We recently took a vacation to Florida to visit relatives and take our first cruise. We had a great time, and the chance to step away from our day-to-day and bounce ideas off of people provided us with some clarity on what we wanted to do.
However, when we returned, our circumstances had unexpectedly changed. It seems my company had a new vision for the future, which unfortunately didn’t include me. I was very surprised, but in hindsight I should have seen it coming. Rather than view this as a roadblock, we decided to view it as an opportunity.
We decided that it was a great chance to find a property that we can afford to buy in cash while I have some time to fix it up as much as necessary so that we can move in. This will mean we have no mortgage or rent payment to make, freeing up a significant portion of our soon to be reduced monthly income.
I got a severance package, so we want to take as much advantage of that as we can and use the time while I’m still receiving a paycheck to get the house and start renovations. As the date of the last paycheck approaches, I’ll have to start looking for a job. Hopefully the house would be ready by then so I can go to work and we can start saving for our next property, which will be for a rental.
There is so much that is going into this it is overwhelming. We are working to find a location that will work for us. Some of our criteria include low crime rate, good or at least improving local economy, and availability of low priced houses. We are partial to areas in the Southeastern states, but that’s not a necessity.
This has led us to narrow the search down to a few places. We have not yet ruled out some areas of Ohio, though restrictive local laws and cold winters are definitely negatives there, though the apparent good condition of houses in our price range is appealing. The areas we are considering in Tennessee seem much less restrictive, and of course the winters are not as cold. Additionally, the economy in these areas seems to be improving, and we are finding a good number of available houses, though not in as good apparent condition.
We also have our eye on a few cities in Florida, but the economy and availability of houses in our price range do not work in that state’s favor. Another option is Georgia, which has a strong economy in the Atlanta area and a good selection of houses in our range which seem to be somewhere between the houses in Ohio and those in Tennessee in regards to their apparent condition. Both of these states are more restrictive than Tennessee with regards to building codes and permits.
It’s not going to be an easy decision. For one thing, we are making some assumptions about condition based on the available description, pictures and what we can see on Google’s Street View. We’ve decided that we’re going to look for a few properties in one of these areas, and then set up with an agent to go see them. I’ll have to drive to the area and try to see as much as I can in a very limited time, and we’ll try to make a decision based on that. It’s going to be tough since Donna won’t be able to see the house, but we’ll figure it out somehow.