I just hit a milestone earlier today in preparing to head off to Evanston: I have now spent more money than I have in my checking and savings account. Fortunately, I have a credit card which has allowed me to avoid the pain of seeing both accounts zeroed out until my next paycheck. I’m pretty sure that I’ll have to tap into the IBM stock that I have accrued via the Employee Stock Purchase Plan during the past couple of years, but it doesn’t help that the shares have gone down $8 in the last month (I need every last penny!).

My house, of course, is the reason for the demise of my savings. I am paying $2500 to get gutters installed on the house. It’s funny; I never realized that gutters weren’t standard on all houses until I bought one, and subsequently, looked at all of the houses around me. Fortunately, the gutters are part of new plan to lease the house out that I think will ultimately pay off in the end and anchor me to Austin until I can return.

One of my biggest concerns going into grad school has been what to do with my house. Initially, I thought that I would have enough money to keep on paying for the house through at least December, worst case scenario, if I were unable to unload it; that was overly optimistic. Once I started taking care of the flood of expenses leading up to my move to Evanston, I realized that it would be difficult to keep paying for it past September, and that seriously (seriously) troubled me. I have been trying to keep my loans down to a minimum during the next couple of years in an effort to repay it all within 2 years (3 max).

I didn’t think the house would be an issue when I first put it up for sale at the beginning of April. It’s a great house if I do say so myself, and I had just painted it and installed tile, making it look better than ever. On top of that, it’s located in a somewhat upscale golf-course community, though in the community’s “starter” neighborhood. I imagined that it would take 2 months at most to sell the house at market price.

I watched eagerly as a steady stream of prospective buyers (> 50 ultimately) passed through the house. Almost all of them left positive feedback, saying that the house was well maintained inside and out. The only negative feedback that I received (repeatedly) was the fact that the house backs to a major road. I tried to counter this with some videos (one and two) proving that that the road isn’t really noisy at all; it’s used mainly for commuting to and from work. Unfortunately, even with the Michael-Bay-esque videos, I received no offers.

At the end of June, I decided to open up my options and go back to my original plan, which was to try leasing the house. I learned that you can have 2 real estate agents working for you concurrently, as long as one is trying to lease and the other is trying to sell. I immediately put the house up at a price that was about $90 shy of what it would take to cover all of the costs. Fortunately, I received an application on the first day from a family that seems like a great fit. I’m looking forward to signing the contract to formalize everything this Wednesday.

As far as selling the house, I did receive my first offer this weekend after dropping the price to $5K below market value. The offer, which seemed a bit insulting, was $10K below my asking price. After I asked my agent to tell them “Thanks, but no thanks”, they came back with an offer that was much closer to my asking price. Since I’m already in the process of leasing, I responded once again with a “Thanks, but no thanks”.

Although we haven’t contractually finalized the lease, it feels good to know that I’m so close to getting the house situation resolved.