Real estate update (downdate?)

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, December 29, 2009, 7:27 PM | comments: 1

After the $300 repair to my old house for the siding that came down (or at least, it should be repaired by now), it's not really getting any action. At the advice of the Realtor, I think we're going to drop the price. I don't want to, but every month it sits I'm pissing away money anyway. It just comes down to pissing it away all at once or gradually.

Right now, strictly on a pricing basis, it'll be listed at $5k less than I bought it. By the time the net sheet lands on my lap (assuming we can get our target), on a strictly down payment and shortfall cash basis I will have lost something in the neighborhood of $25k. That doesn't count the money spent on interest or principle of the mortgage, taxes or the closing costs from the original loan. It probably doesn't help that I had to refinance and lose equity in the divorce, but honestly that was more of a timing thing than anything else. You just think that after nine years you'd have something to show for it all.

But whatever, it was still worth it. I had too many good times there to count. I don't miss Cleveland, but I do miss that house.

Meanwhile, apartment life is OK at the moment. It's just big enough, and I think we've managed to make it work. Well, mostly Diana has, as she's the master organizer and planner. I would've liked to have been on the other side of the building, because we don't get a ton of sun this time of year, and we're already on the back side of a mini-mountain. I hate the refrigerator and the parking situation. The cable company really sucks. But I do love that I've settled into a nice little office space in the corner, with my Ikea desk and bookshelf.

I see houses I really like but could never buy all of the time when I drive to work. Those on the lake side of the drive (Lake Sammamish) are $3 million or more, while those on the other side of the road are a more "reasonable" $600k or so. I don't know that I could ever justify spending that much on a house and being "house poor." There are a great many houses a little further out in various directions that are sub-$400k, and about the size of my old house, which is probably the range we'll eventually shoot for. Stuff closer to work, and especially in Redmond, is ridiculously priced, and it's all ugly 70's houses.

But of course, it's a race against the clock. Who knows how long stuff will stay "cheap" around here (by Seattle standards, anyway). When I first looked into cost of living out here, it was clear that housing was dramatically more (offset slightly by cheap/less needed energy), but the data on salaries all seemed to match up. I just don't have the advantage of having lived here for years to bank the higher salaries.

So I'm trying to stay positive that eventually we'll work out the living situation. I actually like the location we're in for its proximity to work and basic stuff like groceries and cheap restaurants. (Some people have a habit of making snide remarks about the town I live in, and I'm not entirely sure what that's about.) The apartment is very adequate, it's just hard to think of it as a home when you know you won't be in it for more than a couple of years.


December 30, 2009, 4:10 PM #

Have you ever considered renting it out ? There are agencies that will do it for you and just charge a fee. The economy can't stay like this forever and real estate will eventually recover.

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