Sunday, November 7, 2010

home-free to home-base in a gajillion 'easy' steps

this evening, my younger brother seth and I are going to have a business dinner where we get together and talk seriously, man to semi-man, about buying a house together in chicago. Most likely in the Logan Square neighborhood of which he is already a resident. For some reason, in the past 6 months, the number of houses that have been foreclosed on in that area has gone from no more than 50 to over 300, at least according to the real estate website im wont to frequent these days. Now im not so sure that trying to purchase a house in foreclosure is the best idea out there, but im optimistic that if those properties become bank owned, they will be sold at a price closer to the amount left on the mortgage than to the amount they would have sold for even last year. The plan is to start researching and get a real estate agent who's willing to help look, and find a house near the blue line that is a 2-flat (or a duplex for non-chicagoans) for $100,000 (or less) so the mortgage, when locked into a 4% interest rate for 30 years, is manageable. The thing that will make this a two person job is the property taxes. on a house with so much square footage in the city we are looking at $5000 a year, most likely. However, if we have a house with 2 units (one for each of us) and each unit has 2 bedrooms, and either of us ever wants to have a roommate, then 'rent' for each of us living there would be obscenely cheap. The thing is, tho, finding a house at this price usually means finding one in pretty bad shape. I am more than happy to put in the sweat equity this sort of place requires, tho. im looking for a project to keep me busy and settled in one place for a while. Again, the eternal optimist in me says that working on a place, somewhat slowly as I can figure out how to fix it up and amass the money to do it, would be really fun. Seth of course referenced the movie 'the money pit' with tom hanks which is hilarious if you dont own a house and spirit breaking if you are thinking about buying a fixer-upper.
My motives for buying a house are mostly based on the two parts of my personality that have the hardest time coexisting and allowing me to stay sane: my host and my traveler. My host, who has been laying dormant for a year and a half now while ive been a non-stop guest, is so very ready to have a place of their own to nest in and be a homebody and have people over all of the time, visitors who need a place to stay, friends coming over for dinner, community events like house shows and game nights and potlucks and crafternoons and book clubs and any other events I can think up. My traveler, who is close to having their fill of my current lifestyle, will soon pop up again, tempting me away from the life my host has created, no matter how wonderful, and convincing me there are more places to see and things to explore and ways of living to experience, which I know I wont be able to resist. But i can at least lessen the difficulty when said situation arises by living in a place that isnt too expensive to be able to pay 'rent' and still have money to travel. Or a place that I could rent out my unit of, know that seth is still there to take care of his share, and go away for a time. Like, spend summers in seattle or berkeley or detroit or nyc or wwoofing somewhere across the globe, or spend a year writing in a garret in paris, or london, or edinburgh, or cinqueterra, italy. (none of these are out of my ken, as I have seriously thought about each of them and only wwoofing have I not had first-hand knowledge of) or simply give myself the amount of time and space I need to sit still in a room by myself, listening to the voices in my head and getting them down on paper in a way that will actually lend itself toward publication, which is a kind of going away in itself.
point being, I could have a place that was always my home that was set up specifically so that I wouldnt have to leave it outright in order to go away for a time. Which would mean I would have a place to come back to (aside from my parents house which at 32 is getting a little silly) that is near the fam (especially the little fox cub mentioned in my previous post who has more to do with my choice of location than im ready to deal with) not to mention all the amazing and lovely people ive known for so long who, by virtue of being midwesterners, are a remarkably loyal bunch, and (so I have been told multiple times already) absolutely love the idea of chicago being my chosen and legitimate home-base. Cuz thats who I am: not a person with a home, necessarily (as proved in my home-free nature these days), but one with a home-base. In fact, I might proffer that as a name for our house. Home base, where the mastermind behind homeroom lives, where recording projects of various kinds are happening in the basement and attic, where sometimes the two hermits in the two units never go outside or see the other one unless one of them remembers to make dinner and thinks to share it, and where sometimes the house is full to the brim with people staying over to catch up, eat up, fix up, store up for winter, share stories, and sing songs, all the while creating something beautiful and just maybe getting it down on paper, film, tape, digital file, canvas, or wall, either for just themselves or to share with others. If you want to be part of my home base, for any length of time, lemme know. Im taking applications now. ;) everyone is welcome to visit, stay, and collaborate; help fix, cook, garden, create; bring along their ideas, energies, plans, projects, productions, and progeny. If I will have visited you in my 2 years of travel, you are required to come stay with me so i can repay you in kind, you have an open invitation. if i havent made it out to see you i apologize and desperately want you to come to me so i can make it up to you. in other words: everyone, anywhere, come. If im there, you are welcome. If im not, you are still welcome. get the keys from seth and make yourself at home.
[of course, this is all contingent on our plans tonight coming to fruition in the next 8 months, and there is a lot that can go awry between a planning dinner and closing, but...] *I want this.* And have for a long time. Just didnt know where or how or when. The best solution I could find is here, in the recession with seth, now. I will let you know how its coming and send out invitations when my host has finally gotten his way.


rayvanfox said...

ps- i made it easier to comment on posts. have at it.

saunia said...

champ and pal take chicago, 30 years in the making.

Rochelle said...

1. your host has not been entirely dormant lo, these two years you have traveled. ray van host definitely spent some time with us in new hamster, when we threw parties and had dinners with folks.

2. you mean we can come visit and repay YOU for all you did for us while you were here. how lucky we are to have been along your trail.