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If/when buying your first house what are your priorities? (I meant to put this in general)


Ideal house environment   

28 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you need a yard?

    • Yes, a small one will do
    • Yes, I need a large one
    • Yes, I need acres of land
      0
    • No
  2. 2. How important is the school district to you (If you plan on having kids)

    • N/A
    • Top, I prioritize the school district
    • A lot, I want a very good school district, but if the location is great it doesn't need to be elite
    • An average school is okay
    • School district doesn't matter
  3. 3. How walkable do you want where you buy your house to be?

    • Entirely, I want to be able to walk to the store, Coffee shop, library, gym, park all within a couple minutues
    • Very- I want to be within walking distance to most things
    • Average amount- It would be nice to be able to walk to the park
    • Not at all, Strip malls all day baby!
  4. 4. What environment do you want your house to be in?

    • City
    • Urban-Suburban (Densely packed suburb)
    • Suburbs
    • Suburbs in a development (Think gated community)
    • Rural
  5. 5. How important is the crime level to you?

    • It is one of the most important things
    • Very
    • Average
    • Not at all
  6. 6. Do you need a garage?

    • Yes
    • No, Street parking is okay
    • No, My own paved parking spot is okay
  7. 7. How important is the environment to you? (air, water quality etc)

  8. 8. How important is public transporation?

    • Very, I want to be able to walk to it
    • Average, But I still want to be able to drive to it
    • Not at all


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So being in the same boat as @MrPotatoTed but further out (me and the s.o are planning to buy a house in 2-3 years) I was wondering what everyone's thoughts where on priorities location wise when buying a house.

@vcczar @Rezi @Patine @Hestia @10centjimmy @Ich_bin_Tyler etc. 

Edited by themiddlepolitical
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  • themiddlepolitical changed the title to If/when buying your first house what are your priorities? (I meant to put this in general)

We bought our first house (which is still our current house, though we're on the verge of moving) when my daughter was one year old.  School district was our number one priority.  It also needed to be within 30 minutes of my work, at least 3 bedrooms, at least 2 bath, garage, and my wife had a certain number of square feet in mind.  We got all of that and so much more -- big fenced in back yard, three minute walk to the park, friendliest neighborhood where everybody knows each other, a thousand kids my daughter's age for her to play with, great house with 4 bedrooms and more space than we knew what to do with, and all for a very affordable price for us.

That was eight years ago.  Now...even though my salary has increased $50k per year since then and my wife works now too, what we can afford to buy is nothing to brag about.  It's fine, but nothing compared to what we have now.  And that's even including the profit we hope to make on selling our current house.  Market be crazy right now, ya'll.

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3 minutes ago, MrPotatoTed said:

We bought our first house (which is still our current house, though we're on the verge of moving) when my daughter was one year old.  School district was our number one priority.  It also needed to be within 30 minutes of my work, at least 3 bedrooms, at least 2 bath, garage, and my wife had a certain number of square feet in mind.  We got all of that and so much more -- big fenced in back yard, three minute walk to the park, friendliest neighborhood where everybody knows each other, a thousand kids my daughter's age for her to play with, great house with 4 bedrooms and more space than we knew what to do with, and all for a very affordable price for us.

That was eight years ago.  Now...even though my salary has increased $50k per year since then and my wife works now too, what we can afford to buy is nothing to brag about.  It's fine, but nothing compared to what we have now.  And that's even including the profit we hope to make on selling our current house.  Market be crazy right now, ya'll.

Me hoping the market cools within 2-4 years haha. I'm a 3 bed 2 bath requirement person as well, 1800 sq ft plus, And those seems to be the houses that have skyrocketed in price- Probably because it's the average desired home. 

 

Work commute is also a big deal of course, Though like me so many people are hybrid/online now. 

Edited by themiddlepolitical
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Weirdly, despite everyone telling us that we could sell our current house for at least $25k more than we're actually asking for it, and we've made several significant upgrades, we've had zero offers on our house so far.  Eleven viewings.  Realtor wants us to lower the price further, but I'm holding firm for now.  Just got two more viewings scheduled for Thursday.  We'll see what happens.

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Just now, MrPotatoTed said:

Weirdly, despite everyone telling us that we could sell our current house for at least $25k more than we're actually asking for it, and we've made several significant upgrades, we've had zero offers on our house so far.  Eleven viewings.  Realtor wants us to lower the price further, but I'm holding firm for now.  Just got two more viewings scheduled for Thursday.  We'll see what happens.

Wishing all the best! Someone will hopefully bite- The market isn't cooling much yet. 

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On 4 I selected gated community because I'm quite fond of gated communities in rural areas. 

Provided they have enough space of course. I do like a large-ish yard. 

I will live anywhere I need to really but I do have preferences. I will live in a city if a job pays well enough, but I do intend to have a home in the rural areas. Permanent city life is a no no from me. I'd eventually become insane living in a noisy, smelly city all day 😛

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2 minutes ago, pilight said:

We like apartment living, do not want or have kids, and don't own a car, so much of this is not relevant to us

Yeah there used to be the issue of mortgages being cheaper then rent in many places, It isn't like that anymore unfortunately. So unless the housing market tanks, it will remain that way

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I’ve lived in a variety of places and I prefer living in a downtown area or small college town, although the latter I can get bored in. 

