Money Talks, So Should You

Nerd on the Cheap: Impulse buying a house

Owen O'Riordan
by Owen O'Riordan , Dimespring 30 (@OwenJOR)

We’ve all been there. You know, that moment when you impulse buy a house.

No? Just me? The Impulse-Buy-a-House club is a lonely one. It’s definitely not a club that everyone should join, nor is it one that I planned on joining myself. In fact, I had a fairly strict budget planned — one where I automatically deducted the majority of my money and put it far, far away from me.

Based on this plan, a year from now I would have the down payment for a duplex. And the rent would cover my mortgage. And I might even have some extra cash. And I would be able to live out my childhood dream of being a landlord.

READ: Happy-ish thoughts about investing in housing

But sometimes you find a deal that you simply can’t pass up.

With my planned budget in mind, I mentioned to a family friend and realtor to keep an eye out for me over the next year. Two days later he called me saying he had something for me — in my neighborhood, in my price range and without much work to do. “Yeah, right,” said the part of my brain that stores all of the information I learn from HGTV.

Suspending disbelief, I went with my parents to check it out. There was little or no work to be done. It was half the price it should have been. And I could even get some of the old furniture. I couldn’t have asked for a better deal at a worse time.

I can’t do it alone — yet. I just started a new job, I barely have any money saved, and comic books still exist, so my parents decided to help me out initially and I agreed to pay them back in a year.

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But the lesson here isn’t to be lucky and fulfill your year-long goals in a few days; it’s that your plans can’t dictate your life. Sometimes you’ll just have to adapt when you find the right opportunity. I knew that investing in an income property was my goal, but I never thought that it could happen so quickly.

It might inconvenience my parents to loan me some money, but there is almost no risk in this house. Even if I lose my job, renting both units will pay for the mortgage, utilities and my car payment. I’m essentially investing in a money-making box.

As Lex Luthor once said, “You can print money, manufacture diamonds, and people are a dime a dozen. But they’ll always need land. It’s the one thing they’re not making any more of.”

He then grew an island made of Kryptonite and Superman threw it into space. 


Owen O'Riordan is 24 years old and constantly looking for work. He is a copywriter by day, nerd by night (most of day too). Owen is a member of the Dimespring 30, a community of bloggers sharing their thoughts, experiences and attitudes on personal finance.