Being a hands off homeowner

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VegasBH
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Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2016 3:34 pm

Being a hands off homeowner

Post by VegasBH » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:57 am

Hello learned Bogleheads,

I am 35 and live in Las Vegas, in a relationship no kids but marriage and kids are likely in the next 3 years. Since starting college at 18 i have lived in dorms or apartments. I like the idea of the permanency of home ownership as my job is pretty stable and I don’t see myself moving in the next 5-10 years and it is probable that I will live here much longer. My staff always talk about how much time and money they are spending on home maintenance and repair. If i were to buy a house or a condo how realistic is it that I could pay someone to do these various tasks without getting the run around or taken advantage of financially? What should I budget? I am happy in my apartment but with the possibility of marriage and children I want to explore my options.

TheHouse7
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Location: Washington State

Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by TheHouse7 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:09 am

There is some rule of thumb for this calculation. I would suspect it is 1.5% home value per year is what you will spend on home maintenance. If you don't plan on doing any of the work, I would guess (completely useless), that it would be 4.5% or 3x that. :beer

P.S.: You may want to mow your own lawn to get a break from your future wife and kids.

I take pride in my work on my house (been an owner for 4 years), but it takes me a lot longer than expected to do everything.
"PSX will always go up 20%, why invest in anything else?!" -Father-in-law early retired.

SQRT
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by SQRT » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:10 am

Depends on many things. Size,age, and type of house, pool?, type of lot/vegetation, etc. We have hired total maintainance for our large home in Arizona (including general property management which you probably wouldn’t need) and it runs about $6-8k per month all in including utilities, property tax, etc. Obviously you could do it a lot cheaper. Pool ($200/month), Gardiner($1,000), security($200),pest($70) would be the monthly basics. Lots of regular repairs required. Seems like we have to fix an air conditioning unit every year. Certainly isn’t inexpensive and you have to watch them closely to get value for money.

mak1277
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by mak1277 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:20 am

It's definitely possible, but a lot of it depends on your personal attitude towards things. I've lived in my current home for a decade now and I haven't put anywhere near 1% per year into upkeep. I have a lawn service ($30 per week), I've redone two bathrooms, and I've had minor plumbing issues. All the work has been hired out. Fortunately, I have had no major repair issues (e.g., roof, A/C, etc.).

That said, my house is incredibly dated. The kitchen is original from the mid 80s, and the back deck is in serious need of replacement. Save two, none of the rooms in the house have been repainted or re-floored since I moved in. But none of those things bother me enough to take action on them. I'm incredibly lazy about house upkeep...will this bite me when I go to sell? Maybe, but I'm not too worried about that either...at least not enough to do anything about it.

Rus In Urbe
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by Rus In Urbe » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:25 am

Home ownership is so much more expensive than anyone imagines. But (as someone who is very rooted in our historic fixer-upper with garden), it can also be gratifying. It all depends on where you and your future spouse want to invest your time and money. Home ownership is not for everyone and some folks are miserable with the yard work, maintenance, and repair costs; others (like us) love the process.

Apartments and condos are made for folks who don't want the hassles/costs.

What should you be budgeting? This question seems to be about how much above and beyond the purchase price you will need. Really it's an impossible question because so much depends on what condition the home is that you buy. If it's newly-built home and well-built, that is different from a new and badly built one; if it's an older home, so much depends on whether the previous owners kept it upgraded and maintained. And then there are all the things you could do that would make a house more fun to live in.

But two things for you to think about are:
1. Your beloved intended will want to weigh in on where/how you live! Have lots of conversations about your values and expectations around a home. For some, it's a very emotional issue; for others, it's more practical. So get on the same page about your overall long-range financial goals and how your living situation factors into it. More than any other factor, being a total team with your spouse is the path to accumulating wealth (and having a really happy life).
2. You mention kids in the future. If you decide to buy, that decision will be based on school districts (huge complicated issue) and commuting. Except for the amount of space/land you get in a property, the location is the only thing you cannot change. So,take your time to figure out how much space you need and where you need to be. A note on commuting: Mr Money Mustache wrote a great essay some time back about the hidden cost of commuting...it is well worth reading for the two of you; staggering amounts of time and money are wasted because the commute is "only" 45 minutes or whatever. So take the issues of location very seriously when you are shopping.

If I were in your shoes, I would be thinking about home ownership and asking questions (as you are doing)----but putting off buying for a long time to come, while living as inexpensively as possible and saving as much of the downpayment as you can manage. A condo in the general vicinity of where you might ultimately buy (good commute, good school district) could get you through the first years of marriage and toddler-years while you become acquainted with the more complex decision of school districts (or private schools if you are going that route), and while you determine whether you want to devote the time/effort to owning a whole house.

Good luck to you and your intended! :beer
I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money. ~Pablo Picasso

sschoe2
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by sschoe2 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:29 am

Good luck, I've had little success finding someone to do home maintenance for reasonable rates. I've literally been quoted way over $100 per hour. I recently tried to get a quote to replace my front door and got $3300. Replacing a front door is about a 4 hour job. Assuming the door is about $1k that means the installer wanted about $500 an hour.

