Author Topic: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.  (Read 3251 times)

lookingforadelorean

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 131
Re: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.
« Reply #50 on: August 13, 2019, 10:19:19 AM »
That is truly horrible.  That poor family.  Here in Italy it is completely normal for siblings to share a bedroom including brothers and sisters.  I really don't get why this would be an issue.  Are people worried about incest?  That seems like a crazy thing to obsess about.

I know several families in which adult children are still living at home with their parents (this being Italy where salaries are incredibly low) and the adult brother and sister (in their late 20s) are still sharing a bedroom.  No one bats an eyelid at this - they just have a very different concept of privacy here as spaces tend to be small.

Havregryn - I also grew up in an apartment and am raising kids in an apartment.  When I read all these threads about how home ownership entails so much maintenance, I just scratch my head.  We own our apartment and do no more maintenance work that when we rented.

I also don't understand the hullabaloo. Is it because Americans have typically had plenty of room to spread out, so homes have been bigger, and now no one can fathom living on a smaller scale? Maybe that's going to change as more people choose not to have children, the population increases overall, minimalism grows in popularity, and people become more aware of the impact of their environmental footprint.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5662
Re: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.
« Reply #51 on: August 13, 2019, 10:54:27 AM »
I noticed that about the people in Poland. They raised a boy and girl in a 2 bedroom. When my DIL’s brother came to visit they went to Mexico and one place didn’t have 2 beds so they slept in the same bed.  My son had to go back to work so didn’t go.  Once when my adult son and I went camping with friends in our RV he always slept outside in a tent because there is only one bed. It was freezing at night and I convinced him to share the bed and we put the 6 dogs between us. We didn’t tell anyone.  I guess people in the US have some unhealthy ideas.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6665
Re: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.
« Reply #52 on: August 13, 2019, 12:15:59 PM »
We don't plan to rent storage. The apartment we're looking at is 1340 sq ft, and we think we can make that work if we whittle down our belongings. There is a storage locker on the premises we can use for things like bins of Christmas decorations, our bikes, etc.

You guys all think that square footage is too tight? I realize it's well below the US ideal, but aren't people all over the world living in less space with just as many, if not more, family members?

Ugh. I don't know. Every option has so many pros and cons. And I thought going down to one car was such a big savings? No? @freya seems to be the only one taking that into consideration.
Yah, I live in a 2BR, 1BA house that is 1146 sf with 2 kids.  So, I feel you there.  It will depend a lot on layout and lifestyle.  Now, I'm not gonna lie - a little more space would be nice, but it's not necessary.  Also, we recently returned from 2 weeks in Europe, where we stayed in apartments, that were approx the same size as our house.  Apartment living is just normal there.  You just have less stuff!

So it's hard to tell about your lifestyle and everyone else's here without living it.  But I have friends who occasionally complain about toys, clothing, kids stuff, etc.  Recently I got a "peek" into their lives (via facebook photos and a visit) and holy hell Batman.  So much fucking stuff.  I mean, quite literally, each child has easily 2-3x the amount of clothing that each of my kids has.  "I donated 7 bins of clothing from my son!"  My son has what fits in 3 drawers and about 2 feet of closet hanging space.
 Plus 1/2 another drawer of stuff that he'll grow into.

And the toys!   Literally everywhere.  This is how living in a smaller house is beneficial, if you are on top of it.  Get rid of the stuff!!  (These friends have homes around the 2000sf range.)

lookingforadelorean

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 131
Re: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.
« Reply #53 on: August 13, 2019, 12:25:25 PM »
Yah, I live in a 2BR, 1BA house that is 1146 sf with 2 kids.  So, I feel you there.  It will depend a lot on layout and lifestyle.  Now, I'm not gonna lie - a little more space would be nice, but it's not necessary.  Also, we recently returned from 2 weeks in Europe, where we stayed in apartments, that were approx the same size as our house.  Apartment living is just normal there.  You just have less stuff!

