I had a conversation with my mother today about buying my own house. (Or more probably my own condo.) This isn’t exactly a new conversation, in fact we’ve been having it more or less regularly for the last year now. It’s a bit of a scary proposition, especially here in Los Angeles. Property values are very high–that’s why I say it’s more likely that my first purchase would be a condo. I can still live in the Los Angeles area are actually buy a condo for something around the $200,000 to $300,000 range. And by “the Los Angeles area” I mean LA proper, Hollywood, near Valley areas like Burbank, Glendale, North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks. Something on the westside might be nice. Closer to the beach means cooler weather. Of course if often means higher prices too. I have no desire to go live out in the high desert, Palmdale or some such place, just so that I can own a cheap home. And an actual house in the areas I’m talking about is going to start at half-a-million for a piece of junk.
So it probably would be a condo or a town house. Still scary though.
It’s all a moot point right now since I’m not working. That’s the other scary part about home ownership. There’s something about the notion that you can just walk away from a rental property that’s a little more comforting when you don’t have a steady income.
I love my career choice and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but it doesn’t guarantee me a regular paycheck 50 weeks out of the year. Doing post-production sound for films is a very fun and a pretty geeky technical job. You get the satisfaction of knowing that you had a direct hand in presenting that final product that people shell out their $10 to see in a movie theater. You’re also completely anonymous. When I walk down the street nobody comes up to me says “Oh my god it’s YOU!”
I get paid pretty decently but if I don’t have a movie to work on, I don’t collect a check. Typically I’ll have a nice run of a year or two with next to no time off. And then I might not have another job for 3 to 5 months. That just the way it goes, and those of us who do this for a living (at least the smart ones) plan for the fact that we’ll have time off. If you take home $3000 a month after taxes when you’re working, you can’t turn around and spend $3000 a month. You just can’t. You have to plan on only spending $1500 or $2000. Otherwise you’ll never make it through the downtime.
Anyway it’s just the way my life works and it’s a little different from someone who puts on a suit and tie and sits in a cubicle all day.
So let’s review: fun job, not a guaranteed income, houses very expensive.
I’m not sure where I was going with this whole thing. I guess I am just saying that I’ve been thinking about the future a lot. It would be nice to have a place to call my own. Not call it my own because I’m throwing money at someone to let me be there, but actually mine. Maybe it’s just one of those things that happens when you enter into your third decade.