Housing Update

February 27, 2016

I have been a property owner in Pima County—the county seat for Tucson—since 1983. No more, as of Friday, February 26, 2016. (I told my daughter I no longer owned any real estate. She said: “What about that thingy in that place part way to Phoenix?” “Oh,” I said, always the attorney, “that’s an interest in a company that owns a shopping center in Casa Grande.” Not an ownership interest in real property.)

Our house sale closed this past Friday. Good on that, big time. The last six weeks or so have included a series of visits to the old homestead awaiting workmen, there to make the repairs we agreed to in the sale contract. I like workers. They appreciate genuineness, and I enjoy an opportunity to talk with someone who works with his hands. (The people who show up are men, and the people who take your credit card over the phone are mostly women. I like them too.)

Alas, the repair process is imperfect. People run late. They have bad information. Sometimes, both conditions converge, like the day when the really nice refrigerator repairmen showed up two hours late, after getting the call the day before, and said, “I don’t work on built-in models.”

I got through the process. (I need to give Ms. J kudos for listening to a few rants about the process.) I recommend it to no one, but if you have to sell a house, waiting of worker is part of the deal.

So now I’m a tenant. It’s cool. People show up to fix things, and while I have to sign stuff, they don’t ask for credit cards or checks. I do have to get out of the “it’s all right, I can live with it,” and expect broken to be fixed. (The sliding doors in my bedroom closet simply refuse to stay in the track.)

I love my new home. I’m a block and a house from the University of Arizona campus, which my girlfriend calls “The world’s best dog park.” (Max totally flipped out when I told him we were going to “campus” and we walked.) I have more than enough space for the six legs which live here, plus a guest house, several outside areas, and a storage room.

I have wrestled just a little bit in my head with the rent v. own issue. We are so primed to own in America that I felt a tad diminished by the fact that I’m renting. Alas, I’m 58, starting over, and the dog walks have revealed several rentals within a few blocks of mine. One offers three bedrooms and three bathrooms—I have three and two in the main house—and a pool and spa. Moving is a total turnoff right now, but the notion that I can leave when my lease ends, and that options will likely abound, seems really cool. (Yes, I know the landlord can choose to rent to someone else, and that he can raise the rent in a year. And yes, any holes in the walls have to be filled.) And having workers show up, without having to pay them? Way cool!

Finally, do I miss 25 miles per day to get to and from work, which was the distance I drove for most of the years during which I lived in the foothills? No. Do I miss finding myself in the foothills, with no watering hole within walking distance? No!!! Do I miss the home we built and lived in for almost 24 years? Sure, but not nearly as much as I thought I would.


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