House Hunting: It’s That Time


The year has finally come. The husband and I have been saving and saving and SAVING our pennies and watching and waiting out the real estate market for the last 6 years. And now is the time to finally buy a house.

Loving the home and location we are presently in, we thought we’d actually stay and rent for a few years longer and save more to possibly afford our Spanish dream house. At the beginning of this year, however, after our rent was raised $600 a month, changing almost overnight from $2400 to $3000 a month, we decided that it was indeed time to buy.

We waited for many reasons. For one, real estate is astronomical in Los Angeles. Two, the economy crashed. Three, renting an almost 2000 sq.ft. house was smarter than investing all of our money into something smaller, only to pay more each month just to own it. But now that our rent has gone up and rent is going up everywhere it seems, buying will be more affordable than renting. We signed a new lease in February 2012 and have until next February to find and buy a house. While we’ve started looking, we’d really prefer to buy in Sept/October so we’re not paying both a mortgage AND our lease for too long… as there is NO POSSIBLE WAY IN HELL our landlord would be nice enough to end our lease early {even though we are quite possibly, the best tenants imaginable & pay for most problems and upgrades ourselves without bothering the owners – for instance, we just spent $900 on a new pool pump because ours was broken, and we barely even swim in it}.

When the husband and I first moved in together in September 2004, we had nothing… no, that’s not true, we had almost $30,000 in debt, thanks to me, my former life, my spending habits, and the fact that my income had gone down exponentially the year prior and I was paying my bills with my credit cards. Not smart.

In our final years as twenty-somethings, we made a financial plan and set future goals for ourselves. First and foremost was to pay off the near $30,000 debt I had accrued – - and we did, slowly but surely over the years to follow. In the mean time, both of our incomes increased, however, we still had little to speak of, and were living in a dark little condo in Studio City. We didn’t buy extras like coffees and treats and quitting smoking when I hit 30 saved another $5 a day {$1825 a year or more}. It was cutting out the little things we didn’t really “need” that not only humbled us, but helped us get on our feet financially. The husband drove a free POS car for almost 3 years while he saved up for a new car. He’s an exceptional “saver” and we’d learned that debt wasn’t worth having nice things for. Once the debt was paid off {it took us about 3.5 years}, we had gotten used to putting away a few thousand dollars a month to it and continued to put the money we would be using to pay off debt, into our savings accounts. Over time, it added up. When our salaries increased, instead of upgrading our lifestyle, we just put more away into our savings.

Since 2005, we’ve been able to save quite a nice chunk of money that will one day {this year} become our down payment on our house. But alas, we do live in Los Angeles and while a 2000 sq.ft. house in some places would be listed on the market for under $200,000, here {and in other large cities} you can’t even get a condo, apartment, or townhouse for under $200,000 in a nice area. Since we’ve waited out the market though, houses have come down in price, but still, not as much as we would have liked. We can however, get more bang for our buck in house, so to speak, if we’re willing to move just ten miles West or North of where we are now.

While ultimately we’d love to live on or near a beach, and/or in a Spanish or Mediterranean style open floor plan house, it may not be the first house we buy that gets us there. But maybe our second though, sometime in our 40′s.

* * *

Until now, we’ve pretty much been hell-bent on staying in and around LA. We both grew up here… our families are here, we love the weather, and really, we don’t want to move. But in a recent search, I randomly happened upon some AMAZING houses in and around Palm Springs in the $400,000 price range & maybe got a little more excited than need be. Again, our budget for LA is much higher because well, that’s just what it costs to live here, so $400k for a 3800 sq.ft. house on a GOLF COURSE with pretty WATER FEATURES as a view in one direction and pretty mountains in the other, kind of seems like it’s too good to be true. Now, upon further investigation, there is an almost $1200 home owner’s association fee with this particular house. But even with that included, & our down payment, the monthly mortgage would be less than what we would be spending here, in LA for a much smaller house, not even close to a golf course.

I’ve only been to Palm Springs a few times and I know that it A. is hot and B. has some amazing architectural 60′s homes {which we love too} and C. is mostly a retirement community. Because we work from home, we can really live anywhere – - so would living on a golf course with a bunch of old people really be THAT bad? Besides, we’re almost old people now too.

Here are the photos of a home I found recently listed for sale in Rancho Mirage for $400,000… a pseudo-dream home {we’d upgrade a bit}, that is totally affordable, only 2.5 hours away.

