I'm Buying A House!

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You ready? You look ready
So right now the big question is how far out do I want to look.

I'm thinking an ideal distance is no more than a 45 min drive (my current commute is about 30 minutes), but if I stretch that to an hour it opens a lot of options and nearly halves the cost of what I am looking at. And acreages go up, too.

Who here has a long commute? Have you always had a long commute? Does it make you want to drive off bridges?
__________________
"This is that human freedom, which all boast that they possess, and which consists solely in the fact, that men are conscious of their own desire, but are ignorant of the causes whereby that desire has been determined." -Baruch Spinoza



That elusive hide-and-seek cow is at it again
When I started this job, the office was a solid 45 minutes out minimum. I was luck in that the drive was alone one single highway. Imagine a straight line from my home in the county, cutting through the nearby city downtown, then open country highway the rest of the way. The first half of that drive was through the local downtown. That took maybe 25 minutes from my house. The second half was open four lanes with maybe two traffic lights for the remaining 20-minute drive. The downtown drive could get hectic, but the open road, after, was always calming. That's assuming no jerky left-lane bottleneckers. The drive to work gave me time to clear my head and think about my day to come. The drive back gave me time to clear my head again, to exorcise any work anxieties before getting home.

I liked it, but then again driving generally calms me down.

Our office is JUST the other side of town now, having moved about 8 years ago. It's close to home and has cut my drive in half. Unfortunately, I'm left with the worst half of that trip still needing to drive through downtown.

My dad drives at least an hour. Maybe an hour and a half, usually starting out around 5:30AM from country farmland. I can't say whether he likes it or not, but he's been doing that for at least 20 years. Probably closer to 30 now that I do the mat....omg I'm that old!?

Anyway. You get used to it, I guess is my point. It's easier being younger I would imagine too. Mom is now 2 hours away. Whenever I get a chance to visit, that feels like a chore now that I'm out of practice of 1-2 hour drives. YMMV. *cough n giggles*

Depending on the road and projected congestion, it could fall either way =\ If you have a highway or even an interstate, that would be idea IMO as you could easier pass those that would slow traffic. Less too would be the odds of people having to stop traffic for left turns as you would get with 2-lane county roads. So yeah. It just depends. If not FOR the longer drives home, I might have driven off a bridge to just not have to deal with my boss the next day. The thought crossed my mind daily.
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"My Dionne Warwick understanding of your dream indicates that you are ambivalent on how you want life to eventually screw you." - Joel

"Ever try to forcibly pin down a house cat? It's not easy." - Captain Steel

"I just can't get pass sticking a finger up a dog's butt." - John Dumbear



So right now the big question is how far out do I want to look.

I'm thinking an ideal distance is no more than a 45 min drive (my current commute is about 30 minutes), but if I stretch that to an hour it opens a lot of options and nearly halves the cost of what I am looking at. And acreages go up, too.

Who here has a long commute? Have you always had a long commute? Does it make you want to drive off bridges?
I don't commute but I know some people who do and love it. They love it as the longer commute is 'me time' and they can listen to music or audio books and actually relax as they drive to work. Then again if your commute drives you crazy now, what will a longer commute do?

One tip, real estate agents are weasels. I've never worked with one who didn't smell when I was interested in something, then spit out the line, "you'll have to move fast as there's another buyer interested in it." I swear every single time they do that.



So right now the big question is how far out do I want to look.

I'm thinking an ideal distance is no more than a 45 min drive (my current commute is about 30 minutes), but if I stretch that to an hour it opens a lot of options and nearly halves the cost of what I am looking at. And acreages go up, too.

Who here has a long commute? Have you always had a long commute? Does it make you want to drive off bridges?
living far away might be worth it, but the whole reason that out-in-sticks houses are so cheap is that in the long run you do pay higher automotive costs.
__________________
Tact is good for making people want to go to hell.



No carpet or as little carpet as possible is my biggest buying requirement.

