General and Abstract Laziness

I’m trying to figure out how to convince our landlord to sell us this townhouse (the one we live in, not the house in the photo. That’s just a house I’d want). Not because I’m completely in love with it so much as moving again seems like a major hassle. We’ve been through this before. As the child of a Navy officer, I became accustomed to moving frequently. It carried over into my own adult life and I haven’t stayed anywhere longer than 18 months in my entire life. Maybe that house my parents bought when I was in high school, but I don’t count that since I was rarely there except to sleep for about two years. The idea of buying a home and staying in it permanently, or even for a few years, is intimidating. I get bored looking at the same four walls after about 6 months.

Since our landlord’s owned this place outright for a decade, it’ll be difficult to part him with ten grand a year for just one side. In other words, I wouldn’t doubt he’d be willing to sell for an unbelievable sum – probably something upwards of $150,000. It hasn’t got much of a yard (which is a necessity for both of us to buy), and we share a driveway with the next-door neighbors as well as a garage with the other side of the house, but I can’t imagine living somewhere else anymore. But I don’t know that I’d want to live next door to other renters if he didn’t part with the other side of the double.

I can’t even imagine what it must be like putting twenty thousand bucks in your pocket annually for something you have literally nothing to do with. The last time we got any work done on the house, we had to tackle the maintenance guy our landlord employs as he was leaving the girls’ side of the duplex. In 14 months no one has bothered with the dining room light fixture which has never worked, and we finally got the hose outside fixed yesterday. If I remember correctly, we signed the lease on April 14th of 2006 and the light stopped working on the 16th.

I read this book from the library a while back, something like ‘one hundred questions every first-time home buyer should ask,’ and she mentioned settling a lot; how people get attached to a home and feel like nothing else This Perfect is out there for them and despite glaring problems, they’ll get frustrated with the process and end up with something they really shouldn’t be buying. In my case, this house is far from perfect. It’s just convenient, I’m lazy, I adore the location, and it’s huge. In fact, that might be a drawback. As someone who former roommates have considered a “neat freak,” I can tell you that moving into a place twice the size of any home you’ve ever lived in can break you of obsessive cleaning habits. When I stop and consider the ten rooms, three or four of which are huge with eighty-five foot ceilings (or so it seems at times), I get overwhelmed before I even start.

So, as I’m sure you can imagine, sometimes a few dust bunnies chase one another across the kitchen floor and I just watch them, then go back to whatever I was doing. I’m insanely envious of people like Jay & Scott or my mom and dad, who seem to be effortlessly clean. But at least they have each other. You’d think with two other people here we’d have long ago figured out a pattern of housecleaning that would satisfy all parties. Instead, I have one guy who, when pushed or bribed, will sweep and, occasionally, go balls-out with the vacuum or Shop-Vac for no apparent reason, and another guy does the dishes once we’ve run out of cups. I think he hordes them in his room.

When it comes right down to it, I don’t really want to buy this townhouse. I know what problems it has, so that’d at least be a leg up on any other home, but I also know what problems it has. Specifically, being about a hundred years old and in desperate need of electrical updates, with upstairs hardwoods begging to be refinished.

While we still have no definitive plan for 2009, when I finally, hopefully graduate and our lease is up a month after that, we are still leaning towards buying. Neither of us is one of those “I hate to throw away money on rent” people, so the idea of continuing to rent isn’t a bother. I guess I’m beginning to feel like there should be A Plan in place for our future and we haven’t got one. Then again, you are what you are. I’m not trying to keep up with the Joneses.


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