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Old 05-12-2014, 08:00 PM   #41
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I did go visit my old home a few months ago and posted about it in the "What did you do today?" topic.......

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To update, I saw that the house sold through the HomePath program for $78,000 to a couple a few weeks ago. Good for them. I hope they stay a long time and enjoy life there.
Sue,
Consider writing a note to the address. The folks who bought it might like to know a bit about the house, how your family used the rooms, changes in the neighborhood, etc. It may give life to their project as they connect this structure to the lives that were lived there. Maybe they'll invite you to drop in when you are in the area again.
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Old 05-12-2014, 08:09 PM   #42
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In 1959 - 1961, we lived in this house in Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard. Before we could buy @ $30,000, I was transferred. We were paying $90/mo. rent. The last time it was sold, about 5 years ago, the price was $1.500,000.

...
Yea, tract house in the BA I grew up in my parents bought for $28K in the 60's. Sells for close to $1M now. Same with my dad/stepmother's simple tract house in Saratoga up there. Stepmother bought it for $31K in the 60's and it's worth well over $1M simply because of the area of SJ that it's in.

I would/will never go back.
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Old 05-13-2014, 07:45 AM   #43
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Had to sell the family home in 2009. It had been purchased for $3800 in 1937. After emptying it out of possessions that had accumulated during those 70 years, I sold it for $555k.

In 2000, I sold the family cottage. It had been purchased for $800 in 1948. Sold to the next door neighbour for $200k as a sleeping cabin. It still sits there today in its original state.

I have returned to every home that we lived in and I could not live in any of them (5).
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:03 AM   #44
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If "home" is in, or in commuting distance of a significant employment center, then moving home might be harder. Harder to justify, it seems, because maybe the retired should leave the housing in those places to those who still need to be at the employment center every single w*rkday. Good old supply and demand.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:17 AM   #45
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Every once in awhile, I'll drive past two childhood homes. The first is an old co-op townhome in Greenbelt, Maryland. I think it sold for about $16,000 in 1978, when Mom and Dad got divorced. Nowadays, a similar home would probably go for around $130-150K. The co-op fees are high, around $400-500 per month, but that includes property taxes, and most of the maintenance, which I hear they're very good about.

As far as townhouses go, they have nice, big yards, and there's plenty of green space/common area. It's a very walkable community. However, I could never live there at my current stage in life, because I just need a bigger house. Plus, I'm into antique cars, so I'd need a big garage. For the most part, these houses are 2br/1ba, and if you're lucky, you can find one with a 1 car garage. It would be a good place for retired people though, I'd think...as long as you could still use the stairs. Unless they've been modified and added onto, the bathroom and bedrooms were always upstairs, unless you got a lower level flat.

I like to walk through the neighborhood, and the adjoining woods. One of the trails comes out onto a huge field, about a half mile wide, maybe more, that when I was a little kid, it used to make me think of the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy and co. came out of the woods to the poppy field. I still get that nostalgic feeling whenever I go back there.

The other place I remember from my childhood is in White Plains, Maryland, just south of Waldorf. Mom bought it for $54K in 1979, but sold for $58K in 1980 because she started getting homesick. Grandmom and Granddad got sick that winter, and we were driving back up every other weekend. It was also a longer commute with more traffic lights, and Mom just got tired of it. So, we moved back. I remember the mortgage was $389 per month.

Ultimately, my Mom and stepdad moved back to Southern Maryland. Sometimes when I go down, I'll take a detour and drive by the old house, as it's not *too* far out of the way. Or when I go down to Kings Dominion, sometimes I'll take 301 instead of I-95, and I'll always swing by the old house. I'd imagine it might sell for $200K nowadays. It was a 45x25 rambler, 2br/1ba, with a 1 car carport, on an acre. The current owners closed in the carport, and built a detached garage out back. I think the only thing that would keep me from moving back down there would be the commute. I'm sure it would take at least an hour to get to work, if not more, and I've gotten spoiled by my 10 minute (on a bad day) commute. But, once I started phasing out the j*b, and, say, went down to a 3 day work week, I might tolerate it.

Oh, almost forgot...sometimes I'll go past my old condo in Crofton, Maryland. I bought it for $84K in 1994, sold for $185K in 2004. It was re-sold for $245K in 2007 at the peak of the market. It was a 3br/2ba with a 1 car garage, and 1254 square feet. I see similar units on the market for $150-200K, depending on the condition. Condo fees are up to around $300/mo, though. One of my friends moved into the community last fall, and he says the condo association is in a bit of a shambles. When he moved into the neighborhood, I'll admit I got a bit nostalgic. But I think I'd hate living in one of those condos, dealing with an association that plays favorites, neighbors crammed up against you, etc...

