Author Topic: Too much house, not enough mustache?  (Read 17136 times)

joleran

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Too much house, not enough mustache?
« on: January 15, 2015, 10:30:45 PM »
I'm looking for advice on a housing situation where my wife and I are moving from renting to potentially buying a house, which will dramatically effect our costs and commute.

Currently, I share a large 1 bedroom apartment with my wife, located on a busy street but close to commuter rail which can get me from door to door in around 20 minutes.  We are looking at buying way too much house for us right now (4 bed, 2.5 bath), because we are planning on having kids in the very near future and we really like this place we found out in the far outer suburbs of Chicago.  In this move, our costs go up significantly, our commute is a little crazy even considering we would still take the train where we can read books or do actual work on laptops, and we'd have to buy a car as well!  The property taxes are also gobsmacking, over 3% of purchase price a year on a house we can probably get for $280k.

Since I just typed that, I realize how dumb this sounds, but it's not the whole picture.  On the bright side, we go from busy urban street to wooded lot on a hill with a view, from having just enough room to having ridiculous amounts of room even with a large family, from crap school districts to quite respectable ones, from middle of a city to fresh air, and from modern conveniences to modern caviar/cubans/champagne level luxury.

Now:
1 Bedroom, 1 1/4 bath apartment with large living room
Rent : $1325
Utilities: $150 average
Commute: 20 minutes (3 walk, 15 train, 3 walk)

Do the move:
4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath mansion on a hill replete with den, living room, family room, foyer, jacuzzi, hot tub, private forest
PITI: $1925
Utilities: $250-300 average estimate
Commute: 1hr, 15minutes (12 walk, 1hr train, 3 walk)
Additional expenses:
Train fares from further out: $200
Repairs @1% purchase: $250
Car insurance: $40

We would be going from $1475/mo to $2700/mo.  The bright side is that we can easily afford this, as we're maxing out all tax advantaged accounts including HSAs and are saving an average of $6k/mo post-tax currently, and an overall savings rate of 60-70% depending on how you run the numbers.  The downside is it feels really stupid and if we saved full-bore for around 3 more years without kids we could move, FIRE, to a more modest place, while moving here and having kids (wife stops working) adds a good 8 years to that timeline, but I do really like my current job and my idealized vision of what it would be like to live there.  I don't want to leave my job, which ties me to the Chicago area and this house is better than I could have dreamed of.

So, am I commit-me-now delusional, does this move make sense, or should there be another angle that I should consider here?

deborah

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2015, 11:35:25 PM »
You don't have the kids yet. Good houses are available all the time. Another house like it will be available when you are bursting at the seams in  the current apartment. Spend the time between now and then apprising yourself of the market so that you recognize a bargain when you see it.

sd85

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2015, 11:35:25 PM »
I would first suggest that you actually get pregnant before you just assume you're going to pop out 3 kids in the next few years. I have so many friends that have trouble getting pregnant or have such rough pregnancies that they decide they are done after having 1 kid.

joleran

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2015, 11:51:32 PM »
Thanks for the advice, not having kids but buying a place for them gets me too, though I worry that if we wait until things are on a timer due to pregnancy, we'll be in a poorer position to exercise caution and good judgement in purchasing.

Really, I hadn't planned on getting a place this year, it was more next year or two.  This place we're looking at though, after seeing over 50 houses in the greater Chicagoland area, is pretty special.  Nowhere else we've seen even approaches how much we like this place, there's just this perfect storm of all our must-haves, really-like-to-haves, and like-to-haves.  I think the main reason this place hasn't sold already is that it's on a hill, which means nasty shoveling/snowblowing/ice/salt/etc. in the winter, but that sounds like a character building exercise to me.

waltworks

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2015, 11:58:01 PM »
2.5 hours a day of commuting? What's your time worth to you? IMO, that would not be worth it under almost any circumstances.

Sit on the train for 2 extra hours every day for a few weeks (if you can figure out a way to do it) and see how you feel about it. My guess is you'll change your tune. If not, buy the house.

-W

joleran

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2015, 12:08:26 AM »
2.5 hours a day of commuting? What's your time worth to you? IMO, that would not be worth it under almost any circumstances.

Sit on the train for 2 extra hours every day for a few weeks (if you can figure out a way to do it) and see how you feel about it. My guess is you'll change your tune. If not, buy the house.