Needless to say I DIY everything I can so I don't go broke. Youtube is a lifesaver.

mrc
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by mrc » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:31 am

Childhood friend's dad always said the only thing he needed in his toolbox was the Yellow Pages. It can work for you, but finding reliable, affordable service is non-trivial.
Macs are for those who don’t want to know why their computer works | Linux is for those who do | DOS is for those who want to know why their computer doesn’t work | Windows is for those who don’t

fru-gal
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by fru-gal » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:43 am

It takes awhile to finds trustworthy AC person, electrician, plumber, etc. Neighbor referrals are usually a good source but not always.

Then there are the more expensive less frequent things like roof repair. Last one was $7000 entire roof. House taken down to bare wood and primed two coats of paint $12000. Roof guy and painter had good recommendations, roof guy did a good job, painter was a disaster and some of that money was to fix his mess. Septic systems are expensive.

In my case property tax $10K, homeowners insurance $1600, umbrella liability $5mil $600, utilities $4000 last year total for gas and electricity. UPDATE I forgot flood insurance if you're near the water.

Lawn mowing $40 a week, weeding gardens about $100 a month, snow plowing/shoveling $50 a time.

When I was younger I did the lawn mowing, weeding, snow removal myself.

goaties
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by goaties » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:58 am

sschoe2 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:29 am
Good luck, I've had little success finding someone to do home maintenance for reasonable rates. I've literally been quoted way over $100 per hour. I recently tried to get a quote to replace my front door and got $3300. Replacing a front door is about a 4 hour job. Assuming the door is about $1k that means the installer wanted about $500 an hour.

Needless to say I DIY everything I can so I don't go broke. Youtube is a lifesaver.
+++1 Youtube is indeed a life/wealth saver. But it takes a certain kind of person to crawl underneath the kitchen sink, wrench in hand, with your tablet on the floor next to you. And then it seems to take a minimum of three trips to the hardware store before you've gotten everything you need. And then another trip to return all the stuff you bought but didn't end up using!

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:05 am

Marry someone who likes to do those home maintenance tasks, or wants to learn. You don't both have to replace outlets or snake drains, but it helps if one of you will. Or outsource it. Either way works.

OnTrack2020
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by OnTrack2020 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:25 am

I don't think there is such a thing as a hands off homeowner.

We have an older home that we've been in for close to two decades. These are the things we've done or hired out:

Replaced a quite large wrap-around deck - ourselves
Extended the septic system - hired out
Replaced the roof - hired out
Replacing the siding - hiring out
Tree trimming/cutting - hired out
Updated two bathrooms - ourselves
Replaced the main level flooring - ourselves
Interior painting - ourselves (need to update again)
Mowing and mower maintenance, have replaced several mowers - ourselves
Replaced lower level carpeting - hired out
Replaced water heater- hired out
Replaced heating/cooling - hired out

This does not include all the other items such as replacing light bulbs, carpet cleaning, plumbing items, replacing appliances, etc.

Bigt3142
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by Bigt3142 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:26 am

goaties wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:58 am

+++1 Youtube is indeed a life/wealth saver. But it takes a certain kind of person to crawl underneath the kitchen sink, wrench in hand, with your tablet on the floor next to you. And then it seems to take a minimum of three trips to the hardware store before you've gotten everything you need. And then another trip to return all the stuff you bought but didn't end up using!
Oh good, I thought it was just me that had to go to the hardware store three times every time I try to fix something. :oops:

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Sandtrap
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:35 am

VegasBH wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:57 am
Hello learned Bogleheads,

I am 35 and live in Las Vegas, in a relationship no kids but marriage and kids are likely in the next 3 years. Since starting college at 18 i have lived in dorms or apartments. I like the idea of the permanency of home ownership as my job is pretty stable and I don’t see myself moving in the next 5-10 years and it is probable that I will live here much longer. My staff always talk about how much time and money they are spending on home maintenance and repair. If i were to buy a house or a condo how realistic is it that I could pay someone to do these various tasks without getting the run around or taken advantage of financially? What should I budget? I am happy in my apartment but with the possibility of marriage and children I want to explore my options.
Buying a condo, townhouse, or home, now. . . is a financial decision. (not an investment)
Whereas.
Buying a home with a spouse. . ..is a marital decision.

Consider the fact that your future spouse may want a different house in a different neighborhood than the one you buy now. If you are okay with that, and you "want" to live in a condo/townhouse/home of your own "now", then buy it if you can afford it.

Things will change when you buy a house with your spouse vs thinking about it now.
Different context.
There's no need to change anything at the moment. But, save and be ready.

OTOH: If you are dating someone nice. And, you own your own "home" (not condo or townhouse). There's a certain "perception" of you as a stable homeowner that takes place. Therefore. . . . . :D :D
j
Last edited by Sandtrap on Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Watty
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by Watty » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:38 am

Bigt3142 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:26 am
goaties wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:58 am

+++1 Youtube is indeed a life/wealth saver. But it takes a certain kind of person to crawl underneath the kitchen sink, wrench in hand, with your tablet on the floor next to you. And then it seems to take a minimum of three trips to the hardware store before you've gotten everything you need. And then another trip to return all the stuff you bought but didn't end up using!
Oh good, I thought it was just me that had to go to the hardware store three times every time I try to fix something. :oops:
My wife and I have an ongoing joke about how there is a secret mens only bar in the back of every Home Depot which is why I have to make multiple trips there whenever I do a home project. :D

fposte
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by fposte » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:44 am

I'm a hands-off homeowner. I didn't use to be, but work pressures and physical problems mean that I'd rather spend money than energy and time. Fortunately, I live in a small LCOL town where there are lots of handy folks happy to make some money replacing faucets or mowing lawns; I suspect it would be different calculation in a place like Las Vegas.

barnaclebob
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:52 am

You'll either spend time doing it yourself or spend the same amount of time trying to find someone who will unless its a major project. Dealing with contractor appointments is extremely frustrating.

