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Lives of Doctor Wives: Let me just say one thing

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Let me just say one thing

Just here to do my scattering of sunshine, as usual! j/k. (I find I am here mostly when I am aggravated beyond toleration and am searching for commissary.) That being said, with many approaching match day, I would like to share only ONE thing that I wish someone had told me before embarking on the journey of residency.

Don’t buy a house right away. Please hear me out on this. Even if your husband has wanted to go into physiatry since the day he was born, he will not really know if it is what he wants to do or if the program is a right fit for him until he is actually doing it.

Too many of us, in fact … of all my closest resident wife friends, ONLY 1, Yes, ONE, actually stayed in the program they matched at or scrambled into. The rest of us own a house that we do not live in, in a town our husbands matched in, that WILL NOT sell for anything.

We find ourselves reluctant landlords now, with landlords of our own, living in squaller because we are having to cover the portion of our mortgage that our tenants' rent doesn’t cover because we are just desperate to have someone in there. (that’s not even including landlord homeowners insurance + renters insurance and property taxes)

I know it seems like a pain to move to a rent house, or apartment for a year. But if I could do it over, I wish so much I had done that instead.

Now, make your own choice, and I will be able to sleep at night knowing that I shared my experience and hope that it can be helpful to someone.

The large lovely home I now supplement someone else to live in.

916 square feet of rental house all 5 of us get to enjoy for the next 3 years.


Blogger Alexandra said...

I'm so sorry that things are so stressful....I know that we could be there soon, but am hopeful! Is your home still on the market? How much is renters insurance ( I hope you don't mind me asking, since we may have to rent ours out too)

I really hope that you get some resolutions soon!It's a beautiful home!

March 6, 2010 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger TheFamousStacie said...

@Alexandra - When you switch from Homeowners Insurance to Landlord Insurance it can be a little more expensive. It's about $50 more a year than what we were paying for regular homeowners insurance, but by law you have to change it.

Renters Insurance, to cover our belongings in our current dwelling, was around $1200 a year, which, unfortunately, we did not have enough money for. I opted to purchase a $10,000 student property insurance policy from a company called CSI. If you match into a University Associated Program you can buy one of these policies. I paid about $180 for the year.

Our house is not currently on the market. We have renters in it.

Great luck with the match! I hope you get your house sold!

March 6, 2010 at 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! I completely agree with what you just said. We've been lucky enough to live in our home that we bought for residency, and we will stay in it for fellowship, but we know two couples that switched residencies and also in our program, several more who would like to. Our program has become "in flux" since Doc started back in 2004. I think that in some ways, the economy has had massive effects on the hospitals and also we are feeling the effects in this way. At one time (not too long ago) it made a lot of sense to buy instead of rent, but now I would advise what you said. Great post! thanks!

March 6, 2010 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Melisa said...

LOL! Oh girl! You know I'm with you on this one! I'm glad someone else is preaching this because I think people get tired of listening to me. It is nice to have another witness. ;o)

Love ya!

March 6, 2010 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger Tasha said...

I'm so sorry--what a big difference between your purchased house and the rental. Thanks for the heads up: we'll be sure not to make that mistake. I'm amazed so many residents changed programs.

March 6, 2010 at 4:18 PM  
Blogger Beth Hollenbeck said...

How many times can I say "Amen!" to your post! And my reasons are not because of switching residency programs, but because if you move to a new town that you know nothing about and know not a soul, you need to 1) learn the community and neighborhoods and 2) find a knowledable, dependable realtor!!!

We hurried to the city we matched in, visited 45 properties and SIGNED on a house before we left on our short 3-day trip. Why? Because we thought we had to. Our realtor was clueless, so out of all the residents we live furthest away by quite a bit (which means a long commute for hubby), we don't live close to anything, and we have a new home in a development that went bankrupt and is a complete mess. We made a HUGE mistake buying quickly and wish we would have done a 6 month lease to find the area and home we really like.

So...this post is GREAT advice! For lots of reasons!


March 6, 2010 at 6:48 PM  
Blogger KelliAnn Christensen said...

I am the wife of an MSIV student and had a few questions. The match is in less than two weeks and we are obviously hoping for our 1st choice. My husband really wants to buy an home for many reasons but mostly because we don't like the idea of just throwing away money in rent. You can buy a home and live more comfortably and in the end even if you sell your house for 20,000 or so less than you bought you would come out even but you just had more room. Am I wrong?

Of course I understand that selling a home in the end is always a hope but that it may be a huge stress.

I was just wondering why so many people on this site are changing their residency programs? Is it because you only were there for the actual interview and therefore didn't know what you were getting into? You didn't really understand what your specialty entailed? Or you didn't know the people you would be working with and therefore your husband hated it?

Just curious. Our number one pick is Cleveland, OH. My drh rotated there for two months during his MSIV year and loved it. He also has a really close friend who is also working in his field (anethesia) who he gets along with well. We have talked to many friends, agents, and done much research ourselves about the areas around Cleveland and I feel like we sort of know where to buy if we did. So I feel more prepared than it sounds like some were. Should we still seriously consider paying the same amount in rent for a lot smaller house?

I would love your input and answers to my questions. Thanks.


March 7, 2010 at 3:49 PM  
Blogger TheFamousStacie said...

@ReAnn -
I understand your feelings and thoughts on the subject. That is exactly how we felt.

