Author Topic: Mustachian Housing  (Read 7651 times)

JPatch

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Mustachian Housing
« on: January 19, 2016, 12:49:34 PM »
I'm fairly new here and noticed that while Mustachians save $$ by avoiding new/fancy cars, dining out, and impulse buying, there doesn't seem to be consensus on how much to spend on housing.  If there is, it seems to be to spend lots of $$ on a nice house.

Of course, this varies by geography, but it seems like a lot of Mustachians are not skimping on housing.  I'd think that simple living and FIRE would involve smaller, older houses and staying out of the nicest neighborhoods. 
I live in a lower-income neighborhood, and my mortgage, taxes, and insurance is all of $500 a month.  I have a lot of friends/peers with families doing the same thing.  Seems very Mustachian.  Maybe I'm misreading the forum.  What kinds of housing/neighborhoods do you all live in if you don't mind sharing?

CmFtns

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2016, 12:57:05 PM »
I have kinda noticed this too, but you have to remember that hosing expenses vary wildly by area so that can be kind of confusing if your used to a very low COL area.

Also, I think the general idea that some people have is:
"agressively slash expenses in everything you don't care about so you can spend extravagantly on the few things you do care about."

I also think a lot of mustacians want a nice house because they spend a lot of time at home and want things like a nice kitchen because they do a lot of home cooking so the more luxurious housing situation could give you your taste of luxury at home so you don't go seek it through other avenues. A lot of people can have very nice housing even while saving more than 50%.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 12:58:57 PM by comfyfutons »

bobechs

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2016, 12:59:03 PM »
How about a van, down by the river?

http://www.cheaprvliving.com/forums/Thread-My-2010-Ford-Transit-Connect-conversion?highlight=water

"The idea is simple: Keep my job and get a small, affordable storage unit to use as a walk-in closet for the things I don't want to carry around with me, a gym membership for regular showers and swimming laps on my lunch, and a PO box for my mail.

My job as a corporate coach driver gives me daily access to free WiFi, multiple 120V and 12V power outlets for charging stuff, comfy seats with tables for surfing the Net, and even a bathroom with a flush toilet that somebody else dumps and cleans for me.

The kitchen in the office has a fridge and microwave that I can access 16 hours a day. "

Full disclosure: not me, but there I was reading it with interest.

accolay

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2016, 12:59:48 PM »
I live about 3 bikeable miles from work in a nice neighborhood. I bought this old work-in-progress house in 2011 when I was single for 69k and my mortgage is $557 a month. it will eventually be a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath house (could be 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath house with finished basement.) I think I'll have to put about 20k into it to get it livable for my lady.

GodlessCommie

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2016, 01:24:07 PM »
For a lot of people in accumulation phase it makes sense to live in a HCOL area to get a higher salary. Where I am absolutely cheapest homes in worst neighborhoods are >$200K, 2BR apartments > $1,400/mo. But a wide selection of $100K+ jobs more than makes up for it.

Then there's a question of children and schools. While it makes all the sense in the world to avoid the "Ivy League preschool syndrome", there is a certain threshold below which you are making a disservice to your kid by not moving to a better school district, with more expensive houses.

big_slacker

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2016, 02:06:10 PM »
I'm fairly new here and noticed that while Mustachians save $$ by avoiding new/fancy cars, dining out, and impulse buying, there doesn't seem to be consensus on how much to spend on housing.  If there is, it seems to be to spend lots of $$ on a nice house.

Of course, this varies by geography, but it seems like a lot of Mustachians are not skimping on housing.  I'd think that simple living and FIRE would involve smaller, older houses and staying out of the nicest neighborhoods. 
I live in a lower-income neighborhood, and my mortgage, taxes, and insurance is all of $500 a month.  I have a lot of friends/peers with families doing the same thing.  Seems very Mustachian.  Maybe I'm misreading the forum.  What kinds of housing/neighborhoods do you all live in if you don't mind sharing?

Here it's not about living in a nice neighborhood to keep up with the Joneses. It's living in a nice neighborhood for access to those 100-200k/yr jobs without spending 2+ hours a day sitting in traffic. Also think about kids, I grew up in the hood and I will not have my kids do the same. Or some backwoods low quality redneck school either.

