All Posts by Link

  • September Financial Update
    Whew, we’ve been busy. Son turned 4. Lots of traveling. Kids started school. Managing two houses. Managing the rentals. Being 7 months pregnant. We’ve been working on our old house to get a lot of the things moved to the new house, while keeping enough there to live. A slow move sounded great in concept,…
  • House 12 & 13
    Surprisingly, I didn’t cover all our houses in posts last year. I was going to say, “let’s finish this up,” but we’ve since purchased #14! This is a long post. I tried to separate the stories, but since they were part of the same purchase, it was too convoluted to decide which story went with…
  • Making an Offer
    While the housing market has cooled some since I started this post in the Spring, there are still some areas that are moving quickly and aggressively, and this information is still helpful regardless of you being in a multiple offer scenario. Over the course of 6 years and 18 properties purchased (and countless offers made),…
  • August Financial Update
    We took a week-long vacation the first week of August. I haven’t taken an entire week trip in a very long time. The kids are young, and the daily activities of swimming at the pool and the beach were exhausting for them, but we had a great time. I had projected about $500 worth of…
  • Property 2 Turnover
    BACKGROUND Unlike the other property we turned over this year, we knew this one was coming. The tenant living at this house moved in back in 2017. A few years ago, there was a domestic violence incident that led to a restraining order against one tenant from the other. Legally, we had to let the…
  • New Credit Cards
    We turned over a rental in April, bought a new house that requires work in June, and turned over another rental in July. Those activities have a lot of expenses associated with it. While we could have strategically spent the money and paid off credit cards, it’s nice to have a cushion. When we’re faced…
  • July Financial Update
    Welp, I haven’t posted in a month. We have been so busy and exhausted. We bought a house on June 15. That process was not smooth in the week before closing, even through the day of. Our attorney had to come to our house the next day to have us sign other papers. Our lender…
  • June Financial Update
    We ramped up our travel this month, which has actually led to us canceling a few trips that were planned for this next month. I went to visit my family for my sister’s baby shower, we went on a family trip for a long weekend, and then Mr. ODA was gone all week for work.…
  • Property 1 Turnover
    Building off of my last post about tenant abandonment, here’s what it took to turn over that unit. We rarely have units to turn over in our portfolio. Last year we had 1. This year we expected to have 1, but this abandonment made it 2. To have continued renewals over 13 properties is a…
  • Tenant Abandonment
    Most lease agreements state that you’re responsible for the entirety of the lease term, even if you try to leave early. Most landlords are willing to work out an agreement if you have a reason to leave the house early. We’ve let several people out of their leases early to either move out of the…
  • Jumping on the I Bond Wagon
    What are I bonds? Series I savings bonds are a type of bond offered by the US Government, with the intention of hedging against inflation. They provide the purchaser a return that is commensurate with the rate of inflation during the life of the loan. The caveat – this rate adjusts every six months. Between…
  • HELOC
    HOME EQUITY LINE OF CREDIT or HELOC A HELOC is a line of credit secured by the equity in your home. This is different from a loan or mortgage. What is equity? It’s the appraised value of your home that is not mortgaged. You may have put 20% down when you bought the house, and…
  • May Financial Update
    This has been a whirlwind of a month. Our crashing investment accounts have been offset by home values, so we’re still over $3 million net worth. But those investments are very low; it’s the first time I’ve seen a negative in my 12-month performance history for my ‘401k.’ HELOC A couple of months ago, we…
  • Laying LVP
    We had a tenant abandon a property, and he left it a mess. There was some furniture and garbage left behind. I’d love to know what tenants do that destroys the walls in less than two years. I’d say the dog never went outside based on the carpet stains, but there was a giant pile…
  • The Mentality from an MLM
    These days, you’re probably not immune to being asked to join or buy from a multi-level-marketing (MLM) business. Also known as network marketing, it a way for companies to sell their product through individuals who market product(s) to their sphere of influence. It gets a bad reputation with “pyramid scheme” and the like, but it’s…
  • Prepping a New House
