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Old 04-22-2009, 11:03 AM   #21
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Her complex does have a pool and gym. But she hears the guy above her have wild sex.
That's gotta be worth something?

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Old 04-22-2009, 03:26 PM   #22
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Mfg home as base camp in say Arizona community and perpetual tourist life style?
Hell you don't even need a mfg home these days, go buy a relatively nice one for $60k in Queen Creek or Maricopa.
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Old 04-22-2009, 03:33 PM   #23
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Moving from a home to a townhome/condo/apartment can mean giving up a lot of control in exchange for spending more money and doing less yardwork.
We moved from a bigger house to a smaller townhome, and one thing I noticed when looking closely at the breakout of our HOA dues is that a lot of things are much cheaper paid for as a community. Trash pickup, water, insurance on exterior, landscaping, etc. all are cheaper than what I was paying at our house. It's a little harder to quantify things like roof maintenance or to justify on things like a community pool I rarely use.

The assessment thing can come down to luck and maybe some research. I know some people get dinged regularly for special repairs, exterior painting, etc. while others manage to live years in a condo community without a special assessment.

Overall I agree with what someone said about a place that is two stories with only shared walls. Noise can come thru a good firewall but it's a lot more likely to be thru floors and ceilings, having noone sharing vertical space is huge.
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Old 04-22-2009, 04:36 PM   #24
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We moved from a bigger house to a smaller townhome, and one thing I noticed when looking closely at the breakout of our HOA dues is that a lot of things are much cheaper paid for as a community. Trash pickup, water, insurance on exterior, landscaping, etc. all are cheaper than what I was paying at our house. It's a little harder to quantify things like roof maintenance or to justify on things like a community pool I rarely use.
Way back when I was a condo owner I noticed this too. New roof, exterior painting, and some other exterior maintenance tasks on a 1200 sf unit was something like $1800 per unit (special assessment). No way I could contract it out that cheaply if I were to do the same on a 1200 sf single family house.

Similarly, a full tear out, repiping, and drywall repair job to replace polybutylene was assessed at $2000 for identical condo units from the same builder in the next town over. From talking to people that have done this in similar sized single family houses or condos, we are talking $4000-6000 for the same scope of work.

Landscaping is a no brainer. It would be $65 per month for basic services on my fairly modest single family house. I think it was $10/month or so at our condo (with admittedly much less yard per unit - 0.09 acres at condo vs. 0.31 ac currently in single family house).

Right on about the distributed maintenance costs for some stuff you don't really care about. Drainage issues for some units on the other side of the development that cost $30,000 to fix was something like $200 per unit, even though it didn't affect me at all. Similarly, $50,000 or so for parking lot asphalt rehabilitation and restriping is something that is usually paid for by the municipality and property taxes, but with a private road network to maintain in the HOA, we were stuck with the tab.

Special assessments are a fact of life in many condo developments but can be minimized by higher monthly HOA dues to boost the reserve (6 in 1/2, half dozen in the other here though). And single family homeowners have "special assessments" all the time - roof repairs, painting, siding, driveway ashpalt/concrete work, fence repair/replacement/installation, landscaping, structural issues, etc. Something is always coming up.
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:15 PM   #25
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What is this "catch up" of which you speak?
Well, I'm relatively young, I have a lot to learn...

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My sister lives in Carson, California, a burb of LA. She pays about that in rent a month for a decent, but small and not fancy apartment. It would rent for about half that here. It is not near as nice as Yaker's pretty house. Her complex does have a pool and gym. But she hears the guy above her have wild sex.
So does she pay extra for the sound track? Or does she cheer along with the rest of the crowd?

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Special assessments are a fact of life in many condo developments but can be minimized by higher monthly HOA dues to boost the reserve (6 in 1/2, half dozen in the other here though). And single family homeowners have "special assessments" all the time - roof repairs, painting, siding, driveway ashpalt/concrete work, fence repair/replacement/installation, landscaping, structural issues, etc. Something is always coming up.
IMO condos with smaller associations (fewer than 100 units) are a colossal PITA-- the gene pool is too shallow for professional management and there's too many petty tyrants. Far better to be a condo renter than a condo owner.

It's taken me years to realize that homeowner's associations are actually insurance companies. They exist to suck money out of your pocket, and in exchange they promise to maintain your property value. Their finances are usually difficult to comprehend and they always seem to want more money for less service. Depending on the quality of the company and their exclusions, you may or may not get your money's worth. They're certainly not your friend, although they'll happily accept your volunteer labor, and they can be a tireless enemy.

