Emotional Yin Yang

Bruce & I have been on an emotional roller coaster the past few days. Ever since our building TIC partners contacted us a few weeks ago to tell us they were leaving and we all agreed in theory it made sense to sell the building (ie, our beloved flat, our first home purchase that we’ve been living in for the past seven years), Bruce & I have been riding the emotional yin-yang wave. [Background: A TIC stands for tenancy-in-common; it’s a way for people to collectively buy and own a building which is definitely handy in the San Francisco real estate market. In 1997, we, and two other couples, bought a beautiful turn-of-the (20th) century three flat Victorian building. It was the only affordable way to buy property and still is. In San Francisco, there’s also something called the condo-conversion lottery system which, after a specified number of years, allows people in TIC’s to enter with the hopes of winning and converting their building units into condos and thus separating from the one master mortgage and joint ownership to individual ownership. We’ve been in the lottery for five years now.]

For months Bruce & I had been very clear and very together on the topic of what to do with our flat when we moved to NZ: rent it out. This was our safety net in case our grandiose plans for NZ didn’t turn out the way we hoped, in case we wanted to come back. San Francisco is an expensive town where a decent 2 to 3 bedroom, 1500 square foot flat or house can cost at minimum $750,000. And now, even though it made sense, we were suddenly talking about selling. Thus the rollercoaster ride. Was there any way to avoid selling? What if we refused? What if we won the condo lottery this year? {the drawing is in early February} Did we want to go through the hassle of getting new TIC partners? (one of the partners was definitely moving and needed to sell) Did this make sense? Would we really want to come back to this flat? This is where we diverged. Bruce loves our flat. And to a great extent, I love it too. It’s been so good to us. But like anything else, it has flaws. The biggest one that has pained me for years is the lack of any outdoor private space – a deck, a patio, a anything. I crave outdoor space, I need it to nurture my soul, and I don’t have it. We have investigated putting on a roof deck, extending the back stairs to add a deck, and remodeling the building’s outdoor common area, all to no avail for a panoply of city legal reasons. So the answer became clear after a few days of torment. Even if we failed to make it in New Zealand, we could not come back to this flat. I would not be whole. And so we committed to selling and severing the tether that was going to keep us bound to San Francisco.