Continue with home project or not?

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boglebrain
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Continue with home project or not?

Post by boglebrain »

We bought an old tear down that we want to replace with a new home. We wanted to be walking distance to local schools and in a pleasant neighborhood. We have 5 kids and found the perfect place. We were thrilled and met many in the neighborhood and liked the feel. We have rented the old home while we work on plans.

Well it turns out the immediate neighbor is very upset and has organized a whole bunch of people to sign a petition about our home project. It’s become very contentious and we are feeling less excited about it. It’s also an expensive project...we can afford it and we had planned to be there for >10 years.

Now we are wondering if we should walk away and look for another place to build or just rent. It’s hard to find something fits all our criteria. Rent could be good in that we change what we need based on age of the kids...they can share rooms now and perhaps in high school for the older kids we get a bigger home for ~4-5 years. Then downsize as they graduate.

The process has been very painful and long (we already lost almost a year based on trying to accommodate requests from the neighbor and still they weren’t satisfied). We now have a plan that should be fine but aren’t excited about some of the neighbors now. Mostly it’s people who have a lot of time and who don’t want any change. Reality is that lots of these older homes in this neighboorhood are poor quality and poor situated on their lots. We also don’t have a lot of time to go lobby as we don’t live there now and have a few very young kids.

Anyone have similar experience? We are 18 months into this and haven’t started construction. Our agent said we might have to disclose bad neighbor if we did sell.
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fortfun
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by fortfun »

People hate change. I've seen similar in my city. Seems like people get over it once they realize you are a decent person and new home isn't bad. Plus it will bring up the value of their homes. People in the adjacent subdivisions to ours hated it before it was built. Now, they all walk around our neighborhood and are fine with it.
bayview
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by bayview »

Without addressing the financial details, take it down to this:

Would you pay the cost of the current property + tear down + new construction today, if it were just listed, knowing what you now know about the neighbors and neighborhood? (the details in your fourth paragraph)

In the end, going through a lot of financial hoops to make something work, that in fact wasn’t what you had hoped for, seems counterproductive. Hope you come up with a good solution, but do consider the cost of success. I love older neighborhoods (we live in one ourselves), but they need to work IRL, not just through the nostalgia filter.
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basspond
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by basspond »

It almost sounds like a no win situation for you and your family. But before you walk away, if you haven’t tried already, sit down with the instigator and tell him your sincere plans to live there, be a part of the community for a long time, and be a good neighbor. Maybe he has seen others come in, build a new house, flip it and increase property values which adds to his expense. If there is also a formal Home Owners Association I would appeal to them also. Good luck.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by ResearchMed »

What is this about having to "disclose bad neighbor" when you sell?

Never heard anything like that.

RM
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tim1999
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by tim1999 »

The applicable municipal or county regulations where you are located should be governing this process, not the whims of NIMBY neighbors.

Unless the neighbors have found some kind of technicality in town ordinances, building requirements, deed restrictions, etc. applicable to this property that you are violating with your construction proposal, in every locality I am familiar with, you cannot be denied your permits just because the neighbors don't like it. If you comply, it is approved, and they can't make up the rules as you go along. They are in the ordinance or building code already. ASSUMING that you do not need any variances from ordinances where the criteria stated in the ordinance is subjective. The neighbors can certainly try to discourage and stall you by petition campaigns and threats, but if your proposal complies with the regulations/law, they have little ground to stand on.

You should probably consider getting a land use attorney involved if the neighbors are actually appealing your permit or land use approvals, although you have not said anything about where you are in the permitting process or what exactly the neighbors feel you are violating with your proposal.

How exactly are the neighbors holding you up besides voicing displeasure?

I would not worry about the neighbors hating you after the house is constructed. There is an increasing trend of people not talking to or knowing their neighbors anyway, even if they have no reason to dislike them. And people will sell, die, move on, etc. anyway.
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F150HD
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by F150HD »

...who don’t want any change. Reality is that lots of these older homes in this neighboorhood are poor quality and poor situated on their lots...
makes one wonder why you'd want to invest :moneybag :moneybag :moneybag into a a home renovation or build in such an area? sounds like it'd drag your property value down significantly.
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Thecallofduty
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by Thecallofduty »

Tim1999 made some good comments.

You have 5 children and want to be walking distance to schools in a good area. Why are you letting your neighbor dictate how you run things. Go through the proper channels, ensure this can all be legally done, and enjoy your life. You cant make everyone happy.

