spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

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aj44
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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by aj44 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:05 am

If location is weighted so high have you considered renting? Depending on the local market it may be a better deal than buying and give you the location/space you desire.

If you are determined to buy I would go with the cheaper option, 23% is higher than I would want allocated to housing, $800 goes a long way to retirement savings. Also remember that real estate can crash, if you have a more expensive house you potentially have more room to be trapped and have to bring more to the table to sell if you need to move.

I also think Happy Wife, Happy Life is a poor way to manage a relationship, marriage should be compromise, have a discussion on what is best for both of you and make the best decision possible on the information you have today.

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Tamarind
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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Tamarind » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:04 am

I'm torn on this one.

On one hand, I currently pay 23% of gross for my home, which is 40 years old and will need a significant reno at some point. Now that's just my income (I bought while single), a 15-year, and my income is less than half of yours with a correspondingly cheaper house. But when I made the decision it seemed nuts and I did it to get a location and a paid-off house quick (I'll be 40). The commute argument is really compelling to me also. I'm tempted to say that if you can afford without stopping maxing out your tax deferred space, then go for it.

On the other hand, you both seem fixated on new or newish construction. I bet you could get what you want for less with an older house. I actually prefer older - as someone above said you know where it's going to settle - and you are also going to get a generally higher standard of construction in most cases esp if you are looking at subdivisions. If you haven't already you may want to list your wants for both of you, then prioritize them and score houses based on how well they check all the boxes, including a comfortable price. And for goodness sake look at some older but renovated houses.

staythecourse
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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by staythecourse » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:30 am

whodidntante wrote:My house payment is 11.3% of my gross income, and I am sure that I have too much house.


Or maybe... You make a lot of money or live in a LCOLA or don'th have a large family or ....

That is the problem with using percentages. They are meant as GUIDES yet folks treat it as a Holy Bible.

Different strokes for different people.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

walkindude
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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by walkindude » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:54 am

whodidntante wrote:My house payment is 11.3% of my gross income, and I am sure that I have too much house.

My house payment is now 8% of my gross income - started out at 30%. Thank God for career advancement and inflation!

orca91
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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by orca91 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:12 am

Go Blue 99 wrote:We've toured a home that hits all of the check marks for both of us. It also has other nice attributes such as being next to a large park and being in a top school district. This is a "wow" house for both of us. The issue is, even after putting 20% down, the PITI + HOA would be a whopping 23% of our monthly gross income. We make just over $200k and have no debt, so there would still be plenty of money left over. But we live in MCOL so this isn't an area where you need to spend 23% of gross.


I really don't see an issue at all. It's the wow house for both of you and you can afford it easily.... buy it. :happy

I bought a new house last year... new build. I had a horrible experience with one builder over timelines and all, and had to get a lawyer involved to get out of the contract. That builder finally agreed to drop the contract and I went to another builder. Nothing but wonderful things to say about that builder... right on time, well built, good oversight on site, etc. Some of the comments about new construction might be right on depending on the builder. But, there are good builders out there also. It can be a bit of a crap shoot.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by stoptothink » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:28 am

We bought our first home just over a year ago. At the time, this wasn't an issue, but I can foresee it being in the future. At time of purchase, price was 1.4x annual income (with a promotion and another raise, it is now 1.1x) and it was pretty much everything we were looking for. Walking commute for me, <5min commute for her, nice neighborhood, enough space, nice finishes, two-car garage, the nicest home that either of us has ever lived in, and a 15yr mortgage is doable on either one of our incomes...But as our incomes have quickly risen, she's shown some pretty big signs of wanting a bigger home (ie. making some comments that maybe this isn't our "forever home, commenting that it would be really nice to have a basement). The home perfectly meets our needs and it would be next to impossible to find something that she would consider our "forever home" that still allows our amazing commutes, which is hugely important for me. I made her promise that "upgrading" wouldn't even be a consideration until we had this one paid off, or a move was necessitated by a change in jobs.

You can afford it. PITI at 23% of gross is probably right around the norm, but as someone with a similar household income (and obviously way less home, by price at least), in my mind it would be next to impossible to construct a home which would be worth an extra $800/month for 30yrs to me - maybe if it came with a world-class garage/basement gym and a new exotic sports car every few years. So many things I can do with an extra $800/month+ that outweigh some nicer finishes. But that is me, and a house is little more than a place to sleep for me. You guys have to come together and decide what that "wow" home is worth to you.

Rodc
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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Rodc » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:28 pm

stoptothink wrote:We bought our first home just over a year ago. At the time, this wasn't an issue, but I can foresee it being in the future. At time of purchase, price was 1.4x annual income (with a promotion and another raise, it is now 1.1x) and it was pretty much everything we were looking for. Walking commute for me, <5min commute for her, nice neighborhood, enough space, nice finishes, two-car garage, the nicest home that either of us has ever lived in, and a 15yr mortgage is doable on either one of our incomes...But as our incomes have quickly risen, she's shown some pretty big signs of wanting a bigger home (ie. making some comments that maybe this isn't our "forever home, commenting that it would be really nice to have a basement). The home perfectly meets our needs and it would be next to impossible to find something that she would consider our "forever home" that still allows our amazing commutes, which is hugely important for me. I made her promise that "upgrading" wouldn't even be a consideration until we had this one paid off, or a move was necessitated by a change in jobs.

