Monday, October 15, 2012

simon says: take three giant steps forward


Life is full of surprises.

And I like it that way.

No matter what you plan, events usually turn out differently than you anticipated they would.  And almost always for the better.

Take my house hunting adventure as an example.  While I was visiting Pátzcuaro, several thoughts came together in my libertarian mind.  It may be time to settle down a bit and own a house.  It would be nice to play my music at the volume I like it.  It would be even better if I also had a big dog.

The three could easily have been resolved independent of each other.  After all, I could have a dog where I am renting now.  But not the loud music.


Interestingly, I thought I was planning on becoming a loud music, dog-caring homeowner high above the south shore of Lake Pátzcuaro.  But all of that changed when I got back to Melaque.

Even though the heat is often a challenge for me, I have spent four years here building up a network of acquaintances.  I realized how valuable that was the first night I came back.  And the fact that the house that had drawn me to Barra de Navidad was back on the market seemed to be something more than coincidence.

When I started  tapping up some calculations on the computer, I had two potential sources for the purchase price of a house.  What I thought would be easiest was taking a loan on my 457 deferred compensation plan.  I had heard it was possible to use it as collateral.

What I heard was true.  If I still worked and was contributing to the plan.  Once I rolled the money over to my IRA, the Internal Revenue prohibits me from using it as my play money.

For obvious reasons.  The "deferred" portion of that plans means income taxes have been deferred until I withdraw it.

For most people, the plans are a great deal.  Earning the ability to pay taxes at a lower marginal rate after retirement. 

But if I withdrew the purchase price as a lump sum, the marginal rate would have been staggering.  And if there are tax rate increases at the start of next year,  I would have been one of the fish in the barrel.

So, that idea was out.

The other source is the equity in my house in Salem.  I own it outright.  There was no reason I could not take out an equity mortgage.  Until I realized, in addition to the $1000 a month I am currently shelling out to run the house, I would be making a large mortgage payment.

Then the obvious answer hit me.  I needed to do what I should have done six years ago when commenter Kim suggested it.  Sell the Salem house.

That is what is happening now.  My realtor has made a checklist of the few things I need to do to get it on the market.  The biggest item is throwing out the accumulations of several decades.  Or finding homes for things that others can use.

So, early in November I will fly north to get the repository of my infamous hot tub ready to turn over to a new owner.  Someone who can use the place better than I can at this point in my life.

All of that is prelude, of course, to answering the question of which house has caught my interest.

The winner is the house that got the fewest number of votes in my poll.  The large white house in the country.  The only option that will accommodate both a large dog and big sound.



We are currently in negotiations.  If it turns out that we cannot come to a deal, I will be no worse off.  I will be rid of the Salem house and I will still have a place to live on the laguna.

And no matter which result, life is going to just getting better and better.


55 comments:

Cdubee said...

That's the one I voted for!  The back yard is so full of possibilities! And having a pool will make the heat much more bearable.  As far as the unusual appearance of the inside of the house--that's Mexico!  congratulations.

Steve Cotton said...

And a return to dogdom.

NW said...

 I too voted for the winner; at your service sir Niles.

Felipe Zapata said...

Though I ended up voting for No. 3, the White House was a close second in my mind, so yes, you can buy that one with my blessing.

You can sell a house in the U.S. these days?

You realize, I guess, that a dog of any size will mean you can never, ever, alas, stay in my casita in the future. But, no matter, there are other nice, hotel options that except beasts hereabouts.

DonCuevas said...

"I will be rid of the Salem house and I will still have a place to live on the laguna."


For a moment, I misread, and thought that you'd written "linguine". 

You can tell where my head is.

Saludos, Don Cuevas

Steve Cotton said...

There has been a tick up in the Portland market.  So, there is the hope the house may move -- at a bargain basement price.

When I travel up your way, it will be without the hairy beast.  After all, the dog will have the job of standing guard -- just like the Canadians sing in their national anthem.

Of course, I will have plenty of house projects to keep me occupied. You and Jennifer have served as homeowner models for me.  Who knows?  Maybe citizenship is in store for me.

Steve Cotton said...

I am not certain what turned off some people about this house.  It is one of the best I have looked at in the area.  But taste is taste.

Steve Cotton said...

Home on the pasta.  Sounds good to me, as well.

Andean said...

Air conditioning AND a pool all in one house, it gets my vote for that alone.

jennifer rose said...

Lic. Algodon could not have picked better models to emulate. I, too, had voted for #3, with #2 as a close second, and when I went to throw my support for a Cotton in the WhiteHouse, voting had closed. 

Felipe Zapata said...

 Before Jennifer and I and all the rest of us Mexicans let you be a paisano you're gonna have to learn at least an itty-bit of Spanish, amigo.

Steve Cotton said...

If I get the place, I suspect the air conditioning will go unused.  Even in the worst heat, I have learned to accommodate with fans and open windows.

Steve Cotton said...

I like the sound of that.  No matter how next month's election goes, I can be the lord of my castle.  Except for that bothersome anti-Locjean provision in the Mexican constitution that defines who owns all real property in Mexico. 

Steve Cotton said...

Unfortunately, all I have is an itsy-bitsy portion of Spanish.  Lots of nouns. No verbs.  In my Spanish-speaking world, there are lots of things but they do nothing. 

That, of course, is easily remedied.  Well, it is easily remedied for a person with self-discipline. And no one with that description lives in my house.

Cdubee said...

It was all in the way you described it.  That plus the reference to sewage running down the street.

Andean said...

We may have to bet on that one, especially at bedtime.

Andean said...

¡Por supuesto, hablar español va hacer muy importante si tienes empleados!

NW said...

