Today on the plane I opened a chocolate and was greeted with this message:
This could mean anything, right? Depending on where you are in your life, “Make the first move” could be aimed at your love life, a project at work, or something else completely. It could mean that it is the time to stop procrastinating and start doing. In fact, that is exactly what it meant for me. And last week I FINALLY made the first move.
This past Friday I told my boyfriend, John, that I am moving out of our place and back to my city condo for the month of August. In an effort to keep this post as short and sweet as my chocolate message (my first attempt was 3k words!), I won’t go into the intricate details of what led me to this decision, but I will tell you that it took MONTHS to get to this point. Though it sounds counterproductive, I needed a certain amount of discomfort to push me out of my comfort zone. Last week I hit it. And then the rest miraculously fell into place.
First, a bit of backstory…
I have many rules when buying real estate but only two will stop a deal dead in its tracks:
- Must allow dogs at least 65lbs
- Must allow rentals
The dog rule is based on my current situation. As an investor, I have learned never to buy a property that I myself can not or would not live in. I have a 65lb dog, therefore, every unit I buy until Bubs is gone will allow 65lb dogs. No exceptions. When my world fell apart a few years back, it was nice to know I had one remaining rental that I could take shelter in. Had that unit not allowed dogs, I would have had to find then rent a new apartment adding a ton of stress to an already debilitating situation. I am so grateful that wasn’t the case.
Rule #2 is just as important. Based on previous experience, I have also learned that I can not trust myself to make long-term housing decisions – I move often and enjoy the flexibility to do so. Based on that nomadic nugget, some would wonder why I don’t just rent. I can’t explain the reasoning except to say that the one year I had to rent (after owning for the 10 years prior), it made me miserable knowing I was paying someone else’s mortgage every time I wrote a check. I know there are many who can/will argue the other side of the coin but this is what works for me. 🙂
Anywho, a few years back (during the shitty year of paying someone else’s rent) when I saw my upstairs neighbor was selling their unit at an insanely low price. I simply couldn’t refuse. Based on my then-recent short sales, I knew I couldn’t get a mortgage so instead, I sold all my company stock, cashed in my Roth, and gathered every dime I could in order to purchase the unit. After the closing, I was left with $6000 to my name and a 401k just shy of $100k. My total net worth equaled $105k plus a shiny set of keys to my new condo.
Now, I had lived in the building on and off for the past 10+ years so I was well aware of the 25% rental cap when I bought my studio. What that basically means is that 25% of the units are slated for rentals while the other 75% of units must be owner-occupied. I purchased my unit knowing I would be breaking Rule #2 – I could not rent this unit – and I was more than OK with that. My plan was to stay for several years and someday turn my live in studio into an investment property. In October 2014, a few days after purchasing the unit, I called the management company and gladly took position #24 on the standby rental list.
Of course, as Murphy loves to fuck up a good plan, I met John a week after signing the papers and grabbing those keys. My grandiose idea to continue my life as a home owning, bike riding, happy hour drinkin’, Whole Foods shopping city girl slowly morphed into a flat renting, car driving, kid shuttling, Aldi shopping suburbanite. What the…
But back to the present because, so far, none of this is the weird part. Here it is – after a full year of letting my place sit vacant while wondering if I should sell or wait to be able to rent it, within ONE HOUR of telling John I was moving to the city in an effort to fix the place up and prep it for the impending sale or rent, the management company called me and told me I was finally granted permission to rent. Huh?!
I had been on that list for 31 freaking months and as soon as I stopped waiting for something to happen, as soon as I made a decision to move forward with the part that I could control, the Universe stepped in to tell me I was on the right path. That is fucking weird. The same type of weird that happens when you think about someone you haven’t talked to in a coon’s age and they finally call you or text you out of the blue. Weird. And then it gets weirder.
I am rarely on FB. It isn’t my jam. Many of you know me from Twitter alone (and if you popped over to read this, THANKS!). That being said, we recently had a family reunion so I jumped on FB specifically to make sure no one had tagged me in any embarrassing pictures for the whole world to see. They didn’t. However, again, just HOURS after getting notified that I was granted permission to rent out my unit, my mother tags me in this post from my condo building’s FB group:
What the… I acted fast! With a quick bit of research, I realized that the $800/month I was thinking to rent my place for was way under budget for the current going rate closer to $1000/month. A few minutes later I text Sarah with all the details (including the unbeknownst to her 25% rent hike) and soon we had plans to meet the next week for a showing of her possibly soon to be new apartment. She even agreed to the $1000/month rental price and seemed super excited (maybe I asked too little? 😉 )! The Universe had intervened yet again.
Seriously. So much good is happening that it makes me want to cry!
It’s funny – all my months (years!) of dragging my feet on this unit and the indecision I created surrounding it, all came to a head at the same moment. The moment that I decided to stop waiting for a sign. The moment where I decided I am OK without a safety net. The moment I decided to let the chips fall where they may. The moment I decided to make the first move.
Is it possible that had I not had this conversation with John the management company may have called anyway? Yup. Is it possible I would still be heading to the city to do all the work of packing, selling, painting, and repairing regardless? Yup. But that isn’t how it happened in my head. For me, I took responsibility for something that had been irking me for a while. I stopped waiting and started acting. I practiced what I preach about being proactive instead of reactive. And everything fell into place at the exact same time. I believe the word for such a rare and beautiful occurrence is kismet.
I am telling this story to encourage others to MAKE THE FIRST MOVE. Gather all your strength and courage and take the first step. Don’t be afraid to shake things up. Stop waiting for something to happen and start making it happen. Stop wondering what could be and start making it be. If you are not happy with your work, your relationship, or your living situation, SPEAK UP. Someone is listening. If you believe in God, he’s listening. If you believe in the Universe, it’s listening. And if you believe in yourself enough to silence every other naysaying voice around you, you too can be listening to what it is YOU really want. Do not wait another minute. Life is short. Too short to spend months or years wondering what comes next. Make it happen instead.
** Where do you need to make the first move? What have you been procrastinating that needs a bit of a push? What are you waiting for??? 🙂 **
Until next time…