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Wow, I'm not sure how so many people can afford houses so expensive! I know pay is higher in places with higher costs of living, but still. They must have 50-year mortgages or something. I know someone who lives in San Diego, with a good job, and she can barely afford a one-bedroom apartment in a decent-but-not-great neighborhood. Her uncle owns a house he bought back in the 50s--a shabby little house, also in an iffy area--that's worth over a million now. Yikes.

I have an old house (built in 1912), a 2 bedroom on nearly an acre in a nice location, with a large new insulated garage, in a very small town. I paid $83,500 for it 8 years ago. According to the tax assessment, the land is worth $25,000-ish, the garage is worth $20,000-ish, and the house is worth $50,000-ish, for a total around $95,000. I don't know if I could sell it for that much but it would be nice.

I might be moving to the town my parents live in (a larger small town) in a year or so, so I've been looking at real estate there. I could find a comparable house (with less land) for around $80,000-$90,000, but I want a newer house this time. Preferably '70s or '80s---old houses are inconvenient (no closets!) and high-maintenance. One of the typical split-level 70s houses would be around $120,000 or so. That would be out of my price range right now, but if I get the full-time job (the reason I'd be moving), I can swing it. I think the usual family houses are around $120,000-$200,000, although the golf course area has its share of half-million dollar homes. But I wouldn't live anywhere with a homeowner's covenant even if I could afford it.

There are some teeny towns, far off the beaten path (the town I live in is right on the interstate so prices are higher) where you can find great houses on a lot of land for $50,000 or so. But resale is terrible, so you'd better want to live there forever. Acreages are too expensive (I've been looking), even when the house is ratty. I guess it's the land that costs.
 

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Michiyo, you should so move to Oklahoma and then we could split a house with a lot of acreage and have a papillon and border collie farm. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Michiyo, you should so move to Oklahoma and then we could split a house with a lot of acreage and have a papillon and border collie farm. :D
Like! This is the best idea ever! LOL We'd have so many dogs! I want 4 myself..plus yours...oh my hahah!! And if all our dogs are like Nia and Mia I think the world will be taken over!
 

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Willowy, We're getting a VA [email protected] around 3.5% interest for 30 years, it'll put our Mortgage on a $400,000 at around 1800 a month, you can't rent a decent house in the DC area for that (rent is 2200-2600 a month). It's actually not a bad deal when you consider the last house we financed was 152,000 and we were paying nearly 1300 a month @ 7% interest.
 

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Wow, I'm not sure how so many people can afford houses so expensive! I know pay is higher in places with higher costs of living, but still. They must have 50-year mortgages or something. I know someone who lives in San Diego, with a good job, and she can barely afford a one-bedroom apartment in a decent-but-not-great neighborhood. Her uncle owns a house he bought back in the 50s--a shabby little house, also in an iffy area--that's worth over a million now. Yikes.
Low interest rates help a lot. Overextending of budgets is often a "solution" that doesn't really pay in the long run. Some of those properties have income potential with basement apartments or mother-in-law suites. Paying more than 50% of income for housing is a problem in a lot of areas as it is a general rule of thumb that housing shouldn't be more than about 30% of income in order to be financially secure. And people are still getting foreclosed on, so those high housing values in some areas are still dropping.
 

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ANd what's more just because it's liksted at a certain price doesn't mean it'll sell for that much. The house we really want was repo'd for 325,000, that's what hte bank has into it, you can bet we won't pay the asking priced knowing that (thank you Redfin) and hope to get it for closer to 375,000. BTW, when it was built it was a million dollar home...
 

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ANd what's more just because it's liksted at a certain price doesn't mean it'll sell for that much. The house we really want was repo'd for 325,000, that's what hte bank has into it, you can bet we won't pay the asking priced knowing that (thank you Redfin) and hope to get it for closer to 375,000. BTW, when it was built it was a million dollar home...
Oh yeah, there are very few properties that go for asking price nowadays. But here's something interesting about sale prices-- most local newspapers and sites like Zillow and Trulia show the sale price of houses (since in most places, it is public record). But that doesn't figure in any seller concessions (such as seller paid closing costs), cash back or repairs made at the sellers expense (as in, pay asking price but seller puts on a $4-5000 new roof) or seller financing (lease to purchase options). On a $100,000 house, these little bonuses can be 5-10% of the so-called sale price.