Right now I live at the outskirt of Philadelphia. It isn’t terrible but isn’t my preference. I like being able to walk to everything. Taking the train is fine though. 

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I have to say that as someone that's lived in urban both urban and suburban and in apartments and houses, that I think apartments are very underrated. House upkeep is one of the biggest drains---mowing a lawn, fixing the plumbing, clearing out black mold, property tax, housing citations, huge energy bills, etc. Obviously, if you can afford to have someone take care of all this stuff, then it is less of a burden. With an apartment, the super or landlord takes care of almost all of this stuff. 

In NYC, my favorite thing to do was rent from renters. They usually needed a roommate to help pay their bill. They're on the lease, and I'm not. I usually paid less than the renter, although my room would be smaller. I lived in the middle of Manhattan for $450, bills included. My room didn't have windows but I was out and about all day. 

The downside to renting is that the rent can spike. 

My best apartment was when I was in undergrad in San Marcos, TX. I payed $325, bills included. I was within 5 minute's walk to a river that was naturally heated to 72 degrees as it was a spring. I was within 15 to 20 min walk to a coffee shop with $1 coffee and 25 cent refills. I was across the street from restaurants. I was 10 minute walk to campus (and this wasn't campus housing). There were almost no houses within a 45 min walk to these places. In short, the apartments had superior location. They often do. 

I don't think I've ever lived in a housing situation I've liked, mainly because the location was okay but not great. Suburbs are worse. I consider the suburbs death. I understand people going there for their kids, considering some urban school districts can be quite bad. However, if all school districts are equal, and one has kids, I'd say the city is still the way to go. Museums, science museums, etc. all kind of things within walking distance or short train ride. You don't have to worry about parking or any of that crap. 

I haven't lived in a rural setting, although my dad was born on a farm and his parents and brothers were farmers. I visited the farm. I think its nice for people that don't need much and/or like to avoid people. One upside to rural life, and which I had living in San Marcos because it's a small college town, is that it is easy to know everyone, which makes friendship and socialization a lot easier. I felt like I knew everyone and was friends with most people in San Marcos---all by spending so many hours at the local coffee shop. Definitely the biggest social life I ever had. It's certainly the biggest downside to NYC, ironically enough. America's largest city is the hardest place to make friends. Philadelphia, where I am now, is kind of like NYC in this regards. I've made friends in both places, but it's sort of through work and random circumstance. In San Marcos, it was like making a new friend every day, whether one wanted to or not. 

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House selling update:  

We've had 13 showings so far.  No offers yet, but we have received a lot of feedback that can be lumped into these three categories:

1)  Don't like the layout (they want open concept).

2)  Price is too high (this is insane.)

3)  House needs too much work.

I can't do anything about the layout and I'm not willing to do anything about the price.  So that leaves the work.

We have an open house this Sunday, so I decided to go all out.  I spent $3,000 on paint and a new stainless steel sink and landscaping and handymen and gardeners and the whole thing.  

Got the house looking PERFECT.

And then I literally exploded the garage door this morning.  Accidentally closed it on something which threw off the aligning, and when I tried to fix it it made a horrible sound and then exploded.  Pieces of the garage door went flying EVERYWHERE.

image.png.25cb5a54a815e2c6cc0c411e1f6be998.png

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3 hours ago, MrPotatoTed said:

Price is too high (this is insane.)

⚠️unsolicited advice warning⚠️

On this, we've been house hunting since January and ran into multiple houses that had prices that we thought were too high. We said as much to sellers when our opinion was asked. One tiny townhouse dropped their price in April by $10k, then it went off the market. Just saw yesterday it went for $2k over their original asking price because it brought in competing/escalating bids. It's a weird time out there. 

You'll get it sold! Open plan garage :classic_cool:. And paint, stainless steel sink, and staging makes the home look liveable and bigger. 

Edited by 10centjimmy
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5 hours ago, 10centjimmy said:

⚠️unsolicited advice warning⚠️

On this, we've been house hunting since January and ran into multiple houses that had prices that we thought were too high. We said as much to sellers when our opinion was asked. One tiny townhouse dropped their price in April by $10k, then it went off the market. Just saw yesterday it went for $2k over their original asking price because it brought in competing/escalating bids. It's a weird time out there. 

You'll get it sold! Open plan garage :classic_cool:. And paint, stainless steel sink, and staging makes the home look liveable and bigger. 

Thanks!  Got our first offer today, from people that didn't even know we made all these repairs today.  (They saw the house yesterday)

The offer is too low and has too many contingencies, but the ball is rolling now in the right direction at least.