Until recently, I had a very strict 30-minute commute rule for any potential place my wife and I would look at, and when I see that 2.5 hour number per day it really makes me want to reach for a calculator and start kicking out numbers that show the loss of time. Assuming I get 7 hours sleep, 15% of my waking hours on week-days would be spent commuting, of which 20% (3% overall) is healthy outdoors walking, and 80% (12% overall) is spent on a train.  These numbers are damning, though I have the ability to heavily mitigate them.  To begin with, I can work from home 1-2 days a week without particular issue.  Then, I do spend an inordinate amount of time browsing the internet, which I would be able to do on the train, so I would question whether it matters if I browse on the train or at home.  I also tear through a large number of books, library or otherwise, so I question whether I would spend my time differently.

That said, I don't want people to think I'm not considering what's being said and that my mind's made up, I'm extremely conflicted and I'm going to play devil's advocate to try and explore the options.  I greatly appreciate the advice!

humbleMouse

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2015, 12:14:41 AM »
Thanks for the advice, not having kids but buying a place for them gets me too, though I worry that if we wait until things are on a timer due to pregnancy, we'll be in a poorer position to exercise caution and good judgement in purchasing.

Really, I hadn't planned on getting a place this year, it was more next year or two.  This place we're looking at though, after seeing over 50 houses in the greater Chicagoland area, is pretty special.  Nowhere else we've seen even approaches how much we like this place, there's just this perfect storm of all our must-haves, really-like-to-haves, and like-to-haves.  I think the main reason this place hasn't sold already is that it's on a hill, which means nasty shoveling/snowblowing/ice/salt/etc. in the winter, but that sounds like a character building exercise to me.

Everybody who wants to buy a house says "this one is special ect ect ect".  From all of your posts you sound like you are trying to justify this way too much.  Over 2 hours a day commuting?  Ridiculous.  Is it not fun living in chicago and having tons of money to go out whenever you want and see shows/have dinner/do literally anything you want because you arn't tied to some ridiculous house in the burbs?

Your plan sounds outlandish to me... but I am speaking as someone who would never in a million years live in a suburb

joleran

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2015, 12:24:00 AM »
Everybody who wants to buy a house says "this one is special ect ect ect".  From all of your posts you sound like you are trying to justify this way too much.  Over 2 hours a day commuting?  Ridiculous.  Is it not fun living in chicago and having tons of money to go out whenever you want and see shows/have dinner/do literally anything you want because you arn't tied to some ridiculous house in the burbs?

Yeah, I get that feeling too, that I've gotten too attached and I'm going to wake up in 6 months and realize it was all a horrible mistake and we just wasted at least 6 months of income with all the ridiculous baggage associated with a home purchase/sale.  Perhaps house hunting has damaged my brain?  Could be. 

My wife and I though, we don't like to go out much, we're very much introverted homebodies that like to occasionally go on hikes and bike rides.  Going out to a show would be a 1-2 times a year activity to us, even though we're in the middle of the city.  We like the small town suburb feel very much, as do we the privacy of the place we're looking at.

caliq

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2015, 12:33:01 AM »
Do you have any close/trusted family or friends nearby?  When DH and I bought our first house, we had our realtor bring my parents on a second showing.  They knew what our objective list of needs and wants was, and were able to assess from the sidelines if we were actually meeting the criteria we had set before we started looking at houses. 

I'm an introverted homebody too, and I much prefer rural to suburban and definitely to urban living.  We were initially dazzled by a more suburban townhome that was fully upgraded with all the shiny fancy stuff, but closer to DH's work than my school.  I hate commuting more than a half hour or so and would have been miserable.  My parents were able to see that, and see that we were being silly about the bells and whistles, and talked us out of a purchase we (I?) probably would have regretted.  I wavered quite a bit though and we almost put in an offer on the townhome.  A couple weeks later we found an awesome single family in the exact middle of our desired area and it had all the same bells and whistles for a lower price :D  There's always another opportunity in real estate.

MDM

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2015, 12:47:28 AM »
...after seeing over 50 houses in the greater Chicagoland area...

In the end of course the two of you will decide.  Reading between the lines, however, especially around the quote above, indicates that you really don't want to live in the city.  That commute time is certainly a trade-off, but at least you are going in with open eyes.

Lots of good suggestions for your consideration in previous posts - it's not a clear picture either way.  But if you really prefer to get out of the city - go for it!

Good luck in any case.

