I've been in a kind of hysterical depression over letting the house on Macon slip through my fingers, and trying to channel all that energy into something more useful (like work, you say? hah.) or at least stem the tide of obsession. I've looked into it and it seems to be unlikely that the WHOLE WORLD WILL END if I don't buy a house this week. Possible, but not likely.
Not to just lay my finances bare here on the interwire, but ... at what we'd offered for a four unit building, we'd be paying a chunk more ourselves each month than market rent, certainly more than we pay now, but definitely within our budget, as long as the other three units were occupied (or the tenants were actually paying their rent) 75% of the time. The big vision was that in a few years we'd be able to afford to expand into two floors of the house. It turns out that in addition to totally new wiring, we'd need to replace all of the plumbing in the house and, while we could probably afford it, we couldn't then afford for anything else to go wrong in the first two years and that was too risky for us, so we backed out.
Here is the thing: even with the major work that the building needed, we could easily have afforded one third of the building. While we'd forgo the rental income, we'd also get to skip out on a lot of risk because we wouldn't be counting on rental income to pay the mortgage. Even half the building would have been manageable and put us back in a somewhat comfortable position, where it would hurt to carry the whole mortgage, but we could do it.
Before I go on, just in case I've given you the illusion that I know what I'm talking about ... I don't. I'm making this up as I go and writing it up so that my friends (and my parents) can tell me if I'm wrong.
View My Room in the Bubble (ask Cherry Crush)