Sunday, January 9, 2011

Realtor results

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.

 Master bedroom

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

Living room

Dining room

Galley kitchen

Back yard to the left

Back yard to the right

 Guest bathroom
Master bath dressing room

 Master bath

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! :)


  1. Very exciting and confusing at the same time. Can you swing it to have your "c" and your condo and just do some long trips for the time being. That would give you a better idea of if it would be the life for you. The other thing to remember is that could rent for just 1 year and change your mind. Nothing has to be cast in stone.

    You have lots to think about! And all the time in the world to do that thinking ;-)

  2. I can see right off the bat that you are a much neater person than I! Your condo is so organized and spotless!!!

    Letting things perculate for a while could be a good thing for you. It seems like you've kind of been all over the place the last month or so with moving to Tucson, a trip to Hawaii, going fulltime, not going fulltime...etc. That's just my observation, and I hope you won't take offense.

    Hang in there, the right decision will come. :)

  3. So many choices, so many decisions.

    Another good argument for waiting until you are really retired and then renting out is that you have a place you love to return to if you grow weary with full-timing. I guess that is wading into the deep end rather than diving in.

    Exciting stuff!

  4. I love the openness of your condo...kind of like a Class A!! I also think you got some good information and thinking about it for awhile is a good thing. I'm also not against renting, because what if you decide after a year that's enough and you sold your condo, then what? Remember that Class A I was interested in in San Diego? I went online today and it's still available and $20K cheaper!!! I've emailed and left a voicemail for the salesman and haven't heard back yet. I might make it to San Diego before Hawaii!!

  5. I'm so sorry, :( I think I got your blog mixed up with Four Windows with a View... :(

  6. You have some real possibilities here to rent your condo sooner rather than later, and to be in a position to buy a good RV that might come along. You can (and should) take your time about it and not jump into anything. It is so easy to convince ourselves that we have to do something right away, such as buy an RV we like, because the opportunity may never come again. Well there will always be opportunities.

    I can see where your kids are coming from because they are young and the world is theirs. Mine are like that and would prefer to handle the rental themselves. I would have been a terrible landlady even when I was young, and now it would be even worse, so I would definitely not be my own rental agent. You know yourself better than anyone else, and if you think you could handle it ok, then go for it. You can always find an agent if you decide you don't want the bother. Good luck in whatever you do. Can you just see that glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel?

  7. Being in the verge of fulltiming, I can honestly say that I haven't really attached myself to my house like you have.
    I bought it, fixed it up and intend on selling it. Purely for the profit, rather than the "home". I suppose at some point my son will say "that's the house I grew up in" as he has been here since he was 5.
    We lived in a Condo before and he still tells me that it was the house he grew up in!

    To me it's just walls, the excitement of having a new backyard every day is more of a lure than looking out the same windows each day.

    But then again, that's just me.

    Leasing is a good option, but be careful who you lease to.


  8. one day closer to the dream is all it is!..hang in will make the right decision when the time comes..we wish you luck no matter what you decide..
    We have to wait till 2013 before we can list our condo..and then we can move forward! lucky that you have some options to get started!

  9. Having just done what you're considering doing I feel your dilemma. We took a year to decide, then sold the house, the land and almost everything we owned. The day of the auction I thought I would throw up before it was over...but...we are so happy in our little camper traveling all over and meeting new people.
    Don't fret...when it's time you will know it. Just take one day at a time and keep in touch with Bloggyland friends.
    You can do it!
    Blessings, K
    I'll keep you in my prayers that you'll find clear direction. ♥

  10. My 2 cents, and that's about what it's worth!

    If you still have to work for the next year and can't walk away clear from the condo, I think you should stay in it and not rent it out.

    You could do an occasional RV rental if you wanted to take short trip, or if you just wanted to get the feel of living in an RV.

    I just can't see living in an RV park in San Diego when you have a beautiful condo to live in!

  11. Wow, a lot to ponder, but it's good to have choices, right? :) It sounds like you're doing the right thing by looking into all options. And at least you're in a good position where you're not being forced into any one decision, so just take your time and the answer will become clear. Good luck!

  12. You certainly have a beautiful home. If I were you, I would think about it long and hard. Your kids sound very sensible, and may have some good points. We actually did research for a year before we decided to sell everything, but the housing boom was in full swing when we sold.

  13. I forgot to mention that I really like your plant hanger outside. And, when I decide to rent my house I'm going with Windermere. I've heard nothing but good about them and I think it's worth the 10% to let them have total responsibility.

  14. Your home is just lovely - glad you'll be keeping it for a while longer. I agree with your kids - 10% is rediculous. How much would your son charge to manage it?

    You may want to think about getting a car that can be towed.

  15. I understand your confusion. I agree with the comments saying you did well in exploring your options first and not rushing into buying, though it would be hard to blame you if you did because the condo is really beautiful. I hope you have made your choice and that it’s something you are happy with. :)

    Brian Quarnstrom


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