Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

Home Buying
by James Glaser
May 30, 2009

Time goes by so fast. I think I sold my home in Minnesota three years ago, but it might have been two. Since that time I have been renting, and enjoying it. Something breaks, well I call and it is fixed. There is a storm and limbs come down, somebody else picks them up. Ah, it is the good life, this renting, but I have had enough of it.

The last few months have been filled with house hunting, and believe me, there are lots of houses out there to look at. This past week we made a deal on a house we think is the right one. Remember now, this is Florida, and people think of Florida as the home of expensive homes. Well, that is no longer true. People are moving out in droves, and of the last 21 homes we looked at, only one had a person living in it.

Here is what we are buying. A three bedroom, two bath, brick home on 1.65 acres. It was built in 1994, and only one person ever owned it. I looked hard, and the only thing I could find wrong was a hairline crack in a bathroom sink, and a crack in a by-fold door in the hall way. The living room has a vaulted ceiling and a rock fireplace. The kitchen is a bit small, but it has nice stainless appliances that are about two years old. The water in the well tastes good, the yard is filled with trees, little gardens, and it has been kept up nicely.

The price? $125,000.

The housing bubble has burst here in Florida and prices have tumbled down. We could have bought any number of 3/2 homes on an acre for around a 100 grand, but we were looking for that house that looked just right for us. The house we found is clean and neat and ready to move in to. We don't have to paint, we don't have to buy new carpet, we don't have to landscape the yard.

We do however have to put in a car port. And, this part I really love, I have to build myself a studio to work in. Ideas are flowing through my mind, but every option is still open.

Like I said, there are lots and lots of empty homes in Florida, and the prices are low. They might go even lower, and that is the chance we are taking by buying now. I believe that inflation is coming. That makes me think that by buying a home now, and paying for it with inflated dollars, we are going to come out ahead.

We are not buying with the idea of flipping this house. Our payment will be way less than what we are paying for rent. Truth be told, I need to buy a house, just for the exercise I'll get. I need, and I want to work on a yard again. I want to put in a garden that is in the ground, not in pots and containers. I want to build a potting shed and build a fence around the garden. I want to plant fruit trees and put up grape trellises. And yes, I want to pick up the limbs that fall in a storm.

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