Apr 10, 2022

I found a house! A sale and a purchase...

Hey Readers!  (Mom and Dad)

My Salem house, after MANY repairs and a new porch

I haven't written in a spell because my plans took a ride in a BMW convertible on a sunny day with the top down.  In other words, I found a house!  And I moved! At the end of February I closed on a house in the middle of nowhere in Eastern Oregon. It's a tiny town I'll call "Paradise" just in case I ever get a stalker (again).  

I "Zillow'd" the hell out of things looking for just the right place.  Well, more like I put in my search parameters of in Oregon, under $350k, half an acre, and less than 50k people. I was hit with very few houses...and most were awful.  I mean, so terrible that you'd have to actually install walls, flooring, sinks, etc. 

I initially passed by this house in Paradise...because it was literally in the middle of no where.  The idea of moving so far away from everyone and everything I know was just a little intimidating. And then, a few weeks later I went back and did my search again and the same house came up, but it was pending. Missed that boat. Oh well, that's what I get for stalling.

A few more weeks passed and I searched again...and the house in Paradise was back on the market. Apparently the potential buyer was a little older and her kids didn't want her out there alone. On a whim I called the realtor and after a few conversations, I made an offer.  Sight unseen. They accepted the offer and I had 10 days to view it...which I passed on.  I figured I'd get an inspection and frankly, I figured any house of that age would need some work, so I was prepared for whatever happened. 

I called a realtor to put my house on the market and before that even happened, I had a full price offer from the neighbor's friends. SOLD!  The stars aligned.  

It didn't hit me until I was in the U-Haul on the way to my new house (and praying it looked like the photos) that my entire life was changing. The whole time I was busy packing and loading my belongings I didn't think about what I was leaving behind. Instead I was thinking about what I was moving toward. I started to realize I wouldn't do happy hour with my friends anymore, couldn't pop into the office to greet co-workers, and was going to have to actually plan for trips to town (since it's an hour away). But none of that really mattered because once I pulled into the driveway, I felt at home. 

View from my front window in Paradise
I realized that this place, this Paradise, was exactly what I've wanted my entire life. I wanted to be out of the city, away from people, away from the crime and the grime, and the smog and the....again, the people. 

Friends ask if I have any regrets. The answer is a solid no. It hasn't been all smooth sailing (read the next post) but I wouldn't change it for the world. 

Jan 9, 2022

Where To Go?

 Now that I've convinced myself it's time to leave Salem, where do I go?  The better question becomes, "What can I afford?" Luckily, my job has transformed due to COVID from allowing us to telework up to three times a week to allowing us to do it full time. That's fantastic news for us introverts. Work has also opened up their restrictions and now, we can telework from anywhere in the US...with permission. I don't know of anyone who has received permission, but that's mute. Doesn't matter. I don't really want to leave Oregon yet (though Texas has crossed my mind, along with Georgia, Arkansas, and the Carolinas). 

Example of $250k houses I've seen
Being a single income household, and not making a fortune (think public service paycheck), my options are pretty limited. Oregon's prices have skyrocketed, along with a lot of other states. In order to get out of Salem, I'm thinking outside the box. I'm using the modern version of "close your eyes and touch a map" by opening Zillow and adjusting the search engine to note I want at least half an acre and I want to pay around $350k. Are you laughing yet? There was a time when $350k was a lot for a house in my mind. Now, I've come to the conclusion that to get something even remotely nice, I'd have to pay around $500k. If you've recently looked at houses in Oregon, you know that's the case. Trust me when I say I'm not THAT picky. I just want something that's not in town, doesn't need an entire remodel before I even step inside because it's too nasty, and where the dogs can roam. I'd also like an actual stick built instead of manufactured, which reduced a lot of options but makes it easier to finance and remodel. No way I'm paying $350 for a manufactured home on an acre that was installed in 1980. No way.

Zillow wasn't my friend. In fact, there were very limited choices. But I still looked at them all.  From ALL over Oregon. Then I branched out..and looked EVERYWHERE. Lots of beautiful places in Georgia for less than $350k, but I traveled through there one summer and it was way too hot for me...and once I found out how many snakes were there, I decided I'd leave Georgia to the Walking Dead. (For those of you who don't know, Walking Dead is filmed in Georgia.)

I'm still looking, but when I find something, you'll be the first to know!


The First Step

Sometimes changes happen slowly...until one day you actually pay attention and realize something is different. You look back and wonder things changed and more importantly, when. When I bought my house in West Salem it was around 2005. I'd walk the dog around the block and often notice home improvements being made, kids playing, dogs barking, and sometimes, people yelling. I didn't really like the city, so I moved away and rented out my house.  

Eventually my sister ended up in it, and then my brother-in-law took a job out of town. My tiny 624 square foot house was vacant so I moved back because renting it seemed like too much of a hassle. I hated moving back. But my plan was to fix it up, do my two years of living in it, then off it the first chance I had. I put all my efforts into fixing up the house until eventually, Adam pointed out there wasn't much more for me to do. He may have just been tired of helping me. 

In the almost three years it took for me to reach my house's maximum remodel stage (I joke that I have a house I put $600k into that's worth $300k), the city around began to change too. Covid hit, and with it, came less police oversight...instead of seeing a police car drive past occasionally, it was a rarity. I know, it's not their fault that other neighborhoods needed them more. But the crime, it increased. Someone actually took the liberty of opening my car and going through it...and when I caught them at around 1:00 am, gun in hand, they yelled at me that I shouldn't have left it unlocked.  As if leaving something unlocked (by accident clearly) is akin to saying, "Come get it!  Everybody is welcome!"  The guy, unbothered by the fact that I held a weapon, took his time walking away. I had to tell him a few times to get out of the vehicle. Seriously. Who does that? It's someone who doesn't care about the consequences (or knows there aren't any) and who has no concern for anyone other than themselves. 

I started carrying a gun while walking the dogs in the morning because I never know who I'd run into. (Don't worry, I'm fully permitted in case I have any snowflakes reading.) Once a safe and quiet neighborhood, West Salem has turned into a place where the terrorist middle schoolers run the streets along with the homeless. We, the tax paying citizens, can do nothing about it unless we are actually threatened. I can tell you, at that point, it will be too late for them and maybe me.

Basically, this part of Oregon has lost its luster. The riots, protesting, COVID rules, and everything else, has made Salem undesirable to me. It's time to move on. The journey begins. I'm taking the first step. 

I found a house! A sale and a purchase...

Hey Readers!  (Mom and Dad) My Salem house, after MANY repairs and a new porch I haven't written in a spell because my plans took a ride...