1967mama

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2015, 12:51:44 AM »
Thanks for the advice, not having kids but buying a place for them gets me too, though I worry that if we wait until things are on a timer due to pregnancy, we'll be in a poorer position to exercise caution and good judgement in purchasing.


Things won't really be on a timer due to pregnancy. A 7 pound newborn baby can live in a 1 bedroom apartment just fine :-/ Take your time with this huge life decision (buying a house) and wait till the wished for and anticipated first baby arrives. They don't even walk till they're 1. 

I get the sense that right now, you're actually in a "poor position to exercise caution and good judgement" because you have gotten emotionally attached to the house you've looked at and you've fallen in love with the idea of a big house on a hill and your 2.4 future children.

Sorry to be blunt. (gentle face punches)

joleran

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2015, 01:02:24 AM »
Do you have any close/trusted family or friends nearby?  When DH and I bought our first house, we had our realtor bring my parents on a second showing.  They knew what our objective list of needs and wants was, and were able to assess from the sidelines if we were actually meeting the criteria we had set before we started looking at houses. 
...
There's always another opportunity in real estate.

We did a very similar thing, visiting once by ourselves, and a second time with my wife's parents (her dad manages facilities for a large organization and was able to give us a sort of pre-inspection review).  The commute is rough, and the driveway will suck to take care of in the worse winter days, but everything else with the property is somewhere between good and fantastic.  We'd probably put in some sort of walking path with a rail so we don't have to clear the driveway except once a week or so at most for car-trips.

I want to believe that there's always another opportunity, and in my mind I can picture a place that is easily better than what we're considering, but the reality that I see in the market right now is that moving from 1hr 15 min commute to even a 45 minute commute involves doubling the price per square foot, and you usually get older places without any of the privacy. If we loosened up our search area to allow for driving to a Metra train, that might open things up, but I really don't want to drive daily if it can be helped, to the point where I would gladly spend 20 minutes on a train for each 10 minutes in a car.  I don't know if it's tunnel vision or reality, but if we hadn't found this place, no where else we've seen would have caused us to consider buying.

Good luck in any case.

Thank you!

Things won't really be on a timer due to pregnancy. A 7 pound newborn baby can live in a 1 bedroom apartment just fine :-/ Take your time with this huge life decision (buying a house) and wait till the wished for and anticipated first baby arrives. They don't even walk till they're 1. 

I get the sense that right now, you're actually in a "poor position to exercise caution and good judgement" because you have gotten emotionally attached to the house you've looked at and you've fallen in love with the idea of a big house on a hill and your 2.4 future children.

This seems like really good advice.  I'm staying up late tonight because we're about to make an offer tomorrow (now today) and I can't stop my mind racing, but if we just stop now and consolidate everything next year, we'll be netting at least $18k a year over the house purchase.  Everything logical says to walk away and look again another day, but the siren song of this place is quite strong.

1967mama

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2015, 01:12:02 AM »
siren song noun
: something that is very appealing and makes you want to go somewhere or do something but that may have bad results

 
Full Definition of SIREN SONG

:  an alluring utterance or appeal; especially :  one that is seductive or deceptive

iluvzbeach

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2015, 02:34:23 AM »
I strongly encourage you to hold back and not do it. Like someone else said, a baby can easily be accommodated in your current living situation, at least for the first year. Yes, it will be more challenging initially, but it is unlikely you will find yourself living with huge regrets about missing out on the expense and commute associated with the house. Friends I've had have often had their priorities change dramatically after having children and one of those priorities becomes having time to spend with their children. A 2.5 hour daily commute severely limits the time you'll have to spend with a child and the spouse at home frequently resents the added time alone where they are fully responsible for childcare. I'm not saying don't do it ever, just don't do it yet.

On the one hand it sounds like you've made up your mind, yet on the other hand you see huge red flags. Pay attention to this feeling. Once the excitement of a new house wears off, you'll quite possibly feel like you should have paid attention to your gut. If you decide not to move forward and you still find yourself wanting a big house out in the burbs (with a big mortgage and big commute to go with it), go out in another year or two and buy the house or another one that you'll fall in love with.

Best wishes in whatever decision you make.

nora

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2015, 03:14:56 AM »
Can you buy the house now and rent it out until you 'need' it? We have a big five bedroom house like that in the country. We lived there for two years and it was a ghastly commute which I will never repeat. But I look forward to living there for a bit in retirement when we don't have any need to go to the city.