Yeah, a good roof is ideal. Whatever I buy will be where I reside for the next 20-30 years, so I donít want to have to deal with putting a new roof on it.
Why the big deal about carpet? Donít understand. (We have hardwood floors, no carpet.)

Someone mentioned a metal roof (too lazy to look who). Thatís gotta be noisy as heck in the rain surely?

Gas heating or even electric can be nuts during the winter.

If there are trees close to the house, be mindful of roots. Those things spread wider than the tree branches and can ruin driveways, waterlines, foundations, and can get into the plumbing.
Our maximum electric heating bill in the winter can be $400+. Compared to about $70 in the summer.

Donít buy a place with lots of deadish-looking trees. Tree removal is WAY expensive.

Nobody has mentioned a security system. I donít care where you live, you will need it. Even a country home we had in the woods in NY state was burglarized.

It would be worth anyone's since no such thing exists - so to find one you could provide substantial proof for being genuinely "haunted" would probably make you rich and famous!
If a house is haunted (and I do believe itís possible) the owner must disclose this.

1.5 bathrooms.

Another good piece of advice is to try to look at houses in/just after a downpour of rain. If there are leaky basements, etc., you'll be able to see it.

As for big yards... we went from a tiny yard to a much, much larger one. And from no sidewalks to 200 feet of sidewalks and a huge driveway. In spring and autumn, I love them. In summer I hate mowing all that yard. In winter I hate shoveling/snowblowing all that concrete.
Agree on the 1.5 bathrooms. A necessity.

Ditto on the basement. Rain comes through our basement hatch every single time.

Donít buy a corner house if youíre not prepared to maintain both the sidewalks.
__________________
Iím here only on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays. Thatís why Iím here now.



The Adventure Starts Here!
Why the big deal about carpet? Donít understand. (We have hardwood floors, no carpet.)


Someone mentioned a metal roof (too lazy to look who). Thatís gotta be noisy as heck in the rain surely?


Our maximum electric heating bill in the winter can be $400+. Compared to about $70 in the summer.

Donít buy a place with lots of deadish-looking trees. Tree removal is WAY expensive.

Nobody has mentioned a security system. I donít care where you live, you will need it. Even a country home we had in the woods in NY state was burglarized.


If a house is haunted (and I do believe itís possible) the owner must disclose this.


Agree on the 1.5 bathrooms. A necessity.

Ditto on the basement. Rain comes through our basement hatch every single time.

Donít buy a corner house if youíre not prepared to maintain both the sidewalks.
Carpet has its pros and cons. Preferences vary. I just think carpeting doesn't have to be a deal-breaker since it's more easily dealt with than, say, trying to add a bathroom or make a kitchen bigger.

I also heard that, although metal roofs are currently all the rage, if something gets in to let some of it rust or deteriorate, it can go downhill fast from there.

Our bills look like yours... but our budget costs year-round amount to about $250 for natural gas and about $300 for electric. (We have central air. Our house is huge with 12-foot ceilings. We have two large furnace units and two large A/C units.) Those stable amounts monthly (which are revisited about twice a year to be sure they're in the right range) help us budget.

We switched from a Vector security system to a Ring security system. Way cheaper and we have good control over it, even from afar.

Corner lots are typically worth more, but yes on the sidewalk maintenance. We have two sets of sidewalks because our yard spans the width of two streets. So, 100+ feet in the front and 100+ feet in the back. O joy!



Carpet has its pros and cons. Preferences vary. I just think carpeting doesn't have to be a deal-breaker since it's more easily dealt with than, say, trying to add a bathroom or make a kitchen bigger.

I also heard that, although metal roofs are currently all the rage, if something gets in to let some of it rust or deteriorate, it can go downhill fast from there.

Our bills look like yours... but our budget costs year-round amount to about $250 for natural gas and about $300 for electric. (We have central air. Our house is huge with 12-foot ceilings. We have two large furnace units and two large A/C units.) Those stable amounts monthly (which are revisited about twice a year to be sure they're in the right range) help us budget.

We switched from a Vector security system to a Ring security system. Way cheaper and we have good control over it, even from afar.