    I put more effort into this house than I usually do between the time that we bought it and the time that we got it rented. The house was almost double what we’ve bought any other house for, and I wanted to be sure we could get the rent we wanted for it. Looking back,…
  • April Financial Update
    The market has recovered a good bit, so our net worth jumped. Our retirement accounts were at an intriguing low, but they’re back on track now. We also saw a few sales in the neighborhoods where our rentals are, so that increased our net worth based on the comps. We added a new property over…
  • Filing Taxes
    We filed our taxes. It just takes so long, but it’s easy. This year I recorded what I did and how long it took, so I wanted to share. I’ve shared that I record transactions all year long. Inevitably, a few things slip through a crack. So I go through everything I have on file…
  • Tenant Evaluations
    When looking to rent your house, you should do your due diligence. Our concerns are whether a person has a history of late payments, collections accounts, and if they have a criminal history. We do two steps of initial screenings before asking a tenant to pay an application fee. The first two steps given them…
  • Credit Card Rewards
    A while back, I wrote about how, if you really wanted to put the effort in, you could be maximizing credit card rewards. If you don’t want to put the effort in that I’ll get to in a second, then you could at least have one reward-earning card that you use for all your purchases…
  • Commercial Loan
    We closed on a new type of loan last week. It wasn’t a completely smooth process, but it was easier than a residential loan. WHY COMMERCIAL? Residential loans on second+ properties were over 4.5% on their interest rates last month. The commercial loan gave us options that were lower than that. It comes with a…
  • Should you take the raise?
    Yes. It seems it’s time to revisit this discussion. A raise does not mean you’re making less money because it’s “taxed more.” The tax rate is not greater than 100%, which means each individual dollar is not taxed at a rate greater than or equal to that dollar. The highest tax rate for 2022 is…
  • March Financial Update
    We have been surprisingly busy around here. I’ve been juggling a few rental issues, staying on top of some billing issues, and trying to make it through a commercial loan process. At one point, most of our loans were held by one company. That was a more simple life. Even though we’re down to 6…
  • Year in Review: Part II
    I have gone through all our expenses in 2021 and categorized them, which was very time consuming. I swore I’d do better this year, but it’s March, and I haven’t done anything. In the past year, we hit a net worth of $3 million. That’s really exciting, but we have more goals. It’s important to…
  • DIY Projects
    I took a break from writing posts to play in the nice weather we were having and then finish up some outstanding projects this weekend. Some projects are still not finished, but I felt good about the progress. Here are some things I did, which means you can do it too and save yourself some…
  • Year in Review: Part 1
    Just over a year ago, I decided it was time to put more effort into sharing what we’ve been through. When I’m looking to learn something new, I like to find examples of how other people handle it. I want to know the places they struggled and how they learned. I find it a better…
  • Tax Season
    W2s and financial statements are arriving in the mail. It’s time to submit your taxes. We file our own taxes. And that surprises people every year. We have 12 rental properties, two of which are owned with a partner. Mr. ODA works full time. I work random jobs, but produce income that requires filing. This…
  • “Comps” in Appraisals
    You hear this term in real estate often. “What are the comps?” “Have you run the comps?” It’s short-hand for “comparables.” These are the houses that are similar to the house in question (whether you’re trying to list a house for sale or purchase a new house) can be used to determine the value of…
  • February Financial Update
    This month is basically just story telling, from insurance tidbits to mortgage annoyances, while not addressing the decline in the market and our investment accounts. 🙂 It seems all my mortgage payments are increasing on 3/1, so I’ve been managing those changes. I mentioned recently that one of our houses had the escrow analysis done…
  • Escrow Analysis Update
    I posted about how one of our houses updated the escrow calculation and claimed our new mortgage payment needed to be $185 more than it had been to cover an escrow shortfall. Our escrow balance was negative, so it wasn’t a surprise that the amount was increasing, but that seemed to be a drastic increase.…
  • Reaching Goals
