So yesterday morning while I'm making breakfast my wife calls to me in what sounded like a panic.
"Come here and take my iPad!" She's found a house on Redfin that she says is her dream home. Historic. Built in 1920. Newly renovated kitchen. Way more bedrooms than a couple needs. It's in Baltimore. "Is this in a bad neighborhood?"
I look at the address on a map. It's in Ten Hills. "No, it's actually a nice neighborhood." I grew up half a mile away in Catonsville. I know the area. Beautiful older houses, mature trees. Lots of shade. It's like Roland Park on Edmonson Ave/Route 40.
The price for the house is half, or less than half of what a house in Roland Park would cost. Or on Rolling Road in Catonsville. Or a third of what the house would cost if it were in Bethesda or closer to DC. But the area...it is what it is. Not crime-ridden, but close to some crime-riddled areas. Lots of congestion being inside the beltway.
My wife and I are approaching 40. We don't have kids. We feel the need to do something. Make an investment. Take some risk. Do something different. We've been looking at houses in Frederick recently, kicking over the thought of moving to a city where there's walkability to restaurants and entertainment. I work in Frederick. My wife works in Columbia.
Anyway, on a whim we contacted a realtor who is a friend and she showed us the house last night. My wife and I fell in love. This isn't necessarily a house in the city, within walking distance to fun stuff, but it's close to downtown. We met friends in the city after we looked at the house and made it downtown in ten minutes using Route 40. But the ride takes you through some bad areas. The roads are horrible. An Uber ride would probably be $15. The MTA bus runs along Route 40 and I'm not against taking the bus. But anyway, the house is amazing. It's huge -- it's just two of us -- but it's the perfect house for entertaining, which we love to do, and it's big enough to have everything we would want -- home office, gym, it has a wood-burning fireplace, brand new kitchen, great outdoor space...
The immediate neighborhood is nice. You can tell people take care of their houses and yards here. There's a community pool close by. The question is, do I want to change up my life to move back home, to an area that is congested and close to some crime? Even at such a reduced price for an amazing house, it would be a risk. It's way more money than we spend for our mortgage currently, and I'm worried about the issues in the city impacting the value of the house. Will we end up underwater? Do I want to spend hundreds of dollars a month in city taxes? Do I want to add an extra 20-25 mins to my commute each way?
Anyway, that's our first world problem on a Tuesday morning.