Corner lots are typically worth more, but yes on the sidewalk maintenance. We have two sets of sidewalks because our yard spans the width of two streets. So, 100+ feet in the front and 100+ feet in the back. O joy!
Hardwood floors are a pain in the bum IMO. Yes, they look nice, but thereís nothing worse than trying to stain floors when there are people & pets milling around. Been there done that. Will probably go professional in future.

We are electric-only though there is a wood furnace in the basement. Sooty indoor chimney is the bane of my existence.

We have a very old alarm system with a small family company. Works perfectly for us.

So many people where I live will only do one sidewalk of their corner house. These people make me mental & itís the same folks every year. Lazy bums or too cheap to pay for a snow removal company.





If a house is haunted (and I do believe itís possible) the owner must disclose this.
How or why does someone disclose something that is an entirely subjective opinion which can't be substantiated? It's like saying I should disclose that I think I may have been abducted by aliens at a job interview. Or warn buyers of a house that the woods along the backyard is inhabited by Bigfoots.



You ready? You look ready
Why the big deal about carpet? Donít understand. (We have hardwood floors, no carpet.)
Allergens, grime, and you have no idea how they were handled before you got there. I don't have budget to make modifications, so buying new flooring is entirely out of the question.

Someone mentioned a metal roof (too lazy to look who). Thatís gotta be noisy as heck in the rain surely?
Probably me. I want a metal roof because they last longer, and sound awesome AF when it rains. Raindrops on a metal roof is like a white noise machine for me. I'm out like a light.

Our maximum electric heating bill in the winter can be $400+. Compared to about $70 in the summer.
I plan on suffering in extreme cold and heat to keep my bills down. I was even looking at a house that had zero A/C.

Nobody has mentioned a security system. I donít care where you live, you will need it. Even a country home we had in the woods in NY state was burglarized.
I have a very vocal 80 lb dog. That's all the security I need. And a .308 if all else fails

Agree on the 1.5 bathrooms. A necessity.
I can only crap in one toilet at a time, so one bathroom is perfectly fine.

Donít buy a corner house if youíre not prepared to maintain both the sidewalks.
What are sidewalks?

Carpet has its pros and cons. Preferences vary. I just think carpeting doesn't have to be a deal-breaker since it's more easily dealt with than, say, trying to add a bathroom or make a kitchen bigger.

I also heard that, although metal roofs are currently all the rage, if something gets in to let some of it rust or deteriorate, it can go downhill fast from there.

Our bills look like yours... but our budget costs year-round amount to about $250 for natural gas and about $300 for electric. (We have central air. Our house is huge with 12-foot ceilings. We have two large furnace units and two large A/C units.) Those stable amounts monthly (which are revisited about twice a year to be sure they're in the right range) help us budget.

We switched from a Vector security system to a Ring security system. Way cheaper and we have good control over it, even from afar.

Corner lots are typically worth more, but yes on the sidewalk maintenance. We have two sets of sidewalks because our yard spans the width of two streets. So, 100+ feet in the front and 100+ feet in the back. O joy!
At this point I have a lot of unknowns budget wise. But, thank God, I have a car that is worth more than my current loan and I can sell it in less than a week and net enough profit to buy a used one. So...if I get settled and see I ****ed up my math I will be selling the FRS and crying myself to sleep at night. But at least it'll be in my own home.

I know I'll probably get flak for this, but I am raiding my retirement account for the 3.5% down payment. I'm a Millennial and I have no delusions of grandeur: I will be working til I drop dead at my desk.



The Adventure Starts Here!
I know I'll probably get flak for this, but I am raiding my retirement account for the 3.5% down payment. I'm a Millennial and I have no delusions of grandeur: I will be working til I drop dead at my desk.
Won't get any flak from me! You're young. And doing it for real estate is obviously a solid investment.

Plus, we raided our retirement account (at age 60) to buy GameStop stock, so....



You ready? You look ready
Won't get any flak from me! You're young. And doing it for real estate is obviously a solid investment.