If you buy a new house the odds are that it will be fairly maintenance free for a good decade.

jharkin
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by jharkin » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:03 am

We DIY all cleaning, lawn mowing/landscaping, snow removal and a lot of basic renovation work (interior painting, light electrical and plumbing, etc)... and yet still manage to spend at least 1% of those house market value each year or more on major projects we contract out.

If you hire EVERYTHING, I agree with the suggestions to figure higher, maybe 3-4% of value. Last year I spent 4% of value in one year just replacing the roof.... my spend rate would have been 6%+ if I hired absolutely everything that year....

Nowizard
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by Nowizard » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:08 am

Recently moved to a new home after having done all maintenance and yard-work that I knew how to do for many years. Hired a person for two-months while getting settled, never having used one before. For an annual contract, services include weekly mowing, edging, blowing, flowers twice a year, landscape trimming and weeding, washing outside windows once monthly and leaf removal on as needed basis in fall. Annual charge for our lot which has significant, but simple, landscaping and is approximately 100 X 150 feet is $5,000 with a 10% reduction for pre-payment. This has been seen by friends as reasonable, but it definitely points out how much can be saved by doing it yourself.

Tim

mak1277
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by mak1277 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:09 am

jharkin wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:03 am
We DIY all cleaning, lawn mowing/landscaping, snow removal and a lot of basic renovation work (interior painting, light electrical and plumbing, etc)... and yet still manage to spend at least 1% of those house market value each year or more on major projects we contract out.

If you hire EVERYTHING, I agree with the suggestions to figure higher, maybe 3-4% of value. Last year I spent 4% of value in one year just replacing the roof.... my spend rate would have been 6%+ if I hired absolutely everything that year....
This is crazy to me...how do you have so many projects that you spend that much annually? I get it if you have a huge roof issue, but in most years we spend less than 0.2% of the cost of our home on maintenance.

stoptothink
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by stoptothink » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:12 am

Make some friends. I am the least mechanically inclined man you are likely to meet (and the wife isn't much better), but one of my best friends is a GC who can fix almost anything, a neighbor is an electrician, and an employee's husband is a plumber. The only thing I've really had to pay for since being a homeowner was an AC issue. I have to wait until they have some free time, but all I pay for is parts and offer dinner, and off course be open to helping them as well (I'm really good at lifting heavy things).

sergio
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by sergio » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:13 am

What about a townhouse? This way you're only responsible for the interior of your unit. We live in one and spend very little time worrying about home maintenance. In the past two years the only thing I've spent money on is getting a drain snaked ($115) and replacing the glass in a sliding door ($500). I did call the HOA to take care of replacing a piece of rotting siding on my unit and flattening out the lawn in front of my unit to resolve drainage issues.

barnaclebob
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:17 am

mak1277 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:09 am
jharkin wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:03 am
We DIY all cleaning, lawn mowing/landscaping, snow removal and a lot of basic renovation work (interior painting, light electrical and plumbing, etc)... and yet still manage to spend at least 1% of those house market value each year or more on major projects we contract out.

If you hire EVERYTHING, I agree with the suggestions to figure higher, maybe 3-4% of value. Last year I spent 4% of value in one year just replacing the roof.... my spend rate would have been 6%+ if I hired absolutely everything that year....
This is crazy to me...how do you have so many projects that you spend that much annually? I get it if you have a huge roof issue, but in most years we spend less than 0.2% of the cost of our home on maintenance.
He has 200+ year old house. But otherwise I agree with you. Most of what I have spent on my house has been optional upgrades. Anytime we did renovation project it also increased the quality; fiberglass shower to tile, laminate countertops to granite, etc.

Admiral
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by Admiral » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:19 am

There's no rule of thumb, because homes are different. Some are old and well built, some are old and falling apart, some are new and well built, some are new and poorly built. A city home is not the same as a suburban home: no (or small) yard, no landscaping costs, likely smaller square footage, no driveway to plow, etc. A rural home is not the same as a suburban home, etc.

I live in a city and have owned two homes over 20 years. My house is 150 years old. My costs have not been anywhere close to 1-1.5% of the value per year. Some years, yes (new floors, new windows, painting). But amortized I'd estimate .5%. Of course, I do some things myself: re-coat the roof occasionally, (which is flat), some painting, light carpentry, some plumbing. I do them because I like to, it gives me satisfaction, it saves money, and it's hard to find contractors for small jobs.

If you want to do nothing, you need a condo. Or a rental. Or a very good, very reliable handyman/woman (good luck with that!)

