I’ve been a Los Angeles area commuter for three months now. Some days, when I’m crawling on the 405 for 50 minutes with no good podcasts in my queue, I really miss the days of living five short miles from the office. Relocating for a job, however, is a pretty big decision in my book. I think it’s effect on my financial life (as well as social life) is worth consideration.
Primary factors keeping me in the valley:
- I own my condo and really love my neighborhood. I regularly walk to grocery stores, restaurants, bars, etc.
- The interior is spacious and I have all the amenities I want and need.
- I’m on the board of my home owner’s association and take an active role in my community.
- I’m a couple of miles from a huge city park where I hike and cycle regularly.
- I have two cats who love the condo as much as me (and aren’t welcome in many rentals).
So if I love my current home so much, why on earth would I move?!
- I would get back 1-2 hours of my time every day to do better things than sit in my car.
- I would save money on gas and car maintenance.
- I could live in a cooler neighborhood, closer to the beach.
Naturally, being the financial nerd that I am, money is a big factor in these considerations. When I do a craigslist search for apartments near work that are comparable to my condo, prices are in the range of $2,300-2,900 per month. Yikes! My mortgage, property taxes, and HOA dues are less than $1,800. That alone is enough to convince me a move isn’t worth it. Then, add some relocation costs:
- 1st and last month’s rent
- Security and pet deposits
- Movers (a luxury on which I’m willing to spend)
- My time and energy to learn how to be a landlord, find tenants, and ongoing property management.
My condo is very rentable and I’m fairly certain that becoming a landlord will eventually be in the cards, so sooner or later I’ll need to bite the bullet on that. Right now, I could likely make a small monthly profit from rental of $100-300.
One way to make moving work would be going gung-ho frugal and finding a roommate to defray the high monthly rent; a smart financial call that I choose to pass on. I’m going to stick to my guns on my choice to live alone, since I value and appreciate it highly.
After mulling all of this around in my head for the past few months, I’ve realized that I just don’t want to move. I’ve followed my gut in situations like this before and will continue to do so. If the financial aspects pointed strongly towards moving, I might reconsider, but I feel that it’s pretty close (without a dramatic lifestyle change).
Add in the fact that I’m still figuring out my new job and am not certain if I’ll be there four months or four years, the decision is made. My time is important and valuable, but worth sacrificing for the time being to stay in the home that I love.