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39 minutes ago, Patine said:

It's unfortunate you Americans have such crappy public education. It's one of many things Canada does definitely have over you guys, down there, objectively speaking. It's even to the point that I've heard quite a few Americans (though only a couple on this forum) assume public education in Canada is automatically awful-quality JUST BECAUSE it's labelled, "public education." 😞 

While you’re probably right, as a Canadian, it just sounds odd for you to accuse as such, as you haven’t lived here to verify. Actually, it depends from district to district. I went to the best K-12 in Texas, for instance. However, admittedly I didn’t care about my grades during that time. 

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Just now, vcczar said:

While you’re probably right, as a Canadian, it just sounds odd for you to accuse as such, as you haven’t lived here to verify. Actually, it depends from district to district. I went to the best K-12 in Texas, for instance. However, admittedly I didn’t care about my grades during that time. 

I think the main issue with U.S is the large discrepancy when it comes on the line of race and income level %’s of the area. For example Lower Merion HS and Strawberry Mansion HS in Philadelphia aren’t that far from each other, But if you look at those proficiency levels and scores on niche..It’s mind boggling. (I completely agree with you I’m just making a comment on the matter). It just really shocked me when I saw 9% math proficiency. It’s what makes me saddened that it’s not easier to live in a city, Schools should be atleast comparable across the board (Rich areas will always have much better schools) but that kinda difference in the U.S is just..

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1 hour ago, Patine said:

Allow me to explain myself. Of all the Americans I've heard talk of their public education system, virtually all of them speak of a public school experience before 2000 as a possible decent-quality - I have yet to hear one speak positively of their own primary and secondary public education experience, or their children or other children in their life, or as a teacher, post-2000. It's an overwhelming aggregate I have to judge by. And I don't exactly have a calculated sample like a pollster, just random people on the Internet.

I don’t think anyone speaks positively of it because it’s not student-centric.  It’s system-centric. We don’t put enough funding to allow the flexibility to make to student -centric. 

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9 hours ago, Patine said:

Allow me to explain myself. Of all the Americans I've heard talk of their public education system, virtually all of them speak of a public school experience before 2000 as a possible decent-quality - I have yet to hear one speak positively of their own primary and secondary public education experience, or their children or other children in their life, or as a teacher, post-2000. It's an overwhelming aggregate I have to judge by. And I don't exactly have a calculated sample like a pollster, just random people on the Internet.

I went to a good public school that valued the arts as highly as the sports teams.  I mostly had a really good experience.  I graduated high school in 2001.  My areas of expertise were English, creative writing, public speaking.  I was a D student at best when it came to science, but some of my fellow alumni have gone on to be significant people in the science world, so I think that was my own failure and not the school’s.

 

Likewise, my daughter just graduated the third grade.  She’d rather skip school and play of course — she’s a kid.  But I have seen her make HUGE improvements this year on her knowledge, skills, and confidence.  And we’re pretty negligent parents, so that’s gotta be the school. Haha.

 

Of course the caveat here is that there’s a huge gap between good public schools and bad ones.  I was fortunate to go to a decent public school.  We are fortunate to be able to afford a house in an even better public school district for my daughter (and the one we’re about to move to is even better yet.)

 

There are absolutely terrible public schools in the US, and some absolutely wonderful ones.  It’s a huge country with a ton of people and there isn’t much uniformity and that is both our strength and our weakness.  But if you’re looking for positive school experiences post-2000, I’ve offered two.

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6 hours ago, Patine said:

Thank-you for that. I will admit, though, it has been a STRONG TENDENCY for Americans to excoriate their public school system, but I can only judge by anecdotes in this case. But I don't disbelieve you. But, of course, I've also heard stories of people giving their children homeschooling FOR THE MAIN REASON that the local school is full of drugs and gangs and teachers who phone it in and can't wait to clock out at the end of the day. So, indeed, it does seem vary patchwork, and use more funding and focus. But that would mean less funding and focus for endless military intervention and bloated budget and giving big corporations less of their endless tax breaks and, "incentives," - though my stance on that would be quite clear. 😉 

Fair enough.  In my experience, homeschool parents are pretty disconnected from reality.  This is anecdotal, I don't claim to have the data to back it up, but I'd think the overlap between MAGA and homeschool parents is probably disproportionately high, for example.  

I can tell you that despite the fact that when we moved to the school district, my dad worked in a factory and my mom was a waitress (so hardly the most expensive living conditions), my school had no gangs that I was aware of.  I'd honestly venture so far as to say that 99.9% of any drug use was probably off of school grounds/outside of school hours too.  I wasn't offered a single drug at school or literally anywhere else until I was an adult in college.  This was also the first time I was offered alcohol.  (I accepted the alcohol, I declined the drugs -- and continue to decline them today).

As for teachers phoning it in -- I'm sure those probably existed, but I was phoning it in as a student too, so it was hard to tell.  Ha.  But at the end of the day...it's a job.  I phone it in at my job, and I make a hell of a lot more money than most teachers do.  It's work.  Most people eventually burn out in almost any job, teaching is no exception.  

It's hard to compare because I know nothing of the Canadian school system.  But I can tell you that outside the super poor downtown city school districts (which I never attended), I've never really heard of the things you describe as being standard in American public schools.

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