So it's hard to tell about your lifestyle and everyone else's here without living it.  But I have friends who occasionally complain about toys, clothing, kids stuff, etc.  Recently I got a "peek" into their lives (via facebook photos and a visit) and holy hell Batman.  So much fucking stuff.  I mean, quite literally, each child has easily 2-3x the amount of clothing that each of my kids has.  "I donated 7 bins of clothing from my son!"  My son has what fits in 3 drawers and about 2 feet of closet hanging space.
 Plus 1/2 another drawer of stuff that he'll grow into.

And the toys!   Literally everywhere.  This is how living in a smaller house is beneficial, if you are on top of it.  Get rid of the stuff!!  (These friends have homes around the 2000sf range.)

Streamlining “the stuff” is very appealing. For the past couple of weeks, the girls have been on a major Lego kick. Sometimes I think we could have Legos and iPads and everyone would be perfectly happy.

I definitely could donate 7 bins of clothes! But that’s because I have purposely hoarded everything my kids haven’t destroyed — one of the perks of having kids of the same gender is the hand-me-downs savings.

I just came across this article online, and I thought it was a great read:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.brickunderground.com/blog/2014/09/growing_up_in_a_nyc_apartment%3famp

Hula Hoop

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1158
  • Location: Italy
Re: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.
« Reply #54 on: August 13, 2019, 12:48:27 PM »
We have a huge apartment for the 4 of us by local standards.  People visit us and marvel at how enormous it is.  It's 1500 square feet (140 square meters).  It's the biggest apartment in the entire building.

We actually have quite a lot of stuff - or so it seems to me.  But we don't bring large items into the house without thinking about it as we can't just throw stuff into a garage.  My kids have tons of toys and books though and my husband has a huge collection of books and records.

havregryn

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 435
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Luxembourg
Re: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.
« Reply #55 on: August 13, 2019, 01:03:44 PM »


Havregryn - I also grew up in an apartment and am raising kids in an apartment.  When I read all these threads about how home ownership entails so much maintenance, I just scratch my head.  We own our apartment and do no more maintenance work that when we rented.

I actually grew up in a big house on a large plot of land and it just makes me more convinced that the advantages of that kind of a set up are frequently overrated, while people often downplay the serious downsides, especially for people who are not passionate about the very act of owning and maintaining a property (i.e for people who only see it as a housing option and not a personal passion project).

On the house size, I really don't remember using any of it except the living room and my bedroom. I even shared a room with my sister until I was about 10-12 because it was fun. The rest was just there to accumulate random junk. I do remember it was a nightmare to heat the whole house so during the winter you'd have to walk through some really chilly sections in order to get to where you wanted to be. And if you made the terrible mistake of leaving your door open...ouch.
As for being outside, we really didn't go outside just for the sake of being in our backyard as much as people like to imagine. And that was before all the contemporary forms of indoors entertainment were invented. If we went outside it was to go for a bike ride, a walk in the forest, meet up with friends and explore some abandoned house somewhere, i.e. mostly stuff that you could just as well do if your starting point was an apartment. I really think the minute your kids are no longer toddlers the added benefit of a backyard is overstated at best. Especially if your backyard is just a small piece of lawn with a barbecue on it as seems to be common here in Luxembourg, for properties costing 1,2-1,5 million.

However, there was a very noticeable amount of emotional, logistical and financial strain associated with maintaining the whole thing. My parents both had white collar jobs and were not particularly handy people. So all of it was one big nightmare for them.
They were constantly stressed about it. Things break all the time. There is constantly something to do and if don't take care of it, no one will and it will just keep getting worse.