    Whether you have a lofty goal of paying off a mortgage or a short term goal of not struggling to pay rent each month, it helps to establish a plan. The first step should be learning your relationship with money instead of mindless spending paycheck to paycheck. Last month, I mentioned budgeting and how it…
  • Expense Tracking
    In January, I mentioned how I have a very detailed spreadsheet to track my expenses. I started this spreadsheet concept in 2012 when my husband and I started combining living expenses. We also moved from NY to PA to a VA apartment to a VA house in a matter of 22 months. I needed to…
  • House7 Escrow Analysis
    We received a notice that our escrow needed to be increased by $185 on this account. That seemed to be a huge jump, considering this was a new account for this year (we refinances January 2021). Our taxes went up about $35 per month, so the $185 increase stood out. Mr. ODA’s brain works best…
  • Rental Property Management
    Every once in a while, I like to share what I’ve been doing to manage the properties. There was a lot of activity needed over the last two months. RENT INCOME One of our usual suspects for late rent payments was late again. We seem to only have a one-month streak for on-time payments with…
  • January Financial Update
    I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to set up our financial updates in this year. I didn’t like the format last year. I think I’m going to focus more on how spending changed month-to-month. Since my posts are late this month, this is written as of January 20, but didn’t post until…
  • Budgets and Overspending
    I’ve rewritten this several times over the last two months, constantly afraid of who I’d offend. Instead, I’m just going to share my raw observations and hope it makes sense to the people who need it. Plus, what’s a better time to discuss budgets than the first post of the year? I actually have quite…
  • Refinance Results
    There’s a company in Virginia that offers $0 closing costs for refinances. That applies to personal residences being refinanced. They still cover most of the closing costs associated with investment properties, but there’s an investment property fee that we need to pay. They also have a fee associated with taking cash out as part of…
  • December Financial Update
    Here’s one for the “I don’t want to be a landlord” category. At 9:30 pm on the night before Thanksgiving, our tenant EMAILED us that their basement flooded. This basement has been a terror from the start; every few months an issue (a water issue, at that) rears its head. While I appreciate that she…
  • House 11
    Our 11th purchase was a 4 bedroom and 2 bathroom house, which we were excited about. We only had one other 4 bedroom, and it only had 1.5 baths, so this was a new demographic we could meet. We again needed a mortgage, but we were tapped out (max of 10 mortgages allowed per Fannie…
  • Cash out refi
    There’s a company in Virginia that advertises no-closing-cost-refinances. If it’s your personal residence, then this holds true. For investment properties, there are some closing costs, but it’s cheaper than the usual refinance. We used them for two other loans – one at the beginning of the pandemic when we signed the paperwork in a tent…
  • A ‘month’ in the life managing properties
    I started including this information in my monthly update post, but it got to be really long. I thought I’d separate it out as a way to share what has been happening and how I’ve been managing the properties over the last month. RENT RELIEF PROGRAM We’re still waiting for a check from the Rent…
  • November Financial Update
    Last month, I mentioned that there would be a lot of rental property expenses and bills being paid this month. Well, they will hit in November, but they don’t hit until the end of the month. I scheduled all the payments to be made right after our current credit card cycle closes, which is around…
  • Escrow Payments
    A theme I stick to in this blog is that you need to watch your money. I’ve talked about ways that I’ve fought to get money back where it wasn’t billed correctly (e.g., medical bills), and today’s warning is about escrows. An escrow account, in the sense that I want to talk about it, is…
  • October Financial Update
    We’ve been busy, which has kept our expenses down in our personal life. I’ve been working a few days at our local racetrack, which has been for my entertainment and a good way to bring in some money for our household. While our busy schedule has kept us from eating at restaurants and spending money…
  • [Lack of] Rent Payments
    We have one house that seems to always have a story. Well, we have two that are consistently late, but the one just says, “it’ll be late,” while this other one has a crazy story. While trying to gather my information on how we’ve worked with her so much, I thought I’d share some of…
  • Should You Use a Property Manager?
