As I have said in a couple other threads, my partner of the last almost decade and I split up over the summer. It was mostly amicable and friendly, and we're helping each other transition. While she's off Eat, Pray, Loving in Bali, I have been living in our house still. I have painted and gotten new furniture and put all her personal stuff in the attic to make it more my place. It has been a mutually beneficial to both of us. She has a place to keep her stuff while she is a nomad, and we still split the mortgage.
There's no way what I pay a month would get me a 3 bedroom house and detached office in LA. Not even close. With a potential writer's strike coming this summer, it worked out that she left and I could stay.
But then we remembered it is an election year, and Trump-crap is a mess, and the housing market it LA is swelling to the point of bursting-- and all the experts say late spring is the time to sell in this market. So my ex has decided to do exactly that. I'm kind of annoyed, but I get it.
What I don't love, is that she originally bought this place for her work office, and took it over when she sold her company. I have been splitting the mortgage, but my name is not on the paperwork, and I didn't put up anything for the down payment, so I am not going to get anything out of the sale. She's nice enough and we're friendly enough that she'll give me a little, but nothing huge.
I know the wise thing to do would be to buy a place of my own-- because that's what responsible adults do-- but I have never been super into the idea of owning a home. I don't know why, I get why I should, especially in LA where rent prices are basically the same as a mortgage payment... I just don't really want to. Plus, if I did it with the money I have now, I have no room for anything to go wrong. If the strike happens and it goes for awhile, I'd be screwed. If I end up needing any major repairs-- also screwed.
So that means I am renting. I don't have much of a choice, and I need to find a place by March. I am stressing out about where to go. The usual factors like what amenities my money gets me are of course a thing, but I am finding it is coming down to location more than anything else. I spend half my year working on TV shows, which means office hours in a writer's room. I have been in rooms all over town, their location is usually based on proximity to the studio or production company. The other half of the year I am working on movie stuff, which I do from home. Finally, I have my kid a few days a week and his mother lives in the suburbs, which is about 45min away. I generally have to go and pick him up and bring him back.
So my choices are:
1. My current neighborhood.
Pros: Easily my favorite part of LA
Cons: 45 min to kid, 1 hr to the west side where a lot of my meetings and studios are; not a lot of affordable rentals
2. Studio City / Sherman Oaks
Pros: centrally located, still 45min to kid, but only 20-30 to anywhere else in LA I'd need to go.
Cons: over-populated, so more random crime and traffic-- which is why I left that part of town a fifteen years ago
3. The burbs
Pros: would be closer to the kid, easier to see him, could actually rent a house for what I can afford, quieter
cons: minimum 45 to anywhere in town, which would make for a heavy commute when I am staffed on a TV show; just don't want to
My problem is, I logically and emotionally go right to the burbs-- a house and more kid access seems like a win.... but I really don't want to live out there away from everything. That commute would be brutal, and my social life would suffer. I might even have to actively turn down work if it were in a writer's room were in say Santa Monica. That would be a nightmare.
So then I feel guilty. My kid should be my priority right? And I don't even know if/when the next TV job would be. I basically hate that I am saying I would sacrifice time with my kid because I just don't want to live in the suburbs.
...but then again, being a parent isn't just TIME. And let's face it, he's 14, "time" with him is when he comes out of his room to eat meals... and if I am turning down jobs, that is less money to support him, and he is getting expensive. College is only a few years away. Also, if I move to the burbs and sacrifice my own happiness is that really a good way to parent? Depressed and defeated?
I am STRESSED about this.