Author Topic: Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?  (Read 4658 times)

MVal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 840
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Missouri
Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?
« on: June 22, 2015, 07:36:55 PM »
Hey ya'll--any ideas for cheap housing? I've been in what could be called Mustachian living situation for several years, I think, but I'm getting weary of it. Been living with a roommate in a nice house and nice neighborhood, but I am really, really getting itchy to have my own place. It would add a lot to my sanity to have more privacy after 6+ years of living in an 1100 sq ft house with an extrovert. Financially, this has always been a great situation; only $450/mo and that covers all the utilities including cable and internet. I was able to pay off my student loans 2 years early last year and I now have about $10,000 in after tax savings I've accumulated just this year (also have about $25K combined in 401K and Roth).

This place feels like a gravy train, but there's not a lot of space and since my roommate owns the house and is rather particular about how everything in it is, I don't have a lot of room to put my own things out or stretch out much. She's kind of a fridge Nazi, always upset if there's too much food in there (I like to cook) and it gets old being a late sleeper and she's an early riser (and not a quiet one, either). It also would certainly be nice to know when I get up in the morning or come home from work, that I could be totally alone and not have obligate small talk to make. I'd like to have room to put my own houseplants out, my own pictures and kitchen tools, etc.  I have musical instruments I've not played in years and art supplies I never use, mainly because I'm too private about those things to do them with others around. I just feel like it's hard to be myself with someone else underfoot.

With a salary of just over $40,000 (if you count my part-time gig), do you think it's acceptable to spend up to $800/mo on rent?! I would desperately like to find something closer to $650, but so far it's slim pickings. I'd like to find a place within 5 miles of work so that I could potentially start biking to work. Truthfully, it really costs me about $550 rather than the base $450 per month here now because I've had to rent a storage unit to house my excess stuff I can't fit here. I keep looking on Craiglist for places to live (I live in a major metropolitan area), but everything is close to double what I'm paying now, especially in my area near my work. I'm starting to feel I have a make a choice between improving my housing situation and my 'stache and it's making me blue. :(

Honestly, if I could rent an RV and park it at work, that would be ideal, but I doubt that's going to fly with my boss (we own and manage the medical building I work in).

Any clever housing hacks for single dwellers?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3057
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2015, 07:46:34 PM »
Lower income neighborhoods? If you name your area people might have more suggestions.

Noodle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1206
Re: Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2015, 07:50:24 PM »
I sympathize on the roommate front--I was SO HAPPY when I moved into my own place, and would make quite a few sacrifices before sharing again..certainly not with a fridge Nazi!

Honestly, the most mustachian thing would be to look for a different roommate situation. My brother, for instance, shared with a guy who traveled all the time for work so he had a lot of privacy. Roommate mostly wanted a home base to store his stuff and get his mail. There are better situations than you have now.

Other choices: put the word out. A lot of the best housing situations are word of mouth--tenants recommend other tenants and it never gets advertised. Any possibility of being flexible with neighborhoods? Long-term House-sitting (like for a professor on sabbatical)? Micro-apartments? A new job (that seems extreme, but one of the reasons I chose not to pursue jobs in HCOL after college was having a low salary and not wanting to have to have roommates).

Then it's mostly about how you want to balance the now and the later. How badly do you want RE? FI is much easier to achieve. Also, keep in mind that the rules of thumb about how much to spend on housing are based on people who also carry debt of other kinds. So you have a little more flexibility but again, how much future do you want to buy?

MVal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 840
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Missouri
Re: Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2015, 08:10:53 PM »
Lower income neighborhoods? If you name your area people might have more suggestions.

I am in the Kansas City metro area. To do the bike to work thing, I'd need to move from the MO side to KS side and live in the "confluence" of Overland Park, Mission/Shawnee and Prairie Village. Not exactly a cheap neighborhood, but I'm hoping for roughs in the diamond!

MVal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 840
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Missouri
Re: Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2015, 08:36:57 PM »
I sympathize on the roommate front--I was SO HAPPY when I moved into my own place, and would make quite a few sacrifices before sharing again..certainly not with a fridge Nazi!

Honestly, the most mustachian thing would be to look for a different roommate situation. My brother, for instance, shared with a guy who traveled all the time for work so he had a lot of privacy. Roommate mostly wanted a home base to store his stuff and get his mail. There are better situations than you have now.

Other choices: put the word out. A lot of the best housing situations are word of mouth--tenants recommend other tenants and it never gets advertised. Any possibility of being flexible with neighborhoods? Long-term House-sitting (like for a professor on sabbatical)? Micro-apartments? A new job (that seems extreme, but one of the reasons I chose not to pursue jobs in HCOL after college was having a low salary and not wanting to have to have roommates).