You can afford it. PITI at 23% of gross is probably right around the norm, but as someone with a similar household income (and obviously way less home, by price at least), in my mind it would be next to impossible to construct a home which would be worth an extra $800/month for 30yrs to me - maybe if it came with a world-class garage/basement gym and a new exotic sports car every few years. So many things I can do with an extra $800/month+ that outweigh some nicer finishes. But that is me, and a house is little more than a place to sleep for me. You guys have to come together and decide what that "wow" home is worth to you.


I am of the same mindset. My wife went through that phase as well and while I generally am a compromising sort I, and later she, we're glad I held the line.

For the OP:

Short commute, especially if one has children is so great. I walked the kids to school every day when little then walked over to work. If they had a play or were sick I would walk back. An 8 hour work day really only took 8 hours. Priceless. I had to buy a smaller house to get the short commute but I would do it again in a heartbeat. This argues somewhat for the nicer house (though 15 minutes is not a really big difference).

23% of gross is not wildly high, and if you see incomes rising will go down. However if I had to guess that is closer to 35% of take home pay. And on the flip side I know many people who did not get the rising income they counted on and 35% of take home can become a really big number if one of you gets into some employment downgrade. Seen it happen. Only you know your employment risk.

Having plenty of cash flow is fabulous. Car breaks down you just pay it without thinking (unless a horrific repair), you decide on a whim, hey let's take a little mini vacation this coming three day weekend since the weather is going to be so nice! Plenty of money to save for college. Whatever, having the extra $800 can make life nicer and easier. And it just reduces background stress.

Buying a forever house keeps you from selling and buying and moving multiple times which can save serious money. On the other hand you pay top dollar for prop tax and maintenance you really did not need to pay if you start with more house than you need.

So there you have it, pick which side of the argument you want and selectively chose what you want from the above pros and cons to support the predetermined decision! :)
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

psteinx
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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by psteinx » Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:12 pm

Go Blue 99 wrote:My ideal scenario would be to buy a 3-5 yr old house in the prime area we want. However, the vast majority of homes in that area are 20-30 years old. I've only found a couple that are 10 yrs old.

Houses aren't like cars. Folks who buy new houses don't "trade them in" or have them come off-lease in 3 years. Yes, of course some people move for various reasons after 3 years or less. But overall, I suspect that in an area where building rates have been relatively consistent, that the inventory of new builds and subdivision lots where you can contract for a new build is significantly larger than the inventory of 3-5 year old houses on the market. When you add to that that 3-5 years ago, new home construction was just starting to emerge from a deep recession, I suspect this situation is even more pronounced at the moment, in most parts of the US.

cusetownusa
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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by cusetownusa » Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:28 pm

Watty wrote:A couple of factors;


3) There is a phenomena in new subdivision where the first owners often bond and make friends more than in existing subdivisions because they tend to have kids that are similar ages and also tend to be in the same stage of life. Sociologists have studied this. When I was a kid my family moved into new subdivisions both when I was a baby and again when I was in grade school. My parents made friends in both of those subdivisions that they kept for the rest of their lives.


I would tend to favor your wife on this since it sounds like you can afford it.


It's interesting that you wrote this. I bought a house in a new subdivision and this has definitely been true for us. Lots of kids on our street the same age as ours and we have become great friends with most of my neighbors. My previous neighborhood was nice but older...in the 7 years that we lived there we barely saw or new anyone of our neighbors.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Jags4186 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:02 pm

Dottie57 wrote:What will happen if the person with the largest salary loses their job? Will you be able to make the house payment and associated costs without touching emergency?


The situation you presented is the definition of an emergency...why should that play in?

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by xynder » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:10 pm

stopped reading when you said you were married. obviously you have zero interest in the Boglehead lifestyle or financial independence in general.

of course she wants the more expensive house, that's what wives do. FIRST THING'S FIRST: divorce your wife and give her sole custody of the kids. buy an inoperable panel van and move it to the parking lot of your workplace. sell all personal belongings. go to military surplus and purchase MRE'S and other dehydrated food items in bulk. buy a water filtration straw (like a Lifestraw) so you can drink free water from anywhere (ponds, canals, etc.). seriously you should only be eating powdered food and drinking filtered (free) pond water. this diet will also result in you not needing to crap for days at a time which saves on toilet paper.

even accounting for the child support and lost income from wife, you will only be spending like 3-4% of your monthly income and will have plenty to save. you should be saving $20-30k per month. also buy bars of gold bullion and bury them in the park. work until you are physically unable and leave all assets to the voices in your head.
Last edited by xynder on Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by celia » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:12 pm

walkindude wrote:
whodidntante wrote:My house payment is 11.3% of my gross income, and I am sure that I have too much house.