    The key to financial freedom is passive income or cash flow so that you don’t have to work, right? Well, managing rental real estate isn’t truly passive, so a hiring a property manager to do that work on your behalf is enticing. But are the benefits worth the cost? We have 12 rental properties, and…
  • September Financial Update
    Cooler weather is here! We have a full calendar these days with pre-school and sports. I’ve been managing that by setting a lot of alarms giving me a half hour warning that we need to leave the house for something. We also celebrated our son’s 3rd birthday with both sides of our family, which was…
  • A Second Home & Summer of Travel
    Why did we do so much traveling and activities this spring and summer? Most people probably assume all our travel was making up for a year of not traveling during the pandemic, but we came at it from a different perspective. We’ve had a long term goal of a beach/lake/mountain home. After another failed search…
  • House 10: Creating a Partner
    This house was purchased in 2018, and it was actually purchased by our Realtor and friend, under the plan that we would formalize the partnership after closing. Mr. ODA had been searching for another investment property, but we had 10 mortgages already (9 investment properties and our personal home), which is a Fannie Mae cap…
  • Risk Mitigation – LLC or CLUP
    Not that I expect you to know these letters right away, but bear with me. There’s a common question that comes up with rental properties: have you formed an LLC? An LLC is a limited liability company. This is a business mechanism in which you create an official business for your properties, thereby separating them…
  • August Financial Update
    This has been a crazy month. We went to St. Louis and New York, we tiled the basement bathroom that we’re building, I refinished a desk that I purchased 6 years ago, and we had several activities to occupy our time. Being that we’ve been so busy, we haven’t set any new goals and are…
  • Visit St. Louis
    While I plan on sharing all about our summer of travel at the end of the month, we thought this last trip deserved a post with more detail than what that post will entail. We went to St. Louis from 8/1 to 8/5. It’s 4.5-5 hours from Central Kentucky and a really easy drive on…
  • Bathroom Build
    We’ve been super busy knocking out our to-do list on completing our basement bathroom build. There’s more to come on it, specifically the financials of us doing it ourselves (with the help of my dad at the beginning), but for now, here’s a sneak peak of where it stands. Our new house had an unfinished…
  • Property Walk-throughs
    Early on in our investing in real estate, we were told to make regular walk throughs of the properties. We were taught to use changing the HVAC filters as the guise to get into the property and look around once a quarter, even if changing the filters was put in the Lease Agreement as the…
  • July Financial Update
    We paid off a mortgage! Reaching this accomplishment was threatened once again when I was told another rental property needed the HVAC replaced ($3,900), but we were able to cover the cost of the unit replacement and pay off the last $3,000 on the mortgage. This gives us $391 worth of positive cash flow each…
  • Hear more from Mrs. ODA
    Back in May, I was a guest on Maggie Germano’s Podcast, “The Money Circle.” I shared some of our background and how we started investing in real estate. We brushed on topics like establishing an LLC, tax advantages, and how you don’t need to start big to just get started. It was a brand new…
  • The Duds – Walking Away From Contracts
    I just shared the details of the home inspection contingency in the real estate purchase agreements in my last post. I was laying the foundation to share what we’ve encountered to invoke the termination clause of the home inspection contingency. COMMERCIAL PORTFOLIO There was a time where we were trying to grow fast. We wanted…
  • Home Inspection Clause
    I’ve mentioned that you shouldn’t be afraid to [legally] walk away from a contract on a house that isn’t going to work. I thought it would be fun to run through the duds (houses) that we walked away from and why, but first, what is the home inspection clause and how does it work? The…
  • The 4% rule – How does Real Estate Play In?
