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Houses cost too much!



  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,985
    Folks over in the The Future Of The Manual Transmission got sidetracked talking about old houses and how they are better built than new cookie cutter ones. I'm not sure I agree with that.

    My first house was a Tennessee summer cabin converted into a year round house that I moved into back in 1975. It was an early 40's house, and had lots of problems. The tub always stopping up was memorable, as was the orange shag carpet in the den. Great neighbors that I still keep up with after living there 3 years.

    Next was a small brick ranch from the 50's that was solid, if nondescript. Not having to paint was a plus. Then it was a 1954 ranch in Anchorage that apparently used old concrete forms from the nearby army/air force bases for lots of the studs. The roof was stick built from 2x4's and I had to shovel it whenever the snow got a foot deep - didn't trust that it could handle the snow load. Great little house for 15 years, and more wonderful neighbors, but iffy construction.

    Then we got a 1929 era full basement job here in Boise 7 years ago, complete with a couple of runs of knob & tube wiring. Well built and within walking distance to downtown, but chopped up and uncomfortable. The upstairs bath was so small you couldn't fully open the door! But I didn't have to do any work on it at all.

    We moved in a year to a 1974 ranch that's bright and open, with cathedral ceilings under a (new) hot roof. It's an owner built kit and we got a deal on it "as is" - I keep waiting for the attached garage to pull away and fall down the hill (more great neighbors here too, including one guy who owns a crane that could come up and pick my garage up for me, lol).

    The next buyer will probably scrape it and it won't be too much longer until the 1.5 acres it sits on will appraise for more than the house. I like everything about it (except the stairs), but the maintenance of the house and pasture are wearing me down fast. ;)
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,897
    hmmm... i'm not a financial wiz, so bare with me. Is this value/price argument applicable to everything other than, let's say, a corporation that absorbs other entities? I mean, I guess that's true, right? Anything like gold, oil, etc, are all based on prices, not value. What is real value, anyway? Heck, land is more valuable to me than gold, yet I'd have more buyers for my gold and, pound for pound, its far more expensive.

    Anyhooo... as long as employment doesn't drop in the toilet, I don't see property values necessarily "popping." Cooling off? Sure. We've already seen that happening. I mean, it couldn't keep climbing forever.

    I think we made our housing moves at real good times (I hope). Bought the first one in Summer of 2000 for $155k. It was a little Cape Cod in a nice little town within 90 minutes of Manhattan. Sold it in Summer of 2004 for $280k. So that's a little more than 15% per year. Its worth about $325k now, so that's only been around 5% per year since we sold it. Sounds like the right move.

    We sold it to buy a house for $400k. Very rural area about 15 minutes south of that town with our Cape Cod. 4-bedroom 8-year-old colonial on an acre. Just before the market cooled, it was appraised at $525k. A little under 10% per year, but still pretty good. Will it drop? Maybe. I'm not terribly worried about it because I don't plan on moving. Its exactly what I want. Of course, the real fear is if the housing market DOES plummet and then, god forbid, I become unemployed. But I guess that's what happens to some people sometimes, right? Financial ruin is always 1 step away. I suppose, if we really wanted to be comfortable, we could have stayed in that Cape. Probably paid it off in 10 years. And retirement would have been all that much closer. *shrug* oh well. At least I've got the space to store up my car projects for when I eventually get around to retiring in 30 years.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    talking about old houses and how they are better built than new cookie cutter ones.

    My first house was a nice cape cod with basement, I think it was built in early 50's. Even though it was not a brick exterior, it was rock solid and tight as a drum. Noise almost disappeared when I closed a window.

    When the airport authority took the neighborhood under some bogus claim (later we, neighborhood association, sued and won a large judgement), we were allowed to take anything out of the house we wanted. I had moved out and it was a day or two before scheduled demolition. A friend asked if he could have something off interior a/c unit. I had turned in the keys, told him to go get it if he wants it. He tried to kick, then crowbar the door open... he could not get in. The doors and doorframe were unbleievable solid and strong. Now, my current 1974 tri-lvel... not nearly as solid and tight.

    As a general rule I think the overall quality of material was better years ago than today. Seems many builders want to make the shortcuts when it comes to quality. Build that nice looking home for the least amount possible. Cheap carpet, low end furnace and a/c units, low end shingle... less attention to detail which make older homes unique and more attractive.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    these last 30 years are quite a glitch in the normal trend of real estate in the USA.

    More people with more money to bid things up, thanks to easy credit and creative financing.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,985
    my current 1974 tri-level...