Then it's mostly about how you want to balance the now and the later. How badly do you want RE? FI is much easier to achieve. Also, keep in mind that the rules of thumb about how much to spend on housing are based on people who also carry debt of other kinds. So you have a little more flexibility but again, how much future do you want to buy?

Thanks, this is great. Yes, I almost think that if I had my own place and I were the one renting to someone else, it would be better. In college I sort of had this situation where my parents rented a house to me and my sister and we had a friend of ours room with us. I don't think I felt cramped by her because I didn't have to live by her rules.

I would be more than happy to live in a cheaper neighborhood as long it was safe, which is not always easy to do in Kansas City. I currently live in very charming, old and somewhat cosmopolitan neighborhoods, but I've been stolen from twice, even here (granted, we are only a few short blocks from the "ghetto"). As a young, single woman, I always find this a challenge when looking for something affordable. Up north, there are some very nice small, lower income towns that appeal to me, but the huge increase in distance couldn't really be justified for my commute. I cringe a bit at going into an apartment complex, but for the right price, it might be a good move.

Yes, I'm constantly debating about what is more important, FI or life improvement? In a way, I have a feeling that getting my own place will help me on my journey to FI because I will feel I have more freedom to move and breathe and will find it easier to be more intentional about my life choices and have more flexibility with my space. For instance, I'm sure I would find it easier to study and think about a new career when I can actually hear myself think without worrying about being bothered by another person around.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 09:58:21 PM by MVal »

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4627
Re: Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2015, 05:20:58 PM »
Is there any option for you to buy a place and then rent out a room? Then you would be the one building equity. I would try to find a nicer roommate and save up a down payment if at all possible!

LouLou

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 246
Re: Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2015, 06:09:34 PM »
Try the housing wanted section on craigslist.  You can type out your budget and requirements and let landlords contact you.  I've known people who got great places that way.

I would also look into carriage houses, basement or attic apartments in otherwise single family homes, etc.  I looked at a few back when I was a single lady looking for a place.  I ended up renting a studio, but I saw some nice places.  Including a basement apartment in a quiet, safe neighborhood for $600 a month including utilities. 

r3dt4rget

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 182
Re: Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2015, 08:33:27 PM »
Cool to see some KC people here! Anyway, have you considered a commute as a trade-off for lower housing costs? I've lived throughout KC over the years. 4 years ago I bought a fixer-upper house in st joseph for $50k. 3 bedroom, 1 bath, big yard. My mortgage costs <$400/month insurance, PMI, and taxes included. It was completely livable right away, just needed major updating to be a place I would be proud of. I work in Liberty, MO so it's about 50 miles each way. I drive a 1998 Civic that costs me less than $0.15/mile to commute with. My reasoning at the time was that my housing costs were so cheap that I could afford to commute longer and still spend less than most people (even mustachians) in combined housing + transportation costs. 4 years later SO got a job in st joe, so moving is not an option anymore like I had originally planned to do after a couple years.

After discovering MMM I would love to live closer to work but I am still fine with a crazy commute. IDK where you work in KC, but any small town on the outskirts of the metro area will have cheap houses that need updating. I think a 20 mile commute would be worth it if you can find a deal similar to mine, with a commute you can tolerate.

dess1313

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 441
  • Location: Manitoba Canada
Re: Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2015, 09:46:34 PM »
Do you need to rush to FI so much you sacrifice enjoying today and tomorrow with a not so great room mate?  there are some things i'll settle for, and some things i wont.  I'd never go back to having a room mate.  I enjoy being by myself, and will sacrifice a few $ to stay free of em.  But i've graduated school, and have a good job so that's an option now that wasn't available back then.

Being in charge of a place might be a better idea for you for sure even if it was a rental. 

If you found a cheaper house and rented out a basement room, or spare room it'd allow you more control and still keep the costs down while you're building something for the future you.  Some houses are really conductive to this.  some not so much

Bearded Man

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1142
Re: Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2015, 10:08:30 PM »
I agree with the buying a place and renting out a room option if you can afford it. A large rambler where the majority of the rooms are at the other end of the rambler, along with a bathroom is pretty good. Sometimes you can find them with MIL apartments, and if you buy right, you can convert one. I've debated converting one of mine into two units, using the side entrance, bedroom, 2 bathrooms, living area and garage to live/store things in. All I'd really have to do is wall off the units and install another kitchen.

That said, I've never had room mates. I've thought about getting one for a long time. I've had gf's live with me before but I'm not sure it's the same as having a stranger. In a relationship you are more in sync and willing to work together.

Ricky

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 842
Re: Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2015, 10:14:08 PM »
I think there are definitely cases where having roommates can be beneficial in a lot of ways, not just financially. As long as you screen well and find like minded people, it can be a great experience I would think. I would never move in with someone I couldn't relate to or didn't like at all. This is coming from someone who much prefers the peace and quiet of being alone.

