The Problem With An Empty House

The boyfriend and I have officially hit that awkward stage that comes in every serious relationship. You know, the one where you each still have your place, but you’re primarily spending time at one place? You’re basically living together, but no one is willing to make it official? Yep, that’s where we are.

For some reason, we’ve always spent most of our time together at his apartment. It has more space, we’re all more comfortable there. It just works better for us. And my dog, Hannah, has made it very clear that she hates going back to my place. So, we stay at his place. In addition to the apartment, he owns a house several hours away. He travels a lot for work, and his jobs pays for the apartment, so he has a “home base” closer to the main office. Typically we spend the weekdays at the apartment, and then on weekends we both go back to our respective houses. Weird, I know. But it’s what works for us.

That was our schedule up until this last weekend. His apartment is closer to where I work. I’m swamped right now at work, and decided to spend some of the weekend at the office. It just made sense not to have to lug all my clothes, and the dog, and everything else back to my house. So, I stayed at his place. Which means it had been a week since I’d been to my house when I decided to run by and pick a few things up. And guess what? It was 42 degrees in my house!

The furnace is only 2 years old, so I definitely wasn’t expecting to have issues so soon. Since we weren’t staying at the house, and it was a Sunday, I took a big gamble and waited until the next day to call out the repair company. The circuit board wasn’t working properly, which caused the system to shut down. The warranty covered the new board, and I was only out $170 for labor, etc. Another reason I’m thankful that I am getting my financial life back in order!

Of course, I have absolutely no idea how long the house had been without heat. A day? Three days? A week? It’s a concern I have off and on throughout the week. I’m always a little apprehensive as I’m pulling down my street. Will my house still be there? What if it burns down? Or a tree falls on it? What if a pipe breaks? How much damage will be done before I even know that something has happened? Hell, someone could be living there during the week for all I know!

The furnace breaking down gave me a reason to finally address the elephant in the room: When are we officially going to move in together? We’ve talked about living together numerous times, but always in a “sometime in the future” sort of way. We’ve talked about selling our houses and eventually buying a house together. He’s said he’s fine with me leaving stuff at the apartment. But we’ve never actually addressed when we’d take the next step. And I haven’t wanted to put pressure on moving forward.

But having a house sit empty is a recipe for disaster. His house is a different situation; One of his sons is living there, and he has dogs, horses, etc. His house isn’t sitting empty. Mine is. I have every intention of selling my house. So, we discussed it, and came up with some deadlines. There’s some work that needs to be done before I can put my house on the market. It was decided that we’d start working on things, with the goal of listing the house in the late Spring/early Summer. With a deadline, it gives me some motivation to get to work. And, with a little bit of time, it gives us both a chance to make sure this is what we want to do. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that we thought we were breaking up.

There’s a lot that needs to be done over the next few months. Things seem to be coming around in my neighborhood, so I’m hopeful selling the house won’t be as big of a loss as I think it will be.  If selling turns out to be a losing proposition, I’ll look into renting. I’d rather not be a landlord, but I have to be open to doing what makes the most sense financially. On the plus side, whether I rent or sell the house, moving in together should help financially. I’ll also be looking at selling a lot of stuff, which is also a good thing.

I also feel a lot better about finally have an idea of where we are heading. I’m used to being single, and making all of my own decisions. Being in a relationship means giving up a lot of control over your life. Or maybe sharing control is a better way of phrasing it. Although, when you’re used to having all the control, sharing feels a bit like losing. Knowing where I’m headed helps me feel more secure.

– Cindy W.

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