P.s Many people do not even speak to neighbors other than hi/bye so I would not be too worried bout a relationship strain in this day and age.
-thecallofduty
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Johnsson
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by Johnsson »

ResearchMed wrote: Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:41 pm What is this about having to "disclose bad neighbor" when you sell?

Never heard anything like that.

RM
Agree. I WOULD NOT disclose such a thing.
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thx1138
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by thx1138 »

tim1999 has the crux of it and it might help if you provide the missing detail - is there some sort of approval process that is holding up the project that the neighbors are allowed to weigh in on? If no then what they think doesn't matter. If yes, well you have to decide if it is worth that fight along with the pain of building a new home.

As a side note to better understand their objections. They can love you and believe you and still not want a variance for you (under the assumption you need a variance). Give a variance to one person it becomes precedent. Secondly once the house is built it can be sold to others. In our neighborhood someone got a variance to build a monstrosity completely out of tune with the surrounding neighborhood. They told everyone about how it was their "dream home" and "raising a family" and blah, blah, blah. They did those things. And then when the kiddos left they sold it to a for profit hospital that converted it to a outpatient drug rehab halfway house and used obscure zoning laws that allow such places to be dropped into an existing structure in a neighborhood. People aren't stupid - they know what the original owner intends is largely irrelevant and houses tend to stick around for a long time with a lot of owners.
Shallowpockets
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by Shallowpockets »

Are your new build plans composed of a very large house to house all of yor,family? Is this in an existing neighborhood of smaller houses? Are you going to build a monstrosity compared to these houses?
In your post all I can see is that you want the location and the land. What exists there now is of no consequence to you.
mega317
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by mega317 »

You'd be pretty likely to have neighbors hate you anywhere, we probably all do and most are just quiet about it. I wouldn't care about them.

Be careful about a plan to rent long term. I was kicked out of 2 rentals in 2 years when the owners decided they wanted to sell. I would not want to do that with multiple kids.
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boomer_techie
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by boomer_techie »

Shallowpockets wrote: Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:21 am Are your new build plans composed of a very large house to house all of yor,family? Is this in an existing neighborhood of smaller houses? Are you going to build a monstrosity compared to these houses?
I'm sensing the same thing. It may an area of 1950's 2 bed 1200 sq ft ranch homes with plenty of yard space. The OP is saying "Eww, tear down!" and wants to build a 5000 sq ft two story McMansion with little space left for a yard. The neighbors don't want the neighborhood to change and are fighting back with every rule they can find.

Portions of Silicon Valley are experiencing this change. The new two story behemoths look very out of place in the older mature areas. I suppose eventually nearly every property will be rebuilt, but the streets will then look like an overcrowded KB Home development. The long time residents don't want to live in such areas.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by adamthesmythe »

You haven't said anything explicit about zoning.

Some places neighbor opposition is enough to stop a project. Other places it doesn't make a difference. Other places (Texas) there is no zoning at all, I hear.

Not only might it be necessary to disclose neighbor issues if you sell- it sounds like you will end up with the most expensive house in the neighborhood, never a good thing when it comes to getting the best price.
tampaite
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by tampaite »

Deleting my messages on this forum
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LFS1234
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by LFS1234 »

Johnsson wrote: Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:10 am
ResearchMed wrote: Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:41 pm What is this about having to "disclose bad neighbor" when you sell?

Never heard anything like that.

RM
Agree. I WOULD NOT disclose such a thing.
Sounds like a slander/libel lawsuit waiting to happen.

The "bad neighbor" is objecting to one particular person's building plans. If the property is re-sold to someone who wishes to keep the old house, there is no reason to believe that this would be a "bad" neighbor to the new property-owner. If the property is re-sold to someone who wishes to tear down the old house and build a new one, that person's plans may not give rise to the same objections that the plans currently under consideration do. In any case, the new property owner would have exactly the same legal rights as the current one, and the neighbor's opinions are unlikely to have much if any effect on the legal rights of the property owner.

It is not unusual for neighbors, and especially immediate neighbors, not to be thrilled about nearby construction. In cases where the new house would significantly alter views or (especially) compromise privacy, this is particularly understandable. However, city planning has to allow for a reasonable compromise between the new and the old.

