Those who have been following my travails closely may have a feeling I might need to start contemplating my living situation. About a year ago, a chronicled my adventures looking for an apartment with my girlfriend (one, two, three, four, five, and six) which ended unsuccessfully and with a bit of a scuffle with the real estate agency.
This time, my current lease is up at the end of June and I’m not quite sure which path to take. I will be living alone, but where? I have a number of conflicting thoughts about what would be the best for me to do.
I like the idea of not being tied down to one particular area, and renting allows me the possibility of cutting a lease short (although in my current apartment, it will require 60 days’ notice as well as a very high fee) if I find my calling somewhere else. On the other hand, I’ve been saying that since I returned to New Jersey after college about 8 years ago. I’m still here.
Right now, the New York Times says it’s better to rent than buy. That makes me feel better about having rented the past few years, but the decision to buy a house shouldn’t be about market conditions, which are unpredictable in short time spans.
Nevertheless, I don’t particularly like my current apartment. I could move to another apartment, anticipating another move somewhere down the line. Living in a condominium, I would have the option of keeping it and renting it to a tenant if I end up moving somewhere else. As an owner of a two-bedroom condo, I could write off office expenses for that second bedroom, reducing my income tax.
If my income remains consistent, I should be able to afford a home at about $200,000, or maybe a little more. I’m hoping my income continues to increase at my day job and on the side. In this area of the country, being able to afford only about $200,000 drastically limits the locations in which I could buy. Rather than moving closer to work and to my girlfriend, I would have to move farther away.
There are a number of options to consider, and time is running out. While I’m not quite sure which answer is best for me, I plan on having some discussions with people I trust in real life. Please free to leave comments.
Updated April 13, 2016 and originally published April 26, 2007.