{affordable is relative, understandably}


Again, we’ve just begun our home search but have never EVER thought about living in Palm Springs or near it. We’ve found a few other “dream homes” in the area for less than $450k with only $160 HOA’s so the possibility of an affordable dream home, on a golf course has REALLY swayed our opinions as of late. I mean look how pretty those grounds are!

This particular house is in Rancho Mirage. You can find the actual listing here.

Does anyone live in or around Palm Springs, Palm Desert, or Rancho Mirage now, or ever? If so, I’d LOVE to hear your opinions on living in the area.


Happy Friday Lovecats!

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LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at ...love Maegan.com sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, and home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life with her husband and adorable dogs, two Frenchies & an old Pug in wheels. Here you will find her talking about their journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation up to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life.

55 Comments

  • simplychic

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    that really is a beautiful home. thanks for sharing this story with us. i’ll be tuning in to see what you end up doing. sometimes change is good :)

  • secretivestyle.com

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    I love that house! It’s absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait until my hubby and I can house hunt! xx

  • Kez

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    How exciting :)
    I think that whatever you buy will be amazing once you’ve finished putting your amazing touch on it!
    All the best!

  • Lin

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    My MIL took a nursing job in Rancho Mirage a few months ago & we spent a lot of time there, it was nice. You’re right though, it’s like senior citizen central up in there. It’s probably a really great place to raise a child because it’s classy & upscale but it’s a bit on the boring side if you ask me. Good luck house hunting sweets!

  • Maegan Tintari

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    Thank you Lin…. love the first-hand experiences/opinions!! xx

  • Tegan @ Teganias Thoughts

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    I dream of the day a house like that would be $400 000 in Australia. Even in Rural areas, crappy old scummy houses are 380 000+, and much much more in the city (Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne). My friends just bought a $700 000 restored house which is lovely, although it is much much smaller than that! Owning a home is a bit of a dream in Australia, one that doesn’t really come true for young people anymore.

  • Jayme

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    I grew up in Palm Springs, and lived there until I left for college 12 years ago. It’s much different now than it was when I was there, but it really lovely. The summers are really brutal but, and this is going to sound strange, I always felt like the heat in the city (particularly the Valley) was much worse. The desert is a dry heat. And there are a lot of senior citizens there, but they typically leave town from March-September and come back for the GORGEOUS winters (we called them Snow Birds). There are amazing restaurants, great shopping, TONS of casinos (!), and yes, many, many golf courses. Buying a home there is a great investment, especially since once you’re ready to upgrade, you have the very real option of holding onto the property and renting it out during the high tourist season. I’m sure you guys would be very happy there. Good luck!

  • Tegan @ Teganias Thoughts

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    PS. Sorry my comment sounded so gloomy!! I really am very happy that you are going to be house hunting, it will be such an awesome time in your life! x

  • Laura

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    I hope you find your dream home! That house is beautiful!

  • stacy

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    yes palm springs! do it! love the house.

  • Anonymous

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    That Home is so awesome and Mind Blowing .
    Green Coffee Bean

  • Güler

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    so cool:)

    my DIYs blog –> http://gkdone.blogspot.com/

  • LifestyleBohemia

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    Amazing house! I also dream of a Spanish style house, but there’s nothing like that around here.
    Enjoy the house hunting – this was such a fun time for my husband & I. I look forward to hearing your house hunting stories!
    Have a fantastic weekend!
    xx
    Joanna

  • Schnelle

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    That house is beyond beautiful! I love how open everything is and I am such a sucker for that mediterranian style roof.

  • luckylass

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    Never lived in any of those areas (was in Nor Cal), but as a recent first time home buyer, I can relate to experience. It is so exciting, and I couldn’t be happier for you two.

    Here is my best advice, that you hear everywhere for a reason – it is all about location! You want to be close to YOUR essentials. For some it might be close to friends or family or nightlife. The first thing you and your husband should do is prioritize your location (and be realistic). It is tempting to want to buy where the houses are awesome, but it won’t cultivate a lifestyle nearly as much as you think. My husband was the voice of reason in making sure we stayed in the correct location (a 6 by 10 block radius!) and it certainly payed off! Things we considered: proximity to jobs, awesome restaurants and markets, and friends. Then we took into account: neighborhood aesthetics, resale value, and property taxes (which can vary substantially by communities). Given the crazy traffic of So Cal, I think that location has to be even more important to you.

    We would have included school districts in our search – but that isn’t something in our cards. One thing we didn’t think about was restrictions of the community. And geez, do we have an interesting community – they have crazy restrictions – but I suppose it keeps the place looking beautiful.

