Author Topic: Housing dilemma advice?  (Read 1088 times)

ericbonabike

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Housing dilemma advice?
« on: April 15, 2019, 09:17:08 AM »
I'm finding myself in a bit of a pickle. 

I live in a 3 bedroom 2 bath house (~1400 sq ft) which we purchased 2 years ago for about $110,000.   It's in a great part of town, central to downtown, but on the "cheap" side of the tracks.  We both love it.   Our loan on that is $90,000 left, with a 13 year payoff schedule at a very favorable 3.375% APY.   

Here's my problem: 
My wife and I have a 1 year old son.  2 adult German Shepherds and an adult whippet.  And two teenage daughters (14 & 12) who live with us approximately 42% of the time.   Our son's nursery is presently a "sitting room" which is attached to our master bedroom.  And neither of us feel it is appropriate for our son to live in a 10x10 room while my two daughters occupy the two other bedrooms at less than full time.  And it's also not appropriate for his room to be attached to our master bedroom for much longer. So, we have the perfectly sized house for us, except when we have our girls.   We both think he'll  need to move out of the "nursery" in another year or so. 
 

My wife and I are both frugal MMMers.  And we've considered a number of cheaper options which frankly do not appeal to us:
1)  Adding a bedroom to our house.  (would make our house look frankensteinen).  maybe 20-30k, with significant impact to our yard and appearance of house. 
2)  Dividing our masterbedroom into two smaller rooms and allowing daughters to live there while we moved to front of house.  Wife and I would be in the larger front bedroom while son occupies smallest bedroom.  But my wife doesn't love the idea of not having a master bathroom.   And we just renovated our master bedroom due to flooding at a cost of ~15k.  Leery of negatively affecting the master suite.  But, we could do for about ~5k now and ~7k in the future when we would convert it back, but I'm pretty sure my wife would be angry all the time. 
3) Buying a cheap RV and park it in the backyard.  One of the girls could live in it.   (terrible idea, but briefly considered).
4) make one of girls share a room with son.  My eldest volunteered, but neither my wife or I believe a 16 year old sharing a room with a 2 year old is a great idea.
5)  make girls share a room.  But they don't like each other.  And because of my divorce situation, we both strongly want them to "want" to come to our house.  And making them share a room would be a huge negative for both of them.   And if we want them to have a good experience in our house, then this would be sub optimal. 

So, now we are considering the following: 
1) Buying a bigger home.  Maybe sub-200k. 
2) Renting a bigger home.  But we've got dogs.  lots of them.  And my oldest daughter has talked about going to college locally and living at home.  So we'd need to rent bigger home for some period between 4 and 8ish years. 
3) Rent out our present home.  I've never been a landlord, know little about it.  I've surveyed the local listings and think I can rent our house for $1200-$1300 a month.  I would estimate we'd make $200 a month from renting it out.
4) Sell our present home.  Could pocket ~$30k from it.
5)  If we did option (3), then we'd have the option of moving back into it once one or both of the girls moved out.  We both love our house, but understand it's not big enough presently.   But a 4 bedroom house will be too big when it's just me, my wife, and our son. At that point, we could sell or rent out the bigger home as we desire. 
6) Buy a vacant lot (~25-30k) now. I can liquidate some holdings and pay for it.  Sit on it for 6 months and rebuild liquidity.  And figure out how to build a 4 bedroom, ~1800 sq ft house  for no more than $150k.    Advantage: we'd secure a home site where we want to live.  Build a nice home that fits us now.  Either sell or rent out old home.  And if we needed to downsize in future, we could sell or rent out this bigger new'ish home. 



We can cover two mortgages easily.  We net 8500 a month.  Presently spending ~3500 a month.  So, we have a positive monthly cash flow of about $5k a month in our present situation. 

We could also afford to pay cash for a new home.  Our present net worth in non-tax advantaged holdings is in the ~260k range.  But I'm leery of loosing the liquidity of having that money available. 

Any advice??  What would seasoned MMMers do in my situation?

GoingToMaine

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Re: Housing dilemma advice?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 09:45:07 AM »
Realistically, a kid isn't really going to care about the size of their room until they're teenagers or close to it.  So if you keep your son in the 10x10 room until the oldest daughter heads off to college, let's assume at 18, the son could move up a room when he's 5.

Or for about $1500, you could partition the master bedroom using adult Lego blocks.
https://www.everblocksystems.com/

It would be easy to take down once the oldest heads off to college.  I'm sure there are other partitioning systems but these look like fun.

scantee

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Re: Housing dilemma advice?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2019, 09:49:34 AM »
Realistically, a kid isn't really going to care about the size of their room until they're teenagers or close to it.  So if you keep your son in the 10x10 room until the oldest daughter heads off to college, let's assume at 18, the son could move up a room when he's 5.

Or for about $1500, you could partition the master bedroom using adult Lego blocks.
https://www.everblocksystems.com/

It would be easy to take down once the oldest heads off to college.  I'm sure there are other partitioning systems but these look like fun.


