Ever since deciding that we want to cruise full-time we’ve been in major savings mode. Sometimes we ruefully say that if we had been this serious years ago we’d already be out there, but there’s no sense in looking back with regrets. Instead, we are thankful that we smartened up when we did, and we keep pushing forward.
Readers may notice that we have not been working on boat projects every weekend during this offseason. That’s because our focus has been on the house so we can put it on the market in February. Yep, we’re selling the house.
Ever since making this decision, it’s been easy to tell who didn’t really believe that we plan to sell everything and sail away. It’s the people who look shocked when we mention we’re selling the house in the spring and moving into an apartment for three years. Invariably, their response is “Wow, you’re really going to do this?!” Yes, we are.
After crunching some numbers it became crystal clear that living in our house vs. renting an apartment is costing us a fortune in potential savings. Connecticut has very high property taxes and we live in a town that is among the highest in the state: we paid $7,300 in property taxes this year for our 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath cape cod-style house. Between taxes, the mortgage itself, and property insurance, it adds up big-time.
Fortunately our high-property tax town has a wide variety of rentals in safe neighborhoods that are still within a mile of where I work. The distance is key since we only have one car and we’re not going to buy a second one. We’ll be able to rent a two bedroom apartment and save a lot compared to owning the house.
Even though we bought our house in April, 2006 (nice timing – not!), housing prices in our town have recovered from the crash so we’re likely to sell the house for right around what we paid for it. Over the past 11 years we’ve refinanced twice, keeping the payment the same while shortening the term, so we have some decent equity which we’ll turn around and throw onto my student loans. This will save us a fair amount in interest payments, further boosting our savings.
This isn’t a decision driven solely by finances, however. While we like our house, we’re definitely over the yard work, the snow blowing, the repairs, etc. We want to call the landlord when something breaks. From May to October, we simply want to lock the door on Friday morning and come back Sunday, not thinking about what we have to do around the house before we leave again on Friday. There’s a joke in the boating world that you can tell which homeowners have a boat, because they are the ones with the overgrown lawns in the summer. It’s so true!
I know that some people buy a house and can never imagine living in an apartment again. That’s cool. But Jeff and I never minded living in the right apartment – the right apartment being the key. We’ve each had apartments that we couldn’t wait to get out of, and others we could have imagined living in for decades. We’re hoping we’ll find the right apartment, but if we don’t we can move again or simply suck it up and stay. It’s only three years so who really cares?
Honestly, I’m excited about it. I’ve always enjoyed moving. To me, moving offers the opportunity to make a fresh start, explore new areas, meet new people. It adds a sparkle to what has become routine. This house is the longest I’ve lived in one spot in my entire life, and I’m ready for a change. Moving to an apartment in a different part of town will scratch that itch until we cast off the lines, at which point we’ll have all of the new experiences that we want. I can’t wait!