It was 2009. The housing market had crashed. My husband and I thought it seemed like a smart time to finally buy a house. Being well into our 40′s, this had been a long time dream that, until the crash, was simply not affordable.
There we were, living in Los Angeles, looking at houses and wondering how we would ever buy one, and then deal with the feeling of ‘settling’ for something. Every house we looked at was either too small, had those security bars that we called jail bars on the windows or was in a terrifying neighborhood. Seriously. Who wants to be afraid if you come home at night?
So we gave up. Okay. No home ownership.
Life went on. It does that. It just sort of goes on and if you don’t have a plan, well, pretty soon, you’re more or less existing and not moving towards anything.
As musicians who ended up running our own video production business we were used to working from home. Consequently, our home doubles as our work-space and it’s very important to us. As our business became more successful, the camera equipment started to take up more and more room. Along with drum kits, guitars, amps and a piano, we were simply running out of room.
We realized that we kept having the same scenario happen to us: Move into an amazing space. Turn it into our own creative compound with lots of construction, repairs and improvements and then the landlord/landlady sells it after 5-6 years and we have to move out.
After the third time of getting thrown out for that reason, we decided it was time to buy our own house.
That year, 2009, President Obama offered up the $8k stimulus if you bought a house as a first-time home-buyer. We hunted all over Los Angeles. Tried to imagine living in that tiny house or in that fixer upper in the scary neighborhood. Meanwhile, we wondered what was happening to us by living in the smog. But then, we pretty much gave up. The reality was that we were not going to find what we wanted in LA within our budget.
So we went on a vacation instead. For the first two weeks of June, we packed up and flew to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Ahhhh. Clean air. Warm ocean. Balmy breezes.
After two weeks of gorgeous weather and daily snorkeling, we flew back to LA. We talked endlessly about the logistics of moving to an island. We looked into moving to Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica. But it all felt like a logistic nightmare!
Then we got busy again and we just went back to dealing with our tiny crowded 750 square foot of space with video studio, recording studio and office.
On one particularly hot day in July, The Universe stepped in to remind us of our dream. We packed the Toyota and headed to Malibu, 25 miles away. We got there with no hassles and paid the $15 to park. We dived into the water. But this is the Pacific. It was 68 degrees and you couldn’t see your feet when you were only knee deep!
After spending a few hours making the best of it and missing the tropical sunshine and warm, clear waters of the Caribbean, we set off for home.
If you know anything about Malibu, you know there’s only one way out. That’s PCH – aka Pacific Coast Highway. The 25 mile ride home took us over 2 hours because we were stuck in gridlock on a non-holiday Wednesday.
I was late for a phone appointment and when I finally got on the call, that’s when The Universe nudged us. I was talking to a colleague that I’d never actually met. He lived in Southeast Florida in a town called Delray Beach. I shared and laughed about our trek to and from Malibu. I practically shouted about how cold the water was in July and he started laughing about how the ocean in Delray was 82 degrees and the nights were warm and balmy.
The Caribbean in the US. Of course! It was so obvious!
We booked our flights for the end of August and hunted for a realtor who would listen to what we wanted.
We began to obsess about living in Florida and wondered if we were crazy to move 3000 miles to a place where we knew nobody, had no family and had no reason to move there except that we wanted to buy a house and have warmer water and clean air.
Finally, the day arrived. We took the red eye to Fort Lauderdale, drove to our hotel in Delray, had 2 hours of sleep and met with the realtor.
The second house we looked at was THE HOUSE. The Dream House. The one that you can’t believe nobody else has bought because it’s SO PERFECT for you. High ceilings. Tons of space. Big pool. Very unusual style with lime green shag carpet and white tile floors. Immediately, we dubbed it “The Elvis House.”
Having lived in a tiny house in LA for so long, we didn’t have much furniture and had been eating on the couch for years because there was no room for a dining table with all the video and music gear. The Elvis House came with a huge 10 seater table and chairs and a smaller six seater table and chairs. It even had a white piano from the 1930′s.
This house was made for us.
But we didn’t trust ourselves.
Three days and 11 houses later, we knew that was the one. But we were too late. It was under contract.
We flew back to LA a little bummed out but maybe a little bit relieved that we didn’t have to uproot our lives just yet. Whew.
Three weeks later, the realtor called. “The Elvis House is available again. Do you want to put in an offer?”
We panicked. We had just gotten back into our routines. Accepted our tiny house again. Settled for our kind of scary neighborhood in East LA.
We sat there in our cramped recording studio wondering what to do, wishing for a manual that could tell you if you were making the right decision.
So we flipped a quarter. Heads we make an offer on The Elvis House, tails we stay put.
Bam flipped the quarter. Heads!
I shouted… “2 out of 3!”
He flipped again. “Heads!”
I was still terrified of the life change. “3 out of 5!”
He flipped again. “Tails.” We looked at each other.
He flipped again. “Heads!”
We stared at each other with disbelief.
“Is the Universe telling us to do this? Or are we stupidly resting our fates on a quarter?” I asked.
There was only way to decide if this was right.
We asked ourselves if we were running towards something or running from something.
We had a lot of complaints about Los Angeles. That would be running from something. But we had a lot of great things to say about Florida and that house.
Finally, we ran towards it. We put a bid on it. We watched and rewatched the video we’d shot of the house. We VISUALIZED ourselves living in it and looked up where the nearest beach was. (1 mile away.) We had to send reams of paper to get a mortgage, as we’re self-employed and qualifying was no easy task.
We manifested every step of the way believing that it would happen.
Finally, our life belongings were on a truck to Florida. Our car was on a transport and we flew to Florida.
We still had NOT CLOSED ESCROW. Our friends thought we were insane.
November 26, 2009, the day before Thanksgiving, we signed the papers and moved into The Elvis House.
We moved in!
It’s been two and a half years. We now have a dog, and as for the neighborhood? I know all of my neighbors by name and we wave to each other every day. And if I’m out walking Ringo, I might be late for dinner because I’ve stopped to chat with someone about their house or their dog.
One of the craziest and best decisions we’ve ever made.
Listen to your heart.
Listen to The Universe.
And sprint towards your dreams with open arms!
Share Ross – Video coach, CEO of Video Rockstar University, artist coach. Share uses her past experience as a rockstar (bassist in platinum all femme rock band, Vixen), adventurer, knitting book author (Punk Knits), options trader and more to guide you on the adventure that is your life. “It’s all about communication. What stories do you tell yourself and others? Those stories shape your destiny.” You can find Share at shareross.com and VideoRockstarUniversity.com. Next class starts Sept 10, 2012!