In principal I'd love a working class neighborhood with affordable housing, decent schools and biking distance to the high income jobs. Doesn't seem to exist here without significant compromises so the best bet is to suck it up and pay for the premium for housing but keep the rest of the budget lean.

onlykelsey

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2016, 02:12:18 PM »
For a lot of people in accumulation phase it makes sense to live in a HCOL area to get a higher salary. Where I am absolutely cheapest homes in worst neighborhoods are >$200K, 2BR apartments > $1,400/mo. But a wide selection of $100K+ jobs more than makes up for it.

I'm in this boat.  Bought a tiny condo with expensive issues in Manhattan, but knowing that it was one of few places I can make 100K+ post-tax in my 20s.

Eric

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2016, 02:21:09 PM »
I'm fairly new here and noticed that while Mustachians save $$ by avoiding new/fancy cars, dining out, and impulse buying, there doesn't seem to be consensus on how much to spend on housing.  If there is, it seems to be to spend lots of $$ on a nice house.

Of course, this varies by geography, but it seems like a lot of Mustachians are not skimping on housing.  I'd think that simple living and FIRE would involve smaller, older houses and staying out of the nicest neighborhoods. 
I live in a lower-income neighborhood, and my mortgage, taxes, and insurance is all of $500 a month.  I have a lot of friends/peers with families doing the same thing.  Seems very Mustachian.  Maybe I'm misreading the forum.  What kinds of housing/neighborhoods do you all live in if you don't mind sharing?

First, I'm a life long renter who currently pays 3x your mortgage to rent 500 sq ft, so feel free to dismiss this.  But I think this is framed incorrectly.  Mustachians don't skimp on transportation, they just don't waste money on fancy cars or gas.  Mustachians don't skimp on good food, they just don't pay 7x the price to have someone else prepare it for them.  Mustachians don't skimp on items they'll use (tools, cookware, etc), but they try to buy it for life.  So why skimp on housing when you don't skimp on anything else?

Chris22

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2016, 02:38:01 PM »
Plus, as much as I try not to look at my house as an investment, I'd be a fool to buy something I don't think I can offload reasonably quickly at a reasonable price.  That doesn't mean I buy something overly large and fancy, but it does mean I buy in a desirable area (good schools, geographic desirability) and I buy something with the features other buyers are going to want (ie, a 2br house is always going to be a much tougher sell than a 3br, same with 1ba versus 1.5 or 2, etc).  If I buy in a neighborhood that is undesirable, sure I might get a deal, but I will take it in the shorts on the other side too unless I think I am buying in a gentrifying area, etc. 

honeybbq

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2016, 03:18:05 PM »
I think a lot of it has to do with whether you have a family or not. Neighborhoods don't matter as much if you don't care about the school, you're not going to have boarders or roommates living with you to save money when you have small children in general, etc.

I live in a HCOL area in a place where commuting is a nightmare. 2 income household, one small child. I live close to downtown so my commute is short. My house cost 7 figures. It is large, but not ridiculously McMansion-ey. It fits in well with the neighborhood, where the average house price is in the 750k - 900k range. These are smaller houses (<1500 or 2000 sq feet) as well. Houses just cost a lot here. We have about 700k in equity and owe about 650k.

I wanted to live in a nice neighborhood where there are kids to play with, less traffic, and good public schools, in a reasonable commute to work so I won't spend all my time in the car. We live near the zoo, a park, and a lake that has trails. It has a high walkability score. I can walk my dog at night and not be scared.

When I FIRE/retire, I'll sell my house and laugh all the way to the bank. In the past 2 years alone, the zillow price has gone up 200k alone (houses are going up around 10% per year). I'll buy a much smaller house in the suburbs after my child is grown and I don't have to commute anymore.

I could definitely buy a cheaper house by ~50% if I were willing to commute an hour each way.... but I'm not. I'd probably also be in an area without great schools, too. Not worth it to me.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 03:19:44 PM by honeybbq »

Sailor Sam

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2016, 03:26:56 PM »
To answer your question: I live in 900sf rental condo in North Seattle, specifically the University District. My rent is a painful $1600/month.

