Housing Quandaries

I’ve owned my little blue house now for five years. It’s been my home ever since college, and I established it all on my own with my little kitties. I painted the rooms bright, vivacious colors. I planted gardens that (more or less) offered bounties of delicious edibles. I kept cozy next to the fireplace or in the hot tub. I held parties with friends. I made dinners for dates. I stayed in on rainy weekends and watched marathons of LOST or Firefly while doing laundry. I operated my freelance design business. I got it dirty, I cleaned it up, and then I got it dirty again. I’ve learned immeasurable things about life, living, being a grown up, and having tangible responsibilities. It’s been my home.

With all that in mind, as I previously mentioned I’m moving to Portland in the spring to live with my lovely boyfriend of two years. It’s our compromise. I’ll drive 45ish miles through the Gorge to work in Hood River from east Portland every day, he’ll drive (or take transit) across the city to the west side for his job and jiu jitsu. So my little house… well its future it slightly up in the air. It all comes down to…

RENT or SELL?

  • Pros for renting: I keep the house and have a solid investment property in an ideally situated neighborhood in a town that’s up and coming. Over the years I can continue fixing it up (it is 92 years old, after all) and it could always be a back up living situation.  If I’m lucky I might make an extra few bucks each month.
  • Cons for renting: I have to be a landlord. I’m not sure I can be a landlord. I have to find a reliable renter. I’ll have to work on the house more over the next several months to fix it up to rental standards. I’ll have to have a reserve of money (something I barely have now) for upkeep. Since I’ll be living 80 miles away, my locally-based dad so kindly offered to help out with things should I rent it out. Super nice of him (hi dad!), but I hate being an extra burden. There’s a good chance I won’t make money from rent income, and it’s iffy if I’ll break even.
  • Pros for selling: I take Sean’s advice of “separating emotions and business”, call my time with my home wonderful and take it off my hands. It has huge curb value (in fact when I was house hunting it was the first I fell in love with from picture alone). If I’m lucky I might make money off of it that can go towards paying off my student loan, a credit card, my new car, expenses for moving to Portland, or maybe even a fun trip thrown in there, if not put away for investment purposes. In today’s economy, many say that having an investment property isn’t as useful or as sound of advice as it used to be. By not being tied down with a mortgage I am freer to go anywhere and do anything.
  • Cons for selling:Who knows how long it will be on the market in today’s economy, or if I’ll get a good price for it? Plus I’ll probably have to do a lot of work on the house to prepare it for showing. I’d lose my first and only investment property.

Things I’m doing now to prepare for the move, no matter what the above situation is:

  • Selling my hot tub. I don’t use it enough to warrant paying for its energy costs, and the money from it will go toward my first couple car payments, some house expenses, and maybe Christmas. The buyer is picking it up this weekend.
  • Selling my old car. That money is all going toward car payments for the next of the year. I haven’t found a buyer yet, but have gotten some great advice on pricing and marketing.
  • Getting rid of a lot of junk. I need to separate myself and my emotions from all my stuff. Like many I’ve been reading Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity, and he stresses placing more importance upon experiences (going out with friends for dinner, taking weekend trips, taking big trips, doing something new) versus this accumulation of physical stuff. While I’ve always believed in experiences over stuff, I have a LOT of junk that I keep around for nebulous emotional, “maybe if” circumstances. Plus it’ll be a pain to move next spring. So it’s consignment stores, Craigslist, eBay, garage sales, thrift  stores, giving away to friends… the works.

Any opinions on the above? Advice? Tips, tricks, candy? Ooh, cookies??

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2 Responses to “Housing Quandaries”

  1. Chris Guillebeau Says:

    Here’s a virtual cookie! Thanks for the mention.

  2. madamvonsassypants Says:

    Yay! Thank YOU, Chris. I sadly won’t be able to make it to your Portland stop next month, but keenly have my eye on the Summit next summer.

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