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Old 12-03-2014, 10:45 PM
 
15 posts, read 17,891 times
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Thanks for the reply guys, I totally understand your points/suggestions and think they are very valid. But here are my concerns:

1. My 5.3% tax rate is gone anyways. So I'm not even considering it as a deal breaker at this time.

2. My budget is between $300k-$400k, I agree that there are many homes available (mostly townhomes/condos) for sale on the MA side. But from what I've seen, I just don't think they are worth that kind of money (in my eyes). Now I agree good school districts and other factors play a role. But since I don't even have kids, I don't want to be a stickler in this perspective. I'm mainly looking for a house which can be easily sold with minimum loss to me. When my first kid is 5 years old, which might be 2020... I will sell and may be move over to a better location in MA.

3. I agree that the property taxes are lower in MA. But that is because for the same $$$ amount, obviously the house in MA is going to be smaller and definitely older.

4. Driving is my primary concern and I absolutely agree with everything being said. There is no question in my mind that this will be stressful and a pain in the winter.

5. I could find houses for $400k in great towns in MA: Acton, Westford, Tewksbury, Reading etc. etc. Most of these places are at least 20 to 25 mins away from Burlington MA anyways.. And the houses are 1700sq.ft to 2100sq.ft or less.

6. 03062 area has good schools, is about 45 mins at least but only another 20 mins away compared to the towns mentioned above. But the houses there are significantly bigger (~2800sq.ft). The property taxes are higher but a similar house in MA is at least 1.5 times that.

7. I'm not sure what advantage/benefit there is to living in MA. I'm sure if I purchase a new car in MA, I'm hit with taxes and insurance rates are obviously lower in NH.

8. Also, the fact that the traffic is terrible flowing into and out of MA during peak hours (from NH side)... only tells me that many people might be thinking like me. Housing on the MA side (especially rental market) has become unaffordable, no?

9. I'll be making $89k per year (planning to save my wife's entire income) and I can pay $2600/month in rent. Doesn't mean I want to... you know. I feel $2600/month in rent is insane, may be not for a temporary situation... But considering that my wife and I are both full time employees, might as well pay that towards mortgage.

I'm not trying to be argumentative or come across as a dick. I'm just trying to state what my understanding of the whole situation is... Am I even thinking straight? If I'm speaking utter non-sense, please do let me know... Keeps me humble.

Thank you
Max

Last edited by maxie.maverick; 12-03-2014 at 11:10 PM..
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Old 12-03-2014, 11:00 PM
 
15 posts, read 17,891 times
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Originally Posted by bolehboleh View Post
For $400,000, you can find plenty of decent size homes on the Mass side of the border with lower property taxes. You're going to pay mass income tax anyway, you might as well get the benefits of living there as well.
Thanks for the reply mate. You're absolutely right about $400k fetching decent size homes on the MA side. But that is kind of my upper limit price wise and considering my wife is particular about a new(ish) house (which is always our preference), this really only gets me a 3bd/2.5ba (<1800sq.ft) home.

For $400k, I'm really expecting something similar to this:
34 Diamondback Ave Nashua NH 03062 | Rachel Smith

I know that my expectations are completely misplaced and location really makes a difference.. But my mind is unable to accept a lesser place for similar price. I apologize in advance.

Also, I've not done enough research about all the surrounding towns in MA region (Burlington). If somebody does know of comparable new houses on the MA side (in a community), I'm very interested...

Living in NH also gives me the option to do shopping without sales tax. I think this point is downplayed in every discussion and easily saves about $2.5k per year for a family (which can be offset in the property taxes).

In the end, if I'm going to travel more than 13 miles one way to work by staying in a neighboring MA town.. I might as well travel the additional 9 miles and stay in NH. Since most of the travel requires me to be on Route-3 whether I stay in MA or NH... No? The traffic element is the same I feel for such a travel.

Help appreciated. Thanks
Max
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Old 12-04-2014, 05:36 AM
 
77 posts, read 103,956 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bolehboleh View Post
For $400,000, you can find plenty of decent size homes on the Mass side of the border with lower property taxes. You're going to pay mass income tax anyway, you might as well get the benefits of living there as well.
? Benefits of MA? Like higher vehicle ownership costs. Loss of gun rights. Non-responsive and serially corrupt state government.....

