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Thread: In a housing pickle. Thoughts? Ideas?

  1. #21
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApatheticNoMore View Post
    I guess I see homeownership as potentially locking one into:

    1) a bad commute forever and ever which one can't escape no matter what (say by changing apartments). And no buying where one works is no solution at all, no one has any job security and being at a job for 10 years is considered exceptional so one may start out with a house near work but that probably wont' be the case eventually
    2) very high mortgage payments due in periods of unemployment. I guess you can make this work with two incomes, it seems a heavy burden for one person with modern levels of job insecurity. Unemployment doesn't even pay the rent, it's not going to pay the mortgage. I've lived from early on in my career, expecting, even to some degree planning for, periods of unemployment, it's just the way it is.
    3) it's of course also massively expensive compared to renting.
    I'd like to see you expand more on these points.

  2. #22
    TxZen
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    What about housesitting?

  3. #23
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    I would be open to it. I do have a dog though, who sheds. :/

  4. #24
    Senior Member Miss Cellane's Avatar
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    I housesat all through grad school, bringing my two cats with me. They learned to get along with the cats and dogs that were already resident in the houses.

    I second the suggestion of buying some land and building a small house. There are a lot of small house plans out there, many for vacation homes that could easily be used for full-time living, if properly winterized. My cousin builds houses for a living and is constantly finding new plans for me--someday he is going to build my retirement home, which will basically be a library with a bed and a table.

    The other suggestion of an older home is also worth considering. I live in an older city and there are a lot of small houses, usually living room, eat-in kitchen, and 2 bedrooms, around. Maybe no quite as small as you want, but well-built and only needing a little updating (most of them really need the knob and tube wiring replaced).

    Or if you don't want much responsibility, look around at condos. Yes, some have high fees. But some don't. And they take care of a lot of the maintenance for you. There are studio condos around, if you look for them.

  5. #25
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UltraliteAngler View Post
    What do you mean look at schools?
    I think what freshstart is saying is that in many cases, places that have such low taxes aren't investing in the public school system and/or the community is not willing/able to support better schools with their taxes. That's why you generally pay high property taxes in towns with excellent schools.
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  6. #26
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    I think what freshstart is saying is that in many cases, places that have such low taxes aren't investing in the public school system and/or the community is not willing/able to support better schools with their taxes. That's why you generally pay high property taxes in towns with excellent schools.
    So if I live in a place with bad schools I will pay less in taxes?

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by UltraliteAngler View Post
    What do you mean look at schools?
    I would wonder how the quality of schools are if taxes are that low. How does a school district manage on such a small tax base? Unless I do not understand the post about the very low taxes, of course.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Kestra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApatheticNoMore View Post
    I guess I see homeownership as potentially locking one into:

    1) a bad commute forever and ever which one can't escape no matter what (say by changing apartments). And no buying where one works is no solution at all, no one has any job security and being at a job for 10 years is considered exceptional so one may start out with a house near work but that probably wont' be the case eventually
    2) very high mortgage payments due in periods of unemployment. I guess you can make this work with two incomes, it seems a heavy burden for one person with modern levels of job insecurity. Unemployment doesn't even pay the rent, it's not going to pay the mortgage. I've lived from early on in my career, expecting, even to some degree planning for, periods of unemployment, it's just the way it is.
    3) it's of course also massively expensive compared to renting.
    This is so important right now, with your job being less than secure. I think renting (or some kind of house-sharing, house-sitting, or renting a tiny house on someone else's property) are the only reasonable choices at the moment. If you get into a job you think you will stay at, consider buying. But frankly, owning sucks a lot. I've owned 3 places (2 on my own, 1 with ex) and there is a lot of hassle and extra costs all the time, especially if you aren't handy at all. With that low of rent you'd need to get a house like Gregg mentions, to have any chance of getting ahead.

    That did work once for me. My first house was $26,500 and 100 years old. I just got lucky though that I didn't have to fix anything, and sold it in 4 years for $40,000. But that's rare. Next house was a nightmare from day 1. The third house I didn't like the area and it still had it's share of problems. It actually almost exploded/burnt down due to a plumber screwing up -- 3 fire trucks, a hole in my exterior wall in November, dealing with insurance, the condo board, and contractors for 7 months afterwards. Plus some water issues, appliance replacement. I'm glad to be done with that place. And it was the nicest place I've lived as an adult. Plus there I had my ex to help deal with a lot of those issues; on my own it's even worse.

    Back to your original question:

    I agree with thinking about the absolute most important things to have or not have, make sure you have those, then just live with the rest.

    For me right now:
    Don't want: responsibility, home ownership as my own residence (would consider investment properties), house maintenance, isolation
    Want: mobility/easy to leave, easy to get outside, close to downtown, cheap, good walking/busing options, community

    Yes, roommates are annoying some of the time but right now I find the benefits outweigh the negatives. What I really like about where I'm currently living is that I get all the benefits of a house: washer/dryer, yard, deck, no stairs/elevator to get in, but for cheaper than an apartment, and none of the responsibilities of home ownership.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by UltraliteAngler View Post
    So if I live in a place with bad schools I will pay less in taxes?
    MAYBE. KC schools, had high taxes, that were brought about by several lawsuits. They spent a LOT of money to "improve" education, and busing kids around. When Independence got the local high school back, went in and cleaned it up, and removed the metal detectors, that first year, there was dramatic improvement.

    High taxes and low taxes are not the only thing. If people don't want to go to that school district, it will affect both your cost and resale value. It may also affect later decisions if you get married/have new kids (either by or ready made family).

  10. #30
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToomuchStuff View Post
    MAYBE. KC schools, had high taxes, that were brought about by several lawsuits. They spent a LOT of money to "improve" education, and busing kids around. When Independence got the local high school back, went in and cleaned it up, and removed the metal detectors, that first year, there was dramatic improvement.

    High taxes and low taxes are not the only thing. If people don't want to go to that school district, it will affect both your cost and resale value. It may also affect later decisions if you get married/have new kids (either by or ready made family).
    "Ready made family?" What do you mean?

    I don't intend to have kids, hopefully I don't have any accidents!

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