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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: jamesbond007 on June 18, 2019, 10:51:39 AM

Title: Buying a brand new townhome style condo
Post by: jamesbond007 on June 18, 2019, 10:51:39 AM
We live in a HCOL. We already have a condo/townhome that we have almost 45% equity. Been saving enough each year to FIRE. I am ahead of my FI schedule and RE schedule is still looking very positive. Now my SO wants us to buy a brand new condo (approx. 900K plus HOA). I don't want to as I want to FIRE, if not RE at least FI so I don't have to work at a sucky job. SO works part time and brings in enough money for household expenses. While I am not averse to buying a house, I want a SFH and my SO wants NEW. A new SFH is impossible to find in my area. So the only alternative is a new condo. She doesn't want to deal with maintenance of the yard etc...so ready to pay $330 HOA. This has been coming up for the past 6 months. I try to talk her out of it by showing the promise of FIRE. She agrees and 2 months later the topic comes up again. 2 reasons, better schools (I have a plan to workaround this) and we are working hard why not buy something that we will enjoy for years to come (This is very emotional. Not sure how I argue with this). SO is very precious to me. Cannot fight with her. How do I deal with this?


PS: I won't go broke if I buy that condo.
Title: Re: Buying a brand new townhome style condo
Post by: Noodle on June 18, 2019, 11:36:06 AM
It sounds like y'all are arguing solutions (old condo, new condo, SFH, FIRE) when you haven't really figured out the priorities. You cannot (no one can) get everything you want. So what's most important, to each party? Staying in your current location, city-wise? Space? A parent's availability to the kids? Having a comfortable nest for your family? The solution should flow out of your mutual understanding and support of the goals of each partner and the family unit as a whole, instead of picking a preferred solution and then justifying it.

The fact that your SO keeps bringing this up suggests that she is not feeling heard and understood. There have been lots of conversations and advice on this board about situations where one partner is arguing based on logic and the other is arguing based on emotions (and often there is valuing of one over the other). Her emotions deserve just as much respect as your logic, if for no other reason than that they are important to her and you love her. If the two of you can't move forward with productive conversations, a professional counselor might be able to help you find better ways to communicate.
Title: Re: Buying a brand new townhome style condo
Post by: six-car-habit on June 18, 2019, 11:44:28 AM
 Are there already kids ?  If not, and she wants new, maybe she should work full time. [ sound like you have the- {more}- sucky job]

 Are there no SFH's that are essentially new , due to extensive remodeling,  available ?
  Why not go tour some on a few weekends, not to buy necessarily, just to "get ideas" .

I'm not sure how to overcome the differences in one wanting a SFH , and the other wanting a "no maintenance" yard.  Except in a townhome / condo -you don't really have your own yard !!   What if she wants a garden eventually, what if you want to leave the lawn chairs outside all night, instead of having to take them in so as to not piss off the neighbors, what if you want a shed, what if you want to park outside your designated parking space, what if you want a neon green front door and pink shutters, what if you want to wander into your backyard and piss on a tree, what if you don't want to hear your neighbors TV or stereo or alarm clock.  I think you give up all those things with a condo.
Title: Re: Buying a brand new townhome style condo
Post by: caracarn on June 18, 2019, 11:49:00 AM
I agree with the general information in Noodle's response in that what I see here that needs to be addressed first is the broader issue of what target are your lives headed towards.

Did you start FIRE prior to meeting your SO?  What I see in the tug of war here are two partners who are not in agreement that FI, let alone RE, is a worthy goal.  This does come up from time to time on the board.  It took me a long time to get my DW to embrace the FIRE concept, as she just saw it as a new acronym for me questioning every purchase we made or were contemplating.  Now she is on board and he have a 10-year plan and even have some ideas of where we will move to when freed from the need to work. 

I am seeing your SO still on the consumer path with new and easy being better than tried and true and worth a little effort.  It is similar to the discussions my DW and I have about our yard work.  We both hate doing yard work, so she has suggested why not pay a landscaping service.  I view that as a waste as even though we hate it, it is far to costly (and it would be way less than the $330 you are talking about) for something we are capable of doing ourselves.  So I mow the lawn and we grudgingly pull up weeds a few times a year, but I'm sure the neighbors hate our yard as it is regularly overgrown and not well maintained because we just do not value trimming bushes and pulling every last weed every other week above other things we do enjoy doing with our time.  As part of our FIRE plan we have discussed either a condo or living in the woods in TN or something where we do not need to worry about the yard as much, but the key point relevant for you here is we had a lot of discussion to end up at a solution that worked for both of us.

