This week, we will be moving for the fourth time in four years; put another way, we have lived in five residences since 2004.
Did I expect, at age 49, to 1) be moving once a year and 2) be a renter? No, I didn’t. But because of job changes, not to mention the sad state of the market, that’s the way it’s worked out.
I don’t expect to be a renter forever. On the other hand, in uncertain economic times, I am more comfortable being a renter than a homeowner. Why? Because if something happens to one of our jobs, we can give 30 days’ notice and move. Selling a house, on the other hand, would be a lot more complicated — and, in this market, problematic.
Would you be surprised to learn that, for that reason, some economists have linked home ownership and higher rates of unemployment? Here’s an essay from Slate on the subject. It’s pretty interesting reading.
Here’s a brief history of our last five years of housing: In 2004, I got a new job in San Diego County. We sold our house in Riverside and bought a house there. In 2007, my husband got a new job in L.A.; while we sold the house in San Diego, we sublet a downtown loft to save money. After the San Diego house sold, we moved to an apartment near The Grove in L.A. And this week, we’re moving to a less-expensive duplex with a yard and air conditioning.
I don’t love the process of packing everything in boxes, particularly during this nasty heat wave. But I don’t mind trying out a new neighborhood. What’s nice about renting is, if we don’t like this neighborhood (although I think we will), we can move.
I have purchased half a dozen properties in my life; with half of them came problem neighbors. Two involved barking outdoor dogs; in another, we lived across the street from a family of ex-cons and prostitutes. It’s stressful when you plop down tens of thousands of your hard-earned dollars on a place and find yourself at the mercy of a loser. As a renter, you have to put up with crap for only a year, max.
I’m not ruling out buying a home again; I have nothing against doing that, if it makes sense. In the meantime, I will enjoy the relative simplicity of renting.
Moving day is Wednesday. It might take me a while to get the Internet up and running at the new digs, so posting might be a little erratic this week.