Friday, January 29, 2010

three homes on the home menu

As some of you know I have been looking for a home to buy for a year. That is if you don't count the time I looked at 100 houses and didnt buy back in the early 90's. This last year I have seen over 50 and of course "viewed" many more via the internet.

The above house I looked at twice when down on the Cape. It has been for sale for months. The price was just lowered $10,000. Still, it costs about $240,000. Pluses: near the beach, in the village where I lived for 30 years where many of my friends live, completely renovated with new everything including septic. To me a big plus.

Negatives: on a busy road, small lot, tiny house(less than 800 sq feet), not many cabinets as it was renovated by a contractor rather than a homeowner, basement is dark and damp and not a great place for a studio. Otherwise no studio space. Also a sort of public on view yard with little privacy. High taxes for Cape Cod re: near the beach. I must by a fridge and washer and dryer. I could make an offer on it without going down to the Cape.

At the end of December I made an offer on this house on the lower cape. It is a bank owned property and so far the bank has not responded yes or no. There are 3 offers on this house. Mine is the prefered offer supposedly. Much paperwork must be done by the realtor before the bank responds. Also, the septic needs work, the furnace must be replaced and possibly the roof. The current price is $187,000 which is what I offered however you have to add in all the repairs some of which must be done before moving in such as the septic. I must buy a washer and dryer.

I lived in this house for a few months as a renter. It too is tiny(800 square feet), however it has a fireplace, a laundry room and the garage was turned into a studio by a previous owner who made stained glass. No basement. It is on a quiet, though humble road. I can walk to Harwich center, the library, and to the bike path. The beach is about 2 miles away. I have many friends in this area of the cape though not as many as on the upper cape. Also a friend, a painter and fix-it wizard lives across the street. The back yard is fenced in and very private.


The third house I saw just a few days ago and have no photo of. It is up in New Hampshire in Walpole, a very cool village where Ken Burns now lives and Carolyn Myss once lived. Mr. Burdock of Burdock's chocolates also is here and many artists, craftpersons and writers.

This house is also 800 square feet, with no garage (a negative up here with 10 foot snow drifts). It is adorable. Many windows have a westerly view out over the Connecticut River basin to the Vermont Hills and also down to the Walpole Village. It has two fireplaces. Much renovation work has been done on the bathroom and in the basement is a fireplaced family room with walk out door and windows with that view. This room could be a studio. Two cedar closets. All appliances are included. Nice laundry room and enclosed porch. Small lot. Walk to the village.

Same price as the first house above. Big negative is-- very high yearly property taxes. Everywhere up here the property taxes are very high. NH has no state tax or income tax so they get their tax money via property. By high I mean over $3000 per year for many properties. I would have to offer quickly on this one. I cant imagine it will last long.

31 comments:

~Babs said...

Well, all 3 have advantages and disadvantages, obviously.This is very hard,,and boy that's obvious too, isn't it?!
High taxes,,,yes, I know.Texas, (where my daughter lives) is also a no income tax state, and their property taxes are almost 5 thou.
Since you don't work,this is kind of a non-issue for you though,,,if you worked the savings of no income tax would probably balance out with paying property taxes.
I know I've said it before, but I'd rent. Then you wouldn't have concerns about taxes, renovations, OR repairs,,and repairs are always on-going, and expensive.I would like the feeling of freedom from the responsibility of ownership.Just live life,,make art,travel with your money and enjoy yourself. A lot of hassle and responsibility goes with that piece of paper that says owner.

Lilacrobin said...

Hi Suki....I would opt for #2 or #3 #2 definitely "looks" like you and #3 "sounds" like you... #1 is sort of grim looking and I think the lack of privacy and the traffic would make you unhappy in the long run....(plus nowhere for a studio) as for taxes, septic installation, washer/dryer etc. well, it will all be worth the expenses to finally have a place you can call HOME.

Best of luck in making a choice!

Robin

sukipoet said...

Hi Babs. I was very happy as a renter when I was paying $300/month just 5 years ago. Now rents are $1400/month even up here in the boonies and that just isnt something I want to do though I will if it is the only resort. Thanks for your ideas.

Lilacrobin-you are right about number 1 being being grim in a way as all character was leached out when the renovations were done. But I suppose I could character it up. But the public like a frog aspect also isnt appealing. Boy its so hard. Thanks for your input.

sukipoet said...

PS Babs, renters pay taxes as I assume landlord's figure in their home owners insurance and home taxes into the rental amount

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

Wow. What a decision. I dont like #1. It sounds dreadful. Can you take out a loan for enough to cover the charges of fixing up number 2? or can you swing it yourself. You can always have your property taxes included monthly. Much easier to pay when due. Thing is.. once you pay for the fixing up you dont have that higher payment on the others to pay monthly unless the cost of fixing up #2 is more then those fixed up. If you know what I mean.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Good to see what's on the menu...

