Taxes are as sure as death no matter what you buy. Utilities as well.
Your landscape design can be rolled into the purchase of the house. Maintaining that will require your labor or someone elses. I've found that even paying people to cut grass and fix things requires mental energy to find someone and to double check their work. Between that and shopping for prices, sometimes I find it easier to just do shit myself. In fact, your going to want to learn just so you know the person you paying is doing it right.
One other thing. Surprisingly, I've found privacy a non issue. Maybe it's just Minneapolis, but everyone keeps to themselves. No nosey neighbors or peeping Tom's so far. But, that's just my experience.
More food for thought: Some housing divisions have associations that charge dues and maintain a governing body. They'll fine you if you exterior is not well kept or if you leave cars outside overnight.....stuff like that. In fact, the X-Files did an episode about a housing association that had a monster come out the ground and kill you if your house didn't perfectly conform to the rules!
Last edited by Reggie McKeever; 12-05-2007 at 01:55 PM. Reason: Added more.
great comments reggie, btw, minnie real estate is in a great position to buy right now,
i'll add a coupla points, for chicago, in general, condos should be cheaper to buy since there has been a huge influx of condo conversions over the past few years, and since for a big city real estate prices tend to be pretty cheap compared to other big cities, moreover, there is a huge variety to choose from, new high-rise, old high-rise, and my favorite, new grey-stone conversions.
I will slightly disagree with reggie's comments about new versus old construction, i prefer old construction because, generally, materials and skills and workmanship was just far superior to what you get today, a fair compromise could be an older grey-stone that has been renovated with updated plumbing, electrical, windows, etc., (with warranties) those tend to be 2, 3 or 4 units, so you could possibly occupy one or two levels have one or two other neighbors, access to a yard, off-street parking and maybe the best of both worlds
Seems like the developers of those are trying to get around the construction costs (NYC's the highest in the nation!). Oh, and we didn't talk developments where Mexican and Nigerians are being paid below union wages.
"You can master any situation if you can master yourself."
I will add that larger condo developments are more resillient to home owners that get behind or default on association dues. For example, if one unit falls behind in a four unit development, that's a quarter of the total association income (assuming all the same square footage) that the other homeowners will eventually have to pick up depending on the financial standing of the association and the final outcome of the situation. One, two, or even five households late or defaulting in a 30 unit development will not impact their other residents as severely or as quickly.
And great comments, likewise, mhd.
Last edited by Reggie McKeever; 12-05-2007 at 04:40 PM. Reason: Added more.
I'm seriously considering a two-flat or a three-flat building so I could live in one unit and rent out the other(s), but the real estate market has been so unstable lately that I may just have to wait a bit longer to buy the dream property that I want.
I also want to buy in a neighborhood where myself and my future tenant(s) can safely walk the streets, especially if they work at night.
Thanks for all the input, everybody!!!
Keep them coming!! I need all the knowledge on this that I can get
before I make my decision.
"Be good or be good at it..."
-Suga Free, 2004
Get the small building. When you own a building it`s generally an asset whereas a house is a liability. A building that you own but your tenants pay for. It`s an inflation hedge (meaning your paying your mortage with cheaper inflation-ridden dollars) plus depreciation and the ability to refinance and pull hundreds of thousands / millions of tax-free cash that your tenants pay for.
If you use overflow depreciation you can carry-back four years or carry-ahead 15 years. Etc, etc. etc.
I would choose a house. Owning a home can put all of fears to rest. Just like no more hoping that the home owner you are renting from is able to afford their mortgage. You'll be able to stop worrying about a new property management team coming in and raising rent or even evicting you for various reasons. You will be in a home that you control and you will know that the mortgage is being paid on time each month.