That commute sounds awful even if you can read on the way. How would it resell if you decide you have made a mistake after you move there? Babies and children need time from their parents, two hours a day probably means you might not see them much at all on workdays :( not to mention the burden of childcare falling to your partner. Working from home two days would definitely help all that though. Any chance of making it five?

deborah

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2015, 05:08:19 AM »
There is bound to be something else just as special in the two years you have even if you start a baby tomorrow.

DecD

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2015, 06:32:41 AM »
I think the real question is not "should we buy this house". The question is "what kind of lifestyle do we want to live?"

You're looking at two options here.

Option A:  Stay in your condo for another few years, save like mad, move to a low COL house, and be retired in 3 or 5 years.  An alternative lifestyle for sure, one with many benefits, but no lifestyle has everything.  Lots of freedom- to travel, to spend time with the family, to decide where in the world you want to live.  But you pay for it now by waiting for things you want, and you pay for it by giving up on some of the flashy luxuries.

Option B: Buy the house.  Remain financially secure, but work for another 15 years.  A much more conventional lifestyle.  You're tied to a location, and you're tied to your job.  But you're living in a lovely place, in a lovely community.  But you have a horrific commute that you will hate.

I don't think either option is right or wrong.  What is your goal, really?  Do you REALLY want to retire truly early and do the MMM thing?  If so, the house will derail those plans.  Do you prefer to have a more conventional life?  Then it sounds like you're in a position to responsibly choose that house and remain in a financially good place- but you won't be retiring at 30.

So- where do you see yourself in 5 years?  What do you want?  What does your wife want?

former player

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2015, 06:59:54 AM »
The thing that worries me more than the expense of money is the expense of time.  Everything I have ever heard about kids is how time-consuming and exhausting they are.  With the commute you are talking about either one or both of your putative kids' parents will barely see their child 5 days a week, except when it wakes you up at night.  And with the sort of commute you are talking about it will be much, much harder for both of you to keep on working during pregnancy and child-rearing.  What happens when a kid has the sniffles or starts barfing (kids do both a lot), both parents are without a car and at the other end of a long commute, and the kid has to be retrieved from whoever is looking after it an hour ago? 

Baby no.1 will be fine in the current apartment: you can learn to be parents while also keeping your careers going without having to spend time and energy on commuting, housecleaning, garden maintenance and snow shovelling.  Baby 2 is at probably least 3 years away, and it's only then you need to look at upsizing - and even then a two-bed apartment would be fine for another year or so at least.  Schools are irrelevant to you for at least 6 years from now!

If this is truly your one and only dream home for life, you could see if the figures support buying it and renting it out in the meantime while renting more centrally until you have popped out so many kids, or earned so much money, that you can retire/semi-retire to the dream home in a few years.  But my suspicion is that there is a very good reason this house is for sale and hasn't been snapped up by anyone else: it is too much house in the wrong location.    After all, it's a family house in an area where the schools are only "respectable".  What will the schools be like in 5, 10, 15 years when your putative kids are needing a good education to get to the college they want? Will they still be respectable?  Will "respectable" be good enough?

James

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2015, 07:31:16 AM »
Don't do it, it is a mistake. And I have been there. We purchased a bigger house because of great reasons without ever realizing how many down sides there are. More upkeep, taxes, heating, commute, etc etc etc.

I highly suggest waiting, even though the house is "perfect".

Having said all that, I don't know you and I don't know your situation. Maybe it is right for you, maybe the house is a once in a lifetime house that you will forever regret not buying. I highly doubt it, but maybe...

I just wish someone had told me I was making a mistake years ago. Someone had pointed out I don't need the space, and useless space is horrible. It collects "stuff" and weighs on you in many ways, not just financially. The commute is going to suck the life out of you, and remove you from your kids for way too long. You will be signing up for the rat race and it isn't something you can just walk away from in a year if it doesn't work out.

Noodle

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2015, 07:33:23 AM »
I'm home-shopping right now as well, and trust me, I get it. When you are in a situation that is not ideal, and something pushes all your "perfect" buttons, it is very hard to bring rationality back to the process. But you are looking at raising your expenses (time and money) while expecting your income to drop when your wife stays home. And while your job is great now, that can change as quickly as a couple of significant staff changes, or an economic downturn (ask the people buying expensive houses in 2007.) You also don't know what your family situation will really be. Maybe you will realize a big family isn't for you, or you can't have one (I have several family members and friends who didn't end up with the number of kids they had hoped for).

