Wearing the outfits I made for us both at our wedding.
At some point mid October the decision was made to go ahead and bid on the property earlier than we had planned. We had some vehicle issues, the neighbors in the apartment next to us make too much noise, and we are just so ready to get out of the apartment and start our new lives. Ahh I remember the catalyst, we got married. Something about that just sealed the desire for us to do this early. We had been discussing it for a couple of months already. The morning after the wedding we woke up and both knew we were ready. We decided, “Let’s do this.”
Now the scary part is we did not know if we could qualify for a loan with the bank or not. We make $2,000 a month combined on a good month. Our credit is “fair.” Our savings was almost nonexistent. We had been trying to save but we have also been paying off bills and contracts over the past 10 months. We are trying to lower our bills. It has taken reaching November to finally see that pay off. My wife was pretty sure we would be denied at the bank for any loan they could offer. She was right. It was disheartening but I still wanted to try.
What we did next, I really don’t recommend but we are ready to get our homestead lifestyle started like 5 years ago. On the beautiful day of October 23rd, 2017, after being denied a loan we would need to pay for the composting toilet and the property….we went across the street to the Burleson County Courthouse. We walked up the stairs, opened the doors to the second floor entrance, went into the tax collector’s office and asked to speak to the gentleman in charge of the tax resale/tax auction purchases and bids. We told them we wanted to place a bid. They gave us the paperwork and we filled it out. We had questions on the statements made on the paperwork. We talked to the gentleman in charge of it, whose name escapes me.
Our hearts dropped as we found out the County wouldn’t look at a bid unless it was a minimum of $350.oo per lot in the listing. No exceptions. We knew at that moment we could only bid on one of the three listings we wanted to get. The listing we bid on had 2 lots. So our bid was $700.oo for a property of approximately 0.5 acres. Even though that is still a great price we knew that was less land than we wanted to start with. However, it was still land to start with. We could bid on the other two property listings later in the year if our bid got accepted.
Then the tax man told us our bid had to be approved by two agencies. One was the County Commissioner’s Court and the other was the holding trustee of the property Caldwell ISD. We told us if the bid missed submission to them before they closed down for the Christmas Holidays we would not hear anything until January 2018. The kicker was they were meeting the day we were making the bid. Great timing on our part (sarcasm). Again we felt like we were kicked in the gut. We told the gentleman that we wanted to move out there as soon as possible because we were needing to clear land to build a house. He told us he would see what he could do and completely understood. We were to contact him in about two weeks and he should know more at that time. He was confident though that our bid would be accepted. That at least was a good news, we just had to quickly figure out how the heck we were going to pay for the land when the bid went through.
We had a backup plan for the loan, we hoped. Alexis had been receiving letters saying she was pre-approved for some small loans. You know those letters where some lender says, “Congratulations you are pre-approved for $3,500.” or some other amount of money. Given the bank had denied us every option they had, we were not overly optimistic but I said what is the worst that can happen, they tell us NO. When we got back home from Caldwell I tried getting a loan in my name first. That was definitely a no go. Pesky student loans…which will be gone in two years now thankfully. That is another story though. I grabbed the pre-approval letter off the fridge Alexis had received. Tried to remember to breathe while the process to see how much she qualified for began. In about 15 minutes and lots of questions later, we breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. She qualified for a $1,700 loan. We felt a tension leave us as we knew we could now pay for the property and the composting toilet.
The catch with the loan is it is similar to a payday loan. Payments will have to be paid every two weeks until paid off. No option for a monthly payment because she gets paid every two weeks. We were like, well we got the loan we needed to get started and on the land. That is what matters at this point. Someone finally gave us a chance and we are taking it.
Fast forward about a week later, Alexis got a phone call from her car dealership. They were just asking her if she was happy with the car she is paying on for the past two years. They let her know trading in may be an option. We mulled it over. As the week wore on we were starting to seriously mull it over knowing we needed a truck to get anything done on the property. Also, the roads would tear up her car in very rapid order.
Once again, we decided, why not let’s just go and see what they say. What is the worst they could say, NO. Well the first day we went after hours there trying to reach something within our budget for payments we left empty handed. We just couldn’t see how we would make it on the payment they were offering for the truck, which was almost twice the amount of her car payment for 72 months. Then we would have to contend with maybe a higher car insurance payment too.
Being she works graveyard shift, she was exhausted by the time we left the dealership. I was also due to me keeping her schedule, mostly. We just couldn’t figure out what we were going to do about the vehicle situation. We went home and slept. After sleep, since she was off work that night we woke in the early morning hours. Sleeping in for us and it was needed. We started running some payday errands and got to talking about the truck and the dealerships offer. We were figuring out the finances of it without having to pay rent and utilities. The loan for the property was temporary. We weighed the pros and cons. Decided in the long run it would be beneficial to take the deal and when we could pay extra on the truck payments.
We called the dealership back and asked if the offer and the truck were still available. Luckily for us it was. Well we went home, cleaned out the car of things we wouldn’t need in the truck. We grabbed another small loan check she had gotten in the mall. It would cover the $500 down payment and lunch. We went to our bank, deposited it and off we were back to Caldwell Country. Several hours later again, we had traded in the car for a 2014 truck that would serve us well and a damn good warrenty on it too. For the second time in a little over a week luck had smiled on us again. We were very happy to finally feel like we were doing something right.
We knew we had to seriously amp up our packing now. The next day we realized we had the money free we were going to use on the car payment. Goodness were we happy. We set out to get tools we needed for the property, batteries, a chainsaw from a local pawn shop, shovels, a double sided ax, and a few other odds and ends.
It was as if getting married and getting the truck has set us on the right track. All the events have given us hope. We feel like it is all synchronicity because the time is right. So two weeks after the bid was placed we called the tax office. He said he had the deed already made out and was going to submit it to the County Commissioner Court on November 13th. We discussed when Caldwell ISD was to meet next. He didn’t know they were meeting on the same day as the County Commissioner due to Thanksgiving being around their normal meet up time. He was not sure if he could get the bid paperwork on their agenda for their November 13th meeting. He would see what he could do though. If not we would have to wait until December 18th. That was encouraging news, we are itching to get out of the apartments though. I’ll tell you what whenever this goes down we will be so ready.
We find out this coming Tuesday on the 14th what they said. We are crossing our finger we get word that some miracle happened and both agencies were able to approve the bid and we have the property. Then we need to go pay for it. That is how we hope it goes. We aren’t going to push our luck though and have planned for a move out day in December. We are waiting to hear what the tax office says before we give a date to the apartment complex. They know about our plans and are going to work with us over leaving halfway through our lease contract. They are being nice and understanding and encouraging.
We just have to make it through this weekend without gnawing our nails off in anticipation of any news about our bid Tuesday. We are packing in the meantime, throwing out more things, selling things we can sell, and giving other things away to friends who are in need also. Also, Monday we start the process of getting Alexis’s last name changed over to mine. It is all every exciting and terrifying. It is all finally happening. All the planning and talking this whole year is starting to take effect. We are finally getting to take action towards making our dream a reality.