I've thought about the concept of making less money and reducing our expenses. There are certainly things we could sacrifice (bi-weekly housekeeper, eating out, Big Ella) but even those likely wouldn't make up the difference. Beside, I adore having the house cleaned by someone else, eating out, and having Big Ella!
Our mortgage is our largest expense and we certainly don't need to live in a 5 bedroom house in the historic district. I considered downsizing to a smaller house in a less expensive neighborhood. We'd have to get rid of a lot of furniture, but it would be worth it to me to change my employment situation. However, the current real estate market is not favorable right now to sell our house and maximize its real value. Not to mention that we just added a garage/bath/closet addition last summer and a screened porch this summer. Spouse really loves this house and its location, so we are committed to living in this house for several more years, at least until the market improves.
You may be wondering what I would like to do if I were able to quit my current job.
I want to become a Community Improvement Specialist. This is a job title I made up because it best describes what I want to do. I want to purchase distressed properties, rehab them, and sell or lease them, thereby improving the overall appearance and condition of the community. It is similar to property flipping, but the intent isn't solely to make a profit. The intent is to re-inhabit and improve the general community by fixing up vacant, run-down properties and making a profit at the same time. I would concentrate my efforts in specific communities so that the impact of the rehabbed properties would be multiplied, kind of like the way Habitat for Humanity does.
What does an account manager for a technology company know about rehabbing property? More than you might think.
Mine & Spouse's 1st house in 1996 was a bank foreclosure that had been vacant for sometime. We didn't have much money then, but we did what we could to clean the place up, paint, remove old wallpaper, tame the wild yard, and update the flooring. 4 years later we sold the house at a 64% gain. Our 2nd house needed less cosmetic updating but we spent more and updated it more because it was in a very desirable location. 8 years later we sold it for more than double what we paid. Just a few months ago we bought a condo that was a bank foreclosure in pretty rough shape. We updated the entire unit on a budget in 2 weeks and rented it in just under a week. All those hours of watching HGTV shows really paid off!
But getting to the point of being able to replace my current salary doing Community Improvement seems like a long way off. There are many steps to take and likely an equal number of hurdles to jump. Since I can't do all the work myself, I'd need to find reliable, affordable people to do the stuff I can't. I'll need seed money to purchase the property and materials and pay the workers. Then there's the accounting and tax records.
So I thought that becoming a realtor might be a complimentary way to transition into my new industry. I can go to real estate school part-time 2 evenings per week for 3 months, then associate myself with a broker and try to list and sell homes on the weekends. Great idea, right?
Well, there are some cons. The classes alone are over $500. Once I finished the classes there would be an indefinite period of time where I would 'ramp up' in the real world. There would be licensing and advertising expenses too. Plus, my precious, precious weekends which are usually chocked full of fun activities, friends, and weekend guests would be spent working. I would be working 7 days a week until I felt able to quit my current job. You can imagine how THAT idea sets with me.
So I'm not sure if working as a realtor on the weekends would really bring me closer to my goal of becoming a Community Improvement Specialist. But maybe becoming a realtor (but not working as one) might give me some legal knowledge or other other advantage that would compliment my Community Improvement Specialist business.So that's where I am. At the age of 46 years old I finally think I know what I want to be when I grow up.