Sorry for the long silence, folks. I have spent most of the last four days buried in Magic cards. Not playing — selling.
Tim decided he wanted to take a break from constructed (ie, build your own deck, bring it with you) tournaments until October. That’s when some of the more frustrating cards rotate out of use. He pointed out that it nicely coincided with our goal to get a house by the time our lease is up at the end of September.
I have to say, it helped quite a bit.
I logged on to some sites that buy cards. Less than 100 cards later we had — try not to puke or swallow your tongue or anything — $399.15 at one place and $60ish at another. And that’s what the stores will pay, not what they’ll sell the things for.
Granted, we got a decent chunk of these for free (trading with other people or winning packs/store credit). Others were from eBay where I scoured for deals. And some were just the cost of our hobby. It’s a mixed lot.
Once the big stuff was out of the way, it was mainly nickel-and-dime time. Kind of literally. Some cards were worth 80 cents, others a quarter and still others were one or two cents. There were a few that paid $6-8. But mainly it was the small change that added up. Added up to another $250, actually.
Proof once again that even a penny or two can add up quickly, eh?
Of course, we will have to pay for shipping (and insure the things) which will take maybe $10 or 15 out of the profit. Also, the totals are before grading. But I expect less than $50 will get taken off overall. The cards are in good shape.
We still have 6 biggies to sell on eBay. After fees from PayPal and eBay, I expect to get at least $300 total. That means we’re looking at just about $1,000 toward our down payment.
If we can get an FHA loan, we’d only need 3.5% down. On a $60,000 house that’s $2,100. If I bank the money from the side project at work, we’ll be pretty close to that amount.
Coming from the Seattle housing market, I’m still somewhat flabbergasted that there are decent houses to be had for $40,000-60,000. In addition, a friend’s neighbor is a broker specializing in foreclosures. That could help boost our buying power, assuming there aren’t too many extra risks involved. (I’ve started doing some reading on buying foreclosures.)
Of course, a down payment isn’t the only savings we’ll need. As I recall, banks like to see 2-3 months’ expenses put by. But we need an emergency fund anyway, so that’s just more incentive to save extra. That means we should have $3,000-4,500 in the bank.
Ideally, we’d also have the closing costs, so that we don’t have to roll into the loan. I used an online calculator that estimated $2,300 in closing costs. However, I believe some FHA loans let you pay only part of the closing costs yourself. I have to research that a bit more.
In all, then, we need to save between $4,000-7500 before September. Preferably sooner, so that we can get approved for a loan and still have a couple months of house hunting.
So that’s the plan of attack. I’ll write a bit more later about some of the ways we’re thinking about finding money in our budget.