01 August 2015

a semblance of normalcy

Life on the Heights began just a year ago, in late July.  It's been a really fine place to be, almost like camping in a cabin all year long.  It is further from amenities and family than we'd like, especially with out 20-25mpg vehicle.  It's also been a financial burden that we did not expect when we decided to leave Portland.

Finances had been tight since my retirement in June of 2013, but being a caregiver came first.  The financial side of caregiving took its toll though, as doctor visits and tests took up a higher percentage of our smaller pension.  Portland is not an inexpensive place to live, and Oregon's state income and combined property taxes were hard as well.

So we began looking north with a few good reasons in mind:
· decreased tax burden overall (although WA sales tax would do its work);
· lower overall  property values outside the Big City = more home for less;
· we'd be a bit closer to my wife's family in NW Washington - and
· financing a less-expensive home would pay down medical & other debts   (That was a big one)

However, after we decided this was the home for us we learned that traditional financing was unavailable!  It's a manufactured home in the usual sense, resting on jacks and concrete blocks - and a new Washington state law (enacted while we were house-hunting!) said that without a Permanent Foundation such homes could not use traditional financing.  That nearly scuttled the deal and force us into a place we'd like less.  Instead we crafted a privately-arranged offer to the owners with a high down payment but a quick payoff time - so relief from out other debts would need to be deferred.

We're still glad we did it though, and figured we could hold on for a few more years despite the debts.   We were wrong: health problems stayed bad and several ER visits were costly (and worse: unproductive).  We made a few budget-tightening changes that helped, but more needed to happen.

And now for the relief: sometime in August we will contract locally to add an acceptable, permanent foundation, which will allow us to seek traditional bank financing.  That mortgage will pay off the private note and it will pay debts down, fix the place up, allow us to seek more options for improving my wife's health, and generally bring us both a far less stressful retirement.  The mortgage will take a little longer to pay off but it's worth doing. Maybe soon we can even buy a 35-mpg used car to make Portland less expensive to visit!

We've been optimistic for five years that things were soon to turn our way (on several levels) - and not, God willing, that's about to be true. Hallelujah!

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