Plus, we raided our retirement account (at age 60) to buy GameStop stock, so....
Yeah, I mean, growth is nice, but I am already way behind on how much I should have saved, so leaving it alone ain't going to help me. Whereas the cost of rent is going up all the time. What good does saving for retirement do if you can't/don't have a place to live when you get old? Makes no sense to me.



That elusive hide-and-seek cow is at it again
If it's an IRA type account, be mindful of the tax hit AND penalty you will take for pulling funds.

I guess jumping back to the carpet issue, if there is carpet then I'd go through with a black light at least to look for pet urine damage. Carpet underpadding acts like a sponge holding in moisture. If the damage is old and continued, that will eventually damage the wood flooring underneath. Assuming it's wood underneath. If you pull the carpet and find damage, well then you're replacing a subfloor if not the joints and structure beneath those panels if it's bad enough. you MIGHT get away with a sealer primer coat o two. If it's concrete slab underneath, you could probably just do with some basic chemical treatment from a pet store. If it's really bad, you could place a sealer coat over the floor to then lay your new flooring over.

Yeah, carpet can be risky.


random crap my 15 year old self never imagined I would ever need to know.



The Adventure Starts Here!
Hardwood floors are a pain in the bum IMO. Yes, they look nice, but thereís nothing worse than trying to stain floors when there are people & pets milling around. Been there done that. Will probably go professional in future.

We are electric-only though there is a wood furnace in the basement. Sooty indoor chimney is the bane of my existence.

We have a very old alarm system with a small family company. Works perfectly for us.

So many people where I live will only do one sidewalk of their corner house. These people make me mental & itís the same folks every year. Lazy bums or too cheap to pay for a snow removal company.
We are required by our borough to maintain the sidewalks throughout the winter. So... no choice there.

My daughters sanded/stained/polyurethaned their floors before they moved in, so that was obviously far easier.

We bought this restored Victorian house ten years ago, and it had semi-recently been completely carpeted except kitchen, baths, and side entryway. Expensive, good, thick carpeting and padding. I wasn't sure why they'd restore the house's other elements and then not restore the floors. They said it was because they had three small kids, so it was NOISE issues. I thought it might have been to warm up the place a LITTLE since there are 12-foot ceilings and huge rooms.

Plus, as we walk around, I can feel spots where I bet the condition of the original wood underneath was NOT worth trying to fix up and restore properly. Even this much good carpeting might have cost less than restoring the floors. Plus, they did nearly all the work while they lived here (he was a contractor), with those kids, so yeah, that would have been a small nightmare.

At any rate, we're not going to get rid of the carpeting. It looks good, feels good underfoot, and I have a feeling the wood underneath would not take kindly to being exposed. We're not ready to pay for new solid hardwood. (Laminate in this house would be a sacrilege.)



How or why does someone disclose something that is an entirely subjective opinion which can't be substantiated? It's like saying I should disclose that I think I may have been abducted by aliens at a job interview. Or warn buyers of a house that the woods along the backyard is inhabited by Bigfoots.
I donít know how or why, but New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Minnesota have real estate laws that require it.

Allergens, grime, and you have no idea how they were handled before you got there. I don't have budget to make modifications, so buying new flooring is entirely out of the question.

Probably me. I want a metal roof because they last longer, and sound awesome AF when it rains. Raindrops on a metal roof is like a white noise machine for me. I'm out like a light.

I plan on suffering in extreme cold and heat to keep my bills down. I was even looking at a house that had zero A/C.

I have a very vocal 80 lb dog. That's all the security I need. And a .308 if all else fails

I can only crap in one toilet at a time, so one bathroom is perfectly fine.

What are sidewalks?

At this point I have a lot of unknowns budget wise. But, thank God, I have a car that is worth more than my current loan and I can sell it in less than a week and net enough profit to buy a used one. So...if I get settled and see I ****ed up my math I will be selling the FRS and crying myself to sleep at night. But at least it'll be in my own home.

I know I'll probably get flak for this, but I am raiding my retirement account for the 3.5% down payment. I'm a Millennial and I have no delusions of grandeur: I will be working til I drop dead at my desk.
Police officers do tell me that a dog is the best deterrent.

Our house has no central air (itís Victorian). We have a single unit for the bedroom. Our downstairs thermometer can register 90 degrees in the house when itís really hot outside.

Crazy to be cold to keep down bills. I donít do cold. Ever.

You only need to put down 3.5% downpayment there? Thatís crazy. Most people I know have scrambled to put down a required 20%. Personally, I would put down as much as I could.

Nothing wrong with borrowing from a retirement account, itís your money. If itís a 401k, youíre gonna pay back the money with interest to yourself in any event.



You ready? You look ready
If it's an IRA type account, be mindful of the tax hit AND penalty you will take for pulling funds.
It's a 403b. And my employer match is 8%, so the way I look at it...I'm not really paying the penalty. And I am only pulling out a few K, so it should not affect my income taxes all that much. But yeah....working til they find my corpse slumped over at my desk or underneath someone else's.

I guess jumping back to the carpet issue, if there is carpet then I'd go through with a black light at least to look for pet urine damage. Carpet underpadding acts like a sponge holding in moisture. If the damage is old and continued, that will eventually damage the wood flooring underneath. Assuming it's wood underneath. If you pull the carpet and find damage, well then you're replacing a subfloor if not the joints and structure beneath those panels if it's bad enough. you MIGHT get away with a sealer primer coat o two. If it's concrete slab underneath, you could probably just do with some basic chemical treatment from a pet store. If it's really bad, you could place a sealer coat over the floor to then lay your new flooring over.

Yeah, carpet can be risky.


random crap my 15 year old self never imagined I would ever need to know.
And that right there is why I do not want carpet. So many issues are hidden by carpet. It's Russian house roulette.

We are required by our borough to maintain the sidewalks throughout the winter. So... no choice there.

My daughters sanded/stained/polyurethaned their floors before they moved in, so that was obviously far easier.

We bought this restored Victorian house ten years ago, and it had semi-recently been completely carpeted except kitchen, baths, and side entryway. Expensive, good, thick carpeting and padding. I wasn't sure why they'd restore the house's other elements and then not restore the floors. They said it was because they had three small kids, so it was NOISE issues. I thought it might have been to warm up the place a LITTLE since there are 12-foot ceilings and huge rooms.

Plus, as we walk around, I can feel spots where I bet the condition of the original wood underneath was NOT worth trying to fix up and restore properly. Even this much good carpeting might have cost less than restoring the floors. Plus, they did nearly all the work while they lived here (he was a contractor), with those kids, so yeah, that would have been a small nightmare.

At any rate, we're not going to get rid of the carpeting. It looks good, feels good underfoot, and I have a feeling the wood underneath would not take kindly to being exposed. We're not ready to pay for new solid hardwood. (Laminate in this house would be a sacrilege.)
Yeah, older houses like that have probably already had the floors sanded a couple times over their lifespan, so you're probably right about the spots under feet. Hardwood floors are just expensive AF. Even laminated stuff is better than carpet in my eyes. I wanna be able to dust and wet mop my floor. Hunter goes bat**** over the vacuum. Plus you can never truly get carpet clean. At least...not to the level of clean I would want. I'm a slight germophobe and if I can't lysol the areas of my house that I am walking on it's going to be, at least, a shoe free house. Gonna feel awesome to finally have the power to make my house guests take their shoes off.



You ready? You look ready
Police officers do tell me that a dog is the best deterrent.
It really is. And my dog is huge/musclar, so in a scrap he is going to **** you up while I'm bringing the rifle to bare. Hick living. Wouldn't have it any other way.

Our house has no central air (itís Victorian). We have a single unit for the bedroom. Our downstairs thermometer can register 90 degrees in the house when itís really hot outside.

Crazy to be cold to keep down bills. I donít do cold. Ever.
I can always put on extra clothes and get under a blanket, and it'll be easier/cheaper to keep the house overall cold (55-60 F) and just zone heat the room I spend the most time in with an electric oil unit.

