Author Topic: What to do regarding housing and relocating?  (Read 2491 times)

Spruit

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What to do regarding housing and relocating?
« on: November 27, 2012, 09:49:33 AM »
Hello all, I'm new on this forum and could really use your collective insights, because my brain is a bit fogged by trying to factor in everything and make a 'good' decision. Help (or face punching if necessary) is very welcome!

This is the situation:
I'm a graduate student right now, renting a cheap government subsidized student complex (in the Netherlands, I'm dutch). I live together with my boyfriend for five years, who has had a job for about a year and a half now. It's a stable job and likes his job and workplace. However, he works at a school in the middle of nowhere (public transportation-wise) and drives 80 km a day to get there. He hates his commute and would love to move closer to work. Because I will graduate beginning 2013, we will be forced to move from campus before June 2014. I have a very temporary job right now, will end by January.
I would love to move closer to his job, but.... I do not have a car (don't want one either), and would thus require a house within a village max. 30 min. biking from a train station. Rents are pricy in that area (think: three times what we are renting for now). This is due to a very small supply of houses, mostly big houses with equivalent big rents. With our current income, we would not be able to apply for such a house.
Other option would be to buy a house. I calculated that living expenses would be less in this case compared to renting (but more than what we pay in rent now). We are both a bit risk averse and fear for a further market decline, leaving us possibly 'under water' on our mortgage. Buying without a mortgage as a 20 something on dutch housing market is only an option for some lucky few (not us unfortunately), because prices are about 6 times (moderate) yearly income. We have never lived in one of the villages we are considering. No clue how it would be to live there, thus further increasing the risk of being 'stuck' with a unsalable house if village life somehow doesn't work out for us.

I have a cash amount of 25K saved up from my student loans (borrowed at 1.39% from government, on a private savingsaccount earning 2.4%), and I would like to invest this in a house to bring down the mortgage. I would rather pay interest to the state than to a bank, cause (bank) mortgage interests are about 5% here in the Netherlands.

My question:
What is wise for us when we are going to move? Rent or buy, what location? Stay here as long as we can or move as fast as possible?

I really hope you guys can help me figure this out :)

cthulhu

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Re: What to do regarding housing and relocating?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2012, 10:35:51 AM »
Hi,

I have some thoughts - i wouldn't pretend they are the right answers but its what i would be considering...

I would not be in a huge rush to leave the current housing, I don't think you want to make this decision in haste.  What are your job prospects after you graduate - and where would those jobs be?  You don't want to move closer to his "middle of nowhere" job and then discover you've just given yourself an 80km commute as a result.  I'd probably wait on moving until you had some idea where you were going to be looking for work so you don't end up tied to a house in an inconvenient place.

Can you share a rental house with other roomates?  It might be an option to rent one of the big places in the village if you had another set of people to do it with, and you make the houses sound big enough that wouldn't result in over-crowding.

I would probably want to find a way to rent somewhere in a village before buying - village life, especially without a car, is probably going to be a big change and the thought it might not work out for you is a real risk - better not to be tied to owning property if it might not work out personally, even leaving aside the thought of being underwater.  i guess a way around this is if the rental market in these places is strong and you don't mind being a landlord you could have that as backup exit strategy that might not cost too much.

I guess I would wait another 6months or so and see what the post-graduate life looks like before committing to a new locale - save all the money you can with the cheap rent up til then and you'll be in a better spot to put down a bigger downpayment, or if you ended up needing to buy a car or scooter, or whatever moving expenses you incur etc....

Al

Gerard

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Re: What to do regarding housing and relocating?
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2012, 11:23:43 AM »
Lots of wisdom from Cthulhu, I think. It seems like the only thing *immediately* wrong with your current situation is your fella's long commute, and you definitely don't want to get stuck with a badly-located or potentially-underwater home just to deal with that.

One (non-ideal) solution might be that he finds a tiny cheap room for rent in a house very close to his workplace, and come home to you for weekends. I've done this in the past, and found that I got all my work and preparation and errands done during my work-place days, leaving my with-my-sweetie days completely free.

Spruit

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Re: What to do regarding housing and relocating?
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2012, 09:11:30 AM »
Thanks guys for your thoughtful response. I recognize that I should not overrush this; it's in my nature to want to start 'fixing' things asap. Once I have a plan dotted out, I feel more at ease. A little patience will likely help a lot!
My experience is that commuting  isn't such a big problem for me (I already travel about two hours a day for 3 days a week. No problem). But of course, I get to relax and read on the train, and some fresh air / exercise while biking, while he has to be alert but immobile in the car. Poor thing ;)
If I understand correctly, the right thing to do right now is just start staching like hell and graduate asap. Living apart in the mean while would not be an improvement for us I think. After a long day of work we both need to hang out together and talk to fellow adults to recharge.
Okay, now I'm going back to work on that graduating thing. Thanks again!