I woke up this past Saturday with a knot in my stomach – I had been dreaming that our landlord had just told us he was raising our rent to an amount we couldn’t afford. Once I was awake enough to realize it was just a dream my stomach calmed down, but it turns out the dream was a foreshadowing: We learned yesterday that our landlord will be selling the house. It will probably be listed in early September.
I can’t say I am entirely surprised – he got divorced within the last year and we thought there might eventually be financial reverberations coming that involved the house. Our rent increased slightly this year, and while we were not entirely happy about it the house remained affordable, especially since all utilities are included in the rent.
Houses typically take a l-o-n-g time to sell here, and our lease has to be honored no matter when the house sells. Our landlord is giving us first refusal on buying the property, but we frankly can’t afford it. Even if we could we have no desire to deal with the maintenance this place requires, and have no interest in being landlords either.
Our lease allows us to stay through the end of next May, but after that there is no way to know if a new owner (assuming the house has sold) would maintain the current set up. The most likely scenario is that the rent will go up but will no longer include utilities. Our gut feeling is that we should start looking for a new place to live sooner rather than later.
However, after crunching a lot of numbers yesterday evening, Brett and I think it’s time to consider buying rather than renting.
We have decided to contact a realtor next week and find out just what we can afford and what’s available. With WenYu heading off to college next year and YaYu following in just two more after that, we won’t be needing as much space as we do now, and a small condo would give Brett and I someplace solid to live as we grow older. We wouldn’t have to worry about external maintenance (just those HOA fees!), and we wouldn’t have to worry about the rent going up or the house being sold out from under us. Owning our own place would allow us to consider things like house swaps and such when we travel, something we can’t do in a rental. Finally, moving to a smaller place would also give us an opportunity to downsize a bit more.
Still, all of us are feeling very, very sad right now because we genuinely love this house, and honestly thought (hoped) we could live here for several years. It’s been a perfect home for us in every way as we have settled in and made Kaua’i our home. The location is wonderful, the views from our windows beautiful. We have known all along though that having to move was always a possibility, but we just didn’t think it would happen so quickly.
Stay tuned for future developments!