I never bought a house.
That’s because I never wanted a house.
If you gave me millions of dollars, I’d still rent my shelter. It’s not about money. It’s a lifestyle call.
Yet here I am. Cursed by a house. A house I neither wanted nor bought.
The house in question is Oh’s house.
It’s a beautiful cottage-style home (pictured) in a gated community, located not too far from the center of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
As houses go, it’s a nice one. And I can see how other people, including Oh, would find it appealing to live in such a house.
But I’m not one of those people.
Oh and I had a discussion some time ago, before she moved into my apartment in Chiang Mai, that she’d eventually have to sell the house in order for us to have more options down the road.
Options like traveling. Or even living in different countries for extended periods of time. (I see a near future in which we live in Thailand part time.)
However, we both decided that it would be best to rent the house before she sells it, which gave us an opportunity to try out living together as a couple. If things didn’t work out, Oh still had a house to go back to. I never wanted her to feel trapped.
Unfortunately, partially due to the dynamics of the Thai real estate market, this meant that Oh would have to run a sizable monthly cash flow deficit on the house while it was being rented. No big deal on a temporary basis.
Or so we thought.
Almost simultaneous to Oh moving in with me, Thailand started to become significantly more restrictive with their visa policies. And this restrictiveness has only gotten worse over time, relegating our earlier visa plan for 2020 to the garbage bin.
We then both realized the house had to go if we were to become serious about this relationship.
So I temporarily bounced out to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to buy us time on a house sale. After a house sale, Oh and I could go on grand adventures together before settling down.
Fortunately, Oh already had a potential buyer on the hook. A buyer she was very confident about.
The tenants renting her house.
Couldn’t be more perfect.
Except it wasn’t perfect.
The aforementioned dynamics of the Thai real estate market are pretty interesting.
One thing about this market is, it’s the complete opposite from the US in terms of supply and demand. Whereas the US is facing what could almost be described as a housing crisis, Thailand has plenty of housing to go around. And they continue to build more. A lot more. Nimbyism doesn’t seem to exist in Thailand. This is advantageous for a renter like me, which is one of the things that drew me here in the first place.
On top of this, Thai people apparently prefer new homes. Shiny, clean, modern, no problems, no potential ghosts. And new houses get preferential terms from banks, requiring much less cash down. Used houses can be nigh impossible to sell because so few people have the cash. I didn’t know about all of this until recently.
The house was new when Oh bought it.
But it’s obviously not new now.
And the tenants weren’t able to come up with the significant amount of cash necessary to purchase it. Making matters worse, they later informed Oh that they’ve decided to move out of the house after the lease ends this summer. They’re not happy about dog noise in the neighborhood.
Because of the house being older and on less favorable lending terms, it will be difficult to secure different buyers. Buyers will be naturally drawn to new houses. The resale market in Thailand is generally very poor. Moreover, Oh may have an empty house altogether pretty soon.
Oh has a house problem.
And since I’m in a relationship with Oh, I now have a house problem. That’s how relationships go. One person’s problems become the other person’s problems. It’s like reverse osmosis. It’s a lot of fun.
I’m just kidding, of course. I love Oh with all my heart. So I’m happy to do what I can to help.
It has put us in a major bind, though.
Our current plan to go on adventures together is not feasible with the house, due both to the sizable monthly cash flow deficit and the nature of needing to be available.
So we’re currently in the midst of seriously exploring other options while the house remains up for sale.
In the end, the biggest objective for both of us is to figure out a way to stay together. And I’ve promised Oh that if she goes all-in on me, I’ll go all-in on her. We have a wonderful life awaiting us, if this house curse can be lifted.
We’ll see what we can do. But our options are very limited right now.
No matter what happens, 2020 is shaping up to be a life-changing year.
When I first met Oh, I knew she had a house. But I didn’t look at it as an issue. I figured a house would be easy to sell, if/when it came to it. After educating myself about the Thai real estate market, I now realize I was wrong.
It’s funny. I always knew a house was a headache. But I never figured the biggest headache of all was going to come from the house I never bought. How ironic!
What do you think? Have an interesting house story? Ever been cursed by a house?
Thanks for reading.
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