    We should do a house swap sometime - I bet your floor plan isn't much different from my tri-level.

    Did I mention that I hate stairs and none of my first houses I had in my youth had them? Now that I'm way past AARP eligibility, I have to stumble up and down them all day. :P
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    old houses and how they are better built than new cookie cutter ones.

    The old houses that are still around now were better built. The old houses built like today's cookie cutters fell down or were torn down 50 years ago, so we don't think about them. I can drive around and point out all sorts of old houses that have been abandoned in place for whatever reason, passed over by potential buyers for new, modern construction. Some of them were well built, and some of them weren't.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,897

    Its just not a blanket statement that can be made. My parent's turn-of-the-century farmhouse has these crazy hand shaped 2x6s in the exterior walls and solid wood interior doors, BUT the plaster & lathe interior walls and single pane wood-framed windows leave ALOT to be desired.

    There is something to be said for sheetrock, insulation, and vinyl argon-filled windows. If I could combine their houses skeleton with modern day insulating techniques ...

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    I grew up in a quad-level, so at the moment the tri-level is looking pretty good. I do remember my mom complaining quite frequently about "all the steps" in the quad. All the bedrooms and master bath were upstairs, the washing machine and dryer... all the way down in the basement.

    We do plan on moving in the near future. Would like a nice ranch with a walk-out basement. Designate the basement as the kids zone.... enter at your own risk. :)
  • I'm only real point there was to point out that buying a house to flip in a few years is pure speculation, it's not investing in the traditional sense of the word. All you are doing is betting that someone will pay more than you did without you doing anything. Some stocks also buy and sell like this, and that is speculating as well. So is betting on number 12 in Vegas. But some stocks belong to companies that are actually building wealth, so that's more like sound investing. Stocks have almost a 100 year history of steady growth (if you held all your stocks at the time of the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929, you'd have been made whole in about 9 years). But real estate does not show a steady growth for 100 years....barely 25 or so.
  • okko1okko1 Posts: 327
    plllllll :P
  • tell it to the poor people in foreclosure :P
  • PFFlyer@EdmundsPFFlyer@Edmunds Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,808
    I have a couple of opinions on those poor souls on the Alternate Route today :shades:

    The phrase, "you reap what you sow" comes to mind


    Moderator - Hatchbacks & Hybrid Vehicles

  • okko1okko1 Posts: 327
    still watching the construction of the new one after the demolition of the old one. the builder chose the option of no basement. but did include safe room in the house. this will save much agravation in the future as this house is at the bottom of the hill. :)
  • If you get more than one Tornado warning per season, concrete basement is a good thing to consider. Would you elaborate on the safe room though?

    I particularly like the B-52 Bungalow. :shades:

    Karen-Edmunds Community Manager

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,985
    This one matches your smart car better.

    I'm on the lookout for a great deal on some greenhouse fabric myself.
  • okko1okko1 Posts: 327
    this is a room that in this area is built for storm protection. these are often included in homes as part of the basement foundation structure. and may very in size but will always have a few thing the same like 6in. thick concrete walls and will have a concrete lid or ceiling. the one in the little house currently under construction is 6ft. deep 4ft. wide. and 7ft. tall. the measurements are all from inside the box. it will be fitted with a steel door and anchored frame. these are often concealed by more attractive finishes. it will also have a fresh air supply and battery operated light. these rooms tend to vary in size this one is typical for a small patio home. if it is part of the foundation,that is to say in the basement often these will be part of a large stoop area of the front or rear porches. and maybe 20ft. long and 15ft. wide with up to a 10ft. ceiling.
  • Thank You for the detailed explanation! It was pretty interesting. My initial impression was that your safe room is not part of the basement, that's why asked. We plan to do something similar when we finish our basement, but for now it serves the purpose, having concrete walls and being under grade. We will probably put a wall protecting the safe area from the walk-out door/window. Unfortunately, concrete ceiling is, from my understanding, a pretty difficult/expensive option at this point, so we should hope the I-beams hold if the worst happens.
    And, of course, our next house will be brick, although that's pretty rare here. And quite expensive.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    And quite expensive(brick)

    I recall "build with brick" radio commercials several years ago saying it was only 5% more expensive to build with brick. Maybe, they were speaking of the actual building materials and not including labor?
  • PFFlyer@EdmundsPFFlyer@Edmunds Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,808
    Don't you just love advertising?? :confuse:


    Moderator - Hatchbacks & Hybrid Vehicles

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