bomb_explosion_black_light_orange_50_3840x2400The announcement three weeks ago that our rental home was being sold was the equivalent of a bomb going off in our lives and plans. Everything we had set in place since our move to Kaua’i was suddenly in place no more.

The obvious first thing to get turned upside down was our housing situation. Although we knew when we decided to rent here that things could change, we had still (naively) assumed we would be safe in this rental for several more years because of the house’s past history as a rental property. We had based all future plans on being able to stay here until at least until the girls were all off to college. BOOM! Now all of a sudden we were faced with having to search for a new rental, maybe something not as nice or as convenient, or possibly more expensive. There was suddenly a new reality that we could find another rental, move, and then have to move again in a short period of time. Although we had told ourselves we would not own another home again, we very quickly realized that renting here was not going to be the best option for us over the long haul, that we needed our housing situation to be more solid and secure, especially since we live on a fixed income.

When we decided that buying made more sense than renting, we also accepted that it was not going to be easy. First, although our income is solid, it’s nowhere near as large as it was when we were working, so we would be quite limited in what we could afford here. Housing on the island is expensive, and there was no way buying a home was not going to affect our savings. BOOM! Although we are going through the VA and can avoid a down payment, a home purchase would still require us to come up with closing costs and other expenses, and any property we purchased might require repairs or other expenses that we currently didn’t have to deal with in a rental (for example, we know we will have to buy a washer and dryer right away). We would need to dip into of our retirement savings, something we had not planned to do for several more years.

And, all our plans for future travel? BOOM! We cannot even think that far ahead now. Although owning a house will actually end up costing us less each month than what we currently pay for rent, and will allow us to put more away into travel savings, there are still too many unknowns right now to even dream about what we might do, where we might go or for how long. We still plan to travel, but how that will or might look has currently become something of an unknown.

The only thing left untouched is next spring’s Mystery Trip. All of that has been reserved and paid for, and we would lose money if we cancelled. But otherwise, everything is in turmoil, and until the dust settles we’re going to have to get used to living with some unknowns, and with life being a bit more disorganized than we’d like.



7 thoughts on “BOOM!

  1. I’ve found that home ownership is more expensive than renting so just curious how you’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not. My mortgage payments are less than what I was paying in rent, but with all the other maintenance and utility expenses that I didn’t have when I was renting, it’s definitely more expensive.


    1. If we lived anywhere else but here I would agree with you completely. The New York Times, I think, has an interactive chart that lets you know whether it makes more sense to rent or buy, and we are definitely living in a place where it makes w-a-y more sense to buy if you can. Rents here are VERY high, and there is a very tight rental market so landlords can get away with charging more, and raising rents annually. Our biggest issue owning here would be maintenance (“salt never sleeps”), so we are going back to looking at condos, where lots of the maintenance and utilities are taken care of by the HOA fees. Even with the HOA fees it will be less than renting.


  2. We rented for our first 16 years and have owned homes for the last 17. We prefer homeownership. Two things that scare us with rentals are: rents suddenly rising and owners selling their houses. Two things with a house are: will everything fall apart the day after we purchase (home warranty insurance) and will we be able to sale it in the end?
    We save for crazy things that happen in an owned home. It comes out almost exactly the same for us in the percentage of the budget. I guess the largest difference for you would probably be your home owner insurance.
    You have been on a great road- this is a small bump. We are all cheering you on! Go on your vacation and enjoy it. Worry is not in my vocabulary anymore.


    1. With a lower payment than we are making now, we will be able to set aside funds for regular maintenance. We are looking again at condos because the insurance is much, much less. The HOA fee covers a great deal of the insurance cost because they cover the externals – all we will have to cover is what’s inside.

      I am confident we will find something, and the whole process will come together nicely!


  3. I think you are right about the rents. I checked some of the rental sites in Hawaii trying to find something affordable and it just didn’t exist. In the long run a 30 year fixed payment mortgage.will give you the ability to forecast your budget requirements and give you greater control over your future needs and wants. You are so good with your budgets, I don’t think you will have any problems . Good luck.


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