Once we owned a house in Owatonna. That’s not nearly as romantic as ‘Once I had a farm in Africa’, the opening line of the movie Out of Africa. But that is our story, and the downer is that we STILL own a house in Owatonna. We don’t want to own it, we’ve tried NOT to own it, and yet here we keep going, owning it.

We had a renter, who we thought was a buyer, who remained a renter and who has now given her notice that she will be taking all her truckloads of stuff to another house somewhere else (who knew so much stuff could fit in that house! It’s amazing — it’s like expand-o house with stretchy walls or something!). We thought we had more time, since she has a daughter in high school who is not graduating this year and that would motivate the renter to stay. But that is not the case, and she is leaving town.


We are now forced to revisit the housing market and decide what we can do about this house. We plan to rent it out, since nothing has significantly rebounded in the past year and housing prices are still dismal. We received one call asking if we’d rent it with an option to buy. Is this like those sometimes seedy rent-to-own stores, the ones where you can rent a couch or a dresser or an oversized fish tank? It still doesn’t unload the mortgage for us, and sounds like it would just complicate matters by introducing another party to any interactions between the bank and us, which doesn’t make much sense since as a general rule most interactions with banks are complicated anyhow. (How would I know? I never talk to my bank. And they never talk to me. I think we both know the other party exists, but we don’t keep in touch. They scare me a little bit.) It just doesn’t sound like a good idea.

The house is available in December, and if you know of a solid renter who would like to live in a classic house in a quaint area, you know where to send them! Or if you have keen insight into the world of “option to buy” we would be happy to benefit from your wisdom if you’re willing to share. Here’s a link to the house: