Houses (and karma?)

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Rorschach
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Houses (and karma?)

Post by Rorschach » Mon Aug 08, 2016 3:41 pm

So, we're moving. We need another bedroom. Our house is on the market and we've been looking for something bigger.

Our house was never going to have any problems selling. It's a first home kind of house. We bought it like that nine years ago and ended up staying. And we've done a fair bit of work to it over the years.
And so it proved. We got concrete offers in the first few days.

One was a cash buyer who wanted to buy the place to rent out, which our immediate neighbours might not have been thrilled with but what can you do? You can only weed your own pumpkin patch, right? So we verbally accepted her offer, she sent a written offer through and before we could even sign it, she started changing terms. Subject to X. Within Y weeks or the offer is reduced to Z. She turned up at the door claiming our estate agent (or 'realtor', if you will) and solicitor were useless and we were going to lose the sale if we didn't do this and that.

In the meantime a young man and his mum came to see the house and he loved it. He was recently married but didn't bring his wife to a second viewing until he'd had a matriarchal nod of approval. His young wife loved it too. They walked around saying things like 'This could be the baby's room' and 'Yeah, you WISH you'll get a pool table in the garage, mister!'. Holding hands all the while. They made an offer. It was less than the first one. But we took it. We thought we would rather have a young couple in our home than some cunt simply using it to make money.

So we've now found a house. It is too expensive for us. But we fell in love with it the moment we set foot in the place, in a way that you can't fake. Everything in it was perfect and beautiful and I found it difficult to remain coolly aloof and business-like with the selling couple, particularly as we knew we couldn't quite make the asking price. But every part of the house elicited a fresh cry of delight. We had been looking for an inbetweener house, but this would almost definitely be our forever house. The selling couple, an older couple, told us they were moving smaller as their children had fled the nest. We told them we were going in the opposite direction and would be needing an extra room and the woman hugged Nicola. They were dreadful old hippies. We left telling them we couldn't really afford it but that we were really grateful to have seen their beautiful home and we meant it.

We put in a Hail Mary offer the next day. It's not what they're asking. They've just got back, through their estate agent, to say that they've had an offer above what they were asking but that they want to sell to us as we reminded them of themselves twenty years ago. We don't even have to beat the other offer. Just get a little closer to it. After dealing with flimflam artists and buyers and sellers and solicitors and estate agents, I'm genuinely typing this with a tear in my eye that there are still people out there with decency in their hearts.

We've nudged the offer up slightly, all the while listening out for the ominous creakings of our mortgage agreement in principle. Keep your fingers crossed for us. Sorry for the word-dump; I just had to talk to someone about it. :)
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Deacon
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Re: Houses (and karma?)

Post by Deacon » Mon Aug 08, 2016 4:10 pm

That's very cool. Real estate can be a bitch, everyone trying to squeeze every last blood out of or into a turnip. Here it's the standard that you do not see the house while the owners a present, only the realtors. Not always the case (especially on subsequent visits). I had a similar situation when selling my house, where the person that bought it was a single mother moving to San Antonio to be nearer her ailing mother, and it was perfect for her, and I took care of the few minor things that needed attention (directly or with discounts to accommodate costs of professional repair), and it was a reasonable enough offer that dickering endlessly wasn't really necessary. This was compared to a couple other offers that were less than ideal anyway, for various reasons.

Buying my current house, however, was the opposite, with a grizzled old rancher/lawyer (yes, that kind of thing happens in Texas) taking the advice of his bored housewife realtor and inflating the price unreasonably and compounded by the appraiser devaluing the property unreasonably, so I had to meet in the middle somewhere and come way more out of my pocket on the downpayment than initially planned. The upside is that if I had a kid today then by the time they graduated high school the property would already be paid off, which is nice, as I would be 53 or 54 at the time, and would love to own the property outright from then on other than the continual recurring property taxes.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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Re: Houses (and karma?)

Post by NorthernComfort » Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:02 pm

My wife and I became homeowners last year. It's a massive, beautiful brownstone. Almost all of the interior is still original. Basically it's absolute insanity. (nb: Inheritance, I'm not the monopoly man and could never afford this in a million years. Just keeping up will be a big stretch.)

Home ownership is nuts. I've started to fear totally normal things, like rain. Is the roof okay? Is the basement flooding? Oh fuck I left a window open didn't I?

The building is great but hasn't had any renovations for a looong time. So we are doing two bathrooms. We went to a "showroom" last weekend to look at bathroom fixtures, faucets, knobs, that sort of stuff. I am immediately pissed because they don't HAVE ANY PRICES. What the hell is the point of going shopping with no price tags? We went home and within an hour had a spreadsheet with all the fixtures we needed, well under budget. Fuck showrooms.
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Re: Houses (and karma?)

