Monday, August 4, 2008

Cabin Fever

Last month's victory has been moved down the sidebar, now it is onto August. I start this month with only my bank interest earned last month. It looks so puny there! It reminds me of how far I have to go.

So, this weekend I spent time up at my cottage. You know, one easy way to save the money I need each month would be to simply sell the cottage. If I were to do that, I could probably save close to the $900 I need each month. Between not spending money on the mortgage, utilities, gasoline and maintenance, I wouldn't need to struggle. Here I am - a single woman with two houses - what am I thinking???

Well, I won't deny it. I have thought about selling the cottage more than a few times. Back when I first started this whole venture in May - determined to try to come up with the money I need to keep myself afloat and out of foreclosure - I made a massive list. It was a list of everything I could do to earn more money and make all my bills. When I was done I put it in order - ranking it from easiest to hardest. Down near the bottom, right by borrowing money from family, was selling the cottage.

Selling the cottage isn't simple though. There are a number of reasons why I don't do it, some that are emotional, some that are practical. I'll put them behind the cut though - since one of them shows a less than pretty side of my personality:

Reasons I don't sell the cottage:

1. It is a heck of an investment property. I bought it severely under value. The gentleman I bought it from had found it when it was abandoned. He got it for a song, then did a bunch of work on it, then lent it to a tenant... who trashed it. When I came along he was going through a nasty divorce and had no desire to make any profit on the property, (if he did, he'd have to split it with his soon-to-be ex wife.) So I paid only what the mortgage was - $72,000. Properties in this area (on much, much smaller lots) are selling for $85,000 - $135,000. My place still needs some work, but even the last loan officer I had said it was a great property. Since I bought it, I have done a lot of work and the work continues. I haven't had it appraised in awhile, but I have no doubt that were I to sell it, I could do very well.

2. It is my haven. When I head up to the cottage all the stress and tension from my day to day life sort of melts away. It is so beautiful there, with the trees and the water - nature all around. I don't feel that way in town. There I am truly happy. This weekend I stayed through Sunday night and got up this morning to drive in to work. It hurt to leave - it always does. While I know in my head it is just a piece of land with house on it, I could sell it now and buy another one down the road... my heart is still very attached to that particular ground, to that particular house.

3. It has potential for passive income. One of the things I would like to do is eventually rent it out for the occasional week or weekend. I was hoping to do that this summer, but it still isn't quite ready. However, if I were to get it into shape, there is the possibility that it could help pay for itself. It seems foolish to sell an asset with that potential if it is possible to avoid it.

4. I don't feel like I have gotten all I can out of it. I still feel like there are things to explore, things to do, days to while away in the hammock. When I am "done" with things, I can sell them, but I am just not "done" with the cottage yet. If I had to sell it, I could, but if there is any way I can hold onto it, I will.

5. It may not be necessary. I don't want to sell the place until I am really down to the bottom of my list and desperate. If I can come up with the $900 a month I will be fine, I can support both homes. Finding passive income streams, saving money, doing what I have been doing, I think I can make this happen without selling it. (In fact, in May of next year my car will be paid off - that's another $300 per month.) It would be shame to sell the place I love just because I have to struggle a little harder the next couple of years. The cottage increases my quality of life, and that is awfully hard to put a price tag on.

And finally, the reason I am a touch ashamed of, but will confess none-the-less:

6. Pride. When my ex and I split, the deal was that he take the house and his rental property. I take my cottage. He welched on his end of the deal, now I have the house and the cottage. I have always suspected that part of the reason he did it was because he wanted to hurt me - and the only way he could was by making me sell the cottage. I am not very proud of the fact that my pigheadedness is one of the factors that keeps me going - the desire to prove to people I can do this, even in the face of some pretty stiff odds. I refuse to allow anyone to make me do something I don't want to do. If and when I sell the cottage I want it to be on my terms, because I have decided it is the right course of action - not because someone else tries to put me in a corner.

My therapist regularly reminds me that I have choices, when I start to feel overwhelmed and frustrated with all this money stuff. Sometimes I have to remind myself that she is right - I am in the situation I am in because I chose it, and as difficult as it may be sometimes, it is all mine by right.

Photo by mart3ll

And here is the rest of it.


passivefamilyincome said...

Dawn - I like point #3 that you make. I was going to suggest trying to rent it out for long weekends or vacations. Have you done any research on what it would take?

Anonymous said...

I agree can you start renting it out?