In many cities, there are neighborhoods that originally were composed of small single-story houses on well-located large lots. With time, these lots have become very valuable and many are being redeveloped with much larger, two-story homes. In cases where such a redevelopment process is well underway, the "writing is on the wall" and pretty much everyone understands that it is only a matter of time before practically all of the smaller homes get replaced by much larger homes. In such neighborhoods, a newcomer with a larger house would be unlikely to be ostracized, and in any case has lots of company. In neighborhoods where such a transition hasn't yet started or is just beginning, resistance to change is likely to be considerably greater.
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beyou
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by beyou »

While I don't love seeing McMansions built in our area, if you can do this with sufficient space between your new home and that of your next door neighbors, I say go ahead. By "sufficient" you should no be looking right into their yard and bedrooms from your windows, you both should have some privacy. If not then you are building too close. Of course you need to follow zoning laws, but also common sense good neighbor rules.

But in the end, only you can determine what makes a good neighbor, it's your property. Just be fair and think about how it will look from the other side of the property line.
LiterallyIronic
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by LiterallyIronic »

I would not even give an ounce of thought to what the neighbor wanted for my house. I didn't spend six figures to have someone else dictate what I can do with my property. There are, of course, zoning laws, permits, etc, but assuming that's all handled, I'd add on to the house, paint it whatever color I wanted, or park my car upside down on my front yard if I wanted. There's a reason why I wouldn't even look at houses in an HOA. Who even talks to their neighbors anyway? You want to build? Build.
fourkids
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by fourkids »

I would ignore completely the neighbor's thoughts. If you sell, the next owner is likely to tear down as well.
The neighbors have no right to effectively make you sell your house.

I would re-evaluate the project based on objective criteria that you know now that you've owned the house for a year. Is it still a desirable location and lot? It sounds like yes. Can you adhere to zoning regulations? Will the new house you build be too big or expensive for the area (meaning will its value be less than your build cost?)

Advise your neighbors to take it up with the town's zoning commission if they are trying to "preserve" the area. They will likely be shot down very quickly.
michaeljc70
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by michaeljc70 »

I agree with many other posts and would mostly ignore the neighbors unless their requests were very reasonable and easy to accommodate without majorly impacting your plans. If building a new home requires a bunch of variances and things where neighbors have a lot of input, then that would be different. Some people just have too much time on their hands and/or are resistant to change. I'm ignoring financial aspects of this since that didn't seem to be a concern.
fasteddie911
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by fasteddie911 »

I'd consider walking away. Who knows how long this will continue or how this neighbor will affect you or your family down the road. Maybe these folks are nice on the surface, but want to control the neighborhood. They may comment about your kids playing outside, parking in your own driveway, a tree you want to plant, etc. IMO, fences don't stop everything. Living many years next to someone who has created so much drama and tension already just wouldn't sit well with me and would weaken the appeal of my home, which it seems like it's doing for you. You bought because of the neighbors you liked but that seems to have soured, I wonder if you'd buy today knowing what you know. Sure you can push thru and ignore your neighbor and and do whatever you want, and you may have every right to do so, but it seems like you're not the type to do that as you've already tried to be accommodating.

You idea of renting is a very good option. I too like the idea of renting and its flexibility to accommodate your families exact needs, which I imagine can be even more pronounced with 5 kids. I could imagine building a house for 5 kids, it might be too big when they're small, just right when their teens, then too big when they leave, which leaves a narrow window of optimal sizing. You can rent for now, invest the difference, then buy later.
Last edited by fasteddie911 on Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

OP, what specifically are they objecting to?

In our case, we have apologized to our neighbors for the noise and trucks that our home renovation has, and will again, cause. I'm sure they don't like it, but they do appreciate that we are doing this in order to "age in place" and enjoy the neighborhood.

It sounds like you might have the best house in the neighborhood. That's seldom a good idea.
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ddurrett896
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by ddurrett896 »

boglebrain wrote: Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:27 pm We bought an old tear down that we want to replace with a new home. We wanted to be walking distance to local schools and in a pleasant neighborhood. We have 5 kids and found the perfect place. We were thrilled and met many in the neighborhood and liked the feel. We have rented the old home while we work on plans.

Anyone have similar experience? We are 18 months into this and haven’t started construction. Our agent said we might have to disclose bad neighbor if we did sell.
I recently had to request a variance with the city for an addition that encroached into my setbacks. While neighbors can object at the hearing, everyone was on board. The best thing you can do is stay within the law and follow the rules since they are watching you like a hawk.

Talk to the neighbors, reason with them but at the end of the day it sounds like you have enough on your plate and you found the perfect place. No reason to look elsewhere - could encounter the same thing and restart the process all over.

