I have no idea where any of this money is going. By the time you read this, I will have completed buying a new house, a process that largely involves sending money to people and organizations seemingly at random until the title company decides you’ve done enough of this and lets you have a house.
I don’t know who any of these people are or what they do. I’ll get an email about how the County Perambulator needs to conduct the Platted Estate Vivisection and the Homestead Dirigible Fee needs to be paid to a city office that’s open between 12:30pm and 12:45pm during a spring tide. I’ll also need to get the kitchen and bathroom inspected to make sure there’s no Latvian grout, and of course an exterminator needs to come out to tell me not whether I have bugs – this is Florida, of course I have bugs – but how many and what kind. Florida exterminators, when they come out to look for bugs, aren’t really there to tell you whether or not you have bugs as much as they’re there to conduct a kind of bug census.
So there are things to take care of. But at least I got the house, which means I slid in just before the teeming throngs of Northerners.
Northerners moving to South Florida is not new, but at the moment they’re descending on us like locusts on an Old Testament town with an attitude problem. A story ran in the Sun Sentinel right around the time I was going to closing that explained how rich New Yorkers are basically turning up in South Florida and lobbing bags of cash at home sellers. This is not good news for normal homebuyers who need to rely on quaint concepts such as “loans” and “mortgages” to buy homes. I might have slid in just under the wire.
Of course, making room for all the people who want to live here is a perennial problem. In this, our development issue, we look at homes and other buildings – the ones we have, the ones we might need, the ways we might want to think about developing and redeveloping the space we have to accommodate the people who want to live here while also making this a place people can continue living in. I talked to people including a UM professor, landscape architects and a solar entrepreneur about how all that might look, both at the macro level and the micro level, in people’s daily lives.
I’ve been thinking about the micro level a lot lately. After all the paperwork, there was the moving. You never know who your friends really are until you tell them the hours you’ve rented the U-Haul for. But once that’s done, I’m in. Then there’s nothing to do but sit back, crack open a beer and wait for a New Yorker to come running up my driveway and throw a duffel bag full of cash at me. I might even consider the offer, if my bugs don’t carry it off first.