A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

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Jersey Girl
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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby Jersey Girl » Sun 25 Jan, 2015 08:33 am

I've been thinking of buying a condo or something like that here (it's way to expensive to buy an actual house in DC). Do you experienced house buyers have some tips? Seeing prices like 90K or 170K make me weep a little since I can pretty much buy an apartment for that amount of money here. Stupid high cost of living.
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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby Momma Snider » Mon 26 Jan, 2015 10:58 am

Well, don't be sad about the $90k that I mentioned. Because that place is a pile of junk. It wasn't great when I lived there as a child, because even though my dad could fix anything, he never had time to fix anything around the house. And that was 40-60 years ago! I would certainly never want to live there again at any price.

I'm always shocked when I watch House Hunters at how expensive some places are, though. A young couple will have a budget of $700,000 or something outrageous like that. I guess I could find a house in my general area for that much money, maybe, but my neighborhood has all houses in the $275-325 range. Still a lot of money, but you get a good-sized house for your dollars.

Good luck, Jersey!

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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby quidscribis » Mon 02 Feb, 2015 06:59 pm

Here's a pretty important tip: Just because your mortgage broker approves you for a huge amount of mortgage doesn't mean you have to use it all. You're much much much much much much much much much better off getting the smallest mortgage possible even if it means living in a shoe box, then paying the mortgage off as quickly as you can, than getting stuck in a too-large mortgage that you won't be able to afford if you were to get laid off. Buy less house/apartment/condo. Really.

And make sure your mortgage agreement allows for balloon payments/double payments so you can pay it off faster without penalty.

Debt sucks. Get rid of it as fast as possible.

This, of course, assumes you're going into debt to buy a place. If that's not the case, then this advice is meaningless. :)
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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby quidscribis » Mon 02 Feb, 2015 07:01 pm

Jersey Girl wrote:Seeing prices like 90K or 170K make me weep a little since I can pretty much buy an apartment for that amount of money here. Stupid high cost of living.

Also, that's cheeeeeap.

The apartment we were living in in Singapore was a 525 square foot studio apartment. The selling price was SGD1.4 million, or around USD1.15 million. No way we could afford to buy a place there. Landed property is many times that.
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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby KMD » Mon 02 Feb, 2015 09:08 pm

the houses we have been looking at run between $180,000 and $250,000. Financially we can afford it, but we just can't find a house worth buying! ugh!
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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby Momma Snider » Tue 03 Feb, 2015 10:17 am

I definitely second Quid's advice to buy less rather than more, although that depends on whether you're planning to stay in that house for a long time or it's just kind of a stepping stone. A young family planning on staying for a long time might be wise to buy a bigger house than they actually need at the time, and hang sheets over the windows and get used furniture, etc. for a while. A stepping stone house might need to be upgraded from the start. (I got in an argument one time with someone who told me if you can't afford window treatments and carpet and stuff, you shouldn't buy the house. They later told me they were selling their books to buy groceries. Too bad they couldn't sell the expensive window treatments.)

And yeah, just because your loan broker says you can afford something doesn't mean you have to spend that much.

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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby Momma Snider » Tue 03 Feb, 2015 10:19 am

Also, I'm glad I'm not house-shopping in Singapore!!! Are general wages relatively high, too?

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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby SDR » Tue 03 Feb, 2015 12:43 pm

Housing back home (in north east Texas) is a lot more affordable (from what little I know having not bought real estate there) than it is here in Utah. I've always felt the Utah market was too darn expensive, but some of these stories are really making me happy that I don't live in some other places. :)

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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby Momma Snider » Tue 03 Feb, 2015 01:22 pm

And Utah is quite a bit cheaper than California, or more accurately more house for the same money. It's pretty uncommon here to find a house with more than five bedrooms, and three or four is the norm, in a newer neighborhood of middle-class houses. On the other hand, they don't even build smaller houses around here any more. It used to be you could buy a two-bedroom, one bath house, but I haven't seen one like that built in a long, long time.

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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby quidscribis » Tue 03 Feb, 2015 07:53 pm

Momma Snider wrote:Also, I'm glad I'm not house-shopping in Singapore!!! Are general wages relatively high, too?

Nope. They're on par with the Western world for skilled work - ie, programmers and high-level managers. But accountants are coming out of the woodwork, so they're paid fairly low wages. And there are no minimum wage laws in Singapore, so there are plenty of people earning less than a thousand bucks a month. It's really really really really really common to flat-share in Singapore. Those who do not flat share are in the minority, I believe.

One thing Singapore does have going for it, housing wise, is HDB, or housing development board, housing - apartments that are subsidized and therefore much, much cheaper. They can only be bought by qualified Singaporean citizens (ie, if they already own an HDB apartment, they can't buy another one) and, depending on what their earnings are like, they can receive further subsidizations. Those with permanent residency can buy HDB apartments on the resale market, but brand new HDB apartments are for citizens only. (I have no problem with this rule. No problem at all.) But it's not perfect and still, some people have to get 50 year mortgages to buy their apartments, which, to me, is absolutely ridiculous. And still some people can't afford to buy their own apartments.

Landed property is exclusively for Singaporean citizens. It's also outrageously expensive. If you have SGD12 million or more to spare, hey, go for it. Everyone else? Apartments.

And that's waaaaay more than you wanted to know...
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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby KMD » Tue 03 Feb, 2015 07:58 pm

(edited to add: Momma, in reference to your comment along the lines of "where did all the small houses go?")