    Lastly, if you haven’t already, find an amazing agent that knows the location and is comfortable with your budget. We found ours through a recommendation of a friend.

  • luckylass

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    Sorry just one thing to add.. When I found a similar home to the one you posted, I was so excited and showed it to my husband, gushing that we could throw amazing soires there. He made the very astute comment, that we would also live so far away from our friends, that very few would visit often.

  • Nic

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    great post! i am recently engaged and this really opened my eyes (wider) to somethings. my fiance’ and i are planning to live in his apt for 2 years, then house hunt. we really are focusing on saving and it’s hard, but necessary. the area we live in, Columbia MD, is very expensive but like you and your hubby, we love the area and our family is here.

    all in all, you made me see that with discipline and a solid plan, saving and getting what you want is definitely possible. i wish you all the best and i know you all will find that perfect home. you both worked so hard…it’s well deserved!

    ~nic
    http://www.nics-picks.com

  • astr!d

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    im sure you can find a home that is close to what you are paying in rent now. and its quite comforting (maybe the wrong word) to know that everyone has finicial troubles but have overcome them!!! and u have done it through sacrifice and hard work so for that i applaude you!!! -virtually- lol hope its a fun process for yall, bc its a headache!!! i cant wait to watch the process and congrats!!!

  • thankfifi

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    wow, what an exciting time! I can’t wait to see where you end up and hope you get something close to your dreams.x

    ThankFifi

  • Anesa

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    That is absolutelly lovely house. The garden looks perfect, especially the pond =)

    http://anesagill.blogspot.com/

  • LARA

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    lara said…

    A FANTASTIC HOME FOR A FANTASTIC FAMILY….

    MAEGAN , I UNDESTAND YOU A LOT … I AM NURSE IN A HUMAN REPRODUCTION CENTER IN SPAIN (SORRY FOR MY ENGLISH IT´S HORRIBLE…)
    I´M VERY SAD ABOUT ALL YOUR POST ABOUT INFERTILITY AND I WONDER TO MYSELF IF YOU HAVE HAD A GOOD GYNECOLOGIC HEALTH CHECK AND YOUR HUSBAND SEMEN CHECK … SOMETIMES IT´S MUCH MORE SIMPLE THAN YOU THINK….IT´S VERY IMPORTAN KNOW WHERE IS THE PROBLEM O EVEN KNOW IF REALLY THERE IS A PROBLEM!!!….SOME TIMES IT´S ONLY THAT THE MAN DON´T TAKE HOT BATH (HAVE A SHOWER) , DON´T USE FITTED UNDERWEAR , NOT EJERCISE THAT CYCLING ( KEEP A GOD TEMPERATURE FOR THE SPERM)…. AND NOT MASTURBATION A LOT…;)
    IF HAVE A CHILD IS SO SO IMPORTAN DONT FORGEN LOT OF POSIBLILITIES YOU HAVE ….ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATIÓN,IN VITRO FERTILIZATION, ABDOMEN OF RENT ( IN SPAIN IT´S NOT ALLOWED) AND ADOPTION…

    MOST IMPORTAN…TRANQUILITY !!!!WHAT ABOUT A HOLLIDAYS IN SPAIN…

    AND REMEMBER…YOU MUST FEEL REALIZED LIKE A HUMAN , LIKE WOMAN… LIKE A VERY VERY SUCCES WOMAN YOU ARE …. YOU ARE A INSPIRATION FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE …. WE WAIT WE NEED YOU BLOG … KISSES FROM SPAIN.

  • House of Hemingway

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    Good things come to those who wait, right? I’m so excited for this next step in your life. I hope that you find the home that best suits your immediate and future needs. Keep in mind that “home is where the heart is” and if your heart is where your family and friends are, then it’s something to REALLY keep in mind at all times. This sounds like an incredible home but more like an investment home. Plus, like you said, L.A. is HOME…..

    Best of luck, looking forward to more postings on your findings!

    http://www.houseofhemingway.com

  • Tiffany

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    My sister has a house with her husband in La Quinta for the winter/Spring/Fall, and a condo on Wilshire in Westwood for the Summer – though they are now considering leaving LA entirely and staying at the house in La Quinta – they love it so much. My sister is in her mid-40s, and REALLY young compared to others her age, but has managed to make a lot of friends who are also young for their age, childless, who just want to have a good time. They all walk their dogs together around the neighborhood, have “block parties” (gated communities..), lots of parties at each other’s houses, etc. They have a lot of fun. It’s VERY quiet – but you live in a more quiet area of LA now so it may be an easy transition. And there is great shopping out there. I think you guys would enjoy it – and I’m not kidding that you could be good friends with her and her friends if you end up in that area. The young PS crowd. I honestly read your blog just because you remind me so much of her. Good luck!!

