We Did It! | Urban Living
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We Did It!

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After 15 years of living in a condo, I've moved. My wife really wanted a yard, and despite our deck brimming with pots of tomatoes, herbs and flowers, it wasn't enough. She wants to investigate urban chicken ranching, but our new yard has enticed deer, rats the size of cats and fierce racoons. We might have to wait on her need for fresh daily eggs until we figure out how to protect the creatures from the hidden neighborhood beasties. Also, our previously indoor cats have demanded to be outside now, and I've got hours of fencing under my belt attaching mesh and chicken wire to the perimeter in order to keep them from escaping. Our new home isn't much bigger than the old one. It has the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms but also a two-car garage. The loft we lived in had about 10 cabinets. Now, we have so much storage space that we might never fill it all.

I bought our condo years ago for a very reasonable price. After living there for several years and enjoying the walkability of downtown, I thought I'd never move. I only refinanced my mortgage once. But then I fell in love—and the market crashed. My condo mortgage balance became equal to the value of the condo. So I sat, like many, for years waiting for the market to recover and my value to be greater than home debt. Finally, the market began to rise and my equity increased. I kept up with general maintenance and repairs during those years, got a new water heater, painted the interior, etc. Then the housing market began to skyrocket and my equity rose from minus-5 percent one year to 10 percent the next.

We put the word out that we wanted to buy a home. For two years we looked. For two years friends looked for us. And then, magically, it all came together. A friend whose house we loved decided to sell and another friend wanted to buy our condo. Thus, at the end of 2017, we closed on the condo and purchased our home. Our buyer let us live in the unit for a few months until the home seller could get out. And the best thing of all? My payment is virtually the same as it was on the condo (sans the $600 per month HOA fee) thanks to the best loan officer in the world.

You buyers and sellers aren't alone out there. I was stuck for years waiting for the market to come back up. With no inventory, we hunted for our forever home for two long years. I relate to my clients even better these days having gone through the process. It was an excellent life lesson.