King Rat (gkr) wrote,
King Rat

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Nightmare on Second Street

I started working for Pacific Simulation in April 1995. My first salary was $18,000 a year. However, after a three-month probationary period I got a raise to $30,000. Just barely enough to buy a house. But I didn't have the job history to qualify for a loan. But by summer of 1996 I had a year there, and started looking for a house. Equity, I thought! No more paying money to the evil landlords and getting nothing in return.

By September, I had found the place I wanted, and made an offer. Then I had the laborious process of qualifying for a loan. I had the money. Turns out the bank Latah Federal Credit Union wanted an extreme amount of documentaiton. Primarily, they wanted to make sure I wasn't borrowing my down payment. And they wanted to make sure that, even though I had a bank statement covering the down payement, that I still wasn't borrowing the down payment and leaving my bank account untouched. So I had to document the trail of money from one bank to another, after I wrote the earnest money check from a different bank account. All that took me nearly two months. But on November 1st, I was able to move into my house.

The directions I gave to people to find the place were as follows: drive to Deary, it's the first house on the left. Deary isn't a big place. The welcome to Deary sign across the highway from my place said population 529. Or maybe 519. I forget. My place sits on about 8 acres of hillside leading up to the town cemetary. I love the space. I could go sit on the hillside at night and watch the stars. Deer and elk would be in my yard in the morning to eat the crabapples. I acquired a dog from a friend, lovingly named Runt-Dog. I put up a rope between two of my trees and hooked his lead to it. He was an Alaskan Husky. He liked to run. He had about 200 feet he could go. I had to return him though after he made a habit of escaping and eating townspeople's chickens.

While the location was nice, the house left something to be desired. The previous owners said that the basement got damp in the winter. The home inspector said there was probably more water than that. It was worse. In the spring, the water table of the hill pooled against my porous foundation, and the basement would fill with somewhere between 2 inches and 2 feet of water, depending on the weather. One day, I even came home to find the fire department outside my place. My roommate, Chip, had been startled by an explosion downstairs. The basement had filled up with so much water it put out the natural gas furnace (converted from a coal furnace) and the cool water caused part of the iron monstrosity to pop very loudly was it chilled. Thinking the place was about to go up in a ball of flame, he called the fire department before anyone realized what happened. As it was, it wasn't so bad a thing. The fire trucks have pumps. And it took only about 15 minutes for them to pump out the 2 feet of water I previously didn't know the place could contain. The next morning I got a sump pump because the floor drain couldn't keep up.

Other things were wrong with the house. No insulation. At one point or another, all three sources of heat broke. Luckily, not all at the same time. I got field mice. As problems go, that wasn't so big. First I got Eve to take care of that, and then when she got run over, Guinevere replaced her as my mouse-napper. Later, after I moved out, the chimney even fell off.

In May 1998, I took a job in Boise. Thinking I would move back within a couple of years, I decided to rent the house. The first renter was Nikki something or the other. She went by Jewl online. And sometimes in person too. See, not just goths like to rename themselves with stupid made-up names. She was a friend of a friend. I got the first month's rent check before I left, and never saw another dime from her. Not only that, she ran up a $500 phone bill in the month after I was there before I had it shut off. She was gone by the end of the summer, and she left the place trashed.

My next set of renters, I don't recall how I acquired. Again, I got the first month's rent from them. The agreement I had with them was that I would knock off any work they did on the place off their rent. I never saw another check. They ended up trashing the place as well.

I left the place empty for three months. I contacted a realtor and started the paperwork to list and sell the place. Then I got a call from Marama Platt. She was a friend or co-worker or something like that. I forget exactly. She needed a place and wondered if she could rent my place. So I agreed, and stopped the realtor stuff. She and her sister lived there for a year and a half. I saw less than $1,000 in rent from them. And then in the dead of winter they moved out without telling me. First I knew of it was when I got a call from the City of Deary about a $300 water bill. Turned out they left all the faucets off the my pipes froze. The place flooded. My neighbor found it and shut off the water when the city came out to see what was up.

I left the place empty since then. Occasionally the town high schoolers break in and drink in there. The chimney fell down. People tried to run off with property. I was mostly hoping the place would burn down and I'd get the insurance and be done with it.

I started looking at selling it again a couple of years ago. Contacted the realtor, but when I got the paperwork to do the listing, I never opened it. Couldn't face what a monumental idiot I'd been for not selling immediately when I moved. Turned out when I opened the envelope last year that they figured they could sell it for $80,000, if I fixed a bunch of things. I paid $100,000.

Like being unable to open the envelope, the house became the pink elephant my friends weren't to talk about with me. Jason brought it up occasionally, and I'd give very short answers along the lines of I don't want to talk about it. He'd occasionally suggest we go over to the house. I always said, I don't want to. The ostrich approach doesn't solve the problem of course, but it does have one benefit: I wasn't as aware of the axe aimed at my neck and thus I didn't fret about it as long as I didn't think about it.

Twice over the last couple of years I got contacted by people who wanted to rent. In the first case, his income seemed sketchy just from his description. The second time was this spring. The girl's income seemed solid. I didn't need the money from the rent. Been paying the mortgage despite it sitting empty. If I was gonna rent the place to someone, I wanted someone who could support themselves on the theory they'd take better care of my house than the previous renters. And they'd be less hassle. The lack of hassle was really the driving thing. She sent me her particulars, and I was about to start calling them to verify when I looked at her supervisor at her job. Same last name. She worked for her mom. Who she also was living with. Who wanted her out of the house. Nope, couldn't rely on her mom to tell me the truth about her income. Then I got a called from the neighbors: was I going to rent to J? They were quite upset as she was a local druggie and they didn't want that near their kids. I told them I wasn't going to rent to her, as I was unsure of the income. In the chit-chat, he expressed an interest in buying the place.

Which brings me to the point of my story. It's sold. It's done. I have a check in hand. He's bought the place. I can pull my head out of the ground. Out of my ass, if you will. I took a bath on the place. But I did get more than I owe, so that's a plus.

However, that's pretty much my last tie to the area there. I'm assuming I won't ever move back now. Which saddens me, because it's a nice area. Maybe some day I'll go back to school and use my University of Idaho credits. But at this point, I'm assuming it's unlikely. Perhaps I'll visit every so often just to play pool at Mingles, and to pick up a book or two at Bookpeople. And maybe stop in at Extended Hand on Sunday nights if it's still running.

So now I have $700+ a month extra, starting next week. What to do with it? Pay off my car sooner? I got sugar baby offers the last time I posted something about this; take them up on it? Maybe I'll use it to finance a trip overseas? Pay to remodel this place a bit? Get some new computer equipment? Invest in my retirement? I got 6 days to decide what to do with the first one at least.

Tags: personal finance
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