#1 leaves me cold but has lots of possibilities to make it prettier in the yard. No studio space or cabinet space. I'd say no.

#2 is sweet and I suppose if you add all the repairs you need to do, it might add up to as much as #1 but will be nicer in the end. Having some "history" there is a fun aspect, as is your handyman neighbor!

#3 Sounds great--can't wait to see a photo (would there be one online someplace?). The no garage is a bummer (I know, from living here and the damage the weather can do to a car sitting out) and the property taxes, well Oregon is the same way and I've always looked at it like what you save in sales tax you put into a piggy bank...

I know what others mean about renting, as when I was in Oregon, I rented a 1 bedroom bungalow for $300 a month for 18 years, never got my rent raised and the landlord took care of the yard and outside upkeep (til he passed away).

People would always ask me why I didn't buy a house but like you said, when one is paying low rent, it's just not smart. Like my circumstances now, my house is too large for just me but if I went to rent (if I even could with 5 cats), I would be paying as much in rent as my mortgage is now.

(and 800 sq ft...haha, that is what I dream of--easy to clean in half a day, makes you winnow down your "stuff"--coffee cups, magazines, bedding, tupperware collection...not a bad thing!

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

Higher payments. as in cost of the other two houses.

~Babs said...

I know, Suki,,,,I was just thinking off the top of my head that by the time you figured in all the on going repairs in years to come, renovations needed at first,taxes and ins, etc. that a mortgage payment and a rent payment could be very near the same, just with no hassle with the renting.
I understand there will be NO cheap rental payments,,,not anywhere,those days are gone, and that yes, I'm sure landlords figure in the cost of taxes and ins. I was just thinking that the monthly outgo might be very near the same.To me, those repairs in years to come have to be a huge consideration, unless of course, you can get that handyman to move in with you.
(insert big cheesy grin here)
When I win the lottery I'll buy you a house.Promise.

Teri C said...

Oh gosh, more decisions. #2 strikes me that it looks like you. I am surprised at the small sq. footage for such high taxes. And I am from Wisconsin which is one of the highest taxed states.

You have lots of negs for #1. #3 might work also. I'm with you, I like privacy. And my studio is in my laundry room here in AZ.

Good luck on this decision.

willow said...

Best of luck with the house. How cool would it be to be a neighbor of Ken Burns? "Oh, hi ya, Ken, how's it goin'?" :^)

sukipoet said...

Iknow what you mean Babs. all those future payments but if it all got too much couldnt I just sell up? I dont know but all these druthers is what makes it hard to decide.

Teri, I have two cats and that alone sets up barriers at some rentals.

Cris I think Iknow what you mean and it seems financially sensible somehow to buy cheaper and fix up as one goes along, but I am no financial whiz. the guy across the street is interesting but not a romance candidate for me. although he is single.

sukipoet said...

teri the cape cod taxes are higher the closer to the beach you are. NH and Vt taxes are just plain high. For most places with any bit of land it would be over $10,000 per year.

patti said...

I was listening to radio the other day and they said that the average househunter looks at an average of 60 homes before they actually buy. So you're kind of normal!

I like #2 (pretty garden) and #3 sounds really good too even without a pic. Although you could jazz up #1 (quite dismal looking now), it does sound too small and lack of privacy is awful.

Renting is fine, but you can be asked to move on at any point in time if they decide to sell.

Exciting changes for you Suki!

soulbrush said...

mmm difficult decision, but that second one does 'talk' to me, it really does. will be waiting with bated breath to hear what you decide.

sukipoet said...

Patti it is true that a previous owner planted lots of lovely flowers, amazing flowers in house #2 however the neighbor I know said the now bankrupted owners have been digging up lots of the plants. Still the privacy is very nice and cant be removed. glad to know I am typical re; looking. Wow. Now I dont feel so picky and wishy washy.

sukipoet said...

Another reason I am determined not to rent if I dont have to is exactly as Patti says, you can be asked to move at the whim of landlord. I have moved 4 times in the last 5 years although my previous rental was for 20 years i doubt i'd be that lucky again.

Mary said...

suki--good luck with this. as a long time cape cod homeowner i want to add this--proximity to the beach doesn't affect the taxes, just the cost of the land and house--by the value being higher, the taxes are then higher because the rate is attached to the overall value--each town has a different tax rate and that is set for all homes each year. for example 3% on assessed value or whatever rate they set. i don't know how bourne's rate is but i do know sandwich is very high and barnstable has the lowest. i think all the businesses in barns. offset the overall rate. you can find each town's rate on their website and can also look up the home's assessed value by the town, which is how it will be taxed--not on what you pay or what a realtor assesses it for...

anyway, good luck with your decision!

sixty-five said...

#2 gets my vote. Is there a prize?

