If you’ve been following my blog for a while, or if you read through the old posts, you’ll recall that in 2012 we sold our 4 bedroom house and moved into a 2 bedroom apartment. After the first year in that apartment, we moved to a different apartment community and again rented a 2 bedroom apartment.
We had three years of apartment living and I thought everything was going great. I loved the extra money we were saving by renting instead of owning, I loved not having to do home maintenance, and I loved the extra time that we had when not having to do all the things that a house requires.
Of course, there were compromises involved with renting. The proximity and quality of neighbors, the lack of a private garage, and the stigma that goes with being a “renter”.
Overall, we liked renting, and preferred it to owning. Yet, my wife couldn’t shake the idea that we needed a house. She would occasionally peruse Zillow to look at house listings in the area. In November of 2014, she fell in love with a house. I didn’t feel like a house was the right move for us, but she was set on this house. I begrudgingly went along with it, and a month or so later we bought that house.
We have lived in this house for a little over a year. It’s a really nice house and is in a good neighborhood, but I never really grew to love this house. I like it, but I would still prefer to rent an apartment. My wife loved it for a while, but that love gradually turned into like. She started to miss the freedom we had when renting. Money always seemed to go back into the house, with the latest being $300 for a new microwave after the old one stopped working.
While doing our taxes, we added up her total income from the companies she contracts with as a Behavior Analyst. It wasn’t what we expected it to be when we were discussing the house purchase a year ago. We noticed this at different points last year, but seeing the total the reality check we needed. She made enough to cover the extra expenses of owning the house, but there wasn’t much left over for fun stuff.
There are a number of reasons why her income didn’t hit the expected amount, and many were out of her control. Clients cancelling due to illness, holidays, vacations, or insurance issues for example. The reasons don’t really matter though, the fact is that we aren’t living the lifestyle we desire. The fix is one of two options: 1) Work more hours 2) Sell the house.
She doesn’t want to work more hours, and would actually like to work less hours so she can spend more time with me and our daughter.
So, we have decided to sell our house.
We met with a realtor on Thursday of last week to get a feel for the market and to see if selling was a realistic option. Fortunately, he expects that we can recoup the majority of what we put into repairs. Time will tell if this is true. In any case, we are at the point where we’d rather lose a little than be stuck in a house that limits our freedom, disposable income, and time.
In other words, we’re in the same place as when we sold our first house.
My wife and I spent time talking before and after meeting with the realtor. I think she felt a lot of societal pressure to be a home owner. In many ways, owning a house is a symbol of success. It proves to others that you are successful. She knows that in reality, owning a house is not a good indicator of success, but it sure gives the appearance of being successful.
So that was part of if. The other part was wanting what was best for our daughter and our family as a whole. The idea of owning a house implies freedom to do as you please on your own plot of land and stability for raising a family. Again, these thoughts are pounded into our heads from many different sources, but they aren’t always true.
I feel like, for whatever reason, she needed to try owning again. Now that she has done that, she is able to shake any previous indecision, and fully commit to a future that involves renting. We are both now firmly on the same page as far as our desire for the future. Now that we have rented, owned, rented, owned, we have a really clear picture of what works best for us. Renting really works better for us.
We spent the weekend cleaning, fixing, and painting. We finished up all the minor repairs that we had the parts for but had been putting off, like the new roller wheels for the 4th sliding glass door, the one we never use. We puttied up some holes and dings, and painted those spots and any others that needed touching up. We deep cleaned the bathroom (using vinegar – I’ll have a separate post on this because I’m so amazed at how well vinegar worked.)
We also ordered a few things to make the house more appealing. We ordered a $30 bathroom faucet to replace one where the finish was pealing. We bought some paint for the front porch to improve the look as you enter the home. The old paint on the porch was scratched and chipped. We bought a few other things also, in all totaling a couple hundred dollars. All were for things we noticed when we first looked at this house, and we’re hoping these small improvements will make the house more appealing to potential buyers.
We don’t want to spend too much, since it’s not guaranteed we will make any profit when we sell. But, we do want to make it look as nice as possible for potential buyers.
We have a little more cleaning and decluttering to do, and then we’ll call the realtor to send out his photographer. Once the pictures are taken, he’ll get the listing up.
Now I’ll open the floor for questions and comments. If anything, my readers will get to benefit by seeing the process of downsizing happen twice on the same blog. 🙂 I’d also like to hear from you if you have any questions about the process of downsizing. Since I’m going through the process again, everything will be fresh in my mind, so now is a great time for questions on this topic.