I would love more space but I am very concerned about getting a house. What sucks here in Luxembourg is that there are very few large apartments available because there is not so much apartment living going on for families. Also, I don't like living here so the transaction costs of buying  a larger place bother me and I am not so comfortable renting in this market (long story, but it sucks) so I think we're really going to be improvising here until we start bursting at the seams. Or, hopefully, husband finally agrees to move somewhere else. The housing and traffic issues here are a major quality of life killer. We got really lucky buying this place (we bought it on a whim because it was next door to our temporary rental and it was "cheap" (it was freakin 500k € but on this planet that is cheap, interest rates here are below 1.5% and we have high incomes, it would sell for 650-700k now so I am not exactly weeping over that decision, even if it is not a forever home) when we really, really didn't want to move out of the area as finding a place where you can live without a car in Luxembourg is not something you take for granted).

But unpopular opinion, I think I am really more ready to have me and husband sleep on the couch in the living room than move out of here just for the sake of getting a larger place. I'd love to leave the country and move somewhere more human friendly (Lux is mostly shady money friendly) but apparently we're not there yet...

We have two bedrooms and about 1000 sqf and if we weren't getting a third kid it would not even be an issue...this way I am a little bit concerned...but only a little bit. It's going to be years before the baby is asking for private space.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5662
Re: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.
« Reply #56 on: August 13, 2019, 02:38:47 PM »
We raised 3 boys in a home with 1600 sq ft. I loved that the bedrooms were upstairs so I was away from the noise when their friends came over to play. There were 10 kids on our 4 house block and in decent weather they played outside a lot.   We had 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom.

freya

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 303
Re: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.
« Reply #57 on: August 14, 2019, 07:14:16 AM »
I just came across this article online, and I thought it was a great read:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.brickunderground.com/blog/2014/09/growing_up_in_a_nyc_apartment%3famp

Bingo!

When you can walk to lots of places and are in a complex with outdoor grounds, your home is effectively MUCH larger than the square footage.  Sick of homeschooling at the kitchen table?  Go outside if it's nice out, or wander down to the library.  Heck, you could even homeschool at a nearby Starbucks.  You also will find yourself being a lot more social, because there will be neighbors with kids, and your kids will be running around between apartments.  It's how life works in NYC.  There are lots of families in my coop raising multiple kids in 900 square foot apartments.  There's a park across the street that is regularly visited by an ice cream truck, and it's packed with kids all day long.

We looked at the finances above, and the apartment vs house equation comes out ok even after you factor in moving costs and mortgage principle.  Not to mention that I ignored things like lower utility bills, accumulating less stuff, and selling off extra doohickeys.  Plus, the OP made it very clear that it's TEMPORARY because they feel they can't execute a simultaneous sell and buy move to their desired location.

LDL, that home price situation sounds like some stories I've heard of the SF bay area.  You may end up having to wait it out in the apartment a bit longer, because if there's a recession coming up you'll be in a good position to pounce.  Or you might consider looking for foreclosures - that's how a friend of mine on limited income got a house for his family of 5 during the big price runup in the 2000s. True, it would be nice if the apartment rental could be a few hundred $ less, but in a market with $600-700K homes, a $2700 rent is probably about what you'd expect.  It's worth another look to see if you can't find a place closer to $2000/month though.  But, with the den this one is a stealth 3 bedroom and that may be hard to duplicate at a lower price point.

ATR

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 41
Re: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.
« Reply #58 on: August 14, 2019, 07:52:02 AM »
PTF

lookingforadelorean

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 131
Re: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.
« Reply #59 on: August 14, 2019, 10:47:01 AM »
As for being outside, we really didn't go outside just for the sake of being in our backyard as much as people like to imagine. And that was before all the contemporary forms of indoors entertainment were invented. If we went outside it was to go for a bike ride, a walk in the forest, meet up with friends and explore some abandoned house somewhere, i.e. mostly stuff that you could just as well do if your starting point was an apartment. I really think the minute your kids are no longer toddlers the added benefit of a backyard is overstated at best.

I completely agree with this. And I have read so many accounts online from families who live in cities who claim the "community" they experience is vibrant. I certainly can't say that about our current locale.


