315 - Obsession

More on the house hunt... my apologies ahead of time, this is a 'mostly for me' blog, and it ends badly.

I couldn't wrap my mind around how such nice houses were in such a crappy area, so I did what I do, I obsessed, and I researched (obsessively). Crime stats are good. In the four mile radius around the neighborhood, no crime at all for the past 30 days. In the zip code, a few aggravated assaults and thefts, but no murder, rape or burgulary. It sounds bad, but it's pretty much on par with where I am now. I looked at flood plains, very low risk there. Awesome. I looked at days on the market, slightly less than where I am now. Good sign.

I finally realized that in the original zip code where my search began, there is usually a one street difference between the good part of town and the bad. What is the difference? The houses in this area are actually nicer, and much, much larger, they just aren't as close to the city. As a result, there isn't as much income potential when I go to sell the house, although two of the three are undervalued so there is a sort of instant equity already built in.

My decision is to go visit the area this weekend and see it for myself. Resale value isn't as important to me at this point. If I stay in this house for another year, I could end up losing equity, it's all risk. My house is already not quite worth what I'd hoped. It's a great house, people ooh and aah over it when they walk in, so I'm hopeful that when it goes on the market there will be a lot of interest and it will sell quickly, and for a good price, but you never know. The houses in my neighborhood have been on the market for an average of 145 days. That is a frightening number, especially when I look at the pics and don't see anything wrong with them (of course, things are different in person so there could be plenty wrong). Also scary -- when I price them out, most of them are priced under the $/sq ft from 2009. There are two exactly like mine but I have a renovated bathroom, new windows and gutters, and a large patio so I think I have the advantage, but it's all about finding the right buyer.

As far as why the prices are so low, I discovered that my front runner has probably been empty for the past three years. That explains that price. It looks like it was put on the market, taken off the market after five months, then recently put back on the market two years later, but never sold. The tax info says it's owned by "such-and-such estate," so I figure the owner died, and no one has lived in it since. One of the other houses is a foreclosure, which explains the price. The third house is more expensive, it's also turn-key and privately owned. So I'm happy with all the facts I've uncovered. I think Bob has a point, my agent knows his specific area very well, and his area is urban, it's close to downtown so that's the kind of real estate he appreciates. I'm used to a suburban setting, I kind of prefer it to be honest (really I want a rural setting, but we're taking that in baby steps...).

This real estate education I got is all like a mirror of what's happening in the economy. One of my friends lost her job with NASA... she has three kids, and child support isn't going to cover all of her bills. I have another friend who is a teacher, and she will be jobless come June... her husband recently quit his job for health reasons and the tenants in the condo they own are moving out (condo isn't paid for... the tenants were paying the rent). It makes me edgy. I don't like to see people in those situations. And every day they pull more and more funding from our budget, we're managing, but there will come a point when decisions have to be made, I hope not to be one of those decisions. I imagine that some of the houses I plan to look at are on the market as a result of this economy and it makes me sad for all of us. There doesn't seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel, just more problems to throw money at, more wars to fight, more taxes to pay.

Eyore, signing off....


314 - Long time, no posts

And I bet I'm the first one to ever use that as a blog title... not.

So much going on... in October Bob's contract ended and I had to learn to stop calling it 'my house' as it is now 'our house'. We moved some of his furniture out of storage and I sold some of mine... Our styles are very complementary, so it was almost like I got to go on a shopping spree, only it didn't cost me anything, and the house looks fabulous. Last year's New Year's Resolution was to declutter and organize, I did do a lot of that in order to make room for him, but I'm still doing it. Just this week I shredded seven bags worth of old bills, last month I sold over $1,000 worth of furniture (and my treadmill), and I have also donated several bags of clothing and toiletries to a local women's shelter... and still there's more to do. Where did all this shit come from???

Bob is now is Afghanistan and he will be there for a year. As I said, his contract ended in October. He kept looking for work in the area but was unable to find anything, so through his network of friends/co-workers he got this offer to deploy and after we talked it over he decided to take it. It's fresh, he just left last week so I'm still adjusting to him being gone... I cry at odd moments and I send him a ton of emails throughout the day with stuff I'd tell him if he were here, probably drives him crazy, but I can't help it... I miss him. Funny how quickly I returned to my old habits, but things are a lot less satisfying than they used to be. Anyway, we'll be fine, we actually got to know each other through emails and IM and eventually started dating because of it, so it's old hat to us. If you want to make it work you can. There's nothing that can be done about the hugs, I just have to wait until the next time we see each other.

