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Old 11-14-2006, 07:01 AM
26 posts, read 152,925 times
Reputation: 33


Okay, the ugly Green Monster has taken hold of me lately and I am in need of some perspective. My husband and I make ~ 100 K combined income. We have two small children. We have outgrown our townhouse which we purchased 10 years ago (so we have decent equity). We are in the market to upgrade our living space. We really only prefer one area in SoFla; the Hollywood Lakes area in East Hollywood. We simply can not afford this area, or to be honest to continue living in South Florida in general. It seems every month we are $1,000 short and we don't live extravagantly. I just don't understand how so many young couples our age with children can afford their homes, drive their 2 luxury vehicles and wear the nicest clothes, etc. I just don't get it. Where does all of this money come from? What are they doing that we are not???? Please help me to understand. Perhaps their salaries are much, much higher than ours but what are they doing for a living? We both have masters degrees and are professionals. Do you think their salaries are so much higher? Do you think they took out creative financing and that it will catch up with them soon and they won't be able to afford their homes? HELP!!
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Old 11-14-2006, 07:21 AM
Location: western East Roman Empire
6,607 posts, read 10,669,475 times
Reputation: 5762
Chances are that many are in debt, some combination of mortgage, home owner's equity loan and credit card.

A few others may have higher incomes, wealth accumulated through inheritance (real estate, cash, securities), wealth through asset-price gains from the last two speculative bubbles, or wealth accumulated from savings and investment over the long-term, or any combination of the above, enabling them to spend at a higher rate than what their earned income would normally allow.

Perhaps some have their health insurance paid through their jobs; that is also a major expense, if you have to pay for it yourself.

Perhaps you have not been living as frugally as you otherwise might have, or perhaps you have saving goals which you cannot achieve due to the high cost of living in southern Florida and the concern of not achieving them influences your perspective on relative local conditions.
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Old 11-14-2006, 07:24 AM
Location: Beautiful South Florida!
243 posts, read 1,011,203 times
Reputation: 106
The Lakes area is very expensive. A number of homes there go for $1 Million plus. Few go for less than $500K. A couple with $100K combined income, good credit and no or low car payments, plus some decent equity in their last place, could comfortably swing a home in the low $300's (assuming you can make the 20% down). That gets you a nice townhouse in west Broward. I don't know your financial picture well--if you can do $350K, that'll get you a nice single-family house out west.
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Old 11-14-2006, 01:16 PM
Location: Port St. Lucie and Okeechobee, FL
1,305 posts, read 5,024,926 times
Reputation: 1079
My wife's Father could have been described as a "man of means"; not wealthy, but substantially comfortable and with disposable assets. When we were first married, at age 25, he offered to help us find a house to buy. He headed for a wealthy neighborhood and picked out a house that he thought suitable for his daughter. He offered to help us buy it.

The problem was, while I had a responsible position for a 25-year old, it was with a charitable orgnanization (the American Cancer Society), and my income was not high. My wife was working as a phsyical therapist, but it was for a Visiting Nurse Assoc, and at the time (1965), they were not noted for high salaries. She was earning little more than a teacher.

There was no way we could afford that neighborhood. We would have been the youngest, poorest folks there. It was too much house. We couldn't have afforded to furnish it in the manner it deserved. We couldn't afford to reciprocate with neighborhood invitations. We really couldn't even afford to landscape it in keeping with the neighborhood.

In other words, even if you could somehow pay cash for a house like that, on your combined salaries you couldn't afford to live there and be comfortable among your neighbors.

To answer your other question, if you both have professional skills and Master's degrees, yes, you should be earning more than a combined $100K, unless you are doing something you love. My daughter is a teacher and her husband is a fireman/paramedic; they are at about the same level as you. They could be earning more, but they both love what they do. Instead, they live a more modest lifestyle, and are happy in other ways. They have managed to accumulate a 5 br, 3 bath house on 2-1/2 acres with a 3 car garage, pond and oak-lined driveway, but they've worked very hard.
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Old 11-14-2006, 02:46 PM
Location: Heartland Florida
9,324 posts, read 23,796,698 times
Reputation: 4901
100K for a couple is good by Florida standards. At one time I made 60K a year, now I am just above 30K. It's tough to run a business and even tougher to find a suitable job in a Mc market like south Florida. 1/3 of my income now goes for property taxes, if I sell that's over 1,000,000.00 to spend as I see fit. Trouble is I would rather see my real estate investments go down and lose money so I can stay here. Otherwise I will cash in from some suckers from elsewhere and pack up and go. I survive because there's no mortgage or car payments or any debt to deal with. Then again I drive a rusted out 1969 Dodge and have junky furniture. Taxes are horrible, between sales tax, gas tax, income tax and property tax 1/2 of my income is gone. Florida is no good deal. Oh yes and I don't have insurance either, I had to fix the damage after Wilma myself. That 40 foot tree wasn't getting off my roof by itself!
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Old 11-14-2006, 03:30 PM
Location: WPB, FL. Dreaming of Oil city, PA
2,909 posts, read 12,988,540 times
Reputation: 991
Wow you should have sold your house while it was still worth a million! You could still stay in Florida and buy a smaller, cheaper house and invest the rest of your money for retirement!

Anyway $50k a year is a normal(if not good) salary for a professor with a master's degree. I have a friend who makes $45k a year with a masters in Texas(would make even less if she lived in Florida) How large is your townhouse? Is it too small for you and your family? Have you considered relocating where jobs pay more and houses are much cheaper? Many of us have left Florida, I am leaving too.
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Old 11-14-2006, 03:32 PM
Location: Florida but not for long :) :)
1,130 posts, read 1,161,551 times
Reputation: 50
You need to go where the homes are more affordable. Try the west coast of Fl. near Pt. Charlotte or North Port.
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Old 11-14-2006, 04:30 PM
944 posts, read 3,536,233 times
Reputation: 578
Originally Posted by bellasmom View Post
Do you think they took out creative financing and that it will catch up with them soon...
I found this off of a great housing bubble blog; it may answer your question. Get ready, this is ugly, I can't freakin' believe it:

---->>> Households cashed out ** $715 billion ** worth of home equity between 2001 and 2005.

I don't like smilies. But really

I mean

That's like

http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=76276 (broken link)

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Old 11-14-2006, 05:12 PM
Location: Ocala area in Central FL
627 posts, read 2,620,136 times
Reputation: 333
If you really like the area, try to hold out for at least 24 months, you might just be able to find something in a price-range you are comfy with. Not sure how much sq ft space you have, but if it makes you feel better, you can rest assured that some people raised their families in homes that were well under 1000 sq ft with much success. Just Hang in there and don't drown yourself in debt. More than likely, most of those people you see only have wealth on paper.

Wow... I knew it was bad! That article has me thinking that after a 6 month break from RE Foreclosures and BPO work, I need to get back in the game and start working evictions (related to Foreclosure) again!


Last edited by MyHomeIsInOcala; 11-14-2006 at 05:23 PM.. Reason: added comment for Muggy
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Old 11-15-2006, 05:59 AM
Location: Beautiful South Florida!
243 posts, read 1,011,203 times
Reputation: 106
There are plenty of decent areas affordable to her in Broward where's she's at now. She picked the Lakes area as an area she likes, I live across the intracoastal from this neighborhood, I can see it from inside my apartment, it is very expensive. More affordable but still desirable options exist around here.
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