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willthrill81
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by willthrill81 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:20 am

TheHouse7 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:09 am
There is some rule of thumb for this calculation. I would suspect it is 1.5% home value per year is what you will spend on home maintenance. If you don't plan on doing any of the work, I would guess (completely useless), that it would be 4.5% or 3x that. :beer
The rule of thumb, TMK, is that maintenance is roughly 1% of the home's market value annually. In my experience owning older and newer homes, I'd say that's a good average, but it's probably low for really old homes, where the cost may be closer to 2%, and high for new homes, where it may be more like .5%.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

Bigt3142
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by Bigt3142 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:22 am

mak1277 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:09 am

This is crazy to me...how do you have so many projects that you spend that much annually? I get it if you have a huge roof issue, but in most years we spend less than 0.2% of the cost of our home on maintenance.
You're indexing and they have a financial advisor. :beer

7eight9
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by 7eight9 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:30 am

The OP did mention a condo as a possibility. We've lived in one for the past 17 years in Las Vegas. HOA fees are app. 1.4% of market value currently. There really have been only a few maintenance issues. Water heater was replaced due to leaking. Garage door spring snapped. Some pump that circulates hot water for heating needed to be replaced. The dishwasher died and we've bought two washing machines. Preemptively replaced the Manabloc as other owners had been experiencing issues. All hired out.
I guess it all could be much worse. | They could be warming up my hearse.

mak1277
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by mak1277 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:34 am

Bigt3142 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:22 am
mak1277 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:09 am

This is crazy to me...how do you have so many projects that you spend that much annually? I get it if you have a huge roof issue, but in most years we spend less than 0.2% of the cost of our home on maintenance.
You're indexing and they have a financial advisor. :beer
No, I'm just not doing anything...my annual home maintenance costs are usually no more than what I pay to have my grass mowed. A normal year does not involve any work at all on the house other than that and changing light bulbs.

Valuethinker
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:46 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:35 am
VegasBH wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:57 am
Hello learned Bogleheads,

I am 35 and live in Las Vegas, in a relationship no kids but marriage and kids are likely in the next 3 years. Since starting college at 18 i have lived in dorms or apartments. I like the idea of the permanency of home ownership as my job is pretty stable and I don’t see myself moving in the next 5-10 years and it is probable that I will live here much longer. My staff always talk about how much time and money they are spending on home maintenance and repair. If i were to buy a house or a condo how realistic is it that I could pay someone to do these various tasks without getting the run around or taken advantage of financially? What should I budget? I am happy in my apartment but with the possibility of marriage and children I want to explore my options.
Things will change when you buy a house with your spouse vs thinking about it now.
Different context.
There's no need to change anything at the moment. But, save and be ready.

j
+1

Poster Sandtrap, by way of explanation, is an experienced property owner & investor.

Marriage changes your life. Kids change your life unimaginably. There's no point locking yourself into property if your whole life is going to be upended.

Houses are pain, just about endless pain. Always something that needs to be paid for and/ or needs to be fixed or retouched. And I say this knowing that my investment in my principal residence has had the highest financial return of any investment in my life, including probably my career -- but I live in a HCOL city (London, England).

Valuethinker
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:51 am

sergio wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:13 am
What about a townhouse? This way you're only responsible for the interior of your unit. We live in one and spend very little time worrying about home maintenance. In the past two years the only thing I've spent money on is getting a drain snaked ($115) and replacing the glass in a sliding door ($500). I did call the HOA to take care of replacing a piece of rotting siding on my unit and flattening out the lawn in front of my unit to resolve drainage issues.
Neighbours and walls.

Town houses suggest to me some of the worse features of condos (apartments) and houses?

We live in a Victorian row house and we are very lucky -- the neighbours we share a wall with have young boys who do a huge amount of screaming and fighting, but it's a happy family and the noise does not bother us.

On the other side there is a narrow alley - the air gap shields us from all kinds of stuff (they argue a lot).

Own an apartment and benefit from the anonymity, or own a detached home and "every (wo)man has his castle". See Mr Jaggers & The Aged Person in Charles Dickens Great Expectations.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

dbr
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by dbr » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:52 am

It is easy to pay people to take care of everything. Doing that without getting the runaround or paying too much on occasion is probably impossible. A certain incidence of those things comes with the territory. With time and effort those things will happen less and less. But, wait, you said you don't want to invest time and effort. Not owning a home may be a better option. It can also take time and effort to deal with a landlord.

jharkin
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by jharkin » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:58 am

mak1277 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:09 am
jharkin wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:03 am
We DIY all cleaning, lawn mowing/landscaping, snow removal and a lot of basic renovation work (interior painting, light electrical and plumbing, etc)... and yet still manage to spend at least 1% of those house market value each year or more on major projects we contract out.

If you hire EVERYTHING, I agree with the suggestions to figure higher, maybe 3-4% of value. Last year I spent 4% of value in one year just replacing the roof.... my spend rate would have been 6%+ if I hired absolutely everything that year....
This is crazy to me...how do you have so many projects that you spend that much annually? I get it if you have a huge roof issue, but in most years we spend less than 0.2% of the cost of our home on maintenance.
0.2% ? wow. Im guessing you are in a LCOL area....

The house I just moved out of sold for 400k. And its small - only 1400sq ft . 0.2% of 400k is $800.

If I where to hire a lawn service it could cost $50 a week or more - so that 800 wouldn't even cover a whole summer. If I hired a plow guy in winter it might cost $100 per storm, so gain that 800 might not cover the whole winter. I DIY instead so I have to amortize the cost of buying the mower, trimmer and snowblower over time, plus maintenance and gas. Same thing for interior cleaning. And then what if we need to so some interior painting? The supplies and paint alone to do one small room can be a few hundred (especially if you are using BM/SW not box store house brands). $500 seems to be about the bare minimum you can get a plumber to even show up for around here for any kind of job. Dishwasher broke down? t will cost at least $400-600 for a decent replacement... plus a couple hundred if you cant self install. If your a Bosch appliance snob double that. And so on....