And on really high end houses, its not unusual to see personal property like boats, RVs, or even horses included in the sale price.
 

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I've been told that property taxes here are really high (when NFCU estimated my taxes they didn't even put half!), so that might be coloring my opinion of how high the monthly payment would be. Mine are 1800 or so, one house I had my eye on had taxes of 2400 a year.

And, yeah, my payments right now are under $650 (including the $150 for taxes and $50-ish for insurance, so really the actual mortgage payment is around $425), there's no way I could rent a suitable place for anything close to that (my brother's one-bedroom apartment costs that much). I think my interest rate is around 5%, which was pretty low back then.
 

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I live in a rather ritzy part of southern Indiana. We live on the very outskirts of town where the housing is cheaper. The reason we live here is because my parents wanted us to go to a specific school system in the area. Our house was $396,578 when we bought it 8 years ago.

Our house
Built in the 1940s
3 bed room
1 1/2 bathrooms
Unfinished basement
3 acres
Right off the side of a MAJOR highway
The backside is surrounded by woods.

Most houses around here cost anywhere from $600,000 to $800,000 with a couple of houses costing a couple million.
 

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Shell, it's a bank owned foreclosure, the banks Put no investment into a house they and it will be sold as is.
 

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Shell, it's a bank owned foreclosure, the banks Put no investment into a house they and it will be sold as is.
I figured; I was commenting on the asking price vs selling price thing and how even if you know the apparent sale prices in an area, it still doesn't always tell you what the "value" of houses in that area are. Meaning, when someone (not you necesarily) is making an offer on a house and looking at other sale prices to figure what a reasonable offer is, there is a lot of variation behind the scenes.
 

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Some markets are just so hot that even in a recession they don't come down to reasonable levels. Particular cities with strong recession/economy resistant job markets tend to do very well. For instance the government is always going to spend substantial money within the DC Metro area, the tech corridor is going strong out by Reston and the Military is here to stay.

I bought inside the DC Beltway two years ago. 5 bedroom, 4 bath, 2 acre lot, finished walkout basement for the cool price tag of $680,000. However, closing costs, foundation repairs, fence repairs and a kitchen upgrade were included. I wanted a garage, but didn't want to pay the extra 80-150k to get it. Houses nearby are asking $900k-1.2 million. Personally, I don't know how a single person manages to own a house within the beltway without being well advanced into their career. We budgeted based on half my wife's salary for total monthly ownership costs. It's humbling to visit my sister's house in the Hampton Roads area of Va that's twice the size of mine with four times the land that cost less than a quarter of what mine did.
 

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Gated community, rural area, large lake, all wooded area, 2 bedrooms (added a third bedroom), 3 full bathrooms, full basement, kitchen/Living room combo, Sun room, large deck, not sure of the acreage (Dad's house, I just live here) 8 year old home/attached 2 car garage, central air/heating, gas and electric, seasonal view of the lake,.......was only 150,000.....most are 150,000 to 1 mil. Bought a second home ( Sister's home) and remodeled in same community and was a 35 year old home/2 lots for 134,000. This home was just appraised at 179,000 after remodel. Dad's home is paid for, the other home is on a 30 year mortgage of $800 per month plus all regular expenses as utilities and property taxes as well as community dues of approximately $500 a year to live here. (up keep on roads, etc.......golf course, beaches, boat docks; yearly cost separate for a dock, guard house and community sheriff. )

35 miles North of this area you can pick up an older home, some 2/story for 35,000 up to 150,000 depending on whether it is located on North/South/East/West side of town.

Mostly a retirement community although there are numerous business owners of younger ages also and some children. Many many dog owners that I have seen. :)
 

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Yeah, some of these housing prices are hard for me to comprehend. Most around here go for around $350k, according to a website I found. My tiny 1000 sq. ft. house with a small fenced-in yard was bought for $172k 6 years ago and is now worth less. I live in an iffy neighborhood though. But, really, you can find houses in the $50k range and up, depending on what kind of neighborhood you're willing to live in. There really are lots of different housing options, though I wouldn't feel safe with some of them.

