10-10-06: house hunting

I love my freedom.  I love having a flexible work schedule.  I love having a flexible life-schedule.  I love being able to fly to L.A. at the drop of a hat to sing with the Industrial Jazz Group.  I love being able to fly wherever to play pinball or to fart around with pals for the weekend.  I love being able to do what I want.  If this means I don't want to grow up, well, then, OK.  I don't want to grow up. 

Lately I've been feeling an itch to buy a house.  Dunno if it's because Jeremy just bought a house or because I've been feeling really stagnant and stunted.  Either way, I make a fine wage and I could probably afford something reasonably non-ghetto somewhere.  Yesterday, I went looking in South Philadelphia, in Boutell's neighborhood.

Here's the run down. 

(A note about these houses:  The prices are MUCH, MUCH higher on these rap sheets than they are in real life.)

We drove by a bunch of places, but two places looked extra-neat so we went inside. The first house was on 10th and Ritner: It's a corner lot and HUGE -- it used to be a storefront.  I mean seriously, this place is giant, brand new, spotless, reminds me of Jeremy's new place because it's so shiny new and beautiful.  It has an absolutely beautiful roofdeck, a jacuzzi, more storage than I'd ever know what to do with, blah blah blah.  It is, however, more house than I need, and more than I'd like to spend.  Plus, it's a little far from Mosk and Boutell.  Another drawback is that Ritner at 9th Street and higher is totally cute, clean, renovated, spiffy.  Rittner at 8th is not where I want to be.  (Haven't "bad elements" learned to cross the street?)

The second place, on Franklin, rocked.  We can't figure out why the house hasn't sold yet, honestly.  It's a good amount of house for not a lot of money on a sweeeet block.  It's been on the market for 130 days or so, and we know that the guy will sell it for a crapload less than what it's listed at.  It's got a brandy-new master bathroom, a bright yellow kitchen (which is what I would have painted it anyway), a roofdeck, a huge patio, a big garage, a not-too-scary basement, beautiful hardwood floors all throughout, new roof, new paint in colors I like... can't really find anything wrong with it.  It's close to all sorts of good stuff, it's a stone's throw from Boutell and Mosk, and there's parking in addition to my garage.  (Granted, we were looking at 2 in the afternoon, but still...).  He's also giving $6,000 towards updating the 70s kitchen... though, I really like it as is.  It'll need a new stove, but that doesn't cost $6K last I checked.  (See Mom?  If you leave it alone long enough, it comes back into style again!)   

My only concern abut this property is: Since Franklin is such a teeny street, the snow plows will not come through.  However, some of my neighbors look like big burly Italian guys, and something tells me ol' Vinnie will take care of it, provided I bake him a ricotta pie.  (NB: "bake a ricotta pie" is not a euphemism for anything.)


I could totally start the ball rolling on this property today if I wanted.  But then I think:  Why am I doing this?

  • Assuming I continue to work in Wilmington come January 2007, my commute will obviously be increased.  (This doesn't bother me particularly, as I work flexible hours as it is.  And as long as my car stereo works, adding an additional 25 minutes to my commute is not the end of the world.  Plus: There is always the train.  I am close to bus/trains.  Also: My next gig could be in Philly. Who knows.)

  • Having a mortgage will seriously cut into my "fly all over the country goofing off" fundage.  Which is more important to me? House/equity/roots/something to pass onto the kids I will not have, or feeling free and unencumbered to scratch my wanderlust itches, travelling to sing with the IJG, and play pinball around the U.S.?  Soul searching! Stat! 

    So, these are my choices:

  • Buy a house in Philly, hoping that the magic/growth I seek will be there, since my fly-around-the-country fund will be gone

  • Stay in Delaware, live on the cheap, and find my magic in diverse and distant lands with the assistance of airports and frequent flyer miles. 

    Either way, I have tell my apartment complex what I'm doing by the end of next week, since I have to sign some kind of lease (one-year, 6-month, or month-to-month for $100 extra). 

    Give me a sign, universe!