Housing Market

According to the latest index figures, the U.S. housing crisis seems to be coming to an end.  That’ll be a big relief for homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages.

According to the National Association of Realtor’s spokesperson, home prices are beginning to rise as inventory of existing homes has gone down. Some realtors are even citing the fact that it has almost become cheaper to own than to rent.

I had been contemplating moving for some time, but since I owned my home in Baltimore, and nothing seemed to be selling in the real estate market where I was living, I wasn’t sure if I could come out from under and make it work.

I talked to a realtor friend of mine and told her what my dilemma was. I wanted to move to Mobile, AL where my daughter, son in law and grandson had moved. There was nothing keeping me in Baltimore, except the house.

She told me that with mortgage rates hovering near an all-time low, at about 3.5%, most mortgage companies were falling all over themselves to give mortgages to people with decent credit. They were offering no down payment, discounted points, no closing costs, etc.

That was encouraging to hear. With that in mind, I went to Mobile, AL. to see what I could find. My kids had told me that it was way more affordable to live there than in Baltimore.  They said their property taxes were about one-third of what they had been.  They also said that food was less expensive as was their gas and electric bill.  Where they had been paying around $375.00 per month in Baltimore, in Mobile, they’re paying an average of $85.00 a month.

I wasn’t sure at that point what I wanted to do…Should I buy or rent?  If I buy, should it be a single family home again, which is what I have in Baltimore.

The hassles come with home ownership, which, while I loved my home since it backed up to the woods and was very private, are enormous.  If the roof leaks, you have to repair it, and roofs can be quite costly.  Then there’s the normal wear and tear of a house…the garbage disposer goes out, the siding needs to be replaced, etc.

I arrived in Mobile and started searching.  I found a website, Cheap Apartments in Mobile, AL.  The website had listings for rental, co-op and condos. It broke Mobile down into neighborhoods with descriptions about each.

I was able to take my time and drive around to discover this new city I was possibly moving to it.

After days of driving and walking around, I decided I wanted to buy a condominium in one of the up and coming newly renovated high rises in downtown Mobile. It was not far from the kids, maybe 10 or 15 minutes, and it was right in the middle of everything.

I met with the realtor who was handling sales for the condo and explained my situation of owning my home in Baltimore, but wanting to move to Mobile. He understood completely, so I put in a contingency contract on a 3-bedroom condo, contingent on the sale of my home in Baltimore.

I went back to Baltimore and put my house on the market. Much to my great surprise, it sold close at my asking price, within two weeks with a short settlement date.

All’s well…I closed on the condo in Mobile, and I’m moving in 2 weeks.