I agree. Is there a reason youíre so eager to get your son out of the sitting room? A 10x10 room
does not seem small for a childís bedroom. Is there no door between your room and the sitting room?If thatís the issue I would suggest putting in a door to get more privacy for yourselves.

ericbonabike

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Re: Housing dilemma advice?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2019, 10:26:24 AM »
well, some things aren't worth arguing about.
Our nursery is basically a glorified closet.
I believe there is a sense that "our son" shouldn't have to live in a closet while "my daughters" occupy front bedrooms at less than half time.

Is a weird situation for me.  but frankly, don't really want to create drama. 


rubybeth

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Re: Housing dilemma advice?
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2019, 10:44:23 AM »
A few more questions: does the house have a basement or other space that could be used as a bedroom (maybe by adding an egress window)? And what do your wife and daughters want to do? I think factoring in their wants/needs makes sense.

scantee

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Re: Housing dilemma advice?
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2019, 10:53:28 AM »
well, some things aren't worth arguing about.
Our nursery is basically a glorified closet.
I believe there is a sense that "our son" shouldn't have to live in a closet while "my daughters" occupy front bedrooms at less than half time.

Is a weird situation for me.  but frankly, don't really want to create drama.

Eesh.

Can one of the girls take the ďnurseryĒ?

 I think having your very young child on the other side of the house out of some vague sense of fairness is making life harder on yourselves. Can you keep talking to your wife about how keeping your son in the nursery makes nighttimeís easier?


Catbert

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Re: Housing dilemma advice?
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2019, 01:33:01 PM »
Are the two part-time girls sisters?  Or do you and your partner each have one from a previous relationship?  If sisters I'd make them suck it up and share a room.  (I'm assuming this is every other weekend and 2 weeks in the summer or something similar???).  If the girls are unrelated except by your current marriage I'd be more inclined to do something to give them each a separate space.

Either way is there some way to split "their" room in two?  I'm sure that would make their individual space small, but...

GizmoTX

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Re: Housing dilemma advice?
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2019, 02:27:01 PM »
We kept our son in an adjacent sitting room until he was 3, and then moved him into a twin bed in the room next door that had a closet. I couldn't imagine having him any further away, and he wasn't ready to be further away until a teen.

OP, you are proposing massive changes for daughters that will very likely leave home in 4-6 years, and they are part time to boot. IMO that's not worth the upheaval or the expense.

At this point in time, you can't be certain that a daughter will attend college locally. IMO, she will be better served living on campus wherever she goes -- she needs to be part of the college community and will miss much growing up if still at home. BTW, our son did attend university in our city but he never lived at home. This definitely helped him with independence & he could easily participate fully in class projects.

We're currently building our final house while living in a rental. Do not underestimate the stress of this as well as the expense, which is always more than you can possibly imagine. We're retired, have done this before, & do not have budget worries. No way would I want to do this with a growing family, working full time, and financial constraints.

former player

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Re: Housing dilemma advice?
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2019, 03:06:42 PM »
well, some things aren't worth arguing about.
Our nursery is basically a glorified closet.
I believe there is a sense that "our son" shouldn't have to live in a closet while "my daughters" occupy front bedrooms at less than half time.

Is a weird situation for me.  but frankly, don't really want to create drama.

If the nursery has a window then it's not a glorified closet, it's a small (but perfectly functional) bedroom.  Your son won't care about the size of his room as compared to his sisters' for years yet.  And if he doesn't care, why would anyone else?  There seems to be some slightly weird "status" issue?  It's really not an issue unless you make it one.

Is there a possibility of putting a new door into a different wall in your son's bedroom so that it is accessed other than through the master bedroom?  You seem to have plenty of space in your house for all current and future needs, it just needs arranging a little better.  If you posted plans here you might get some good ideas for reconfiguring it

Villanelle

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Re: Housing dilemma advice?
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2019, 04:10:56 PM »
You are considering massive, expenses changes because you "don't want drama"?

A 10x10 room isn't a closet.  It's a room.  If you must, spend a small amount to make a more substantial partition from your room.   (It's not clear to me exactly what separates the spaces.)  Or perhaps adding an door into the space from outside your room, but even that seems grossly unnecessary for a toddler-kindergarder. 

Also, his toys can be stored in the girls' rooms, given that they aren't there most of the time.  So a small room matters even less.  And a 5yo doesn't care.  He will only care if you or your wife make it seem like it's a problem or unfair.  Otherwise, it isn't. 

Is it possible some of this is motivated by resentment on the part of your wife toward the stepkids?  You don't need to answer that here, but it is food for thought, and worth considering because if the issue is actually something entirely different than the room situation, you can better address it at its root.  I ask because the whole things seems like manufactured drama; a 1yo with a small room just isn't a real problem.  And your comment about "our son" and "my daughters" only reenforces that impression which I already had. 

robartsd

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Re: Housing dilemma advice?
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2019, 04:46:18 PM »
What makes the sitting room unacceptable? 10x10 is a reasonable size for a bedroom (the house I grew up in had two 10x10 bedrooms - each shared by siblings into adulthood - and one 10x14 bedroom, my current house has just two 10x12 bedrooms). If it can be made into a room with it's own egress window and access to the rest of the house separate from master bedroom, I would vote for that route. This could easily meet your son's needs until one of his half sister's moves out on her own (even if that's 8 years away when the eldest finishes 4 years of college - also a college student daughter in an RV in the back yard is not as ridiculous of an idea as a teenage girl in that situation).

