Monday, April 21, 2008

Simmer Down Now

List of things we'll have to do before moving to parts southward and beachward:

1. Get our house in shape to sell. This probably includes getting a new roof.
2. Hope the housing market improves while we wait so we can make a little moving money.
3. Get our finances in order.
4. Get jobs in our intended destination.

This is all going to take at least one year. And as much as I'd love to pick up and run the day school gets out this year, I know we can't do that. It could realistically be two years before we can go, but that's my absolute deadline. Calvin has two years before starting middle school, so that could work well anyway.

I know that some of you are having a hard time understanding our motives or my view of Memphis. A lot of the current mood is the direct result of a rash of armed robberies that have affected people close to us. Once a gun enters the picture, it becomes harder not to think about how easily things could go horribly wrong. I don't feel scared all the time; I do feel fairly certain that my time will come, and that odds are that my kids will be with me when it happens. That's just unacceptable to me. Why would I choose to live in a city that had about 150 homicides last year when I can live in a city that had one. One homicide. And the beach! It's ugly here. It's beautiful there. I have always said and felt that life is too short not to live in a beautiful place. It just feels like a no-brainer to me.


Rita.the.bookworm said...

[ I have always said and felt that life is too short not to live in a beautiful place. It just feels like a no-brainer to me.]

That's how I feel, too. Good luck with your decisions and your preparations.

Arthur Low (Junkyard) said...

I have no problem understanding your motives or view of Memphis (push factors). However, if I may kindly add a little more of a dose of reality to the motivations (strategy) and methods (tactics) of moving __TO__ Florida (pull factors)

1) The housing market will NOT improve. Either way personal credit is already dead in the water (try doing a 2nd / HELOC lately? try doing a no-doc 90-95% LTV loan lately?), and even if on a worse-case scenario housing gets nationalized you'd find that as a taxpayer you're on the hook for it. Housing are cheaper and the bottom is still NOT in, so in Florida you may face current and future bargains, but that would mean your house would suffer a larger spread (wholesale mortgage auctions have been getting a 70+% failure of BLOCKS of houses offered at 5c to the dollar). Way too much to write, but look up "Mr Mortgage" on Youtube and seek a peer to understand the internals of what is yet to come.

2) Sell first, rent to bridge, then buy. I've known quite a few families already trapped inverting this process with the assumption that a loss in value of existing assets. Moving on with the same assumption that your existing house will sell AFTER you buy one upon moving south will put you in no better shape that those already underwater in overall finances.

3) Get job first, above ALL else, and irregardless of whether or not you have bought a house. If you're not on mortgage, power to you but watch your purchasing power for stuff that will eat it daily (food, water, energy, etc). If you're on mortage and you buy first, you have only to look at the number of people that are literally renting off "their" houses which are actually owned by the banks. Securing steady income is a race condition against many others also seeking employment in the current trend of increasing private sector unemployment (we have HAD 2 quarters of increasing unemployment already... TMI).

Having very little understanding of the numbers behind the current crisis looking forward would make such plans very futile at best. Apologies for sounding very doomish, but I've found your realism to be still a little short from the actual one.

p.s. outlook of guns may need to change as well. Instead of depending on others (safer cities/towns/communities and closer to law enforcement)? What if your assumptions for such security backstops can be broken and actually unavailable? As a parent one may want to extend options to self-protect one's children as well.

RJA said...

4) carve out a large block of time to leave comments on people's blogs.

Kristy said...

Wow, thanks for the advice. Some points to ponder:

1. Everything I know about the housing market, I did not learn from youtube.

2."Irregardless" is not a word.

3."Housing are"??

4.It's good to know that as an English teacher, I enjoy considerable job security.

5.Having lived on my own and supported myself since I was seventeen, I think I have a pretty good grasp of how to keep a roof over my head and food on the table. I've been masquerading as an adult for 18 years now, after all.

Arthur Low (Junkyard) said...

1. Apologies. English is NOT my first language.

2. I used youtube as a simplified means to convey the housing situation right now. Buying on hope that housing prices will improve or anything even close to the assumption that it will improve is dangerous, and that is the concern I have for you. In full context : read and digest for yourself why the housing problem is far from over from a (your) fellow american mortgage broker/dealer :

3. (cc:rja) I'm a friend of a friend of yours, and trolling around people's blogs is not my favourite pasttime. All the best

katherine said...

What's going on with the housing market? I haven't heard!

ExCareerGal said...

Though I will be sorry for you to go, I completely get why. I am also jealous. I was looking around in the Fall and found I would have to give up time with my kids to move. Any new job would make bigger demands on my face time than my current one where I can work from home a lot. So to move for the kid's benefit, but to not see the kids as much is a tough choice. So for now I am here in Memphis.


Sweet Sassy Molassy said...

Okay, Arthur, sorry if I came off a little harshly. I think you assumed a few things that I did not actually say, though.
I am hoping the market will be good enough for us to sell our house, and even selling at a modest price will assure us of at least a small profit because we have been in our house for ten years and its value has increased. We are already likely to sell sooner and rent here for a while before we leave. We are not planning to buy a house during the first year in Florida.

I'm sure you meant well. You just came across kinda know-it-all-y.

Shannon said...

arthur is a dear friend of mine. he has a very different perspective from us in the states (perhaps a wider global view) having lived in a number of countries. i must admit to not understand him all of the time (not because of his grasp on english--which is excellent) but because he thinks about matters far above my head.

i assure you, he means well. one of the nicest guys i have ever met.

Anonymous said...

I went back to Memphis to take my two oldest children to Mud Island and to show them Elmwood (which, incidentally, is one of my most favorite places on Earth). We are still planning a Pink Palace run, but I'm not sure I can stomach going back to that place. Not the Pink Palace, but Memphis.

While visiting, I couldn't believe what Memphis had become. I trolled the old neighborhood and even spun past Kirby. It was depressing to the degree that can only compare to the loss of a loved one. I used to love Memphis and now I'm ashamed to tell my children that this is where I grew up. I'm now near Nashville and, at the risk of being called a redneck, I enjoy the life I've created in the semi-rural South.

I don't blame you one bit for leaving Memphis. I'm amazed that you have toughed it out as long as you have. It seems that your wisdom has overtaken your fortitude. Memphis is, put simply, a bad place. To see such glorious history be savagely destroyed through ignorance, inaction, and indifference is a sad statement and only goes to show that my theory that the decline of the Western Civilation is moving along full steam ahead (and sadly picking up speed).

Ok, now that I'm off of my soap box, I wish you well on your migration south. I lived in Fort Walton Beach for about 5 years and fell in love with Pensacola and the surrounding area. I've talked with the wife about moving the brood to that area and she was a lot more receptive than I expected her to be.

Sounds like your move is long overdue.

I can't believe you mentioned "Judge Crater". I haven't heard that in years. You cleared out a few of the always thickening cobwebs that have been spun in my brain.