I just came across this article online, and I thought it was a great read:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.brickunderground.com/blog/2014/09/growing_up_in_a_nyc_apartment%3famp

Bingo!

When you can walk to lots of places and are in a complex with outdoor grounds, your home is effectively MUCH larger than the square footage.  Sick of homeschooling at the kitchen table?  Go outside if it's nice out, or wander down to the library.  Heck, you could even homeschool at a nearby Starbucks.  You also will find yourself being a lot more social, because there will be neighbors with kids, and your kids will be running around between apartments.  It's how life works in NYC.  There are lots of families in my coop raising multiple kids in 900 square foot apartments.  There's a park across the street that is regularly visited by an ice cream truck, and it's packed with kids all day long.

We looked at the finances above, and the apartment vs house equation comes out ok even after you factor in moving costs and mortgage principle.  Not to mention that I ignored things like lower utility bills, accumulating less stuff, and selling off extra doohickeys.  Plus, the OP made it very clear that it's TEMPORARY because they feel they can't execute a simultaneous sell and buy move to their desired location.

LDL, that home price situation sounds like some stories I've heard of the SF bay area.  You may end up having to wait it out in the apartment a bit longer, because if there's a recession coming up you'll be in a good position to pounce.  Or you might consider looking for foreclosures - that's how a friend of mine on limited income got a house for his family of 5 during the big price runup in the 2000s. True, it would be nice if the apartment rental could be a few hundred $ less, but in a market with $600-700K homes, a $2700 rent is probably about what you'd expect.  It's worth another look to see if you can't find a place closer to $2000/month though.  But, with the den this one is a stealth 3 bedroom and that may be hard to duplicate at a lower price point.

Thank you, again, @freya! I have to admit, I'm surprised by how much other responses have focused on space rather than finances. It has been confusing to me, considering that a discussion of the financial pros and cons was my impetus for posting in the first place.

And that brings me to the news this morning.
Quote
"But Wednesday marked the first time in over a decade that the 'main' yield curve - the 2-year/10-year ratio - had inverted. That spooked Wall Street, because an inversion of the 2/10 curve has preceded every recession in modern history. That doesn't mean a recession is imminent, however: The Great Recession started two full years after the December 2005 yield-curve inversion."
- CNN

So that brings up a factor I haven't even mentioned yet, but concerns me greatly -- waiting too long to sell this house. If we sold right now (which we won't because we're not ready and the house isn't ready), we're confident we'd walk away with $100K minimum. If another 2008 happens before we sell, well, that's really scary for people like us who are just starting out on the FI journey.

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2814
Re: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.
« Reply #60 on: August 14, 2019, 05:47:16 PM »
As for being outside, we really didn't go outside just for the sake of being in our backyard as much as people like to imagine. And that was before all the contemporary forms of indoors entertainment were invented. If we went outside it was to go for a bike ride, a walk in the forest, meet up with friends and explore some abandoned house somewhere, i.e. mostly stuff that you could just as well do if your starting point was an apartment. I really think the minute your kids are no longer toddlers the added benefit of a backyard is overstated at best.

I completely agree with this. And I have read so many accounts online from families who live in cities who claim the "community" they experience is vibrant. I certainly can't say that about our current locale.


I just came across this article online, and I thought it was a great read:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.brickunderground.com/blog/2014/09/growing_up_in_a_nyc_apartment%3famp

Bingo!

When you can walk to lots of places and are in a complex with outdoor grounds, your home is effectively MUCH larger than the square footage.  Sick of homeschooling at the kitchen table?  Go outside if it's nice out, or wander down to the library.  Heck, you could even homeschool at a nearby Starbucks.  You also will find yourself being a lot more social, because there will be neighbors with kids, and your kids will be running around between apartments.  It's how life works in NYC.  There are lots of families in my coop raising multiple kids in 900 square foot apartments.  There's a park across the street that is regularly visited by an ice cream truck, and it's packed with kids all day long.