I agree that avoiding the higher-cost neighbourhoods might be the most ideal way of livin' la vida moustache. But I don't think mustachians as a whole are saying screwit, and living in unnecessarily expensive housing. It's like the thread on kids taking Uber; you have to be able to keep all the plates in the air. For me, paying through the nose frees me from a 2-3 hours commuting nightmare. Other's might emphasis access to heath care, or schools, or a gym. I recoup some of the difference in rental prices by saving wear and tear on my car. But I'm also paying straight into a quality-of-life-now bucket.

Pricing cars has to take into account more than the MSRP. And the absolute cost of housing has to encompass a large number of factors above sticker price.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 03:29:35 PM by Sailor Sam »

Noodle

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2016, 05:57:15 PM »
There are so many variables to the equation, I don't think you can say one path is Mustachian and the other isn't. Commute times, children in public school, local rents, spouse preferences, whether people are where they plan to stay long-term, concerns about ability to resell...I live in one of those cities where housing prices have been rising fast, and there are very few if any decent working-class neighborhoods with a reasonable drive time to the areas where most people are working. There are expensive neighborhoods, and poor neighborhoods with a lot of challenges (and gentrifying is coming there fast), and that's pretty much it.

Plus, I think a lot of Mustachians are contemplating a future mostly based out of their home once they retire, and they want that home to be nice to spend time in. Others are fine just having a roof and running water and a place to keep stuff. Similar to food--some people just want fuel that is nutritious and relatively inexpensive while others want to experiment, have variety etc.

BPA

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2016, 06:19:37 PM »
Overall in the past year or two forum membership has come to reflect less frugal tendencies than before.

MMM himself downsized to a smaller, less expensive house during the few years he's been blogging.

It's about living a great "middle class" life without the usual middle class trapping of blindly following a consume, consume, consume lifestyle.

ETBen

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2016, 07:03:41 PM »
For me its the same as some others, the hcol area. I would argue there are fine neighborhoods that are in more affordable areas here that people might find sketchy. But I need to be close to the kids father, so past life choices impact things too.

Also, cheaper housing can bring a hefty commute. I never understand people who move farther out for the yard, the price, etch. But then the dad or both commute 1.5-2hrs one way and don't get family time. And probably do so in a big gas gu$$ling vehicle.

Greenroller

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2016, 09:04:24 PM »
I know a lot of friends and family thought we were crazy when we chose to downsize from a beautiful large mountain home on acreage for a home half its size on 1/3 acre lot. We never regretted that decision. The time we save on comutting to work, the great school district we are in and endless activities around the corner for our children are just a few reasons we did it. Living in a big house always left me with this feeling of wastfulness. Where we are now feels just right. Some would still look at it and claim its not as mustachian as it could be, but I feel great about it. It's a home with enough space to raise our kids in, but not too much that once they fly the coop we won't be feeling like its just the two of us is this big house. Both my husband and I can bike to work, have lots of open space outside our door and the ease of amenities and healthcare nearby. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

tobitonic

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2016, 09:07:15 PM »
We bought a house ~2x our projected income on a 15-year with the intention of paying it off early. Income increased, paid it off in 3. No regrets.

steviesterno

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2016, 05:41:48 AM »
i think mustachianism is more about quality of life than quantity. Could I save a bunch of money buy living way out in the sticks and commuting in a moped? Sure. but being 20 minutes away from home rather than the average hour plus of all my co-workers makes me happy. I don't want to spend my life on the road every morning, and I want to have dinner at home every night. so the location was one of the prime motivators for me.

I have a chance to live for free in a super LCOL area in the woods in pennsylvania. but, i would lose access to real schools, it snows there a lot, and my salary would go down by probably 60%. now I can walk or bike to flea markets and organic grocery stores, and enjoy the area we live.