DragonSlayer

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2015, 07:41:42 AM »
Think of this... If someone else hasn't snatched up this "special" house because it sits on a hill and will mean extra snow-related work, how will you sell it if/when the time comes? If you do realize in a year that this was a huge mistake (or you keep it, have 3 kids and then send them all off to college), how will you unload it without taking a huge loss? Not everyone is going to view that winter work as "character building" and you may be just about the only one who's crazy enough to look at it that way!

I'd at least prepare yourself for the fact that this may not be an appreciating asset, at least not in the traditional sense since, while it may go up in value, you may not be able to get that value out of it when you sell.

thd7t

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2015, 07:43:54 AM »
Do not do this.  When your children are young, they will go to bed early (or get up late).  Taking 2 hours out of your life with them is essentially eliminating all weekday time with your kids for several years.  It's not just too much house.  It's too much life.

JLee

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2015, 08:18:56 AM »
I wouldn't want to add two hours a day to my commute - that effectively adds 20-25% to a work day.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2015, 08:21:33 AM »
Even once you have kids, you have until they reach kindergarten to find a good house for you in a good school district. That's more than 5 years away for you. You have plenty of time to figure this out and in the meantime you might get a great job in a different state, the way school districts are structured in your state might change, tons of things might change.

thd7t

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2015, 08:32:13 AM »
Even once you have kids, you have until they reach kindergarten to find a good house for you in a good school district. That's more than 5 years away for you. You have plenty of time to figure this out and in the meantime you might get a great job in a different state, the way school districts are structured in your state might change, tons of things might change.
In addition to district structure, the quality of the schools can easily change in that amount of time.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2015, 08:39:10 AM »
Your plan makes no sense on ANY level.  You don't even have a kid "in the oven" and you are talking about commuting 2.5 hrs per day...!   Don't do it!!

joleran

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2015, 08:39:58 AM »
Thanks for the advice everyone, it may have been just what I needed.  I think you've talked me down from the cliff, mostly due to thinking of not spending as much time with the kids and pointing out that my timeline for really needing good schools or the room is quite a few years down the road.   The resale value thing is pretty big too, and being able to reverse this decision could be tricky; the place has been on the market for quite some time apparently due to the driveway as we can't find anything else to nitpick.

That said, there would be some potential to working from home 4-5 days a week, but that would definitely kill my career. 

I need to talk this over with my wife some more, but somehow you all got to me despite being crazy about this place for weeks.

tracylayton

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #27 on: January 16, 2015, 08:41:13 AM »
Even once you have kids, you have until they reach kindergarten to find a good house for you in a good school district. That's more than 5 years away for you. You have plenty of time to figure this out and in the meantime you might get a great job in a different state, the way school districts are structured in your state might change, tons of things might change.

Exactly. Save the difference each month for the next 5 years and put it toward your down payment. The payments on your dream home will be quite a bit smaller. Also, there's no point in buying a nice house for your future kids if you'll hardly get to spend time with them because of your commute.

historienne

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #28 on: January 16, 2015, 08:46:00 AM »
That commute sounds awful even if you can read on the way. How would it resell if you decide you have made a mistake after you move there? Babies and children need time from their parents, two hours a day probably means you might not see them much at all on workdays :( not to mention the burden of childcare falling to your partner. Working from home two days would definitely help all that though. Any chance of making it five?

Yeah.  I have a 55-minute commute that I only have to do, on average, two days a week.  I also have a small child.  My commute is, by far, the worst thing about my life right now.   With an infant, that kind of commute means days when you do not see your child at all. Wait until you actually need the bigger place, and see what your priorities are then.

FLBiker

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #29 on: January 16, 2015, 09:31:21 AM »
I appreciate the comments re: commute time / time w/ children.  As a dedicated anti-commuter and soon to be dad, I hadn't appreciated the overlap.

We bought a house before we had any kids, in part because we want to see if being better nested helped us decide whether or not we wanted kids.  Financially it wasn't really pushing anything (our mortgage [~$850] is basically the same as our rent) and it didn't add much to our commute.  And maybe it was just getting older, but I do think having a house in a decent neighborhood helped us make the decision.  If we were always in a 1 bedroom apartment, I'm not sure if we ever would have felt ready.