    The common goal in the FI/RE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) community is to reach a point where your net worth is 25x your annual spending, meaning your expenses are 4% of your net worth. This is an extreme oversimplification of things because of the number of variables associated with where your net worth might be,…
  • New Flooring
    I had this post teed up to share at the beginning of the month. I thought the story line was going to be that I went on vacation while all new flooring was installed in a home 500 miles away with little effort by me. It’s no longer a positive story. This post is to…
  • June Financial Update
    We’re continuing our spring/summer of travel and activity, which is why there are fewer posts and lots more spending. The stock market has increased, which has been the main factor in our net worth change. We paid $2,000 towards the mortgage we’re paying down, leaving a balance of $3,300. This mortgage will be paid off…
  • Medical Bills
    Here’s something different. Medical insurance isn’t something I’m going to pretend I understand fully, but I know enough to protect my money. So here’s two quick stories about how due diligence saved us hundreds. First, an overview. When you see a provider (e.g., doctor), they bill your insurance on your behalf. The claim that’s submitted…
  • House 9: Hoarding leads to mice and eviction
    This is a good one. This is the one we use when people say “how can you handle all those properties,” and I respond, “if we survived this one tenant, we know we can handle whatever gets thrown at us.” Hoarding, mice, court dates, eviction. But its not always like that. The sun shone down…
  • 2021 Rental Terms and Lease Expirations
    Spring is a time for lease renewals or preparing to re-rent a house. Spring and Summer are times when people are most active in the real estate market. It’s the best time to be listing your house for sale and for rent, which may yield you a better sale/rent amount because of greater competition. This…
  • Purchasing our Used Vehicle
    Buying a new car is exciting! It’s shiny and clean, and it’s all yours. Well, after a couple of vehicle purchases, Mr. ODA and I learned a few things. And in the end, we’ve decided that buying a “pre-owned” (used…) vehicle is a more practical decision. So while I understand that this approach isn’t for…
  • May Financial Update
    RENTAL PROPERTIES We paid $2,850 in extra principal towards the main mortgage we’re paying down, leaving that mortgage with a balance of $5,500. We had a $4k flooring purchase on another house that has set our pay off timeline a few weeks back, but we’ll still have that mortgage paid off in the next couple…
  • My Retirement
    I left my career exactly two years ago (on the 8th). My son was 8 months old. Honestly, I could have left my job years prior thanks to what my husband set up for us, but without kids, there was nothing to fill my time. I enjoyed my work a lot, so every day worked…
  • Moving States: Part III
    There are a lot of factors that go into a home purchase. There are the simple ones, like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms your family desires. Then there are more complicated ones, like what compromises are you willing to make on your wish list to get to the price and location you want. HOME…
  • Moving States: Part II
    I shared the background of our decision to move to KY in my last post. Here, I am going to break down the details of our moving decisions, mostly focused on the financials. My next post will be how we made housing decisions. MOVING LOGISTICS I was spoiled. Every single move I did between college…
  • Moving States: Part I
    In March 2020, as we all know, a pandemic hit. Well, our second child came into the world at the end of March, just a week after lock down. My family lives in NY, and Mr. ODA’s family lives in KY. So living in VA left us without family, with limited visits, and only seeing…
  • Prepare for a Closing
    We have purchased 16 properties directly (3 personal residences) and 2 properties indirectly (partner); we’ve sold 3 properties. All houses have been mortgaged because we choose to leverage our money rather than own them outright (at least at first). This post covers the closing process in terms of clearing the loan processing. Your loan must…
  • April Financial Update
    This month had a lot of money movement – tax payment out, stimulus check in. As I’ve shared before, we don’t budget. But you can start seeing how we’re pretty consistent on where we spend out money. This is because we have a spending mentality that we use to make each decision, rather than giving…
  • House 7: Two broken leases that have worked out
