As the economy continues to decline, as well as our savings, we're now starting to get nervous about our plan to simply uproot and move back up to Oregon, with no job offer in hand. Jeff is feeling reluctant to quit his job with no obvious path ahead. He has been a great trooper and is working hard to re-inspire enthusiasm for his position, working very long days over the weekend, so he can keep at it until some better path presents itself. We just don't feel confident about our ability to line up decent paying positions once we're up in Oregon. And the few friends we've had direct conversations with have told us NOT to come now, due to the job market, themselves having been laid off recently and unable to find new jobs.
So we worry if we go and spend $500K on a house in Portland and then spend the next two years drawing down our remaining (much diminished) savings, then we'll be no better off than if we spend $700K for a house down here and have a good paying job. Even though the value of the house will continue to fall, we're not buying it for its investment value but for its shelter value and right now we're spending more than $40K a year for rent.
And perhaps if I really applied myself, I would find a job as well. If we stay down here, I would probably continue to work on my paralegal certificate and also try to line up an internship, so I can get some recent experience.
So, this morning, I spent a few hours poking around the Santa Clara County market to see if there is anything promising and there were a few houses (about 7). There are, surprisingly, actually a couple decent looking small houses less than $700K within our five mile radius from Apple so, perhaps, we'll go look at a few houses this weekend. More than likely they'll be fixers and, thus, too expensive. We also may pursue foreclosures.
We've also had a conversation with my Mother about renting the finished garage, the "family room," in her house (about 380 square feet total) where we'll put our bedroom and a minimal amount of furniture. We'll just pack up the rest of our possessions and stick them in storage until we figure out our long-term plan. Then we'll be able to save over $2,000 a month that we could add directly to our house savings account. My mother would love to have us, but who knows if she can actually clean out the space. She has a 5-bedroom house crammed to bursting with her "treasures" and has a hard time parting with them. Pretty much when she "cleans" she just shifts from one room to another, with little, if any, actual reduction in the amount of stuff.
I will, of course, continue to watch the Portland market and if something "perfect" comes on the market, then we'll likely move despite having no jobs. Last year, SE Portland did actually experience more than a 15% decline overall in prices, so if the prices come down to where we can buy the house we want for more like $400K, it would be easier to make the jump of faith.