I will admit I am a perfectionst however - I dont put up with leaky faucets, drafty windows, squeaky doors, cracked switch plates or peeing paint. When something is broken, i fix it. yesterday.

I just moved up to a larger (over 2000sq) house and those costs have all doubled or more...

sergio
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by sergio » Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:02 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:51 am
sergio wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:13 am
What about a townhouse? This way you're only responsible for the interior of your unit. We live in one and spend very little time worrying about home maintenance. In the past two years the only thing I've spent money on is getting a drain snaked ($115) and replacing the glass in a sliding door ($500). I did call the HOA to take care of replacing a piece of rotting siding on my unit and flattening out the lawn in front of my unit to resolve drainage issues.
Neighbours and walls.

Town houses suggest to me some of the worse features of condos (apartments) and houses?

We live in a Victorian row house and we are very lucky -- the neighbours we share a wall with have young boys who do a huge amount of screaming and fighting, but it's a happy family and the noise does not bother us.

On the other side there is a narrow alley - the air gap shields us from all kinds of stuff (they argue a lot).

Own an apartment and benefit from the anonymity, or own a detached home and "every (wo)man has his castle". See Mr Jaggers & The Aged Person in Charles Dickens Great Expectations.
We only have two neighbors (no-one above or below us) and our complex has very good soundproofing - neighbors can't hear our screaming baby, we can't hear their barking dog. The bylaws also forbid rentals which eliminates all the headaches that come with revolving renters. Townhouses do have their downsides but not all units have paper thin walls surrounded by obnoxious neighbors.

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beyou
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by beyou » Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:04 am

mak1277 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:20 am
It's definitely possible, but a lot of it depends on your personal attitude towards things. I've lived in my current home for a decade now and I haven't put anywhere near 1% per year into upkeep. I have a lawn service ($30 per week), I've redone two bathrooms, and I've had minor plumbing issues. All the work has been hired out. Fortunately, I have had no major repair issues (e.g., roof, A/C, etc.).

That said, my house is incredibly dated. The kitchen is original from the mid 80s, and the back deck is in serious need of replacement. Save two, none of the rooms in the house have been repainted or re-floored since I moved in. But none of those things bother me enough to take action on them. I'm incredibly lazy about house upkeep...will this bite me when I go to sell? Maybe, but I'm not too worried about that either...at least not enough to do anything about it.
Wow, mak1277 must be a long lost twin I never knew I had :-)

I don't want to touch a thing, hate doing it, don't want to watch youtube videos of others doing it, don't like going to Home Depot.
I pay for what either MUST be done, or what is easy. As a result, when I see a neighbor with a contractor doing a REALLY GOOD JOB,
I ask the contractor for a quote and get things done that will soon need to be done anyway. But if I have to find people, will only do so for emergencies. As a result, parts of my house look new (landscaping, windows that had leaked), parts are from the 1980s (kitchens and baths), and my retirement account is sufficient to FIRE ! I spend my weekends with family or doing activities I enjoy.

If I could rent a place I really wanted to live, I would be a renter, but in many locations rentals are not desirable options,
so I put up with home ownership. I don't care that my home has appreciated, I would rather have put those $ in my portfolio if I could have.

DarkHelmetII
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by DarkHelmetII » Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:07 am

Renting a SFH, or TH, is not out of the question (at least where I live). In fact, I love it. Don't know about your specific market but that is something I'd consider.

sergio
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by sergio » Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:12 am

jharkin wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:58 am
mak1277 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:09 am
jharkin wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:03 am
We DIY all cleaning, lawn mowing/landscaping, snow removal and a lot of basic renovation work (interior painting, light electrical and plumbing, etc)... and yet still manage to spend at least 1% of those house market value each year or more on major projects we contract out.

If you hire EVERYTHING, I agree with the suggestions to figure higher, maybe 3-4% of value. Last year I spent 4% of value in one year just replacing the roof.... my spend rate would have been 6%+ if I hired absolutely everything that year....
This is crazy to me...how do you have so many projects that you spend that much annually? I get it if you have a huge roof issue, but in most years we spend less than 0.2% of the cost of our home on maintenance.
0.2% ? wow. Im guessing you are in a LCOL area....

The house I just moved out of sold for 400k. And its small - only 1400sq ft . 0.2% of 400k is $800.

If I where to hire a lawn service it could cost $50 a week or more - so that 800 wouldn't even cover a whole summer. If I hired a plow guy in winter it might cost $100 per storm, so gain that 800 might not cover the whole winter. I DIY instead so I have to amortize the cost of buying the mower, trimmer and snowblower over time, plus maintenance and gas. Same thing for interior cleaning. And then what if we need to so some interior painting? The supplies and paint alone to do one small room can be a few hundred (especially if you are using BM/SW not box store house brands). $500 seems to be about the bare minimum you can get a plumber to even show up for around here for any kind of job. Dishwasher broke down? t will cost at least $400-600 for a decent replacement... plus a couple hundred if you cant self install. If your a Bosch appliance snob double that. And so on....

