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Is homeownership a big PITA?

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
I often wonder if the headaches are worth it. Lawn/grounds maintenance, gutters, shoveling the driveway, cleaning the inside, random repairs that pop up when you don't need them.

Anybody regret buying a house? Perhaps a condo is more appealing?
post #2 of 38
Condo ownership has its own problems, chief among them the "other" owners.
If you find yourself in a shitty HOA, you will rue the day you signed the purchase agreement. Some guys around here have posted at some length about the problems they've had with their HOAs.

And then there's the whole dining room thing.
post #3 of 38
I kind of hate you Connemara. I mean, what kind of thread is this? Yes, obviously there are downsides to owning your own home -- maintenance, property taxes, home owner's insurance, etc. But there are upsides too! Maybe.. it's a case that you'd have to weigh the benefits against the headaches.
post #4 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Connemara View Post

I often wonder if the headaches are worth it. Lawn/grounds maintenance, gutters, shoveling the driveway, cleaning the inside, random repairs that pop up when you don't need them.
Anybody regret buying a house? Perhaps a condo is more appealing?

No regrets whatsoever. You can hire people to do what you don't want to do yourself.
post #5 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayJay View Post

No regrets whatsoever. You can hire people to do what you don't want to do yourself.

Conne's parents will have to determine if they can afford to outsource the shit he doesn't want to or cannot do...it will be a tough decision!
post #6 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teger View Post

I kind of hate you Connemara. I mean, what kind of thread is this? Yes, obviously there are downsides to owning your own home -- maintenance, property taxes, home owner's insurance, etc. But there are upsides too! Maybe.. it's a case that you'd have to weigh the benefits against the headaches.

I'm sure there are upsides to home ownership, but right now the hassles outweigh the upsides. I mean, I can't even swim naked in my own pool any longer. What do I have to live for now?
post #7 of 38
You should really only be considering home ownership when you want something that cannot be had by renting. Unless the rental market is comparatively high, ownership is essentially you paying a premium (in money and time for maintenance/taxes/etc) for the luxury of being able to do what you want.

Most people would be better off renting and making investments elsewhere (although for a lot of people, a mortgage becomes a sort of forced savings that they would spend away otherwise) but if you want to tear down a wall to build your dream kitchen and set up a room in the basement with a wet bar and CNC machine (seen it done) while your wife converts half of the lawn into gardens...you're gonna have to pony up for a house.

Home ownership isn't really about an investment (good for you if it pays off...but don't count on it in your calculations...the average homeowner sees below market returns) but about the freedom to get what you want. Of course this gives less reason to buy into a strict HOA or a condo building where you could get exactly what you want until you have to share a wall with some total fuckup.

If I were to ever buy a condo here in chicago, it would have nothing to do with it being "a good investment" and everything to do with the fact that a lot of the rental stock sucks and has really poor workmanship while a lot of better buildings were either built as condos or converted during the boom. Other than finding a rental from an individual condo owner, a lot of nicer, affordable, units are only available if you take on all the additional costs of being the owner (including being locked into the place for years without taking on huge costs).
post #8 of 38
I'm a college student and currently own my home. My mortgage is about a $100-150 more per month than I would pay renting. I received the First Time Homeowner's Credit of $8,000 as well. Assuming I sell for the same amount (likely that I'll actually sell for a little more based on current listings in the neighborhood), I will have paid about $2,000 to live here for 3 years. It's very possible that I may sell for a few grand more than I paid. It's not inconceivable that I could break completely even (minus utilities, which would have been the same renting) for housing for three years. I may even make a small profit. I also have friends lined up who really want to rent the place--pretty decent cash flow while building up a little principal value as well if I went in that direction.

It's been a little heavier burden on my cash flow, but as an investment I have no doubt whatsoever that buying my house was a good decision. I will likely have to go back to renting for grad school, and I'm not looking forward to it.

Of course, my situation is totally predicated on Obama's homeowner credit and a bank willing to loan me the entire balance of the home upfront. I was lucky enough to be eligible for both.
post #9 of 38
The upside is that you do accumulate equity as you pay your mortgage, and that you can do what you want with the place.

