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What do you look for in housing?
Old 02-14-2008, 12:46 PM   #1
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What do you look for in housing?

What do do you look for in housing? Some people like living in a condo or apartment for minimal maintenance and cost, others couldn't imagine living anywhere other than a farm or ranch.

We picked a ranch style single-family home to have everything on one floor since I've had knee surgery once and it's going to happen again someday.

Natural gas heat was a non-negotiable item; we like it warm. (Although I didn't foresee gas prices going up 100% in 5 years.) It's in a golf course community although neither one of us plays golf, wife liked the house.

Two-car garage was a huge plus, we never had that luxury before. A quarter-acre lot to minimize time spent mowing grass.
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Old 02-14-2008, 01:48 PM   #2
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When we move out of the city.

We do not want to be right on top of our neighbors so no less than an 1/2 lot size. Ranch single story with a modern kitchen prefer gas. Large master bath with a multi nozzle shower. Enough room for a large dog to run and room for a large garden. We enjoy landscaping and working outside so enough property to fill that need. Our biggest non negotiable item will be not being right on top of our neighbors.
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:17 PM   #3
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10 acres, 3 tillable. We're going to build a house.. single level. one bedroom and one multi-use room. walk-in pantry with a window for herbs. four-season porch with a greenhouse nearby. geothermal heat for the greenhouse and house. steel roof covered with pv cells and a grey water collection system.

Biggest issue is deciding how important choosing a state with a high risk pool (preferrably capped) is to us.
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:28 PM   #4
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Biggest issue is deciding how important choosing a state with a high risk pool (preferrably capped) is to us.
I suppose you could always look at the states that have "take all comers, no rejections allowed" laws. The trade off is that you can be sure you can get coverage, but you will pay for it.
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:31 PM   #5
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I suppose you could always look at the states that have "take all comers, no rejections allowed" laws. The trade off is that you can be sure you can get coverage, but you will pay for it.
Is that different from the high risk pool states? I know not all pools are capped but I didn't know other states had no pools but required coverage laws...

Interesting! That could open up a few more possibilities for us.
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:43 PM   #6
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Low taxes, low maintenance, close by to good hospitals and medical care in case, good community benefits like colleges, libraries, entertainment and a city with great cultural events...and wonderful restaurants.
Came to the conclusion that a 2 bedroom, 2 bath was big enough for me alone; but I do want a garage for my car. Lots of storage, pool access and thick walls so I don't have to hear street noise or the neighbors.
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:46 PM   #7
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Is that different from the high risk pool states? I know not all pools are capped but I didn't know other states had no pools but required coverage laws...

Interesting! That could open up a few more possibilities for us.
AFAIK, there are some states with high risk pools (where the details vary considerably), and others that are take all comers. In NJ (where I live), health insurers are not allowed to reject anyone for pre-existing conditions and may only underwrite based on some very basic criteria (age, sex, etc.). The downside is that insurance is quite expensive. But if your concern is access to insurance, states like NJ have you covered.
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:59 PM   #8
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We have discovered nirvana in a ranch condo. It has the stuff you mentioned, Walt, like a garage and one level. It offers lots of privacy and we can't hear our neighbors.

But a quaint little cottage covered with ivy is appealing in theory, if not in actuality!
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Old 02-14-2008, 03:02 PM   #9
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Is that different from the high risk pool states? I know not all pools are capped but I didn't know other states had no pools but required coverage laws...

Interesting! That could open up a few more possibilities for us.
You might want to check out this Health Insurance thread from the Forum FAQ, particularly this resource to see which states have pools: Health Insurance and Coverage Help for Consumers Everywhere
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Old 02-14-2008, 03:38 PM   #10
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We look for a place we want to live in which means dense, inner city, walkable, lots of restaurants, etc. That also tends to mean expensive. It also means staying where we have been for the last 25 years - Capitol Hill, DC. We have a weekend place on the water on the tidal Potomac so we know what the boonies are like. I suspect many people here would dump our city place for our waterfront place in a heartbeat. But if we need to scale back to one we will stay on the Hill.
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Old 02-14-2008, 04:36 PM   #11
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I want housing to change through time and I want contradictory things.

Right now I am in a small multi-story house in a blue collar neighborhood in a small city in SW Ohio. A car is pretty much a necessity.

Eventually I will not be able to drive; there is some senior housing downtown.

In an apartment I will miss the garden and the birds and the squirrels...; there are parks and I can have potted plants and a vermicomposter.

I want people around for assistance when necessary, but I don't want to have to be around them all the time.

Ideally I would tear down this house and build a new one, slightly smaller, close to self sufficient, amenable to aging.

