Bridgetown — 2005 to 2010 (vacant land)
  • Us: Bridgetown — 2005 to 2013 (vacant land)
  • Us: near Bunbury — 2010 to now and ongoing (residence; we paid cash for this house and have never had a mortgage on it)

Except for our current house and the South Perth house, all these properties were purchased below the median price for the area at the time, and probably sold at around the median price, so we’re not talking property moguls here! Many were properties in regional areas, and regional real estate doesn’t reflect city real estate in its growth or price movements.

I purchased my first house before I was 25, in an era where it was very unusual for banks to lend money to single women for buying a house. I borrowed 100% of the funds for that first house as I had very little savings, having taken the previous year off work to finish my degrees. How did I borrow 100%? Well, for starters, I didn’t use a bank — I didn’t want the humiliation and misogynistic platitudes about getting a husband/bread winner first! I borrowed the deposit as a personal loan from a teachers’ credit union I belonged too, then used that as collateral to borrow the remaining amount from another credit union/friendly society (later it became a bank). In those days they didn’t check where the deposit money had come from — I doubt you could do that today 😉

I was able to make all my mortgage payments throughout the years, except for 1987/1988 when interest rates jumped to 17+%. I’d taken out the mortgage on the Subiaco house just a few months earlier at around 13.25% interest. I budgeted a buffer up to 15%, not even thinking that rates would keep increasing to 17%. Like many, I was in mortgage stress — I’d only just purchased the house and had stretched my finances to do so, then suddenly I was looking down the barrel of ballooning payments on a static income. Fortunately, I met up with an old friend who knew someone who was new to Perth and was looking for somewhere to live. Although sharing my house wasn’t my preferred choice, I ended up with a 23-year-old American girl as my ‘roomie’ — I had to pay that mortgage somehow! We ended up sharing the house for a couple of years, and we’re still good mates. Thanks Kris — you may never have known until now how much your rental contribution kept me from going under.

But as at noon today, it’s all over. NO MORE MORTGAGE PAYMENTS. EVER.

It feels very good to say that!

And look! 0.00 balances on the mortgages!!

mortgage-free


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One response

7 12 2015
treadlemusic

No one who has ever been there will truly understand your current feelings. I/we do, however and am sending along hearty congrats!!! It’s almost unsettling how “light” one feels w/o that monthly payment!!!!! Great post!!!!!!

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