Cheap and Easy

When friends and family ask me how Houston is, I tell them that Houston is cheap and easy.  You can park your car everywhere, most city homes have garages, there are a half-dozen grocery stores in my immediate radius which are chock-full of cheap food, and every product anyone ever thought of is available here.  The economy is good and people are shopping.  They are always shopping.  Restaurants multiply like mushrooms, and they always seem over-staffed.  Customer service is generally friendly and top-notch, and business is booming.

And yet when my husband and I picture our future, we do not picture ourselves here.  This isn't surprising in the sense that we never intended to be here, but our transition coming here was so smooth that we did briefly imagine ourselves staying longer than planned.

We've recently been called upon to make some decisions about what we plan to do when his current contract finishes in November.  We have mentally tried on various scenarios as the last six months have marched by, knowing that this decision would sneak up fast, and after the initial lure of the cheap and easy dissipated, we have been able to reach one conclusion at least: that we will not purchase the home that we are currently renting, and that we will most likely not remain in Houston for a second year.

It's always real estate that gets me.  After living in all manner of spaces and in so many environments, I feel that to put real cash down on a building, a lot, a neighborhood, a community, is a commitment that I take very seriously.  I want to actually live where I live, not just pass through.  If the value crashes or it's hard to sell, I want to know that I lived there for a reason...that I felt good there...that I loved my neighborhood...that I went for my dream job...that I was part of a community.  Our homes are an investment not only of money but hopefully of heart and soul, and I often think the real estate market went off the rails in our nation because of collective cultural amnesia in that matter.  

Cheap and easy has been a fantastic respite after expensive and prickly Calgary, but that still doesn't make it necessarily the best fit for us.  I have never excelled when it comes to the path of least resistance, and buying a home is no different for me, it turns out.