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Day 196: How to buy a house the most frugal way possible


Important note: these are not my parents. But how cool are these guys?
Nearly as cool as my parents. But not quite.

Hey guys! So, you remember my parents? Of the $73.34 wedding and Patron Saint of Garage Sales fame?
You know how you have all been dying to hear more about how they raised three kids and owned a house and did it all super-frugally? Wait, you haven't? Of course you have! You maybe just didn't notice.

Anyway, Mom is here to save the day! Now, as with their wedding, I thought I kind of knew their story of home-ownership, but it turns out I was missing a few details. However, the main story is just like I thought:

I totally had this house to play with when I was a kid!
Fisher-Price 4-eva!

1) Rather than renting an apartment during university, my father and a bunch of his friends each bought into a house and lived there together. Then, after university, they sold the house for profit and divided the money.

2) Using partially this money, and partially money on loan from my Grandfather (who was a banker, not that has to do with anything, but he retired when he was 89 and they made him retire, and he was awesome), so there was no interest on the loan, they bought a house together.

3) Then, when the local newspaper wanted to expand their facility, they bought my parents' house for way more than my parents had paid. Profit!

They made an offer my parents couldn't refuse, much like Mr. Potter in It's a Wonderful Life.
Except not evil.

4) My parents took this newspaper money, and bought a new house for their growing family. And then sold that, and used that money to buy the house my Mom still lives in today!

There are other more frugal ways to buy a house, such as homesteading in a pioneer fashion,
but I'm pretty sure my parents' way was a bit less physically demanding.

Here's Mom's version of the story:

There wasn't any special frugal magic involved in our house purchases.  We were pretty much in luck to be buying and selling as prices were going up.  And a big bonus, [Dad] borrowed from [Grandpa],  rather than from a bank, and also my [Mom's] parents, who lived with us for awhile, paid rent.  

It was basically a Full House situation there for awhile.
Note: I was Stephanie.

What might be of interest is how we subscribed to the "good enough" view of shopping, rather than insisting on perfection.  For two of the houses, the house we bought was the only one we looked at.  I've been reading that this attitude is being spoken of publicly these days.  A few years ago I read a book along those lines, The Paradox of Choice, I think.  

Supermarkets like this are the reason my Mom always goes in with a combo shopping list/map,
so she can get in and out as QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

As I remember, the gist was that excessive choice (picture me and shampoo) results in dissatisfaction, because you are always thinking that the next house, car, shoes, appliance you check out might be better than all those you have seen before, so you are never content.  Not entirely that choice doesn't matter at all, just that you should clearly establish what is  a must have (e.g. price and location of a house,) and recognize it when you see it.

The moral of the story

So there you have it, folks! Settle for a house that's good enough! Sell your house to the newspaper company! Borrow from your awesome banker parents, rather than from the bank itself! And you, too, can be frugal geniuses like my awesome parents.

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