I feel like that is all I am seeing! Granted, where I am looking really had a large housing boom in the 1920's near the river, and the 1950/60's everywhere else. So the 1920's houses have maybe a 1 car garage too small to psrk a normal car in, 2-3 bedrooms, and 1 maybe 2 tiny bathrooms. The homes in the 1950/60's are all 3 bedroom, brick fireplaces, brick planters by the doorway, incredibly shallow tubs or incredibly small shower cubicles. 1 car garage that will fit a normal car. And everything is on the side of a mountain, with water seeping into the basement. What am I looking for? 4 bedroom, 2 car garage, tub my son can have a fun bubble bath in, and a flat yard to put a swingset on. It's officially been 9 months of searching, and we aren't there yet. That's what I have in my current house, plus a basketball court, and we only paid $165000! Where are the houses like mine, but close to my job?

But! We put our house on the market, and got a good bid on it. We are considering accepting it, but that means since we don't have a home to move to, we're going to have to get a storage facility. Not looking forward to that, but I am looking forward to not having to pay both rent and a mortgage payment.
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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby Momma Snider » Wed 04 Feb, 2015 10:46 am

I hope the sale goes through, KMD! Having a storage unit can be kind of fun, and it will be easier to move stuff from there to a house when you buy one than to move the stuff from another house.

quidscribis, that was not at all more than I wanted to know! I guess people adjust to their circumstances, so flat-sharing probably doesn't even bother anyone. We have a lot of multiple families in one house here in my school area. This is the older part of town, where there are small houses, one or two bedrooms, and a lot of them have more than one family. I haven't been in most of them, but one is a place where my best friend lived when she was 18. It's a studio apartment, meaning NO actual bedroom, and it was just big enough for twin beds, which were also used as sofas. Well, now a whole family lives there, with a mom and dad and three or four kids.

I feel very blessed to have my house. I sometimes wish I had more bedrooms, so all my kids would have a room when they come to visit, but I try not to be covetous. It's a perfect house for me, and it's big enough.

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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby Momma Snider » Wed 04 Feb, 2015 01:12 pm

I was reading back on this thread last night, don't know why, and I saw where it was about a year ago that I was complaining about a smoky smell all the time. It's back. I didn't remember that it was last February that I had it, and it went away around the first of March when I got a cold. It's really not an unpleasant smell at all, but it is sometimes annoying. This time, though, there is more on the Internet about it. Last time all I found was either a brain tumor or ghosts. This time I read some things that make me think it could be related to my Wegener's. So we'll see.

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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby quidscribis » Thu 05 Feb, 2015 05:57 pm

In Sri Lanka, it's common culturally for a mom, dad, and kids to share one bedroom. So there might be a four bedroom house and the original mom and dad had three kids. Everyone grew up, kids got married and started having kids, and because property prices are so very very expensive relative to the amount of money they earn, they can't afford to buy their own houses. Or, at least, not immediately.

So the grandparents have their own bedroom while the mom and dads have their own bedrooms that become further occupied as children are born. The mom and dads might - if they're lucky - be able to afford to buy land when the kids are young. Then a few years later, they can afford to start building a house, starting with one bedroom, a kitchen, a living room, and a bathroom. Then they save up more money and add another bedroom. Then they save up and add another bedroom. And they tile it a few years later when they have money saved for that. So it might take 10 or 20 years to build and finish a house. But they also have no mortgages, which are really not a thing in Sri Lanka until very recently and don't look anything at all like mortgages in the US or Canada.

So, yeah. An entire family consisting of a mom, dad, and two or three kids sharing one bedroom? Common. Ten or so people living in one three bedroom house? Common. Multi-generational families living under one roof? Very common.

Singaporean flat-sharing is relatively uncrowded and spacious by Sri Lankan standards. :)
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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby Momma Snider » Fri 06 Feb, 2015 03:31 pm

This is not a whine, but Laurie, you should definitely post more often. I learn things, and it also prompts me to go look at your website!

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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby quidscribis » Sat 07 Feb, 2015 09:33 pm

Well, okay, then! :)
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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby KMD » Mon 16 Feb, 2015 08:51 am

So, things appear to be finally moving in a good direction. our house will be sold March 5th. and good Lord willing, we will close on a new house for us March 4th! trying to get inspections squared away now, but if it all happens, HOORAY!
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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby quidscribis » Mon 16 Feb, 2015 04:06 pm

Good luck! I hope it all goes smoothly for you. :)
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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby Momma Snider » Mon 16 Feb, 2015 05:15 pm

That is great news, KMD! I hope it happens!

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Re: A New Thread For Whining and General Gnashing of Teeth

Postby Momma Snider » Fri 20 Feb, 2015 02:53 pm

I think I complained about this last year. In our office, we always celebrate birthdays with lunch and cake. But we also have a Valentine's Day potluck with the whole staff, so I made it perfectly clear that I didn't want another lunch and dessert just for me. Last year they decided to do it anyway, but they at least told me in the morning, so my only difficulty was waiting too long. Today they also decided to do it, but didn't tell me until after I'd eaten my lunch that I brought. Naturally I'm eating what they brought, too, because that is how I roll, but I am stuffed. I've tried to make the point gently throughout the year, whenever it's someone else's birthday, that we need to let them know we're doing it, but it didn't take somehow. I would like this so much more if I was hungry!

I guess life is rough when you're loved! :)


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