There is nothing wrong with having to work hard and save hard to live in Lafayette

by Eliot Hudson,

I was not able to afford my present house in Lafayette until I was 51 years old. This is how I got it.

While I attended the University of California Hastings College of the Law, I lived in an apartment in Marin County. After graduation from law school, I obtained employment with a Marin County law firm. A year later I moved to an Oakland firm. I thought that I would like to live in Marin because of its beauty and proximity to the Bay. For the first two years as a lawyer I had no hope of buying a home. After I got married and my working wife and I had two incomes, we began considering a home. We worked hard and saved assiduously. After looking and making unsuccessful offers, we realized we could not afford a home we would like in Marin.

We did not tell Marin County that it had to change the nature of its communities to accommodate us.

We continued to look for a house, including contemplating moving to Napa and enduring a long commute to where I then worked in the East Bay. However, we started to look for housing in the East Bay. We eventually found a condominium in a development on the San Ramon/Danville border. With our two jobs and a small loan from my parents we were able to afford it, but just barely.

We worked and saved hard. Five years later we bought a small house in Lafayette. I continued to work my tail off. Life changed, and I wound up in a small, rather dingy, rental house for about four years. I continued to work my tail off. During all this time I also worked hard at saving money. I rarely went out to eat, and I took only economical vacations. My lifestyle was vastly more frugal than many people live today, from big items to small. Spend money on a latte? You have to be kidding. Fly to visit friends? In my dreams. Dinners out? Few and far between. Since starting to work as a lawyer, until I was in my 60s I had only one year where I had taken more than two weeks vacation, and in most years I had taken only one week. During one five-year period, I took no vacation.

After looking for a house for about 2 years, and bidding on several homes where I got outbid, my excellent realtor found a house in Lafayette. I had to make a decision in three hours and present the offer that same evening. Fortunately, by actively looking and moving very fast, I was able to get the home. Had I not done so, the next day there were five back-up offers that were almost assuredly higher than mine.

Buying a home in the Bay Area has been a difficult task for decades. It took scrimping and two incomes to get started, then working extremely hard and scrimping for decades to buy my current home at age 51. I have always thought I was fortunate.

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