Housing Crisis

The folks across the street* recently put their house on the market, at more than twice the estimated tax value — and got multiple offers (!?!)

My Fella reckons it’s a good sign, because our house is “comparable” — smaller square footage, but much larger lot; also, our plumbing and electric are up to code — but I’m terrified that this has just sped up the timeline that ends with us getting priced out of our own home. It’s a certain percentage ours, because of the 20% down payment and our habit of making monthly mortgage payments, but there’s always the possibility that the property taxes will rise faster than we’ll be able to pay them.

My current, quixotic plan is to pay off the house as quickly as (super)humanly possible**, so that by the time we own the place free and clear, we’ll be able to easily relabel the auto-payment known as “mortgage” as “taxes” and not have to move. My Fella says that our property taxes are unlikely to ever match or exceed monthly mortgage payments, which are pretty reasonable***, but I am skeptical.

After all, we grow old(er), we grow old(er), we shall we grabbed by the bottoms of our rolled trousers and crammed, manged and screaming, into the ravenous maw of the capitalist machine. Ok, it’s been years since my schooldays; admittedly, that might not be how the poem goes.

Anyway, before we lived together, me and My Fella, I spent several years getting priced out of one (increasingly) $#!++y rental after another on the opposite end of 15-501. For example, the place with the exploding pipes, which left me without water for three days; or the since-refurbished Exorcist Suite (with all-old amenities including weird carpet scorch marks, the drop-ceiling above the shower, and the camel cricket closet****).

By the way, that particular $600/month lead-and-asbestos-lined bunker now calls itself “Sagebrush” and rents for almost $1200/month. Because they painted it green, the color of money. Also, removed the carpet the way someone should have in the 1970s.

Among other varied reasons wrt our migration, I think finally we both realized that it was absurd for a dual-income couple to live in a town where we not only lived in affordable housing, but also qualified for it. It was eerie, being perhaps the only middle-class household in Chapel Hill/Carrboro. So I saved up and kept an eye out until I found our adorable purple house, which we cherish and tend with loving care.

And really, I’d like that to be how the story ends, instead of “every time we thought we’d hit society’s economic floor, we discovered another sub-basement full of misery and deprivation until we looked around and realized that we were in our graves and could fall no farther.”

But time will tell.

*Calling them “neighbors” is probably a stretch, since they don’t have much to do with us.
**this will require somehow getting more money from someone or somewhere and if I had the answer to that particular question, I’d be some kind of mad personal finance guru, churning out bestsellers and holding seminars on “MONEY FROM NOTHING: BEING BASICALLY A DARK SORCERER WHEN IT COMES TO CA$H”
***pro tip: buy a very modest house during a global recession and then never purchase anything else ever again
****EXACTLY what it sounds like: a storage closet filled to the f*cking brim with scary crickets, which would spring-heel themselves at you en masse like a plague out of Exodus whenever you opened the door.
Camel Cricket

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