Previous Post: The Way To Fly - Part 1 - Daedalus Descending
Some people think the way to fly is to flap your arms madly after you've jumped off a cliff.
That's not the way to fly.
The way to fly is to keep jumping.
PART 2: OPPORTUNITY COST
In April, we
listed our house to rent for one more year to a new tenant.
We got some immediate interest, and within a week had a rental application from what looked like an excellent potential tenant. While they scheduled a trip to see the house, we got another application from another great candidate who also wanted to see it. This was followed by two more promising inquiries which we held at bay until the first two could see the house.
Apparently our house was underpriced.
The first two applicants both liked the house but, after visiting, realized it was too far from the universities each of them would be attending. In the meantime, the other two applicants lost interest and withdrew. A week went by with no inquiries.
Apparently our house was overpriced.
Then we got another very interested applicant who wanted to sign a lease sight unseen. While we were reviewing their application, another new applicant reached out to schedule a walk through the next day.
Apparently our house was priced just right.
We signed a lease with that first applicant. The last applicant was disappointed they didn't get it, but Erin explained that the rental market these days is like the dating market. People who seem really interested just drop off the face of the earth, so we need to court multiple people at the same time.
When we got back to Maine, my parents helped with the kids while Erin and I took three trips down to Massachusetts to get the house in tip-top condition for the new tenants.
Our last trip was the day our tenants moved out. They had been absolutely ideal tenants and loved the house and the area, saying they were even considering retirement in Somerville!
After a long day of cleaning, laundry, organizing, laundry, repairs, laundry, landscaping, laundry, and laundry, Erin and I walked up the street to decompress over dinner at one of our favorite neighborhood haunts. It felt like one of the many casual dinners out we had had here when we first moved in.
"It is nice to be back in Somerville," I remarked as we sauntered back to the house formerly known as ours with the sun setting behind it.
"Yeah, it's nice to be here - without kids," Erin replied.
I didn't disagree. Those casual dinners out didn't happen anymore. They had to be pre-planned and scheduled with babysitters, and carried the psychic burden of an unnecessary expense in an annual budget that had long since been blown.
The only reason we had eaten out at all the year before was that Erin's Christmas gift to me had been one dinner out a month, babysitter included. If only Vera could have given us the gift of sleeping past 5:30 AM the morning before so that we weren't falling asleep in our food.
Like our longing for the sidewalk cafes in Europe, every new hipster hangout in Somerville taunted us, plaid-shirted men too young for beards as long as theirs dangling cans of double IPA in the darkened windows of dives we could never frequent regularly enough to become regulars.
We loved that this was what Somerville was, but it no longer felt like what we were. I don't even like double IPA anymore.
Somerville was no longer the land of opportunity it had been for us. Returning here would now have an opportunity cost. Our house was generating meaningful passive income as a rental property. The skyrocketing real estate market that had made this possible meant that we could no longer afford to buy or rent elsewhere in the city. We couldn't afford to live in our own house.
But that night, we slept in our own bed for the first time in almost a year, and the last time for the year to come.
Our new tenants arrived the next morning. They've been there a few weeks now and so far seem to be happy with the house.
This is a good thing, because they signed a
We'll miss Somerville. Maybe we'll retire there.
To be continued...