Leaving Home: Stage 3
Ariele M. Huff | Apr 23, 2018, 6 a.m.
Leaving Home—Stage Three
After the holidays, it took us about two cold months (January and February) to begin again feeling that we need to leave Seattle, find a home elsewhere before the $800 per year raises in property taxes and utility prices polished off our savings.
We had accomplished getting Brad out of his job and onto disability and starting me blundering around on Medicare—a debacle that cost me money and time to begin figuring out…not there yet, but better.
By this time, Brad had really determined he couldn’t move to Eastern Washington—the daunting seven-hour trip to places we liked and that had cheap enough houses to woo us and the on again/off again availability of I-90 for trips to see his aging parents.
My initial response was to point out that we’d already combed the west side of Washington and not found any decent prices…ones that would leave us with some cash to ease our retirement onto small fixed incomes. I figured that we needed to find a house in the one hundred thousands to make it. So I wasn’t hopeful as my searches had turned up those only in remote small Eastern Washington towns. I started to look for solutions that would help us stay in our paid for home without going broke.
In the meantime, I’d become somewhat addicted to daydreaming over Zillow and Redfin ads—looking longingly at decent homes for good prices, or even dumps for really cheap, mentally plotting how I’d make those inexpensive places prettier and more functional. Just a pastime.
One day, tired of looking again at Dayton, Walla Walla, and thereabouts, I meandered back down to Olympia where we’d gone to an open house only to find our lengthy drive was wasted…house already with offers, agents not showing up. The traffic, too, was at least as bad as in Seattle.
But, I was bored, so I started looking “around” the area—cheapest houses in the two, three, four, five hundred thousands. Wandering a bit to the west, I began to recall favorite spots I’d visited on trips to the ocean with my parents, then husband and daughter. So many memories. I meandered to Montesano, where we always stopped at the Bee Hive for burgers and malts. Pretty houses, a bit cheaper than around Lacey and Olympia, but still in the two hundred thousands.
Then, I got to Aberdeen and Hoquiam—names that spurred the excitement of “almost to the beach.” Many houses in those towns had prices as good as the small Eastern Washington towns! I found one I couldn’t get out of my head. Big sixties type structure with hardwood floors, a jetted tub and a huge window in the 2nd floor living room—a really unusual house and with a fireplace and hardwood. It was $179,000…more than most of the homes in the center of town, but in an area called Bel Aire…ritzy sounding and still within the higher limits of our budget.
I showed it to Brad, and he fell for it too. We contacted the listing agent and went to see several in the area but ended up putting an offer on our favorite—daydream candy, indeed. The inspection report was a downer…many things needed fixing and the slope of the back yard and concrete patio to the back of the house scared my horticulture savvy hubby. Reluctantly, we let the house go. Other homes in the area, proved either too damaged/old or in the flood zone—a large section of downtown Aberdeen and Hoquiam.