My husband and I have been talking about our future.
His job went to 100% telecommuting a few years ago, but it wasn’t until the last year or so that they finally worked out the kinks and got comfortable with having his whole team work from home. Now he never goes into the office except in dire emergencies – and only because we happen to live in the same town as his office. Even his boss is now in a call center in another state. This means that we have extreme flexibility about where we live. We can go pretty much anywhere in the lower 48 states, so long as we have a high-speed cable Internet connection and a private office for him to work in. That, coupled with the news that our condo fees are going up yet again, sparked the thought: could we save money if we moved?
I’ve been thinking about finding a new place, not because I don’t like our condo, but because it’s just too expensive. Our mortgage by itself is quite reasonable, but the condo fees push it up to our limit. To rent a place that meets our needs would actually cost MORE than our current place, fees included, so that’s out. Then I started looking further afield. We currently live in Connecticut, which is one of the most expensive markets in the USA. I love New England, though, so I kept looking north. Massachusetts is similar to CT in prices, but the market shifts as you move north even more. Vermont and New Hampshire started to have houses in our price range, but when I crossed the border into Maine, suddenly I found a jump in quality for our money.
We have some dear friends in Northeastern Maine, and it turns out my parents have been planning to move up there as well when my mom retires. Angie, another dear friend, has lived and worked up there and wanted to go back someday. We invited her to come with us if we could find a place with an in-law apartment, something to help us pay the mortgage and give her some cheap rent.
When we bought the condo in 2009, we made the decision to move in February and we closed on the place in July; it was that fast. We had to act fast, otherwise, our apartment lease would expire and we’d be subject to paying rent month to month. We had no time to save up, and we had no time to really hunt for the perfect place. If we had, as much as I loved this condo, we might not have taken it due to the fees. But of course, we wanted our own home and the fees were much lower, which blinded us to the fact that we’d be almost at our budget’s limit. I don’t want that to happen again.
Unfortunately, it’s not something we can do right away. We need to save money for a down payment and an emergency fund. I’m probably not going to be able to work from home at my current job, so I need to build up a client base and make sure I have income. We also have some specific needs that must be met by our new house and community. I want to take some time to study the market and to find the perfect place. I think we can be ready to move in two years, just after the school year ends in 2016. We could be ready sooner, but I’d like to leave a cushion of time in case anything comes up.
Our new place is going to be planned as much as possible. I’m casting a pretty wide net right now, but narrowing the search to several communities, which I’ll talk about in a future post. We have certain things we must have and a bunch of things we’d like to have. As we search, we’re going to sock away every penny we can. This year, I’m paying off all our debts except the mortgage and my student loan. It’s going to be difficult at times but I know we can do it. We are really good about money when we have a specific goal and a timeline in which to make that goal happen. Wish us luck in this new endeavour!
…And I guess it’s time to finish all that cleaning I started, huh?