If separate access and egress can't be established for the room, then you have a shorter time frame before it becomes a problem - I can see you and your son needing completely separate access to your bedrooms by the time he is no longer a toddler. This is still a year or two away; but not quite far enough that you can hope to avoid it by the older daughter moving out in time. If you're sure you'd be happy to move back to this house, the numbers for renting it out for a few years seem favorable enough to be worth avoiding a set of real estate transaction costs. I'd spend a year or so figuring out how difficult it would be to find an appropriate rental. Only start looking for a property to purchase if a rental that would meet your needs can't be found. If you do purchase, you might consider looking for a home where an attached suite could be rented out as a separate unit after one of the girls moves out allowing you to downsize in your larger house instead of returning to your current smaller house.

Pennycounter

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Re: Housing dilemma advice?
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2019, 05:21:49 PM »
This is one of those times where the decision is not going to be driven purely by finances, so I would almost put that aside.  I am on the side of those who agree that the sitting room is likely fine, especially for the next 2-5 years.  You indicate that there is some potential drama, have you had a direct conversation with your wife about this?  If she is a frugal lady, as you indicate, then let her choose. 

It seems that even in your presentation of the issue that you both understand this will be okay for 1-2 more years. My favorite way to avoid spending money is to defer things that aren't urgent.  Why not just sit on it for another year? It seems like you are solving a problem you do not yet have. I understand moving is not a quick or simple endeavor but it takes less than a year.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Housing dilemma advice?
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2019, 05:28:18 PM »
I have lived in smaller rooms as an adult, your tiny child will be fine.

feelingroovy

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Re: Housing dilemma advice?
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2019, 08:28:49 PM »
My two teenagers' bedrooms are 9x9 and 8.5x10. When they were small we had a playroom in the unfinished basement for major toy storage.

We have been here since they were little and they both love this house. Kids don't care about big bedrooms or houses. Adults do.

ToTheMoon

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Re: Housing dilemma advice?
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2019, 08:53:34 PM »

4) make one of girls share a room with son.  My eldest volunteered, but neither my wife or I believe a 16 year old sharing a room with a 2 year old is a great idea.

I think your teenager has already solved your problem.  They can "share" a room - with it being primarily your sons room when the girls are not there, and he can sleep in HIS special (10x10) room during the time his sisters are around.

Can the other bedroom also be used for some kind of alternate activity when your daughters are not there? Is this an issue of you/your wife feeling like there is too much unused space 58% of the time?

It is not the same situation, but my two boys (7 & 9) have been sharing their 9x13 bedroom since they were little, and even with all their toys it has rarely been an issue.  We keep our third bedroom as an office/guest space. 3 bedroom/1 bath 1080 sq ft, and also had two big dogs until recently.  All that to imply that I dont think the size of your sons room is the issue here AT ALL.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Housing dilemma advice?
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2019, 09:01:15 PM »
Yeah the issue is that two rooms of the house are designated for OPís daughters, and none for OPís son, and OPís wife feels slighted on their sonís behalf. (I bet he would hate being further away!)

This isnít a financial question, itís a marriage question. Itís also one that can be solved with a bit of money. Honestly I think the tasteful addition plan is best, because moving with a little kid is terrible.

six-car-habit

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Re: Housing dilemma advice?
« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2019, 12:26:10 AM »
 Why is parking an RV in your backyard a terrible idea ??

   Find a cheap RV , or probably better [ because no future engine / transmission / brakes costs] -a tow behind model, or a camper style that sits in the back of a pickup truck. Negotiate delivery into the price you offer, if you don't have a rig to bring it to your backyard. Probably you could find one for less than your cheapest other option listed at $5k earlier [ spliting bedroom] . All your other options cost more , involve moving,  closing costs, construction permits, design approvals, upheaveal during remodeling, etc.

  Buy a Camper for $ 4K , run an electric cord to it, run a hose from the waste water tanks to your sewer/ septic line, run a hose from an outside spicket to the freshwater tank.  4 or 6 or 10 years from now sell it for $1K to someone.
 If you have 5k a month extra for investing, this gets you set up at one months contribution sacrifice, and the girls will probably fight over who gets the camper RV.
 Easy peasy, or maybe you actually just want a reason to buy a new place, and aha ! , here it is, too crowded w/ bad layout in current situation.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Housing dilemma advice?
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2019, 11:57:28 PM »
I agree.  Option 5 is the obvious option.  You're asking us whether to do a bunch of things you already don't like or pay HOW MUCH so that two sisters don't have to share a room?  That's the easiest solution by far. 

#2 (financially) is the RV.  Also possible.  But that also comes with other issues, like how to know when/whether teenagers are home. 

This is much more of a relationship and marriage issue than a financial one.  The two play off of one another, but here, your options are really steep for the options you're considering, which implies that you and your wife just need to get on the same page.  Get together about what you value and decide whether you're *really* willing to pay that much for daughters who live there less than half of the time to have their own rooms.