All Packed up and Nowhere to Go

I’ve been getting my house prepped for selling. Honestly, it’s still my intention to sell my house. Yet, I’m hesitating. Today, I’ll explain why:

Currently, the real estate market in my town, Yakima Washington, is hot. I’m not sure why, as we’ve had over a year of some of the highest crime rates on record. But it is. That means houses are selling above value. That’s good for me as a seller, but bad if I want to downsize and buy something smaller. I don’t really want to make a lateral move financially. I want to pay off debt, not create more.

Fear of Becoming Homeless

I would gladly rent, but there’s a potential problem. The rental market here is also very tight. In a region of 200,000 there are about 150 rentals available each month. However, if you have a dog, that number decreases by 90% or more. The other day when I looked at the rental market, there were 91 rentals listed in town. Only eight of those allowed dogs. Of those eight, only half of them were the size we would need. Of those four, only two were within my price range. See my dilemma?

My fear of becoming temporarily homeless is valid. I’ve seen it happen to people before. They wind up living in a hotel or with friends for a couple of months. I refuse to go through that much headache and trouble.

Fear of Losing Money

Somebody’s thinking, “why don’t you secure a rental first.” I’ve mulled that over, too. That is a possibility, but what if my home doesn’t sell as quickly as I’d like it to? What if the inspection brings up some kind of problem that delays the sale. I could wind up paying my mortgage and a rent payment for several months. That could cost me up to an extra $7000 or more. I’ve got an emergency fund, but I don’t want to tap it out.

If a buy a home of similar value to my own, it could work, but I’d only wind up paying off half of my debt. I’m not against that 100%, but I’d wind up with the same or larger mortgage payment as I currently have. It feels like it defies logic.

The few smaller homes that come up in our market are usually in bad neighborhoods or in disrepair. This leaves me in a quagmire.

All Packed up and Waiting

The timing isn’t perfect either. Although spring is a hotter market, it’s also a busy time of year for me. As a college instructor, summer would be a much better time for me to sell.

So I’m all packed up. The majority of our household stuff is packed into boxes and in a spare room. I’ve given away the piano, sold a bunch of furniture at a yard sale, and prepped the house for photos. Still, I’ve stopped shy of listing.

So what’s the solution?

My current solution is to keep watching the market and waiting for the right opportunity. I was going to list on May 1st, but that feels like it could lead to complications if the house were to sell real fast. We might wind up moving before the school year is through. I’d rather not have that pressure.

It’s my hope that the right house or rental will appear in the next couple of months. That would allow me to sell, move, and be settled in by this fall. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, because I really do want to follow through with selling my house, paying off debt, and living more simply.

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James Ewen
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