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My housemate just gave me 45 days notice, and wants me out by April 20th.

She just found out that she's really allergic to cats (she has 2 of her own) and she's asking if she can get Caroso out before April 20th.

So I'm asking for several favors...
1. If you can please take care of a kitty from March 21st to whenever I get a place of my own, let me know. Caroso is a blue eyed ragdoll, very sweet, longhaired, comes when I call him, and is very cuddly. he even accepts cuddles from strangers. he's cross-eyed and adorable.
He has to be indoor only though.


2. I'm looking for a new place. Either renting.. or getting a condo. I went condo shopping today, and my realtor took me to several condos.. the one that had potential is in Travis Oaks Condominium, by South Congress. I'm not sure about it yet, it was my first time with my agent. Let me know if you've recommendations or a place for rent.

Thank you.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 7th, 2007 04:33 pm (UTC)
Oh! I love your kitty!
Too bad I'm highly allergic, and that Roy already has two cats, one of which would fight with your cat were it to come over.
I hope you can find someone, that is such a wonderful cat.
Mar. 7th, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)
I'm also highly allergic but in a crunch I have a spare bedroom I'm not using.

-- Brian.
Mar. 7th, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC)
thanks for the offer brian, but his hair will get all over your apartment.

i do appreciate the offer though.
Mar. 8th, 2007 04:20 am (UTC)
thou shalt not
buy a condo.

i know i'm being a big party-pooper here, since this is the seduction of choice for most of my friends with non-grad-student incomes lately, but i really wish someone had pointed these things out to me before i lost about a year's income by falling into this particular trap.

people say you should buy a house because then you're building equity instead of just throwing away your rent check every month. do not get confused and assume this also applies to condos. with a condo, you will have a substantial condo association fee every month (mine is roughly 65% the size of my mortgage payment), meaning you are still throwing away money just like when you were paying rent. however, unlike with rent, if your condo association fee goes up, you can't simply opt to leave, because you have to keep a house / condo you purchase for at least 3-5 years to make up for the fees you pay in buying / selling. so in some sense buying a condo is like living in a place for cheap rent, since you are building equity with part of your payment. in another sense, it is like signing a 5-year lease in which the landlord is allowed to raise your rent at will.

and that 3-5 year figure? by the way, that assumes that your condo does not lose any value. even if it's true that real estate is a fairly stable, secure investment that's likely to go up in value over the long-term, remember that that's only talking about the long-term. if your condo loses value in the short term (and despite your best efforts to ensure that you're in a good neighborhood etc., this may happen if real estate in general takes a dive, for instance), you may find that you need to hold onto the place for more than 5 years to recover your expenses (because now, added to the cost of realtor's fees, you have the cost of the lost value on the condo), or at least to wait and hope that the value goes back up. if you want to move out of austin for some reason in the meantime, you're still stuck in your n-year lease where the landlord can raise the rent at will. well, why not just rent the place to someone else? seems like a great idea, but you may find that the HOA has made a rule against it, with monetary penalties. you may also find it's not so easy to recover your costs via rent. i'm not sure what the figures are nowadays, but i know within the last 5 years the figures have sometimes been as high as 45 percent vacancy on rental properties in this area. there's nothing to say that number might not be even higher in the future (particularly in a situation where, say, you're looking to leave austin because you've lost your job due to a tech slump, which would seriously affect rental rates in a tech-heavy area such as this one).

i'd at least seriously look into hedging with real estate futures if you're dead set on this. remember that the place you live is a very emotional issue, and at least according to the theory of investment that i subscribe to, the best investments are the ones made rationally and emotionlessly.
Mar. 8th, 2007 06:17 am (UTC)
Re: thou shalt not
are you referring to your experience at the chaos ranch? i didn't realize it was a condo.. but looking back, i can see that.

i am a little concern about the housing slump.. but hopefully, staying for 5 years will help. but your post does remind me to read the hoa rules carefully.

also, that is a really good idea about buying futures to hedge my investment. i haven't really looked into futures before, so i'm not sure how exactly i should hedge it. but i will get in touch with you about this. i am actually making an offer for a condo. hopefully, because it is in a very good part of town, it should be a good investment.

i don't suppose you could baby sit my cat for a month? :-)
Mar. 8th, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC)
Re: thou shalt not
I would second a lot of what pfiddy says here. Buying a house or a condo is a big lifestyle choice. With this market you'll (probably) get a return on your investment, but if you're just looking to invest, spend your money elsewhere and you'll be safer in the long run. Obviously I did it and so far I've been really happy with that decision, but you really need to think about whether it's right for you now and whether it will be right for you down the line.

Have you considered looking into a single family house rather than a condo? I looked at condos briefly when I was househunting because I thought I didn't want to deal with all the maintenance of a house, but when I heard that the condo market often loses value sooner and recovers slower than the single family home market does, I immediately changed course.

Single family homes are often less expensive than condos (depending on the neighborhood, of course) without even adding in the condo fees. Invest the money you save to pay people to do the things that the condo association would take care of (mowing the grass, etc.) and you'll come out ahead. You haven't been living in a complex so it's not like you're used to having a pool/fitness center/clubhouse, etc. Plus, if you get a 2 br/2 bath you can rent out your extra room and make back a bit of cash, too. Or have space to expand if you decide to shack up/get married/have kids in the next 3-5 years.

ps. e-mail me the MLS listing for this condo you're putting in an offer on. I'm curious!
Mar. 8th, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC)
it's alright
i am putting an offer on a 2/2, and i was planning to rent out. the HOA is 180 a mth which is reasonable. thanks to pfiddy i went and read the condo agreement, there is nothing there that prevents me from leasing or renting it out. in fact it is rather fiercely protected, the right to rent, and cannot be changed.

The condo is listing for 199k, and houses in simiar areas average about 300k to 400k. really niec houses to 1 million. i am not ready to speand $300k just to get a 1-1, maybe soon, as i make more money. :-)

i will email you the website.
Mar. 8th, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
Vicky says if you can't find anyone else she can try helping you out with catsitting Caruso. She's just concerned that Caruso will want to go out since her cat is an indoor/outdoor cat and that Caruso won't get along with her cat and bunny (caged). The cat is a fairly dominant girl cat over ten years old but very mellow. Let me know if you want to set up a meet and greet.
Mar. 8th, 2007 06:39 pm (UTC)
thanks.. caroso WILL want to go out. he's just not that fast. so you can always stop him :)

i will keep the offer in mind.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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