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Is homeownership a big PITA?

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Connemara, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. Connemara

    Connemara Senior member

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    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?
     
  2. Dakota rube

    Dakota rube Senior member

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    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.
     
  3. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    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.
     
  4. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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

    whiteslashasian Senior member

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    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!
     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

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    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?
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011
  7. otc

    otc Senior member

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    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).
     
  8. Andrewc2232

    Andrewc2232 Senior member

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    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.
     
  9. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    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.
     
  10. whiteslashasian

    whiteslashasian Senior member

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    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?
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011
  11. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Senior member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011
  12. Dakota rube

    Dakota rube Senior member

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    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.)
     
  13. celery

    celery Senior member

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    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.
     
  14. oDD_LotS

    oDD_LotS Senior member

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    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).
     
  15. SUPER K

    SUPER K Senior member

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    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
     
  16. Andrewc2232

    Andrewc2232 Senior member

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    My home is a small, simple two bedroom affair--about 1,300 sqft. I live in the Deep South and have never needed to shovel snow. The lot isn't huge, but is larger than many. I actually enjoy many of the menial maintenance tasks like mowing, trimming etc.

    I've had to make a few repairs in places, patch up drywall etc. I've had to replace most of the sink trim in the kitchen and both bathrooms. I've needed to fix a couple of leaking water lines, a dryer vent, a minor AC compressor issue, to name the few items which come to mind. Nothing has cost more than $100 to repair (most less than $20), and hasn't been especially difficult. I am about a finish a mechanical engineering degree though, so ymmv. Also keep in mind this is a relatively new home.

    One of the best aspect of owning my home has been the lack of restriction on upgrades/improvements. I've installed track lighting, wood floors (cheap laminate stuff, $1000 total for both bedrooms and improves the look unbelievably), and built in shelving since I bought the place. Stuff like this has been irreplaceable in making this domicile actually feel like my home.


    I consulted an accountancy firm before I made any moves. I did receive a bill once from the IRS for $8,800 (original credit + interest) because a document I had mailed them didn't list my bank's address. Easily cleared up after I sent them another copy. The only stipulation is that I remain the owner-occupant for three years from the date of purchase. After that, I can sell/rent the place as I see fit.
     
  17. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Senior member

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    It also depends on where you live. In Montreal renting right now is probably 1/2 the price of buying a similar place. Paying that type of premium totally prevents most people from investing or even saving anything, which is financially retarded.

    Yet the whole "Home prices ONLY GO UP!!!!!!!" foolishness persists and everyone thinks their crappy condo is going to double in value in 3-4 years.
     
  18. JohnnyLaw

    JohnnyLaw Senior member

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    This is a good point. Many people seem to think that buying a home is the best investment they can make. I'm not convinced. I get the impression that real estate in major Canadian cities is generally overpriced and it doesn't make much sense to me for a first-time buyer to borrow $100K+ for a small condo. Prices can't go up much more - they're already out of line with average income.
     
  19. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Senior member

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    Prices in Montreal aren't great and they're slightly worse in Toronto. Vancouver has one of the most overpriced property markets on earth, probably second only to Sydney. That place is a ludicrous property bubble.
     
  20. Mr Herbert

    Mr Herbert Senior member

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    renting blows. id rather be in control my my own destiny - not worried when the lease will end, when rent inspections are etc
     

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