For now I will stay here; I'll re-evaluate when the cat dies (5 to 10 years?).
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Old 02-14-2008, 04:39 PM   #12
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We look for a place we want to live in which means dense, inner city, walkable, lots of restaurants, etc. That also tends to mean expensive. It also means staying where we have been for the last 25 years - Capitol Hill, DC.
Wow, we fled the DC area to get away from crowds, city noise, having to plan our lives around traffic, etc. It's interesting that so many people choose living in a large city. I have a niece who can't imagine living anywhere but Las Vegas, NV. She loves the excitement.

Wife was also insistent on the screened-in porch off the kitchen although I use it more than she does. We mostly eat at home, restaurants are a rarity.

We also gave thought to availability of health care, there are three hospitals within 30 minutes drive.
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Old 02-14-2008, 04:47 PM   #13
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I like my single story house. Big enough for my needs, but not overwhelming. Also, a yard for the dogs is a must for me.

If I move, would be nice to have a little bit bigger yard for a decent vegetable garden.

Also, don't want to face big city traffic again every day.
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Old 02-14-2008, 05:17 PM   #14
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Current house, at 1650sf + 2-car garage; lot is 9ksf

Pro:
> PITI of ~ $865/mo. Utilities in 2007 were $1610 electric, $388 natgas, $706 water/sewage, or $225/mo. (Maybe that should have been a con...)
> fairly nice lower-upper-middle class neighborhood, in stepford suburb with good schools, bike trails, and lots of pseudo nouveau riche.
> close to transit station, two major highways, way more shopping than I ever do, lots of restaurants.

Cons:
> fairly nice lower-upper-middle class neighborhood, in stepford suburb with good schools, bike trails, and lots of pseudo nouveau riche...
> car-centric, both micro and macro.
> fairly water intensive lawn.
> needs probably $25k in improvements/updates to be marketable: updated appliances and cabinets/countertops, some tile/hardwood flooring (kitchen, dining), new windows...
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Old 02-14-2008, 05:22 PM   #15
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1 bedroom house with a 6-car carage
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Old 02-14-2008, 05:29 PM   #16
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1 bedroom house with a 6-car carage
Yeah, that's the ticket...
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Old 02-14-2008, 05:56 PM   #17
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I'm similar to donheff. What counts is where I live in terms of city and neighborhood. I prefer older elegant apartment buildings with hardwood floors and tile in the bathrooms. If I bought I would probably go for a newer concrete building, even though to me they are not appealing spaces for the most part. But I have had my fill of trying to maintain older places.

In the US there are probably ten cities that would be fine for me, 5 that I have lived in and five that look attractive without having lived in them.

But I am where I am, and have roots, so I likely will stay withinn a few blocks of where I am now. For gardening pea patches can be more fun than your own garden. Perhaps less produce, but way more social interaction.

Already this morning I have been dancing, and then walking with some friends. Yesterday I visited a Bayside sculpture park with pieces by Calder and others of his caliber, then enjoyed a long walk back to my place stopping on the way to pick up lunch. The day before I went to a seminar at my brokers' then dancing in the evening.

So much of my time I can just dedicate to pleasure, and in such variety, I think only large cities can work for me. Seattle can't compare with New york or Boston or Chicago or DC for museums, but it is good enough to allow a lot of variety and a lot of good stuff. Every time I go I am glad that our country has been less re-distibutionist than some in tax policy, because some wealthy people have made life so much better for the rest of us by amassing and then giving wonderful art pieces for public museum display.

BTW, someone mentioned big city traffic. I live in the center of a pretty big city, and the traffic is much less bothersome than almost any growing suburban area. Although I could ditch my car, I won't likely do so because it allows me access to other neighborhoods. Here, on a bus it is easy to go downtown, or to a neighborhood from downtown. But to go from neighborhood to neighborhood takes transfers, and our bus system just isn't good enough for me to take that on.

Ha
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Old 02-14-2008, 06:03 PM   #18
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Ha, every time I read your posts I nominate you for the Quality of Life award! It sound terrific!
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Old 02-14-2008, 06:15 PM   #19
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Ha, every time I read your posts I nominate you for the Quality of Life award! It sound terrific!
Thanks Tango. It is very nice. I had this when I was young; but you know how youth is, you want to do other things. But now the life force is no longer pushing me- I have done the big things or failed at trying to do them. So why not relax into what is availble now?

Ha
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Old 02-14-2008, 06:32 PM   #20
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Hmmm - the burbs - quasi wide latitude on house(small and cheap) - a place for the dogs and pickup. And I don't want a ticket from the city if I do redneck work on my vehicles in the yard or driveway.

Hoping for another ten years or so - before I consider other options - speaking health and enthusiasm wise that is.

My youth in Seattle as a UW student sans vehicle was cool - but post graduation I fell prey to the suburbs ala Kent/Auburn and the weekends found me out a lot sking/fishing/hiking although I did the singles scene downtown also.

With the march of time - ? over 55 community or back to the city??

heh heh heh - to be honest I don't know! Da burbs for now!
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