Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Reluctant Landlord

***This post originally appeared on The Chicago Moms

This housing crisis has left us landlords by default.

My husband and I never intended to be mini real estate moguls, nor are we very successful at it. And of course, it could be worse. We purchased a home of our own last summer, and at the same time decided to (read: were pretty much forced to) hold on to the two condos we’d bought in our previous lives.

Heres the backstory: In 2005, I was a single mom with a little boy. My husband was a single guy very much focused on his job. I bought a condo in Bucktown, across from the perfect park. My thoughts at the time were: I am sick to death of dealing with landlords. I want a place to call my own. Besides, I’ll never get married again. Nope. No. Never. At about the same time, my now-husband bought a condo too, a short drive away from the university where he devoted most of his time pre-family.

But you know how it goes: If you want to make God fall into fits of laughter, make plans. Not being in touch with one another – for years – neither of us could have ever imagined that we’d meet up once again, after years and years, fall in love, marry, welcome our beautiful daughter, set off on the family path together. So we bought our condos, each of us closing on them, unknowingly, within the span of a same year.

And then of course, we re-met and the rest is history. And yes, we are still stuck with those same condos.

Because property values dropped so tremendously, it would have been silly to sell. It was decided that we’d rent them out and wait out this housing crisis. So far and with much luck, we have found great tenants: We haven’t yet had any middle-of-the night phone calls regarding broken water heaters, nor have we had tenants defaulting on rent. Finance-wise, we break a little over even. So we could call these two condos investment properties that we really wish we had never invested in. Nevertheless, every time the leases come up for renewel, we fall into a sort of panic mode, hoping our tenants will resign.

Last week, I received a real estate listing: someone in my old building is selling a unit similar to mine. The listing price is close to what I paid for mine way back when. You’d better believe I’m watching that listing like a hawk, hoping it gives me some hope.

Someday, we’re hoping that these two condos will pay off. If anything, the kids will one day have access to some pretty cool bachelor and bachelorette pads.

post signature

1 comment:

  1. My thoughts exactly on my place! alicia