Three years/The Townhouse

I realized last week sometime that today is the third anniversary of my officially becoming a real estate agent…and tomorrow, purely coincidentally, I’ll be closing on my next home. To say that real estate has been very good to me would be a dramatic understatement—when people ask me how it’s going, the most honest answer I can give is that it feels like someone made a copy of my soul and then turned it into a profession. I’ll be doing this until I retire, and knowing that frees me up to start thinking about what my life looks like long-term in a different way than I have up until very recently.

When I bought my current place, a 600 sq ft co-op apartment on top of Capitol Hill, I was one year into my plan to call an end to my wandering twenties and settle down in Seattle for good, and I’d just started a job at the Mayor’s Office with an open-ended “let’s see where this takes me” attitude and no expectations about what the future would bring. I used was what was left of the savings that I’d been using to travel around the world without flying for my down payment, and in doing so I cut off my escape routes and forced myself to commit to Seattle at a time in my life when stagnation and complacency were my greatest fears (after I moved in I named my wifi network “Room 101” in honor of the final scene in 1984). One of my life goals at the time was to spend every dollar that I had in my twenties and start over completely from scratch on my 30th birthday, and after I closed on this place, 8 days after I turned 30, I had a wonderful home and a great job but less than $100 to my name. If I’d thrown a party and invited everyone I knew in Seattle, I would have been doing well to have gotten 5 or 6 people to come to it.

Fast forward 7 ½ years, though, and my life feels like it doesn’t quite fit inside my little co-op apartment anymore. My roots have burrowed deep enough into Seattle, and Capitol Hill specifically, that I can’t imagine ever leaving; and because I’m surrounded by the most incredibly community of people that I’ve ever been a part of, being able to give back to that community in a meaningful way has become a much higher priority for me than it has been in the past. I’m very keenly aware that my financial situation gives me options many Seattleites don’t have, and given that my current place was easily affordable to me when I was making a fraction of what I do now, I feel a certain moral obligation to pass it along to someone who will put it to good use and move on to a long-term home that a) is more commensurate with my current income, so that I won’t be taking a unit of housing away from someone who’s at risk of being priced out of the city; b) will ensure that I never need to leave Capitol Hill, regardless of what happens in the future with work or life; and c) can serve as a community resource and gathering space in a way that my current place simply can’t.

The home that I’m closing on tomorrow meets all of those criteria. It’s a 3-story, 3-bedroom new construction townhouse in the heart of Capitol Hill, and I’ve spent the last 6 months meticulously planning out uses for its 1,515 square feet + rooftop deck that will allow it to flexibly encompass indoor/outdoor entertaining and event spaces, co-working space for 8-10 people, a meeting/small conference room, a guest suite/AirBnB rental that can comfortably accommodate a family of four, and a movie screening room/home office. I got it under contract as a pre-sale last November 3rd, five days before the election, so I’ve had plenty of time to think about what it means to me and what I want it to mean to my community. I’m looking forward to getting moved in later this month and putting my money where my mouth is.

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