21 April 2012

Like A Death In The Family-Updated

This is a piece of my life I haven't fully shared.
And this "piece" has been such a big chunk of our lives, it's felt odd not blogging on the subject.
Thirteen years ago, friends gave us a week in their condo here in Destin, Florida. Destin was a different place then... the condo was way out on the East end of town, and when the sun went down things got really quiet. We arrived in the wee hours, went out on the balcony with adult beverages, and all we could hear was the sound of small waves lapping against the shore... darkness prevented us from seeing the beach/water. When we awoke the next morning we were gobsmacked...
Sugar-white sand. Emerald green water. And all of it literally just across old highway 98 from us!
We stayed four days and considered the information our benefactors had shared with us about condo ownership. At the end of our stay I went to the on-site manager and, thinking it would be YEARS before we'd need to act told her we'd be interested in owning property in the complex should a unit become available. Two months later she called-
"The unit next to the one you stayed in is for sale. We need some new, younger blood down here. I'll help you as much as I can with the purchase."

We were unprepared for that sort of financial outlay at that point. I crunched the numbers East and West, Up and Down, and there simply was no way we could afford the place without it becoming a financial strain on our lives. We called the folks who kindly shared their condo with us and told them about the availability of this unit, just in case they were interested.
Their response was, "Would you consider owning HALF of it?"
And that comment put me right in the middle of my financial comfort zone.

The unit was a disaster. With partners and several friends we worked a solid week from dawn until dusk painting, wallpapering, more painting, buying furniture, buying and installing appliances, buying all the little things that make a house a home so the unit could be added to the rental program at this complex.
The finished product, (mostly under the direction of Sara Jean), was a showplace. It has been our now-and-again home on the beach for twelve years now.

But from the outset there was friction.
We are, shall we say, strong-willed. From the start, the partnership came under considerable strain. For twelve years we have juggled and danced, trying to keep things civil. And then I announced I'd be retiring and that we intended to spend the Winter in "our" condo.
Straw. Camel.

You know the rest.

I'm looking at a dozen factors that indicate I don't want to be a full-owner of this property in Florida right now. Apparently our partners feel the same way. We listed the property last week, and had a firm offer for it in two days. We drove down Wednesday to empty out "Owner's closets".

It's a "homey" place. There are twelve years of memories attached to EVERY SINGLE THING about this place, from the color of the paint to the elbow grease I applied to fix the drier vent when it got clogged. We've felt like we're attending the visitation for a dead loved one for three days now.
I am NOT looking forward to shutting the door, putting the key in the ignition, and driving away!

I now have a "capital gain" to deal with, and in my vision of what is happening in the world, that's a welcome tool. The only question is, what's the best way to protect ourselves from the coming Civil War?
And if you think the idea of a Civil War is crazy, you're not watching the same news programs as me.

The deal fell apart and the property is back on the market.
What an emotional rollercoaster.


Old NFO said...

That is sad, but either brass and lead or gold might not be a bad investment right now...

Ed Bonderenka said...

Cheap land in western Michigan.
Avoids capital gains, Room to hunt, fish garden, defend.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Man o man.

There's a place not terribly far from me, The Ridge, on the immediate east side of Nevada, where I would LOVE to own a Timeshare.

It's horror stories like this that keep my cash in my immediate vest.

Sorry to say that, but it's true.


Greybeard said...

Not a timeshare, BZ...
We own (50% of) this thing 24/7/365.
My opinion...
Looking at all the fees involved, timeshares are expensive. (And I've had acquaintances GIVE theirs away in order to get away from those expenses.)

The heartache is we love the place, but looking to the future we know it's probably best to sell it while we still can make a little money.
So now we wait and watch.