Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We interrupt this freak out

Okay, I have other awesome things I want to share (the greatest hotel room in the history of mankind, for instance) but I must postpone all that because OH MY LORD ALL MIGHTY THE LANDLORD IS SELLING THE HOUSE! Our house. The one we will have lived in all of one year come October 1st. The one with the basement full of boxes I just started unpacking. We just finalized the layout of the furniture. The one we planned on living in for the next decade.

I hate it when life happens all suddenly and shit.

I know I secretly plotted to have our landlord fall in love with a black widow grifter so when he died under mysterious circumstances on his honeymoon we could "inherit" the house, but damn. The only reason we know he's selling is because we e-mailed him a proposition (heh). We wanted to convert the garage into an office and were willing to pay to do some fly ass upgrades in the process. He put the kibosh on it because he's just started meeting with realtors. When The Hub read the word "realtors" his eyeballs fell out and rolled around the floor like marbles. His wallet jumped out the window and ran down the block. The cat vomited. In other words, chaos.

We are completely batshit crazy with the news. Can't think of anything else. See, we had plans. The plans was store phat stacks of cash while living awesomely only spending things on we absolutely love (primarily food and travel) and then pulling the trigger on the perfect house when we felt like it. Which would not be soon.

Now we are thrust on the horns of the real estate dilemma. We have cash, but not phat stacks of it. I like to play conservatively when it comes to land purchases - don't buy unless you'll still have money in the bank. I don't believe in being land rich, cash poor. This is not Victorian times and I am not the gentry. The down-payment is one issue, but not really the worst. The worst is the mortgage. Self-employed folk are not beloved by bankers unless they have the aforementioned phatness (pointy horn #1). So now we have to sort out how to make ourselves shiny to the bankers given our recent recession-driven low-income year. Making money this year just isn't shiny enough.

That leaves us with pointy horn #2: selling price. See, the Bay Area is crazypants when it comes to real estate. Some people are completely sane and deal in realities, pleasant or un, when pricing. Others are delusional crazy people that think every patch of misbegotten dirt is worth half a mil. Mother Magoo and Aunt MacGuff were astonished at the house prices here. Since everything is Arts & Crafts cottage style, they thought small = reasonable. At which point we laughed in their faces and said that adorable bungalow is one...million...dollars...and then laughed til we cried. With this house, that crying could come back to haunt us.

We've sorted our range for acceptable purchase prices. One number represents slight overpayment, but acceptable given that we wouldn't have to fucking move (what's that? Fifth time in five years? Fan-fucking-tastic) and that we love this house almost as much as She Who Must Be Obeyed. The other number is the stone cold realistic price of a great house that has a whole lot of slapdash and unpermitted work that we are intimately familiar with. Passion aside, we just can't pay for delusions when we know it will take a pretty penny to get it all legal and shit.

The emotional fly in the ointment is that the house has so much potential and space for possibility it's insane. We talk all the time about the great things we could do with this house. We were willing to do great things as renters, partly because we are the best tenants ever and partly because the house is so close to great. If we buy the house it will be frightening beyond belief. If we don't it'll be heart-breaking. Either way it will be extreme, emotional and exhausting. I know we'll end up with a great life no matter what, but the journey there is fraught with excitement anxiety. If we didn't care, we'd be dead inside. The price of living I guess.

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