So. We have our house on sale. It is being listed for maybe 210K. Then we have to pay 6% commission on it, and 5% buyer's closing costs, and misc. fees... We will probably, maybe, net about 185K from it. (Sigh. Bought it for 215 K in 2008 and put at least 40K into it. This hurts.)
We have about 20,000 in credit card debt. About 4,000 in medical bills in collections. I hate having debt and have never had any before this year. I want to get it paid off ASAP - but I don't know whether I should just pay it off right now altogether out of the house price, or just set it aside and pay minimum payments.
We live on a fixed income right now. It's low. It covers the basics and pretty much nothing else. Definitely not a lot of credit card payments. That's not going to change for the time being although it is altogether possible that in the future we will have more income - but probably still not going to be rolling in it. I don't want to depend on that to pay off the debt in case it doesn't come through.
We are going to be looking for a forever home at this point. I am tired of moving. Tired of putting money into a house and then having to move. I want to set up a garden and an orchard and put down roots, literally and figuratively. Thus it makes sense that if we buy a house I want to buy the best we can afford. We also need a cushion for buying country-living type equipment, costs to set up a garden/chicken coop, and furnishings for the house, as well as for money we might need to fix up the house - such as putting in hardwood floors (we can't have carpet due to allergies) and such.
Moving costs, priced out, are going to run about 6,000 for a full service mover across the country. I'm thinking of 10,000 for home repairs and 10,000 for farm/garden set up stuff - rain barrels, fencing, chicken coops, freezers, etc. That might be too high, but if there was extra money in that I could set it aside for later costs.
If I paid off all the debt at once, I'd have about 150,000 after moving for house and supplies.
Does that make sense? Then in theory we could... buy a house for 120,000K. Fix it up for 15,000 or so depending on the condition. And leave the extra in supplies or savings? Or should we try to look higher and try to figure in that we'll likely be there forever and try to get things together more slowly / put up with a less-than-ideal condition house? Or buy a cheaper house and try to upgrade it more ourselves?
I have worked out various scenarios from trying to find something for about 100K and be debt free and with a good cushion for repairs... But then I'm thinking, if we're going to be there forever, we might as well buy something a lot more comfortable for maybe 140K and just make small payments on the debt until we receive some sort of windfall and/or more income.
(BTW, in the areas we're looking at in the country, 100 K will buy a modest home, i.e. small - 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, no basement. Not horrible quality but not brand new, either. I am not looking at anything under 1 acre, but some have a bit more space. 150 K would buy maybe a 4 bd 2 bath, maybe with a few acres, a bonus room or two, etc.)
I'll link examples of houses in a bit, if that's allowed. Not ones we're actually interested in, but just to get an idea of the difference.
Or should I stick somewhere in the middle?
When we sell our house we have to find a new one fairly quick so if we're going to be working with an agent I want to be able to narrow it down to a realistic price range.