July 01, 2009

House Hunting

I'm looking for a place to live.

I've been living with Zippy since 2001 or thereabouts - before that I owned a home in Waterbury for 12+ years. That homeowner experience was painful - bought the house for $111,500 (right near the late 80's peak) and sold it for $84,500 (right near the bottom; it sat on the market unoccupied, for a year). You do the math. To add insult to injury I had an ARM and was paying close to $1000/month through much of the life of the loan. And I never could refinance, so I just kind of hung on until I was finally able to get out. And in hindsight, if I had remained in Waterbury a few more years, I might have gotten out with some pretty nice $$$. But hindsight is 20/20; I was ready to leave Waterbury, moving to Hartford has been positively live changing.

So, Zippy and I have not been coupled for a few years now, and to be honest, we're kind of wearing on each other. There are two sides to it; but Zippy needs his space, needs less clutter and more calm, etc. My energy and focus is scattered - my teaching, my engineering, etc. engage me such that I do not spend much time or energy on the home front. I ned to make some pretty significant shifts in my life and that work is not getting done in my present living situation. So I'm thinking it's time to mosey along.

I'm a bit fearful of this move - I've been in a reasonably stable place financially for a while - my rent + 1/2 utilities to Zippy is peanuts, and as a result I've been able to maintain a small office (required, the house is too small for me to work out of), fund my IRA, pay my quarterly taxes, fund my HSA, have some expendable income, etc. If I add residence rent + office rent up, I have enough for a decent monthly rent or mortgage. So moving is certainly doable. Zippy and I have been discussing it for a while, and the inertia to stay put has come along two fronts - his ability to pay the bills and support himself without my assistance, and my concern about moving my personal life and my professional life in one fell swoop, and the decluttering and purging that will be required.

But it's getting to be that time. And after looking at apartment prices and options for the 2+ bedroom places I would need (to be able to work out of the house), and the required 2-3 months rent / security needed to get in, I'm seriously looking at buying something. I have a bunch of accessible money in my IRA that I can use fo ra doanpayment, and the time is certainly right (market conditions, mortgage rates, incentives) to buy something.

I'm a little fearful of a condo - between the mortgage, taxes and condo fees, I'm afraid of overextending myself and not sure how I would do with condo living (I've beein in single family homes for 20 years or so). Most single family homes on the conventional market are out of range. Been looking at foreclosures - and there are some deals out there. But I need to be cognizant of the fact that I am no longer a 30 year old with unlimited energy - I barely have enough time for life as it is so a fixer-upper is going to take some doing.

So my brain is churning (hence the 1:00 am blog posting here). I found, and went to look at a foreclosure in New Britain this afternoon - and while it looked reasonable outside (for a place that has been vacant 6 months) the inside was pretty funky (not stripped out or anything, but needing much work). Nevertheless, I am proceeding with a mortgage pre-approval and going to keep looking.....the lure of a place of my own. A room for quiet, meditation, yoga. A backyard where I can have a dog. An office in the house....all very tempting.

So, I'll throw it out to the universe. If you know of an available place (in the general axis of Plainville - New Britain - Hartford) keep me in mind. Entertaining rentals or buying something, and anything from an apartment complex, place in a multi-family, townhouse, or single family. 2 BR minimum, and I'd like to be safe with ~$800/month.

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