Post by Deacon » Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:35 pm

Yeah, showrooms are just to lure you in. It's incredible how much fixtures can vary in price. You can absolutely find nice stuff that doesn't cost an arm and a leg (maybe just a leg), but that's where big box stores really come in handy. And you can always screw them over by finding online outlets that sell that stuff and more along the same lines for cheaper than you can get in a brick-and-mortar retail shop. But if you're not careful you can absolutely spend a metric fuckton on fixtures.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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Re: Houses (and karma?)

Post by NorthernComfort » Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:52 pm

My wife was annoyed at how pissy I got the moment I entered the showroom. But, yeah, I get pissed when a store treats me like a sucker. But no I'm the bad guy for not enjoying aimless window shopping... hey, this is rants/raves, right? Rant: I was totally right.

I wound up just looking everything up online and crunching some numbers, reading the specs. Usually if you bumped up 20% from the cheapest thing available the materials weren't el cheapo anymore. Rave: I feel like I have defeated bathroom fixture shopping.

Now I just need to wait for the contractor to screw me over. Karma.
"I guess I have a gift for expressing pedestrian tastes. In a way, it's kind of depressing." -Bill Watterson

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Re: Houses (and karma?)

Post by raptor9k » Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:24 pm

Congrats Rors, hope it all works out!

NC: If I've learned anything from all the property shows my wife and mother in law constantly watch, be wary of code upgrades and budget accordingly. If you have a really old house in NY you'll likely have to bring anything you tear into up to code once a contractor pulls a permit. Ask lots of questions when you talk to the contractors.

I'll probably be stuck in our current 3 bed 2 bath starter house for another 3 years since my camper has $10k worth of water damage from a incorrectly performed dealer repair 2 years ago. I'm slightly upside down as is but with visible delamination I can kiss another $10k goodbye on resale. We were seriously looking at building a 30x50 shop with a 20x20 apartment on the land I bought a couple months ago. I was going to trade for a slightly larger 5th wheel for sleeping quarters but that plan is shot and my wife doesn't want to full-time in our current camper for fear of mold exposure. We're seriously paring costs down to pay as much off in the next 2-3 years as we can though.
I'm putting my talents and skills to use for a business so that I receive compensatory funds that I may then choose to spend and invest and save as I see fit. If I choose to blow it all on hookers and Dr. Seuss books, I don't see how that means you owe me a comfortable retirement. - Deacon

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Re: Houses (and karma?)

Post by Deacon » Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:39 pm

I would strongly suggest looking at expanding that shop to at least 35 feet deep. That depth gets used quickly, and every extra foot allows for workbenches and toolboxes and storage shelving and such to go along the wall while still leaving room to park boats and 5th wheels and crew cab long bed trucks with Ranch Hand full replacements front and rear, etc, and still have room to work on stuff. If I had to trade one for the other, I'd definitely trade some width for some depth, knowing that if you design it right you can always add more bays on later, and you can always keep the roof going outside the building for covered parking.

Also, I really like the apartment idea. With the context of building over a shop, in particular, you can do a barndominium that's easy to do because it requires no structural support internally, so all walls are purely divisions between rooms. If you use the the shop ceiling as your floor, you're looking at quite a lot of very usable square footage (1,500 by your 30x50 plans), or less if you're sharply gabling the roof and will wall off the lowest hanging portions for storage, and with the right insulation you can cool it and heat it very efficiently. And all metal construction sure does hold up well over time and against the elements.

Only downside for me is that I don't prefer dealing with any stairs whatsoever, but that's not a huge deal, and you could even build a covered balcony with french doors that would let you use a scissor lift or whatever else to bring up large/awkward/heavy items like appliances and such.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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Re: Houses (and karma?)

Post by raptor9k » Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:51 pm

30 wide and 50 deep with 16' eves. I'd put a 16' standard height door on one of the short sides with a 14' high by 10' wide door next to it to back a 5th wheel in if necessary. My current plans include a 20 wide by 50 deep lean-to shed along one side for most of my trailer storage though so the vast majority of the shop would be empty.

If I build a 20x20 living area that gives me 10x20 for random insulated storage (all the crap from my house that won't fit in the living area) and a 30x20 area up front for vehicles, work area and all that. Adding a mezanine to the red-iron structure to build the living quarters over the shop almost doubled the building cost unfortunately and I couldn't justify building an $80k shop when I still plan on building a house. With 16' eves I could still build a 2 story 20x20 though if we decide a single story isn't enough living area. I'd rather not unless the upper story is just one big room or something like that because It would be hard to find a use for it later after we've moved out of the shop.
I'm putting my talents and skills to use for a business so that I receive compensatory funds that I may then choose to spend and invest and save as I see fit. If I choose to blow it all on hookers and Dr. Seuss books, I don't see how that means you owe me a comfortable retirement. - Deacon

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Re: Houses (and karma?)