I'll point out what Noodle appears to be saying another way.  You are figuring out solutions when you do not yet understand what your problem is.  This is typical of many people and why a lot of projects fail; you solve the wrong problem.  Sorry to take your relationship with you and your SO down to a project, but if you think of it that way, and figure out what the goal of your project is that you both are on board with, the solutions will start to present themselves.
Title: Re: Buying a brand new townhome style condo
Post by: frugaliknowit on June 18, 2019, 11:54:29 AM
I hope you guys can reach an agreement.

My only concern about buying something NEW is that the developer has their margin built in which means there's probably no value to be added in the near term.
Title: Re: Buying a brand new townhome style condo
Post by: jamesbond007 on June 18, 2019, 11:59:49 AM
Just to clarify, we both embarked on the FIRE journey together. She is not at all the spendy type. In fact, I am the one who spends more than her (Within budget, of course). She saves money even in an allotted budget. That is what is making it difficult for me to say NO to her request. She is ready to work full time if we get the condo. I think her main intent behind this is living in a brand new condo, where maintenance is taken care of by somebody (Yard is not a priority for us at all), no need to worry about any major issue for the 10-12 years.

We are not necessarily losing sleep over this or fighting. But I want to make sure I don't end up poor because of this purchase.
Title: Re: Buying a brand new townhome style condo
Post by: Annie101 on June 18, 2019, 05:52:25 PM
If yard work is the main issue, I would look into hiring that out.  I bet it would be cheaper than the homeowner dues.  We pay for house cleaning and it is so worth it.  I'm sure there is s lot more to this though.  If she wants to work full time for a nicer place, that could be a good idea.  She must value it a lot.  The one thing is, if you don't yet have kids, I would hold off on the purchase until you do, just to make sure her priorities are the same after they arrive.
Title: Re: Buying a brand new townhome style condo
Post by: jamesbond007 on June 18, 2019, 11:13:10 PM
If yard work is the main issue, I would look into hiring that out.  I bet it would be cheaper than the homeowner dues.  We pay for house cleaning and it is so worth it.  I'm sure there is s lot more to this though.  If she wants to work full time for a nicer place, that could be a good idea.  She must value it a lot.  The one thing is, if you don't yet have kids, I would hold off on the purchase until you do, just to make sure her priorities are the same after they arrive.
We have a 5 YO.
Title: Re: Buying a brand new townhome style condo
Post by: Dragonswan on June 19, 2019, 06:11:22 AM
Buy the condo.  In the long run you will be happier because your wife will be happier.  Let her work full time, your child will be in school all day soon enough.  Accept the fact that FIRE may be pushed out a few years but that your marriage remains a happy union.  That also means you can veto other pricey wants in the future by saying "but we bought the condo..."
Title: Re: Buying a brand new townhome style condo
Post by: terran on June 19, 2019, 07:28:58 AM
I've seen a recommendation that before you buy a house you should start by saving the amount the house will cost every month (PITI, regular maintenance, saving for irregular maintenance) to make sure you can afford it. Similarly, I would suggest she start working full time for a period of time before you buy the condo so she can make sure she still thinks it's worth it.
Title: Re: Buying a brand new townhome style condo
Post by: jamesbond007 on June 19, 2019, 10:39:52 AM
We discussed this last night. As I mentioned earlier, she is more mustachian than I am. That is why I was surprised that she is even thinking about this. Anyway, I asked her what exactly is that she is looking forward to. My guesses were right, 1) Let's have something for ourselves when we are working so hard. 2) We never owned a house before, forget brand new plus great schools. I explained to her all the numbers involved and she agreed to work full time. She used to but we thought she doesn't have to anymore so is willing to go back to working full time. So money is not an issue. Then I talked her out of HOA fees when we could find a nice SFH in the same price range near the same schools. Then she came out of her emotional shell and started thinking practically again. So better now, until the next bout of emotions takes over in about 2 months. :)

Very close friends of ours bought a condo in that community and it is beautiful. I guess that is what is pushing her boundaries on how much mustachian she should remain. Not going to lie, even I almost ended up buying one at some point.
Title: Re: Buying a brand new townhome style condo
Post by: PaulMaxime on June 19, 2019, 11:33:36 AM
Just to clarify, we both embarked on the FIRE journey together. She is not at all the spendy type. In fact, I am the one who spends more than her (Within budget, of course). She saves money even in an allotted budget. That is what is making it difficult for me to say NO to her request. She is ready to work full time if we get the condo. I think her main intent behind this is living in a brand new condo, where maintenance is taken care of by somebody (Yard is not a priority for us at all), no need to worry about any major issue for the 10-12 years.

We are not necessarily losing sleep over this or fighting. But I want to make sure I don't end up poor because of this purchase.

First of all, peace in your relationship is worth more than money.

But on to the idea of brand new == no problems. hah, as if!

