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11th May 2021

Here we go again

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Ten years ago (what), I moved from Milwaukee and put my house up for sale, because I couldn’t afford to supplement the cost of owning a home while renting in San Francisco. It didn’t sell. It took 10 months of negotiations and finding another agent and the bank threatening me with foreclosure before I finally got closure through a short sale. It ruined my credit for years and was such a horrible, soul-sucking, terrible experience that I swore off home ownership forever.

Fast forward a year or so later. I got my dream job in Portland, OR, and I flew out to look at apartments and houses to rent in May before I started. It was really discouraging with not a lot of options in the neighborhoods that I wanted. The day before I left, I stumbled across a new listing for a little bungalow on a quiet street and I managed to tract down the landlord and rented it on the spot. It was a cute place, but quite small. Later, I would find out that it was a sauna in the summer with no air movement and had mice that haunted me and freezing toilet pipes and windows that didn’t close in the bedroom and a foundation that was sagging into the earth. Multiple problems. So many problems. A couple of years later, my landlord threatened me with selling it, didn’t, and then jacked up the price, making me start to look again to move.

When I moved to Portland, I drove with my parents from Utah with a UHaul and we leaped frogged with another UHaul the entire way – and then they turned down the same little road where I was moving, just a few houses up. And that’s how I first got to know Mitch and Julie and their darling little girls. Mitch had moved here for medical school and we all became friends. A couple of years later they moved to a bigger house just next door and one summer I watered their plants while they were gone and I fell in love with the twilight walk down the little driveway to the hidden house framed with trees. When we’d visit, I loved the lofted ceiling and sky lights and the much bigger size, so when Mitch matched for residency in Florida, I pounced on getting info from their landlord. Two months later, Karin and I moved in.

Fast forward to the middle of February this year, (two days after a major ice storm that left me without power for 30 hours and dropped a tree that broke my driver side mirror, btw), my landlord informed me that he was selling the house where I’ve lived for the last 3 and a half years, which sent me into a panic.

The short story is that I ended up purchasing the house because in the end it was the best option of really terrible options. The housing market in Portland is insane and the rental market equally so and has gotten worse in the last couple of months and you add in a pandemic – well, you get the picture.

The house has flaws. It’s a quirky house with weird angles. I hate the stupid squatty garage that doesn’t fit my car. The little driveway is a beast to get out of when there’s the slightest amount of snow and there’s no real turning space so I have to back down it every day. The yard is all deck, layers of deck, so much deck that hasn’t been properly maintained for years. But I still love the skylights and the little window seat in the bedroom that overlooks the trees and I love my neighbors and I love the neighborhood and none of its flaws are as bad as that first house.

I’m not exactly happy about becoming a homeowner again. I think, and nothing has convinced me otherwise in the last decade since I had to short sell my home in Milwaukee, that home ownership is a sham. I don’t think homes should be this expensive and I’m a little mad that I’m getting into this again and hoping beyond hope that the housing market won’t collapse on me again. And even as the “best option” buying this house was traumatizing and horrible. My landlord, whom I had had a fairly decent relationship with before, in that he was responsive to things needing to be fixed promptly, became a manipulative dick. He gave me 2 days notice that he was coming by to take pictures of the place to list it with an open house that weekend, then did a “”I’d love to sell it to you but I need to see what I’m going to get and then we can talk,” changed his mind the next day and said “why don’t you just buy it and we won’t do the open house, etc,” gave me an offer, and then pulled a “oh hey the neighbors want to buy it and they’ll pay me $20,000 more” bullshit. The appraisal from the bank was delayed – first, the appraisal guy quit two weeks later, before submitting the report so the entire process had to be repeated, and then, the second appraiser stating that the dry rot on the back deck had to be fixed prior to issuing the loan. My landlord refused to pay for the cost of the repair (it eventually came out of my security deposit) and when it finally was “repaired,” it was shoddily and incompletely done. But it was enough that the bank finally approved the loan and I closed a couple of weeks ago.

I have to have the gutters cleaned and the drain pipes replaced because water is pooling at the edges of the house and there’s a small amount of water in the crawlspace. The decks need to be replaced, but with lumbar at such a premium price right now, I’m hoping to get a few of the still rotting boards replaced, and then the whole thing pressure-washed, sanded and then stained, so I can get a couple more years out of it. I need to repaint the exterior because it’s got algae and needs better protection and probably hasn’t been repainted in the 35 years since it was built. Maybe after that, I can relax a little bit.

Enjoy the pictures that were taken for the listing – we did a mad amount of cleaning for 48 hours straight to get it “open house” ready. The nicest thing about this whole thing was that I didn’t have to move again.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”4″ gal_title=”New” House”]

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 11th, 2021 at 8:35 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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