 Love that pool!! Jigs II probably will too.

NW said...

Keep in mind friend, Salem aint Portland. There does seem to be a bit of a spree but it appears to be vultures flying over the foreclosure carcasses.

Marc Olson said...

Well you surprised me a bit, Steve, but you know what you want. Best wishes, and I guess this means you'll have lots of room for visitors...

I have to tell you that the decision to sell your stateside house and get rid of stuff will be a blessing. I was a long-distance homeowner, and had lots of stuff that I'd accumulated over a lifetime. Once I got started, selling the house and getting rid of stuff was one of the most liberating things I'd ever done. Not to mention reducing expenses and freeing up assets.

Babsofsanmiguel said...

I like those little barstools in the water in the pool.  A perfect place to sit and sip pina coladas while you, the bartender serve your guests.  I'm dreaming, huh?
For the amount of sq. footage and amenities, I think it is a deal.  Hope you offered them 50% of the asking price.  You can always go up on price, but not down.........
Keep us posted.
Getting rid of the stuff in Salem will be the greatest feeling in the world.  Me, Mz. Packrat, can certify that statement.  Ha.........

Steve Cotton said...

Priced to sell is the trick.  It is a house, not an investment.

Steve Cotton said...

 I suspect I will win that one.  Of course, it is also the reason I stay up until almost 4 every night/morning.

Steve Cotton said...

Some time ago, it ceased being a place to live for me.  Being away this long has taught me the possessions in the house are nothing I need to live my life.

Steve Cotton said...

At the listed price, it was a deal.  I think I posted earlier that it was once listed at around $650,000 a few years ago.

Steve Cotton said...

And the shallow end is a large jacuzzi.

DonCuevas said...

Linguine con vongole bianco o linguine alla puttanesca?

Saludos, Don Cuevas

DonCuevas said...

All this has left me confused. Is this the big house with the pillars in the living room?

Saludos, Don Cuevas

DonCuevas said...

Jacuzzi? That's the clincher. We are packing our swimsuits even as I write.

Saludos, Don Cuevas

Joe S. said...

So to show up..... at what we hope will be your successful acquisition of a country villa, would be an excellent RPHS reunion. Good job and best of luck

DonCuevas said...

Like the Motel Las Vegas, just outside of Tzurumutaro. Rooms start at $350 pesos for 8 hours, if my memory serves me. Maybe it doesn't serve me. That's the all night rate for una habitacíon estandard. The Yacuuzi Suite is more.

Saludos, Don Cuevas

Steve Cotton said...

You nailed it.

Steve Cotton said...

Actually, that would not be a bad idea.  Perhaps, in shifts.

Steve Cotton said...

Para mi - linguine alla
puttanesca.

Steve Cotton said...

The options in responding are legion.

Steve Cotton said...

 Sewage in the streets and drainage issues are a given here.  They were just a bit more obvious on the country road.  I guess I just take those things for granted any more.  They pale in comparison with other factors.

Andean said...

I suspect only if you sleep in the pool.

Kathe said...

You'll be sooooorrrrry. Not right away, but eventually.

Steve Cotton said...

On that, I am certain you are incorrect.  I have never been sorry about -- or regretted -- anything in my life.  The worst decisions are always filled with other joys.

Steve Cotton said...

I have been known to sleep in my hot tub.

If I get that house, I will eat my meals and read in the pool.  My hot tub was my evening refuge for several hours a night.

Steve Cotton said...

I can guarantee most women would probably hate this house.  For me, though, it is a great bachelor pad.  Noise and dogs.  What could be better?

Laurie Matherne said...

Congratulations on making a choice. Moving forward is alway a great idea. I didn't chose that house, but I don't have to live there. Sometimes, I regret selling my house in New Orleans, but those moments pass quickly. 

Kim G said...

Well congratulations!  I hope you get it for a reasonable price without too many hassles. I voted for this house too since I think it has a ton of possibilities. I like Barbara's suggestion to plant vines along the perimeter walls. It also looks like you could either plant some trees, or stretch some kind of tarp over part of the garden to create some shade.

I look forward to visiting some day.

Kim G
DF, México
Where we are desperately trying not to pull an all-nighter helping F with a project.

Mommy with Commuter Husband said...

Well guess I need to plan that reunion ... happy for you, you seem very excited :)

kushnir said...

 You can stay in our guest house Steve, we are a dog friendly establishment!

kushnir said...

 Yes, the Narco house!

kushnir said...

Well it will be nice to visit Casa El Algodón , since it is sometime difficult to find dog friendly resorts on the coast. Our 3 mini doxies love the heat, more so than myself....La Senora, loves the humidity, heat, tropical downpours, since being from Honduras.....

Steve Cotton said...

It will be a bit like living in a small hotel. My hope is to live in a house with a stream of visitors.

Steve Cotton said...

All change is good.  And this will be a big one.

I wonder if Lora Loca will cater?

Steve Cotton said...

Bring the brood.  

Steve Cotton said...

The question will be whether the dog is travel-friendly.  Professor Jiggs was a very moody traveler.

Steve Cotton said...

My favorite tag for it.

Steve Cotton said...

There are all sorts of possibilities inside and out.  You and F will need to come for a stay.

Shannon Casey said...

I didn't vote for the White House, but I most definitely vote for the dog! The pool looks heavenly too. I can see you reading on the bar stools in the pool as the dog swims laps and the music reverberates around the yard!

I imagine that getting rid of the last financial tie to the States will be very liberating as well. Good luck, I hope it sells quickly.

Steve Cotton said...

Ignoring the existence of the Salem house has done only that.  Every month it costs me more money and its value declines.  It is a good reminder.  Homes are not investments.  They are places to live.