I will admit I am a perfectionst however - I dont put up with leaky faucets, drafty windows, squeaky doors, cracked switch plates or peeing paint. When something is broken, i fix it. yesterday.

I just moved up to a larger (over 2000sq) house and those costs have all doubled or more...
Just replacing a roof every 25 years at $15,000 comes out to $600/year. Then add in other things that need to be replaced at least once in that time frame: appliances, furnace/AC, hot water heater, garage door, sump pump etc. Depending on the age of the house, possibly even things like windows. Don't forget money spend maintaining a deck, pool, or patio. Plus all the service calls for minor repairs. Add in things fertilizer, lawn equipment, snowblowers, air filters (and a thousand other little things) and it just keeps going. I'd guess that most homeowners don't realize just how much they are spending on maintenance.

dbr
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by dbr » Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:17 am

sergio wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:12 am
I'd guess that most homeowners don't realize just how much they are spending on maintenance.
On the contrary :shock:

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Nate79
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by Nate79 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:42 am

I have found the 1% rule to be a pretty good approximation for the maintenance and upkeep cost for an average home as long as you do the basic yard work and other simple stuff yourself. Basically it covers stuff like appliances, roof, paint, flooring, AC, HW heater, etc - all of the items with a known, finite lifetime.

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Watty
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by Watty » Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:52 am

A few things that have not been mentioned;

1) In most areas construction is booming which makes it very hard(at least in my area) to find someone for small projects. I am still kicking myself for now for not having a few things done during the housing bust ten years ago when contractors were looking for any work they could get.

2) For a one time project it is often quicker and less work to fix something yourself rather than spend the time to find someone to come in and fix it for you. For example I had a door knob with lock that needed to be replaced. I just watched a video on Youtube on how to do that, bought the lock, and installed it myself. Including the trip to the hardware store it probably took me a bit over an hour to do. If I called a locksmith it would not only have cost a lot more but I would have had to wait around for an afternoon waiting for the locksmith to show up. If I was not retired I might have even had to take the day of work to wait for the locksmith.

Youtube is great for home projects since if you can see someone fix something you may then be able to do it yourself even though you have not done anything like that before.
VegasBH wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:57 am
If i were to buy a house or a condo how realistic is it that I could pay someone to do these various tasks without getting the run around or taken advantage of financially? What should I budget?
It is very possible. For example my Mom outlived my dad and she was elderly so there was very little she could do around the house. My siblings and I lived in different cities so there were often things that could not wait until one of us visited. She had a housekeeper and lawn service that took care of routine stuff for anything that vaguely was related to plumbing or electrical work she would just call in a plumber or electrician. That really did not leave a lot other things that needed to be done.

researcher
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by researcher » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:00 pm

VegasBH wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:57 am
If i were to buy a house or a condo how realistic is it that I could pay someone to do these various tasks without getting the run around or taken advantage of financially?
To very clearly answer this specific question...it is almost COMPLETELY UNREALISTIC.

There are several reasons for this...
- There is a huge shortage of skilled labor in this country, as younger people are pushed into college and older people are retiring from skilled trades
- Low unemployment is keeping people out of these less desirable 'handyman' type jobs
- The strong economy & housing market is creating a big demand for these already limited services
- Most importantly, many of the people doing this work are unqualified/inexperienced and don't care about doing things the right way

I would never suggest buying a single family house if you intend to be a "hands off" owner.

michaeljc70
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:00 pm

sschoe2 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:29 am
Good luck, I've had little success finding someone to do home maintenance for reasonable rates. I've literally been quoted way over $100 per hour. I recently tried to get a quote to replace my front door and got $3300. Replacing a front door is about a 4 hour job. Assuming the door is about $1k that means the installer wanted about $500 an hour.

Needless to say I DIY everything I can so I don't go broke. Youtube is a lifesaver.
That's what I've found on a lot of projects. You can spend more time calling people, waiting for them to show up, waiting for an estimate/quote, scheduling, etc. Most tradespeople and handymen want to take the bigger projects so they aren't constantly looking for work and doing estimates.

If you get a condo or townhouse, the outside maintenance is taken care of and that leaves a lot less. But being in the desert, I think you can do landscaping that requires little maintenance if you bought a SFH.

I've lived in places (one SFH, one condo, one townhouse) less than 20 years old and the maintenance in terms of stuff breaking has been minimal over the last 25 years.

ncbill
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Location: Western NC

Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by ncbill » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:46 pm

I have thoroughly enjoyed living in my townhouse for 20+ years because for one monthly fee (~1% of its value annually) all outside maintenance is covered.

Brick veneer, but the trim/doors/window frames still must be painted every few years, roof repairs are covered.

Some extraordinary items are not...we currently have a special assessment of ~2.5% (spread over 5 years) for roof replacement (but only every ~20 years)

Still, after having grown up mowing the lawn twice/week, weeding, cleaning gutters, etc. for my parents I appreciate the extra time I have NOT doing anything outside unless we want (spouse plants flowers, etc.)

Most of the residents in my complex are older couples who had the big SFR and downsized after the kids left...they also appreciate not having to do all the above anymore.

mak1277
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by mak1277 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:51 pm

sergio wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:12 am
jharkin wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:58 am
mak1277 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:09 am
jharkin wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:03 am
We DIY all cleaning, lawn mowing/landscaping, snow removal and a lot of basic renovation work (interior painting, light electrical and plumbing, etc)... and yet still manage to spend at least 1% of those house market value each year or more on major projects we contract out.

