While working to sell our house here, we've also been looking at houses to buy. I flew out for a house hunting trip last week, and we had narrowed it down to two possibilities.
After I returned home (leaving my husband there), another promising property came on the market. He went to see that one yesterday, and brought his phone so I could go on a "Face Time" tour.
So in playing the House Hunters game...
House #1: a 1700 2BR 2 1/2BA condo with a den that could work as a guest room. Gorgeous hardwood floors, open plan on the main level, stainless steel appliances. Asking price $210K with HOA fees of $225/mo which include a pool, clubhouse, gym, grounds, etc.
No yard for the dog or gardening, but it does have a good sized balcony that faces south.
One car garage with additional parking in driveway.
Commuter rail right behind. (but is also within walking distance to station for commuting)
Good High School for the kid.
House #2: 1300sf townhouse with 2BR 2 1/2 BA with "tech nook" but no designated guest room. New build with all new appliances, fantastic island with granite counter, laminate flooring and two car tandem garage.
No yard for dog or gardening, but has a nice deck.
HOA dues of $100/mo with no amenities.
Nice quiet neighborhood within walking distance of commuter rail.
Good school for the kid.
House #3: Townhouse in quiet, established neighborhood. 2 BR/ 2 BA. No AC but can be added. No place for guests. (not sure of SF on this one, but it is around 1400)
Has a small yard for gardening and dog. Backs to green space with gate for easy access.
Two car tandem garage with additional storage space.
Asking $180K with HOA dues of $175/mo. No amenities but has some common areas.
Walking distance to light rail/commuter station, but along busy street that lacks sidewalks in some areas.
Good school for the kid.
Other things to consider:
*The plan is to live there until the kid graduates (3 years) and then convert it to a rental property. There are covenants in each community which limit the number of houses that can convert to rentals, so this is a bit of a gamble.
*With any of these properties, the piano will have to be moved up a flight of stairs. House #1 has the widest stairs with the easiest entry.
*House #1 is the biggest lifestyle change- from a single family home in the burbs to a condo in a development that is decidedly more urban. House #3 is the closest to our current lifestyle.
So which one did we choose? Well... we ruled out #2 (the new build and most expensive). Not sure yet which we are going to make an offer on.
What is this? Are we waiting for the commercial to be over to find out which you picked?
Haha! Actually, I hadn't narrowed it down with my husband yet. But it looks like we are going for....
.... House #1- the condo! We will put in our offer tomorrow and see where it goes from there.
Don't forget to add in offer, contingency of your reviewal and approval of HOA/condo docs(incuding financials). Remember there is no ceiling on how high they can raise HOA fee(over time) and you want to make sure the community has been property maintained to help avoid
increases. Check history of raises.
Also check for guest parking spots. I showed a condo in a community the other day and for the whole community of approx. 120 units -it had six spots for guest parking.
Also research the community on the web, talk to neighbors.
With regard to rentals, while the answewr may be yes you can rent your unit out one day, many communities require a percentage - i.e. only 40% of the community can be rentals.This message has been edited. Last edited by: real estate lady,
Tomatoqueen, Glad you have found a property that both you and dh like! Just a few thoughts? Have you lived in a place with a HOA before? Also, did you check out the noise factor of having a light rail track directly adjoining the property - frequency and days/time of operation? Moving from a single family home to a condo might be quite an adjustment so best to know these things in advance. Best of luck...
REL- thanks for the tips. Our agent is on top of it and already included that in the offer. We are aware of the rental limit, too- so we know what to expect when the time comes.
IR- Our current home has an HOA... though it is a "do nothing" HOA that basically maintains "common areas" that are nowhere near our home. However, it has given us an idea of how things work. The train went by while we were viewing the property. It's light rail, so it's barely a whisper, really. It doesn't bother us.
Funny thing.... we recognize that this is a total lifestyle change for us- and it is a decision we are consciously making from a suburban to a more urban lifestyle. It's just until our daughter is out of high school (or a bit after that). In the meantime, we will get to know the communities and find our dream property- small house, a couple of acres, etc. By downsizing we will be able to put more money into savings toward the future property. This is temporary, and I think it will be a lot of fun!
Congratulations about everything, TQ!
The train track issue jumped out at me also when I read your OP. Assumed you were fine with the noise and schedule b/c you selected this particular home.
My concern with the tracks, however, is resale. Although most (if not all) residents would quickly become used to the train, some buyers will not even consider a property with visible tracks.
In many areas of the country, condos and other pud's remain more difficult to sell than sfd's. Although I understand your plan is to eventually convert this property into a rental, things change in life, IMHO.
So, I would consider this issue from a resale perspective.
WRT the HOA, when you request and receive their financial information, I suggest you review several years of board minutes and their reserve study. That way, you can determine if any future assessments are either planned or probable, even if the financial statements confirm that they don't usually assess them.
All, JMHO. Best of luck with your move, dd's move, sale, purchase - the works!
Yes agree... do not buy a property that backs up to utility like a power station, train track, commerical, churches shcools - it could very well hurt your resale value.
When you PM'd me - you didn't say anything about tracks. Yikes!This message has been edited. Last edited by: real estate lady,
Not sure how this deal will work out. Just found out the buyers of our house want to push the closing date back a month. (new job- couldn't pass up the pay raise- lender wants 30 days pay stubs)
Now- we could just say no and put the house back on the market- but we'd actually be worse off, since by the time we got a new buyer and 30 day closing it would be past the proposed new closing date anyway. We have been assured via a letter from the lender that they fully intend on funding the loan, but the rules need to be followed.
But- sellers on the house we are buying have been nervous about the contingency. We actually removed it. If we try to push back the closing date, they could take our earnest money, back out on the deal and put their house back on the market. (of course, like us, it would be impossible to get a new buyer lined up and under contract in enough time to close- but they'd still get our earnest money because we dropped the contingency)
We are working with a relocation company- and there may be a clause in there for them to take ownership of the property until closing, and thus save us from having to find a new house. We could still move on schedule. Maybe.
Meanwhile, it could give my daughter a few more weeks in the house before she'd have to move. For her this is good news. For me. Not so good.
Our selling agent is going to talk to the buying agent tomorrow, and they will both talk to the relocation company and try to work something out.
Meanwhile... here we sit. Waiting.
Oh- and after careful consideration on the tracks, we've decided that if it isn't a big deal for us, then surely there would be a buyer in the future (or renter) for whom the tracks would not be a big deal. Yes, it does limit the pool of buyers, but you only need one when it comes down to it.
It's a risk, but it's one we are willing to take.
Side note: I hadn't been checking back to see replies for awhile. I wasn't really ignoring you.
My father passed away and we ended up doing a lot of traveling. On the drive back from one of the trips, we hit a pothole and bent a rim- requiring repair work on the car.
It has been a very stressful month and this new glitch is threatening to put me in the loony bin.
TQ, I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your father. Having lost both of my parents, I can tell you that it is, no matter the circumstances (expected or not), one of the most important events in your life so be gentle with yourself during this time and let yourself grieve/cry and feel whatever you are feeling.
As for the glitch on your buyers end? I agree that, overall, it would take more time to start over looking for new buyers than to work with the current ones now; hopefully, your sellers will feel the same.
And the light rail ~ well, I tend to agree with you that others looking to locate downtown in an urban area will be more favorably impressed with the nearby convenienct transportation than upset about it. All depends on location and what people are expecting from it and light rail is YEARS away from the train tracks of yesterday. Just my 2 bits....
Keep us posted ~ wishing you and your dd the best through this transition time.
Do you have pictures of the new place that I missed? Sounds exciting, the change and opportunities.
Oh, wow, coming in so late on this one.
TQ, so sorry to hear about the loss of your dad. It's always so sad. There are no words, just wishing you the best within your own heart about your loss.
So the real estate sounds like there's a little bump in the road but this is where the agents come in to keep the deals together. I, too, would love to see some pics when you have a chance.
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