Hitting Home

The housing crisis has hit home…literally. Turns out, the asking price we believed to be well below market value is too high. The five-figure difference is significant. By significant, I mean painful. We’re talking serious ouch.

I was devastated by the news. The cost is so high that I can’t afford to get out of my house. Waiting for the value to go back up will take years. The more I think about the situation, the more trapped I feel.

My former partner closes on his condo at the end of this month. I have to admit that the idea of helping him to move out when I’m stuck in this house depresses me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m really happy for him–deep down inside, as I mope around my prison thinking about the day he’ll move out. “Bye! Enjoy your new start while I stay here in the shambles of our years together and wait for the day, perhaps when I’m 70, when I can sell this damn house.”

As a fully independent grown-ass man, I don’t handle feeling trapped very well. My housing situation has me pacing back and forth like a caged animal looking for a way out. After praying, burying statues, and casting spells failed to produce the desired result, I got an idea. What would happen if I consulted experts?

I called my financial planner. No, I’m not rich. She manages my retirement savings. Instead of a pension, my employer deposits money into my retirement account every month which, along with the money I contribute, over the years had grown to the point where I didn’t feel competent to manage it. It’s enough money that even a fraction of a percent difference in the performance makes a huge difference over time. I have no regrets about hiring her and am thrilled to have her riding herd on my finances.

After we talked about the situation, she arranged an appointment for us to talk with an attorney who focuses almost exclusively on helping people in my situation. For the next hour and a half, I just nodded as two attorneys explained all my options, interrupted now and then with a question from my planner. Honest. I kept catching myself nodding as they talked, like a bobble head hood ornament on a bumpy road.

The focus of our discussion was the cheapest way for me to get out of the prison my house has become. It’s the first time I’ve hired an attorney for advice and I have to say, I’m impressed. They totally understood where I was coming from and thoroughly explained the ramifications of all the options available to me. I told them what I wanted to do and they advised me on the processes that might be involved. I left that office feeling like I’d just been paroled.

Because the most important thing to me is getting to my new normal, I made an offer on a cute little house this afternoon. Assuming there aren’t any glitches, I should close before Thanksgiving. It’s in a neighborhood I didn’t even know existed that I drive by every day. The house is like a smaller version of the house I’m in now, with a tiny little fenced in yard that gets plenty of sun for a vegetable garden. The interior needs to be painted, and the flooring is dated and/or nasty carpet–cosmetic stuff that’s easily addressed.

Meanwhile, my house is still on the market. We’ll reassess the situation about a month from now. If it still hasn’t sold, there are a number of options I can pursue including many that weren’t available even two years ago.

But I’m not going to worry about that now. I need to start getting ready to move! In the meantime, I’ll be taking one day at a time here in…

My Glass House

9 responses to “Hitting Home”

  1. It is always so difficult when plans go a rye but you sound very well grounded so will get the right choice in the end, it always takes long than anyone could hope for. Hope the move to the new place goes well 🙂

  2. Go with your gut. Guts are surprisingly accurate if we stop to actually pay them heed–hearts mislead us and brains overthink sometimes. :/ I hope your decision proves to be a wise one. Who knows? Someone could fall in love with your place this weekend. You only need one!

    • Thank you, Tali! I know in the past that ignoring my gut feelings has gotten me in trouble. Whatever will be, will be!