If you hire EVERYTHING, I agree with the suggestions to figure higher, maybe 3-4% of value. Last year I spent 4% of value in one year just replacing the roof.... my spend rate would have been 6%+ if I hired absolutely everything that year....
This is crazy to me...how do you have so many projects that you spend that much annually? I get it if you have a huge roof issue, but in most years we spend less than 0.2% of the cost of our home on maintenance.
0.2% ? wow. Im guessing you are in a LCOL area....

The house I just moved out of sold for 400k. And its small - only 1400sq ft . 0.2% of 400k is $800.

If I where to hire a lawn service it could cost $50 a week or more - so that 800 wouldn't even cover a whole summer. If I hired a plow guy in winter it might cost $100 per storm, so gain that 800 might not cover the whole winter. I DIY instead so I have to amortize the cost of buying the mower, trimmer and snowblower over time, plus maintenance and gas. Same thing for interior cleaning. And then what if we need to so some interior painting? The supplies and paint alone to do one small room can be a few hundred (especially if you are using BM/SW not box store house brands). $500 seems to be about the bare minimum you can get a plumber to even show up for around here for any kind of job. Dishwasher broke down? t will cost at least $400-600 for a decent replacement... plus a couple hundred if you cant self install. If your a Bosch appliance snob double that. And so on....

I will admit I am a perfectionst however - I dont put up with leaky faucets, drafty windows, squeaky doors, cracked switch plates or peeing paint. When something is broken, i fix it. yesterday.

I just moved up to a larger (over 2000sq) house and those costs have all doubled or more...
Just replacing a roof every 25 years at $15,000 comes out to $600/year. Then add in other things that need to be replaced at least once in that time frame: appliances, furnace/AC, hot water heater, garage door, sump pump etc. Depending on the age of the house, possibly even things like windows. Don't forget money spend maintaining a deck, pool, or patio. Plus all the service calls for minor repairs. Add in things fertilizer, lawn equipment, snowblowers, air filters (and a thousand other little things) and it just keeps going. I'd guess that most homeowners don't realize just how much they are spending on maintenance.
Specifically the post I responded to mentioned spending 1% "each year". Perhaps my inference was wrong, but I don't think that was based on amortizing big expenses like a roof. As I said, I've lived in my house about a decade. I have not replaced appliances and I have only painted one interior room with the exception of two bathroom remodels. I've been lucky to avoid plumbing issues (maybe 3 plumber visits in 10 years). I've never done any deck maintenance (Maybe I stained it once in ten years???) and I don't have a pool or patio to deal with. My windows are 30-ish years old but I don't feel the need to replace them.

I live in the DC Metro area...not cheap. My 0.2% was based on the cost to mow my lawn for 35 weeks a year (give or take). Most years that's my only maintenance expense.

onourway
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by onourway » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:55 pm

mak1277 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:34 am
Bigt3142 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:22 am
mak1277 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:09 am

This is crazy to me...how do you have so many projects that you spend that much annually? I get it if you have a huge roof issue, but in most years we spend less than 0.2% of the cost of our home on maintenance.
You're indexing and they have a financial advisor. :beer
No, I'm just not doing anything...my annual home maintenance costs are usually no more than what I pay to have my grass mowed. A normal year does not involve any work at all on the house other than that and changing light bulbs.
As noted, there is a huge range depending on all manner of factors. Age of house, quality of construction/previous repairs, climate, personal tolerance for letting things go, value of the house, and so on. If you own a $1M 1000 sq ft. ranch in Silicon Valley, you probably don't spend near that because most of the value is in the property, not the home. The same home in a small town in the NE US might be worth $200k with most of the value in the structure, and the climate is much harsher on things as well.

I also suspect that you have not yet been in your property long enough to start seeing the real long-term costs of things like replacing a roof, siding, painting, appliances, and so on. If you amortize those costs properly you'd probably be a lot closer to the rule of thumb number.

Our home is about 80 years old, more on the low end of that price scale than not, in a harsh 4 season environment. We also value a well maintained, updated, aesthetically pleasing home. Even short of upgrades, we easily spend several percent annually, fully amortized, hiring out most of the major work. I do minor electrical, plumbing, painting and so on, and mow the lawn. We hire out exterior painting, gardening, and more major jobs.

mak1277
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by mak1277 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:06 pm

onourway wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:55 pm
We also value a well maintained, updated, aesthetically pleasing home.
Ultimately this is the key difference. I don't value that much at all and my choices on maintenance (or lack thereof) prove it out. I typically don't take action on something unless it presents a danger, threatens lasting damage, or impacts my comfort.

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LilyFleur
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by LilyFleur » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:09 pm

jharkin wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:58 am
mak1277 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:09 am
jharkin wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:03 am
We DIY all cleaning, lawn mowing/landscaping, snow removal and a lot of basic renovation work (interior painting, light electrical and plumbing, etc)... and yet still manage to spend at least 1% of those house market value each year or more on major projects we contract out.

