Giving is hard. Giving of your time. Your talents. Your money. Yourself. It is inherent to humans to be selfish and protect what is theirs, be it time, money, resources, what have you.
I slid into my 27th year in October. It was by far the most low-key birthday yet. For whatever reason, I wasn’t overly obnoxious in wanting celebrate like I usually I am. I wanted two things: good ass food, and to sit down, uninterrupted, with Kooper, and plan for our future (1, 2 and 5 years). I do this in my head a thousand times a day, but like to check in with Kooper once a year to make sure what crazy, hair-brained ideas I have align (somewhat) with the vision he has for our lives.
We celebrated my birthday at Buddha Barn in Sayler Park (if you haven’t been…GO!) with our family and two total strangers due to the lack of seating, which ended up being awesome.
Vision planning happened, as well. In short, we decided on three things:
- No kids, still, yet, maybe. To be determined, but, don’t ask.
- Travel to Europe. This is a two year goal, and will be an extended trip, to make the most of what Europe has to offer (which is a million thousand things).
- Step up our investing game, and find another source of income.
All of these plans sound logical, yes? Like they were well thought out over time? Well, that is where you are dead wrong.
As the result of what I can only assume was pain medication messing with my mental state, I hit a six day manic streak from October 19th – 24th. These dates are important, as we will refer back to them.
No matter how many pre-tonsil and adenoidectomy surgery appointments I went to, questions I answered, calls I took, no one, not one person, flagged the fact that I am diagnosed Bipolar I (and a handful of co-morbid disorders), and medicated, and that maybe, just maybe, traditional pain meds may not be the best for me. I should have thought of this ahead of time, and been my own advocate, but I was assuming (making an ass out of you and me) that the surgeon, nurses, anesthesiologist would say “heeeey, just a quick warning, this may or may not fuck you up”.
So, a week post-surgery, and four days off of pain meds (because I didn’t really want to take them in the first place), my need for sleep disappeared. I stopped eating, like, at all. I began wanting to plan a million and one things (cue vision planning). The ideas wouldn’t stop coming, no matter how hard I tried.
This is where we refer back to vision planning point #3: step up our investing game, and find another source of income.
Due to some crazy awesome circumstances going on within our family (to be revealed at a later date), we began discussing, literally just discussing, the idea of purchasing a rental property in August.
When I reached out to our mortgage broker extraordinaire, Chris Brengelman (not so shameless plug), he said that we would need 20% down to buy a second property to rent. Meh. Not happening, so we moved on with life and the idea died off.
Well, October 20th, the night of our vision planning, up to my eyeballs in mania-fueled ideas, I shot off a text to Chris. 10pm on a Saturday.
“What if we purchased a two-family, rented one unit out, lived in the other unit, and rented our current house?”
And y’all, THIS MAN REPLIED. INSTANTLY. Seriously, if you need a mortgage broker that will get shit done, he is your man.
“Well, then, you can qualify for an FHA loan (since we did a conventional loan on our current house), which would only require 3.5% down.”
Okay, sweet. We can work with that.
But, in order to make this happen, A SHIT TON OF THINGS had to fall in place (not in this specific order):
- Search and find a two-family to purchase
- Get pre-qualified for a FHA loan
- Rent our current home
- Find tenants for the second unit in the new two-family home
- Purge our junk
- Move all of our junk we kept
With Chris’ text, and a glimmer of hope, I was manic-driven determined to make.this.work.
Immediately, I could see five years down the road, having rental property, investing, fixing homes up, creating a passive stream of income. My mind was much like Bradley Cooper’s brain in the movie Limitless, without the drug.
I did research on what to rent our house for, rental laws in Indiana, hit up Zillow, Facebook Marketplace and every other website you could possibly list a home for rent on. I typed up a kick-ass listing, and sent it out on the interwebs.
Finding tenants for our house is what this entire plan hinged on, and would be the most difficult. But that didn’t stop me from researching, budgeting, planning and dreaming. I mean, in this state, nothing could stop me.
I found two two-family properties that met my “criteria”, one in Price Hill and one in Norwood.
Again, many thanks to Chris, we were connected with an equally as badass real estate agent, Erin Tarantino (shameless plug #2) set us up for two showings on Monday, October 22nd. All of this was arranged by Sunday, October 21st in the early AM, because duh, I didn’t sleep.
With my 48 hour sleep deprivation in tow, I spent Sunday following through on my obligations, which included a bridal shower for my sweet friend, Lauren.
I had been removed from my social circle for three weeks due to surgery, and vacation, so this was the first time I had seen anyone, and most importantly, my very bestest friend, Liesl.
Very brief background of our friendship (which truly deserves an entire blog post, or novel, or TV show, or hell, all of the above). Liesl and I became friends thanks to an ex-boyfriend (hers, not mine). When their relationship ended, Liesl and I grew closer, and the ex fell to the wayside. For ten (ish?) years, she has been my go to. We have been through nearly every major life trial together, yet our friendship still stands. She knows everything there is to know about me, and I, her (at least I think…right, Liesl?).
When we reunited at the shower, of course, I wanted all of the updates I had missed in the past three weeks. Being the mother of three boys and the wife of an idea-driven man, I knew that there would be some news to share. Instead of something exciting or hopeful, her eyes welled up.