We do have many people who work in NYC move to the area because it's an easy commute by train, which drives up prices a bit and keeps developers building new homes, even in this economy. I'd suspect those are more in the $500k-$800k range though.

Edit: Oh my house is a Cape Cod style - 2 bedrooms on the main floor (converted to a dining room and a computer/cat room by me), plus an attic bedroom. Only one bath. Full basement.
 

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I figured; I was commenting on the asking price vs selling price thing and how even if you know the apparent sale prices in an area, it still doesn't always tell you what the "value" of houses in that area are. Meaning, when someone (not you necesarily) is making an offer on a house and looking at other sale prices to figure what a reasonable offer is, there is a lot of variation behind the scenes.
Yep. When we were setting our house's price to go on the market (anybody want it? :p) we looked at the houses around us. Our agent was able to pull up the seller's concessions, anything that went with the property, etc so we could see what people were actually willing to pay. Our house is a bit overpriced as most of the houses in our neighborhood have the seller help with closing costs. We are expecting that (along with an FHA loan for the buyer) and we don't want to be out the closing costs without the original asking price especially since we put on new siding, put in new carpet, painted three rooms and hallway and all appliances (washer, dryer, oven, dishwasher, fridge) with the house, plus a shed. Now it is just a waiting game for an offer. We are willing to lower the price if we don't have any seller concessions but they are to common for us not to expect it.
 

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Yep. When we were setting our house's price to go on the market (anybody want it? :p) we looked at the houses around us. Our agent was able to pull up the seller's concessions, anything that went with the property, etc so we could see what people were actually willing to pay. Our house is a bit overpriced as most of the houses in our neighborhood have the seller help with closing costs. We are expecting that (along with an FHA loan for the buyer) and we don't want to be out the closing costs without the original asking price especially since we put on new siding, put in new carpet, painted three rooms and hallway and all appliances (washer, dryer, oven, dishwasher, fridge) with the house, plus a shed. Now it is just a waiting game for an offer. We are willing to lower the price if we don't have any seller concessions but they are to common for us not to expect it.
Go to open houses and "shop" for houses like your own house. The more houses you see like your own, the better you can A) price your house and B) display it for potential buyers. Note everything about the open houses that is a turn-off or a plus (i.e. you noticed one house was cluttered but another had very nice lighting). Many of the touches that help sell houses (even in today's market) are free or very inexpensive to do. Like opening all the window blinds and curtains on a nice day to make the rooms seem big and airy.
A good real estate agent has to find that sweet spot for a price that a house will sell at without sitting on the market too long but a high enough price that the seller is happy AND the agent gets a good commission. Sometimes a small change is all that it takes to open the house to a whole new market of buyers - for example, a house priced at $152k isn't getting seen by people searching for houses up to $150k but at $150k it gets seen by people searching both up to that price and beginning at that price.
Just some ideas that maybe you already knew.
 

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I live in one of the beach cities outside Los Angeles. It's got a good balance of blue and white collar jobs and is mostly upper-middle-class. Our school district is one of the best in the county, which makes the area very desireable. The population is divided fairly evenly between young families and lifers who own their homes outright.

My parents home is 1,400 sq ft and was built in the 1950s. It was originally 2 beds and 1 bath, but the previous owner built a small (unapproved) addition which made it 2 beds, 1 bath, and a family room. The pipes are newer copper ones and my parents have recently replaced the roof and done some cosmetic upgrading to the kitchen. The house is on a very busy street, has a one car garage and a driveway, and sits on a 0.14 acre lot. My parents bought it in 1994 for $153,000. Although they have not recently had it appraised, very similar homes on their block have sold for about $500,000 in the last year.

I rent a 750 sq ft, 1 bed/1 bath house about 15 minutes from my parents. It sits on 0.07 acres and it has a driveway but no garage. It was built in 1924. As far as I can tell, it hasn't had many upgrades, but obviously I don't know about things like plumbing because I am not the owner. I pay $1,400/month in rent, plus I am responsible for all my utilities. Zillow thinks the house is worth $356,000, but I have seen similar houses in the neighborhood sell for more like $400,000.
 
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