Getting the house ready... wavering on whether or not to keep it and go back to square one or sell it. Irony is if I keep it I'll have the same very loan balance as when we bought the house in 1995. Almost to the dollar. I want to keep it because I like my modest little crapbox. I like my neighbors, including the ones who used to raise chickens in their backyard, and my kids have lots of friends here. Their school is close by. I also really enjoy working my patch of dirt and take pride in my lawn and gardens. But the thought of doubling my debt really scares me, even though I'd still have roughly 1/3 of the appraised value (a real appraisal, not a fake county tax assessor appraisal) as "equity." If Houston real estate prices drop 33% I'll be underwater. I hate debt, never had any debt... except for the mortgage. My Realtard says the neighborhood is coming back, and I'd have to agree. Just about all of the foreclosures have been bought and are now occupied by actual owners. They weren't purchased by out-of-town seminar fliptards.
The carpet and flooring guys were here today and I am shocked at how much of an improvement it is. It looks fantastic! The interior now looks like a brand-new house, other than the crappy counters Pulte installed in the kitchen. Pulte builds them fast and cheap, and back in the mid-1990s they had very little margin. But I can live with crappy counters. I will never take my kitchen for granite.
A damaged roof is a different matter. Bids for the roof are coming in and I finally found a reasonable quote. I trust these guys because they did the roof for the parental units a few years ago and did a great job. $5500 for 30-year shingles, installing ridge vents and enlarging the soffit vents. Other estimates ranged from $2000 (a joke) to $8500. Best of all they can start Monday.
The guy who runs the ACC also owns an air conditioning company, and when I went to him for approval he pointed out that without good soffit vents the ridge vents won't do much good. With proper ventilation the temperature in the attic should be a good 30 degrees cooler in the summer than it currently is with the old Airhawks. Unless you live in the South or the desert southwest you cannot believe how hot attics get in the summertime on the Texas Gulf coast.
I asked how well ridge vents would withstand hurricane-force winds. He says they hold up better than the Airhawks or those turbines. The wind simply passes through, while the Airhawks may be lifted up. Ditto for the turbines. I trust the advice of a guy who owns an A/C business and has no financial interest in my decision.
So my decision boils down to this: If we are about to experience Great Depression #2, I should sell now and take the money and buy gold, ammo and canned goods. In that scenario I'd be a fool to keep the house. If we are witnessing a repeat of 1980-1982 (as I suspect), my mortgage, taxes and insurance would still be cheaper than renting a decent 2-bedroom apartment, and much cheaper than renting a 3-bedroom.
My readers in California probably can't relate to this. It works both ways. I cannot fathom how ya'll can afford to live there. If I told you how much my new balance would be you'd most likely laugh (Lou's getting worked up over THAT?), but your pay scales are not all that much higher. When I hear people talking about $1800 mortgage payments for modest tract houses I literally cannot relate.