Thursday, September 29, 2005

In search of a home

Soon to be homeless

The contract for our current rental apartment is nearing its end so we were thinking about our options. Since my brother was moving out eventually, I was the only person that will be left behind. I tell you that I'm definitely not looking forward to moving out anytime soon. We tend to be packrats in the family so we have accumulated a lot of junk over the years (roughly 13 years? has it really been that long?). The main problem will be what to do with all those stuff. I have thought about donating it to a rummage sale but that would still require me to sort it all out and I'm feeling too lazy to do that anytime soon. To give you an idea of how things are now, 2 of the 3 bedrooms are filled with stuff so much so that they are not useable as bedrooms anymore. And that's not counting the storeroom. My sister and her family used to live there (I was merely a weekend transient) but they have moved to live in another country. My brother on the other hand gave up his condo unit and stayed at that apartment long enough to dump all the stuff he can't bring with him when he goes abroad to study. It's a good thing they packed most of the stuff in big boxes before they left *sigh*. So the apartment unit became this big storage space that appears to be inhabited only during the weekends. I wonder what the neighbors are thinking.

I don't know exactly when I will need to vacate the apartment. My philosophy is that I will stay put as long as they do not give me notice to leave. That's the time when I will have a problem. The current plan is to get a shipping container and have the stuff shipped to my parents' house. I guess I should start asking around how much it would cost. I have absolutely no experience in such things. All I know is that they charge by the volume so you can fit in as many things as you like in the shipping container and it would still be the same cost. It should be large enough to accommodate the piano, a bed and the dining table.

I remember when we first moved into our current apartment. It's a 2nd floor unit of a "4 floor step up apartment complex" and carrying heavy stuff up to our unit was a challenge. I was helping the movers transport our piano and I nearly got squished when we were climbing the stairs. I don't want to go through that experience again *shudder*. I have to do that kind of thing again and what makes it worse this time is that I will be on my own. Hopefully my parents could fly here to help me when the time comes.

Too attached?

Then there's this other question: Do I really need to maintain another apartment in the City when I move out of this one? Most of my colleagues think it's a waste of time and resources to manage 2 households (I'm living in a company provided bachelor's flat during the weekdays). They suggested that I should just stay put in the company provided housing. Considering that my travel time to the city on a Friday afternoon could reach as long as 5 hours because of traffic jams (not to mention the rising cost of gasoline) I could say that I'm very tempted. However, I don't think I can stay here inside the company-housing compound for more than 2 weeks in a row. I have this feeling that when I go home at night, I'm never really too far from my work. Any problems and I'm just a call away. If my boss needs anything from me during the weekend then he would expect me to go to the office. I know it's only a few minutes away but come on! My weekends are for rest and relaxation and I don't think I could do that when I'm staying here. As they say "Out of sight is out of mind" and I truly believe in that. On the other hand, the location of the current apartment is conveniently located very far from work. It's a place where I could really rest and relax. It's a ways off from the main street so there's not much pollution (the area is surrounded by rice fields complete with water buffalos grazing in the background to give that rural atmosphere - quite nice actually) and yet also near to supermarkets, restaurants and malls should I feel like going out. Hmm... maybe I'm just being too attached to living inside the university. After all, I have lived there almost all of my life (My mother is a faculty there and we have lived there as far back as I can remember. I also studied there in grade school and in college).

In denial

So what then are my options? Renting a new apartment is just too expensive. The current apartment's rent is being partially subsidized by the university (it's located inside a sprawling university campus and is meant for faculty housing). In my opinion renting a house is such a waste of money. Live in a place long enough and soon you realize that with all the money going to your rent, you could have already bought your own house! But am I ready to buy my own house? Am I ready for that kind of responsibility? People who have housing loans are these old family people with kids. I'm too young to have a housing loan! Having a loan will mean having this commitment for 20 or so years! For some people, that's even longer than their marriage. Am I mature enough to have that kind of payment obligation? If I ever decide to purchase a house, that would be my single largest purchase decision I have made. That's not something to take lightly. I only bought my car because my brother in-law was leaving and they needed somebody to buy their car (and besides I got it dirt cheap hehe) so that doesn't really count.

I just bought a what??!

Just before my brother left, we accompanied our mother to see some condos under development so we could look at the possibility of getting a new house. If I'm going to be there during weekends only, a small condo will be enough. We decided to look around for low cost developments around our area. Finally we ended up in a place called SV. My brother and I were looking around the area while my mother was talking to an agent whom we met at the site. I don't know exactly the sequence of events that preceded it but before I could think clearly (call me slow but I rarely rush into things like this one, I need to think about everything especially when it concerns such a big decision for me as this one) my mother was already shaking hands with the sales agent (Oh Ma'am you really should get reservations right away. The apartment units are selling like hotcakes and I don't know if there will be still some left if you go back at a later date - yeah right, find me an agent who wouldn't say that). Still in a daze because everything was happening so fast, my mother was letting me sign the reservation papers and she loaned me some money to cover for the reservation fees. At the end of the day, I had reservations for not just 1 but 2 apartment units! One was for myself and the other was for my brother but both under my name. I'm supposed to take out a loan for his apartment and he would be paying me every month for the amortization - at least that's the plan, or should I say he should be paying me the monthly amortization or else. ;p

So now, the deed is done, the dye has been cast and there's no turning back now, I am at the point of no return (sorry I couldn't think of any more clich├ęs to add). I'm actually feeling very nervous. It isn't everyday that I'm up to my neck in debt. And yet I am also excited to plan for the layout of the new apartment and think about the furnishings I will need (if I could still afford those that is - worst case is that I will just have a mattress in the middle of a 30 sq.m. room).

No comments: