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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Bearded Man on June 22, 2015, 09:40:02 AM

Title: What is your home like?
Post by: Bearded Man on June 22, 2015, 09:40:02 AM
And what are the reasons you stay there and what are the challenges? I say home because not everyone lives in a house. You might live in a condo, apartment, RV, van, car, or yurt. I don't think anybody here really cares what you live in, except that you are on your way to financial freedom. If you achieve it living in an RV, then more power to you! I wish I could do that (pets, gf...)

I'll go first. Currently I live in a 4 bedroom 2.5 bath house with an HOA in a newer development. House prices are skyrocketing around me.

Although I enjoy the higher quality of the neighborhood, even after deductions and such it's still roughly 12-13K a year to live here. I bought it strategically as a future rental as well as with the plan in mind that if anything happens to me financially before I turn it into a dedicated rental, I can always rent out the three spare bedrooms at least temporarily. Bedrooms go for about $600 a month each including utilities, in my area.

That said, I want to move back into a paid off house again decrease my expenses. I'm still saving well over 100K a year, BUT, I could save more if I moved into a smaller paid off house in a less desirable area. I lived in a house like that for 2.5 years and the primary thing about it that bothered me was the street noise.

I ended up moving from that house into a larger house to get away from the street noise and ended up having some GHETTO section 8 neighbors that I was constantly dealing with. I ended up moving and renting that out. Hey, what do you know, I'm not giving in, I'm making it WORK FOR ME! Yes I had to move (although I did have the city come down on them and their landlord and PM HARD) but it was worth it since I've made a ton of money as a result.

So yeah, that brings me to where I live now, which I already described. I told my gf to enjoy living here while we are here, because we will eventually be moving back to the original area where we lived. Not in the same house, but one not on a busy street, with some more closely vetted neighbors, in a gentrifying area. The house I used to live in there is gentrifying quickly, very quickly, but it's on a busy side street and the noise drove me nuts, so I'd rather buy another house in the same general area but not on the busy street.

Funny thing is, it's actually closer to all our hobbies and free entertainment we used to go to. Now we have to drive so far for the same.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Bumfluff on June 22, 2015, 09:58:19 AM
I (with my husband and two little kids) live in a rented 3 bed, 1.5 bath Victorian house. It's in a fantastic area, our rent is really reasonable and our neighbours are lovely so we got lucky. We are staying here as we recently made an international move so buying straight away wasn't an option - plus we need to save for a deposit having spent all our savings on the move! The house and location are perfect, only challenge is the fact that we are paying off someone else's mortgage ;-)

Not sure we'll be able to afford the house we want in this location by the time we save a deposit which will be sad but I'm not going to over-commit to a huge mortgage. I came to MMM late (I'm 41) so don't have as much time to play with re length of mortgage and years of work before retirement.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: MLKnits on June 22, 2015, 10:18:48 AM
One-bedroom apartment with a large balcony; just me, the dog, and two cats.

It works really well for me. It's probably more space than I need (especially the "wasted" space in the bedroom, which I never hang out in except for sleep and other bed-related activities) but I love the balcony, which would likely be either smaller or sort of grosser in a different building. (I'm not describing that well, but in most of the buildings around here, the balconies look grungy and kind of unpleasant.)

I'm close to a number of parks, so I don't lack for outdoor options, and the walls are thick concrete, so there are few noise issues. The building management is pretty good about Not Tolerating excessive noise, too.

It's close to my work, has a locked bike room in the basement, is next to a mall so I can easily walk my errands--I'm pleased with it.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: forummm on June 22, 2015, 10:21:51 AM
We have a very nice 3/2.5 with a yard (boo mowing) that I got cheap during the foreclosure crunch. We really like it. It's got some more lower income neighhorhoods around it. But also a lovely park and lake and the trees everywhere make it feel more secluded then it is. It's also fairly close to work, and has a garage for our electric cars. We don't have plans to stay there forever. But I'm happy to stay there as long as we do. I don't feel any urgency to move. The mortgage feels great every month compared to living somewhere else.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Shamantha on June 22, 2015, 10:31:10 AM
I live in a three floor terraced house, close to the city centre, with living room, dining room, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 additional toilet. Quite large for Dutch standards for someone on their own, but it was bought when I was with my ex. Love the location, love the house. Current challenge is that it is an older house (110 years old) but I have covered most of the long term maintenance by now. Former challenge was that after we separated the mortgage was quite hefty to pay by myself (would not have been able to pay my mortgage if I lost my job) but after aggressively paying down half of the mortgage, plus refinancing, I am now secure. My plot of land itself is probably not large compared to american standards, my area is 89m2 which is 957f2, this includes a small walled garden. Of course I have three floors, so actual living space will be closer to double that.

What I love: this house is age proof and walking distance to shops and city centre. Once the mortgage is paid off, I can live there forever, without a car, renting out the top half of the house so that I do not need to climb stairs in my old age, and living on the rental income plus pension, even if I stop working 5 years earlier and do not build a stache.

Edit: before renting out part of the house, I need to have paid off the mortgage. As tenants have a lot of protection here, banks have to approve you renting out part of your house, and my bank informed me that they would not approve that (the house becomes very difficult to sell with tenants in it, should I default on mortgage payments).
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Bracken_Joy on June 22, 2015, 10:41:15 AM
Expensive small downtown apartment with DH and 1 small dog. No outdoor access. Moved here because it is right by where I was doing school for 2 years (for a pro degree). I love that we can walk anywhere (have never driven for groceries here), including several parks and one of the largest urban parks (ie, a forest) within walking distance. Close to transit as well, which we both have free passes for, so we can get anywhere in the area easily. It is a bright and beautiful place, and the small size really upped my minimalism/no waste/anti-consumerism game. Also no room for kitchen gadets has GREATLY improved my knife skills and cooking creativity.

Challenges: very little space to stock up on food or batch cook, making our food budget higher than it otherwise would be. No way to garden, preserve food, or even just sit outside without going somewhere. Very noisy lately, since it is a fast growing area. They've been tearing down a building connected TO our building the past two weeks, and it feels like earthquakes... all... the time. I now have an eye twitch. That being said, this is only NOW, and we've lived here 2 years. It was much quieter before. Walls are well-insulated, so we never hear neighbors.

We're actually moving soon, looking for places currently. I finished my program. We're moving to a SFH with my brother (can't live on his own) in a lower cost area. (Our share will cost us the same to have a 3/2 house with garden space as our current apartment).
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: TheInsuranceMan on June 22, 2015, 11:01:48 AM
We live in the rural midwest, 4 miles from the nearest town, which doesn't have a single department store in it, which is awesome.  Our acreage is a nice quaint 3.5 acres, which is my little slice of heaven.  House is 3 bed/2 bath, with a possible 4th bedroom, but since we didn't put an egress window in it, it isn't considered a "bedroom".  1000 sq ft main floor, with about 150 sq ft mudroom, and one car attached garage.  Basement is 80% finished - no ceilings or trim work done, with a utility room that we decided to leave unfinished - no sheetrock or flooring.

My wife decorates on the cheap, which is awesome.  Old ammo boxes, barn paintings, and the like.  It's really nice, but don't let her know I said that!
Then I suppose I have my shed on the property, which we added an overhead door, new sliding door, walk in door, and four windows to.  It isn't insulated or sheeted, yet.  Hopefully this fall before field work it will be, but we'll see.  Pretty nice place, bought for 82.5k as a 2 bed, 1 bath, and no finished basement.  Valued at about 125k now, so, I'm happy with it!
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Stash Engineer on June 22, 2015, 12:01:29 PM
We're a family of 4 living in a 3 bed 3 bath house with a small yard that I bought as a foreclosure.  We have renovated about half the house so far, including the kitchen, master bedroom and closet, and built a new laundry room in the finished basement.  Our neighborhood has a pretty active HOA.  I don't see us living here forever, but the mortgage is very low and we are happy to be here for now.  I will likely turn this house into a rental when we do move. 
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Cassie on June 22, 2015, 01:00:02 PM
We live in town in a 3 bd 3 bath ranch house that is 60 yo and we totally renovated it before we move in. I love that we can walk downtown to the festivals, etc. We put in astro-turf due to the drought & no maintenance issues.  It is paid off. Plan to leave feet first:))
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Tjat on June 22, 2015, 02:23:22 PM
Pre-MMM, purchased a ~2100 sq ft house in a high COL area. Followed the typical "rules of thumb" when purchasing and fortunately our incomes have risen quite a bit to reasonably afford it. Looking at it as a forever home and have put a bunch of money into renovations (like stupid amounts of money). Debating paying off early for security or investing the difference. Currently doing both half-way.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: MoneyCat on June 22, 2015, 02:29:50 PM
We live in a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath split-level built in the 1950s with 0.18 acres of land.  It was very reasonably priced for New Jersey and within bicycle-riding distance of pretty much anything we need.  Family and friends say it's a nice "starter house", but it meets our needs perfectly, so we see no reason to ever "trade up".  When it comes time to retire, we'll sell it and move to a lower COL state somewhere in the South or West.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: rubybeth on June 22, 2015, 02:30:05 PM
785 sq. foot 1 bedroom apartment for married couple, no kids, no pets. We rent a garage, too (bikes live there in the winter). It's about a mile from each of our jobs and campus for DH's grad school. It's also near a few nice parks, and within a few miles of all the stuff we use regularly (grocery, gym, Target). In our fairly LCOL, we could buy a nice "starter" type 3 bed/2 bath i our same neighborhood for about the same as our rent, so we'll probably do that once DH's career has launched. I like to sing opera as a hobby, but I don't feel comfortable doing that at top volume with shared walls... :-O
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: cripzychiken on June 22, 2015, 02:43:21 PM
3/2, 1600sqft, .2arce lot, 2 adults, 1 baby, 1 dog.  Built in the 1960's, was very old and outdated, and have DIYed many of the repairs - about 50% updated.  On the edge between the 'good part of town' and the 'bad part of town' with us sitting on the 'good' side.  In one of the top school districts in the area, which was a big selling point for us.

Neighborhood is nice to walk, but nothing worthwhile in walking distance (no parks or anything like that near by).  Our PITI is 1/2 of our neighbor's rent, so if we ever plan to move, we would keep it as a rental.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: jeromedawg on June 22, 2015, 02:53:37 PM
We're in a 2-bed/2-bath 1400sq ft condo w/ an attached dual-port garage in a relatively HCOL area. There is a den/office which technically can be converted to a bedroom.... I don't currently consider it one though because the current closet space is acting as desk space. We have our first little one on the way due August. No pets. I'm about 4-5 miles away from work via bike or car and my wife is about 7 miles from her work. Once the kid comes the plan is for her to stop working and we move to single-income. There are plenty of grocery/other stores nearby (Target, Walmart, Trader Joes, Korean/Asian markets) and some within reasonable walking distance. Not too far from the beach (30 min drive to the closest one) and quite a few hiking/walking/biking trails around. There's also an airport nearby. For the past month, we've been living as a one-car family due to a dumb predicament I put us in with my car, rendering it undriveable. So I'll either bike into work or have my wife drop me off if it's wet/rainy or if I'm too tired or not feeling well. I think this could be sustainable. Especially once she stops working. But I'll likely have my car in driveable condition again soon. Still, it would be nice to free up a spot in the garage.

We have no immediate plans to move and feel like we could be here for quite some time. The biggest annoyance is how thin/poorly insulated the walls are AND our upstairs neighbors installed hardwood flooring throughout, likely breaking HOA rules (but we didn't know any better at the time when they remodeled) - the elderly gentleman above us is senile and likely has dementia... the latest episode involved him waking up between 3am-7am and attempting to lift heavy furniture and move it around, resulting in tons of creaking noises. And every few times a year, they'll have their rambunctious 3/4yr old child stay with them (sometimes a week at at time) where most of the day consists of him running around back and forth upstairs, which translates to constant loud stomping noises. Usually if it becomes too much we text the wife and it subsides a bit. Otherwise, we really couldn't ask for more.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on June 22, 2015, 03:01:20 PM
3/2.5 twin built in 1910 and renovated in 2010. We have the south-ish-facing side. A surprising amount of deferred exterior maintenance has hit us.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Spruit on June 22, 2015, 03:27:03 PM
BF, dog and I live in a sort of semi-detached house. I say sort of, because it is actually part of a farm, converted to rental. Semi-detached sounds too posh as adequate description.
It has two bedrooms, a roomy and light livingroom, one bathroom. Turning the 2BR into a 3BR in the future is a possibility.
We ended up here, because BF really wanted to move closer to work, hating his commute. We had to leave our student flat anyways, but were hesitant to buy a house in a new-to-us area and in the middle of a rather turbulent time in our lives (and in the economy).

We really, really like our house, because:
- location is absolutely fabulous. We live on 35 resp. 20 minutes biking distance from both our jobs. Semi-rural, so lots of greenery, but also within biking distance of the city, 5 min. from supermarket/shops.
- space that suites us. Maybe even a little roomy now (127 m2 living surface, attic included). Space left for eventual new family member(s). Nice garden to hang in and let dog blow off some steam once in a while. Shed offers lots of storage space for bikes, trailers, camping gear etc.
- reasonable rent, at least for non-social housing.
- landlord is a decent man, and always tackles any occuring problems asap. 
- new roof, great isolation upstairs, new double glazed windows and our central heating just got replaced this year for a more efficient type. We hope to see our utilities go down this year.

We would eventually want to move, because:
- moist issues (incl. mold, ugh) downstairs due to construction issues. Not much to do about it, I'm afraid. We are not hanging any laundry inside anymore, to stop contributing to the problem, which seems to help. Ventillation is key.
- bathroom is old and musty and impractical, but replacing this in a house we rent seems silly.
- with more than one kid, this house could get a little crowded. There's one very steep stairway that's not exactly kidproof.
- we'd like to own rather than rent. We'd rather have a bit more land to ourselves eventually, and we'd like to be able to isolate and/or put solar on the roof. Not very feasible in a rental.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Sailor Sam on June 22, 2015, 03:42:19 PM
I live in a 1 bedroom / 1 bath condo. It's around 600 sf ft, including a nice little patio. It's light and airy, and situated very near a popular biking trail that pretty much spans the city. Walking distance to the grocery store, pharmacy, coffee shops, beer, library, second hand bookstore, and lots of clothing stores (don't care so much about the clothes). Central to many bus routes.

Despite all that, the apartment is painfully expensive. I may end up moving at the end of the lease.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Kris on June 22, 2015, 04:06:03 PM
Husband, I, and two cats live in a 2/1 1200 sq. foot condo. Major selling point for staying here is our PITI is about 8% of our income.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Bearded Man on June 22, 2015, 04:09:38 PM
I noticed a lot of people seem to live very close to work, very mustachian. I don't see anyone living in an unconventional way yet (RV, off-grid cabin). Keep 'em coming.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: fartface on June 22, 2015, 04:28:19 PM
I'll go first. Currently I live in a 4 bedroom 2.5 bath house with an HOA in a newer development. House prices are skyrocketing around me.

Me too! We had a realtor walk thru and give us a market analysis last week. Currently valued $50K above the purchase price we paid in 2010.

I'd like to downsize but the three kids have six years left of middle/high school, so we'll likely wait it out...two years left on the mortgage.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: KMMK on June 22, 2015, 04:38:19 PM
I share a largish (1800 sq ft?) older (100 years?) 3 BR, 1 bath plus attic and basement house with 2 other adults and 1 child, though we're probably adding another adult.

We're all renters. I think we pay $1440 plus utilities, split 3 or 4 ways. It's in an older part of the city, but not too rough, and good amenities. I can work from home but recently rented a desk space downtown. It's a 50 minute walk, or about 15 minutes on the bus plus a 5 minute walk, to my office from my home.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Rural on June 22, 2015, 04:52:06 PM
Dream house we built ourselves literally. Earth sheltered, high thermal mass, passive solar heated. Three sides are underground, and the whole south wall is windows looking out over the mountains and the Appalachian trail in the distance.

We're in the middle of 25 acres of old growth forest, no people or human structures visible at all.

The house is one bedroom, but we also each have a home office, the dogs have their own room, and we have a library. We designed the house ourselves as well, so it fits exactly how we use space.

We built for aging in place, wide hallways, walk-in shower, all one level.

There's an open courtyard in the very middle of the house which will become an enclosed atrium and greenhouse space, possibly as soon as this summer but more likely next year. We've not yet decided whether the hot tub goes in the atrium or out on the porch.

We'll work longer because of this place, but not all that much longer because my husband and my father built the place themselves.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: meandmyfamily on June 22, 2015, 05:43:33 PM
Rural can we see pictures??? That sounds like a great house!
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Teacherstache on June 22, 2015, 05:56:23 PM
Family of 4 with a 10 year old one story ranch/traditional home. It is about 2500 sf with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. It also has a large completely unfinished basement. We purchased this house 3 years ago. Before that, we owned a home that was less than half the price of our current home and lived there for about 12 years. We moved due to a decline in the neighborhood.

Our neighborhood now is fantastic. Very safe, quiet, and walkable. We live in a suburb of a small city and we are very close to the local library (which we use heavily) and 2 parks. I teach in the same town we live in and my husband has a quick 15 minute commute to the neighboring small city.

My one complaint about our current home is the sky high property taxes.

Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Norrie on June 22, 2015, 06:12:07 PM
Last year we moved from our almost paid off, super economical house to a 2,700 square foot, four bedroom/three bath, fancypants house in a gated community. A week or so ago, my husband and I finally admitted to each other that we think it was a mistake (we'd both been feeling that way, but not wanting to say anything to bum each other out).

We bought the house because it had several of the main criteria that we'd been searching for:

1. Literally no carpet in the place. Wood floors throughout, except in the bathrooms and laundry. This is necessary for health reasons.

2. No pets had recently lived in it, also necessary for health reasons.

3. A large space above the garage that could be built out into the exact specifications that my husband needs for work (he's a recording engineer and mixes/masters from home).

The house is lovely and fulfills all of those things, but it has a formal dining room and living room, which are both gorgeous rooms, but we literally never use them. Well, we do use them as hallways sometimes, and walk through them to get to other rooms. We went from using every bit of our last house to having vast spaces here, and it's just sort of bizarre.
We would love to build a smaller house that fits all of our needs/wants closer to my parents, but that would require an amount of money that I doubt that we'll ever have or want to spend.

Our last house didn't have a good place for my husband to work, but otherwise it was cheap and easy to maintain. Live and learn.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: arebelspy on June 22, 2015, 07:45:54 PM
400 sq. ft. condo.

Downsizing in two months to homeless with two backpacks and renting places on a weekly or monthly basis on AirBnB.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: southern granny on June 22, 2015, 08:37:35 PM
We live in a three bedroom ranch that we have lived in for 39 years.  The neighborhood has gone down some and has a lot of rental property now, but it is still a safe neighborhood and everyone seems to get along.  I was eighteen when we bought the house.  We couldn't afford to upgrade when the children were growing up and after they were gone, I didn't really see a need.  I still have the original kitchen coppertone cooktop and built in oven. I haven't had a house payment for probably 15 years. My only fear is that the neighborhood will continue to decline and we will feel the need to leave eventually.     
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: DecD on June 22, 2015, 09:57:32 PM
Family of 4.  Four-bedroom house, ~25 years old, larger than we need, in a beautiful neighborhood.  Playroom upstairs for the kids, swimming pool out back.   Yard full of tall pine trees that sound amazing in the wind, and palm trees, and citrus trees.  5 miles from work (me), 25 miles from work (spouse)- luckily he works from home a significant percentage.

We've lived here for 3 years now.  We might stay forever, we might move in a few years for somewhere with lower taxes/insurance. 
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: LeRainDrop on June 22, 2015, 10:01:35 PM
I live in a 2 bedroom / 2 bath, 1300 sq. ft. condo that is just two blocks from my office building.  There is a lot to do within walking distance -- large city park, several restaurants, a museum, a library, a theater, etc.  I feel good about the cost, and the HOA fees are priced competitively for this market.  The biggest downside is the high property taxes, which have increased dramatically in the last two years -- 2013 to 2014 change was a 40% increase, and 2014 to 2015 change was another 30% increase.  A huge chunk of that (54%) goes to the city schools, and I don't even have kids.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Metta on June 22, 2015, 10:41:24 PM
We live in a four-bedroom, 2500 sq ft house. One bedroom belongs to me, one is my husband's bedroom, one is set up as a dedicated yoga studio and one is a library/office/guest room. I think the house is large and luxurious. We bought it because it was walking distance from my office and cheaper to have a mortgage than to rent a much smaller apartment (also walking distance from my office). My office moved and now I have a seven-minute commute by car.

We have an enormous backyard (.3 acres) that we have planted with fig trees, blueberries, peach trees, kiwi vines, and various other edible plants.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Dollar Slice on June 22, 2015, 11:04:25 PM
1BR apartment in Manhattan, rented, I think about 450-500 sq feet. (That's actual square feet, not NYC realtor square feet... it's officially listed at 600. That would be what we call "a lie" in the rest of the country.)  Neighborhood is the southwest corner of Harlem, ~300 yards from Central Park and ~200 yards from Morningside Park. I really like the neighborhood - lots of character, history, and some incredible architecture. And of course right by two huge parks. My commute is pretty amazing for NYC - about 5 min of walking and 15 min on the subway plus however long I wait for the train to come. (And better yet, it's one of the less crowded subway lines and I almost always get a seat.)

I love the apartment, too... it was all painted and the floors refinished before I moved in, and it was fully renovated just a few years ago so it is very nice in spite of being in an old building. It's quite small but very efficient and has two big closets. Tons of natural light. It is also a real sweet spot in the building in terms of noise - I literally hear nothing from people next to me or above me.

I do get some noise from outside - I honestly enjoy the subway going under the building, I always loved train noises. But I can see how some people might not. I don't mind the traffic noises 98% of the time (after enough years living in cities you miss it if it's not there). The only thing I don't like is the bar across the street sometimes gets too loud... but only on occasional weekend nights in the summer, so it's not that bad.

The building is also very nice - laundry in the basement, doorman, security cameras, elevator, a small gym and a roof deck. The neighbors have been uniformly awesome - everyone is so friendly - and my landlord lives across the hallway and he's been very nice and very easy to deal with.

Fiscally... of course living alone in a nice apartment in a nice building in Manhattan, it is going to be very expensive. The deal was that I went apartment hunting with my mom (who lives 15 miles away), looking at places I could afford. Small studios in not-so-nice buildings, mostly. And my mom decided that in order to get me to live in a place that makes her and my dad happy, they would top up the rent budget until it was enough to get me this lovely apartment. So now everyone is happy. I know it's bad to spend a lot of money on housing but it really does make me SO happy to be here, I think it's worth it to me.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: gooki on June 23, 2015, 02:52:56 AM
Our family of four just moved into a 4 bed, 2 bathroom, 2150 sqft, 15 year old house. We're surrounded by other quality homes, nice neighbours, walking distance to school, close to a big park, 10km to work which is a good bike ride for me.

We are planning to stay here for a long time.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Squirrel away on June 23, 2015, 05:53:47 AM
We have a 650 square foot 2 bed house in a not very nice part of London but it does have good transport links and there is a short commute.

I really do not want to live here for a long time unless the area undergoes pretty drastic gentrification. :P
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on June 23, 2015, 06:06:20 AM
We live in a HCOL area in an apartment. 12 miles from work in a good neighborhood.

We pay $1100/month which includes

Rent, taxes, insurance, electricity, heat, garbage, sewer, maintenance, landscaping, cable internet, and shared use of a large fenced in back yard.

Around here if we had a house that $1100/month would just barely cover property taxes.

Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: mustachepungoeshere on June 23, 2015, 06:28:33 AM
My husband and I rent a two-bedroom Sydney apartment for $400/week.

The second bedroom sometimes feels excessive, but one-bedroom apartments are rare in this part of Sydney, and both our families are from out of town so we often have overnight guests.

I love the apartment overall. It only costs 22 per cent of our take-home pay, and we have slowly furnished it with good quality second-hand pieces. It gets almost no natural light, which can take an emotional toll, especially in winter, but we do have a (shady) balcony and we try to get out and about on winter weekends. I would like fresh paint and new carpet, but what we have is serviceable and doesn't cost us a thing. (Our priorities for our home are comfort and low maintenance. We have decluttered as part of our financial journey, so we get through the housework quicker than ever.)

The neighbours in our building are fine, but our building is surrounded by other apartment blocks and apparently those residents are yet to realise the noise doesn't stop at their boundary. Shocking, I know.

It's a walkable neighbourhood, with a train station, two supermarkets, butcher, bakery, and a couple of other small shops within a block or two.

With the housing squeeze in Sydney, we are fortunate to have had steady rent for four years. We've always looked after this place like it was our own home. During our last annual inspection, our agent actually said, "Please don't ever leave!"
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Insanity on June 23, 2015, 06:37:13 AM
Painful. 40+ year old split level house sitting on the corner of a main road and a side street.  We have redone the kitchen, finished the basement, converted the fourth bedroom to a office (simply add a closet door and viola four bedrooms). 

I hate the house.  I love the township.  Hate the neighborhood.  It is in a transitional state.  Most that live there are elderly, but some younger families have come in.  Lots of homes for sale because of that.  value has gone down in the 10 years we have owned it.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Emilyngh on June 23, 2015, 06:43:23 AM
We live in a 110 year old renovated farmhouse on 2 acres in a rural area that's 5 minutes away from a sweet historic town.   We have a small henhouse and an old barn on the property.   Our decorating/furniture style is contemporary/farmhouse.

The house is in excellent condition, we've been working on tweaking aesthetics and are now at a point where we're happy with how it functions and looks.   Exceeeept...I want to downsize. 

 It's 2000 sq feet and with my stepkids now grown and pretty much out, and with us deciding that we're not having any more children than our current daughter, I feel like it's too big and inefficient.   Plus, while I think we paid a fair price for what we got when we got it, we moved from a much more expensive area and wound up buying something at the upper-middle end of our market (it seemed really cheap to me!).  We can buy a house here (albeit smaller, although not necessarily in horrible shape) for half what this cost us.   

Also, the 2 acres are all fields.   We tried not mowing them much when we first moved in, and it was such a disaster, that we feel to spend more time on the mowing than we'd like.   Plus, I'd really love to live in a shady/woodsy spot.   It's also on a country road with no sidewalks or even shoulder to really walk on.   While there aren't many cars, when they come they are super fast and not looking out for pedestrians (remember this when you take your ass-clown car speeding down a country road for a nice evening drive).   So, we can walk nowhere and there really aren't neighbor kids for DD.

The big question to me is if it's worth it.    While we could buy a cheaper/smaller house, it would need time and money to get it to a point that we're happy with.    And considering what we've put into this house, and the fact that we now know it's in very good condition, I'm scared to take such a risk on the unknown.   Buuut, we'll see if we stumble across a house that makes me change my mind.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: humbleMouse on June 23, 2015, 06:46:50 AM
I live in a 600sqft artist loft studio.  There is a utility sink to pee in, and I cook stir fry and rice on a hot plate.  Gym membership down the street for showering.  Keep all of my clothes in the back of my car so it doesn't look like I live there.  I love living here, it's insanely cheap rent and in a very busy/diverse neighborhood with tons of cheap/good food walking distance.  Also, I can bang music all the time and nobody cares!!!

edit:  Laundry mat is also right across the street.  And yes, I work in an office!
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: epipenguin on June 23, 2015, 07:04:38 AM
I live in a 1954 single family home, ~1000 sq ft, 3 beds/1 bath, plus a 400 sq ft guest cottage which is a studio with its own bath (rented out to a friend). My bf lives in a 1985 townhouse, also ~1000 sq ft, 2 beds/2 bath. We're looking for a townhouse to move into together but the newer construction ones are all so freakin' BIG while the older ones are invariably in need of remodeling.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: CowboyAndIndian on June 23, 2015, 07:31:30 AM
Dream house we built ourselves literally. Earth sheltered, high thermal mass, passive solar heated. Three sides are underground, and the whole south wall is windows looking out over the mountains and the Appalachian trail in the distance.

We're in the middle of 25 acres of old growth forest, no people or human structures visible at all.

The house is one bedroom, but we also each have a home office, the dogs have their own room, and we have a library. We designed the house ourselves as well, so it fits exactly how we use space.

We built for aging in place, wide hallways, walk-in shower, all one level.

There's an open courtyard in the very middle of the house which will become an enclosed atrium and greenhouse space, possibly as soon as this summer but more likely next year. We've not yet decided whether the hot tub goes in the atrium or out on the porch.

We'll work longer because of this place, but not all that much longer because my husband and my father built the place themselves.

Wow!. Would love to see pictures.

Do you also have solar? It should be easy to drop off the grid with a house like this.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Nannooskeeska on June 23, 2015, 08:26:32 AM
I'm currently renting with three other guys for $325/month + utilities and stuff.

We are all college kids in midwest Wisconsin at a state school.

