Sunday, January 9, 2011
I met with my Realtor, Doug, on Friday. He inspires a lot of confidence and I AM confident that he really knows what he is talking about.
I'm including a lot of photos and some info here to document our meeting and my condo so if this seems like too much info, just scroll through fast. I want to have this information and the photos where I can pull them up in the future.
We went through my condo room by room, he had a few comments, luckily very few. The caulking between the brick wall in my bedroom and the ceiling needs re-caulking and he said a "color" would be better in the room, something soft, but not white.
I agree with Doug about the white walls - they are kind of stark looking (I've never noticed before) so I will paint them a warmer color. Only three walls. The brick wall I'll re-paint white. He said the color on the walls around the windows will make the white window frames and blinds valances "pop." His son is available for $15 an hour to do the work if I want.
Living room, dining room and front door/entrance area
Back yard to the left
Back yard to the right
Master bath dressing room
And that's it. I love this place, it's the perfect size for me, great location near lots of shopping, restaurants, freeways. It's very manageable for a single person as far as keeping it up and taking care of the back yard/patio area. I'd love to keep it, and that's what's going to happen for now.
Doug had a list of comps in the area, and it was obvious that I can't sell right now. I put down 20 percent cash, and that's gone, and if I sold for it's value today, I'd have to come up with, probably, around $30K to pay off my mortgage. That's not counting the approximately $14,000 in Realtor fees and other costs/fees to sell. Obviously not going to happen. These numbers are strictly based on the cost per square foot from the comps, and don’t take into account the location, condition, upgrades, view, etc., which bring the price up.
He said he feels we are right at the bottom in pricing right now, and in the next two to three years prices will slowly increase. Five years from now we should be back to where I can sell and walk away with some cash. That means if I want to retire I will need to lease it. There really is no other option right now. So at least I have that question answered - lease, not sell.
The good news is he feels I can get more than my mortgage payment in rent each month. I'd be upside down a little because of my homeowner's association dues, but that's okay. My monthly housing expenses when full-timing will be less than my current housing expenses, so I'd end up on the positive side.
Doug and his wife are also property managers, and he told me exactly how they work, how they prepare the property, find tenants, etc. I was sitting there thinking, I could do this NOW. Find my RV, move/sell everything, rent a small storage unit for whatever I want to keep, find an RV park to live in while I'm working, keep my car for now for transportation - I'd be living the full-time life in a few months! I started getting really excited about doing this NOW. One negative is that they charge ten percent, payable during the first month. It would cost me almost $2,000 for the first year.
Yesterday I found a storage facility nearby, and it looked good. I went to the Camping World in town and looked a couple of Class Cs in my price range, and last night did a bunch of research on the Internet looking for RV's and RV parks in San Diego.
I Skyped my daughter and talked to her about it. Kristy is very positive about my plans, but I got the "devil's advocate" from her regarding the property manager, and whether this is a good time to do this. I appreciated her thoughts, and her honesty. It's easy for me to get too involved with the positive aspects and not see the rest when I get excited about something. She had some good points. I also talked to my son, Tom. He had the same concerns Kristy did. He felt that if I was going to be in the area, I didn't need a property manager. Tom has property in Northern California, and he manages it from San Diego. He said with Craig's List it's so easy to find tenants. We belong to the apartment association through work, and I have already downloaded all the rental/lease forms that I would ever need. Once the property is leased, there shouldn't be a lot of work, and he is right here to help out if needed.
This morning when I got up I walked through the rooms and looked around. I'm so comfortable here. I've loved it since the first day, and every day for the last six years. This is really tough. I know most of you full-timers have gone through the same thing I'm going through now, so you know how I'm feeling. Also a lot of you future full-timers. You are probably going through exactly the same thing right now. Or have, or will.
It probably is too soon. I don't know what to do, and when I don't know what to do, I've found it's better to make the decision to "do nothing." So, that's my decision for now. I'm going to let things percolate for a few months, and then see how I feel. With my Social Security starting this month, I'll be in a better financial situation every month I can wait.
When the time is right, it will be easier to make these decisions, but at least I have more information now. I know what the condo is worth, what I can lease it for, I've done research on storage units close by and RV parks in the area, and I've looked at a couple more Class Cs.
I'll keep you posted. I expect I'll go through this exercise a few more times before Katie and I are set free.
From Me and My Dog, Katie, have a great Sunday, everyone! :)