My house payment is now 8% of my gross income - started out at 30%. Thank God for career advancement and inflation!

And my house payment is 0% of our retirement income. What does that have to do with OP's question? :D
A dollar in Roth is worth more than a dollar in a taxable account. A dollar in taxable is worth more than a dollar in a tax-deferred account.

new2bogle
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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by new2bogle » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:14 pm

My PITI is 17% of my gross and I feel like that is too much.

leonard
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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by leonard » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:15 pm

OP - I think you need to put house searching on hold until the major criteria are worked out beforehand. Trying to sort out priorities while looking is a recipe for disaster.
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Rodc » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:15 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Dottie57 wrote:What will happen if the person with the largest salary loses their job? Will you be able to make the house payment and associated costs without touching emergency?


The situation you presented is the definition of an emergency...why should that play in?


Making sure you can live on the smaller salary is likely overly conservative.

Making sure you will be fine if you lose some significant income is, IMHO, rather important because it is not a rare event.

Nearly happened to us in 2008-2009 and did happen to many people I know. And I have seen it outside of recessions as well. Incomes are often somewhat volatile.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by BruDude » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:16 pm

Didn't read the whole thread, but read the title and first thought was "happy wife, happy life" which probably sums up the answer pretty succinctly.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Rodc » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:20 pm

celia wrote:
walkindude wrote:
whodidntante wrote:My house payment is 11.3% of my gross income, and I am sure that I have too much house.

My house payment is now 8% of my gross income - started out at 30%. Thank God for career advancement and inflation!

And my house payment is 0% of our retirement income. What does that have to do with OP's question? :D


Seems to me there is sort of a "sequence of returns" type problem where there is some heightened danger zone the first 10 years of so of retirement: if all goes well, incomes tend to go up, if nothing else, with inflation, so house payments become easier and easier. But if you hit an income snag early, before your baseline salary has gone up a significant amount you can get in trouble. If your income is up by a factor of 4 and you take a 30% pay cut, that is not as bad as taking a 30% pay cut 3 years into a mortgage.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by KlingKlang » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:21 pm

xynder wrote:stopped reading when you said you were married. obviously you have zero interest in the Boglehead lifestyle or financial independence in general.

of course she wants the more expensive house, that's what wives do. FIRST THING'S FIRST: divorce your wife and give her sole custody of the kids. buy an inoperable panel van and move it to the parking lot of your workplace. sell all personal belongings. go to military surplus and purchase MRE'S and other dehydrated food items in bulk. buy a water filtration straw (like a Lifestraw) so you can drink free water from anywhere (ponds, canals, etc.). seriously you should only be eating powdered food and drinking filtered (free) pond water. this diet will also result in you not needing to crap for days at a time which saves on toilet paper.

even accounting for the child support and lost income from wife, you will only be spending like 3-4% of your monthly income and will have plenty to save. you should be saving $20-30k per month. also buy bars of gold bullion and bury them in the park. work until you are physically unable and leave all assets to the voices in your head.


Thanks for the laughs! :D :D :D :D :D

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by krannerd » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:21 pm

Dottie57 wrote:What will happen if the person with the largest salary loses their job? Will you be able to make the house payment and associated costs without touching emergency?


OP,
I'm going to 2nd this sentiment. My wife and I bought a nice house that we could afford on 1 income (even though we were both working). I lost my job 3 months ago and have not lost sleep worrying about where the next mortgage payment would come from.

Having a big fancy house sure is nice (and my wife would like a bigger and fancier one)...but having big enough and fancy enough with cash left over is SO much nicer to me (and she's come around to this way of thinking).

My suggestion....keep shopping. You can probably afford your dream home...but what are you sacrificing for it? And I thought I had stable employment...right up until I didn't.

BTW...we're at 9% of gross income on the mortgage with both incomes.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Rodc » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:24 pm

BruDude wrote:Didn't read the whole thread, but read the title and first thought was "happy wife, happy life" which probably sums up the answer pretty succinctly.


Awful lot of people seem to be afraid of their wives.

Glad my wife tells people she never met any man less afraid of women than me. Now to be fair, my wife and I work together as a team very well 98% of the time - I am a rather flexible person and I am not ego driven, and my needs are few. All else equal I would prefer my wife to be happy. But if need be I am not afraid to say or do what I think is right and I will live with the consequences.

I respect my wife. But I respect myself as well.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by leonard » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:26 pm

Rodc wrote:
BruDude wrote:Didn't read the whole thread, but read the title and first thought was "happy wife, happy life" which probably sums up the answer pretty succinctly.


Awful lot of people seem to be afraid of their wives.

Glad my wife tells people she never met any man less afraid of women than me. Now to be fair, my wife and I work together as a team very well 98% of the time - I am a rather flexible person and I am not ego driven, and my needs are few. All else equal I would prefer my wife to be happy. But if need be I am not afraid to say or do what I think is right and I will live with the consequences.

I respect my wife. But I respect myself as well.