The house is a really old 4-bedroom that used to be a boarding house. It's got a basement, ground floor, and upstairs. The basement has a couple of small creepy rooms that used to be bedrooms, as well as a much larger room with an old coal burner in it and a laundry room. The ground floor has the kitchen, dining room, a bathroom, and two living rooms. Our stairs are actually really cool... there is one half-staircase thing leading to the second living room and the kitchen, then the rest of the stairs to go upstairs. Upstairs are all four of our bedrooms and the other bathroom. There's also a pretty creepy attic (even more so now that we put an old manikin head up there :) ), which is fun to show people.

The house is right next to the Chippewa River, on the Chippewa River State Trail, and we have a huge porch on which we put an big, old futon and a lazy boy chair. It's about 10 blocks from our campus, and that's if we take the trail straight there.

We love our house. It's huge and has tons of space and two of the bedrooms have windows that look out over the river,  mine being one of them.

Also my roommates rock.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: music lover on June 23, 2015, 08:33:58 AM
986 square foot bungalow that I bought as a fixer 18 years ago and have done a ton of renovations...built a large double garage, new kitchen, windows, doors, and flooring, etc. I have also removed a wall to open living space, built a sunroom, and added 3 decks and a fence. I did everything myself except build the kitchen cabinets and pour the pad for the garage. I'm on a nice 1.6 acre lot (116' x 630") on the city's edge with a farmer's field behind me. The fence and deck were designed for privacy...when you sit on the deck you can't see any other houses and have a view of the backyard and farmer's field.

This is my retirement home...I'm never moving.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: alsoknownasDean on June 23, 2015, 08:56:46 AM
I'm renting a small (400 square foot?) 1 bedroom apartment with a small courtyard, in a reasonably inner suburb of Melbourne. It was obviously built a while ago (although I'd guess 1950s or 60s), but the whole apartment block has been renovated in the last decade or two and it's actually quite nice inside as a result. The area I am in is nice and leafy, it's walking distance to public transport and shops, and there's a good bike trail nearby that makes the commute a breeze.

What I like about it is that it's got a nice reasonably modern kitchen (compared to so many other rentals with grubby looking ancient kitchens), the courtyard is useful, there's a secure gate, space to put my bike (and car), and it's in a good convenient area for me. However, I'd rather a little more storage space and it's a bit expensive for my liking.

I'm staying put for the time being. Mostly because I can't be bothered moving. Maybe I'll buy in a couple of years if I can find something that's not obscenely expensive :)
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: abiteveryday on June 23, 2015, 09:07:09 AM
A little ww2 era home in Seattle.    For what it's worth anymore, I have a hard time not wanting to move out into the sticks and pocket a bunch of money.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Vwjedi76 on June 23, 2015, 09:17:08 AM
Pre MMM - 1300 sq ft home in Midwest city, 3 br 3 ba for $140,000. In debt up to eyeballs but was "nice neighborhood".
Currently - 900 sq ft home in Midwest small town. 3 br 1 ba for $37,000.  Smashing debt, hate the house but all our needs are met.

When we are completely out of debt we will move to our "forever home" (the house we will be in until we die, ha ha) but the difference is that the house will be paid for. We anticipate spending around $150,000 for a brick ranch style home with first floor laundry back in our Midwest city of origin, closer to family.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Lyssa on June 23, 2015, 09:34:37 AM
Two people and a cat (hopefully two cats by September) in a four bedroom, two bathroom apartment, comprising two proper floors and a completely renovated attic (this is one of the four bedrooms). It's an old house, remodeled and redesigned by our landlord who happens to ben an architect. It's ridiculously luxurious for two people. We made the decision to move in mostly because unlike 95% of other rentals it feels like a "home" and because we decided its worth working a little longer for.

@ rural: Please post pictures, it sounds really lovely!
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: dantownehall on June 23, 2015, 09:47:43 AM
I'm in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house, somewhere along the axis between a cabin and a Craftsman/arts and crafts/bungalow.  It's at the foot(ish) of a small mountain, in a neighborhood with mostly larger, more expensive houses (bigger and more expensive as you go up the mountain..  That and being in a good school district will hopefully help it appreciate faster than inflation.

The left side of the house as you go in the front door is the two bedrooms and bath, and the entire right half is one big kitchen/living room with a cathedral ceiling.  It's only 1100sq feet, so that keeps bills low.  I rent out the other bedroom, which pays for more than half the mortgage.  It also has a full, unfinished basement (an additional 1100sq feet) that could be turned into 1 or 2 more bedrooms and a bathroom, or den or whatever.

Payment is $700/month (including taxes and insurance), purchase price of $145,000.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Spork on June 23, 2015, 10:27:12 AM

The answer is "It's complicated."

Our housing situation has sort of developed over time. 

We moved into a 30x40 metal shop on 8 acres of land almost 10 years ago.  It had a 600 sqft apartment in it.  We have neighbors on each side, but they pretty much disappear in the forest.