MandalayVA

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2016, 08:40:18 AM »
Being DINKs back in 2011 Mr. Mandalay and I downsized from a four-bedroom 2000 s.f. Colonial pile in the 'burbs to a (still pretty spacious) 1300 s.f. condo in the city.  We get a break on property taxes since the condo's located in a national historic district, and we paid it off in 2014.  It's close to our jobs, parks, stores and restaurants.  Doesn't get much better than that.

mm1970

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2016, 11:29:35 AM »
I'm fairly new here and noticed that while Mustachians save $$ by avoiding new/fancy cars, dining out, and impulse buying, there doesn't seem to be consensus on how much to spend on housing.  If there is, it seems to be to spend lots of $$ on a nice house.

Of course, this varies by geography, but it seems like a lot of Mustachians are not skimping on housing.  I'd think that simple living and FIRE would involve smaller, older houses and staying out of the nicest neighborhoods. 
I live in a lower-income neighborhood, and my mortgage, taxes, and insurance is all of $500 a month.  I have a lot of friends/peers with families doing the same thing.  Seems very Mustachian.  Maybe I'm misreading the forum.  What kinds of housing/neighborhoods do you all live in if you don't mind sharing?
Small, old house: 2BR, 1BA, 1100 sf, no attic, no basement, no garage. Small city lot (5227 sq ft).  There's a house in the back (owned by someone else), so the driveway to his house is "our land" but of course, he has ingress/egress, so it's unusable.  (Making the lot even smaller.)  Built in the 40's.  Crappy school district (we transfer to a slightly less crappy one). But nice neighbors.  Houses built from the 20's to the 60's, with some additions in the 80s till now (lots of infill in the early days, and lot splits).

Oh, but Coastal So Cal.  If I tried to sell it, would probably get around $700-750k.  (less than we paid for it, btw)

It's the essentially the very bottom of the single family home market.  Anything cheaper is going to be a condo.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2016, 11:44:32 AM by mm1970 »

coppertop

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2016, 12:36:20 PM »
I believe we have a Mustachian house.  Small brick cape built in 1950.  When we purchased in 2006, it still had the original bathtub, stove, sink, boiler, hot water heater, Kelvinator refrigerator, etc.  We have been slowly replacing those things, mostly through my husband's sweat equity.  We have had to hire out some things, such as installation of the high-efficiency gas boiler (the old boiler was oil-fired).  We still have a lot of work to do, but the house mortgage is paid off.  We have a nice, large, level lot where we grow a lot of our vegetables.  We live in an area where we can hang laundry outside and change our oil in the driveway.  We could not do that at the condo where we previously lived.  Neighborhood is semi-rural - there is a farm across the street, more housing like ours on our side of the street, and McMansions in back of us.  We live an extremely frugal lifestyle.  No cable, dish, etc., but we do have high-speed internet. 

meadow lark

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2016, 01:05:47 PM »
100 yo adobe downtown, walking distance to grocery shop, coffee shop, bank, post office.  2.5 miles to my and DW's job.  2 bed/1 bath. 1000 sq ft.  Full of charm, character.  Very much our aesthetic. Need about $20k more in remodel to really help it out.  Cost $105k, which is 2/3 of a years gross income for us.  Planning on turning it into a rental when we FIRE.  Small city lot.  Lovely neighbors.  Kind of sketchy neighborhood, but gentrifying.

I think it is mustachian because it fits us well.  If we didn't have dogs we could get a condo for less, but not as close to work.

andy85

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2016, 01:13:09 PM »
I'm fairly new here and noticed that while Mustachians save $$ by avoiding new/fancy cars, dining out, and impulse buying, there doesn't seem to be consensus on how much to spend on housing.  If there is, it seems to be to spend lots of $$ on a nice house.

Of course, this varies by geography, but it seems like a lot of Mustachians are not skimping on housing.  I'd think that simple living and FIRE would involve smaller, older houses and staying out of the nicest neighborhoods. 
I live in a lower-income neighborhood, and my mortgage, taxes, and insurance is all of $500 a month.  I have a lot of friends/peers with families doing the same thing.  Seems very Mustachian.  Maybe I'm misreading the forum.  What kinds of housing/neighborhoods do you all live in if you don't mind sharing?
Small, old house: 2BR, 1BA, 1100 sf, no attic, no basement, no garage. Small city lot (5227 sq ft).  There's a house in the back (owned by someone else), so the driveway to his house is "our land" but of course, he has ingress/egress, so it's unusable.  (Making the lot even smaller.)  Built in the 40's.  Crappy school district (we transfer to a slightly less crappy one). But nice neighbors.  Houses built from the 20's to the 60's, with some additions in the 80s till now (lots of infill in the early days, and lot splits).

