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Trying to avoid the "house jones"
Old 06-05-2008, 09:18 PM   #1
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Trying to avoid the "house jones"

I am a bottom fisher by inclination, for better or worse. Gawd made me a cheap bastid that loves a bargain investment, and the more everyone is positive that things are terrible, the more I am interested. So imagine my reaction when I find that the largest, nicest homes in my area appear to be asking (heh) at least 25% less than selling prices of two years ago. Meanwhile my own more modest home has held up better (maybe off 10%) and cash equity is not a problem.

Now I hate moving and don't really need a larger house, but visiting some friends who just bought a place larger than ours definitely got the wheels turning. I think inertia, the pain and expense of moving, and property taxes approaching a grand a month (gulp) have stopped me in my tracks. Is anyone else tempted to upgrade amidst the wreckage?
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:25 PM   #2
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No. The one we have has three bathrooms. Never buy a house that has more rooms than you want to clean.
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:31 PM   #3
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Understandable, and sometimes the right thing to do, if the bigger mansion will really make a lifestyle or comfort difference.

But the moment of truth comes at the time of the purchase offer: putting in a home sale contingency is a death knell in most areas, and not doing so puts you at risk for double-payments for what may be many months. True your house has held its value better than the larger ones on paper, but you never know.

If your coals are burning hot and you could handle two mortgage/tax/insurance payments for maybe 6 months in a worst case scenario go for it. If not, just calm down and brew some more beer . Your retirement savings will appreciate it.

P.S. Did the double mortgage thing for 7 months once due to job move, market quirks. Never again.
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:33 PM   #4
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Repeat after me:

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Now I....don't really need a larger house
It's OK to bottom fish for investments. Your home is not an investment.
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:34 PM   #5
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I might be tempted to buy something newer and smaller...
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:36 PM   #6
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Wasn't it you who just a few months ago was considering telling your boss where he could stick it and heading to Colorado for a life change? Now you're considering trading your ball & chain mortgage for an even bigger one?

Not a problem if it's really what you want to do. But that 'bargain' can sure limit your option to LBYM and seriously delay reaching some of your goals. A larger mortgage is just the beginning when it comes to a bigger house - the start of a financial chain reaction of new furniture, new this, and new that. Think about it...
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:39 PM   #7
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P.S. Did the double mortgage thing for 7 months once due to job move, market quirks. Never again.
Me too, for 5 months in the 80's when mortgage rates were in the mid-teens. Still have nightmares.
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:41 PM   #8
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A larger mortgage is just the beginning when it comes to a bigger house - the start of a financial chain reaction of new furniture, new this, and new that. Think about it...
It all pales next to the property taxes, frankly. Even the mortgage. I don't really need to be talked out of buying a new place, since inertia is a powerful force. But furniture? Pfaw. Its the RE taxes that scare the crap out of me.
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:42 PM   #9
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Is anyone else tempted to upgrade amidst the wreckage?
No, but it sure is fun to window shop on the real estate websites! Frank calls one of them my "real estate porn" site because I love looking so much and daydreaming.
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:44 PM   #10
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I don't really need to be talked out of buying a new place, since inertia is a powerful force. But furniture? Pfaw.
You are married, right?
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:49 PM   #11
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"Is anyone else tempted to upgrade amidst the wreckage?"

If it was time for us to move. Yes, I would jump at the chance to buy in this market. Overall timing isn't right for us.
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:49 PM   #12
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You are married, right?
To a realist who knows that we have two small kids, two dogs who are very comfy on the couch, and a cat who retains his claws.
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Old 06-05-2008, 10:07 PM   #13
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No. The one we have has three bathrooms. Never buy a house that has more rooms than you want to clean.
Shouldn't that be: "Never buy a house that has more rooms than you want the maids to clean." ?
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Old 06-05-2008, 10:45 PM   #14
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and property taxes approaching a month a grand (gulp) have stopped me in my tracks. Is anyone else tempted to upgrade amidst the wreckage?
Uhhh no. But I truly am a cheap old bastard.
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:56 AM   #15
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My late grandma would have said that Brewer is just in a "restless spell." Deep down you know it's impractical to make a move at the moment, but you feel the need for change and play it out with mild fantasy-reality games like looking at houses, reading the classified or head-hunter mailings just a little more carefully, maybe even reply to a few anonymously or veerrry hypothetically.

Case in point: a few years ago my son was feeling frustrated with his job, so he went out and ... bought a new house(?). 6 months later, he found a new job out of state.

Personally I think these episodes are healthy as long as you don't lose the big picture. Sounds like a good time for a vacation.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:33 AM   #16
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My late grandma would have said that Brewer is just in a "restless spell." Deep down you know it's impractical to make a move at the moment, but you feel the need for change and play it out with mild fantasy-reality games like looking at houses, reading the classified or head-hunter mailings just a little more carefully, maybe even reply to a few anonymously or veerrry hypothetically.

Case in point: a few years ago my son was feeling frustrated with his job, so he went out and ... bought a new house(?). 6 months later, he found a new job out of state.

Personally I think these episodes are healthy as long as you don't lose the big picture. Sounds like a good time for a vacation.
Pretty accurate diagnosis, doc. I know that I go through these spells when things are stressful at work, and this is in all likelihood one of them. Since I know this (intellectually, anyway), I tend to be verrryy slow in making any big decisions. Sometimes that means I lose out on selling an investment at the top (when I hesitate and it drops back down), but mostly it keeps me from moving to Bora Bora on a whim, etc. That's why it took me a year of futzing around and cogitating to finally buy a travel trailer, even though it cost half as much as my last car.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:36 AM   #17
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Revisit your Colorado ideas. That would be more fun.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:40 AM   #18
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Revisit your Colorado ideas. That would be more fun.
Uhuh. That's another example. DW and I have also agreed not to make any big decisions in Feb-Mar time period because the constant grey and cold have kind of driven us nuts by then.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:56 AM   #19
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The killer will be what to do with the existing house. Can it be rented at a positive cashflow so you can wait out the carnage. Or do you need to sell it ? Things have gotten sooo soft my guess is it'll take a long time to sell at a price that might surprize you. Don't want to become a motivated seller - carrying 2 mortgages - in this mess.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:59 AM   #20
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The killer will be what to do with the existing house. Can it be rented at a positive cashflow so you can wait out the carnage. Or do you need to sell it ? Things have gotten sooo soft my guess is it'll take a long time to sell at a price that might surprize you. Don't want to become a motivated seller - carrying 2 mortgages - in this mess.
No, would be an alligator. I think the house would sell, but it would take a while. Price would be considerably less than the peak, but still reasonably solid. Definately not eager to carry two notes.
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