This time last year (and at this point I stopped writing the entry to go and renew my energy plan, having reminded myself it was about to expire!) we were planning our move from The Country House (that place in a pocket neighborhood, out by the cows) into The Town House (a literal townhouse apartment.) It was a lot of effort, actual blood, sweat, and tears, but in the end, it’s been a fantastic decision for us. We lost 700 sq. ft. in the move, but we gained exponential multiplications of satisfaction–especially as our daily commutes were concerned. (And here I had to stop to make sure we had signed our lease for the next 12 months.)
We put The Country House on the market in April, and by August were starting to panic. In those four months, we had about six views on the house. Our realtor called with some bad news. There were over a dozen homes in the neighborhood in foreclosure, some nearly twice the size of ours, listed at 5k less. And the homes the size of ours…well. Let’s just say we did the math, figured out our lowest asking price, swallowed back that lump in our throats, and dropped our listing by about 6k. That got us two more views.
In mid-August, we contacted a property management company, to help us lease the home. Our PM was excited about the house and the neighborhood, and was sure we’d be able to get renters in by Labor Day. By early October, we had dropped our already majorly-inexpensive lease fee by another hundred dollars. Thank Vesta (goddess of home and hearth for those of you who aren’t Classics nerds) we finally found renters, who moved in last week.
After PM fees, fence repair, carpet cleaning, pro-h0usekeeping scrubdown, and the dredges of half a months worth of utility and yard maintenance bills, we’ll break just about even on the deal in December. But we did have to cut our lease so low that with PM fees, we are taking a small hit. Much better, much, much better than a hit for the full mortgage and HOA fees, but still a hit.
And we were smart, y’all.
When we bought our house in 2005, we were approved for more than twice what we chose. B was smart and paid us out of debt before we started our house-quest, so we went into our mortgage in an excellent position. We bought WELL within our means, so that if something happened to one of our jobs, we would still have a place to live. And then we both worked hard to improve our means. I hope B won’t mind me bragging on the massive amounts of time, energy, and self-sacrifice involved in his certification classes that netted him better jobs. I am extremely proud of him.
So what happened?
Well, we both got better paying jobs–and after I had been laid off, we needed those jobs. A major factor in our move came down to Thor’s school. It worked like this:
- If we took the better paying jobs, we doubled our commute times.
- If our jobs were 8–5 with no early mornings, or late nights, traffic would mean leaving the neighborhood by 6:30AM, and getting home around 7PM.
- Thor’s school doors opened at 7:30AM, and the on-site afterschool care closed at 6:30PM
- We were so far out of range, there were no other before or afterschool care options that fit our needs. It’s not like you can just give a 5-year-old a house key and teach him to make a grilled cheese.
- If we didn’t take the better paying jobs…well, that wasn’t an option.
See the problem? And we sure couldn’t afford private school!
So we moved. Best decision we made all year.
And really, thank goodness for the new renters. We have at least 12 months of breathing room now, and hopefully they will love the home and either renew the lease, or want to buy it outright. (I’m not even going to think about the what-ifs involved in repairs we might face next November. No. Not going to do it.)