Age and experience has a bit to do with it though I think. If you're young and at the fairly beginning of your journey then having people around can be a boon.

I'm surprised no one has questioned why you're paying $100/mo for storage. 1,100sqft isn't exactly tiny for two people. I would work on getting rid of stuff you don't use more than once a month.

Also, I'd personally exhaust all options with my current roommate before paying nearly double for housing. Have a talk about the things that bother you and listen to them as well. You'd be surprised what you can work out if you just listen to each other.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2015, 10:26:34 PM by Ricky »

grantmeaname

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4828
  • Age: 27
  • Location: NYC
  • Cast me away from yesterday's things
Re: Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2015, 08:35:52 AM »
This place feels like a gravy train, but there's not a lot of space and since my roommate owns the house and is rather particular about how everything in it is, I don't have a lot of room to put my own things out or stretch out much. She's kind of a fridge Nazi, always upset if there's too much food in there (I like to cook) and it gets old being a late sleeper and she's an early riser (and not a quiet one, either). It also would certainly be nice to know when I get up in the morning or come home from work, that I could be totally alone and not have obligate small talk to make. I'd like to have room to put my own houseplants out, my own pictures and kitchen tools, etc.  I have musical instruments I've not played in years and art supplies I never use, mainly because I'm too private about those things to do them with others around. I just feel like it's hard to be myself with someone else underfoot.
Sounds like your problem isn't any roommate, it's your roommate. I'd sit down with your landlord and tell her that you've been happy to live with her so far but you're not happy with some of the specifics of living with her, and if you can't come up with compromises you're happy with move out and find somebody else you can fit with a little better. But I'd caution you to avoid thinking that any of the problems you mention are inherent to having a roommate - they're just facts of the one you're living with now.

Quote
Truthfully, it really costs me about $550 rather than the base $450 per month here now because I've had to rent a storage unit to house my excess stuff I can't fit here.
Facepunch time! From Pete's "Wealth Advice that Should Be Obvious": You Don't Pay to Have Shit Stored.
Quote
I was shocked to learn that many people pay to maintain a permanent storage unit in this country. No, not just for a month after selling one house and before buying another one. They do it for years. At $100 per month or more.

This is a sign from the Stuff Gods that you have too much stuff. Thereís a new way to store stuff that actually makes you money instead of losing it: Craigslist. Use it to store the stuff you donít need. Re-buy it in the unlikely event you ever need it again.
Seriously, having a storage unit is beyond silly. If you have so much shit you can't even keep some of it in the same residence as you, some of it has to go. You're wasting $100/month, not to mention the investment returns or debt interest on all the money you have tied up in trinkets and baubles. Clear that out now, and don't blame it on your roommate.

MVal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 840
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Missouri
Re: Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2015, 10:29:30 AM »
This place feels like a gravy train, but there's not a lot of space and since my roommate owns the house and is rather particular about how everything in it is, I don't have a lot of room to put my own things out or stretch out much. She's kind of a fridge Nazi, always upset if there's too much food in there (I like to cook) and it gets old being a late sleeper and she's an early riser (and not a quiet one, either). It also would certainly be nice to know when I get up in the morning or come home from work, that I could be totally alone and not have obligate small talk to make. I'd like to have room to put my own houseplants out, my own pictures and kitchen tools, etc.  I have musical instruments I've not played in years and art supplies I never use, mainly because I'm too private about those things to do them with others around. I just feel like it's hard to be myself with someone else underfoot.
Sounds like your problem isn't any roommate, it's your roommate. I'd sit down with your landlord and tell her that you've been happy to live with her so far but you're not happy with some of the specifics of living with her, and if you can't come up with compromises you're happy with move out and find somebody else you can fit with a little better. But I'd caution you to avoid thinking that any of the problems you mention are inherent to having a roommate - they're just facts of the one you're living with now.

Quote
Truthfully, it really costs me about $550 rather than the base $450 per month here now because I've had to rent a storage unit to house my excess stuff I can't fit here.
Facepunch time! From Pete's "Wealth Advice that Should Be Obvious": You Don't Pay to Have Shit Stored.
Quote
I was shocked to learn that many people pay to maintain a permanent storage unit in this country. No, not just for a month after selling one house and before buying another one. They do it for years. At $100 per month or more.

This is a sign from the Stuff Gods that you have too much stuff. Thereís a new way to store stuff that actually makes you money instead of losing it: Craigslist. Use it to store the stuff you donít need. Re-buy it in the unlikely event you ever need it again.
Seriously, having a storage unit is beyond silly. If you have so much shit you can't even keep some of it in the same residence as you, some of it has to go. You're wasting $100/month, not to mention the investment returns or debt interest on all the money you have tied up in trinkets and baubles. Clear that out now, and don't blame it on your roommate.

