Friday, May 23, 2008

Number Crunching

To tell you a little bit about some of the methods I am going use to get my $900 a month, I need to give you a little more background about me and my financial situation.

When the ex and I got married we each had a house. His was a 3 unit - a home that had been converted into 3 apartments. Mine was a little cabin in the woods on a lake. When we first moved in together we lived in one of his apartments, but in time we needed more space. That's when we bought "the marital home." The house had everything we wanted - it was in the neighborhood I loved, it had the three stall garage he wanted, it was in the right price range, it was a two unit, there was a great space for a garden, it would be perfect for entertaining... and so on. I have to admit though, that despite the fact that it was everything we wanted it still felt really cold to me. Maybe it was the big rooms or the dark paint colors, maybe it was the foreshadowing of a doomed marriage. I don't know. I will say though that it just never felt like home to me.

As mentioned before, when he and I split we came to an agreement that each of us would keep our own properties and then the house would go to him. So, now that the house is reverting to me - I will have two properties. I've been debating about what to do with my cottage. I love it there. I love it the way that some people love their children. It is where I am the happiest. But, if I were to sell it, I'd have another $700 in the bank - and this blog would be about coming up with an $200 not $900 a month. Selling the cottage is on the big list of ways to save and make more money, but it isn't high on the list for a couple of reasons. The first, and most true reason, is simply because I don't want to. Being there brings me peace and joy like very little else in my life. The second reason is that the cottage would need some remodeling to make it show well. The changes are mostly cosmetic, but would really impact my selling price. It's the kind of thing where $2,000 invested in it might net $10,000. Before it goes on the market, if it does, it would be worth fixing it up a bit more. The third is that it isn't as though putting it on the market would bring me instant cash - I really don't know if it would sell right away. The place next door was for sale for months.

That doesn't mean, however, that the cottage can't be leveraged to provide income. I am thinking very seriously of trying to rent it out for a couple of weeks in July, August and September. It's on a fishing lake, not a good swimming lake, and as I say - it needs a little work. But I remember the cottages my family I rented during the summer when I was a kid. They were always clean, but outdated and in need of remodeling. If I could rent it for $400 - $500 a week for two weeks out of the summer months, it would provide me the money I need - and the cottage then is essentially paying for itself. I am also thinking about renting out long weekends in the fall or winter. Doesn't a romantic weekend up north in a tiny cabin in the woods with the leaves falling down and a big fire in the wood stove sound nice? Or maybe I could rent it to friends who are writers and artists for a little weekend of solitude in the winter. I really think it has possibilities.

But first - there is work to be done! This weekend I am heading up with a big notebook in hand to start making a list of what needs to be worked on. Then I am going to set up a weekend and invite all my friends to come up in June and help me get it rental-ready. After that will be advertising. I have already looked online at Craigslist and other local rental sites to get an idea of what will be involved. I am really excited about the possibilities.

So here you have it, step number one in getting my $900 a month and fighting foreclosure!

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