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I got home after midnight last night and I’m still feeling pretty tired, plus I still have a cold with an earache.

This trip was the closest I’ve come to an actual vacation in about the last 10 years, since I didn’t go to a conference or do anything work-related (except for one meeting).

I saw a few places I really loved, but most of them were way too expensive. Even a 1 bedroom unit in one of those condos cost more than twice what my 3 bedroom would cost even now. It looks like the real estate bust hasn’t hit the bay area.

I did see some very nice, new townhouses built in 2002. It’s a row of 8 homes in a little cul-de-sac, at least 4 of them are foreclosures or short sales for well under $100k. Unfortunately it’s in a pretty bad part of Oakland. The places I looked at in the Peninsula were a lot nicer, but also a lot more expensive and didn’t seem very pet-friendly. One of them even had a shuttle to the Bart station, which would make it easy & cheap to get into the city anytime I want and not have to worry about parking.

Where I’m living now, I’m very financially secure. I owe about half of the current value of my condo and my mortgage payments are only about 5% of my income, so I pay about $200-300 extra principal every month to pay it off faster. This gives me a lot of freedom, and I can afford to take chances. If I moved into one of those places, my finances would be a lot tighter. I like the freedom of living beneath my means.

There are some units nearby that are cheap enough that I can pay cash for, and after flipping one of them I can easily pay off my remaining mortgage, which would put me on my way to buying one of those condos in the bay area. It looks like I’ll have to delay my moving plans for a year or so.

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