Also, these first couple years of homeownership have been a big learning experience with some significant DIY projects.  I'm glad I didn't have to do that with a newborn.  I certainly think there's wisdom in waiting, but there can be pro's to not waiting as well.

citrine

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #30 on: January 16, 2015, 11:46:59 AM »
The commute is crazy enough...just think how pissed off your wife will be when you are getting home 12-15 hours later and she is taking care of the kids and the house!  The driveway alone is going to be a nightmare when it snows, the landscaping will take a lot of your time in the summer also unless you outsource all of these things which will cost even more money.
I wouldn't do it at all....especially since you don't even have a child yet!

DoubleDown

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2015, 12:45:19 PM »
Have you read the MMM post on "The true cost of commuting"? It gives an interesting take on some of the hidden but substantial financial costs of commuting (not even counting the human costs outlined already in this thread). There are very, very few situations where you will break even, let alone come out ahead, moving far out in the suburbs.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/06/the-true-cost-of-commuting/

mtn

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #32 on: January 16, 2015, 01:01:03 PM »
I'm curious, what suburb? My answer would depend heavily on the answer to that. I assume you work in the loop?
FWIW, the commute on the Metra isn't bad. I equate 1hr on the metra to 30 minutes in the car or 45 minutes on CTA. I get some sleep, some reading, catch up on email... Really any administrative stuff that I can do, I'm just not doing it at home. Takes about 5 minutes of planning every night to figure out what you want to accomplish on your ride home.

I currently live in Libertyville and take the Metra to the loop every day. Looking to get out of Libertyville and into the city, but I'm currently living rent free with my parents until my pre-wife gets a job up here.

mtn

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #33 on: January 16, 2015, 01:09:32 PM »
Have you read the MMM post on "The true cost of commuting"? It gives an interesting take on some of the hidden but substantial financial costs of commuting (not even counting the human costs outlined already in this thread). There are very, very few situations where you will break even, let alone come out ahead, moving far out in the suburbs.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/06/the-true-cost-of-commuting/

That is all about driving costs, correct? Assuming he is as far away from Chicago as possible while still getting on the Metra, his cost will be $292 a month on a monthly train pass, so about the same as what MMR states for the ultimate cheap car at 17c a mile. I consider the time on the train well spent, whereas time in the car is costing you. So not quite the same argument here.

joleran

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #34 on: January 16, 2015, 01:18:09 PM »
Have you read the MMM post on "The true cost of commuting"? It gives an interesting take on some of the hidden but substantial financial costs of commuting (not even counting the human costs outlined already in this thread). There are very, very few situations where you will break even, let alone come out ahead, moving far out in the suburbs.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/06/the-true-cost-of-commuting/

I think I've read literally everything MMM has written on his main blog :)  If I were doing a car commute, this would be a no-brainer "no-way in hell" decision.  The Metra train in Cary, IL that we're looking at runs $200/month/person for a monthly pass with unlimited rides, and being quite early on the route, I will be getting choice seating for the first half hour or more of the ride and I can really do the same thing I do currently in the morning (browse the internet).  The commute does scare me a little with regard to the time I can spend with my kids, but I also have an idealized view of it where it could even be considered relaxing alone-time compared to a few screaming toddlers.

mtn

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2015, 01:24:07 PM »
Have you read the MMM post on "The true cost of commuting"? It gives an interesting take on some of the hidden but substantial financial costs of commuting (not even counting the human costs outlined already in this thread). There are very, very few situations where you will break even, let alone come out ahead, moving far out in the suburbs.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/06/the-true-cost-of-commuting/

I think I've read literally everything MMM has written on his main blog :)  If I were doing a car commute, this would be a no-brainer "no-way in hell" decision.  The Metra train in Cary, IL that we're looking at runs $200/month/person for a monthly pass with unlimited rides, and being quite early on the route, I will be getting choice seating for the first half hour or more of the ride and I can really do the same thing I do currently in the morning (browse the internet).  The commute does scare me a little with regard to the time I can spend with my kids, but I also have an idealized view of it where it could even be considered relaxing alone-time compared to a few screaming toddlers.

