Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Time to grow up...

Ever since my landlady called me last week to tell me she's putting the house I rent on the market for just over a half a million dollars (she did offer me first dibs on buying the place), I've been stressing about buying a place of my own.

I have rented for most of my adult life, first because I wasn't sure if I'd stay in Charleston, then because my credit sucked too hard to buy, then because I didn't have any money, and now just because I don't want to deal with the stress of owning my own place. Everything about owning seems so haaaarrrd, from inspection to taxes to regime fees to insurance to how much it costs to fix a leaky roof. I have a huge place right now with a working fireplace; my rent is much less than a mortgage (at least the mortgages of the people I know), I don't have to pay taxes on the place, worry about my house payment skyrocketing because the loan people randomly decide to raise the interest rate, and I can pick up the phone and call someone else to pay for whatever's broken.

I am the first one to admit that I am mulishly resistant when it comes to issues of finance and investment. I don't open my 401K or bank statements. I don't balance my checkbook (I have overdraft protection and a vague method of keeping up with how much money I have by accessing my account online). I have a few minor dings on my credit report that I hope will just go away eventually (magically). I don't like to talk or think about money, period. And I'm defensive as hell whenever someone launches into the "why you have to buy a house RIGHT NOW" speech.

What I don't like to admit: Being single is hard. I like to think of myself as single by choice (as opposed to single and desperate). Most of the time, I'm really happy that I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, without having to consider someone else. This weekend, for the first time in I-don't-know-how-many years, I actually wished I was half of a couple so I could have someone else help me deal with the Business of Me. Perhaps what I really need is a financial advisor, but what I was thinking is more along the lines of another person to worry about this stuff with me (not for me); and then there's the factor of having a second income.

The whole thing makes me feel weak. It also brings my self-esteem down a few notches in the Feminism category (because a truly independent woman would have all of this under control). I should be able to deal with all of this on my own, right? Shouldn't I be able to act like a grown up by now?


  1. I laughed out loud reading your entry - since I could have written it myself! I will say the only thing worse than using the fairly loose "zen" style of checkbook maintenance that I use("I feel like I have money somewhere""), is having a spouse who is fanatic about details when it comes to money. We don't actually fight about it, but only because we have no money in common, and carefully separate our bills.

    I think it is probably better to just hire someone - more reliable and less crabby when you make those inevitable teeny money mistakes!

  2. Girl. I feel your pain. On the day I had to close on my house, I actually threw up and felt so panic-attack dizzy that my son offered to drive me to the lawyer's office. Then a year later, it was me (at work of the most embarassing places) having a major melt down stressed out crying fit and all I could tell my shocked co-workers was I had "no back up". But it gets better. After dealing with a crisis or two, you realize you can handle it, just like everything else.

  3. Ugh. I know what you mean. You're all grown up and independent and then you catch yourself going "Why can't I have a husband to just do all of this for me?" Or wait, is that just me?

  4. An update: My landlady called me yesterday afternoon and said she'd rented the upstairs and she's going to hold off on listing the house. So I can keep renting and not be a grown up just yet...

  5. So, if you figure all that out, would you let me know the answer, s'il vous plait?

    I actually do own a house, but it's in Columbia, which doesn't do me much good here in Charleston, where I too rent. I got a horrible migraine the day I made a bid on the house, even though it's the most beautiful little renovated 1950s bungalow and was 1/2 a mile from my office at the time! It was profoundly disturbing to be doing that on my own (after having bought and sold a money pit on Coming Street with my ex-husband). Of course, it was also profoundly fulfilling and empowering. Just too bad I bought in the wrong town. Oh well.

  6. I see people as shapes, and shapes have colors. Some words have colors too. I don't know anyone else who see the world like that either.

    Buy a camper trailer. . . . then you can own your residence, and move as often as you like.

  7. we just closed a couple of weeks ago and i felt like hurling when i handed over the cashiers check. i always had absentee landlords to so i had to deal with the "joys" of homeownership minus the homeownership. at least now, it's more fun/rewarding to clean and fix things. u can see pics of my new place on my blog!

  8. Aaack. I've been through such homeowner hell lately that I've found myself dreaming about living in an apartment without responsibilities.


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