Saturday, August 18, 2012

Home Away From Home

Back in 2010 we sold our house in Alameda and moved on the boat to prepare for the voyage south.  We tried to sell the previous year but the the market crash of 2008 made the transaction much more difficult and painful than expected.  As anyone who's been through it will tell you, it's tough to be a seller in this market.  So, soon after closing the deal we decided to take advantage of the downturn and become buyers instead.

Central Oregon has seen a rapid growth spurt over the past decade but has since been hit hard by the housing crash with a large inventory of foreclosures around the time we sold our home. 

My brother, Denny, lives in Bend and suggested I take a look at some of the properties in the area.  The rental market seemed to be gaining momentum and Denny offered to manage the property while we're out of the country.  It seemed like a good idea.

And, Bend is a great area for outdoor activities with a real Lake Tahoe feel to the place.  We liked the idea of owning a home there.  Also, it would be comforting to know we have a place waiting for us if we happen to, God forbid, sink our current home.

So, we made a road trip to Bend in the summer of 2010 and did a little house hunting.  We soon found a 4-bedroom 2-bath fixer-upper in a nice neighborhood about a half-mile from the downtown area -- an older house with a large quarter-acre lot and mature maple and pine trees.  We decided to put an offer down and to our delight it was accepted.  We were homeowners once again. 

The house was built in the 1940's and hasn't been updated much since.  Fortunately, I have a family with a background in construction.  I quickly recruited help.  We went to work in the fall of 2010 to get the house ready for renters -- building a gabled front porch, pouring concrete patios, replacing siding, installing flooring, tiling a shower, updating lights, fixing various plumbing and electrical issues, and painting everything inside and out.  After a couple months of hard work, the house was looking great.

During the remodeling effort, we met two guys who lived across the street.  They worked as firefighters and landscapers, and were looking for a new place to rent soon as their current rental was another one of the foreclosures going on the market.  Over the next few weeks we got to know those guys well and even hired them to do some interior painting.  A month later they moved in.

Jake and Eric turned out to be great renters but after two years they decided it was time for a change.  So, last week they finished packing up and we moved in.  The transition didn't take long, considering we've been living out of duffel bags for months now. 

It was an unexpected event, though.  We planned to stay in Bend with Denny for a little while but when the guys gave us a 30-day notice in July we adjusted the plan.  The timing could not have been better.  Millie and Colin get to enjoy a little down time in our own home and I can work on a few maintenance projects around the house and build the fence I've been wanting around the property.  That should keep me busy until it's time to go sailing again.

So, we're dirt dwellers once again -- in a hip little mountain town far from the ocean.  Central Oregon has some of the best camping, fishing, and mountain biking in the country, with seven micro-breweries in Bend.  Not a terrible way to spend the summer.
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