…and just like that, we’re movin’ to California!
Yea, I know, I know. Explains the lack of posts lately, no? It’s been one craaaaaaaaaazy spring! After we wrapped up the office project back in March-ish, the blogging dropped off a cliff simply because I knew what nobody else did – Dr. J was secretly looking for a new job and I was flamboyantly freaking out. And since I knew that we were facing a 50-50 shot at moving, we certainly didn’t want to invest the time in house projects – hence, quiet blog.
But lemme back up. Dr. J is Mr. Smarty-pants. I know this for two reasons: 1) I married him so of COURSE he’s smart – haha! and 2) I hire people like him for a living and I’d kill to have a candidate like him in my back pocket at all times. Well, I kinda do…but that’s another story (MEOW!). Around Christmastime, Dr. J started getting pinged by recruiters for jobs – opportunities here, opportunities there. But since he’s in the tech industry (and by tech, I mean HIGH tech), there really was only one option for him in regards to location and it WASN’T Portland, Oregon. In fact, most of the jobs he was looking into were down in Silicon Valley, i.e. South San Francisco Bay in California. Dr. J got not one, not two, but THREE amazing job offers from three different (all top-notch!) companies. So while it was an INCREDIBLY difficult decision, we recognized that both his and my long-term career prospects are much sunnier in the Silicon Valley than the Willamette Valley. Which means…
We’re moving from here:
…to (roughly) here:
Crazy, right?? I’m still in the “flamboyantly freaking out” phase of this process, but I’m trying to remain calm because I know a cross-country move is inherently easier if you just go with the flow. And since we’ve done it once before at a much greater distance, this is far more do-able than the previous move.
But onto the questions that I’m sure everybody will no doubtless be asking:
The house?? What about the house??? I figured this would be a pretty big question. Hello?? I’ve only spent the past three years gabbing about my greatest hobby!
After much soul-searching we’ve decided to go ahead and keep the house and find a good renter. The main reason being we still want to play “the game” and keep scoring those bitchin’ tax advantages. We also know that there is absolutely no way we could afford to buy a house in California at this point. The real estate market down there is one of the most expensive in the country (more on that later) and we’d rather hang onto this house and rent it out in the hopes that we can sit on that egg for a few more years and hopefully score a few extra bucks when the market improves.
But why aren’t you selling?? You’ve done so much work! You surely should be able to get something for it! Maybe….but maybe not? We talked to our Realtor and her advice was pretty invaluable. While our Realtor believes that we have done beautiful work around the house (she actually said that I should be a Home Stager and give lessons to her other clients – cool!), we’ve merely maintained the value of our house due to the market and not improved it. In other words, if we go to sell it today, we could likely get exactly what we paid for it three years ago. This wasn’t entirely surprising to me. I had always envisioned us being in the house 5-7 years as opposed to just under three and the market just hasn’t recovered that much here in the Portland area for us to get a decent return. That’s why we did some of our major renovations (like the master bathroom and the laundry room) as soon as we could afford to do so after moving in simply because (in my ideal plan) it would have put us as far away from the renovation to the selling process as possible and, hopefully, allow us to gain more value. In other words, if we had gone with the original plan and sold in 2-4 more years, we likely could’ve gotten a pretty sizable bump in value. But the renovations aren’t the problem. If anything, our house is still valued well and above some of our neighbors and shows exceptionally well. The problem is all of the other houses in our neighborhood. A few homes in our neighborhood have gone for some pretty paltry prices recently and that’s largely due to them being distressed/foreclosed/short sales, etc. That’s always a disappointment but that’s entirely outside of our control and not something to get too upset about. So, long story short, if we sell the house at or around our purchase price, add in fees and all that crap, then we’re bringing money to the table and that makes Momma unhappy. Sure, we could likely list high and pray for a bidding war, but then our greatest fear at that point is having the appraisal come back negative (due to the aforementioned foreclosures and distressed properties) and then BAM! Sale falls through and we’re right back to square one. So, no, we’re not going to sell. It’s too much of a gamble at this point. We’re going to lease it, hold onto the property for a few years and then sell in a few years when we feel like we could walk away with a few clams in our back pocket. It’s not a full-proof plan, but it’s a plan nonetheless!
But….you’ve done so much work! How could you give it to a renter??? Yea, I know. I’m kinda sick about it too. But the market just isn’t what it used to be. And, again, I don’t regret ANY of the updates we’ve made to this house. We were able to get a lot of good use out of those renovations and enjoy living here as well! But now it’s going to be a wonderful rental because it’s so beautiful and hopefully somebody will recognize that and be willing to pay for those luxuries that we’ve installed! If we hadn’t made the changes (specifically the laundry room, the master bath and all the upstairs rooms),
I don’t think I know we wouldn’t be able to rent it out for a decent rate. I mean, really, who wouldn’t want to call these spaces their “own”, even if it’s just for rent:
When are you moving? The short answer is sometime between July 16th and the end of the year. Fortunately, Dr. J’s new company is going to go easy on him in regards to when he moves and I fully intend on taking advantage of that as much as possible. He starts July 16th down in California and has to be there for 2 months straight for training, etc. He’s actually down in California *as*we*speak* looking at places to live – *fingers crossed*. I’ll be splitting time between Oregon and California, de-cluttering the house, tending the garden, and getting the house ready for a tenant. Once the autumn hits, we’re going to hit the ground running to find a renter for this house and once we do, then we’re gone-zo! To be sure, everything is so tentative right now, but that’s the basic gist.
Where will you be living in California? Silicon Valley! Ok, for those not in the know, here is a basic map of Silicon Valley and rough locations of a “few” companies that are based there:
Ok, so it’s a really dated map of where all the major tech companies
are were located. Judging from some of the names and logos on this map, I’m imagining this map to be around 10-15 years old. I don’t see Google, Apple or Facebook on here, the Intel logo is O-L-D and Sun Microsystems hasn’t been in that location since Oracle bought them, but you get the gist (and I’m a total DORK for knowing all of that). That whole area is Silicon Valley. At the very top of the map (you can click on it to see it bigger), is San Francisco, which is about an hour or more away from “The Valley” by car. The proverbial “heart” of Silicon Valley is San Jose, California, which is actually the biggest city in the bay area (yes, even larger than San Francisco or Oakland). And, yes, Silicon Valley is actually a VALLEY. There are mountains separating the Valley from the Pacific and from the Central Valley. I have no idea what they’re called, but I’m sure I’ll find out in time :-). Nothing’s been decided yet, but that’s essentially where we’ll be living. Oh, and is it becoming clear that two tech-lovers like us are perfectly suited to living in this area? Our cup literally overfloweth with potential job opportunities for the future. Seriously – can’t beat that! And as I told my parents, if you want to design cars – eventually you have to move to Detroit. This is the same exact thing. Only, if you want to work in the tech industry, eventually you have to live in the Valley. It’s that simple.
What about your job, L-blogger? Oh, I almost forgot to mention this! Fortunately, I work from home anyway and my company is based in Silicon Valley as well so if anything it’s actually helping my career and not hurting it! Their collective response when I said I was moving down to California was, “Great! Now we can see you more often!” I mean, really, we never would have been able to do this if I weren’t already gainfully employed going into living in California. I wasn’t gainfully employed when we moved to Oregon 4 years ago and that was so difficult. I actively left a job in the summer of 2008 only to have the economy tank about 6 weeks later and ruin all chances of me getting a job for another year and a half! Hence, the blog began! The other nice thing is that I have some pretty great banner companies in my background and a TON of associates down in the bay, so I’m geared up to keep both of us gainfully employed at least for the foreseeable future – we make a pretty good team, no?
But California/Silicon Valley/San Francisco is so expensive!! Whoa, buddy, don’t we know! It’ll be a challenge – seriously, we know! We both know that we won’t be able to rent (much less buy) a 1900 square foot house with four bedrooms (which is what we currently have). We also know that we’ll probably have to sell, donate or give away a good portion of our things or put them in storage for a few years until we can find a place to keep all of it. We know taxes will be a pain (actually, lower than Oregon in some cases if you can believe that). We know that our lives will essentially be tethered to our jobs and in the short term much of our other favorite hobby of traveling will probably go by the wayside while we settle into our new routine. We know ALL of these things. And we’re up for the challenge! We’ve both been saying recently that the house we purchased was too big anyway and we really could live with a lot less. We don’t need four bedrooms for just two people and a pup. So, yes, we know that living in California will be a challenge in so many ways and a significant change to our lifestyle. But we also know that there is no better time for us to take on this challenge. Before we have kids and before we get too attached to Portland (oh, it’s SO easy!), we gotta try out this adventure before we’re unwilling to have any adventures anymore.
Can we come visit/stay with you?? For the short term (at least the next 6 months), the answer is going to have to be a pretty disappointing no. In other words:
While we would love to have visitors, our lives are going to be going full-tilt with us splitting time between Oregon and California (and becoming intimately acquainted with highway I-5 and the Bay area airports) that it’s just not feasible for us to have guests in Oregon OR in California. Also, whenever Dr. J and I will be together will be pretty rare and precious, so we gotta focus on that when we can since we are going to be living essentially separate lives for the near term. Le sigh…. We’ve also been the “Tell’er All About It B&B” for the past few years and it’s honestly been a real struggle for us (seriously, 17 weekend guests last year out of 22 weeks – OHMYGOD!). Not that we don’t love having people over – we most certainly do! But until we get situated we just can’t have people stay with us. But if you’re in town staying at a hotel nearby, let us know! We’ll gladly come visit you!
Well, that’s about all I can tell you in a nutshell (Help! I’m in a nutshell!). Regardless, if you have any other questions, please feel free to share in the comments below and I’ll do my best to address everything in an upcoming post or in the comments directly. It’s a pretty big move for us (not as big as it was four years ago, but still…). Definitely life changing, to be sure! It’s nerve racking, exciting, scary, stupendous and a whole lot of other words I can’t think about right now! Stay tuned!