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Albatross
Wednesday, 2008 October 1 - 9:26 pm
Fifteen and a half years ago, I bought a house. I was 23.

At the time, it seemed like the thing to do. I had graduated from college, I had landed a corporate job, so a suburban house seemed like the thing to get. Right? The American dream? Pleasant Valley Sundays?

And while there were things that I absolutely loved about home ownership, there came to be things that drove me crazy: mowing the yard; fixing the furnace; painting the siding; exterminating the insects and rodents. It was never-ending.

But worst of all? The house was an anchor. When I grew restless and thought about moving to another city, I dreaded the prospect of getting the house ready to sell. Or when I finally realized that a single guy should live downtown and not in suburbia, it was the hassle of packing and moving that kept me from doing so. A house has a surprising amount of inertia... especially when it's full of junk.

Over the last few years, I'd made the best of it. With the help of my friends Anna and Erika, I painted the walls and I put in new floors. I changed lights and fixtures. I tried to find cool restaurants and bars nearby. And I drove downtown whenever I could.

When Amy and I got married, we decided to live in her house, where we had more room. But for a while, we kept my house, thinking we could rent it out, or maybe have Amy's brother move into it, or something. But eventually it became clear: the house was an albatross around my neck, something I needed to be rid of. I needed to cash out the equity from the house, I needed to stop paying two mortgages, and mostly, I needed to not have to do yard work at two houses.

So we got a contractor to fix a bunch of things, change the carpets, paint the walls back to neutral, build a new deck. And every week or so, we found something else that needed to be fixed, and the weight of that albatross seemed heavier and heavier.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, we put the house on the market. Six days later, we had an offer. Yesterday, we closed the sale. I am free.

I did make money on the sale. It's a smaller house in a desirable location, so it sold quickly despite the housing and credit crunch. So as it turns out, having the house wasn't such a bad thing after all. And it did keep me in the Raleigh area; I wouldn't have met Amy if I had moved away.

Still: I don't think I ever want to buy another house. If Amy and I move somewhere else, I'm pretty sure I'll want to buy a condominium.

No yard work. That's the goal.

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Posted by Ken in: life

Comments

Comment #1 from baketown (baketown)
2008 Oct 2 - 3:36 pm : #
Congrats on the sale. If you were in Bakersfield you'd probably still have it on the market. It's bad here.
Comment #2 from crouchinghamster (crouchinghamster)
2008 Oct 3 - 7:54 pm : #
Congratulations! I felt a huge sense of relief reading your post. Ahhh.
Comment #3 from john C (Guest)
2008 Oct 5 - 9:51 pm : #
Congrats on the sale is this craptacular market. But please, is this the young man who used to enjoying making cool patterns in his parents yard with the mower?

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