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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Real Estate and Landlording => Topic started by: NumberCruncher on May 09, 2013, 06:58:09 AM

Title: Cheaper house, close to work, "needs work" -- options?
Post by: NumberCruncher on May 09, 2013, 06:58:09 AM
It is insane how much houses around here cost, and rent is even crazier. (I grew up in the Middle of Nowhere, USA)

There is this house we saw that is 3.5 miles from my work, <1 mile from husband's work, and close to groceries/park, easily bikeable distance to the closest library/town center. Husband does not want to bike on the nearby busy streets, so being walking distance from his work is fantastic. In addition, the house is listed at $290k (being sold as is) and has 1,200 sqft, more than enough. In the immediate area there are several other homes on the market, all for 400-some-thousand or more. The house is all one floor, no basement, fairly big yard (for the area ~ possible to expand).

BUT it's an awkward house that hasn't been cared for the is really small and cramped with the washer and dryer taking up 1/4 of the room, questionable-looking carpet, all the screens on the window need to be replaced, some shortcuts used in maintenance (and the renter didn't seem to take the best care of it). The biggest problem I see is the kitchen - it's in a corner with two walls touching the living area- the nonsupporting wall would obviously be easier to remove, but on the other side is a door that leads into the backyard and windows that don't match the one in the kitchen. The other wall would work best  to remove from an interior decorating perspective, but would be much more $$ to change. Now that I'm thinking of it, I'm pretty sure the right side of the kitchen touches one of the bedrooms - we would gladly sacrifice a bedroom for moar kitchen. That's the same wall the washer/dryer are hooked up to, though, so there would be some pipes and electrical to deal with.

We love cooking, and we would love to have more than two countertops...given that we know next to nothing about remodeling and home maintenance, does it at all make sense to make an offer and take on the task of making the house work for us? Why don't houses have owner's manuals?
Title: Re: Cheaper house, close to work, "needs work" -- options?
Post by: citrine on May 09, 2013, 07:40:25 AM
I would look for something else that didn't require so much work.  We bought a house that needed a lot of work and DH is very handy...even then it was a HUGE pain in the arse and we spent about 30K in renovations (20K was central air, upgrading of voltage, and fence).  If you are not handy at all, it will cost a lot more to hire the labor and some of the "handymen" are quite a sham.
Do you NEED to buy a house or do you WANT to buy a house?
Title: Re: Cheaper house, close to work, "needs work" -- options?
Post by: NumberCruncher on May 09, 2013, 09:10:06 AM
Oh, it's definitely a WANT, not a NEED, but it would save money vs renting in the long haul according to NY Times rent vs buy calculator (probably 90-95% confident will stay here for the next ten years or so), in addition to giving us more autonomy (read: pets). We were guessing maybe 50k for an overhaul of the kitchen/flooring/painting, but that kind of ready cash is probably best spent on index funds...

I think at this point we'll rent (month-to-month if we can) to get a better feeling of the area/be able to better assess location. There are many houses and apartments 2-3 miles from my husband's work and 5-6 miles from my work that are cheaper, but we're not sure if we'd actually be able to bike that daily yet (crazy drivers, small roads, high speeds).

Thanks for your input, citrine!