steadyeddy wrote:1) We haven't settled on an exact location, but are looking at homes built in the 1920's, 1950's, and 1980's depending on the neighborhood. If the price of each home is $300k, what percentage of the purchase price should I budget for each home for annual home maintenance?
steadyeddy wrote:2) Are property taxes somehow arbitrary? Where can I learn how these are calculated? Using Zillow's public record property tax information (stop me here if this is my problem) I'm seeing one home with a tax basis of $300k with $3k in property taxes, and another home two blocks away with a tax basis of $200k and $4k in property taxes. Same city, county, schools, etc. This is a mystery I would like to solve.
steadyeddy wrote:3) What are the "unknown unknowns" I might not know enough to ask about or include in our budget?
steadyeddy wrote:4) Lastly, I'll throw you all a curveball. The motivation to purchase is primarily financial rather than a lifestyle decision--we don't really care if we own the space or rent it at this point in our lives. With interest rates so low, our rent payment is about a 40% premium to PITI (not total cost) on a similar townhouse. To me that seems like too much money to ignore, but am I breaking a boglehead cardinal rule by thinking about purchasing a house as merely a financial decision? More importantly, am I fooling myself for thinking that some of a 40% spread between rent and PITI might end end up in my pocket when it's all said and done?
The Wizard wrote:As time goes on, the spread between renting and buying gets bigger, since you've locked in your mortgage payment.
livesoft wrote:Let's contrast two different homeowners that live next door to each other, Family A and Family B:
A mows and edges their own yard. B pays for a yard crew. C knocks the weeds down when they are over 2 feet high.
A plants flowers and trims the bushes themselves. B hires a landscape architect to do this for them. C calls the weeds flowers.
A fertilizes themselves. B pays for the yard crew to do this. C Let's the neighborhood dogs fertilize the weeds.
A maintains their pool themselves. B pays for a pool crew. C has greenish water in the pool
A fixes things like thermocouples for water heaters. B pays for a top-notch repairperson to do this. C buys the cheapest water heater at home depot and leaves the box on the doorstep for months.
A paints the house inside and out every 5 to 10 years. B pays a contractor to paint. C never repaints (inside or outside)
A cleans the carpets themselves. B hires a carpet cleaner. C never cleans (or replaces) the carpet
A uses re-usable filters in the HVAC system. B buys new filters every month. C what's a filter?
A knows how to replace the toilet parts. B hires plumber for any minor toilet leak. C house has more than one toilet
A puts out rat poison in the attic for $4. B hires a pest control company. C the rats won't even come near the house
A maintains thermostat at 68 deg in winter and 78 deg in summer. B uses 75 in winter and 70 in summer. C goes to friends house when it is too hot or too cold
And so on.
For example, if we are going to spend $200 on Maintenance many times we will take a step back and go for the superior item, or a modern style, thus costing more.
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