I can deal with upset neighbors. I CAN'T deal with an upset wife and upset 5 kids. Frankly if they don't leave you alone, tell them the house just got 10' higher!
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leeks
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by leeks »

If the location is ideal, make it work. An approval process that long makes it seem that you are getting some variances or otherwise doing something other than what the zoning specifically allows.

Build the more modest house if needed, neighborhood matters more than extra square footage. It is reasonable to try to make your home fit in with neighborhood style rather than maximizing impervious surface and minimizing setbacks. Yard space is good.

Your neighbors, not just the noisy one, likely have a very different taste in architecture/home size than you. I would probably agree with them so I understand. That won't change but once you are actual neighbors it will settle down. Invite the whole block to a housewarming party/bbq. Try to play nice at first. Get your kids hanging out with any other kids on the block right away. If the neighbor continues to be standoffish, just ignore each other.

Another home will have other neighbors with other potential issues. Asssuming this one isn't screaming abusive things at your kids or acting threatening, I wouldn't consider it a reason not to move there.
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leeks
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by leeks »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:50 am It sounds like you might have the best house in the neighborhood.
I'm guessing this is the point of disagreement. You would see it as the best, some neighbors might see it as the worst (different style, different scale). If "monstrosity" is a word they are using, then I am very familiar with this kind of situation. But of course there are many potential reasons for tensions over new construction in an established neighborhood.
Smoke
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by Smoke »

Build the house, if it continues build a fence.
Arguing for the sake of arguing is something I am not going to engage in.
Lynette
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by Lynette »

The world changes. I live in an area where 1950's houses like mine are being torn down and replaced with McMansions. When the first owner wanted to build a large house, there was almost a riot. The builder was not allowed to use more space that the existing footprint. So they left the foundation and built their large house. Since then 50% of the houses in my small block have been replaced by $1,000,000+ houses. The fussy city eventually changed their plans so that new houses have to have a certain size relative to the land. The new houses are too large (in my opinion) for the land but for some other reason or another its regarded as being a valuable location. Guess what the opposition has all died down and no one says anything about the new houses. I'd say get permission from the city and build.
Last edited by Lynette on Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
MnD
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by MnD »

Shallowpockets wrote: Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:21 am Are your new build plans composed of a very large house to house all of yor,family? Is this in an existing neighborhood of smaller houses? Are you going to build a monstrosity compared to these houses? In your post all I can see is that you want the location and the land. What exists there now is of no consequence to you.
I've seen some that obstruct all views in that direction for the much smaller homes next to them and for the smaller house to the north, pretty much left it in permanent shadow for 3 seasons of the year due to the multi-story mega-mansion. In retrospect the OP should have talked to neighbors about their plans prior to purchasing the house. On the flip side I've seen some fabulous scrape-offs where the new home fit with the design and size of the existing homes in an older neighborhood and were a win-win for everyone.

I personally did not sign off on a variance application for a new neighbor that wanted to do a major pop-up renovation to 2 stories in a neighborhood consisting of 100% ranch-style homes that would have destroyed our back-yard privacy. He ended up doing a major one-story addition which used up much of his yard. I learned he was very angry about my lack of signing off on his variance app for the entire time he lived there. He went bust in the great recession due to bad real estate investment deals he made. Sold his big house to salvage something because in addition to being broke his 4 kids had grown up and moved out and he and his wife had no use for big house which was becoming a burden to maintain. New owners are great but are unhappy about their small yard compared to all the neighbors so the prior owners mess lives on.

Neighborhoods with large yards, modest-sized period appropriate stylish houses and privacy haven't been built in many cities for maybe 60 years. I wish people that want to build a big ugly right out to the lot lines with multi-storied vaulted ceilings and no privacy would quit looking at the few remaining older neighborhoods that aren't like that to screw up.
Last edited by MnD on Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Lynette
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by Lynette »

I did not look at the plans of the McMansion that was built next to me. They built a balcony that overlooks my back yard. The house was also one of the first big ones built and I'm sure that the amount of concrete caused me to get water in my basement. The plumber said so. So what was I to do. I've planted a few large trees to block the view of the balcony over my back yard. I decided not to sue and instead have spent tons of money water proofing the basement. Another problem is that the large houses have caused drainage issue. I now have an internal drain and a whole series of drains that lead to the city sewer. I reckon it has cost me $50,000 over a few years. So goes life. I try to live in peace with my neighbors. My neighbor on the other side will retire in a few years and is pleased that the value of the his house has increased due to these McMansions The world changes.
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boglebrain
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by boglebrain »

Thanks everyone for the thoughts and comments. I apologize for not responding individually or sooner but with 5 kids it's been very hard the last few days.

