real estate

Happiness is Renting

I’ve been looking at real estate for the last month or so, and off and on for the last couple years. I’ve seen a lot of junk in my price range, and very few that I was really excited about. The housing market in Seattle has finally started to wane a little bit this summer, though, so in the last few weeks I was actually seeing things I could make work. Sort of.

garage430.jpgThere was one place with an amazing garage. A shop, really, 2 garage doors (one extra-tall that would fit a boat, RV, or car lift) and parking inside for at least 2 more. Huge driveway, wide and level. I could have run a small auto repair shop out of that garage. But the house was a grievous atrocity of clutter and filth, walls yellowed with cigarette smoke, carpet matted with pet hair and unidentifiable grime. The attic-turned-bedroom was 20,000 leagues under building safety codes, and the layer of muck coating the entire laundry room left me needing a shower just from looking at it. Plus, there was no dishwasher.

legohouse.jpgThere was another place, with a beautiful yard. Well-kept trees and gardens, big picture windows. A covered patio that screamed summer bbq – in my head I was already buying the hanging lanterns, the tiki torches and the t-bone steaks. Two big brick fireplaces, a grand hearth in the living room and a cozy corner number in the dining. Beautiful hardwoods, copious closets. A dishwasher. But, no garage. And if you don’t understand why that’s a deal-breaker, stop reading now because you’re not my friend anymore.

garagephotos014.jpgThen there was the place that had everything (almost). Huge corner lot, oozing with potential. Fruit trees and old-growth cedars, big paved patio and built-in hot tub. Original hardwoods buried under a weekend of carpet disposal, quirky 1950’s build-in hutches and bureaus. Sweeping shady driveway, and a detached 2-car garage that – after a couple thou$and in updates – would have been the perfect backyard shop. Odd little extras that spawned home improvement ideas galore, territorial views and across the street from an elementary school. Quick commute to downtown. I was ready to make an offer.

Then, math reared its ugly head. Was I really willing to double (and then some) my monthly housing costs? What would that mean to my lifestyle? Sure, it would be a good investment. But what would I be giving up… ?

  • Eating lunch out every day
  • Going to Starbucks 1-3 times a day
  • A cell phone plan with unlimited everything
  • Buying things for my car (hobby #1)
  • Buying computer-y and gadget-y things (hobby #2)
  • Buying camera lenses and photo gear (hobby #3)
  • Never bothering to look at the price of gas. And buying premium. And getting about 4 mpg when I’m really having a good time in the Z.
  • Traveling in 2007 to Montana, and Canada, and Oregon, and Hawaii, and New York. And maybe London.
  • Buying dinner, drinks, etc with my friends without worrying whether the bill was divided absolutely equally or when someone’s going to pay back a few-dollar loan.
  • Spoiling my friends and family, and sometimes myself.

After sleeping on it, I decided life is too short to give up living it for some investment strategy. I’ll continue renting – maybe I’ll even spoil myself with a bigger apartment next spring. Tax writeoffs are great, but happiness is greater. Plus, I hate mowing the lawn.

Employed for real!

Mark this day on your calendars, folks.

I got a job!

I start at John L Scott Real Estate, 2 weeks from tomorrow (August 5th), as a Field Service Technician, basically traveling tech support for their offices around the city. Caleb referred me to them with good things to say, and i liked what i saw at the interview and they called me out of the blue today, and i’m still completely freaking out so my grammar’s not the best. Wah hoo! I’m actually going to be using that expensive degree, and building a career, and learning stuff, and not hating my job, and working in my field, and it’s gonna be great! And i actually get holidays off – how sweet will that be! OH, and did i mention that it’s more money than i’m making now? And the commute’s half as long? Do i need to continue here? Can you tell i’m freaking out? Is it obvious? Waaaaahh!