I bought a brand new condo in 2012. We've had to replace our kitchen floors because the dishwasher decided to spring a leak. We've put in new lighting because the developer put in minimal lighting. We've added a built in desk for my wife and replaced the carpet upstairs because the developer's carpet was cheap and got gross after 6 years. Oh yeah, the AC broke and we spent 2K having it rebuilt because the builder used a discontinued unit.

And that's just our stuff.

The building has been under litigation with the developer and they are going to have to do millions of dollars of repairs to things like the garage, the main plumbing for the building, the roof, and much more.

Now don't get me wrong the building is nice and we like our place. But have no illusions that brand new == no work or problems.

Title: Re: Buying a brand new townhome style condo
Post by: jamesbond007 on June 19, 2019, 11:38:43 AM
Just to clarify, we both embarked on the FIRE journey together. She is not at all the spendy type. In fact, I am the one who spends more than her (Within budget, of course). She saves money even in an allotted budget. That is what is making it difficult for me to say NO to her request. She is ready to work full time if we get the condo. I think her main intent behind this is living in a brand new condo, where maintenance is taken care of by somebody (Yard is not a priority for us at all), no need to worry about any major issue for the 10-12 years.

We are not necessarily losing sleep over this or fighting. But I want to make sure I don't end up poor because of this purchase.

First of all, peace in your relationship is worth more than money.

But on to the idea of brand new == no problems. hah, as if!

I bought a brand new condo in 2012. We've had to replace our kitchen floors because the dishwasher decided to spring a leak. We've put in new lighting because the developer put in minimal lighting. We've added a built in desk for my wife and replaced the carpet upstairs because the developer's carpet was cheap and got gross after 6 years. Oh yeah, the AC broke and we spent 2K having it rebuilt because the builder used a discontinued unit.

And that's just our stuff.

The building has been under litigation with the developer and they are going to have to do millions of dollars of repairs to things like the garage, the main plumbing for the building, the roof, and much more.

Now don't get me wrong the building is nice and we like our place. But have no illusions that brand new == no work or problems.



Thanks for the reality check.
Title: Re: Buying a brand new townhome style condo
Post by: mlipps on June 19, 2019, 12:17:25 PM
Agree w/@PaulMaxime. My best friend's parents bought a brand new house in high school. They spent years replacing all the builder grade crappy components that broke down well before they should have. Also, I've heard that often developers will hold the HOA fee to artificially low levels to promote the sale, but the units end up having to raise it dramatically to cover repairs once all the units are occupied.
Title: Re: Buying a brand new townhome style condo
Post by: Jaayse on June 19, 2019, 02:35:49 PM
Just to clarify, we both embarked on the FIRE journey together. She is not at all the spendy type. In fact, I am the one who spends more than her (Within budget, of course). She saves money even in an allotted budget. That is what is making it difficult for me to say NO to her request. She is ready to work full time if we get the condo. I think her main intent behind this is living in a brand new condo, where maintenance is taken care of by somebody (Yard is not a priority for us at all), no need to worry about any major issue for the 10-12 years.

We are not necessarily losing sleep over this or fighting. But I want to make sure I don't end up poor because of this purchase.

First of all, peace in your relationship is worth more than money.

But on to the idea of brand new == no problems. hah, as if!

I bought a brand new condo in 2012. We've had to replace our kitchen floors because the dishwasher decided to spring a leak. We've put in new lighting because the developer put in minimal lighting. We've added a built in desk for my wife and replaced the carpet upstairs because the developer's carpet was cheap and got gross after 6 years. Oh yeah, the AC broke and we spent 2K having it rebuilt because the builder used a discontinued unit.

And that's just our stuff.

The building has been under litigation with the developer and they are going to have to do millions of dollars of repairs to things like the garage, the main plumbing for the building, the roof, and much more.

Now don't get me wrong the building is nice and we like our place. But have no illusions that brand new == no work or problems.

+1

I bought a fairly new condo a few years ago and I didn't find out until after I bought it that it was going into litigation and that is part of the lifecycle of a condo.  Apparently at around the 9 year mark, condos go into litigation with all of the problems that were noticed within the previous however many years, in order to meet a 10 year limit.  Builders plan for this, but the process still takes a few years for them to hash it all out, and while that is happening new buyers typically cannot get mortgages unless they have significant money to put down and VA loans typically don't work either.  This typically pushes down the value of the condo for the duration of the litigation as they sit on the market for longer.  Also, it seemed like when I first moved in the HOA fees were somewhat reasonable, but as time went by, the HOA hikes were pretty significant, going from around 160 when I moved in to over 200 when I moved out only 2 years later.  I also agree that new does not mean no problems when it comes to condos.