During my transition from the Navy I tried to focus on the things I could do post-military life. The biggest thing was finally, I would feel comfortable buying a home. I always put it off because I didn’t want to buy something and then get stationed in Guam.
Living in Alexandria is not cheap, and buying a house here is bananas. It’s more expensive to live in the D.C. area than New York City, if that gives you any context. However, I was paying an exorbitant rent to one of those soulless corporate apartment complexes. And thanks to those mortgage calculators online I reasoned that I was paying the same amount of rent that I’d be paying for a mortgage, so what the hell. It’s that blasé kind of attitude that makes for responsible 30 year financial commitments, right?
I also am the type of person that without some kind of commitment, I might just slide
into a lethargic eternal pajama wearing sloth-like existence. Not that being The Dude would be bad, he’s actually pretty cool. Since the Navy wasn’t going to be keeping me in line any longer, I figured have the responsibility of home ownership would keep me on the straight and narrow of #adulting.
So anyway. I started shopping around online and of course got into the whole house/townhouse/condo discussion with myself and anyone that would listen. Condos were out because I didn’t really understand the whole buying part of a building thing. Townhouses were out because parking seems like a pain in the ass, always. Plus I hate people and small talk the thought of having to making small talk with neighbors for 3 decades made my flesh crawl. Also I don’t trust neighbors not to cook smelly things and be loud or not flood their apartments.
I wanted something with charm and character. I can’t stand those multiplicity inspired townhouses. One after another looking exactly the same, just a bunch of white boxes stacked on one another, yuck. Also, homeowner’s associations, nah bro. I’m going to buy a house, and if I want to paint it flamingo pink with neon green shutters, that’s sure as hell as what I’m going to do. Besides I’d just escaped +8 years of CPOA meetings and wearing unflattering khaki polyester pants, no more rules for me!
I also find something very valuable in investing in land. Even if the houses burn down, I’ll still have somewhere to build my cardboard shanty. I’m not sure what happens in the case of condos and townhouses. I think Scarlett O’Hara’s Pa said it best:
So the search was on…
I wanted a single family house, with character, on some land, without a homeowner’s association. And still close enough that I could see people if I wanted to. My budget, not so big. So that left me with one option: the fixer upper.