In the meantime I'm planning to visit him, probably in Dubai, then he will get a mid-tour break where we can spend time at home, or travel, and I will try to visit him again in Dubai after that. Hopefully we'll get to see each other every three months.

We've also been trying to get pregnant. I've spent my whole life trying not to so I wasn't sure that we could, and given that I'm almost 38 I was afraid I was getting too old... Wouldn't you know it -- I am having fertility issues. I took two rounds of Clomid, a drug that was supposed to make me ovulate, I started out at 100 mg and went to 150 mg for the second cycle. I didn't ovulate either time so my ob/gyn referred me to a fertility specialist. FML. Her nurse gushed over him, said I would love him. I think my expectations were too high... instead of loving him, I felt like I was sitting through a sales pitch.

Honestly I expected testing of some kind before a diagnosis and treatment was discussed. Thus far all they have done is put me on Clomid. There was no hormone testing, no tests to see how many follicles I'm producing each month and if any of them are turning into eggs, no dye through the fallopian tubes to see if they are blocked, no suggestion that I should lose weight, no discussion of how much stress I've been under lately, the fact that it's only been a few months since I stopped taking the pill was never considered, I don't know if I have PCOS or endometriosis... there is a lot between point A and point Z that could happen and hasn't. All this doctor did was tell me that they would give me FSH shots and wanted to freeze Bob's sperm to inseminate me with. He said at age 37, not ovulating, if they just give me the shots I have a 14% chance of conceiving each month. If they give me the shots and do an insemination my odds go up "by 50%," which is a 22% chance... which doesn't add up. It's an 8% better chance, and if you want to look at it this way, 22% is a 35% higher chance than 14%... but don't bullshit me with 50% and peer pressure that 'most people, given the odds would chose to take FSH and do the insemination'. When I weigh the odds, I'd rather just do the shots. Get me to ovulate, I'll take it from there. I would prefer to have testing done, get an accurate diagnosis, and then go from there before I do any of those things.

For now I'm going to get the results of my blood test, and I'll go in on Friday to get my progesterone levels checked, but after that I'm done with this clinic. There's another clinic that seems to take a more diagnostic approach and when I'm ready I'll give them a chance. There's really only so far I can go without Bob here. In the meantime I plan to try and lose some weight, and I'm taking an herbal supplement called FertilAid that is basically a prenatal vitamin with Vitex in it, and Vitex is supposed to normalize women's hormones/cycles. Here's hoping.

I also sold Trixie. We were going to start a family and she wasn't exactly a family car. It was hard, I still miss her, and Scout hasn't filled her shoes though Scout is a very nice car. Scout is a Mini Cooper Countryman, the new model in the Mini line, she has four doors and a hatchback trunk with fold down seats. We got a lot of bells and whistles, so she's 4-wheel drive, has the type of headlights that turn with the car, she's got navigation and tons of features... and she still smells new (which I do love, and yes I know that smell I'm breathing in is plastic toxins but I still get a rush of endorphins from it so leave me alone!). But she isn't my dream car, I guess you only get one. It's hard to know what to tell people when they ask if I love my new car... I do... but she's not Trixie. They don't know how to process that.

So next on my plate is moving. I would like to move further north, away from the coast, out of this NASA reliant real estate market, closer to my best friends. And it will be better for Bob's return, I figure we have a lot of choices to make and we will probably be here for at least a year while we come to some decisions. The area I am looking into is an up and coming area where the houses are being refurbed so there is an opportunity to earn quick equity. No guarantees, but the opportunity is there... only thing is, work will be required and thus far it's been more work than I'm willing to put into it (not into gutting houses, just willing to remodel a room or two and do some painting). This house is done, there is more I could do, but I've done all the improvements I can do and not price myself out of the market... I miss having projects, I like doing them, but I know my limitations. Found some amazing houses last night, only to find that the area is on the decline and my realtor says there are parts of town he wouldn't feel comfortable being in after 7 pm... it sucks because one of them was pretty much a dream house, so looking at real estate in a nice area that I can afford is a little disappointing now.

Since I last posted we also went to Niagara, visited a wolf sanctuary and Bob had a flying lesson. I'll have to tell you about those next time, and post some pics. (that's if any of you still read this blog... I would have given up on me by now) Miss you guys, hope you are well!