That last 2% could cost you 50%. Everything works until it doesn't.
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

searhapsody
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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by searhapsody » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:28 pm

This was a fascinating discussion for me. My husband and I have a similar income to you and your wife and just went through the same process.

We are also in a MCOL area. We valued a lot of the same things that you do, but maybe the balance between us was different.
He: New house + commute + layout
ME: walkable Location + commute + schools + older house (i like charm)

I was probably willing to spend more at the outset then he was. But running the numbers over and over again for different prospective houses made me really change my mind. In the end, I agreed that the best thing for us was a house either of us could afford on our current salary. Why?

We are both pretty near peak salaries for our careers in our area. So we weren't exactly counting on large growth in that over time. We also have a pretty 50/50 split so a job loss of either would make it difficult if we spent to much. Finally, there are some days I freaking hate my job and I didn't want to sign on being stuck doing this (or something that brought home at least 100K which isn't all that common in our area/my areas of interest forever).

For us, 23% of gross would cause stress. Our current rent is 12% of gross and we knew with compromises we could do better buying. There are of course great houses and areas that could have met every criteria but we wanted the flexibility in our balance sheet. We looked for year and turns out the only non-neg. was the commute, but we also have moved a lot already and don't think of this as a forever purchase.

There are a lot of things that you don't indicate like what percentage of that gross each of you make. How old you are? If you have kids or even intend to do so later? (That $800 wouldn't cover the cost of daycare for an infant where I am) How much of that is hoa? How fixed that HOA fee is? (HOAs make me nervous depending on what they cover--i've seen too many lack the necessary reserves to cover all that they are supposed to which results in special assessment, large increases and/or deterioration of common areas). How long you intend to stay? All of those things Matter a lot.

For what its worth, our final numbers aren't in yet as we haven't closed so the new property tax assessment is a bit of an unknown, but our estimate is 8% of current gross. It's a great comfort to me to know I can wake tomorrow and if I can't take my job a day longer I can quit and look for something else. Also if and when we have kids, I can easily go part time without our budget feeling tight. And, my husband will have that same flexibility.

I don't think anyone mentioned this yet, but one consideration for us was not wanting to be too far out of line with houses in our city. There is always a market for the higher end at least where we are, but it is still a narrower market and slower market than the rest. So although we ended up going above the median there are still degrees, and we wanted the flexibility to resell if needed.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by FelixTheCat » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:38 pm

Go Blue 99 wrote:Is this a situation where "happy wife, happy life" applies?

Is the happy wife contributing financially to the mortgage?

The reason I mention this is because you have to think of your own happiness too. I stretched into the big house when I was married. The wife was paycheck impaired. The financial strain caused me a lot of stress.
Felix is a wonderful, wonderful cat.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Rodc » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:30 pm

leonard wrote:
Rodc wrote:
BruDude wrote:Didn't read the whole thread, but read the title and first thought was "happy wife, happy life" which probably sums up the answer pretty succinctly.


Awful lot of people seem to be afraid of their wives.

Glad my wife tells people she never met any man less afraid of women than me. Now to be fair, my wife and I work together as a team very well 98% of the time - I am a rather flexible person and I am not ego driven, and my needs are few. All else equal I would prefer my wife to be happy. But if need be I am not afraid to say or do what I think is right and I will live with the consequences.

I respect my wife. But I respect myself as well.


That last 2% could cost you 50%. Everything works until it doesn't.


Don't live in fear! :)

Why not let her worry you will leave her instead? :)

At some level I am sure there is some tongue in cheek going on when people say that, and that is of course fine.

Marriage is a partnership, whether buying a house or raising kids or whatever. There will be times you do not agree. That means you have to talk more and work harder to come to a solution, and sometimes you have to confront the scary situation that you do not agree. Simply folding and never standing up for yourself is not a good long term solution to a happy life. I am not a child and I do not have to always suck it up and do what mommy says. :)

Happy wife, happy life is kinda cute, but not really a good way to live life or make big decisions. I suggest the OP engage as a full partner, not a junior partner (and I would give the same advice to the OP's wife).
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by leonard » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:36 pm

Rodc wrote:
leonard wrote:
Rodc wrote:
BruDude wrote:Didn't read the whole thread, but read the title and first thought was "happy wife, happy life" which probably sums up the answer pretty succinctly.


Awful lot of people seem to be afraid of their wives.

Glad my wife tells people she never met any man less afraid of women than me. Now to be fair, my wife and I work together as a team very well 98% of the time - I am a rather flexible person and I am not ego driven, and my needs are few. All else equal I would prefer my wife to be happy. But if need be I am not afraid to say or do what I think is right and I will live with the consequences.

I respect my wife. But I respect myself as well.


That last 2% could cost you 50%. Everything works until it doesn't.


Don't live in fear! :)

Why not let her worry you will leave her instead? :)

At some level I am sure there is some tongue in cheek going on when people say that, and that is of course fine.

