5-27-2020 Five Reasons to Be Hopeful This Wednesday: REAL ESTATE!
May 27, 2020
It is almost the end of May and the third calendar month that we have been #shelteringinplace and #stay(ing)home. I talked to my sister yesterday and as a nonmedical person she gets frustrated that her neighbors are slowly breaking down those physical barriers, and may increase the spread of COVID-19. A friend traveling to a vacation area. Families now meeting in the backyard. While she holds the line because she has to make sure some important people remain protected. I’m the older sister who is a pediatrician, and I advised her to do what she knows is right. The world will do what it is doing, and we can’t stop the world from going what is it going through – but we should not accelerate it.
CNN and the major news outlets do not stress me out as much anymore. What is happening now in California is what we expected. We closed down early, and our rate of infections was slow. But now sandwhiched between the crazies in Orange County that are going to beaches without masks and our less medically equipped Southern neighbor Tijuana, of course our community will see an uptick in cases. We had thought through various prediction models and I think the Pediatric Infecitous Disease head had said also during one of the weekly lectures, that we should expect things to peak mid June. So here we are, rising slowly and peaking but slowly. We are not the travesty of New York City. But then people will get together like they did undoubtably like this last Memorial Day weekend, and there will be another peak. The second wave will come, and we are all just playing our bit parts.
I advised my sister to continue her plan. She knows what she needs to do to keep her family safe. I also have to go to work every day with property protections in place, but then come home. We go to the grocery store just one person once a week and that is it. Mr. Plastic Picker suggested going to the local Drive-In movie theatre, and I looked at him with his diabetic mother who is high risk and lives with us and said, “Are you looking for trouble?” He agreed and we will stay home this next weekend and find more projects to do.
I have been using this time well, getting work projects done and financial projects. This blog is really a combination of every single kind of blog I’ve ever written, especially personal finance blogging. I think I’ve written most of the pieces and dispensed most of the advice I ever wanted to. The most recent was about Real Estate Investing Advice for MDs https://drplasticpicker.com/dr-plastic-picker-shares-real-estate-investing-advice-for-mds/.
I volunteered to work in the hospital if they should need me, but I think this outpatient general pediatrician former pediatric endocrine fellow is not needed. Instead I wrote a leadership manifesto yesterday for work, outlining our leadership structure in our department. Writing this blogpost yesterday on Star Trek and Leadership, really helped me organize my thoughts https://drplasticpicker.com/models-for-physician-leadership-why-cant-it-be-a-star-trek-starship-captain/. Then I wrote a letter outlining a departmental award on mentorship we established. I thought the letter was very well worded, and it flowed easily. This is the byproduct of now writing almost 200 blogposts!
But during this time that I have been like everyone else worried about the world and COVID-19, I have also continued to be practical. I have always been interested in personal finance, and have tried to make popular the phrase Financial Independence Save the Earth (FISE). https://drplasticpicker.com/fise-financial-indepedence-and-save-the-earth/ That was back in December 2019 and I am still the only person that uses that term. In my practicality, I have continued to invest in the stock market through our retirement account, invest in the kids’ 529 plans, and we completed a 1031 property exchange and upgraded to a nicer rental property. There were a few hiccups that ended up costing us an extra 1000-2000 or so to get our new renters in, but it’s a long-term investment.
I also included above the picture of a the backyard of our rental property in Northern Virginia. I bought the house next to my sister, and got it for a steal. It was one of the best real estate moves I have ever made. We’ve had renters there the entire time. The backyard needed to have some drainage work done, and the driveway needs to be repaved, and something needed to be done with the backyard outside area. The renters are a lovely military family raising a younger child. We decided to fix the backyard up but do it well, on the excellent advice of our property manager who is family as well. So all our frugality goes to pay for this lovely new patio. We are fixing it up and thinking of the long-term. We are able to absorb the cost of the repairs because we have a savings rate of close to 50%. Yet we are still making plenty of equity and the house is appreciating in value nicely.
I know this is a Hopeful Wednesday post and I usually write about the environment, but real estate makes me so hopeful and happy. I absolutely love love love this house. We live in a much more expensive area in Southern California with roofdeck with ocean views, and all the modern trimmings. I think it’s partly because I grew up in Southern California and I take that all for granted. I love our primary home, and we are sheltering in place here well. But our Northern Virginia home I adore. It sits on an acre of land, and the fenced lot is bordered by large trees. It’s a 4 bedroom and 2 1/2 bath house, and will be easy to clean. My sister’s house is right next door across a fence and I can see her into her kitchen from the garage.
I don’t know what retirement is going to be like, and Mr. Plastic Picker and I have many years until then. Despite my trying to live in the moment, we are planning for retirement. I like to think of this as our second home during retirement, and our East Coast base. My love of real estate informs about how I try to help the environment. 7,162 acres is how many acres we have saved through our donations https://drplasticpicker.com/donation-round-up/. And our Northern Virginia house sits on almost an acre.
So these are Five Things that Make me Hopeful regarding our Nothern Virginia home.
- Amazon headquarters moved in a few miles away, and shot up our property values.
- Price Appreciation: The house has appreciated at least 150K in equity with about 25K in repairs.
- The Metro Bus that connects the area to DC and all the fun cultural/political offerings is only a block away
- Creek: There is a nearby creek that you can jog along and see flowing water year-round
- Easy Access to NYC: We can easily drive to New York City from this house, as Mr. Plastic Picker’s sisters are firmly esconed in the city. His niece decided to stay and go to NYU for business school. So we are for the next generation will continue to be a bicostal family.
And most importantly I bought the house next to my sister. I’ll have to write a post about that later, because it’s a very funny and endearing story. I always buy with my heart, and it works out.
OMG, it’s 735 AM and I have to get to work. Signing off your real estate buying litter picking Star Trek loving trying to be vegan blogging outpatient pediatrician. If middle management does not work out, I have so many other things that interest me. My mother wants me to make her an Upcycled Bird House.