Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I Might Be Insane

Actually, that title's probably an understatement.

Anyway, I'm sure I have mentioned this in the past about 500 times, but I'm going to do it, again: When I am feeling particularly depressed about living in Washington or surprisingly optimistic about getting to PCS (permanent change of station) in the near future, I look up real estate near to my dream duty stations. Unfortunately, getting stationed overseas is a lot trickier in the housing department than staying in the 48 contiguous states, so I tend to keep my search on continental US soil (that does not mean I haven't drooled all over Scottish cottages. Because I have. Many times).

When we moved here to Fort Lewis, we had every intention of living on post. It had a lot to do with being new to the Army officer life, having a small child (E was 9 weeks old when we got here), and knowing no one. It's an experience I thought I would like to try as a way to integrate myself back into the military life and to meet some social peers. Because of this, we really had no intention of trying to buy, and then looked not at all at the real estate market in the greater JBLM area.  Unfortunately, when S arrived to sign in, there were no houses available for months, and the ones that would be available were less than 1,100 square feet, 50 years old, and unrenovated.

Yeah. Not gonna happen.

So, he put our names on the list for new housing and found us a rental for the time being. We had thought we would move on post when a house came available, but what they offered us was 1,000 square feet less than we have now, had no attached garage, and they wouldn't let us see it before we signed the contract. On top of that, they would take all $1810 of our Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), and we currently only pay $1450 in rent... So, we declined and are staying in our rental.

But next time? Next time, we are going to buy.

Which brings me to why I am insane.

After looking at all of the housing options around my top 6 duty stations (Fort Lee, Fort Eustis, Fort Story, Fort Meade, Fort Gordon, and Fort Jackson... not necessarily in that order), this is what I am most drawn to:

A 1908 house in need of major renovations. Petersburg, VA

1896 House in historic Augusta, GA
1910 house in Norfolk, Va. Check out the kitchen... It'll scare you.
Only an insane person would want to take on any of those houses, especially with a small child (or maybe 2? 3? 6? Who knows what's in the cards). But I LOVE the historic houses. I have about 20 I have saved up just around Fort Lee (Petersburg, VA) in hopes that we get to be there for a few years (we will be going there next for the Captain's Career Course, but who knows if we will get to stay). Secretly, I hope the one on the top hasn't sold and we can talk them down to about $10,000. We could pay cash and take out a loan for refurbishing.... And it would be glorious.

Practicality, however, dictates that the best thing we could do is buy brand-spankin'-new. Because we won't probably be there forever, we would either want to sell or rent (we are very interested in renting it out) when we move on from duty station #3 (I count Fort Sill from way back when). And let's be honest, most people want to rent or buy new/newer. I am not morally opposed to doing that, but what I have seen on the "new" market just doesn't impress me. It just looks cheap. In all of the areas I have looked, only Fort Meade, MD has anything in the new department I can get excited about... But that area is just so expensive. We could afford it, yes, but I'm just not sure we would want to.

It really is a huge dilemma. Why can't the heart and the head be in the same place?

Not that any of this matters. The Army, I am sure, will wreck all of our plans by sending us somewhere horrible. Like Korea. Or Japan. Or Texas.

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget about the dangers of lead paint in an old house.. plus, the lead gets into the soil and can still cause issues... just something to remember with E and possibly #2!