Part 3: Move West Stalled, But Not Stopped

Joan outside her condo in Baltimore

Bah, humbug! I like to think of myself as a mover and shaker, a person who gets things done. But the nearly halted condo sales market in suburban Baltimore is delaying my plans to move to senior housing.

Welcome back, Joan’s Journey readers. I promised to give you the honest lowdown on my search for senior housing. The truth is the search is fun. Researching and exploring new places, meeting interesting, caring, helpful folks, and exploring my personal, social and financial needs, is challenging in a positive way. The downer is the depressed condo sales market.

Selling My Home in a Down Market

After nearly three months on the market, including open houses, advertisements and e-mail blitzes to neighborhood realtors, not one person has inquired about my condo sale. Regrettably, it’s now time to explore a “short sale” with my mortgage company.

In simple terms, a short sale means the lender will accept less money than is owed on the mortgage when the sale is complete and the title is transferred to the buyer. The caveat is trying to find a buyer and have the lender agree to the depressed price.

What happens next is that I contact my lender and begin the short sale process. I have selected a realtor who is an expert in the short sale process. In addition, his company has representatives who can assist me with the process, which is quite complex.

Exploring Other Possibilities

Another possibility has surfaced to move my journey along: leasing my condo in lieu of selling it. I checked with our condo association president and he said there are no restrictions to leasing my condo to a single person or family. The issues with leasing include earning enough from the rent to cover my monthly mortgage, condo fee, condo assessments, taxes, insurance and potential repairs. Moreover, do I want to be a long-distance landlord?

If Joan’s Journey bloggers have insights, tips or advice on leasing one’s residence or the short sale process, please post your comments on the blog or Facebook page. I’d love to hear from you!

Moving Forward With My Search

Joan London with friends in Houston, TXThere is an upside to my bah, humbug. I stopped to visit friends in Houston a week ago, after spending 11 days in Southern California seriously senior living house-hunting.

My journey was fruitful. The best news is that I visited a senior housing community I consider a frontrunner. In my next installment, I will review the senior housing communities I visited, especially the frontrunner, and update you on my short sale and/or lease progress.

First, I must return to my condo in suburban Baltimore, unpack, check mail and e-mail, and study the senior housing materials I’ve gathered — plus begin the unpleasant task of starting the short sale process.

Am I leaving you hanging on the name and location of my frontrunner senior housing community? You bet! You’ll have to wait for Part 4 of Joan’s Journey to be published in mid-March…


Joan London is a freelance writer who lives in Baltimore, MD with her beautiful Russian Blue rescue cat Mia. London is working hard to determine whether the metropolitan Seattle area, San Francisco Bay Area or Southern California will be the best fit for her senior living relocation. Join the discussion at the blog or email your questions to

Read part four of Joan’s Journey: Southern California Reflections.

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