  • Nancy

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    That house is stunning,Maegan.The one thing I would look into before purchasing a home near or on a golf course is how much pesticide spraying is done.We actually moved out of a neighbourhood because of pesticide spraying when my son was small.Now it is illegal to use pesticides in our city but I believe the golf courses are exempted.

    Nancy

  • Amy Goins

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    I’ve always heart Palm Springs has the three G’s. Gays, Grays and Golf! Sounds lovely to me!

  • Kandice

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Megan!

    Beautiful home! I live about 15 minutes west of Palm Springs (five minutes from Desert Hills outlets in a little town called Banning) and we spend a LOT of time in the desert but I also spend a lot of time out in the LA area. Out of all the desert cities, I prefer Rancho Mirage. It’s a nice city. Very different from LA. It’s more laid-back and casual in my opinion and that sounds like something you’re looking for. Yes, it’s hot but…everywhere you go has super strong AC–stores, restaurant, your car, and your home, so you really aren’t in the heat for too long. Besides, you do get used to it also. I think it’s a great choice for you and your husband. It’s definitely not too far from LA, so you will still be able to see your family/friends with a short drive. Good luck in your house search!

  • Veronica

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    Congrats on looking for a home :) My boyfriend and I are currently on the same boat as you! We have just started looking and its been a crazy ride. Best of luck in finding your new home! The one up top seems lovelyyyy…

  • danamite

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    One consideration from someone who lived off a golf course – the pesticide run off inhibits anything that you may want to grow… It is intense! So beautiful on the outside and toxic run off … It wasn’t something I ever thought about!! Good luck with the house hunting!!!

  • Kat

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    1. Congrats on this new venture! I think sometimes its best to wait.
    2. That is awesome that you guys worked hard and SAVED!
    3. Maegan, you are not old. :)
    aneyeforfashion.blogspot.com

  • Cee

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    I don’t live in Palm Springs, but I do travel there often. It’s a lovely area, and while it gets hot, it’s not a big deal. AND THERE’S CABAZON. If that’s not reason enough to move to the desert, nothing is!
    I did want to weigh in on the golf course thing — we have friends that live on/near golf courses in the desert (we’re in Phoenix) and there’s something they deal with that I never thought of — roaches. They hang around those super moist area and can get to be a problem if you don’t bug bomb often. For someone as prissy as me, it’s a deal breaker. It may not be for you, but I thought you’d want to know.

  • Sue

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    Hi, what a scrumptious house. And what fun to do a house hunt. Your post was inspiring how you paid off such a large debt! You rock. I have a house blog and would love to feature your final purchase if you are ever interested, but of course you would feature it yourself!-what am I thinking, I am just crazy for houses. Again, love the post.

  • drollgirl

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    omg. this place has such potential! you would make it even more awesome than it already is!

    you two have worked long and hard to save for this home. you are so close! so close!

    PARTY AT MAEGAN’S HOUSE IN PALM SPRINGS!!!!!! ok, i am putting the cart before the horse, but you know how excited i get about these things! :)

  • Adena

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    We had a home in Indian Wells for many years and just love the desert lifestyle. You can get an amazing home out there – maybe even one that is furnished (which is a very common way the homes there are sold.) Definitely hook up with a realtor because there are some great homes and amazing deals to be had. Good luck!

  • Shel

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    I love the idea of living in Palm Springs I just don’t know about it being so far away from friends/family. Would that bother you?
    We bought a cute home in Lakewood last year and while it’s not our dream home I flippin’ love it. I love our neighbors, I love that we have the LA Sheriff Dept and they don’t take any crap from anybody. We have a 4 car garage, a huge yard for our Frenchie to raise hell in…the best part…it’s OURS and nobody can tell us we can’t paint the walls, or tell us to turn down the music. Buying a house is a huge deal but man it’s great! Good luck and don’t get discouraged, I know searching here in Socal can be rough so don’t let it get to you and take breaks from house searching if you start to feel like it’s more of a burden. In the end you’ll find what you’re looking for and it’ll be home :)

  • Shannyn

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    I love this, thanks for posting it! My fiance and I live on the west side in LA right now and totally overwhelms me to think of the uphill battle we have with debt and the possibility of one day owning a home!

