Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Hunt, Part I

I sent an e-mail to the owner of our apartment last week asking her what her intentions were. We only signed a one-year lease, and I was pretty sure that she wouldn't want to extend it but wanted to confirm. We would be very happy to have another year here. We feel like we need more time to get our bearings. And the dollar is currently pretty weak. (For those of you in the US who don't follow these things, the dollar is currently valued at 3.7ish shekel. When we arrived in September it was at 4 shekel. So our dollars that we have safely tucked away in the US are buying much less than they did a few months ago. And it's hard to predict if and how much lower the dollar will go.) In any case, we have been informed that the owner does plan on returning in August.

So we have to find a new place.

We now have decisions to make. Do we rent again? Do we buy? And if so, where?

We live in a neighborhood called Buchman. Actually, we live sort of on the outskirts of the neighborhood. Others who live more in the neighborhood probably think we are in a bad location. And maybe if we had younger kids we would feel that way to. But our kids are old enough to pretty much get most places in the neighborhood independently. We have a beautiful park right downstairs. Although we never use it, the bus stops down the block. We love the location.

Buchman is lovely, with beautiful homes and apartments. It is new. It is very American, and known as the "American ghetto". Americans come, and are willing to pay certain prices to live on certain blocks. And soon those prices become outrageous. Ridiculously so.

We are seriously considering moving to the neighborhood adjacent to Buchman. It is an older, more established, more centrally located neighborhood. And the houses and apartments cost significantly less. There are plenty of Anglos, but the neighborhood isn't dominated by them. The kids know that we are thinking about it and are not thrilled. They want to stay in Buchman, where they have friends.

But it is still within walking distance to Buchman. And they do have friends in Givaat C as well, they just haven't necessarily cultivated those friendships as much.

On the one hand, I feel guilty because I've moved them across the world, and now I want to move them to another neighborhood. On the other hand, its not like I'm moving them out of Modiin altogether. I won't do that to them, even though I think I was a little naive about how much housing would cost over here in Buchman. Buchman now rivals Chashmonaim, and Woodmere, in terms of the cost of housing.

I didn't move to Israel to be a slave to a mortgage. Again. This time I want to buy something within our means, and that means we are priced out of Buchman.

Unless we decide to rent indefinitely. (Although rentals have also increased a great deal here).

We are now starting to educate ourselves about buying a home in Israel. We are starting to look--to see what is out there, how much it costs. We are also starting to learn about mortgages in Israel.

The last time we bought a home in the Five Towns (it was also the first time), we jumped right in. Now we are older and well, maybe not wiser, but a bit more experienced.

If you're interested, I'll keep you posted on the process.

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