On Saturday, I attended the First-Time Home Buyer’s workshop put on by the San Francisco housing department. It’s one of the 2 pre-requisites to becoming eligible for their Below-Market Rate (BMR) units, and in the workshop I learned a number of tools, was dizzied by “math in public,” and was familiar with a number of concepts. But the most important thing I learned was: I do not want to buy a house! . . .
What I realized sitting in that workshop was that buying a BMR (or winning their lottery once I’m in the pool) would keep me in a relatively small box. I’d be required to live in that unit… forever. Or if don’t want forever, then I sell but I won’t make a profit because it’s kept at a BMR rate for the next person.
All this to say, I’d be locked in to the life that I have now, when I have no idea what my life may be later. That condo on Lake Street that brought me into this whole process altogether? Well, it’s a 1 bedroom. If I marry and have 2 kids, as I do intend to do, well, that won’t work at all. In fact, it’s against the program’s rules to have more than 2 people living in it.
It’s a great option if my life were to stay the same size for 30 years. But my hope and intention is that it will become much, much bigger. And so this option is likely not the right one for me. I don’t mind paying the $900/month rent that I have right now (yes, that’s insanely cheap for Bay Area standards, yet perhaps insanely costly by others’) and continuing to save up my money.
Because what I realized is that while I don’t want to buy a BMR, and I don’t want to buy a single-family home, I do want to buy income-producing properties. I want to own a unit I can rent out, I want someone else to pay down my mortgage, I want to amass some land, some wealth, and realistically I cannot do that if I put every penny of my savings into the “American Dream.”
Forgive me if this blog is dry to you (don’t worry, there’s a HEAP of emo, relationship, back-in-an-“it’s complicated”-phase update to be written), but I do think it’s important to honor that my vision is changing. My intentions are changing. I’m honing in more specifically on what I want in life, and how on earth all the hard work I do every day can support that.
I do not want to blindly go through life, aimless, without goals or actions to support them. I want my days to support my life, not drip from it. In order to achieve that, I must learn, I must sit in 6-hour workshops and understand what a “cap rate” is. I must invent my path. And part of that is sharing with you the minutiae of real estate acquisition;)