Oh, but Coastal So Cal.  If I tried to sell it, would probably get around $700-750k.  (less than we paid for it, btw)

It's the essentially the very bottom of the single family home market.  Anything cheaper is going to be a condo.
fffff....west coast housing blows my freaking mindhole!

3bed, 1 bath, 925sqft slab house. vinyl siding. C+ neighborhood. Less than 1/4 acre lot, big ass 2.5 car garage with a massive loft and its own heat/ac unit. 8 miles from work. a few miles to the grocery. (main 2 places i go lol)

Bought a few months ago for 92k...PITI is $557/month
I'm single, so that is about 2 years of salary for me at the moment.

Guesl982374

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2016, 01:14:41 PM »
...there doesn't seem to be consensus on how much to spend on housing.  If there is, it seems to be to spend lots of $$ on a nice house...

I've seen threads where people typically spend between 1-2.5x their income on a house. In a HCOL area with a high two income household, a $500K+ house may seem expensive but its still significantly less than what the couple might be able to afford. EX. My wife and I could have purchased a seven figure+ house according to the bank, we ended up buying 1/4 to 1/3 of what we qualified for.

Of course, this varies by geography...

Hit the nail on the head. I would also add in family size.

What kinds of housing/neighborhoods do you all live in if you don't mind sharing?

We live in the greater Boston area, nicer town, oversized 2Br condo where most friends and family have purchased  3-4br+ houses. We paid roughly 50% of what others have paid for their houses.

As others have pointed out, spend money on what you value/find happiness in and cut/eliminate things that don't.

ohana

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2016, 01:23:38 PM »
We just downsized from a clownishly large 4 BR to a tiny 2 BR condo, in the process eliminating our mortgage.  Both places were very close to work, so no commute is necessary.  My monthly housing expenses are $450 total (although I expect we will have months where this is more). 

By moving to a tiny place we freed ourselves from the slavery of one job.

We are spending a little money making said tiny condo really lux.  Quality over quantity.

To me, a mustachian house involves minimal commute and maximal money saving, all while being comfortable and easy to take care of (however you interpret that).

mm1970

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2016, 04:28:45 PM »
I'm fairly new here and noticed that while Mustachians save $$ by avoiding new/fancy cars, dining out, and impulse buying, there doesn't seem to be consensus on how much to spend on housing.  If there is, it seems to be to spend lots of $$ on a nice house.

Of course, this varies by geography, but it seems like a lot of Mustachians are not skimping on housing.  I'd think that simple living and FIRE would involve smaller, older houses and staying out of the nicest neighborhoods. 
I live in a lower-income neighborhood, and my mortgage, taxes, and insurance is all of $500 a month.  I have a lot of friends/peers with families doing the same thing.  Seems very Mustachian.  Maybe I'm misreading the forum.  What kinds of housing/neighborhoods do you all live in if you don't mind sharing?
Small, old house: 2BR, 1BA, 1100 sf, no attic, no basement, no garage. Small city lot (5227 sq ft).  There's a house in the back (owned by someone else), so the driveway to his house is "our land" but of course, he has ingress/egress, so it's unusable.  (Making the lot even smaller.)  Built in the 40's.  Crappy school district (we transfer to a slightly less crappy one). But nice neighbors.  Houses built from the 20's to the 60's, with some additions in the 80s till now (lots of infill in the early days, and lot splits).

Oh, but Coastal So Cal.  If I tried to sell it, would probably get around $700-750k.  (less than we paid for it, btw)

It's the essentially the very bottom of the single family home market.  Anything cheaper is going to be a condo.
fffff....west coast housing blows my freaking mindhole!