Nice area. Keep in mind, fares are going up February 1st; you'll be at about $210. For me, somewhat of an introvert, the train ride is very nice alone time. If you do it, get on the upper level and you'll be in a seat by yourself the whole ride. Not fun to have a 300lb person sit next to you when there are no more seats available.

midweststache

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #36 on: January 16, 2015, 01:37:40 PM »
I know the city is easily accessible from the 'burbs, and people have thrown out the pros/cons of the commute, but I'm wondering if your particularly interested in suburban living vs. city living? What is appealing about the house besides the space upgrade? I know a single-family home in Chicago is difficult to find for under $300,000, but we've see up/down condos for that price range that are in walking distance of major transit. Chicago has always surprised me at how family-friendly of a city it is... I'm not trying to denigrate you for moving to the 'burbs, I'm legitimately interested in what it is that appeals to people about them.

*I am of the "wait" mind, as people have said re: children being easy to transport until toddler-age. Also (promise not trying to throw bad karma your way), infertility is a real thing for some couples; will the move be worth it if it takes a few years of trying to conceive or if you ultimately can't?

*Under erasure that I have neither children nor a house, but both of these things are on our radar in the near, debt-free future also.*

joleran

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2015, 01:49:07 PM »
I know the city is easily accessible from the 'burbs, and people have thrown out the pros/cons of the commute, but I'm wondering if your particularly interested in suburban living vs. city living? What is appealing about the house besides the space upgrade? I know a single-family home in Chicago is difficult to find for under $300,000, but we've see up/down condos for that price range that are in walking distance of major transit. Chicago has always surprised me at how family-friendly of a city it is... I'm not trying to denigrate you for moving to the 'burbs, I'm legitimately interested in what it is that appeals to people about them.

*I am of the "wait" mind, as people have said re: children being easy to transport until toddler-age. Also (promise not trying to throw bad karma your way), infertility is a real thing for some couples; will the move be worth it if it takes a few years of trying to conceive or if you ultimately can't?

I grew up in rural country, my wife grew up in the suburbs.  We both are pretty excited about a quiet suburban lifestyle, where there are small community things going on, but we would have significant amounts of privacy.  We just don't care that much about what the city has to offer (and have utilized what the city has to offer minimally in the 6 years we've been here), but the space, peace, and privacy can't really be found anywhere else we've looked for this price at this quality.

joleran

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #38 on: January 16, 2015, 01:51:55 PM »
Nice area. Keep in mind, fares are going up February 1st; you'll be at about $210. For me, somewhat of an introvert, the train ride is very nice alone time. If you do it, get on the upper level and you'll be in a seat by yourself the whole ride. Not fun to have a 300lb person sit next to you when there are no more seats available.

Thanks for your perspective, I do wonder whether it's people who love nightlife and being in the center of things are those who are reacting most disagreeably to the idea.

mtn

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #39 on: January 16, 2015, 02:23:00 PM »
Nice area. Keep in mind, fares are going up February 1st; you'll be at about $210. For me, somewhat of an introvert, the train ride is very nice alone time. If you do it, get on the upper level and you'll be in a seat by yourself the whole ride. Not fun to have a 300lb person sit next to you when there are no more seats available.

Thanks for your perspective, I do wonder whether it's people who love nightlife and being in the center of things are those who are reacting most disagreeably to the idea.

No, I don't think that they're reacting disagreeably to it for any reasons that aren't financial.

I DO think that people are missing 2 important things: Your desired lifestyle, and the equity that you would be building and are currently NOT building while renting.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #40 on: January 16, 2015, 03:06:30 PM »
I grew up in the outer suburbs and my parents seemed to feel that the commute was worth it. I prefer something smaller, myself, in the inner suburbs, but I don't necessarily think this is a "one right answer" issue.

That said, I am glad you are leaning toward waiting. We bought a giant house to have kids in, then waited a couple years, then... couldn't get pregnant. Nothing like being mocked by an empty nursery every month. (After we moved out of the area and were living in a rented duplex, the babies did show up.)

Krnten

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #41 on: January 16, 2015, 03:14:38 PM »
Just here to jump on the bandwagon - don't do it!!

I used to have a lovely 1 hr commuter rail commute that I enjoyed at the time (single, child free).

Now I have a 15 minute walk to work and a kid, and getting home quickly and easily is SO important to me.  Lots of other people said it, but you won't see your kid awake for years during the week if you buy that house.  An easy commute is pretty much the only thing we're prioritizing now looking for a new home.  I would not do more than 30 or 40 minutes on any mode of transit.

Also, living in a denser place means more community support.  Having a kid is hard.  One of the things that makes it easier is having friends/neighbors who can babysit and swap childcare and activities.  The last thing you want is to be isolated with a baby and have to drive everywhere.  Even if you're both homebodies, you don't want to feel isolated if one of you stays home with the kid.

