Sunday, January 14, 2007

See what happens when I free my blogging id?

Three posts in one day, that's what.

So, we got something in the mail yesterday that was kind of upsetting. Namely, an escrow summary from our mortgage company, informing us that our escrow was way in negative numbers because our taxes had been raised and our monthly payment was about to jump, oh, about two hundred dollars from what it was when we bought this apartment last summer.

Two. Hundred. Dollars. Every month.

There aren't any doctors, lawyers, or high-paid computer programmers living in this house. There's a high school rebbe and a part-time writer. Who works for a nonprofit. Two hundred dollars, that's a lot of money. And it's a lot of money for nothing. It's not like another two hundred dollars a month for, say, insurance, or child care because of additional family members. It's not two hundred dollars a month put toward savings for tuition or retirement. It's two hundred dollars into a black hole with nothing to show.

Two hundred. Do you know how much you can get at the grocery store with two hundred dollars? That's ten boxes of diapers at Target. The big boxes of Pampers, not even the store brand.

It made me mad at myself, because I know that buying this apartment was in a very real way a mistake. I made what should have been a head decision with my heart. I'd been a nomad for so long that I ached to be settled, and I was so sick of rented apartment after rented apartment I wanted my own home, with walls the colors I wanted and kosher appliances and my own washer and dryer without quarters and no landlord holding the keys to my front door. And conventional wisdom is that owning is better than renting, so I sort of ignored the market and the numbers and the fact that the money we'd be "throwing away" on rent roughly equaled the amount we're currently throwing away just on mortgage interest, never mind taxes or maintenance to the building or our own upkeep and repairs and forget what we put down on the mortgage and what we spent to fix the place up--new furnace, new water heater, etc.

Oh, and there's that little issue that if we want to go to Israel, we'll have to either sell it or rent it out for way way less than it costs to maintain it. Yeah, there's that too.

I don't think I make a lot of dumb financial decisions, but this really was one of them.

Of course there is also the quality of life issue--I am much happier in this apartment, I think, than I would have been if we'd stayed in our old rental, or even upgraded to a nicer rental. (Yeah, I know I keep saying "I" and not "we." The truth is that my husband doesn't care. Longtime readers will know he had no opinion at all on the home purchase process except that he wanted at least two toilets. He didn't even see this place until after we closed, even though it was, what, three blocks from our old place? And on his walk to work too.) We can put up our own succah. The dishwasher alone is a shalom bayis perk like you wouldn't believe. I really like my orange kitchen and our purple walls and yeah, the central AC is really, really nice in summer. We've got storage, we've got a parking spot (if no car), we have our own home. And it's hard to quantify in dollars how much that is worth.

It's hard to quantify, but I was already feeling a little queasy about the equation. And now there's another two hundred bucks weighing down the other side.

1 comment:

Rua said...

Dear UberImma,
I don't know if you will get this comment, because the post is pretty old, but if you live in a city, which I think you do, then you can rent out the parking place you are not using for a nice price to offset the increase in your mortage. Talk to a real estate broker.

Best,
Rua