A condo where we used to live 20 years ago has put their newsletters online. One of them discussed their recent "assessment" issues, including the cost of a professional animal-control contractor to trap the wild raccoons rampaging through the property. I would've been more sympathetic if that column hadn't been right next to their ad for the upcoming community BBQ...
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Old 04-23-2009, 10:50 AM   #26
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IMO condos with smaller associations (fewer than 100 units) are a colossal PITA-- the gene pool is too shallow for professional management and there's too many petty tyrants. Far better to be a condo renter than a condo owner.

It's taken me years to realize that homeowner's associations are actually insurance companies. They exist to suck money out of your pocket, and in exchange they promise to maintain your property value. Their finances are usually difficult to comprehend and they always seem to want more money for less service. Depending on the quality of the company and their exclusions, you may or may not get your money's worth. They're certainly not your friend, although they'll happily accept your volunteer labor, and they can be a tireless enemy.

A condo where we used to live 20 years ago has put their newsletters online. One of them discussed their recent "assessment" issues, including the cost of a professional animal-control contractor to trap the wild raccoons rampaging through the property. I would've been more sympathetic if that column hadn't been right next to their ad for the upcoming community BBQ...
Agreed about the pains of HOAs. Ours was 135 units. There were a few heavyweights that owned 6-7 units each. They dominated the board and ran things how they wanted to since they each owned ~5% of the total votes or ~10% of quorum votes. These folks happened to be penny pinchers so it worked out pretty well financially for us since expenses were kept to a minimum. But we got out and I have no idea how the issues of "deferred maintenance" have caught up with them.

I also realized the OP here is talking about owning a single family house vs. RENTING a condo/apartment I think. So the issues of dealing with an HOA are a little less (although the "good neighbor" rules imposed by HOA's still impact you - ie where you can install satelite dishes, how many potted plants you can have outside, accceptable type, quantity and colors of patio furniture, etc).
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:14 AM   #27
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In my Walter Mitty life I still fantasize about selling the house and buying an RV. If the life suits you, you could live a lot cheaper and roam to your heart's content. Eventually, you would need to settle down some place,
but in the meantime you could have a ball. In my real life, I just don't have the energy for that lifestyle anymore and I could never pry Lyn away from her garden.

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Old 04-23-2009, 01:10 PM   #28
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Ditto Charlie. From what I've read the RV fantasy is common among people on this board.
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Old 04-23-2009, 02:01 PM   #29
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Ive been on the road for a few weeks now be about 4 weeks when its done. Im ready to go back home. I think I got my travel bug filled for awhile.
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Old 04-23-2009, 03:33 PM   #30
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Ditto Charlie. From what I've read the RV fantasy is common among people on this board.
There are a few here who have turned their fantasy into a reality. Audrey1 comes to mind...
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Old 04-23-2009, 03:53 PM   #31
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Old 04-23-2009, 08:55 PM   #32
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The main issue for me after moving from a house to a townhome has been the close proximity of neighbors. Mine are ok, but I have found that giving up my relative privacy has been annoying. With annoying neighbors, the situation would be intolerable.
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:26 PM   #33
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Hell you don't even need a mfg home these days, go buy a relatively nice one for $60k in Queen Creek or Maricopa.
What tiuxiu said.

The housing bust hit these new areas of Arizona hard. These are boom towns that are 45 miles from the metropolitan center. But if you are retired and do not have to go to work, then it doesn't matter. I am not really familiar with Maricopa (the town, not the county), but have driven through it on a couple of occasion and did not think the area was that bad. These are new developments with new shopping centers and shops. Prices have crashed from $100-$150/sq.ft down to $35-50/sq.ft.

Search RE Web sites for "Maricopa, AZ" or ZIP code 85239. Come on down! If it weren't for the commute distance to go to work, I would help my daughter buy a 1700 sqft home there. They are so cheap.
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Old 04-27-2009, 05:03 PM   #34
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What tiuxiu said.

The housing bust hit these new areas of Arizona hard. These are boom towns that are 45 miles from the metropolitan center. But if you are retired and do not have to go to work, then it doesn't matter. I am not really familiar with Maricopa (the town, not the county), but have driven through it on a couple of occasion and did not think the area was that bad. These are new developments with new shopping centers and shops. Prices have crashed from $100-$150/sq.ft down to $35-50/sq.ft.

