Homeward bound

Miss D. and I are on our way homeward.  We’re overnighting in Arkansas again, breaking the 14-hour run into two halves.

We hope to hear by mid-week whether our offer has been accepted on a house in Texas.  Things are looking positive, according to our realtor, but there are still several i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed, including having some documents sent by our bank in Tennessee to one in Texas.  Paperwork, paperwork . . . oy!

If this goes through, I’m going to have a hectically busy two to three months.  I’m trying to finish the fifth volume of the Maxwell Saga in time to publish it before Christmas.  I know many of you are waiting for it – you keep e-mailing me, asking when it’ll come out! – but I lost a lot of time this year thanks (or, rather, no thanks) to my problems with kidney stones.  I just can’t get my creative juices flowing when I’m writhing in agony on my bed, or doped up on pain-killers.  I’m doing my best . . . but I’ll have to do even better if I want to help Miss D. pack and sort our belongings in time to move.  Also, this is going to clean out our savings and then some – so if I want to be able to buy food in February, I’d better get another book out for sale before then!  I’m also working on my planned heroic fantasy novel, although that will have to go on the back burner for a while due to pressure of other events.

Some of you have asked why, when I’ve recommended against buying property in the current state of the market, we’re buying a house now.  The reason is simple.  We’re getting a three-bedroom home in very nice condition for a bargain price (the owners have reduced their asking price twice in the last thirty days, and will cover most of the closing costs as well – they really, really need to sell right away, which is very much to our advantage as buyers).  In general, housing prices in what we hope will be our new location are not only very reasonable – far below replacement value, in fact – but they can’t fall much lower, because there’s a natural bottom to any market.

By buying in such an area, at such an advantageous price, we’re effectively insuring ourselves against the possibility of a major loss of value.  Furthermore, a lower-priced home means we can afford to pay about as much each month for our mortgage as we’re currently paying in rent;  but this way we’ll own our home in fifteen years, or even sooner if we increase our payments when we can afford to do so.  We’ll also (hopefully) be able to save more money for a longer-term plan:  spending part of each summer in Alaska, the state where I met and courted Miss D., and which we both love.

If all goes well, we’ll close on the property just after the New Year.  We’ll take one small shipment of goods when we go down for the signing, but the rest will have to wait until later in January.  We’ll have a friend supervise some painting and minor alterations (a new door here, some repairs there, that sort of thing), and then drive down in a rented truck with our household possessions towards the end of that month.

Thanks again to all of you who’ve offered prayers for our traveling safety.  So far, so good.  Please keep them coming!



  1. Peter,
    Hi. Been reading your blog and some of your books.

    Live in North Texas and from reading your posts it seems this may be the area of Texas you are looking at.

    What is the area you are looking at? Nearest town/city?

    If this move does take place let me be the first to welcome you to the Nation of Texas. 🙂


  2. What? You can't drive 14 hours straight??? Wimp. 🙂

    I've done the Chattanooga – Albuquerque run more times than I can count, always stopping in Van Buren, AR for the night. Damn long trip, and I always arrive with a bad case of TB (Tired Butt).

    Have a safe trip.

  3. However you finance your new house, request an amortization table from your lender based on your exact loan. There are internet sites which will compute an amortization table, but algorithms are different.

    The goal is to double (maybe even triple) the principal payments early in the loan. Even on a 15-year mortgage, the principal portion of each early payment is small compared to the interest portion; on a 30-year mortgage the ratio is not "small," it's "tiny." Every additional principal payment you make moves you farther down the amortization table so subsequent payments contribute more to princpal.

    There comes a point where the budget won't support triple, then double payments, but by then you're well down the amortization table. People are always surprised when they discover doubling the principal payment for the first year can take 5 years off the life of the mortgage and how much they can save in interest payments.

  4. @Comrade Misfit: She has a 1941 Taylorcraft, currently overdue for its annual overhaul and inspection. She'll get that done, then fly it down. We're weighing up timing. As things stand right now, she'll probably move with me early in the New Year, then she'll fly back here once the servicing has been completed to collect her plane and fly it down . . . unless you're volunteering your services as ferry pilot?

  5. Peter:

    Good luck with your offer and closing. Home ownership, for those who have prepared for it and have the discipline for it, is an amazing blessing.

    Be sure to build up an emergency fund as fast as possible, and keep it for emergencies ONLY! An emergency fund is Murphy repellant. People buying houses who dont keep one find Murphy will move into their spare bedroom, and he brings his three cousins, Broke, Desperate and Stupid.

    I know you'll do well with the new diggs. Congratulations again.


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