Maybe it’s time to buy my own place…

It’s not what you think. I’m not determined it’s time to buy my own place because the housing market is down and mortgages are still low, though that’s part of it. Given I’m not sure how low the market has really gotten in Silicon Valley, the $500k 1br condo prices don’t really merit jumping into the housing market. I’ve all but accepted that my rental days are only numbered by the days between rent, not the time I’ll be living here.

But then there are nights like this. I hate feeling like an old stodge, but I’m rarely home, and tonight, on a Saturday night granted, I’m home sick, in bed, asleep, at 2:30am, and my roommate comes home from a night out with her sister who is in town visiting, and she seems to forget she has a roommate who is sick and asleep. If it were midnight, ok, I’d get over it, but it’s 2:30am. They’ve been bouncing a ping-pong ball as well for some reason. While the noise has all but simmered to a murmur now, the damage is done. I’m wide awake (hence the reason for this blog post.) Perhaps my sanity is reason enough to buy my own place.

In the meantime, today I read a bit about the markets, and freaked myself out over the potential to lose all my cash, even with a switch to more value investing. I’m not stupid, I realize that’s a risk with investing, but suddenly I’m thinking my $60k in stocks might be better spent on the downpayment for a condo. The dollars still don’t add up — not unless I want to be the on-site landlord to roommates, and I’m not the responsible type who would be up for that challenge/drama.

So it looks like rent is still in my foreseeable future, as are nights like these.

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4 thoughts on “Maybe it’s time to buy my own place…”

  1. One thing to think about is are you sure you want to live in the Silicon Valley for the next, 5-7 years? If you rent out that unti, is it cash-flow positive? I understand that the RE market there is undergoing a boom with all the tech money, so even though the rest of the country is in doldums you can be buying at a relatively height. What about when you have a baby in 3 years, will you need to sell the condo and get a 2- or 3-bedroom?

    Don't get me wrong, I'd LOVE to live vicariously through you and your real estate purchase, but I've thought somewhat about buying something and those were all the questions I asked myself.

    Good luck with whatever you decide!

  2. Maybe instead of buying a condo, you should look at renting a 1 bedroom apartment? I love living by myself, so I have chosen to rent by myself until I want to move in with a significant other.

  3. @Leigh — I used to rent a studio apartment. In 2002, it started out at $905 a month. That rent went up to $1300 a month in two years, and I decided to get roommates again. Now I pay $605 a month. So it's tough to make that decision to move and spend what would be at least double my current rent (plus utilities that wouldn't be split) for a place that would ultimately be smaller (total square feet) and not as nice. I really like where I live now, and there are times I like having roommates too, I just wish they wouldn't wake me up at 2:30am. These days that's a rarity, so I can deal. The other question, though, is if buying makes sense given that the interest rates are still down, and I do have enough money (albeit not liquid) for a reasonable downpayment on a 1br condo. I would be concerned about losing my job and not being able to pay the monthly mortgage AND condo fees (which are often almost as much as my current rent!) so it's probably out of the question, but just a thought. The ONLY thing I could see making sense is buying a 2 or 3br and getting roommates to pay rent, but that seems like too much of a hassle. Esp with the lack of free time I have in my current work environment.

  4. The problem with owning a condo is two-fold:
    1) HOA fees – these will be very high, for very little work done.
    2) Rental restrictions – if you get a job opportunity for work, and need to move suddenly, you may not be ALLOWED to rent out your condo to someone else – many condo developments have rules about what % of the units can be rented out at any given time, and if the max number are already being rented out, you will just have to leave yours empty or find someone to buy it ASAP.

    I totally get it about the roommates though. I have gone back and forth between deciding to mortgage myself up to my eyeballs just to get away from them, and then not being able to bring myself to leave when the rent of a shared place is so cheap.

    What I try to tell myself is that I'm going to be frustrated no matter where I am. If I own my own home, I'd have to have roommates anyway, and they'd probably drive me just as crazy as my current roomies.

    I agree that trying to find a one-bedroom to rent may be a better option if buying is going to overextend you so much. Or move to Atlanta, where your 60k downpayment will be almost enough to buy a whole condo outright.

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