Anyway, I thought I would address some of the comments:

1) This is not a variance and all numerical values were met by a wide margin. We had to go through an approval process with the city and we got it approved despite the petition. The city has a number of subjective items like "not sticking out" which then requires things like dropping plate heights. In the end the city chose some values that was unsatisfactory to all parties still. The petitioner can still object and take it further levels of review but the city basically approved it. This just creates more tension and delays in getting the official permit. The city people said our plans were very reasonable and addressed all neighbor requests.

2) We have an alternative plan we are considering that we might prefer. This doesn't require the same review for the second time around. We are considering this.

3) One immediate neighbor has been rude and nasty towards us. For example, we met and explained why we are building a larger home and said we had 5 kids and they said "good for you but bad for me" and worried about noise. We think a redesign will be better received by the broader community but we are worried we'll get constant complaints about noisy kids who are just being kids playing outside. We are reasonable and will be quiet after hours but on the weekend we want to use the yard. Hopefully, it's all fine and people live and let live.

4) Financials: We can afford this. However, we just don't like bad value-for-money and especially on the largest purchase anyone typically makes. We are getting concerned about spending a lot and not being happy there and then deciding to sell 1-2 years later if we really aren't happy. The prices are quite high for the land and the construction...ridiculously high. We are told we shouldn't lose money but I'm not convinced and think we could lose 10-15% or more under a bad set of circumstances (a market drop and the recent drop in the amount of property tax/mortgage interest limits). When we start to look around we can get more land just 3 miles away for the same or less price and not have this neighbor issue. We wanted to be in a neighborhood and walk to schools but now we aren't so sure and could be in a slightly more open space area. Ideally it all works out and we like and it's a great home for the next 15-20 years and then we downsize.

5) Time: this is costing time and additional design expense to address concerns and even do a redesign. We are just getting cold feet about the unknown really and we are still > 1 year away since we would still have to build.

6) Alternatives: We could sell it and look for another property. We could just rent for now. It's just hard to know. Renting is hard with kids to move and not knowing when you'll get kicked out if the owner decides to move back in or sell. And the quality of rentals is typically worse than the quality of homes you buy around here. It's important to us to be in a pleasant clean modern home.

We don't really care what people think about the home but do not want to be in an unpleasant environment. We just don't know if it is unpleasant or not without living there. We are told it will settle down and perhaps this really unpleasant neighbor moves. I go back and forth about what to do. I also can't believe the costs involved and the 20% savings we could get if we lived 3-5 miles away. But we also think we won't lose that money over a 10-15 year period so ok doing it even if not financially optimal.

Thanks again for all the comments. They are very helpful and have sparked lots of thinking and discussion.
fru-gal
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by fru-gal »

So I'm guessing you're building a monster home in a neighborhood of more human sized homes. Although you get permits, the house will stick out like a sore thumb, loom over the neighbors, cut off their light, look into their windows. I have seen two neighborhoods ruined by people building McMansions in a bungalow neighborhood. Do the neighbors a favor and don't build the giant house. Find a neighborhood that already has oversized houses and buy or build there.
thx1138
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by thx1138 »

boglebrain wrote: Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:18 am I apologize for not responding individually or sooner but with 5 kids it's been very hard the last few days.
Building a house is far more time consuming than responding to a forum post! If it were me I'd be looking for a turn-key solution - buying an existing home closer to what I want as is. Many of the folks I know who have built homes said something akin to - "we are glad we built the house but we will never do something like that again." And most of those were empty-nesters with plenty of time on their hands.

Walking to school is certainly appealing but short drives of a few miles are usually not a big deal.

Also I'm always a little concerned about making a school central to a long term plan. Schools change - sometime with surprising rapidity. Growing up my brother and I were seven years apart but we went to different elementary and high schools despite not moving our home. A lot happened in those seven years to those schools. Same story now many years later with our daughter. Our public elementary school went from very highly rated to essentially glorified daycare in less than five years - the district superintendent was literally sent to prison. I have co-workers that had good schools degrade right underneath them as well as overcrowding hit the "good" schools due to unchecked growth and more people moving into the district. It would be unfortunate to go to the trouble to build a house next to a school and find yourself eventually driving your youngest ones to another school further away.
fasteddie911
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Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by fasteddie911 »

I'd walk away. The neighbor issue is about what I expected and I see no evidence that things will automatically get better in time, plus any good will or feel-good feelings have been loss and likely not repairable. Betting on things being better or the neighbor moving isn't worth it, especially for the price you're paying, which sounds like another pain point. Even if the neighbor improves, the financials may weigh you down, if the neighbor doesn't improve and the financials weigh on you then that's even worse.

