My Responsibilities Created Insecurities

In 2003, I was hell bent on owning a home. I was 27 and just tired of moving so much. I had made up my mind I was on a search of what I needed to do to become a homeowner. I still don’t think that I made the most informed decision. Everyday something would come up that was a challenge. April 14, 2003 I got the keys. By January 2005 I was laid off with no savings and to be quite honest I feel like I have been adrift at sea ever since.

I fell into that work to pay bills cycle that the 99% have as a physical mantra. You know that thing that wakes you up to go to work at a job that frustrates you to have a little bit of luxury that you are too tired to enjoy.

Looking back all I wanted was stability. I mean I was making it. I had my first one bedroom apartment nestled off of Rhode Island Ave on First Street. It was spacious and cute. The building probably was not fully up to code because there was a wicked slope that existed at the entrance. Then there began the problems. Leaks, rats from the construction nextdoor and an unresponsive landlord.  I gave up. I wanted something that I didn’t have to rely on the next man/woman for.

But at this very moment I realize reliance is a part of living. While there are many things in my 3 bedroom house that can be done on my own this is a lot to bear for a single woman. Dishes, dusting, laundry, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, closet… I live in every room. EVERY ROOM. How? There is just one of me.

I have had everything from a dispute with the water company that turned my water off for something that was their fault to issues with landscapers who just should not even be in business. (Just cause you have a lawnmower don’t mean you should be in the grass cutting business.) My first day in my new house my savings was depleted because of a capped pipe by the previous owners. It caused a back up. The plumber had to call one of his smallest men to climb into my crawlspace to uncap it. Then drill a whole in my laundry room wall to create another access for snaking the pipe if ever necessary.  Savings gone.

My responsibility to my house created insecurities because I was constantly second guessing my wants and sacrificing them for what my house needed. The mortgage needed to be paid. Nope, can’t visit Bahia with you guys. Pipe burst during winter. Have fun in London tell everyone I said Hi and hug them for me. I was/am tethered to my house. Please don’t misconstrue… I love my house. But having read Rich Dad, Poor Dad I realize the race that I have been in could have looked a lot different. I read it some time ago but never really quite understood how to get out of it.

The word stability pops back in my head. To be honest the house didn’t give it to me like I thought it would. Granted I no longer move every year. But I counter that with dripping faucets, feral cats, and neighbor issues.

Here are my thoughts…
If you purchase make sure there is some type of positive income to get from your purchase. A unit, retail space at the bottom… something. That was my initial goal… but as the search continue… it was daunting. Hindsight…

Condo over house. I would have done the condo if I knew what the problems were in an a traditional house.

Always buy detatched. I grew up in a row home. The thing about it was we knew our neighbors. Living in a semi detached house or a row home… you share what your neighbor has which could be everything from roaches to opossum and raccoons. Yes I have had a menagerie of animals in my home.

Lastly, space is overrated for the single. It just means more nooks and crankies to clean.

Property if done right is steady income. If not it can be a major liability.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. This is so on point…. I was just talking to my mother about this last night. I refuse to buy (ever again) unless I can buy multiple units (duplex/Quadplex), store front and residential or multiple homes in one deal. I want my property to pay me…not me pay for my property. To be the lender not the borrower; that is my goal.

    I was ( am) watching all the Black Films of the 90’s (currently Panther) and my perspective has changed so much. I know I felt something when I watched them as a teen yet now my emotional and mental aptitude has had regular practice and I GET IT, truly GET IT. Thanks Mario and Marvin Van Pebbles.

    I said all that to say Kimie!!!, I am with you. AND NOW we get to make choices that are a benefit to ourselves, our family, our community and the well being of all life.

    Tamika Lashelle

  2. Mig says:

    Good advise. It isn’t necessarily any easier when there are two of you either. Then add a couple of kids to the mix…

  3. Pamela says:

    I can totally relate. Back in ’95, I purchased a lovely, cottage-style brick home on Atlanta’s south side. It was a charming 3 bedroom abode built in the 1950’s, with tons of character. Hard wood floors, brick fireplace, attic space, unfinished basement. As much as I loved it, it wore me out. Why? Because I couldn’t focus on the creative, cosmetic details, because of the structural details that needed attention. For example, replaced 13 windows, replaced 14 wooden supports in the basement, heating and air was antiquated, replaced the crack driveway. Whew! I get exhausted with the memories. Ended up throwing in the towel when the market crashed. Currently, renting, but making plans to try home ownership again, this time, more thoughtfully.

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