Renting seems to always be more expensive over time because the rate increases every year.
post #10 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrewc2232 View Post

I'm a college student and currently own my home. My mortgage is about a $100-150 more per month than I would pay renting. I received the First Time Homeowner's Credit of $8,000 as well. Assuming I sell for the same amount (likely that I'll actually sell for a little more based on current listings in the neighborhood), I will have paid about $2,000 to live here for 3 years. It's very possible that I may sell for a few grand more than I paid. It's not inconceivable that I could break completely even (minus utilities, which would have been the same renting) for housing for three years. I may even make a small profit. I also have friends lined up who really want to rent the place--pretty decent cash flow while building up a little principal value as well if I went in that direction.
It's been a little heavier burden on my cash flow, but as an investment I have no doubt whatsoever that buying my house was a good decision. I will likely have to go back to renting for grad school, and I'm not looking forward to it.
Of course, my situation is totally predicated on Obama's homeowner credit and a bank willing to loan me the entire balance of the home upfront. I was lucky enough to be eligible for both.

That's pretty awesome.

How do you find the other more menial duties of homeownership? Mowing the lawn, trimming hedges, shoveling snow, cleaning gutters, repairing or replacing random crap that breaks (e.g. major appliances), dealing with neighbors or HOA (not sure if applicable)...? Any stories to share?
post #11 of 38
Connie, I'm sure you'll find a man someday who will do all the home maintenance stuff for you. I thoroughly enjoy that kind of stuff. I thought I'd hate it, but there's something about doing it when you know it's your house. My mortgage is about what I paid to rent, so it was a no-brainer for me. It also makes you a better citizen in many ways. You care more. I love it, it's one of the best decisions I ever made. That said...

Don't buy a nice house in a shitty neighborhood unless you're sure property values will rise soon.
Do buy a shitty house in a nice neighborhood if the price is right.
Don't get a mortgage you can't afford. I'd have payments no more than 30% of my take-home pay.
Don't buy too early in your career. In this economy, a house will anchor you down.
This is just my opinion, but I would never live anywhere with an HOA. Some are so restrictive you might as well be renting.
Edited by FLMountainMan - 12/2/11 at 4:50am
post #12 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrewc2232 View Post

I'm a college student and currently own my home. My mortgage is about a $100-150 more per month than I would pay renting. I received the First Time Homeowner's Credit of $8,000 as well. Assuming I sell for the same amount (likely that I'll actually sell for a little more based on current listings in the neighborhood), I will have paid about $2,000 to live here for 3 years. It's very possible that I may sell for a few grand more than I paid. It's not inconceivable that I could break completely even (minus utilities, which would have been the same renting) for housing for three years. I may even make a small profit. I also have friends lined up who really want to rent the place--pretty decent cash flow while building up a little principal value as well if I went in that direction.
It's been a little heavier burden on my cash flow, but as an investment I have no doubt whatsoever that buying my house was a good decision. I will likely have to go back to renting for grad school, and I'm not looking forward to it.
Of course, my situation is totally predicated on Obama's homeowner credit and a bank willing to loan me the entire balance of the home upfront. I was lucky enough to be eligible for both.

Make sure you satisfy the residency and owner-occupancy rules: the tax credit has to be paid back if you mess up.
(This is not to be construed as legal, tax or real estate advice. Contact a professional in your jurisdiction.)
post #13 of 38
There is also the bad luck factor to consider. Every time I start looking around at houses one of my co-workers comes in with a disaster that just happened. Things like, "The roof fell in over the spare bedroom" and "We have mold." and "So apparently our central air unit is so old that they no longer make the part for it and will require the entire house to be retrofitted." to my parents recent problem, "So the pipes connecting to the guest house toilet blew up and have to be replaced."

The price tags on those repairs are often an entire years worth of rent. Scares the crap outta me. This year when the east coast had it's hurricane we got hit with a bit of rain, enough to water-log our bedroom wall, so we called up maintenance and they fixed the wall, sanded, re-painted and then went on the roof and fixed the tiles above our apartment. And no additional costs were incurred for us.

I dunno, someday.
post #14 of 38
Purchasing my home was one of the greatest decisions I've ever made. In my area, I pay about 40% for my mortgage payment what the house next door rents for. Yes, I have occasional unforeseen costs, maintenance issues, and the expenses of a renovation/restoration but it has been entirely worth it. I'm finally at a place financially where I've been able to pawn off some of the less desirable jobs on professionals, which frees me up to take care of the things I enjoy doing.

I'm not going to try to defend the purchase with some sort of financial calculations or make some claim about a return on my investment, but I will say that I'd gladly pay nearly double each month for the pleasure that comes with no longer having to deal with my old landlord. As long as I keep the front yard clean, pay my mortgage on time, and keep the taxes up to date there's no one telling me what to do or how to do it (except the wife, which is one of the few decisions that out ranks the house).
post #15 of 38
I would not be able to meet the itemization threshold if not for mortgage interest. So, it's great to get a refund every year
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