We looked at the finances above, and the apartment vs house equation comes out ok even after you factor in moving costs and mortgage principle.  Not to mention that I ignored things like lower utility bills, accumulating less stuff, and selling off extra doohickeys.  Plus, the OP made it very clear that it's TEMPORARY because they feel they can't execute a simultaneous sell and buy move to their desired location.

LDL, that home price situation sounds like some stories I've heard of the SF bay area.  You may end up having to wait it out in the apartment a bit longer, because if there's a recession coming up you'll be in a good position to pounce.  Or you might consider looking for foreclosures - that's how a friend of mine on limited income got a house for his family of 5 during the big price runup in the 2000s. True, it would be nice if the apartment rental could be a few hundred $ less, but in a market with $600-700K homes, a $2700 rent is probably about what you'd expect.  It's worth another look to see if you can't find a place closer to $2000/month though.  But, with the den this one is a stealth 3 bedroom and that may be hard to duplicate at a lower price point.

Thank you, again, @freya! I have to admit, I'm surprised by how much other responses have focused on space rather than finances. It has been confusing to me, considering that a discussion of the financial pros and cons was my impetus for posting in the first place.

And that brings me to the news this morning.
Quote
"But Wednesday marked the first time in over a decade that the 'main' yield curve - the 2-year/10-year ratio - had inverted. That spooked Wall Street, because an inversion of the 2/10 curve has preceded every recession in modern history. That doesn't mean a recession is imminent, however: The Great Recession started two full years after the December 2005 yield-curve inversion."
- CNN

So that brings up a factor I haven't even mentioned yet, but concerns me greatly -- waiting too long to sell this house. If we sold right now (which we won't because we're not ready and the house isn't ready), we're confident we'd walk away with $100K minimum. If another 2008 happens before we sell, well, that's really scary for people like us who are just starting out on the FI journey.

I think part of the reason you've gotten some of the responses you have is that it really doesn't seem like you have hashed out how you will live in this apartment, and whether it works for you.  I lived in Japan, so I fully understand people living in small spaces.  But to me, you seem to sort of just be hoping for the best.  There *may* be an outdoor space you can use somehow with your kids.  You are sure the dog thing will work out... somehow.  That sort of thing doesn't sound like "I've thought this through and we can definitely live well in the space and it will work for our lifestyle."

Moving it and realizing it doesn't work so you need to move again, or moving and being miserable are obviously not wise choices.  If this is truly a well-examined decision and you feel fairly confident this place will function well for your family and that you can't find a better financial alternative, then great!

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9634
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.
« Reply #61 on: August 14, 2019, 09:51:12 PM »
FWIW, I have only ever rented from individual landlords and have never had any issues. If you do decide to move please don't restrict yourselves to corporate properties.

havregryn

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 435
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Luxembourg
Re: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.
« Reply #62 on: August 16, 2019, 02:38:23 AM »
I saw this in my feed on Facebook, made me think of this discussion.

https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/house-tour-a-romantic-scandinavian-dutch-rental-home-253585

My husband would probably rather die than let me style our place like this (the irony of me him being Swedish but hating this Scandi style) but I like it....but more importantly, they manage to have 4 kids in 1000 square feet and keep it Instagram worthy, so surely it can be done.

Kwill

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1350
Re: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.
« Reply #63 on: August 16, 2019, 11:43:30 AM »
FWIW, I have only ever rented from individual landlords and have never had any issues. If you do decide to move please don't restrict yourselves to corporate properties.

This reminded me... The last few times I found apartment in the States, I searched with Padmapper. It plots apartment ads on a map so that you can focus in on exactly where you want to be and narrow the options by price, number of bedrooms, and other factors. It was really helpful to see what was available by neighbourhood or what the price range was. Even if your town isn't specifically listed, you should be able to go to the nearest city and then move the map over.