If you hire EVERYTHING, I agree with the suggestions to figure higher, maybe 3-4% of value. Last year I spent 4% of value in one year just replacing the roof.... my spend rate would have been 6%+ if I hired absolutely everything that year....
This is crazy to me...how do you have so many projects that you spend that much annually? I get it if you have a huge roof issue, but in most years we spend less than 0.2% of the cost of our home on maintenance.
0.2% ? wow. Im guessing you are in a LCOL area....

The house I just moved out of sold for 400k. And its small - only 1400sq ft . 0.2% of 400k is $800.

If I where to hire a lawn service it could cost $50 a week or more - so that 800 wouldn't even cover a whole summer. If I hired a plow guy in winter it might cost $100 per storm, so gain that 800 might not cover the whole winter. I DIY instead so I have to amortize the cost of buying the mower, trimmer and snowblower over time, plus maintenance and gas. Same thing for interior cleaning. And then what if we need to so some interior painting? The supplies and paint alone to do one small room can be a few hundred (especially if you are using BM/SW not box store house brands). $500 seems to be about the bare minimum you can get a plumber to even show up for around here for any kind of job. Dishwasher broke down? t will cost at least $400-600 for a decent replacement... plus a couple hundred if you cant self install. If your a Bosch appliance snob double that. And so on....

I will admit I am a perfectionst however - I dont put up with leaky faucets, drafty windows, squeaky doors, cracked switch plates or peeing paint. When something is broken, i fix it. yesterday.

I just moved up to a larger (over 2000sq) house and those costs have all doubled or more...
Me, too. Very easy to sell a well maintained house--very few surprises on the inspection.

shell921
Posts: 320
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:13 pm

Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by shell921 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:11 pm

I thought people were mentioning spending 1.5 % of the
value of their home on maintenance "each year"...??

I've lived in my house about a decade. It was built in 2009. Custom home built on
2.2 acres. 4,000 sq feet. have not replaced appliances but I have had to have the dryer repaired,
had some regrouting in master shower done, replaced a laundry room faucet, done regular brush clearing,
had to have my front door and garage doors refinished 3x, my tankless water heaters flushed
3x, wrought iron work repainted 3x and various other things. House was built for $1.2 million
in 2009 and is now worth
about $1.6 million. I have regular, on-going housecleaning help and a yard man.

1.2% of 1.6 million is $16,000. I do not think I spend $16,000 a year on house maintenance!
Maybe more like $8,000-$10,000 per year. Unless you include property taxes and homeowner's insurance?
Then I guess -yes- I do spend $18,000-$20,000 a year! :oops: :moneybag

conservativeinvestor
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:14 pm

Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by conservativeinvestor » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:37 pm

We are in our first home and it has been much more expensive than we would have imagined even in a generally low cost area.

1800 sq.ft house with about an acre lot. The house is a little over 30 years old and it seems like the repairs have been nonstop but apparently this is right about the age of house where major things start needing replacement.


In 10 years of ownership we have done the following:
(all hired out, we only DIY small uncomplicated jobs that can be done in a weekend or less. I don't have a breakdown of costs for these)

HVAC heatpump /ac replacement $5,800
New Roof: $8,000
New Windows: $6,000
Water Line leak between source and house: $4,000
Gutter and gutter guard replacement: $1200
Lawn Care (just fertilizer/weed control): 700 per year (we've only hired this out for 2 years so far)

10 year total: $26,400

Per Year: $2,640

This is 1.6% of the purchase value each year.

I feel like the place has been a money pit but it seems the common advice is to save 1-2% of the homes value per year for repairs and we are right in the middle.

Texanbybirth
Posts: 1204
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Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by Texanbybirth » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:40 pm

mak1277 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:06 pm
onourway wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:55 pm
We also value a well maintained, updated, aesthetically pleasing home.
Ultimately this is the key difference. I don't value that much at all and my choices on maintenance (or lack thereof) prove it out. I typically don't take action on something unless it presents a danger, threatens lasting damage, or impacts my comfort.
I'm moreso in your camp right now. I wouldn't say we spend 0.2%/yr (we spend more), but still do a lot of maintenance ourselves and really don't hit 1% in any given year. Our home value is $360k, so that would $3,600. I'd say we spend closer to $2,500.

We also have 3 kiddos under 5 years old (with hopes for more) so I estimate we've got another 15 years until "updated, aesthetically pleasing" renovations will even be on our radar. :P

OP, don't buy a house until you're married and have kids. I loved the freedom of renting when I was single, and plans change. :beer
Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow, | Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow. | None has ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the master: | His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster.

JediMisty
Posts: 290
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Location: Central NJ

Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by JediMisty » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:49 pm

researcher wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:00 pm
VegasBH wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:57 am
If i were to buy a house or a condo how realistic is it that I could pay someone to do these various tasks without getting the run around or taken advantage of financially?
To very clearly answer this specific question...it is almost COMPLETELY UNREALISTIC.

There are several reasons for this...
- There is a huge shortage of skilled labor in this country, as younger people are pushed into college and older people are retiring from skilled trades
- Low unemployment is keeping people out of these less desirable 'handyman' type jobs
- The strong economy & housing market is creating a big demand for these already limited services
- Most importantly, many of the people doing this work are unqualified/inexperienced and don't care about doing things the right way

I would never suggest buying a single family house if you intend to be a "hands off" owner.
+1.

Topic Author
VegasBH
Posts: 75
Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2016 3:34 pm

Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Post by VegasBH » Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:26 am

Thanks everyone alot of wise advice and information here.

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