3bed, 1 bath, 925sqft slab house. vinyl siding. C+ neighborhood. Less than 1/4 acre lot, big ass 2.5 car garage with a massive loft and its own heat/ac unit. 8 miles from work. a few miles to the grocery. (main 2 places i go lol)

Bought a few months ago for 92k...PITI is $557/month
I'm single, so that is about 2 years of salary for me at the moment.

Ha ha yeah, it took me awhile after I moved here to really accept the cost of living.  I grew up in rural PA, and my dad's house sold for $65k, on an acre, after he died.

But hey, Santa Barbara man... Sunset Magazine's #1 place to live...

http://www.sunset.com/travel/best-small-towns-to-live-in

use2betrix

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2016, 04:36:08 PM »
One thing you have to realize is that housing is not the same type of depreciating asset as a car. Most people view them as investments, so if you spend it a bit more you really aren't throwing your money away the same.

Personally, I live in a 42' 5th wheel full time with my wife and dog. We travel for my contract work all over the country. In most places 3-4 months to a year+. We're young (27 and 22) so it's only a temporary situation that I expect to change in the next 6-8 years.

slugsworth

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2016, 12:21:37 PM »
Jacob at ERE says $300/mo (if I'm remembering correctly) as a hard maximum.  For me, I've decided that paying as little as I can while getting a place I'm still happy about is key.

Specifically, I did what you said, "smaller, older houses and staying out of the nicest neighborhoods" by buying a fixer upper in a blue collar neighborhood in Seattle during the R.E. crash. In my opinion the quality of life is key.

Rewdoalb

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2016, 05:15:16 PM »
PITI of $257, plus $25k on renovation. It's similar to the guy in CA but with another bedroom and a small basement. Also 1/10 the price. Good location in LCOL area. Hoping to stick around until the future kids start needing elbow room.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2016, 09:55:26 PM »
Well the way I see it, is that cheap housing a long way from the city might be cheap, but it has other external costs with a commute (both in commuting cost and time).

I'm not prepared to spend what people are asking for inner-suburbs houses, so I'm left with the choice between a one bedroom apartment near the city or a house in the outer suburbs. I'm currently renting a one bedroom apartment because I prefer living near public transport to driving everywhere.

AMandM

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2016, 10:36:32 PM »
Two years ago, we moved from a 4br house on 1/3 acre to a 4br house on 1/8 acre.  The new house is older (built 1940 instead of 1963) and smaller, it cost what the first house sold for (so, with transaction costs and higher property taxes, we lost money), and the neighborhood is scruffier.  My in-laws were horrified.  But the new location shortens DH's and DD's commute by an hour or more a day, our younger kids can walk or ride bikes to tons of friends' houses, we're on public transit, and the community of people is fantastic.

Abel

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #30 on: January 24, 2016, 12:52:38 AM »
One thing you have to realize is that housing is not the same type of depreciating asset as a car. Most people view them as investments, so if you spend it a bit more you really aren't throwing your money away the same.

Personally, I live in a 42' 5th wheel full time with my wife and dog. We travel for my contract work all over the country. In most places 3-4 months to a year+. We're young (27 and 22) so it's only a temporary situation that I expect to change in the next 6-8 years.

I would add to this that the "investment" aspect of a home is not purely financial. Consider the location as a means to *invest* your time and talents into a local community - time not squandered commuting is time that can be spent serving others or spending time with family. This may not boost compensation but it surely makes you and others lives' richer.

Additionally, I think there is a real distortion in the amount of square footage and occupants that is considered "normal" for a house in the United States today. Looking at historical trends, even our "small homes" are mansions, with huge square footage relative to occupancy by historical comparison. Even in urban areas with smaller homes / apartments and smaller amounts of square footage...I think there can be a ton of happiness and personal growth that comes from embracing the discomfort of sharing a smaller space, in addition to the financial benefits. If you have the disposition for it (or can work on cultivating that disposition!) it can be a great thing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/realestate/married-with-roommates.html?_r=0

