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But due to Covid, I have been working from home at the current company for almost a year. With vaccines being available, moving out of DC is becoming more like a reality than a possibility.
Is Mr. FAF on board with this?
This is a question I’ve been asked frequently by both my colleagues and friends. After all, moving from coast to coast is not an easy feat. We have to think about a myriad of things such as Mr. FAF’s job, our house, our friends, and the kids’ school.
And the answer is a resounding Yes. Mr. FAF has been getting tired of DC for a long time without specificilly telling me until now.
I studied public policy, so staying in DC was an obvious choice. One thing I like about working in tech is that I will become somewhat location independent, an important component of being financially independent.
That is, tech jobs are everywhere and much more available than a job in public policy, for example. Also, a lot of tech companies allow their employees to work remotely.
Mr. FAF and I have been talking about moving out of DC for a while. We thought about Austin, Atlanta, and Dallas – places with lower taxes, fewer regulations, and warmer weather.
One reason that held us back was that it would be hard for me to get a job given my previous career. Now that both Mr. FAF and I work in tech, we feel much more breathing room in our choices of locations to live.
Why don’t I ask to work remotely from DC?
This is a possibility I thought about. I could ask to work remotely from DC and travel to Seattle one week every few months or so. However, Mr. FAF is itching to move to start a new life.
Since Mr. FAF also works full-time, the thought of me being gone for a week every month and leaving the kids with him is not so comforting either.
Also, although we enjoy working from home every once in a while, we both prefer being in the office where we can interact with our colleagues and have a change of atmostphere at work.
1. Mr. FAF applying for a new job in Seattle
Mr. FAF has been at his current company for almost four years. Most of his stocks have been vested, so he’s looking for a new opportunity (aka a better package).
These days, he is studying for the technical interviews early in the morning, late at night, and on the weekends. I take over most of the childcare and housework while working a full-time job so that he can focus on his preparation.
Some might say that we should just take it slow and enjoy our current jobs. But we think that if we have the potential to get a better position with better pay while working the same number of hours, we will try to do so for ourselves, our kids’ future, and our parents. The interview prep will only take a few months.
In different industries, promotion and better pay might mean more stress and more hours at work. But based on our experience in tech, it’s not so much the case if we work for the right team and the right company.
2. Renting our house out
We have paid off our current home in DC. When we move to Seattle, we won’t have to pay mortage on it. But the question is should we rent it out or leave it empty? Here are the pros and cons:
I. Renting it out
— A similar home in the area just got rented out for $2,500 a month ($30,000/year). Even if we have to pay 12% for property management, we will still get $26,400/year.
— The tenants will alert us if there’s any issue with the house such as pipes burting or water leak.
— Tenants might cause more wear and tear to the house.
— We will need to replace some applicances (i.e. the fridge) that have issues which we fix every once in a while but the new tenants might not be ok with.
— If we decide we don’t want to stay in Seattle and want to move back to DC, we won’t be able to move back into our house if the lease is still in effect.
— We will need to get rid of our furniture and anything we can’t take to Seattle. We got most of our furniture for free or from the curb side, so it won’t be too costly. But the thought of getting rid of our stuff is still a bit emotional for me.
II. Leaving it empty
The opposite of all the cons above.
The biggest con is that we will lose out on $26,400/year and we will need to hire someone to check on the house every once in a while.
After a long discussion, Mr. FAF and I decided we would rent the house out when we move. There are of course risks with doing so, but the monetary payoff is too big to brush aside.
Doing business and building wealth involves risks, and we are willing to take chances.
Yes, we will become renters again after five years of being homeowners! We will rent out a three-bedroom apartment or townhome in Seattle for six months.
During this time, we will decide if we want to stay in the area. If not, we might need to plan another move to another city. If yes, we will look for a house to buy.
The rent ranges from $2,500 to $3,000/month, if not higher, depending on the area. Mr. FAF said he wants to live in the downtown area to experience the city life for once.
When Mr. FAF and I were students, we rented cheap places to save money. Mr. FAF once paid $250/month to rent a garage-turned-bedroom.
Now that we have more wiggle room in our budget, Mr. FAF wants to experience something better. As for me, I just want a place that’s safe and close to work.
Over the cost of six months, we will pay $15,000-$18,000 in rent. This is one reason why we decided to rent out our home: to offset the rental fees we will pay in Seattle.
While I feel relieved to not have to worry about home maintenance at the rental, I am feeling a bit concerned about the high rent.
Mr. FAF said that we will be paying to experiment a different life. Plus, it will be covered partly by my relocation package. If Mr. FAF gets a new job, the rental payment will be covered 100%.
Our son is starting first grade in September, so we feel that the summer is the best time for us to move. We will enroll him in public school and won’t have to pay out of pocket.
This is something we have been looking forward to after paying for daycare all these years. We will send our daughter to daycare and will probably pay roughly $2,000/month.
As you can see, the biggest expense in our budget when we move to Seattle is the rent ($2,500-3,000/month).
The living expenses in Seattle might be higher than where we currently live, so our expenses might increase as well.
However, we consider this to be a new living experience and an experiment to see where we want to live in the long run, so we are willing to pay for the increased prices.
That is our current plan to move to Seattle so far. We plan to move in June or July when our son is done with kindergarten and when the weather is the most sunny and beautiful in Seattle.
I look forward to meeting my colleagues in person and participating in the events at my new company when Covid is over. Mr. FAF is excited about living in a new city where there are a lot of Chinese restaurants and beautiful places.
Overall, this will be a new and exciting experience for our family.
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