Monthly Archives: June 2014

Modifying the Plan

Our plan has changed since we made the decision to look for a house. I’m not certain how much of this I’ve written about here, so please forgive me if I’m repeating stuff or if some of this detail didn’t show up in earlier posts.

At first we wanted a place with some land so we could have a big garden and room to do the things we wanted. That is, we were looking for our ideal homestead property. While that end goal hasn’t changed, we decided instead to look for a house we would be able to live in for a while, near to where we wanted to have rental properties.

That is what we found, but then we gave serious consideration to how we would be able to fix it from afar, which we realized we really couldn’t do. I wanted to go stay in the house even without electricity and water, but that was vetoed. I guess that’s probably a good thing. So instead we decided to find an apartment in the area.

The obvious benefit of having an apartment in the area is proximity, but there were some negatives too. For one, we would have to pay rent. Of course, for Donna to work we’d need a place with electricity and water, and not a construction zone, so we’d need to do that regardless.

Another benefit we discovered was that we could rent a 3 bedroom apartment for much less (almost half) what we were paying for the 2 bedroom house in NJ. However, to get that rate we had to sign a 13 month lease. Shorter leases, where available, meant higher rent.

We weighed these pros and cons and decided it was worth it to get the apartment. The place we chose we could buy out our lease by paying one additional month after we move out, which seems to be a small price to pay.

So we moved to Georgia, which was interesting. (If you’re interested, you can read about it in these two posts about the reasons we moved ourselves and the fun moving was. :-)) Since moving, we have been trying to decide if we want to go through with moving into the place we purchased, to save on rent as we originally intended, or to rent it out and let that income cover some of our rent.

We are also considering a radical change in which we get a small mortgage and purchase a house closer to the area in Atlanta where most of the jobs seem to be. If we can keep the mortgage payments lower than our current rent, I can see where this could make good sense.

At this point I would very much love to have a crystal ball that could show me the outcome of these decisions. It’s not that I don’t want to take the risk on one or another, nor is it that I don’t trust my judgment. What it comes down to is that, while I can put together a projection of the future based on any of the choices, it’s difficult to tell which one will help us get to our goal most quickly.

I realize that sounds impatient, but I’m very anxious to make this work. I don’t want to move away from the plan unless it is reasonable to expect the change to work better than the original plan, or to have some other benefit that outweighs staying the course. I guess we’ll just have to keep moving forward and when decision time comes hope we go the right way.

Progress or the Lack Thereof

So, we have officially had the apartment now for a month, so it would seem to be a good time for a check in on progress and changes that have come about to our plan. The theme so far seems to be slower than expected.

It took most of the first week for me to move our stuff out of the storage unit we had purchased, which was much longer than I thought it would take. It was very physically demanding, even though I moved all of the big pieces of furniture on the first day of moving. The storage unit was full, and I was bringing back only one or two van loads per day. Finally on Friday I just decided it was time to be done.

We are still not fully settled into the apartment. There are a large number of boxes sitting in various rooms and we’re still trying to figure out how we are going to make things work. The kitchen, though nice and modern looking, is not really laid out well and has much less space than you’d think. We have so much stuff we just don’t know what to do with it. This seems like it is going to take quite a while to complete.

As for the house, I’ve started by trying to tame the landscaping. Most of the carpeting is up inside, but it is just in a pile in the kitchen while I’m working outside. I’m only putting in a few hours a day in the mornings because this heat is hard to work in and I need time to do my job search and other things. I’m taking the fence down, removing some trees and bushes, and trying to keep the yard in order. Again, things are moving much more slowly than I expected.

To round out the theme, my job search so far has yielded very little. I have gotten a few hits on my resume submissions, and have been contacted once or twice, but nothing seems to be panning out. I haven’t had a single interview yet.

I think the theme of “slower than expected” has emerged for a number of reasons. The primary one would seem to be my expectations. For the physical work, I think my expectations were based on my thinking I can work like the 185 pound college student I used to be rather than the almost 300 pound 40-something I actually am now. That college student worked in the heat in Miami and never had an issue, so why should the heat in Georgia bother me now? Hello, expectations. I’d like you to meet reality. Oh, well.

I also think the adjustment has been huge for us both, which is making it harder to stay as motivated as we thought we’d be. We’ve moved far away from the friends and family we were closer to in NJ. We live in a small town that feels a bit more isolated than I would have expected. Of course, these kinds of adjustments take time, so we have to adjust our expectations and give ourselves a bit of a break.