I closed the sale of my beloved home on December 11, and thought I’d be perfectly happy floating for awhile.
Wrong. I hate living out of a few boxes. I’m already itching for a new love. Need that warm cozy feeling of Committed Relationship to My Place.
So a couple of days ago I started poking around the real estate listings to get a feel for what was out there. Wondering: should I buy or should I rent?
Two things make me think I should rent:
- Renting is less expensive (no property taxes, expensive repairs, interest payments).
- Renting is more flexible – you can unencumber yourself relatively quickly, stay light on your feet. Some time here, some time there, some travel, whatever. No seller’s outrageous closing costs.
More things make me think I should buy:
- You can put your personal stamp on a home – colorful paint, yard revisions, open a wall here, build shelves in there. You can rarely do this with a rental.
- Packing up and stuffing my stuff into a storage unit was A BIG DRAG. No sane person goes through that process more than once a decade.
- You can settle into a neighborhood in a permanent sort of way – make friends across the street, join the neighborhood association, walk your neighbor’s dog when he’s away and vice versa – that sort of thing.
- Oh yeah… and there’s the $6500 tax credit if the place is in escrow by April 30. That would cover a lot of paint.
My realtor friend and I went out for a look-see yesterday where I want to live in the downtown area. The 3rd house we saw was a charmer, and I was ready to buy! It was 100 years old, airy, quirky. Right across the street from a good friend. Four blocks from the grocery store and a 15 minute walk to my yoga class, the farmer’s market, restaurants.
I even made my ex, who’s very real estate savy, come and do a walk-thru. He saw thru the charm to the ancient plumbing, the jerry-rigged kitchen and drafty Victorian era windows. The unreinforced brick construction (god forbid we’d have an earthquake!).
I slept (badly) on it. Woke up in the middle of the night realizing there was no closet for hanging coats, no place to put the broom or vacuum cleaner, and that my rugs were about two inches too long.
Called the realtor back and told her no deal. But now I feel as deflated as if I’d just lost a lover.
What I’ve learned: It’s one thing to live out of a suitcase when you’re actually traveling, but when you’re back in your regular busy life, you need a place to call home. I’m on the case now.