Those were her exact words. Through every struggle in her life I’ve been her friend through, of which there have been more than a few, she had never said drowning. My heart sank.
As the result of financial hardships that were years in the making, they were going to lose their house. A family of five. A family that selflessly serves others, no questions asked. A family that still praises the Lord in spite of every storm they face. A family that budgets to the tee, lives within their means, and still finds a way to tithe. But every financial fuck you they could receive from the universe, I am pretty sure they have gotten.
Yet, they were going to lose their house.
We talked numbers (my favorite #budget). I tried to gain more insight as to what was going on, as they had weathered all financial storms thus far.
The bottom line: money was coming in, but the money that had to go out to pay bills was more. There was nothing left to eliminate. No frivolous shopping sprees, no luxurious vacations, no car payments, nothing. They live simple.
Immediately, I had the solution to their problem. Or, at least I thought I did, because, duh, mania. I felt it in my heart. Whether it was God, mania, caffeine, or a blessed combination of the three, I had the solution.
Kooper had been waiting in the car to pick me up from the shower. I ran out and immediately blurted out what I thought.
“What if we rented our home to Liesl and PJ?”
Clearly, this wouldn’t solve their financial problems, however, it would give them a home for their family, a safe place to land, and the ability to try to sell and walk away from their home on their terms, without worrying if it would be taken from them.
After a very brief discussion in the car, explanation of numbers/budgets/pros/cons, Kooper agreed.
Over dinner that evening with them, we proposed the idea. We shared numbers and figures. There were emotions, and almost tears when Liesl thought “we’re moving!” meant out of town and we’d never see each other again. You can’t get rid of me that easy…mwahaha!
They took a few days (okay, like one and a half) to pray, mull it over, and ask more questions.
The final answer was yes. Not yes because they wanted to necessarily, but yes because they had to. I’ll never be able to fathom the feeling of voluntarily leaving a home you love, to best serve your family’s need for security and safety. I’ll say it again, Liesl and PJ, you two are wonder-humans.
With their yes on Tuesday, October 23rd, we forged on in pursuit of a two-family home.
We (me, especially) fell in love with one of the homes, and after discussing pros and cons together, made an offer that night. The offer was accepted 24 hours later.
Yes, we were under contract. On a second home. Wednesday, October 24th. Less than FOUR days from the initial conception of this crazy ass plan.
Have I mentioned yet what a beautifully chaotic blessing mania can be?
I share this story out of excitement, but caution. I’ve heard and read many stories in which people share manic episodes that end in financial ruin. Maxed our credit cards, gambling sprees, drained bank accounts, etc.
The norm, when manic, is NOT for people to budget for six hours straight, run calculations, check bank accounts, pull credit reports, etc. and continue this pattern for days on end.
Whether it’s pure luck that my mania results in me being über responsible financially (except for that one time I bought $200 a piece Lil’ Wayne tickets – remember, Johnny?), or a combination of MBA classes, a frugal-as-shit father, Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, and/or working for my family’s business for the past 10 years running numbers, I don’t know. Whatever it is, in this situation, it was, and is, a blessing.
Since that manic streak, things have stabilized, somewhat. Anxiety has been at an all-time-high, but that goes with the territory of the home buying process. We purged and packed our entire four bedroom home in three days. Moved Liesl, PJ and family in to the top two floors, and relocated to the basement. Continued chipping away at the process of buying a second home (inspection, another inspection, appraisal, another appraisal, numbers, numbers, more numbers, negotiations, blah, blah, blah).
It’s hard to wait. It’s hard to be patient. As I’m sure A TON of people would say, I am not the most patient person, especially when manic. I want it done, and I want it done yesterday.
But the waiting wasn’t the hardest part. The most difficult adjustment over the past month-ish has been to give so freely. But turning 27, I wanted this year to be the year of giving. Giving until it hurts. Until there isn’t a drop left to give.
It started with opening our home, and purging our possessions knowing we were going from a 3000+ square foot home to a 1,000, maybe? square foot apartment. Rather than sell it all, we gave a significant chunk away. It’s hard to see things go that you know have great value, and you could easily find a place to spend that money, but the blessing you give to others who need it, that is priceless.
Sharing our home space for a few months until we move has been an adventure. The Neyer’s are the consummate housemates. Selfishly, it’s hard to give up your house to make it someone else’s home, especially when you’re living in it, and you’re used to two people being in this large space, and over night it becomes four adults, one teenager, one toddler, another baby/toddler, and eight dogs.
But there was a need, and we would move heaven and earth to meet that need if it meant serving the family that has loved and served us so freaking well.
Like I said, 27 is about giving and we have successfully given our home, and turned it over to serve another family through this season of their lives.
After 30 days, this new normal under one roof will be a hard goodbye come moving time.
Anyways, I am sure there are a gajillion typos, and I’ve left out some details, but you get the gist of it. The point is, the back story was important to give you the context behind the fact that we just purchased a second freaking home!
More to come, but for now, we’re gonna go streak naked and sit in silence in our new digs, before returning home to our shared space and having a family dinner, all eight of us, followed by wine/beer/bourbon, cheese and The Office with the Neyer’s, because we wouldn’t want to end such a monumental day any other way.