Author Topic: Should We Buy a Home or At Least Keep Looking?  (Read 830 times)

MrsCoolCat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 424
  • Age: 2015
Should We Buy a Home or At Least Keep Looking?
« on: June 06, 2019, 03:53:08 PM »
Hi hi. So it's been a while since I've posted. We had two babies. One is almost 2.5 yrs old. I stay home raising them and the husband is a lawyer. We don't have any debts and I own our 1,350 sq ft townhome with monthly HOA payments of $344 (yes, it sucks that it's so high; we don't even have a tennis court). So should we look into a larger home and get ourselves into the dreaded mortgage?

As much as I have been looking at houses and entertain the idea of a bigger, nicer and newer home (instead of a townhome) at the end of the day a mortgage is still debt. The reason we are looking is because our school zones are bad. A 6, 5 and 7 out of a 10 scale. I say just apply to Charter and be done with it, or ahem use a friend or family member's address. Husband doesn't want to. We'd also be on a lottery for Charter.

The homes that have better schools are upwards of $400k esp the ones we want. Lastly, of course we can and likely will sell our current townhome (it's worth $200k on Zillow), so that helps but still a mortgage. And we do have some time since my oldest is barely 2.5; any advice? Thanks in adv.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 03:54:54 PM by MrsCoolCat »

Zamboni

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2493
Re: Should We Buy a Home or At Least Keep Looking?
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2019, 04:27:38 PM »
Is there nothing comparable to your town home in the better schools district? You have a couple of years you could look before it even matters what school district you are in. . .

MrsCoolCat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 424
  • Age: 2015
Re: Should We Buy a Home or At Least Keep Looking?
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2019, 04:55:33 PM »
Is there nothing comparable to your town home in the better schools district? You have a couple of years you could look before it even matters what school district you are in. . .

That's a no unless we're paying for the same size home and it would still be around $350k+. In our county only 4 cities have good school zones across the board (Elem, Middle, HS), and I really don't want to move out west (2 of those 4 cities I mentioned), so we have two cities to choose from.

I live in SoFla. There are literally cities with slightly cheaper homes $375k+ and the schools are 3s and 5s. I don't know if everyone there just sends their kid to private b/c the best one in that city is $33k/yr. I'm baffled.

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9835
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Should We Buy a Home or At Least Keep Looking?
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2019, 06:52:41 PM »
Can you go visit the schools/go to some PTA meetings and see what parents are like before you leap to move?  Often low ratings are proxies for low test scores, and a high ELL (English Language Learner) population can bring test scores down -- that doesn't necessarily mean the school is a "bad" school.  Just a diverse one.  If it is a diverse school with parents/families that value education it  may be just fine, especially for elementary.  Moving for better middle and high schools when your kids are not even in kindergarten also seems premature.

Also, your ability to get involved with what is currently seen as a "bad" school may help to turn it around.  And bring up your property values.

Paging @mm1970 who I know from past discussions has dealt with this issue in a HCOL area.

MrsCoolCat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 424
  • Age: 2015
Re: Should We Buy a Home or At Least Keep Looking?
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2019, 07:09:47 AM »
Can you go visit the schools/go to some PTA meetings and see what parents are like before you leap to move?  Often low ratings are proxies for low test scores, and a high ELL (English Language Learner) population can bring test scores down -- that doesn't necessarily mean the school is a "bad" school.  Just a diverse one.  If it is a diverse school with parents/families that value education it  may be just fine, especially for elementary.  Moving for better middle and high schools when your kids are not even in kindergarten also seems premature.

Also, your ability to get involved with what is currently seen as a "bad" school may help to turn it around.  And bring up your property values.

Paging @mm1970 who I know from past discussions has dealt with this issue in a HCOL area.

Thanks! Definitely an idea and something I would have never thought of. Well, SoFla does have a lot of Hispanics so maybe it could be the language issue. Guess I'll have to research into it.

Enigma

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 482
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Clarksville, TN
Re: Should We Buy a Home or At Least Keep Looking?
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2019, 07:47:23 AM »
...HOA payments of $344 (yes, it sucks that it's so high; we don't even have a tennis court). So should we look into a larger home and get ourselves into the dreaded mortgage?

The homes that have better schools are upwards of $400k esp the ones we want. Lastly, of course we can and likely will sell our current townhome (it's worth $200k on Zillow), so that helps but still a mortgage. And we do have some time since my oldest is barely 2.5; any advice? Thanks in adv.
I am also not a fan of HOA fees.  Hypothetically if you keep that constant over 30 years it is no different than a $70k loan ($70k, 4.5%, over 30yrs) and that is hoping it never goes up.  Your condo being worth $200k...  I would be tempted to upgrade to the house within the best school districts.  I would keep looking to find that perfect house within the neighborhood.

clarkfan1979

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1889
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Pueblo, CO
Re: Should We Buy a Home or At Least Keep Looking?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2019, 01:20:15 PM »
I would continue to save and wait for another 2 years and reevaluate. You don't have to do anything right now, so I wouldn't stress on it. If you see a "deal" for 300K, jump on it. However, if you are looking to spend 400K, I would continue to wait, until you have to make a decision.

Any chance your husband might switch jobs over the next 2 years?

MrsCoolCat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 424
  • Age: 2015
Re: Should We Buy a Home or At Least Keep Looking?
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2019, 03:21:05 PM »
I would continue to save and wait for another 2 years and reevaluate. You don't have to do anything right now, so I wouldn't stress on it. If you see a "deal" for 300K, jump on it. However, if you are looking to spend 400K, I would continue to wait, until you have to make a decision.

Any chance your husband might switch jobs over the next 2 years?

Yes, we're likely just gonna wait. I think most of the jobs in my husband's field are going to be in the same two major cities of Ft Lauderdale and Miami. Also, my parents live nearby and help me with the kids, so I wouldn't want to move away too far. Thanks.

BFive55

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 26
Re: Should We Buy a Home or At Least Keep Looking?
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2019, 07:38:54 AM »
Can you go visit the schools/go to some PTA meetings and see what parents are like before you leap to move?  Often low ratings are proxies for low test scores, and a high ELL (English Language Learner) population can bring test scores down -- that doesn't necessarily mean the school is a "bad" school.  Just a diverse one.  If it is a diverse school with parents/families that value education it  may be just fine, especially for elementary.  Moving for better middle and high schools when your kids are not even in kindergarten also seems premature.

Also, your ability to get involved with what is currently seen as a "bad" school may help to turn it around.  And bring up your property values.

Paging @mm1970 who I know from past discussions has dealt with this issue in a HCOL area.

Thanks! Definitely an idea and something I would have never thought of. Well, SoFla does have a lot of Hispanics so maybe it could be the language issue. Guess I'll have to research into it.

I know a few people who went to "low rated" schools. And as a newish parents the concern is understandable. But the tyranny of the "we need to move to a better school zone" is rearing it's ugly head and you're being affected by it. A lot of schools will be great or good enough to get the job done. With parental involvement it'll be enough. One guy at work was complaining about his high school which he went to with a few others at work... they all disagreed with him, saying that the teachers there are great and teach, it's just the students who skipped class and didn't give a f were the ones who gave the school a "bad reputation."

Even the schools where I grew up with bad reputations were good schools. Because bad reputation is very relative (and perceptions are influenced by wealth and racial makeup). Frankly, the school with the "bad reputations" were only viewed as such by richer white parents because those schools were in more diverse areas of the city and in poorer areas. The two "really good schools" were in predominately white, wealthier neighborhoods. But that was just a biased perception not based in reality and I went to one of the "okay schools" that was pretty fantastic and fairly diverse.

I don't know if it correlates but I'd rather look at the crime rates around the schools than the rating on the schools themselves. If it's a high crime area (truly high crime, not a perception of high crime) then the schools are usually to be avoided because it also gets into the schools. If the area is a good area to live then the schools will be good and something else (like already stated with ESL) could be dragging down some of the scores.

« Last Edit: June 15, 2019, 07:41:16 AM by BFive55 »