Share good ideas and conversation.   Login, Join Us, or Take a Tour!
comment by WanderingEng
WanderingEng  ·  151 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 19, 2018

I'm really indecisive when it comes to housing. I've been in my condo for twelve years. It's fine. It isn't great, it isn't bad, it's just fine. I don't want to retire here. I also don't want to buy an expensive house that saddles me with a miserable experience. I end up browsing real estate websites looking at sort of cheap houses in nice neighborhoods.

There's one built in 1930 that fits the bill. It's two bedroom, one bath, with an asking price of $250k. It sold for $165k in 2012, but I think the current owner did some improvements. Current pictures and older Google Street View show skylights were added. While I'm annoyed it's 50% more in six years, it might still be worth it. 1930 makes me a bit cautious, but I might just be making excuses to accept status quo.

I sometimes think I'd like to live out of town, but I'm not sure that's practical for someone single with no kids only because of the risk of future medical issues. What if I can't drive myself to a checkup? Or if I can't plow or even walk up my own driveway? I drove past a beautiful lot for sale. Wooded and hilly, and at my current age no problem. If I was 70? Maybe a problem.

I go round and round on this.

kleinbl00  ·  151 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Keep your powder dry.

Have a friend. Lofting his ceiling. A reasonable estimate is $20k. First estimate he got was $80k. Second estimate was $147k. The contractors don't want the work. They're quoting fuck-you prices. It's the froth of 2007.

Watched a house. Couple of houses, actually. Somebody gutted one down to the studs and tried to sell the pair of them. Sat on the market at $950k all through 2016, 2017. March 2018 they were bought by a throw'n'go real estate vulture out of Florida for $950k. Yesterday he listed 'em again, using the same photos from 2016, for $1.7m. Yeah, he wants to double his money for sitting on an unrebuildable house for six months. It's the froth of 2007.

Watching some other houses. Several of them sold in the $600-800k range in 2013, 2014. All of 'em listed for over $1.1m. Last year, they all sold within 2 months. March, they all sold within 4 months. Now, they're sitting there unsold. Those that do sell are losing $100k between ask and bid. It's the froth of 2007.

I founded /r/realestate. I pay a lot of attention to this stuff. And the bodies are about starting to hit the floor. I went to an open house six months ago where the owner-flippers didn't even bother to clear the boxes of unlaid tile out of the basement. The stampede has started.

Your choices will be greatly changed within 12-18 months. Your environment will be greatly changed within 40 years. That lovely farmhouse on the outskirts of town may end up surrounded by condos. When my wife's parents bought their house in 1978 the road had just been paved a few years earlier. When they'd been there 5 years, the county came through and cut in sidewalks. When they'd been there ten years, the county built a high school across the street. Two years ago the county knocked over the high school and built a bus barn for all the school buses and five years from now there will be an elevated light rail station going 40 miles to the damn airport.

WanderingEng  ·  151 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That makes a lot of sense. I'm in a position where I can wait, and I worry I'm waiting just because it's easier.

Some houses here sell in a week, or they were in May. This one has been up for six weeks. It does make me think either the market is shifting or this house is overpriced.

kleinbl00  ·  151 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    It does make me think either the market is shifting or this house is overpriced.

Two dependent variables.

goobster  ·  151 days ago  ·  link  ·  

1930 just means it was built out of quality materials and strong wood, rather than the compressed garbage they build houses out of today.

"Good bones", is what they call it. A strong foundation and structure that can be eternally re-designed inside to fit whatever the current homeowner wants it to be.

I think we live in the same part of the world(?), so that 50% increase is not the house. It's the dirt it is built on, being in close proximity to Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Adobe, Disney, Starbucks, Boeing, etc.

If you can put a significant down payment on it, and get reasonable terms (shouldn't be hard), then you can start building equity quickly, rather than enriching your landlord's portfolio, and effectively pissing money away.

Side benefit: You get to buy tools and make holes in walls and floors and paint things, and NOBODY gets to tell you that you are doing it wrong! (And, the more holes you make, the better you get at it, and the more you want to do it, to make your house YOURS.)

Home ownership can be pretty dang gratifying.

WanderingEng  ·  151 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I own my condo, so I'm not paying a landlord. Which is awesome. But I'm also not paying off a mortgage on a house. That makes me antsy.

You're probably right about the stoutness and also about the dirt. This is in a suburb with very high rated schools. Despite not having kids, that's a draw for me. I'd like to have neighbors that value education.

kleinbl00  ·  151 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The electrical and plumbing may be good and thoroughly jacked, though, and the insulation is likely to be shredded dungarees and newspaper. Good bones, yeah, but there's still ample room for retrofitting. Screw-in fuses are a drag.

francopoli  ·  151 days ago  ·  link  ·  

If and when I ever decide to sell the place I am in now, it is going to take a year, and I might make 10% on it. Then again I am out in Banjostan, 30 minutes from work and on two acres.

The nice thing about Condos is that they sell quicker than homes. Younger people fed up with renting but not ready to do a ton of yardwork don't buy homes.

    Or if I can't plow or even walk up my own driveway?

I pay the older dude with a truck to plow my part of the street. I don't even live in a city so the county is like "lol fuck you' when it comes to services like that. You invest in an AWD car, or a truck if you are too far out.

Moving out is great if you hate crowds and hate people. If you rather do things like go out to eat, hang out in a bar, go to a show, EVERYTHING is a 20-30 minute drive. That gets very annoying quickly if you can't handle solitude.

WanderingEng  ·  151 days ago  ·  link  ·  

When I decide to sell my condo, I'm prepared to lose 20% to foster a fast sale. At that point it's loses/months I've lived there, and that calculation is much less than rent would have been.

I think condos can sell quickly, too, just based on price. Single and young, divorced parents, and retired people can live there more easily. There can be a lot of competition, though, since it's hard to stand out on anything other than price.

Distance to things might bother me. I like solitude six and a half days a week, but the other half day I like being five to fifteen minutes away from a wide variety of activities. And three days a week, I like that it's a short drive out of my way to work to two different coffee shops.