Marriage is a partnership, whether buying a house or raising kids or whatever. There will be times you do not agree. That means you have to talk more and work harder to come to a solution, and sometimes you have to confront the scary situation that you do not agree. Simply folding and never standing up for yourself is not a good long term solution to a happy life. I am not a child and I do not have to always suck it up and do what mommy says. :)

Happy wife, happy life is kinda cute, but not really a good way to live life or make big decisions. I suggest the OP engage as a full partner, not a junior partner (and I would give the same advice to the OP's wife).


You just sound a bit cavalier about it. Sometimes the breaking point is there and you don't know it until you've passed it.

There is also something to be said for prudently picking ones battles. Sometimes the cost/benefit calc points to taking an easier route.

And, no tongue in cheek on anything I've written on this thread.
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Go Blue 99 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:41 pm

FelixTheCat wrote:
Go Blue 99 wrote:Is this a situation where "happy wife, happy life" applies?

Is the happy wife contributing financially to the mortgage


Yes she is actually the breadwinner :happy

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by leonard » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:45 pm

bligh wrote:triggering


triggering?
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Rodc » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:46 pm

leonard wrote:
Rodc wrote:
leonard wrote:
Rodc wrote:
BruDude wrote:Didn't read the whole thread, but read the title and first thought was "happy wife, happy life" which probably sums up the answer pretty succinctly.


Awful lot of people seem to be afraid of their wives.

Glad my wife tells people she never met any man less afraid of women than me. Now to be fair, my wife and I work together as a team very well 98% of the time - I am a rather flexible person and I am not ego driven, and my needs are few. All else equal I would prefer my wife to be happy. But if need be I am not afraid to say or do what I think is right and I will live with the consequences.

I respect my wife. But I respect myself as well.


That last 2% could cost you 50%. Everything works until it doesn't.


Don't live in fear! :)

Why not let her worry you will leave her instead? :)

At some level I am sure there is some tongue in cheek going on when people say that, and that is of course fine.

Marriage is a partnership, whether buying a house or raising kids or whatever. There will be times you do not agree. That means you have to talk more and work harder to come to a solution, and sometimes you have to confront the scary situation that you do not agree. Simply folding and never standing up for yourself is not a good long term solution to a happy life. I am not a child and I do not have to always suck it up and do what mommy says. :)

Happy wife, happy life is kinda cute, but not really a good way to live life or make big decisions. I suggest the OP engage as a full partner, not a junior partner (and I would give the same advice to the OP's wife).


You just sound a bit cavalier about it. Sometimes the breaking point is there and you don't know it until you've passed it.

There is also something to be said for prudently picking ones battles. Sometimes the cost/benefit calc points to taking an easier route.

And, no tongue in cheek on anything I've written on this thread.


Certainly agree with that. The largest purchase of your life might or might not qualify. Learning to let the little things go is a good skill. Being afraid to be honest with your wife because your wife might be unhappy once in a while not such a good thing.

As far as I can tell, more than a couple decades in and a couple years from retirement, I married a full on adult who can deal with a full partner who is not afraid of her. But who is also fair, very open minded, and interested in her best interest and happiness and my own as well. She may not always agree with me, but she does know I respect her immensely. Frankly my wife would be rather disappointed in me if I just said, whatever you want dear, when conflict arose.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by leonard » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:49 pm

Rodc wrote:
leonard wrote:
Rodc wrote:
leonard wrote:
Rodc wrote:
Awful lot of people seem to be afraid of their wives.

Glad my wife tells people she never met any man less afraid of women than me. Now to be fair, my wife and I work together as a team very well 98% of the time - I am a rather flexible person and I am not ego driven, and my needs are few. All else equal I would prefer my wife to be happy. But if need be I am not afraid to say or do what I think is right and I will live with the consequences.

I respect my wife. But I respect myself as well.


That last 2% could cost you 50%. Everything works until it doesn't.


Don't live in fear! :)

Why not let her worry you will leave her instead? :)

At some level I am sure there is some tongue in cheek going on when people say that, and that is of course fine.

Marriage is a partnership, whether buying a house or raising kids or whatever. There will be times you do not agree. That means you have to talk more and work harder to come to a solution, and sometimes you have to confront the scary situation that you do not agree. Simply folding and never standing up for yourself is not a good long term solution to a happy life. I am not a child and I do not have to always suck it up and do what mommy says. :)

Happy wife, happy life is kinda cute, but not really a good way to live life or make big decisions. I suggest the OP engage as a full partner, not a junior partner (and I would give the same advice to the OP's wife).


You just sound a bit cavalier about it. Sometimes the breaking point is there and you don't know it until you've passed it.

There is also something to be said for prudently picking ones battles. Sometimes the cost/benefit calc points to taking an easier route.

And, no tongue in cheek on anything I've written on this thread.


Certainly agree with that. The largest purchase of your life might or might not qualify. Learning to let the little things go is a good skill. Being afraid to be honest with your wife because your wife might be unhappy once in a while not such a good thing.