Let me make a couple of clarifications. We are in the small rent house now, because we could only rent out our home for a portion of the mortgage. We are paying our mortgage and only rented a home that our current tenants rent would cover.

Example: $1200 mortgage monthly.
House only rented at $1000.
We find a rental house to live in for $1000 so that with the $200 not paid by tentants, we still owe a total cost of $1200 monthly.

Next, our rent home is in a higher cost of living location than our other home. Location, location, location!! Mayo is by the beach and we're paying for it!

Chad was thrilled with where he matched. He matched into radiology, which EVERYONE LOVEs.

He could not have been happier. The place was great, the people were great, and it was a great specialty. Until he started.

He had a very exciting year of surgery for internship year. After his first long day alone in a darkroom, he knew he had picked the wrong specialty.

I think we all felt much like you did when we started, or we would not have done what we did.

The reason so many people are saying what they are saying is because of their experiences. Ultimately, you have to make the right choice for your family.

March 7, 2010 at 4:33 PM  
Blogger Melisa said...

That was what we thought too. We didn't really take into account that we would be responsible when furnaces went out, basements flooded, etc. Not to mention all of the costs associated with buying and selling a home. Those need to factor into the equation too.

We also moved from a cheaper cost of living in Michigan to Philly. There are some cheap parts of Philly, but I didn't want to have my kids in those schools. So, we are paying through the nose to live in an amazing school district. Yes, I live in a tiny nasty house, but I am thrilled with my children's education, which was more imporant to me. I also have older kids though, so that might not matter to someone without kids or with young kids.

Brad had applied for ENT spots, but didn't match. He scrambled into general surgery and loved it. We loved our town, our house, he loved surgery, life was pretty great. But when the opportunity came up, he couldn't say no to something that had been his dream for 3 years. In the long run, we are grateful we switched, we just would have rented.

Not everyone who changes specialties does it voluntarily. Programs change, close, etc. You never know what is going to happen and residency is a lean time to deal with huge unexpected expenses.

You have to do what is best for you and your family and not everyone has the same experiences.

March 7, 2010 at 5:38 PM  
Blogger Desiree said...

Glad to see this post - I'll show it to my husband. Whether or not we buy in residency depends on two things - whether we move for residency (we'd like to stay here) and also whether we can sell our home before residency starts.

When we moved here for med school, we had to rent for a year while we waited for our house back home to sell (it took 13 miserable months of paying two housing payments). By that time, I was completely burned out on selling a home and wanted to stay renting (just not in our 900 sq ft apartment) but ultimately my husband (an MSII) insisted on buying as an investment (despite selling our old home for $25,000 less than we originally listed and it appraised for, and the year of additional payments, we still did a little better than break even on it because the value had gone up in the 4 years since the purchase price. It ended up being like we lived there "free" for 3 years).

When we decided to buy again last summer, we made sure to find the newest house in the nicest neighborhood that we could afford - an area that has a quick resale despite the housing market right now. Having a newer home (5 years old) with a home warranty has meant we did not have expensive repairs as we did on our older home where we lived for undergrad. As those who know me know, we actually lost the house in a fire accident a few months later, but because of the desirable location, we had no trouble selling the lot and we are buying again in the same neighborhood. I guess we will see what happens for residency!

I do really feel for all of you who are having trouble selling houses! That really stinks!! I have been there!!!! We plowed through all of our savings during MSI and I have been working extra to build it back up since then.

March 8, 2010 at 1:22 PM  
Blogger Lindsey said...

Stacie - I read your post above... my husband is also a resident at Mayo FL - currently PGY1, going into anesthesia. :)

March 10, 2010 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger TheFamousStacie said...

@Lindsey - Supercool! Send me an email at TheFamousStacie@me.com . Is he just doing internship year w/ Mayo or sticking around for the residency long haul? btw...We are planning to have a picnic on May 15th.

March 10, 2010 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger bookpenporch said...

OMG YALL LISTEN TO STACIE, PLEASE. Seriously, we ended up in a town that was supposed to be "immune" to housing fluctuations because of the sheer volume of residents that flock to Mayo Rochester & buy houses every year... after a year of renting a crappy apartment, we bought a lovely townhome for the same monthly payment. Now, we might be stuck here in the North Pole (no offense, we're just from a much warmer climate!) because we can't afford to dig our debt hole any deeper! Yes, it'd be a privilege to stay at Mayo Rochester (one most mayo med students can count on as pretty much a given), but there are few to no career opportunities for me here. I don't love this house enough to spend three more lonely, jobless years in it. But that might be what I do. No matter what people tell you, RENT. RENT. RENT. Yes, we "saved" money initially, but in the long run, we're screwed. We thought our situation was unique; it ain't. I wish we'd paid the obnoxious rent (for MN, anyway) at some of the apartment complexes in town ($200/month more than our mortgage) than have his residency and my career choices severely limited by a mortgage we shouldn't have at age 25.

March 22, 2010 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger Camilla said...

I think if you really want to buy a home and have the means to do so, then go for it! Just keep your eyes wide open as you go over potential finances and don't buy bigger than you can afford.

I keep in touch with about 20 medical wives/friends and of those, just 1 family ended up switching specialties and moving. . . . in our general surgery program (about 25 residents), there has been about 3 we've heard of who've switched in the last 3 1/2 years.

March 24, 2010 at 11:04 AM  

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