I guess in these three cases, I could afford to "go home" again. But I just don't want to!
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:47 AM   #46
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For me the real estate cost would be the easy direction, it's the wage hit that makes going home a non-starter. I was born and raised in the midwest, and when I sleep soundly I find I always dream about the house and my family from so many years ago. Around the apartment I live in now is a neighborhood that has a similar look and feel, houses and lots are almost exactly the same size and age, although the material and construction isn't as good. It's all wood or stucco here vs brick with a finished basement back home. The price differential is gaping, my parents sold that house not long ago for almost exactly a tenth what an equivalent property near my apartment would fetch.

I received exactly the same advice when I started work here 25 years ago, buy now or be priced out forever. I never bought a home. I don't regret my choice because I think the flexibility of renting made life easier, but I would say that buying a home once I started work would have been a good move financially.
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:33 AM   #47
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I grew up in a small town in Stark County, Ohio. I have few relatives left there; parents and siblings all moved elsewhere for jobs. The area used to have a lot of employment in manufacturing (Timken, Hoover, Republic Steel) and most of those employers are gone, or severely downsized with most of the work outsourced to countries with cheaper labor.

I went back for a HS reunion in 2011. The house Dad helped build (a great-uncle was the general contractor) was still there. It had been expanded by the guy who bought it form us in 1964. We managed to squeeze 2 parents + 5 kids into a 3-BR,1 bath house but it got crowded, so expansion was a good move. It was in pretty good shape although one house on the block had burned down and the remnants were still there. I talked to the owner of our old house (who wondered why I was lurking and taking pictures) and he'd bought it as a foreclosure and had had to work to fix it up.

It's not an area I'd go to now; I follow the local paper on-line and they're struggling. The manufacturing jobs are gone and there aren't a lot of decent quality jobs left other than public sector jobs (city and county government and the school systems).
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:43 AM   #48
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It would be easy for me to go home again if the house was for sale. It's about 4 miles from our current house. It would be a nice place to downsize to, except it has a 1 car garage and I need a garage that is much bigger. And except for the fact that DW would not want to live there.
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Old 05-13-2014, 01:43 PM   #49
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Sue,
Consider writing a note to the address. The folks who bought it might like to know a bit about the house, how your family used the rooms, changes in the neighborhood, etc. It may give life to their project as they connect this structure to the lives that were lived there. Maybe they'll invite you to drop in when you are in the area again.
+1
My parents were driving by the family home(22 years there). The new homeowners were out in the driveway, my parents stopped in. Mom and Dad had sold the place 15 years earlier, it had recently been sold again. The owners were so greatful, they had no idea where the well was, many other details they didn't know about the homes history. Of course my parents got a tour, brought back great memories.
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Old 05-13-2014, 02:17 PM   #50
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Old 05-13-2014, 04:15 PM   #51
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Very interesting thread. The "home as investment" mentality is pretty ingrained in our culture. While I don't agree with the mentality, I do believe it follows some of the "efficient market" principles in setting prices due to the rampant speculation we've seen. So, saying "buy now" in a good market means you're probably already paying a premium if many folks share that opinion. I don't try to pick stocks for the same reason.

I've also read here that it's a good idea to move to an expensive area young and buy the biggest house you can afford to take advantage of the fact that market salaries will reflect the market income needed. My take on this approach is a bit different. People should choose to live wherever their absolute savings rate is maximized and I highly doubt this will come from buying the biggest house over time. Here's a few examples:

1) Single engineer makes $60k / year living in the midwest and can either rent a nice place for $600 / month or buy a decent house for 100k. Either housing choice is fine financially and is more a matter of preference. Figure they live on $30k / year and save $15k after taxes. If purchasing a house, then some of this savings is principle.

2) Single engineer lives in expensive city and gets their income to 100k. They can buy a tiny house at 600k or rent for $2000. If renting, they manage to live on 60k / year and still save that same $15k after taxes. I know quite a few of these folks. Trying to pay that mortgage, they probably save nothing outside of mortgage principle. Very risky if they lose that job and I've never heard anybody acknowledge this risk.