    We’re getting married in Palm Springs this fall, so super partial to it out there. It is hot, but man is it beautiful!

  • Mo

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    My parents live in Palm Desert and it’s really lovely out there. However, it IS senior citizen central, which means there are a lot of scary drivers around town. The good news is, there are tons of restaurants and more of a nightlife than I thought there would be. And the best part? All the seniors go to dinner early, so it’s pretty easy to get reservations at 7:00 or 7:30! The downside is the heat. It can get pretty brutal—125 degrees is tough to deal with if you’re running errands—but I suppose you adjust.

    When my husband and I started looking for houses we were living in Marina del Rey, and $400K for a small condo was just crazy. We ended up moving to Valencia and although it’s pretty suburban, I love it. Home prices are so much more reasonable up there. However, you really have to look to find something unique. When you want to go out you’re 20 minutes from the Valley (I work in Sherman Oaks) or Hollywood.

    Good luck with your search!

  • Elissa

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    I loved visiting Palm Springs as a child. It was always so warm and I’d explore around the “exotic” plants and play with bugs.

    Happy house hunting!

    http://www.thegirlon23rd.blogspot.com

  • Maria @ GLD

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    Wow! Maegan! What an inspirational story! You manage to inpire me and give me a push to try to make these things myself. My story with my boyfriend is similar, when we moved in together we didn’t have anything. And now more than two years later we bought a car and we can save money to have our own home in the future.
    I love when you share your stories with us. I also loved your post about success.
    You deserved all this for all your hard work. I can’t wait for your book to get published and learn more things about you and your fashion style.
    Thanks again!

  • Anonymous

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    Hello Meagan!
    I lived in Palm Desert for many years, my family still lives there. is a beautiful town! everywhere you go. its like a paradise! green grass, tall palm trees, lots clubs, casinos, Shopping (El Paseo) is a beautiful place. just keep your options open, and its good to venture out of your comfort zone.

  • Nicole Marie

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    wow hard to say no to those houses!! Good for you guys being so good about saving money… it’s so easy to just spend and spend especially when you see the money sitting there.

  • Lang

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    I’ve been living in Palm Springs for several years now, and while it’s true there are lots of seniors, there are also a lot more young people than you might think. Many young families have moved here in order to afford decent housing. There are tons of amazing homes that a regular person would never be able to afford in LA. Plus, the sky is a brilliant cobalt blue nearly everyday (no gray marine layer like LA).

  • Jen

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    Yay!! I’ve been wondering with all the success of late if you guys were going to stop renting. That’ exciting news. We live in Scottsdale which I think is practically the same weather as P.S. and I can tell you one thing to def keep in mind is utility bills. You have no idea how expensive is it to air condition in the desert. Easily an extra $400-$500 from May to October. Also the heat puts an extra strain on our cars so there’s that expense and if you have a pool? that’s another. Other than that it’s awesome living in the desert! Less traffic, crowds and BS in general. It can get a tad boring as it’s no L.A. but we just fly home a few times a year, get our fix and come home to our little peaceful shack and chill. Plus- You could drive back to Valley in what? 2 hours? I say go for it!! Change would be super fun.

  • kissonthechic

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    Gosh its crazy how far money can go in the US, to buy a tiny studio flat in London costs at least $650k :’( booooo

  • Lorena

    May 18, 2012 | Reply

    Like you said, your hunt has just begun.
    I’d look everywhere before dashing out my savings on a home….
    My husband and I bought an 1880s home about 9 years ago and it’s ALMOST paid off.
    It’s a rathole, not habitable and literally falling apart.
    I’ts in a UNeSCO heritage site and hopefully (fingers crossed) we can start restoring it next year… so good luck, your path is much simpler than mine :)

  • Anonymous

    May 19, 2012 | Reply

    It is so very awesome and Good attractive Home .
    Hydroxatone

  • hannah

    May 19, 2012 | Reply

    Being from Sydney (i.e. the second most expensive city in the world) the idea of paying $400k for an apartment or townhouse in a nice area seems dreamy here. We pay $600pw rent for a two bedroom apartment. it would cost us $600k to buy it. A house in any nice area will be no less than $2mil. Scary! I hope you have good luck finding a lovely place that fits within your budget! And good for you for becoming a saver…I really need to learn that skill!

  • Holly

    May 19, 2012 | Reply

    such an exciting (and frustrating time)! im so happy for you guys. being your own landlord is the best. and living in the bay area i totally get everything you are saying about the market and what not. good for you for waiting out to buy a house! condos are not a good investment with the HOA dues and all, you need to stake your piece of land! literally. :) good luck!

