Renting

“Freelance Money Isn’t Like Other Money”

This aggrieved response, in Salon, to the NYT magazine piece about Portland — why people move there, what they do then, and how the city is changing — makes some sobering points about how our culture views freelance work and the money that results.

In 2013 my husband had a salaried position and did some freelance work — freelance work he has been doing for the past 10 years — on the side. In 2014 he quit the salaried job to pursue freelance full-time and is making roughly three times what he used to. Had he left that salaried job for another, we’d have no problem. We’d produce his last two pay stubs and even though it was a new job his work history would demonstrate some indelible quality about him and we’d have our mortgage.

But it doesn’t work like that for freelancers. The invoices we send out every month, the checks we deposit, the estimated taxes we’ve already paid — none of it really means anything until we file our tax return. Freelance money, we’ve come to realize, isn’t like other money. At a time in our economy when a salaried worker can lose his job without warning and then be unemployed for months, if not years, he’s still seen as a safer bet than a freelancer. Our money doesn’t count, and neither do our jobs. This is cultural, I understand, and there are countless ways — from healthcare to the tax code — that our culture is set up to favor salaried workers.

No one who reads this site could mistake freelancers for slackers. But it’s true that when Ben and I both jumped off the freelance cliff, we didn’t consider the long-term ramifications in terms of things like mortgages. (Move somewhere significantly cheaper and buy in cash?) Anyone have experience convincing banks to lend to you as something other than a FT employee?

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“Behind Every Jane Jacobs Comes Giuliani with his Nightstick.”

Mueller’s painting with too broad a brush. Not so much a broad brush, even: a flamethrower.

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Reconsidering a Living Situation

I mulled over the fact that I had just dropped off a rent check for an apartment in Manhattan that I hadn’t even lived in for half of the month.

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It’s Utilities, Not Me-tilities

Today I talked to frequent commenter ThatJenn about utilities.

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AirBnb Ruined Our Lives and Turned Us Into Entitled City Dwellers

If you live in New York, you’ve probably seen the subway ads for AirBnb. They display hosts who have made serious money through the tech company—the king of the “sharing economy.” AirBnb has recently won significant legal battle by proving its own legality. It was ruled that AirBnb hosts who live in the apartment or house they are renting out are within the boundaries of the law. Well, that’s us. We’re legal. And yet, if I’m honest with myself, AirBnb has basically ruined my life. And it can ruin yours, too.

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How Bad Does Your Landlord Have to Screw Up to Justify a Month’s Free Rent?

One Sunday evening, my elder child called to me from the shower, with apparent alarm, “Dad! It’s raining in here!” Since this was a ten-year-old and ten-year-olds are prone to goofy, physical humor, I mostly expected to find him in the shower under an umbrella, but lo and behold, the water was not running, he was toweling off, and there was a distinct sound of light rain on a tin roof coming from the bathroom ceiling.

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A Room in an Elderly Stranger’s House, and Other Places I’ve Lived

Besides me, David Sedaris is the only American I know of who spent a big part of his early 20s rooming with an elderly stranger. He describes this time, during which he took up residence in a Chapel Hill boarding house out of some vague, misplaced nostalgia for an erstwhile age, in his 2007 essay “This Old House.” But the four months I spent with C.C. were a little different.

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The IKEA Furniture We Live With That Inevitably Ends Up on Craigslist

Two years ago, in a fit of mania and a deep desire to live in less hideous surroundings, I went to Ikea and bought a bunch of shit. My boyfriend and I lived in a one-bedroom on the first floor of a dumpy street, where we had a view of a blindingly bright auto repair shop that used more fluorescent paint than a rave. The apartment was stuffed with ugly hand-me-downs given to my boyfriend by his mother, and I’d occasionally wake up and gaze at my surroundings and think, “Am I 32? Is this what 32 looks like?” This crippling rumination often resulted with me on the couch on a sunny day, unable to do anything more than watch back-to-back episodes of Haven while eating gummy bears.

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You Will Totally Believe Everything In This Training Manual For Real Estate Brokers

A real estate broker with an unnamed firm left his training manual in the apartment of a one Mr. James Bell, who shares the best of it with all of us over at the Guardian. It is, well, it is what you would expect.

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As New Hosts on AirBnB, My Husband and I Sort of Break Even

My husband’s dream of moving his band’s weekly practices from a high-rent industrial building to the cottage crumpled, and we realized that in order to avoid financial ruin we would have to use it as a source of extra income. Since we still wanted to banish certain out-of-town company to the cottage, we decided to furnish the space and offer it for short-term rental on AirBnB.

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June With My Landlord

I went into labor around 6AM on the morning of June 2nd and around 2AM the morning of June 3rd, the kitchen light flickered on. One of us — probably not me as I was in labor — got out of bed, where we’d been trying to sleep in 7-minute intervals, punctuated by the worst pain of my life, for the past however many hours. Dustin tried the switch. It didn’t turn off. I got up between contractions and flicked the switch on and off like a madwoman, which I was in this moment. Sparks went off, the light — the terrible terrible florescent light that we go out of our way to never use — stayed on.

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