Search RE Web sites for "Maricopa, AZ" or ZIP code 85239. Come on down! If it weren't for the commute distance to go to work, I would help my daughter buy a 1700 sqft home there. They are so cheap.
And I thought MO was cheap but you guys in AZ have better deals. Are those ones in the 60k-70k in a safe area?
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Old 04-27-2009, 06:33 PM   #35
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I would think seriously about how much you enjoy packing/unpacking if you do rent. We are long term renters and for the first time in years we are living in a private rental, previous apartments were complexes owned by big companies.

However after only being in our current house for a month I am concerned as to the intention of the owner. Moving is the biggest pain in the butt, connecting/disconnecting services, packing all your belongings and then the drama of unpacking at the other end, none of it is fun. Add in the stress of finding somewhere new to live and it's not relaxing at all.

If I was living in a house I enjoyed in a location that made me happy there is no way I would look at selling unless financially I had no choice.
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:49 AM   #36
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And I thought MO was cheap but you guys in AZ have better deals. Are those ones in the 60k-70k in a safe area?
As these are away from the metropolitan, there aren't many transients and homeless. I would think these areas are safe, having not seen much in the news regarding violent crimes. However, there may be higher property crimes due to vacant houses being broken in.

A main reason these areas crash hard is the overbuild. During the peak of the housing bubble, people from all over the country came to buy in these areas as investment as they were hyped by builders and realtors. Some out-of-state realtors even organized trips for people, to combine a vacation with a house-buying trip . The buyers have no idea of the local demand, or how long a commute would be for people who still work. All they saw was new houses being snatched up like hot cakes.

It was pure mania. A friend of my mother came in from Washington DC to buy one in Anthem, another boom town. My mother got very excited and told me how we locals missed out on these "investments" , while the out-of-towners were getting rich. That was 3-4 years ago. Last I know, her friend's house is still on the market. As an article in Wall St said then, "It will end up in tears".

With time, these areas will develop local economies and will start to fill in. The question is how long. Meanwhile, what do retirees care? There are already local shops and grocery chains in the area. You are not really in the boonies, although there are no major employers there. At $35/sq ft, you've got a roof over your head, and the houses being new will not need maintenance for a while.
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:34 PM   #37
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Thanks NW- Bound
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:50 PM   #38
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You are welcome, Rec7.

For anyone who is interested or just curious, the Queen Creek area mentioned by tiuxiu can be look up on REALTOR.com as Zip Code 85243.

Just now, I saw a 3br/2ba listed for $57K, with condition claimed to be "ready to move in", with photos. Amazing!

I remember my first AZ home out of college, bought in 1980. It was 4br/2ba at 1850 sqft. Purchase price was $64K (1980 dollars). The median household income (also in 1980 dollars) was $21K. The median income is $50K now, I think.

A disclaimer: I do not work in the RE business, nor know anyone who is in it. I am also not affiliated with any state/county/city/municipality agency in Arizona.
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:07 AM   #39
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Here's some retirement diggs in Queen Creek, 1999, 2 BR 2BA for $42,900.

30712 N Maple Chase Drive, Queen Creek, AZ, 85243 - MLS ID#4163680 - Single Family Home real estate - REALTOR.com®

Hell for $43k someone who can't stand their in-laws could even buy that as a remote guest house, what would the mortgage be $250/month? Or if you argue with your spouse a lot have this as a backup so you could yell in a haughty tone "Fine, I'll be spending the evening in the East Cottage."
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:55 AM   #40
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Those are some amazingly cheap properties. Looks like there are other ones for sale in the same neighborhood for similar prices. Including a 4 br, 2 ba asking $54000. The commute would be bad I guess - no freeways nearby, and Hunt Highway looks like a dinky 5 lane road if you are headed into town. Not bad though for a base pad if you travel a lot I guess? I'm showing 46 miles and 71 minutes to get to downtown Phoenix (near the airport).

I noted a few houses in that area that are asking 2x the price for basically the same house, but they have been on the market for many months. I guess they still haven't faced the reality of a glut of houses selling for next to nothing. Wonder what these houses were going for a couple years ago at the peak?

So it's still a dry heat out there, right? I might have to look into relocating...
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