I grew up around a difficult neighbor, one day he'd be nice and friendly the next he'd be scolding us for making noise playing on the street. He turned in our family dog to the animal shelter when she got out one day, despite knowing she's our dog. He probably wasn't the worst in the grand scheme of things and he was outweighed by a bunch of good neighbors, but I can still remember his negativity. Fences or non-communication doesn't stop neighbors from affecting you in other ways.
Last edited by fasteddie911 on Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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TomatoTomahto
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

I agree with thx1138. We aren’t building, but rather only doing a major renovation of our house. I don’t work outside the house, kids are in college or beyond, we have a good design and build company managing 80% of it, but I’m still very busy. That’s what would give me pause about your plan.

We spent almost a quarter century abutting a nasty lawyer (I once joked that the NJ bar is the only bar she ever passed) who would raise objections to this and that, but she was easy to forget about. Unhappy miserable people want to spread misery, but we found that staying within zoning rules took arrows out of her quiver.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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TomatoTomahto
Posts: 11618
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

We moved to our previous town for the schools. They are still rated among the best in the country. They are exceptionally good for some kids, but they didn’t work well for our kids. We enrolled our kids in a private school, at considerable expense, and drove the 20 minute round trip.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
fourwheelcycle
Posts: 1040
Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 5:55 pm

Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by fourwheelcycle »

I remember two specific tear downs have happened in our town, both times in desirable older neighborhoods within walking distance to the small downtown area. Both new homes were built by out of town people who could afford whatever they wanted to build, and what they wanted to build were the largest homes that could possibly fit on the in-town lots.

The first couple realized the NIMBY problems they were likely to encounter. Their architect carefully designed the home to meet all local building codes, including the maximum allowed height and lot coverage area, so a building permit could be issued with no required public hearings for a zoning special exception or a variance. Several neighbors tried to stop the project, but they were unable to do so.

For the second tear down, only a few blocks away, the couple wanted some features that did require a special exception. However, they spoke to the neighbors beforehand and either reached accommodations in their design, or were simply very gracious in explaining their needs, with the result that no one opposed their special exception at the public hearing.
NoVa Lurker
Posts: 690
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:14 am

Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by NoVa Lurker »

boglebrain wrote: Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:18 am 1) This is not a variance and all numerical values were met by a wide margin. We had to go through an approval process with the city and we got it approved despite the petition. The city has a number of subjective items like "not sticking out" which then requires things like dropping plate heights. In the end the city chose some values that was unsatisfactory to all parties still. The petitioner can still object and take it further levels of review but the city basically approved it. This just creates more tension and delays in getting the official permit. The city people said our plans were very reasonable and addressed all neighbor requests.
I am still not 100% clear from your responses, but honestly, if you already bought the land in a location you like, spent time and money on a design you like, spent 18 months on the approval process, and now have it approved, it sounds like you are just getting cold feet.

Why would you want to re-start this process in a different way, with lots of new risks?

With 5 kids, presumably demanding jobs, and a big house, you will barely see your neighbors, and they will adjust over time anyway.

We live in Northern Virginia, and our neighborhood is a weird mix of (1) McMansiony-homes that actually look nice except they are too big for their lots, (2) older people in the small original homes, and (3) houses like ours, where homeowners gradually built additions to the original 1950s homes over time. When an older house gets torn down, there are sometimes objections to the new homes, but everybody just accepts it eventually. We don't have any "perfect" neighbors -- the older neighbors are home all the time and complain about everything, and the younger families are never home because both parents work and the kids are in daycare until after 6 pm -- but I'm not sure it would be better anywhere else right now.
NJdad6
Posts: 276
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:51 am

Re: Continue with home project or not?

Post by NJdad6 »

Good advice from posters above. Are you asking for a variance? If so, neighbors would have a say. If not, there is nothing they can do as long as you are within code.

It is up to you if you want to be there. I wouldn’t care so much about the neighbors. I would be more concerned with having the nicest house on the block which will most likely impact your resale value.
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