Yes, I admit I have too much stuff. I am something of a packrat and have hung on to too many things from the past out of sentimentality. Most of the stuff would probably not be of interest to anyone and could only be thrown out, I suspect. And I could talk to my roommate about some of the things she does that annoy me, but I also know there are things I do that annoy her too (and she usually talks to me about them, quite freely). At this point, I really think I would be happier not worrying about annoying anyone or having anyone annoying me, so that is why I'd like to live alone. After so many years of cohabiting, I am just tired.  And perhaps this is not good logic, but I feel that if I have my own place, it will make it easier to sort through my things and come to terms with what I can actually part with and feel okay about. I could be wrong about that, though--the other argument is that if I haven't dealt with the excess by now, a change in living conditions isn't going to change that.

I am making an effort to reduce though, however slowly it may be. Since I know I want to move at some point in the future, I know this volume of stuff is quite impractical, so I've been going through everything and finding trash, selling things on Ebay and filling up bags of general crap for Goodwill. I've come to discover I have a ridiculous amount of clothing and I'm discarding quite a bit of that lately. I hope to reduce all my junk by 50% by the time I find a new place, which is certainly a challenge.

Funny thing, my roommate is quite the opposite of me in this regard. She throws things out all the time, which goes against my grain as much as my keeping stuff goes against hers. I've rescued so much barely expired food and used housewares that she's tossed and then either consumed them or sold them myself, so in that respect, she has helped my frugality even more. I'm always stunned at the food she'll buy and then not eat; she's often just offered food to me she was "tired of". She'll have to go shopping for clothes when the seasons change simply because she discarded most of last year's--that REALLY blows my mind, when I'm still wearing many pieces of clothing I've had since college or even high school.

I suppose most of my cramped feeling is my own fault, and I often don't feel justified in asking my roommate to change her behavior most of the time because I know I could do better myself.

MVal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 840
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Missouri
Re: Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2015, 10:49:28 AM »
By the way, thank you all for these great responses. Just talking about this has helped see this issue more clearly as well as realize some flaws in my perception.

For the most part, I really do get along well with my roommate and I'm thankful to have been able to remain in this situation as long as I have. But part of me feels like it is also holding me back from growing further in life, so I feel the need to explore other possibilities. It's just a matter of finding an option that agrees with my budget!

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4029
Re: Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2015, 11:07:32 AM »
I think I would suck it up for a defined amount of time (maybe 1 more year) mainly because you really don't have all that much saved yet- although obviously paying off the SL's was a huge accomplishment!

Define how much longer it is until whatever the ideal moving season is in KC, or however long you think it will take to completely get rid of all your excess stuff.  Lets say 8 months, since I assume little to no moving will happen over the holidays.  You now have 6 months to go through and sell/donate/throw away at least enough of your crap to empty out your storage unit.  If you finish early, you get to start looking early, but you don't get to move early unless you find something below, say 650$ a month.  If not, you can start looking for something at 800$ a month after 8 months. 

ash7962

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 258
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Chicago
Re: Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2015, 11:13:09 AM »
I think its a good idea to try living on your own for a while.  I've had pretty similar thoughts about living on my own and how that decreases my ability to save for FI.  I always come to the conclusion that I reaaaallly value living on my own.  If I didn't then I'd still be living in the burbs with my parents and paying a ridiculously reduced rent cost.  However, I'm the kind of person who needs a lot of alone time, so I really value having my own apartment.  Bottom line is that I've decided I'm willing to work the extra time for increased rent since my apt makes my working years much more bearable.

Also, if you find an apartment close to work for 800 then you're spending 300 more per month (assuming this allows you to get rid of your storage unit), and also saving commute costs.  In the end its not that big of a difference and you are only locked in for a year.  3600$ is not an earth shattering loss, and if you decide you're not happy spending that much more then you move again once your lease is up. 

MVal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 840
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Missouri
Re: Mustachian housing options - especially for singles?
« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2015, 01:45:19 PM »
I think I would suck it up for a defined amount of time (maybe 1 more year) mainly because you really don't have all that much saved yet- although obviously paying off the SL's was a huge accomplishment!

Define how much longer it is until whatever the ideal moving season is in KC, or however long you think it will take to completely get rid of all your excess stuff.  Lets say 8 months, since I assume little to no moving will happen over the holidays.  You now have 6 months to go through and sell/donate/throw away at least enough of your crap to empty out your storage unit.  If you finish early, you get to start looking early, but you don't get to move early unless you find something below, say 650$ a month.  If not, you can start looking for something at 800$ a month after 8 months.

That's a good way to look at it. Right now, my goal is to probably finish the year out with my roommate at least, as I have certain financial goals I definitely want to reach like fully fund the Roth for the year and have $10,000+ in liquid savings, plus fully fund my HSA. Once that happens, I've told myself I'll feel like it's okay to spend more on housing by having my own place.