Sanctuary 2.0: Why Would I Ever Leave?

I almost bought a condo this month. Almost. It was 95 percent perfect, but aside from having a deck that faced a busy parkway instead of the mountains, it was also $8,000 over the max I wanted to pay. That really only adds about $50/month to my mortgage payment, so I was willing to go for it. But when the seller refused to fix anything I asked for in the inspection objection and refused to come down in price, I walked away. She hadn’t advertised the place as-is and the place had been on the market for several months, which is unheard of in Boulder, but she didn’t want to play ball. And two weeks after I terminated our contract, she still doesn’t have another offer.

Perhaps that’s a sign of better opportunities to come and the best thing for me to do is wait another year. Interest rates have gone up and houses are sitting on the market longer. Lots of people think we’re in for a correction. Let’s hope so. With a median home price in Boulder of $732,000, how can prices go any higher? Every single place that has come on the market in central Boulder in the last two weeks has been over $450,000. And these aren’t fancy places. A lot of these haven’t been renovated in decades and are just absolute cheap crap inside. Some don’t even have assigned parking or aren’t configured for in-unit washers and dryers. Who is buying them? And $830,000 for a fancy one-bedroom, 1,038 square foot condo? $800 per square foot! Come on, Boulder. Gross.

As of writing this post, there are 115 properties for sale in Boulder proper. Three of those are in my price range and are not affordable housing, which I don’t qualify for. Three. And only one of those is bigger than a shoebox. And that one? Well, that community doesn’t allow dogs. So there you have it. There’s literally nothing for me to buy in Boulder.

So why don’t I leave Boulder proper, you might ask. There are gorgeous, renovated spacious two-bedroom condos all over Gunbarrel and Broomfield and Lafayette and even a rare one or two in Louisville that are significantly under my max price. Well, I just don’t want to. Except for when I’m travelling or in the mountains, my entire life is in downtown Boulder. I can’t find the incentive to leave. Here’s what I’ve got right now.

  • A two-bedroom, single family home, which means no shared walls, no one above or below me, and no stairs for my old dog to have to descend and climb to go out
  • A large fenced yard (that I’m not responsible for maintaining) for my dog, which means he can lie out there for hours at a time, he can come and go as he pleases when I’m home, and I don’t have to walk him when it’s pouring rain or I’m having a super lazy Saturday morning
  • Private parking for three cars, which means I might be buying myself a Vespa for my birthday this year
  • A downtown location with a five-minute drive to work and most other places I go in Boulder, which frees up a ton of my time and puts most places within walking distance when the weather is good
  • A monthly rent that is about $800 per month cheaper than my total mortgage payment (including HOA fees, property tax, etc) would be at my max price and no financial responsibility for anything that breaks in the house, which means more vacations

Why would I give all this up for a condo in a place I don’t really want to live just because it seems like someone my age is supposed to own and not rent? Why would I ever leave? I don’t think I will. I’ve signed on for a third year in the Little House on the Prairie and I’m very happy with my decision. And, of course, so is Trotsky.

5 Comments

  1. I meant to comment when you first posted this, but something must have distracted me. (That happens a lot these days.) Anyway, I think you are smart to listen to your gut telling you that you wouldn’t be happy living in a suburb or wherever the homes are affordable. For some of us, WHERE we live is incredibly important… right down to the neighborhood. I could live much closer to work than I do, and I certainly don’t like my commute on many winter days, but I adore my house, my neighbors, my neighborhood, and my proximity to everything my community has to offer. I’d never give it up. Something will come along for you to buy. Or it won’t. Either way, you seem to know your own mind and err on the side of whatever makes you happiest. That’s a good plan.

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