Good luck! 

deborah

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #42 on: January 16, 2015, 11:56:47 PM »
Nice area. Keep in mind, fares are going up February 1st; you'll be at about $210. For me, somewhat of an introvert, the train ride is very nice alone time. If you do it, get on the upper level and you'll be in a seat by yourself the whole ride. Not fun to have a 300lb person sit next to you when there are no more seats available.

Thanks for your perspective, I do wonder whether it's people who love nightlife and being in the center of things are those who are reacting most disagreeably to the idea.
No nightlife lover here - just looking at it from a financial perspective. Also, my parents LOVED looking at houses. When I was a child it seemed like we looked at houses every weekend. They would regularly find the unique house of a lifetime.

joleran

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #43 on: January 17, 2015, 01:03:18 AM »
No nightlife lover here - just looking at it from a financial perspective. Also, my parents LOVED looking at houses. When I was a child it seemed like we looked at houses every weekend. They would regularly find the unique house of a lifetime.

That's really interesting, were they regularly finding amazing houses but not buying for some reason, or where they just looking for fun?

After talking with my wife, we've put in a lower offer on this place and we're going to see what happens.  It's not financially right, but after spending countless hours looking at various places and possibilities, nothing else seems as right as this place. 

deborah

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #44 on: January 17, 2015, 02:04:52 AM »
I was never quite sure - we did move house quite regularly  - at least once every two years - but never to a house that they were really keen on and had agonized over. It was usually to a house that they bought before us children knew they were even interested in a house.

mozar

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #45 on: January 17, 2015, 01:04:07 PM »
What did you decide? I personally chose the hour each way commute on the train. But buying the house will get me to FI sooner. If I wanted to live near my job (which has changed every two years) I would pay 7x my house to buy.

Renting is about twice what I would pay now for my portion of the mortgage. I would probably have to commute no matter where I lived as the area I live in has 3 main centers of employment. I also live in a wonderful town with lots of close by neighbors. Shouldn't buying the suburbs be cheaper?
I'm also an introvert and feel so much better in the suburbs. I live about 10 miles from my current job so I could drive in 20 minutes if I got up really early.

ChiVolter

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #46 on: January 17, 2015, 06:17:25 PM »
Best wishes on your offer.

We moved back to the burbs after spending 3 years in Los Angeles. We live in Wheaton right on the Metra route in an apartment. We heavily considered the idea of building a house in Kendall county to take advantage of tax benefits and city rebates. But we just could not stomach paying the $2700 a month.

We plan to use our apartment lease renewal to either keep expenses low or move to another apartment to save even more money so we are in a better position to buy a house closer to work and family. We just need to remember that there will always be a house available that works for us and not give into the "perfect house is right here right now."

We are not in the same financial standing as you so I can understand why you are weighing this heavily. Maybe if we were in the savings mode you are our decision would have been the same as yours.

Mommyof2

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #47 on: January 17, 2015, 06:36:25 PM »
What suburb?   I live in Chicago and would love to find a house that size for $280k.   Everything we have seen is 500k and up

DeltaBond

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #48 on: January 17, 2015, 07:16:51 PM »
One little tid bit here... you have 5-6 years AFTER a kid is born to find your way to a good school zone.  You have time.  Having a tiny child at home while waiting lots of extra time during the working parent's commute to give you a break for the day is very frustrating.  A big house and fresh air can't watch a small child while you go take a shower or nap.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2015, 08:58:42 AM by DeltaBond »

joleran

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Re: Too much house, not enough mustache?
« Reply #49 on: January 17, 2015, 08:20:23 PM »
What suburb?   I live in Chicago and would love to find a house that size for $280k.   Everything we have seen is 500k and up
Cary.  Just keep going past the suburbs people know about and prices drop big time.

One little tid bit here... you have 5-6 years AFTER a kid is born to find your way to a good school zone.  You have time.  Having a tiny child at home while waiting lots of extra time during the working parent's commute to give you a break for the day is very frustrating.  A big house and fresh air can't watch a small child while you go take a shower or nap.
Yeah, we do have time.  If the offer falls through, I'll probably be a little relieved and we can go back to a plan that makes more sense on paper.  My wife is definitely making more sacrifices in the short and long term here, but she really wants out of the city and wants to do this more than I do, so I have to trust her saying that she's OK with the downsides.