Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Decisions, Decisions..

Sometimes the toughest decisions are those that put our logic up against our emotion. I think that's what I'm struggling with tonight. We just went and looked at a property that Z is totally ready to put an offer in on. Me.. still trying to decide. I'll give you a quick rundown, and I'd love you hear your opinions.

The Facts:
  • It's a one story, brick, ranch-style duplex
  • Garages in the center separate the living spaces (cuts down on the chance of hearing your neighbors)
  • On 1.5 acres in the country
  • Approx. 1200 sq. ft. on one side, and 1300 sq. ft. on the other
  • 3 bed, 1 1/2 bath on each side, with the option of adding a bedroom or den on each side (there's a "closed frame" porch addition on the back)
  • Tax appraised value is double the asking price (hello, instant equity!)
The Good:
  • GORGEOUS area- lots of hills, woods, beautiful scenery that reminds me of home (Maine)
  • Away from the city- way less crime, safe for kids, etc.
  • Privacy!!
  • Incredible Value
  • Plenty of room for us to live in one side & rent the other out. The rental income would pay for at least 2/3 of the mortgage. Very smart Financially.
  • Lower taxes than properties we've looked at in a county closer to the city
  • Great layout, not cramped-feeling at all.
  • In great condition- ceramic tile floors, newer berber carpet in some bedrooms
The Bad:
  • It would be a 45 min. commute to work for me. I work on the Northeast side of the city- Z works on the Southwest side- it would be 30 min. for him- the same time we're driving now. So, not a big deal for him, but a little UGH for me..
  • Having renters live right next door. Not ideal, but then again, it would only be temporary (~3-4 years).

So, I'd love to know your thoughts. I know most of you are already homeowners, and have been through this process before. So you know where we're coming from: We're still pretty young, aren't planning on having kids for 3-4 years, and are using that time to really try & "get ahead" financially. We LOVE the country, and are used to driving (I averaged ~700 miles/wk. in high school), just not sure I want to do that again..

Oh, and here's the view out the sliding glass back door (rainy and blah out today, but pretty nonetheless!):


Anonymous said...

That picture is so pretty! Sounds nice...

I would ask your realtor to pull some comparable (recent) sales in the area - that way you can get a feel for how other properties in the area are selling (you can also ask how quickly homes in that area are selling). Just because it's below tax value doesn't mean a future buyer would pay that much - it might just be over-taxed (does that make sense)? If your intention is to make $$ on it, make sure it's in an area that is high-demand or is expected to be in demand in the near future.

The fact that your renters will pay 2/3 of the mortgage is REALLY nice. And, you guys can be choosy about who lives next door to you, so you can find clean, respectful tenants. Just be sure that you're ready to handle that - if anything breaks on that side of the duplex, you're gonna have to fix it (or call someone in), and if your tenants turn out to be awful, it's REALLY hard to get rid of them. I rented out a house we owned in another state, though, and had great luck with renters, so it's possible!

As for the 45 min commute, I wouldn't be thrilled about that either, but if it's a nice place, it could be worth it. Just make sure you budget for the extra gas you'll use! :)

Good luck with your decision - can't wait to hear how it goes!

d.a.r. said...

My gut inclination is heck no with the commute. But, then again I am biased since I have been driving 180 miles a day for the last two years. :)

Hope you guys make a decision you are comfortable with!

Things That Inspire said...

You know what they say...location, location, location! Do you like the location of the house, despite the commute to your work? We have lived in the same house for 12 years despite the fact that we had no children when we moved in, and now have three children and a dog. We are busting a bit at the seams now, and are looking for a new place, but the location of our house has served us well over the years.

S. said...

i love the view! so pretty. here's what I say: go with your gut. guys are quick to make decisions and if you have a bad feeling, then go with it. but if you are just nervous about buying this place, but excited at the same time, then it's what you should do...good luck!

Lori said...

as a former worker in real estate. I agree that you need to get some comparable homes in the area from your realtor. I also agree that even though its below tax price, you may not be able to sell it for that much later on. Many times they mess up the tax value on homes.

Again, I agree that you need to take into consideration that if something were to go wrong on the renter's side you will need to pay to fix it.

If you are uncomfortable with this situation, pray about it. don't rush into something you arn't completely in agreement with. I've learned from experience sometimes..many times when a woman isn't too sure.. don't rush into it. We tend to have better gut feelings about things than guys do. If God wants you to have this place, no matter how long you take thinking & praying it will be there when your ready!

The Ratpack said...

sounds like a beautiful house! I think you should go for it! You may never find something that you like so much for such a great price. Things are awesome for first time homeowners right now-capitalize on that!

As far as the commute goes, mine is 45min- 1hour, and really its not so bad. It gives me time to decompress after work, and just load your ipod up with cool books on tape : )

good luck! I know big decisions like this are always hard to make!

Anonymous said...

i'm a duplex girl myself and it can really SUCK. specifically, the noise, lack of privacy, etc. want to tan outside? cant- the neighbors are outside. want to have a clean front yard- cant- the kids toys are scattered. my current landlord has a lot of restrictions on the lease because he like things a certain way and yet i still see tenants abusing the properties (and avoiding him at all costs.. aka he's mowing the lawn and they're running to their car heads down--- tenants also tend to avoid each other lol because of issues no one wants to bring up). i know as the owner you can choose what you like and who you like but it doesnt mean all will be as you like. you might want to go to bed early tuesday night and they want to party till 3 am and unfortunately , you cant control that. also, people will often take advantage of the idea that their deposit will cover any damages, changes, etc. then you have lawn care, house repairs, and renter's insurance to think about financially, as well as, your tie and energy ( ex: water pump bursts or fridge stops working etc- best landlords have stuff repaired within the day). okay so thats alot, but just make sure you guys weigh ALL the pro's/con's/options and pray about it before jumping in. youre both young and newly married- you have plenty of time (for anything & everything)!!!