As far as I can tell, more than a couple decades in and a couple years from retirement, I married a full on adult who can deal with a full partner who is not afraid of her. But who is also fair, very open minded, and interested in her best interest and happiness and my own as well. She may not always agree with me, but she does know I respect her immensely. Frankly my wife would be rather disappointed in me if I just said, whatever you want dear, when conflict arose.


You're obviously willing to follow through on your point of view. I hope that continues to work out for you and no surprises crop up.
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by bligh » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:54 pm

OP, It depends on your priorities. You will spend your money in some form to bring happiness to yourself and your wife. It could be with a big house, or nice cars, brand named items, eating out, going to concerts, traveling, paying for hobbies, and so on. To some, a nice well done up home is very important. They plan to spend a lot of time there and they want their home to be a space they are proud of and enjoy being in. It seems like your wife is of that sort, whereas it seems you would rather spend the money on other pursuits. One of you will have to compromise. Anecdotally, I do notice women tend to be the ones who want a nice house. It may be some kind of nesting instinct.

Having said all that, it seems to me that you can afford that house. I would not increase my commute unless there was some other benefit besides price. better schools, safer neighborhood, cleaner air, etc.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by auggiedoggies » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:59 pm

Off topic, but is 23% a crazy high number for gross pay? I just calculated ours, and our total house payment+utilities is ~28% of our gross. It doesn't feel like a lot...is it?

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Rodc » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:02 pm

leonard wrote:
Rodc wrote:
leonard wrote:
Rodc wrote:
leonard wrote:
That last 2% could cost you 50%. Everything works until it doesn't.


Don't live in fear! :)

Why not let her worry you will leave her instead? :)

At some level I am sure there is some tongue in cheek going on when people say that, and that is of course fine.

Marriage is a partnership, whether buying a house or raising kids or whatever. There will be times you do not agree. That means you have to talk more and work harder to come to a solution, and sometimes you have to confront the scary situation that you do not agree. Simply folding and never standing up for yourself is not a good long term solution to a happy life. I am not a child and I do not have to always suck it up and do what mommy says. :)

Happy wife, happy life is kinda cute, but not really a good way to live life or make big decisions. I suggest the OP engage as a full partner, not a junior partner (and I would give the same advice to the OP's wife).


You just sound a bit cavalier about it. Sometimes the breaking point is there and you don't know it until you've passed it.

There is also something to be said for prudently picking ones battles. Sometimes the cost/benefit calc points to taking an easier route.

And, no tongue in cheek on anything I've written on this thread.


Certainly agree with that. The largest purchase of your life might or might not qualify. Learning to let the little things go is a good skill. Being afraid to be honest with your wife because your wife might be unhappy once in a while not such a good thing.

As far as I can tell, more than a couple decades in and a couple years from retirement, I married a full on adult who can deal with a full partner who is not afraid of her. But who is also fair, very open minded, and interested in her best interest and happiness and my own as well. She may not always agree with me, but she does know I respect her immensely. Frankly my wife would be rather disappointed in me if I just said, whatever you want dear, when conflict arose.


You're obviously willing to follow through on your point of view. I hope that continues to work out for you and no surprises crop up.


I hope so too!
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by searhapsody » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:07 pm

auggiedoggies wrote:Off topic, but is 23% a crazy high number for gross pay? I just calculated ours, and our total house payment+utilities is ~28% of our gross. It doesn't feel like a lot...is it?


To me, yes that is high, but i also don't think most ppl include utilities in that calculation. It's usually principal, interest, insurance, and taxes. What percentage of it of your take home?

I think our bank told us that 28% of gross is the max they lend buyers (assuming no other assets), and I think most people agree what the bank will lend you is really on edge of affordability and you shouldn't try to max it out.

But then again its all relative when you are talking in percentages. If the gross income is in the millions then you would still have plenty left over to live on paying 28% of gross to housing. If you are making just $40,000 then it won't leave you with much.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Rodc » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:08 pm

auggiedoggies wrote:Off topic, but is 23% a crazy high number for gross pay? I just calculated ours, and our total house payment+utilities is ~28% of our gross. It doesn't feel like a lot...is it?


While there is something of a tax break for many home owners, I think it makes a lot more sense to look at how your payment (which is after tax after all) compares to your take home pay.

Do you have enough after paying your fixed costs like home (maybe cars and college loans, etc.) to live comfortably and without stress of what happens when the car breaks down, the roof leaks, etc.? Can you comfortably save for retirement? College if you have kids? Would you be ok for an extended time if you or any partners lose a job? What if you get laid off and have to take a 30% pay cut?

That said, sometimes it is stretch or wait for many years, or stretch to buy or stretch to rent, because it is hard no matter what you do. Then you have a tough choice and being uncomfortable may be necessary.

Percentage of gross pay seems too simple to be fully useful.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by brad.clarkston » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:09 pm

auggiedoggies wrote:Off topic, but is 23% a crazy high number for gross pay? I just calculated ours, and our total house payment+utilities is ~28% of our gross. It doesn't feel like a lot...is it?