  • Anonymous

    May 19, 2012 | Reply

    I have lived in palm desert all my life and it is an amazing place! the Summers do get pretty hot but it is so worth it once
    you see the winters! It is/was an amazing place to live and grow up. They have great schools, great communities and
    some fun places to go and visit! Palm springs is a great place to live and they do have some amazing houses out here!

  • onehourgirl

    May 20, 2012 | Reply

    You just need a great pool for the summer, I leave in Phoenix and during the summer we literally live in the pool, Palm Springs is great and the vintage shops are awesome!!!! Good luck! You will know when ou find yourdream home!

  • Lisa

    May 20, 2012 | Reply

    My boyfriend and I live in the bay area and just bought our first home a little over a month ago! We just couldn’t stand the high rent anymore! Investing is one of the best decisions we have made!

  • Anonymous

    May 20, 2012 | Reply

    never comment on your blog…despite i love your blog and diy archives…megan you rock…your stories on infertility and getting out of debt is on point…love and heart you megan….congratulations to you and hubby!

  • Meg

    May 20, 2012 | Reply

    Such an exciting venture! Just one thing to consider, which I’m sure you already are, from a financial perspective: you get zero of the financial/tax benefits from HOA fees that you do from your mortgage. I currently pay high condo fees on top of my mortgage and it feels like I’m just throwing away the HOA fees – like it’s rent on top of my mortgage. So, personally, I’d rather pay a higher mortgage than HOA fees.

  • Megan

    May 31, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Maegan, Congratulations on achieving your financial goals and being able to buy your dream house! I am the same age as you so I can always relate to whatever you write. Like you, it wasn’t until my early 30s that I was able to get my finances under control. I really don’t miss all of the financial stress I experienced in my 20s – starting out with student loans and a low paying job while trying to make ends meet… Anyway, I was just so happy for you and your husband when I read this post. I wish you both the best and can’t wait to see photos of your new house on this blog. It’s going to be so beautiful. I know we haven’t met in real life but I have been a longtime reader of your blog and I feel so proud of you and all of your accomplishments! It’s great to see you being rewarded for all of your hard work.

  • Anonymous

    January 31, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Maegen,
    Congrats on your new home and life in Lake Arrowhead! You guys definitely did the right thing. Haven’t visited your blog in a long time but just wanted to mention for anyone coming across this that after a decade of renting in West Hollywood (I enjoyed every moment BTW) I moved out to Palm Springs in 2007 to buy and in that time have actually able to buy 2 places with what I saved and I do now plan to retire early. Everyone thought I was crazy at the time! I rented for a year to look and make sure I liked it and when the market dropped, I bought a mid-century condo and renovated it over 3 or so years. I skimped and saved a LOT – was not always glamorous but its a lot easier to live a simpler life out here. I still go back and visit the beach, or LA (of fly up to SF) but after about 3 days, I’ve had my fill and find myself itching to get home to the desert.

    The lifestyle and people (not to mention the air and natural beauty) are wonderful out here and it’s not just old people anymore. (Well, I’m 39 so that’s debatable – lol.) There are a LOT of folks (particularly in the design and style community) coming out from LA and elsewhere and picking up first or 2nd homes b/c the market is so inexpensive & it’s a lot more cosmopolitan than your average small town. And there are a lot of your entrepreneurs doing things here that they could never do elsewhere. Funny thing is, you sometimes end up meeting folks from LA that you actually never would in the city because it’s so much friendlier and relaxed here. I’ve had more people come and visit me here than ever did the whole time I lived in LA.

    Summer is HOT!!! – it’s true – but that’s what your friends and family elsewhere are for. ;} If you want to save, just don’t live on a golf course (dues are bad!) but if you go solar and don’t go crazy on the pool or A/C, the expenses are definitely not the same as in the city.

    Anyway, waaaay late to this post but just thought I’d throw my 2 cents in and encourage more folks to try rural or alternate options. It can be a great quality of life that can give you a lot more options down the road. If I knew then what I know now, I wish I’d done this in my 20s! I may not live here full time forever but I can guarantee you that if I hadn’t moved, I’d still be in the same 700 sq ft apartment, with debt and some cute clothes but my financial picture would be exactly the same.

  • Calvin Brock

    February 11, 2013 | Reply

    I was able to get my finances under control. I really don’t miss all of the financial stress I experienced in my 20s – starting out with student loans and a low paying job while trying to make ends meet. Matawan Tax Return preparer

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