PS You don't want to hear about my NJ property taxes, but I know people who pay over 50K a year. People pay these crazy taxes because they are deductible on the federal tax, so people with huge incomes (not me, alas) don't CARE. You, when thinking of taxes, need to think of the "whole nut" - what would you pay in property PLUS state and local taxes for each house? Apples and apples, right?

Karen said...

Number three sounds wonderful. two is good too..I am glad it is not my decision!! And if my property taxes were 3000 a year I would be jumping for joy! LOL> we just had an increase that puts us over 7000 a year for our tiny house of 800 sq. ft.

parisdreamtime said...

Hi Suki, oh oh. All these facts and things to consider. I guess I would (as a typical aries) buy a house on a whim which is not a good thing:) I mean I would wait until some house comes along which sweeps me away, you know? Like the prince on the white (or black suits me well too) horse!

I know this comment is not of great value in house-buy-councelling...I never bought a house. But perhaps you really need to fall in love with a house in order to go through with the buying process?

Have a wonderful weekend,
love
Andrea

Marion said...

Hmmmm. Taking everything into consideration, I would probably go with No. 2. It depends on the cost of the upgrades...septic systems and roofs can be expensive, in Canada, at any rate. But having a fenced, private back yard is a definite plus...and a mature garden is even better! And I enjoy renovating...not everyone does. Is the garage/studio heated?

But I hear passion in your voice as you write of house No. 3...I think you really like it. I would too, until you spoke of the high taxes, which to me would be a daily worry. This house would depend on whether I loved the house enough to make sacrifices in order to pay the taxes.

No matter which house you pick, Suki, I know you will make it into a lovely home. Good luck!

Annie said...

I think the 2nd house has the most charm and the best price, plus it is in the cape and though it is 2 miles from the beach, that is still close and it already has a studio. I would go with your gut, but don't rush and like Babs said, you could rent for a while and take more time to find a house.
Good luck!

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Your comments page is alive with helpful remarks...I can only add the importance of location. Best of luck!

marianne said...

# 2 speaks to me!
Somehow I would like to see you living on the Cape!
You have a lot of advices here already. Think you need to let your heart speak.......
# 2 sounds and looks wonderful to me, but you have to live there.....
Everything renovated is nice but I prefer location and I rather spend money and make it really MY home but then again if the renovated home is YOUR home it would only be convinient........

Descisions.....descisions.......

♥♥♥
>M<

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

I was thinking of something else about home ownership. Tax deductions. They help us and we arent throwing our money out the door like if we were renting. AND I have a Friend whose house needs some major work.. They Rent..But if they complain he WILL raise their rent. So they live without fixing things up. You cant always be guaranteed a good landlord.

sukipoet said...

The only trouble with #2 is I may wait months and months possibly to hear back from the bank whether my offer is accepted and that I can proceed with the home inspection. And in all that waiting time someone else might come along with a better offer and I will have waited and have nothing. Or, of course, it could all come together in another month. There is no way of knowing with a bank sale property. and my offer hasnt been formally accepted yet.

anniecoeartist@peopelcpc.com said...

Parisdreamtime hit the nail on the head, wait until you fall in love with a house. #1 best advice.
xoxox

neva gagliano said...

and as we know, there's ALWAYS going to be a monthly payment...didn't realize how much until our mortgage was paid, but home repairs, taxes, more services that need to be done that we don't want to do anymore...
and the high cost of location! yikes. . .good luck with all this.

Britt-Arnhild said...

Good luck Suki. You have a hard decision to make......

Kim said...

Hello Sweet Suki! I think you have some exciting things sitting there before you. As you know we have owned homes in many areas of the US...east, west, north and south. Some states have no income tax, some have no sales tax, many have both and some of those have additional taxes for being over 18 and breathing the air or owning other personal property. Here is what we have learned, though. It doesn't matter, everything comes out in the end to be relatively even. So after owning about 10 houses in the last 25 years this is what we have learned...buy what speaks to you overall and is within your budget.

From what you have shared before, living on the Cape is perfect for you. House #2 appears adorable, although usually bank owned property do not allow anything for repairs, etc. The other thing to know is can you get out of the offer on this house at this point? Usually you can, however with it being bank owned be sure about that if you decide to move on another property.

The NH house sounds wonderful. Of course moving within the state will save you some issues with personal property translation such as car tags and driver's licenses. I find dealing with that to be a major pain.

I will watch eagerly to see what you decide! It is very exciting to think you will have everything together soon and settled in a place of your own. You are so precious to share all of this here.

sukipoet said...

Kim thanks for your it all evens out wisdom. That is very helpful. I am getting too left brained here. Re: my offer on the bank owned property, so far they have not formally accepted my offer (ie by any written statement) and my understanding is I can back out anytime. No Purchase and Sales agreement has yet been made. At the worst I could lose my earnest money but I dont think that would happen at this point. I understand too that I would have to pay for any repairs. The main repair needed for legal purposes is the septic. Who pays for that is still open to speculation as I and the bank have not had a dialogue about that yet or indeed about anything.