But, it’s true. The great house hunt of 2013 has commenced. What? You haven’t heard of it?
You can follow more details of the journey over at our Facebook page. I’ve been snapping all kinds of pics of our new location and some of the ups and downs of the house hunt journey. #thisisgoingtobeinteresting
And we’ve found this house that we’re really interested in. It’s a total fixer upper in the historic district of Old Town Key West. Everyone that comes to look at it (yes, we’ve already had people over, more on that in a minute) love the location … and the lot. It’s a house in the historic district that has green space. That’s a rarity, and works for us on many levels …
“after all this travel the least you can do is provide me with a yard.” – Marley
The house is close to everything but not right in the middle of anything. There are 3 houses on the same street that have been recently, beautifully renovated and there’s another in process.
They’re just not recreating old homes on this little island and the idea of getting into ownership here really excites us. And makes us nervous.
As for all of the people we’ve had over … they’re contractors and architects and historic rule maker people. We’re trying to find out what we’ll be allowed to do to the house and about how much it will cost. For one, this shed has got to go … and that pump to the left of it … that’s on top of an extra large cistern (used for water collection in the good ol’ days).
And we haven’t even put in an offer.
I know, it sounds like a lot of leg work for something we really don’t have any vested interest in. And I’m pretty sure our realtor is convinced that he’s not going to see a dime from us. I’m not exactly sure when his mood shifted … if it was after the 5th or the 6th time he met me at the house. ;)
But, do you know the feeling, the one when you just can’t get something out of your head?
I don’t know if you’re a renter or a buyer? We’re buyers. We just prefer to own. It just feels right to us. But I know many people much prefer to rent, don’t want the added responsibilities that come with owning. Especially when they know they’re going to be moving again in a few years.
It’s true. We know we’re not going to be here forever. Like we’re 100% sure that we will move on from Key West. So why buy?
1) Renting feels like throwing money away. Granted, we are about to sell a house in MD for most likely less than we bought it, which also equals throwing money away. But the value we got from that experience of improving, tweaking and making the most of that house for our use during the time we were there makes up for that loss in our eyes. #darnyoubadeconomy
2) Interest rates right now are sick low. 3.5% people. That’s crazytalk in mortgage interest rate jargon. ‘Nuff said.
3) Key West is an area where single family house inventory is not going to multiply. Meaning, it’s a 2 by 4 mile island that is about as developed as it’s going to get. Yeah, there are a few empty lots about, but a few empty lots does not a construction boom potential make. If we could get in now, while the market is still near its low point (it has been on the way up here for about 9 months already), there’s great investment potential to be had.
3) The rental market in Old Town Key West is vicious. Like, if you’re not waiting for the newspaper when it comes off the presses by the time you see the for rent ad it has already been rented. So, when we do move, if we’re smart about where and what we buy, we should have no trouble renting it if we don’t want to sell right away.
4) A doable project. In layman’s terms, a good deal. If we can find a house in the right location (check), with a solid structure (needs work), functional floor plan (needs work) and the right mix of DIY projects (trying to figure that out before we take the plunge) at the right price (still a big question) we’re sold.
But that whole ‘right price’ thing is tricky. I’ve looked at houses in the $280 – $800 a square foot range. That’s a huge range! And I’ve seen houses in a HUGE variety of states of completion. I don’t want to pay more now for the bad bamboo floor that the previous owner put in when I could pay less for your stained, ratty carpet that I’m going to rip up anyway. KnowwhatImean?
5) It’s just more fun! I’ve spent the last 3 years in a rental and have reconfirmed that for us, owning is just plain fun. If I see a wall that would look great covered in reclaimed wood or an old tile floor that might look cool painted I want to be able to give it a try.
But with all that said, nothing is set in stone. We still need to find that right house. The one that makes sense to buy. The one that feels like home. And until then you will find me calling on every relevant rental ad I see … now I just do it before I take the time to drive by the location instead of after. :)