3) Work in the expensive city making that same 100k, but get really creative regarding cost of living. Rent a room for $600, don't have a car, enjoy the free culture stuff, etc. I know a couple people working / living in SF for around 30k / year and saving around 45k each year.

So, option 1 gives almost no chance of a high absolute savings rate. The income just isn't there so you have to live in poverty to get the savings up. Note, this only applies to a salary job where market rates force the income down. Having a business in a low cost of living area can be quite a different story.

Option 2 has no chance of savings due to the expenses. This is a high risk option if you buy a place you can barely afford (classic middle-class trap here). The risks actually double if a dual-income family can't pay the mortgage without both incomes. Elizabeth Warren wrote an OK book on the topic.

Options 3 is a fun path IMO and one many here take / took. It can be even more fun with geo-arbitrage if that's an option. "Thrift" seems to be cool again in some circles too so our single engineers' dating life might survive.
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Old 05-13-2014, 04:47 PM   #52
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Old 05-13-2014, 04:53 PM   #53
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Very interesting thread....
Option 2 has no chance of savings due to the expenses. This is a high risk option if you buy a place you can barely afford (classic middle-class trap here). The risks actually double if a dual-income family can't pay the mortgage without both incomes. Elizabeth Warren wrote an OK book on the topic.

Options 3 is a fun path IMO and one many here take / took. It can be even more fun with geo-arbitrage if that's an option. "Thrift" seems to be cool again in some circles too so our single engineers' dating life might survive.
You focus on singles, but dual incomes present another option that you hint at. DW and I ended up with reasonably good salaries in the DC area when we moved here after the kids left home. We rented, then bought, places with costs that could be covered by either salary alone and have been saving nearly the entirety of the 2nd salary. We still feel that we are living nicely, we just don't need to keep up with what others in our income bracket seem to want.
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Old 05-13-2014, 04:59 PM   #54
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Before moving to southern Ohio 25 years ago, I lived for various periods from a few months to a few years in 14 different cities, most in the US but several overseas (military career).

A few of those places seemed like they would be great for permanent homes, but I couldn't afford them at the time and I still can't afford them. Most of the rest were just OK places with nothing special to recommend them.

During all my travels back then and since, I've pretty much settled on a geographic area that seems best suited to me, but it's far from here and has a higher cost of living.

The key, however, is that DW has lived here all her life, knows just about everyone, and really, really doesn't want to ever leave. I could probably get her to go along if I pushed it, but I don't want to do that. I'm content enough here and the COL really is low.
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Old 05-13-2014, 05:30 PM   #55
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Parents moved from NY to AL when I was in college. The house in AL had a reverse mortgage. Been here in OH for ~35 years, will move to FL to be with friend.

Define home.
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Old 05-13-2014, 05:36 PM   #56
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My hometown was in the coal region of Pa..so not only could I go home again but I could buy the nicest home there . Would I ? No , I have moved on and that town has not .It was a great place to grow up but not to spend a lifetime .
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Old 05-13-2014, 05:39 PM   #57
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Define home.

Not to be corny but "Home is where your heart is " .
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Old 05-13-2014, 05:54 PM   #58
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25 years ago we planned to retire in Mystic CT or San Diego, both appreciated out of our reach before I retired. Welcome to flyover country...
I'd take flyover country over the coasts any day! Everything is cheaper, and the areas are less crowded and more quiet.
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:55 PM   #59
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I'd take flyover country over the coasts any day! Everything is cheaper, and the areas are less crowded and more quiet.

I am with you Zesty and for the same reasons, but 50 years of living here and knowing this lifestyle only is probably the main reason. If San Diego had a population of 20,000 and new 1500 sq. ft. ranch homes went for $145,000 I imagine I would have moved there already. I was just reading another middle class home affordability problem for certain areas of country. They defined it as 31% of your monthly income for principal, interest, taxes, and insurance... Well that would mean my monthly mortgage payment could be over $2,000 a month. That is just insane to me. Mine is around $700 and I think that is plenty high.


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Old 05-13-2014, 07:40 PM   #60
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I was just reading another middle class home affordability problem for certain areas of country. They defined it as 31% of your monthly income for principal, interest, taxes, and insurance... Well that would mean my monthly mortgage payment could be over $2,000 a month. That is just insane to me. Mine is around $700 and I think that is plenty high.
I think that if I had a potential monthly mortgage payment of $2,000, I'd consider living in a refrigerator box under a bridge, instead.

Seriously, I want to live someplace nice but being owned by a house has never been my goal in life.
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