(Almost) Giving up on Home Ownership

Published at 21:59 on 5 September 2014

After a half-year of keeping a close eye on the market, it’s becoming increasingly evident that housing available for purchase on Bainbridge Island breaks down to roughly three categories:

  1. Large homes on large lots. More home and more lot than I could ever want or need, in fact.
  2. Condos built one atop another, typically in a brutally modernist style (which I dislike) and with all-electric kitchens (I strongly prefer to cook with gas).
  3. Townhomes of the sort I would like, but only a tiny number, demand vastly outpaces supply, and I have no interest in participating in a real-estate feeding frenzy that leaves me no time to do due diligence on my purchase.

In short, nothing suitable seems to really exist. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find something, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that any such result depends on getting lucky, i.e. the odds do not favor it.

There’s really no rentals that have everything on my list, but that’s not so important for a rental, because rental housing doesn’t come with the long-term commitment that owned housing does. And there are rentals that have more of what I want than my current rental does. They’re pretty scarce, but one comes on the market about every quarter.

So it’s looking increasingly like the Island is neither a short-term solution nor a long-term one but a medium-term one. That’s about what a better rental that still falls short of what I’d really like is worth.

Still better than Seattle proper; each time I visit, my general impression of Seattle tends to be that I’m glad I escaped that mess, and this impression is particularly strong every time I have to contend with the freeway system there or think about what an onerous budget obligation Seattle is getting itself into with their multi-billion-dollar boondoggle of a highway tunnel under downtown.

Not only will the latter cause taxes to be high (for something I didn’t want built in the first place), but the it will also sap the ability of Seattle to spend money improving its long-neglected mass transit infrastructure. So it seems inevitable that Seattle will continue to be lacking in what a city needs to be a livable place for me in the decades to come.

Thus, despite the advantages of there being more social activities of interest (which does have its temptations), it’s still not the sort of place I’d wish to live.

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