We eventually built a house in front of that.  Some day it will be a 3 bedroom/2.5 bath and is somewhere around 2300 sqft.  We used a builder, but I took the jobs I could do: finish carpentry, paint, tile, flooring, etc.   When the builder walked away, we had the downstairs fully complete and the upstairs unfinished.  This made it (at the time) a 1 bedroom/1.5 bath at about 1700 sqft.

I'm close to finishing all but one room upstairs... I think when I FIRE (9 days from now!) I'll have all but that last room finished in a week or two.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Meggslynn on June 23, 2015, 11:47:14 AM
We have a two storey 2007 built house around 1500 sq ft. Almost finished basement. 3 beds, 3 baths for two adults and one child, and more children in the future. Nice neighborhood full of families.

Decent size backyard. Close to my work, about 30 minutes to my hubbies.

We are hoping it is our forever house until we retire and downsize.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: SeattleStache on June 23, 2015, 12:02:56 PM
I live alone in a 540 sq ft south facing, sunny condo within a 10 - 15 minute walk of most of downtown Seattle, a 20 minute walk to work, and a 10 - 15 minute walk from where I spend most of my social time.  I'm lucky that my mortgage is less than the (quickly rising) rent around here and I plan to ditch the car soon since I am surrounded by Zipcars, traditional car rental agencies, and my place has a 100% transit score, a 98% walk score, and 83% bike score so I can pretty much get anywhere without a car.  The only thing I wish I had was a small deck but I couldn't justify the extra expense when condo shopping.  My building does have a shared rooftop deck and there are a bunch of public parks in the area.  Really appreciate the pared down/simple living.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: TrulyStashin on June 23, 2015, 01:14:22 PM
I LOVE my home -- a 3,000 sq. foot 1963 brick and stone rancher on a 1/2 acre lot. 

It's basically two 1,500 square foot rectangles -- one on top of the other -- with a 2-car garage on the S short end and a screened porch on the N short end, off the family room and my bedroom.  Behind me is all hardwood forest and the way the land rolls away, the neighbor to the N is below my house.  I can stand naked on my screened porch and no one would ever know.  Heh.  I hang laundry out there so this feature comes in handy!

In 2004, it was an estate when I bought it at auction.  It was filthy from cat pee and chain smoking.  It had bad mechanicals, a two-layered failing roof, and original everything.  I bought it because it had good bones and a great location.  I'm the second owner and over the last decade, I've done extensive renovations on the "slow and steady" plan.  When I bought it, I had two and sometimes three kids at home.  It was a wonderful place for them -- they skateboarded in the semi-finished basement, and walked or biked to school, the library, work, or the YMCA.   The brick wall in the basement will always have the strike zone that my son painted on with white-out so he could practice his pitching inside when the weather was lousy.  Note:  that was not authorized and I was mad at the time.  Now, I cherish that reminder of his youth.

In 2013, with just one kid left at home, I renovated the basement so my house is a now a duplex.  The rent pays 3/4 of the mortgage and that's helping me pay off law school student loans.  My son (18) and I live in the upstairs 1,500 square feet.  LOVE:  the massive Tennessee slate fireplace, the beautiful hardwood floors (refinished by ME last year), the floor plan and natural light, and the screened porch.

I'll admit that, when the time comes, it will not be easy to leave this powerful symbol of my badassity.  When I bought it, I had just gotten divorced.  I had never lived on my own and was terrified that I couldn't do it.  In 2003, after my ex moved out, our marital home flooded twice.  I fought for a FEMA grant that bought out that house and once I had confirmation of the buy-out, I got a bridge loan that paid off the old mortgage and let me buy the new one.  My kids and I had been in temporary housing for 18 months but because I was smart and scrappy, we had our "new" home in time for Christmas of 2004 and it has been our rock ever since.

For me, this house is so much more than shelter.

Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Pylon on June 23, 2015, 01:42:57 PM
We live in a 1 1/2 story house with a full basement.  It's listed as a 4-bedroom because of a room in the basement having an appropriate window, but it is all painted concrete block and cement.  The other 3 bedrooms are all upstairs and as is typical of this area and the age of the home, are super hot in the summer and require a window unit to feel remotely liveable.  But we were able to get an obscene amount of space for a much lower price than other areas and it's about 1 mile to my work and 5 or so to my husband's so there are options to commute other than by car.  Also very close to the grocery store we frequent, parks, and libraries.
Title: Re: What is your home like?
Post by: Exflyboy on June 23, 2015, 07:18:16 PM
Live in a 1386 sqft 2/2 house on 5.4 acres with a view of the mountains. The house was 650sq ft, but we remodeled it with out own bare hands.

Property also has a single wide trailer that was new in 1996. Also have a 333 sqft cabin (stick built).. Both of these are rented out.

We keep my Wife's horse on the property as well as two other horses. This gives us a "horse boarding business" which means we get a farm deferral on our RE taxes.

Mortgage was paid off in 2003 (took 6 years by paying the rent in addition to the mortgage payment)  and the total RE taxes are about $2000 a year.

Its got a 36*35 foot shop plus a 3 stall barn.

I don't know what an HOA is and nor do I ever want to find out..:)