    This one has been pretty easy, but we did have an interesting issue arise with the first tenant. This is our largest house at 4 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms, and 1281 square feet. It’s a cape cod style house, so the upstairs has slanted ceilings, the half bath is not anything to write home about,…
  • Amortization Schedules
    An amortization schedule is a document that is a huge spreadsheet of numbers that tells banks and their software how to apply your monthly mortgage payment. It defines the amount of each payment going to principal to pay off the loan balance, and the amount going to interest for the bank allowing you to borrow…
  • House 4: Small, but it works
    This little house has been made home by two families. It’s a 2 bedroom, 1 bath that is 719 square feet. While there have been a few issues with the house, it’s been pretty easy to manage because of the tenants taking great care of it. I feel like the bathroom’s blue tile, patterned floor,…
  • Refinancing Investment Properties
    When we purchased the majority of our investment portfolio in 2016/2017, primary mortgages with excellent credit were sitting around 3.5% and investment property mortgages were about 4.5-5%. We thought these were amazing rates. Fast forward to a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. A new baseline for low rates is created: We closed on our primary residence in November…
  • House 5: Bought and Sold
    This was a mess. I learned my lesson to research each property individually and not to make any assumptions. I also learned my lesson to hold true to our standards and expectations for a renter. We owned this house for a year and a half, but we learned a lot about tenants and the selling…
  • Contrarian View on an Emergency Fund
    There are many teachings out there that talk about a safe, sustainable, and efficient way to wealth being many streams of income. This diversifies and provides multiple avenues for growth, but also mitigates risk and protects your larger portfolio against any one stream failing. Our financial portfolio meets those goals. Instead of having an emergency…
  • House 6: Easy Peasy
    This is probably our easiest house to own; the closing process was the hardest part here. We closed on House 5 & 6 at the same time, so I’ll cover the closing story here because House 5 has a lot else to be said when I write out that whole saga. TENANT This property has…
  • Mortgage Evaluations
    Rate Sheet Options from your Lender When reaching out to a loan officer, there are a lot of options to choose from. I’m hoping to break down the decision-making here. I’ll share how we ended up with several different options, too. Basically, it boils down to:  Put enough down to avoid paying Private Mortgage Insurance…
  • March Financial Update
    I realize that some of the items that I share each month will be repetitive, but I’m catering to new readers that may not have seen the previous month’s details. As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions about this information. SPECIFIC LARGE CHANGES FROM LAST MONTH’S UPDATE Paid $8,000 towards…
  • Chase Rewards Portal
    GENERAL THOUGHTS We have several Chase credit cards, both that are active and ones that we used in the past. As we shared in the past, we open new credit cards when we have one or several large purchases to make, so we’re typically looking for a 0% introductory rate for at least 12 months,…
  • House 3: Quick story
    Quick post about our 3rd investment property purchase. After we closed on House #2, the seller said he was interested in liquidating the house next door, which was a mirror image of the house we just purchased. The story here is how the offer was made. We agreed to purchase for the same bottom line…
  • House 2: The Exclusivity Agreement
    House 1 was purchased from a family member because we saw an opportunity when they were getting ready to sell their townhome. House 2 was purchased because we were looking for a way to make our profit from the sale of our first home to get to work for us. While in the process of…
  • ARM – Adjustable Rate Mortgages
    An ARM is when the interest rate applied to the loan balance varies throughout the loan. The loan is typically amortized over 30 years like a conventional loan would be, but the interest rate is variable. There is an initial fixed interest rate for a pre-determined period of time (e.g., 5, 7, 10 years). The…
  • 2020’s Expenses and Activity
    When people talk about having rental properties, usually the first thing we hear is, “I don’t want to hear about a clogged toilet at midnight.” Does your toilet clog at midnight? No. So why do people think that tenants have issues that you wouldn’t typically see in your own house? A tenant can’t expect service…
