Adventures in Real Estate
As I've talked to people about my plans, several have asked me how I can afford to do this... did I win the lottery, did I come into an inheritance? Well the easy answer is I decided to sell my house to fund it. And I say easy because it was only after I ran scenario after scenario, endlessly plugging numbers into spreadsheets (I am an Accountant after all!) in the hope, the really big hope, that I could do this and keep my house. But unfortunately the numbers just didn't work. I had to make a choice - do I keep my house, a house that I have lived in for 12 years, a house that I have pored my blood, sweat and tears into making it mine, a house that - if I do say so myself - is nice, really nice, or do I let it go and move on? I decided to let it go and move on. In reality it is a lot of work. For one person, it is a large house and that takes work to maintain - shoveling snow, cutting grass, cleaning, decorating (okay the last one doesn't really count as I love decorating!). Maybe regardless of making this decision I was ready to let it go and simplify my life, because once I realized the numbers just wouldn't work for me to keep my house it did become an easy decision. And one I was remarkably okay with.
I've been a home owner since I was 24 when I bought my first condo. And the practical, pragmatic side of me was hesitant to completely exit the property market. What if in the two years I was away prices skyrocketed again and I couldn't get back in? So I ran some more scenarios and plugged more numbers into my spreadsheet. Yeah I know... but again I am an Accountant :-) And what did work was buying a condo and renting it out. And then moving into that condo when I come back.
Of course moving from a four bedroom, 1,900 square foot house into a 1+1 bedroom, 700 square foot condo will be another thing that won't be easy. That's a big downsize, a really big downsize! But I thought that once I further embraced the 'let go' and 'simplify my life' mentality, I could do it. Things I thought I couldn't live without... I can. All that kitchenware that I bought and have stored for when I host a dinner party and I really want to impress my guests... not really needed. All those old decor items that I replaced with newer, better ones as I redecorated over the years... why was I keeping them anyway?! And the 75+ pairs of shoes and 75+ purses... well I figured after living for two years with 2 or 3 pairs of shoes and maybe 1 purse I crammed into my backpack, I could get by with maybe 25 of each :)
Logistically it's still a hard job - I have a lot of stuff!. But emotionally, as I have been doing this over the last few weeks, first as I worked on de-cluttering/de-personalizing/staging my house for sale and then packing in earnest once it sold, it is becoming easier, really, really easier :)