Monday, April 02, 2007

A recent decision

Remember how I mentioned a few months back, when I was negotiating my new job, that I would be buying a condo?

Well, I'm not.

I did in the end find a realtor who would deign to work with impoverished little me in the ridiculously hot market I'm moving to. And I wrapped my head around the ridiculous fact of the condos there not accepting dogs - I got used to the idea of living without Mr. K, of leaving him with ex-GF.

But as the real search approached - I would have started it in earnest in the next couple of weeks - I felt increasingly nervous. I just didn't feel good about it. It was a confluence of too many factors: money, my being in debt, my being an idiot with money overall - all those related factors were near the top of the list. It's true that I can rent a decent place for a couple of hundred dollars less per month than a mortgage and condo fees would cost me. There were other factors that were just as important, though...the fact that I would be doing this alone, in a place that I really don't know, and doing it from afar. Plus, my doing this was conditional on my borrowing the closing costs - $3000-5000 - from ex-GF. She insisted it was fine, but I was concerned...All of these factors were giving me knots in my stomach.

My mother, who had already generously given me her half of the loan I was taking from my parents, was very patient with me. She told me to go with my gut. I fought with my gut for a while, and then gave in. No condo for me. Not now. Maybe next spring, when I'm in a better then I'll know the city, I'll have a sense of the market, I'll have a sense of whether I in fact want to stay there longer than the 2-3 years I have in mind right now.

Each of the "elders" to whom I've announced my decision not to buy has been amazingly supportive, and even relieved. Last week, I had dinner with my former PhD supervisor, and when I told her - she was the first I'd told - she was delighted. She said she hadn't wanted to rain on my parade when I'd announced to her that I was planning to buy, but that she had been concerned. It was amazing - her relief was palpable. My father was also relieved, though he said he'd still have been prepared to give me the loan - and will be, when I do decide to do it. Even my mother, who seemed most excited about the whole thing, said she thought that it was probably for the best.

Whew. That was a close one. So now I'm already starting to scan rental ads, just to get a sense of the rental situation out there. It's all a bit dire. There are few rentals in the one area I'd like to live in. But then I saw this small house, available soon. Good lord, how cute! And though I don't plan to move until August, I'd be willing to pay rent on this place for three months before that in order to end up with a sweet little cottage in the area that would make me happy. After all, I'm housesitting for the next three months, and not paying rent...So I've made an inquiry. Even if nothing comes of it, at least I know that there is some potential there.


What Now? said...

Hilaire, I think this is good news. Yes, buying can be a good investment, but it can also cost money, depending on all sorts of factors largely outside of one's control; renting doesn't build up collateral, but it also gives one the freedom both to move on fairly short notice and not to do home repair -- neither of which is to be underestimated, especially when starting a new job in a new city, both of which you have doubts about.

squadratomagico said...

I agree. Particularly if you are not committed to living in this location long term, I think buying a condo would have been a risky choice. It's very hard to tell from the outside of a rental market which properties are likely to re-sell easily, and I think that goes double for condos. I live in a very tight housing market, yet houses always seem to find buyers, while the "wrong" condo can languish.

On the other hand, that wee rental house is super! Looks perfect for a single person with a sweet puppy. Good luck getting it, or something similar!

jb said...

Oh! How cute! I hope it works out. But you know, something good will work out, even if this particular house doesn't.

Anyway: It sounds like you're making the right decision. There's no huge hurry to buy, if this is a place where you do end up settling for a bit, and it's important to do what makes you most comfortable, especially in transitional periods like this one.

Tiruncula said...

What a pain that the place is so dog-unfriendly! It does sound like renting is the thing to do.

Btw, did you know about It's a listing service for academics all over the world to rent or swap houses or look for house-sitters. It's not just listings of furnished one-year sabbatical rentals, though; landlords in university towns who regularly rent to faculty often have running listings. It's worth a look. That's how I found a pet-friendly rental when I was on the west coast last year.

Hilaire said...

Thanks, all, for confirming the wisdom of my elders!

I wish I could say that the rental situation looks good for Mr. K. Alas, the fact that almost no rentals will take dogs, either, makes it unlikely that I will take him. This was one of the reasons I started looking for a place to buy - as a solution to that problem. Ha. That was before I knew about the condo restrictions. The place is a frickin' nightmare! Anyway, we'll see what transpires...I'll find a place and then see if he will be accepted. I've also realized that it will be difficult on another level: I plan to be *away* for good chunks of time - in Home Area. And it's too far to take him with me - too far to drive, even if I did have a car. So, I don't know what I'd do to him for the up to two months I'd be away in the summer, for instance. I don't know if I feel good about flying him several times a year - he's never flown.

Sigh - we'll see.

dbm/gaa said...

CUTE little house! If your gut is saying "don't buy!" then I agree you should trust it. One less thing to hassle with, too no realtor, no lawyer etc.

medieval woman said...

Yay - awesome little house! I do hope you get it - keep us posted!!


MaggieMay said...

I love the little house. And renting is FINE. Home ownership is often, to put it mildly, a pain in the ass!