Apparently two of the three places I was going to look at are temporarily off the market. They aren’t under contract, just off for unspecified reasons. The third, and smallest, unit was a pretty easy show. The good news is that it’s actually in pretty decent shape. It’s small, by my measurements somewhere around 340 square feet, but it’s a 15 minute hoof to the office, and should I need to I can rent it out for more than the monthly nut. As an added bonus, the place is also four blocks from where it’s rumored that we’d be moving to after our lease is up at the end of 2013, so in the unlikely event that should I be living there in two years, it’d make for an extremely quick commute.
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randysable has written 5 entries about this goal
Checking out three potential places on Friday. Hopefully something’s worth working on and I can get moving from this angle.
I wanted to walk to work by living close to work. In my mind, I’d defined that as doing the following:
A.) Fixing up my current place so that it’s peak condition.
B.) Listing my current place in hopes of selling it.
C.) Eventually selling it, hoping to get at least $55k above the outstanding debt. (it was an REO, so in theory that could happen.)
D.) Use this bonus equity to put 20% down on 2-bedroom unit that’s across the street from work.
But then a year and a half went by and I was almost no closer to my goal then when I’d started. And then Monday something happened; I woke up at 2am and couldn’t get back to sleep so I lied in bed ‘til 5am. The real trouble was, I was under deadline and if I fell asleep at that point, I’d sleep through any number of alarm clocks that were set to go off at 7. So with 4 hours of sleep under my belt, I headed to work. While en route, I checked MLS on my phone and saw that there was a 1-bedroom a half-mile from work that I could afford to put 20% down on right now with the cash I had on hand. Doing a little more research I found a 2-bedroom that was a FannieMae REO and didn’t even need 20% down to avoid mortgage insurance. I could live there within walking distance of work and renovate the first when time permitted.
I was thrilled, because it meant in theory I could pick that place up while a friend rented out my current unit and covered almost all of the cost. Tuesday came and the same sleep pattern occured, instead this time I woke up at 1. This time I immediately got dressed and headed out (the deadline was officially later that afternoon,) made the deadline and then came back home and passed out. While at work today I thought of something: why try to buy a second place and jump through the near endless hoops again, when I was even more likely to be rejected due to the first mortgage, when I could just rent a smaller place across the street from where I work for the same cost? I know I wouldn’t be building any equity off the expense, but the building with the 2-bedroom unit in it was also really old and had HOA payments of $685/month, when a year ago they were only $450/m. The more I thought about it, the less attractive buying the second place in the older building appeared. Plus the rental was closer and had a balcony (and if you have spent any extended period of time in attached dwellings that don’t have balconies, you know how much you miss the outdoors.)
So there we have it, I redefined my goal to exclude buying the place . . . for the time being. In the mean time my place out in here in FauxPas will be more or less covered, building equity, and I’ll have more some 90 extra minutes of waking daytime to do whatever.
The soonest they’d let me see the unit on Friday, and I’ve got my fingers crossed it works out until then.
I realized something the other night and it took a friend to spell it out for me.
We were drinking at a bar down the street, and despite the fact it was a monday, the place was becoming gradually populated. I didn’t think much of it at first, that is, until he made light of it. His theory was that there was some kind of club or league that had broken loose from some kind of ceremony, which would almost make sense, being that in an odd sort of way, our neck of the woods was considered a college town after all. But there were only a hundred or so people, so to assuage my incredulity, he asked a girl passing by.
Then she laid it on us: they were all students from the med school down the street who had just completed their second year. Or at least the ones who had successfully. I think it may have hit us both the same: we were old. The two of us were also both successes, in our own fields, albeit on opposite ends of the pay-scale. Although truth be told, my paycheck still holds no candle to those of the medical field.
But it was then that the roommate told me something important, and something I should never forget: while both of us still maintain dreams of something better, the greatest threat to those dreams might very well be complacency. I found it that both sobering as well as hilarious. As the fates may have it, I think it’s complacency and creamed coffee in which I would define retirement. A mental state and a milky beverage that just makes me stop caring.
But we’re not retired yet, and we shouldn’t confuse our current situation for it. While I might be paying less for housing than at any other time since moving away from home, I’d somehow started to grow comfortable with a 40 minute commute. My blood used to boil to a bitter rage to leave this hole in the wall. But complacency . . . well I suppose it sunk in.
I always used to tell friends that the trick to being happy isn’t to be happy with what you have, but rather, to be happy with what you don’t. But to misquote Margaret Thatcher, the problem with being middle of the road is you get hit from both directions. I worry that by settling in, I’m lying down. I’ve learned to make the best of this town while fixing up the place, but I realized a month ago that I haven’t done any work my home since at least December . . . and that was last month.
Well I’m not dying, and I’m grateful for that. But if I’m not moving forward, I can’t say that I’m really living. So tomorrow, I think I’m going to call a friend, talk this through, and figure out what it all will take.
And hopefully this time, because I’ve told all of you, I’ll actually do it.
Ok, it’s true, I have done this. Over a year ago in fact. But that was when I lived two miles from work. Right now I live something in the area of nine, which means I spend about an hour and a half round-trip each day commuting. But my goal of living here was so that I could save the money to be able to afford a place back downtown.
And, my friends, is what this goal really means. To walk to work.