Monday, August 18, 2008
won't you be my neighbor?
This photograph is my past and my future. Rather, it is the past and future of my house in Salem.
In the early 90s, I would sit in the research room of the Oregon Archives and look across the lawn to a Tudor-style house. The house set a tone for the entire neighborhood. There was something vaguely Wayne Manor and Mister Rogers about the place.
When a house came available in the neighborhood, I bought it immediately. And there I have lived for 15 years.
Late last year, the owner of the Tudor house died and the heirs put it on the market. "Market" may not be the correct word. It appears to have slipped into a financial warp. In the time it has been on the market, the asking price has been cut by 20%, and it sits unsold looking as if few buyers are interested.
Why does the fate of the house matter -- other than we all care when something like the housing market shows sign of distress? The answer is simple: if that house is having troubles in this market, so will mine.
Here is where we are on moving plans. I do not have a date certain for retirement yet. But let's use April 2009 as a target date. I have three options: 1) sell the house; 2) let it lie fallow for the first 6 months of renting in Mexico, and 3) rent it out.
If I am going to choose option 1 or 3, I have a lot to do around the house to get it into market shape. Most of those things involve the fact that I have had a large dog living in the house. A large dog that was a very destructive puppy. That also gives you a hint of how long some of these repairs have been pending. The dog is 12 and a half years old.
Items like new carpets and refinishing hardwood floors make no sense while Jiggs is still living in the house. But his new-found health may mean that I need to work around him.
Taking into account how long my neighbor's house has been on the market, I had best start talking with my realtor to see what I need to do to attract buyers. At least, I could then get a plan put together.
I know that several of you put plans together that took longer than you had originally thought.
I am not opposed to leaving the house unoccupied in my absence. And, if I cannot find a willing buyer or renter, I may need to do that (or some version).
Does anyone have a better idea? (I have already thought about just jumping in the Escape with Jiggs and leaving my keys with the realtor. Who knows? It just may come to that.)