And I already survived a month in 92 F, and I know I could easily weather 85F. Since it's just me I can just sit around the place naked.

Keep in mind: I would only need to live like that for the first 3 years. After the car is paid off I will have a nice cushion that I use to readjust.

You only need to put down 3.5% downpayment there? Thatís crazy. Most people I know have scrambled to put down a required 20%. Personally, I would put down as much as I could.

Nothing wrong with borrowing from a retirement account, itís your money. If itís a 401k, youíre gonna pay back the money with interest to yourself in any event.
It's a FHA loan, so I am only required to do the 3.5%. I would do more, but I just don't have it. And I am determined to make this work, so I have adjusted my wants/needs accordingly.



10 years of excellence in denim
Iím all for a cold house and laminate. Big, big fan of laminate. May I suggest an offering from industry leader Pergo? *

I work out in the home and love when it gets cold. Plus the sleep thing. Sleeping in cold is preferred and proven to be better for you. In summer, Iím usually doing 78-76 and thatís sleeping in underwear with an inch of sheet on me.



I donít know how or why, but New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Minnesota have real estate laws that require it.
I'm not disagreeing with you, Stirch, I'm just wondering how it's rationalized in the Real Estate business and how such proclamations can be established since no such thing has EVER been proven or confirmed?

There's a realtor who has a little podcast that shows up on a local website - his presentations are usually very interesting with history stories about the area, but I did hear him mention haunted houses once, and it sounded like he was saying the same thing you are and advising buyers that if their realtor doesn't disclose it to them, then they should ask about it (same with any murders or deaths in the house).

He said it as if haunted houses are as real & common as basements that get flooded!

But what are realtors basing this on? The word of former owners or tenets? So they are just supposed to take the word of someone who's eccentric, or has an overactive imagination, or families who translate their dysfunction, hostility or mental illness as a manifestation of paranormal activity, or who interprets air that causes banging in the water pipes as a supernatural poltergeist?

I just can't imagine why anyone would disclose information to a buyer that can't be substantiated or proved? I imagine most realtors or home sellers don't want to try to scare potential buyers away.

It's like spreading rumors; "The neighbors say the guy next door is so creepy that his basement may be full of dead bodies!"

Why would you tell people something for which their is no proof and may just be the result of a demented mind, imaginary hallucinations or misinterpretation of completely natural things?



The Adventure Starts Here!
I donít know how or why, but New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Minnesota have real estate laws that require it.



Police officers do tell me that a dog is the best deterrent.

Our house has no central air (itís Victorian). We have a single unit for the bedroom. Our downstairs thermometer can register 90 degrees in the house when itís really hot outside.

Crazy to be cold to keep down bills. I donít do cold. Ever.

You only need to put down 3.5% downpayment there? Thatís crazy. Most people I know have scrambled to put down a required 20%. Personally, I would put down as much as I could.

Nothing wrong with borrowing from a retirement account, itís your money. If itís a 401k, youíre gonna pay back the money with interest to yourself in any event.
Our Victorian house didn't have A/C and we were spending a fortune on electric with window units. Plus, window units were letting in small creepy crawlies like stink bugs around the edges. Plus, noisy! Plus, having to keep various doors shut.

We have duct work for the natural gas heating so it was an easy installation to get A/C here. Now it's quiet and cool throughout the house in the summer, with almost no creepy crawlies at all. And the electric bill really isn't any higher than when we were running five window units (living room, bedroom, bathroom, my office, guest room when folks stayed here). Hubby has a friend who does HVAC work as a side hustle and we got both A/C units and both furnaces completely installed in one day... for about $9,000. We felt like we hit the lottery.

Down payments here can be pretty low, but a lot depends on your credit and your mortgage. Certain types require that 20% down. Others, 10%. I think ours was about 5% ten years ago. We could not get an FHA mortgage due to possible ancient lead paint in the basement and a few other small issues. So I'm pretty sure we ended up with a conventional mortgage instead.