steviesterno

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #31 on: January 24, 2016, 05:18:59 AM »
good point, it's not just investing money. It's investing in the community, in putting down roots (if you're so inclined) and enjoying time. Personally, I want a garage shop to tinker and build, and a lot of the home improvement or maintenance projects are a fun hobby! I mow the lawn with a reel mower, work up a sweat and enjoy it. This summer I plan on ripping out the wood deck and putting up an outdoor kitchen. Should be under $1000 for everything needed, take a few weeks of part time work, and in the end I hope to have a beautiful place to cook and hang out with the family. It MAY be cheaper and it's certainly easier to rent, but where we are it is actually cheaper for us to own a home that's twice the size of our rented apartment. Plus, it's my little piece of earth, and I like it.

you can still make good decisions and save money or make investments. Hell we've updated everything ourselves over the last 18 months, spending under $3000 total. In that same time, the house has gone up $40k. I would do unforgivable things to turn 3 into 40.

I might not make a fortune with the house, and could lose some if things go poorly, but we did a ton of research and that's not super likely. We bought less house than we could afford, DINK at the time, but can swing one income with the kid we're having any day now, so not too worried about losing it all.

I didn't get a nickel back from the places I've rented in the last decade. At least now I have a chance.

big_slacker

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #32 on: January 24, 2016, 06:48:34 AM »
Additionally, I think there is a real distortion in the amount of square footage and occupants that is considered "normal" for a house in the United States today. Looking at historical trends, even our "small homes" are mansions, with huge square footage relative to occupancy by historical comparison. Even in urban areas with smaller homes / apartments and smaller amounts of square footage...I think there can be a ton of happiness and personal growth that comes from embracing the discomfort of sharing a smaller space, in addition to the financial benefits. If you have the disposition for it (or can work on cultivating that disposition!) it can be a great thing.

Absolutely! The house I grew up in is close to a hundred years old and around 1000 sq ft. We had 6 people, 2 adults and 4 boys there. 1 bathroom, no shower. There was a heavy bag, gloves and weight set in the entry vestibule that we moved around as needed/when not in use. Sparring in the living room, just move the furniture. :D

We slept in bunk beds till our teens when we built out 2 rooms in the basement. I know some will think this is 3rd world sounding, but I never felt the place was too small growing up. In fact when I go back and visit my parents with my kids we still have 6 people in it and it just feels cozy.

When we go back and visit family in Poland, some of the relatives live in flats where the kids have a bedroom and the parents sleep on a pull out couch every night. Not everyone lives like this but plenty do and it's not a sign of destitution over there.

I'm currently looking at houses in the HCOL area I'm in. 1200-1400 sq ft is fine for me and my wife agrees. We only have 2 kids, how much space do you need? I'm sure many in the area consider that a shack, but I'm happy about a halfway affordable mortgage. ;)


justajane

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Re: Mustachian Housing
« Reply #33 on: January 24, 2016, 07:51:00 AM »
We live in an inner suburb of a major Midwestern city. We paid 165K in 2007 (damn it!) for the house when it was a 2 bed/1 bath. House was 1100 sq ft, lot is 7500 sq ft. We built a 75K addition on the back a few years ago, so now the house is 1600 sq ft (3 bed/2 bath) with a brand new basement with a roughed in bathroom to eventually finish. Midwesterners love their basements! We paid for the addition in cash, as well as paid off a second mortgage we originally took out. So our current mortgage payment on a house worth about 210K (just a guesstimate) is 1K with taxes. 

As far as the neighborhood, it is highly sought after. It was already on the upswing when we bought and now has exploded. Houses don't stay on the market for more than a week. The schools district is getting better. We call this our "feet first" house, so the upswing is immaterial to us financially but wonderful for our daily lives. My only worry is that it is becoming too upscale. Since we moved here our small downtown has acquired a second brewery, four new local coffee shops, a local bookstore, a motorcycle shop, several expensive restaurants, a local garden shop, a chocolate store, a fancy olive oil and vinegar store, a vape store, a piano bar, a pinball lounge for adults. Up and coming are a beard grooming shop (yes, really....hipsters, you know) and a cat cafe.  It's awesome and overwhelming at the same time. But, hey, I'm not complaining.