Post by Deacon » Mon Aug 08, 2016 9:08 pm

Ah, I thought you meant 30' deep and 50' wide. The other way around makes sense (essentially 2x 15' bays, plus outside covered parking).

And I see what you mean: a separate house that may be attached to the shop but has its own foundation and structure, right?
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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Re: Houses (and karma?)

Post by raptor9k » Mon Aug 08, 2016 9:39 pm

The Shop will just be a temporary living area for 2-3 years. Once I get some stuff paid off we plan on building a separate house, yes.

While typing up a text description I decided to do a rough mock-up in Paint.net lol.

Image
I'm putting my talents and skills to use for a business so that I receive compensatory funds that I may then choose to spend and invest and save as I see fit. If I choose to blow it all on hookers and Dr. Seuss books, I don't see how that means you owe me a comfortable retirement. - Deacon

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Re: Houses (and karma?)

Post by NorthernComfort » Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:13 pm

Raptor: You wouldn't believe it. We had some electrical work done last year and I spent an afternoon literally waiting outside in case ConEd (power company) showed up. My job was basically to run interference and make sure they didn't see the basement as we would have been found to have, uhhhhh, a LOT of issues!

Fortunately that work is now complete, as we prioritized re-wiring. I no longer fear ConEd condemning the house. We found some unbelievably old outlets, and a beautiful original light fixture that had been painted over for probably seventy years. We cleaned it up and put it back.
"I guess I have a gift for expressing pedestrian tastes. In a way, it's kind of depressing." -Bill Watterson

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Rorschach
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Re: Houses (and karma?)

Post by Rorschach » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:39 am

NC, that sounds fabulous. My understanding of the American housing market has been somewhat skewed by John Hughes but American houses always seem huge to me. Maybe it's also TV. We've been looking at newbuilds as well and you really are sacrificing space for room numbers. I thought a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house would be ideal for the family but that's not much good when two of the bedrooms are the same size as the WC closet.
So we're going a bit older. Looking for a HILF.

I don't care what you earn: if you're a homeowner, you probably don't have much spare cash. The bigger the house, the bigger the repair. The one benefit of living in a shoebox for the best part of a decade is the repairs haven't been ruinous.

raptor, 2-3 years is not an eternity. It's not ideal for you but it's do-able, particularly if you know you're moving on up in a short while. Keep your eye on the prize, buddy.
Here it's the standard that you do not see the house while the owners a present, only the realtors. Not always the case (especially on subsequent visits). I had a similar situation when selling my house
Oh, that's never the case here. You can pay the estate agent to present your house while you're not there but our experience is that they open the door and then play with their phone while you look around the house.

Grizzled old Rancher. Hee. It was a shock - a total and utter shock - when I found out that Sam Elliott isn't a Texan. But let's be honest: his manliness transcends mere counties or countries. He'd boot Chuck Norris's balls without breaking a sweat.
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Rorschach
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Re: Houses (and karma?)

Post by Rorschach » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:53 am

Bollocks.
We couldn't come close enough and we've lost it to the other bidder.

Still, we have a fairly good Plan B.
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Re: Houses (and karma?)

Post by raptor9k » Tue Aug 09, 2016 1:22 pm

That sucks but I'm sure you'll end up with something nice.

I'm not too terribly worried about another 3 years in our current house. It really is a nice house with plenty of room for us at 1650sq ft including a huge pantry. We were just excited about the possibility of living on the 18 acres we just purchased out in the county. My parents bought 3.75 acres of the original 22 and it would be pretty cool for my 3 year old son having my parents just down the driveway. It'll all happen eventually, we were just getting excited about getting something in motion. It might still be possible to build a house in a year or 2 but I have to get my wife's vehicle paid off to free up a little more safety cash for the higher mortgage of what we'd like to build.
I'm putting my talents and skills to use for a business so that I receive compensatory funds that I may then choose to spend and invest and save as I see fit. If I choose to blow it all on hookers and Dr. Seuss books, I don't see how that means you owe me a comfortable retirement. - Deacon

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Deacon
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Re: Houses (and karma?)

Post by Deacon » Tue Aug 09, 2016 2:18 pm

Yeah, when my truck is paid off next year that frees up a reasonable chunk of change to allow for greater investments elsewhere. I'd really like to add on the 10 acre and/or 16 acre parcels next door, currently raw land, not even fenced, but both with dead end country road access, intended essentially to be individual homesites. I don't necessarily need it, but I would like it for several reasons including keeping it uninhabited. There's also the tug of a lakefront property, but that will certainly cost for what I want (even if it's just a "studio apartment lake house, I want my own boat launch).

And of course all that competes with building a house...
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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