Nope 25% is the extreme "conservative" opinion in the industry the "traditional" opinion is 34% according to mortgage brokers.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Rodc » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:11 pm

brad.clarkston wrote:
auggiedoggies wrote:Off topic, but is 23% a crazy high number for gross pay? I just calculated ours, and our total house payment+utilities is ~28% of our gross. It doesn't feel like a lot...is it?


Nope 25% is the extreme "conservative" opinion in the industry the "traditional" opinion is 34% according to mortgage brokers.


Is that 34% of gross pay? That would be more than half our take home pay.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by stoptothink » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:20 pm

Rodc wrote:
leonard wrote:
Rodc wrote:
BruDude wrote:Didn't read the whole thread, but read the title and first thought was "happy wife, happy life" which probably sums up the answer pretty succinctly.


Awful lot of people seem to be afraid of their wives.

Glad my wife tells people she never met any man less afraid of women than me. Now to be fair, my wife and I work together as a team very well 98% of the time - I am a rather flexible person and I am not ego driven, and my needs are few. All else equal I would prefer my wife to be happy. But if need be I am not afraid to say or do what I think is right and I will live with the consequences.

I respect my wife. But I respect myself as well.


That last 2% could cost you 50%. Everything works until it doesn't.


Don't live in fear! :)

Why not let her worry you will leave her instead? :)

At some level I am sure there is some tongue in cheek going on when people say that, and that is of course fine.

Marriage is a partnership, whether buying a house or raising kids or whatever. There will be times you do not agree. That means you have to talk more and work harder to come to a solution, and sometimes you have to confront the scary situation that you do not agree. Simply folding and never standing up for yourself is not a good long term solution to a happy life. I am not a child and I do not have to always suck it up and do what mommy says. :)

Happy wife, happy life is kinda cute, but not really a good way to live life or make big decisions. I suggest the OP engage as a full partner, not a junior partner (and I would give the same advice to the OP's wife).


I was getting in my mid-day workout in and missed this exchange. Jeez, I could not agree more. I hear that idiom almost weekly from my FIL, as he gives in to the insanity of my MIL, and they are an absolute trainwreck in every way, and neither is happy. A marriage is a partnership, not a dictatorship. I love my wife dearly, but I determine my happiness, not her whims. My wife is extremely impulsive, I am a long-term big-picture thinker (probably to a fault); a lot of times the decision which makes my wife angry at first, she comes back in a week and thanks me for holding my ground. We're partners, and we disagree about almost everything, but we have become masters of compromise. There is no way I am making a decision as big as buying a house if I don't feel comfortable, just to momentarily appease my wife. If we can't come to a quick compromise, we usually agree sit on it for a while. This is what I would suggest to the OP - look at more houses, have more discussions about it - what both of you want will evolve and you can come to a mutual agreement.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Dottie57 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:54 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Dottie57 wrote:What will happen if the person with the largest salary loses their job? Will you be able to make the house payment and associated costs without touching emergency?


The situation you presented is the definition of an emergency...why should that play in?


I think of emergency as hospital, funerals etc. Losing your job is something to plan for.... like making sure you can pay the mortgage with the lowest salary. Then use emergency funds for other monthly expenses.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by goingup » Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:15 pm

Haven't read all the posts. However, it doesn't sound like a big rift. Sounds like you just need more communication, more homes visited, and further alignment of your shared goals. It's a process and with a good partner, the final outcome should be terrific. :beer

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Dieharder » Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:27 pm

I see this thread getting locked anytime now.... nothing more to contribute and it is clear OP is not the one having the say in this partnership, as per his last post the wife is the breadwinner and it is clear where this is going.

EDIT: Also, I found this from OPs previous home purchase. I guess you obviously know what you are doing and it isn't very BHish, but neither am I on many instances, so who am I to critique. Anyway, good luck to you.

Go Blue 99 wrote:We overextended on our townhouse purchase. When we bought mortgage was about 40% of net income. But we were early in our careers so expected increases. We have since doubled our income, and refi'd to a much lower payment. But even at 40%, we were not stressed. We were still able to save, go on nice vacations, etc. I just wouldn't recommend it long term.

Our neighborhood is super hot, and knowing what I know now, I wish we had overextended even more and bought a single family home. Those have appreciated a huge amount in our area.

I think your income has a lot to do with it. If you are spending 35% but making $10k net, you still have $6500 for your other expenses. But 35% of $4k net is of course going to be another story.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Jags4186 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:12 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:
Dottie57 wrote:What will happen if the person with the largest salary loses their job? Will you be able to make the house payment and associated costs without touching emergency?


The situation you presented is the definition of an emergency...why should that play in?


I think of emergency as hospital, funerals etc. Losing your job is something to plan for.... like making sure you can pay the mortgage with the lowest salary. Then use emergency funds for other monthly expenses.


We have multiple layers of insurance for the above situations:

Hospital: health insurance
Funeral: life insurance/paid out of deceased's estate

Anything above and beyond those situations you have...an emergency fund.