  • Doing Your Own Taxes: Set Yourself Up for Success
    I manage all the financials for my family. Mr. ODA makes the maneuvers, and I record them. Excel is where our organization lives and dies. Sure, I have a degree in Finance and Information Technology Management (i.e., Excel), but it doesn’t need to be complicated or difficult to make tax prep easy for you. This…
  • Using Credit Cards
    Credit card rewards can be lucrative. In 2020, we earned $1,616 in cash rewards based on our credit card usage. That’s money in our pockets that we did nothing except spend other money to get. Plus, over $1,000 of those rewards are in the Chase Sapphire rewards account where the points are worth 50% more…
  • Two Years of Changes
    On the surface, a jump of $1.1 million in just over 2 years seems impossible, but here’s the break down of how things changed in our finances during our child-rearing hiatus. The highlights: – Mrs. ODA left her job;– We purchased three new properties; – We sold one property;– We paid off two mortgages and…
  • February Financial Update
    I had so many things to share, and now it’s time for another net worth update, but I hadn’t gone into the details of our 2019-to-2021 changes! I promise, it’ll come. SPECIFIC LARGE CHANGES FROM LAST MONTH’S UPDATE We paid off $5,000 left on one of our credit cards. This credit card was opened for…
  • Tenant Satisfaction
    A tenant moves out. Days without a tenant in the house equate to less income. On top of that, you probably have to touch up paint or repaint. You have to clean the carpet. You have to clean all the appliances and bathrooms. You may have to replace an appliance. Then there’s the extreme, that…
  • Property Management
    Property management can be useful and worth the 10% cost, but sometimes it’s not worth having the middle man. Here, I’ll break down our experiences with 3 property managers, but first, the terms of our management agreements. We have three properties in KY under a management company and three properties in VA with a property…
  • House #1: Off market purchase
    Our first investment purchase was a townhome in central Kentucky (while living in Virginia) in February 2016. At this point, we had purchased and sold our first primary residence, and had purchased a new construction home. Our first home sold for $62,500 more than what we purchased it for and we walked away from the…
  • PMI – Private Mortgage Insurance
    Don’t pay it. Get creative for your down payment. Here’s a brief on how PMI works and how we avoided paying it. What is PMI? A lender typically requires PMI when the loan is greater than 80% of the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio because it’s higher risk for them. If a buyer has less of their…
  • House #8
    I shared that I would tell the stories of our home purchases. Instead of starting with #1, I decided to start with the most interesting. This property was being sold by a licensed Realtor, so we had a false sense of security. It ended up being the sketchiest (technical term) deal we’ve done. This is in…
  • Leveraging Money – Mortgage is not an ‘Eight Letter’ Word
    Dave Ramsey has convinced (too many) people to pay off their mortgage and be “debt free.” Then you have Robert Kiyosaki telling people not to buy a house because its a liability, but never seems to address that you still have to pay for a roof over your head somehow. We subscribe to a different view –…
  • Choosing Properties
    Choosing Properties Mr. ODA has regular emails come in with new listings in the areas we’re interested in. While some of our houses are 2 bedroom, we find it easier to rent 3 bedroom houses. We also are looking to the possibility of resale, which is better for the 3 and 4 bedroom houses. First,…
  • Mrs. ODA Taking Over
    Back in 2018, my husband started this blog and introduced himself. I had a different upbringing than him, and he asked me to introduce myself back then, but I didn’t make the time for it (something about being a first-time mom and going back to work 🙂 ). Now I’m ready to take over the…
  • 401k/TSP Loans
    Working for the Federal government, our 401k is called the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). We max out our contributions each year. As a means of bridging down payment gaps, we utilized a little-known option – the TSP loan. Per TSP.gov, “When you take a loan, you borrow from your contributions to your TSP account. Your loan amount…
  • January Financial Update
    There are a lot of updates to share over the next few weeks to fully explain how our net worth changed so drastically in two years. For the time being, here’s a snapshot of this month’s status. *The original post had IRA at $313,630, but that was double counting an investment account between ‘IRA’ and…