Imma

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1866
  • Location: Europe
Re: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.
« Reply #64 on: August 17, 2019, 04:17:10 AM »
I saw this in my feed on Facebook, made me think of this discussion.

https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/house-tour-a-romantic-scandinavian-dutch-rental-home-253585

My husband would probably rather die than let me style our place like this (the irony of me him being Swedish but hating this Scandi style) but I like it....but more importantly, they manage to have 4 kids in 1000 square feet and keep it Instagram worthy, so surely it can be done.

This is basically how millions of Dutch people live. Looks like the youngest two share a room and the eldest two have their own room. I'm not a big fan of this style either but it's really popular in here and it is true that those rooms feel bigger and lighter because of the Scandi style.

What I like about this family is it seems they started out with a very standard social housing flat and have managed to turn it into a very nice place. Many Pinterest worthy apartments are €€€ and this is achievable on an average income.

Finances_With_Purpose

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 650
    • Finances With Purpose: deploying resources wisely to live vigorously
Re: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.
« Reply #65 on: August 17, 2019, 05:09:13 PM »
Looking at your original budget (posted on your case study), it seems like close to $700/month expenses (lawn care, car loan, reduction in car insurance, pest control) would disappear in addition to your mortgage.  Since this is also a community that you think you'll prefer long-term, I'd try the apartment.

Some of that budget has changed already. For example, we bought a used lawn mower and eliminated lawn care. However, even doing it ourselves, this is the type of lawn/landscaping that will still require some spending. We recently paid $1200 to have a cedar tree thinned out (strictly for safety reasons as it's right next to the house), and other tasks will require equipment rentals at the bare minimum.

Overall, we've decreased our costs, but our budgeted output hasn't changed much because we're trying to allocate those savings to categories like EF and house maintenance. So at least $300/month would be saved with a move to the apartment, and hopefully more.

I think my big fear is that our house would continue to appreciate and selling next spring would be a rookie mistake somehow?

For the tree, I can't help but notice: cut it down if it's by the house.  Do it yourself with a chainsaw.  (Buy one if needed.)  Or hire it out if it's complicated.  That can cost $1,000+, but it's a one-time expense rather than ongoing maintenance.

Besides, cedars are basically weeds, even the nice-looking ones.  They use tons of water that other plants could use. 

You can do some things that are cheaper over the long term. 

Finances_With_Purpose

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 650
    • Finances With Purpose: deploying resources wisely to live vigorously
Re: Does selling make sense? Leaving our home for an apartment.
« Reply #66 on: August 17, 2019, 05:18:12 PM »
I've looked at this and lurked on one of your other threads. I think you should wait to think about selling until you've given yourself time to settle into the new money habits. At least a year.

One thing it doesn't seem you've accounted for yet is how much of your mortgage payment goes to the principal of the loan each month. It would be worth digging into the details to figure that out. That potential chunk of money from the home equity didn't come out of nowhere.

You're comparing rent costs to mortgage costs and finding a slight savings to renting after maintenance and some other factors. But it's not a huge savings, and when you factor in how much you are currently saving in the form of paying off the house each month, I think the rental may actually cost more now and much more in the future as the rent goes up each year or at least periodically. If renting were half the price of the mortgage payment instead of slightly more, I might be for it.

This.  For starters, you want to see what rental rates are doing in your area over time.  The apartment isn't going to provide you that.  Especially if it's bad news!

You need some market research.  See what the average rental has done in that area over the past ten years.  Then compare that to your house.

You would have to pay a ton to move (moving costs plus real estate transaction cost).  So figure what it's going to cost you over ten years, not one year.  You're comparing the best possible year in the rental to the worst possible years in the house (the early years, as you figure it out).  I often recommend that folks rent, but you want to at least consider the long-term alternatives here. 

If you could go back in time, I would recommend buying a more modest house (that house is 2.5x your income, and you're single-income), but it's probably not worth the transaction costs to try and go back, especially if home prices have gone up that much.