Most people don't "plan" for losing their job, they just lose it. And in these situations you have unemployment insurance and an emergency fund. As much as I would love to agree with you, using your logic one income households should never purchase a home.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Frisco Kid » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:36 pm

Although it has been many years since we bought new construction, I do vividly recall issues with floor coverings and fit and finish on cabinets. Also, keep some $ aside for window coverings, landscaping/hardscape unless it is included in purchase price. If memory serves me correctly, the purchase stretched our budget a bit and it was about 5 years until our back garden and patio was in. An older home many times will not have these potential issues although they could certainly have other issues. You may also get a large property tax increase on a new home purchase in year 2 depending on how county does initial valuation. We bought new large home when in our late twenties, 8 years later sold that house at substantial gain buying an older smaller home in a different county that was then 56 years old in a better neighborhood. 24 years later, house is 80 years old and we are still here although the house has been totally remodeled. Quite likely we will retire in place carrying a small mortgage into retirement. Unless you are talking a custom home I believe quality of older homes is markedly better. Good luck with the chase and I am totally on board saying happy wife, happy life.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Rodc » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:25 pm

Dieharder wrote:I see this thread getting locked anytime now.... nothing more to contribute and it is clear OP is not the one having the say in this partnership, as per his last post the wife is the breadwinner and it is clear where this is going.

EDIT: Also, I found this from OPs previous home purchase. I guess you obviously know what you are doing and it isn't very BHish, but neither am I on many instances, so who am I to critique. Anyway, good luck to you.

Go Blue 99 wrote:We overextended on our townhouse purchase. When we bought mortgage was about 40% of net income. But we were early in our careers so expected increases. We have since doubled our income, and refi'd to a much lower payment. But even at 40%, we were not stressed. We were still able to save, go on nice vacations, etc. I just wouldn't recommend it long term.

Our neighborhood is super hot, and knowing what I know now, I wish we had overextended even more and bought a single family home. Those have appreciated a huge amount in our area.

I think your income has a lot to do with it. If you are spending 35% but making $10k net, you still have $6500 for your other expenses. But 35% of $4k net is of course going to be another story.


So why did Go Blue bother posting? :confused
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by hille141 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:34 pm

25% of takehome pay on a 15 year fixed is our guideline. Right now we are 17% of gross, roughly 25% of net. We make a little less than you do but no way would a ~$3800 house payment on a 30 year make us comfortable.

Maybe you compromise and save another 10-20% to bring the payment more inline on a 15 year fixed. In a year or two you should be able to put down another $50-100k, limiting your risk long-term.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by Go Blue 99 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:39 pm

Rodc wrote:
Dieharder wrote:I see this thread getting locked anytime now.... nothing more to contribute and it is clear OP is not the one having the say in this partnership, as per his last post the wife is the breadwinner and it is clear where this is going.

EDIT: Also, I found this from OPs previous home purchase. I guess you obviously know what you are doing and it isn't very BHish, but neither am I on many instances, so who am I to critique. Anyway, good luck to you.

Go Blue 99 wrote:We overextended on our townhouse purchase. When we bought mortgage was about 40% of net income. But we were early in our careers so expected increases. We have since doubled our income, and refi'd to a much lower payment. But even at 40%, we were not stressed. We were still able to save, go on nice vacations, etc. I just wouldn't recommend it long term.

Our neighborhood is super hot, and knowing what I know now, I wish we had overextended even more and bought a single family home. Those have appreciated a huge amount in our area.

I think your income has a lot to do with it. If you are spending 35% but making $10k net, you still have $6500 for your other expenses. But 35% of $4k net is of course going to be another story.


So why did Go Blue bother posting? :confused


I'm posting about our current search. Someone quoted a old post of mine referencing our townhouse search 8.5 years ago. Different situation and different point in our lives.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by TOJ » Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:17 pm

Buy the house and be done with it.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by furikake » Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:24 pm

I think you have not found a house you both agree on yet, keep looking.

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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by JonnyDVM » Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:36 pm

There are people on this forum that would live in a cave if their spouse would let them. There are others that realize you only get one go round in life and some things are actually worth paying for. I would put a house you really want and can afford on that list. Don't forget how valuable a short commute and good school systems are. We stretched a little more than I ideally wanted to on our recent house purchase and no regrets. I don't think 23% is outrageous.
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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by staythecourse » Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:49 pm

JonnyDVM wrote:There are people on this forum that would live in a cave if their spouse would let them. There are others that realize you only get one go round in life and some things are actually worth paying for. I would put a house you really want and can afford on that list. Don't forget how valuable a short commute and good school systems are. We stretched a little more than I ideally wanted to on our recent house purchase and no regrets. I don't think 23% is outrageous.


Well said. In the end, you are going to find folks who poo poo every notion of buying a house a single dollar more then you can afford. Others will have a more balanced perspective. In the end it is up to you and your significant other to find what you are not just comfortable, but happy with going forward.

Good luck.
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Re: spousal disagreement over how much house to buy

Post by LadyGeek » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:23 pm

This thread has run its course and is locked (relationship issue, derailed).
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