To the original poster - Don't let the others talk you out of your plans. I think you are on the right path. Try to stay in NH.
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Old 12-04-2014, 08:25 AM
 
491 posts, read 1,243,304 times
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I commuted from North Nashua (exit 8) to south Billerica for about a dozen years. My comments below.

2. My budget is between $300k-$400k, I agree that there are many homes available (mostly townhomes/condos) for sale on the MA side. But from what I've seen, I just don't think they are worth that kind of money (in my eyes). Now I agree good school districts and other factors play a role. But since I don't even have kids, I don't want to be a stickler in this perspective. I'm mainly looking for a house which can be easily sold with minimum loss to me. When my first kid is 5 years old, which might be 2020... I will sell and may be move over to a better location in MA.

Knowing you're going to sell within five years is important. The rent vs. buy calculation should be considered. Consider the real estate transaction fees, closing costs, maintenance costs of a single family home, etc before ruling out renting.

3. I agree that the property taxes are lower in MA. But that is because for the same $$$ amount, obviously the house in MA is going to be smaller and definitely older.

You are correct. Tax RATES are lower in MA, but valuations are higher in the areas you are looking at. My current and former home would be worth 30%-50% more if they were just a few miles away in MA.

4. Driving is my primary concern and I absolutely agree with everything being said. There is no question in my mind that this will be stressful and a pain in the winter.

If your employer allows you to work from home on bad commute days, that will help.

5. I could find houses for $400k in great towns in MA: Acton, Westford, Tewksbury, Reading etc. etc. Most of these places are at least 20 to 25 mins away from Burlington MA anyways.. And the houses are 1700sq.ft to 2100sq.ft or less.

Correct.

6. 03062 area has good schools, is about 45 mins at least but only another 20 mins away compared to the towns mentioned above. But the houses there are significantly bigger (~2800sq.ft). The property taxes are higher but a similar house in MA is at least 1.5 times that.

45 minutes on a good day (summer or holiday). September, when school starts, is probably the worst month of the year. I got actually got used to the traffic. I learned not to fight it. Just chug (idle) along in the right hand lane leaving 2-3 car lengths between you and the car in front. This allows people to enter the highway (merge) without you having to stop or even slow down since they have room. And you don't lose your "spot" in line since most cars immedialtly fight to get in the left lanes.

Interestingly, if I drove to my mom's house in Lowell, near the Dracut line, it would take me longer than driving home all the way to north Nashua due to having to cross the Merrimack River on a congested bridge.

7. I'm not sure what advantage/benefit there is to living in MA. I'm sure if I purchase a new car in MA, I'm hit with taxes and insurance rates are obviously lower in NH.

Correct. One advantage would be a possible shorter commute.

8. Also, the fact that the traffic is terrible flowing into and out of MA during peak hours (from NH side)... only tells me that many people might be thinking like me. Housing on the MA side (especially rental market) has become unaffordable, no?

Correct. And wages in MA are higher. MA companies offer better benefits and are generally "better" places to work, and there are more jobs.

9. I'll be making $89k per year (planning to save my wife's entire income) and I can pay $2600/month in rent. Doesn't mean I want to... you know. I feel $2600/month in rent is insane, may be not for a temporary situation... But considering that my wife and I are both full time employees, might as well pay that towards mortgage.

Though paying $2600 to a mortgage may *feel* better, there's no guaranty that house wont drop in value in 5 years. In those 5 years, most of your payment goes to paying interest on the loan. And you'll pay thousands in transaction fees (closing costs, transfer taxes).

My old neighborhood in Nashua, many new people bought around 2004/2005. They ended up having to sell at a huge loss or rent their houses out when they moved within 5 years. I sold earlier this year at a loss, and we were there 10 years.

I'm not trying to be argumentative or come across as a dick. I'm just trying to state what my understanding of the whole situation is... Am I even thinking straight? If I'm speaking utter non-sense, please do let me know... Keeps me humble.

I think you are thinking straight. But, if it were me, I would look a bit more into:

1. Rentals between Burlington and Concord MA.
2. Buying a small starter home or fixer-upper in a good neighborhood between Burlington and Concord. From an resale point of view, never buy the most expensive house in a neighborhood. Buy the cheap house and it's value will be propped-up by the more expensive surrounding homes. I realize this isn't what your wife wants, but you may be happier in the long run starting off small.
3. Rentals/condos in south Nashua.
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Old 12-04-2014, 11:27 AM
 
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Thanks a lot for the detailed reply. I appreciate your time and effort.

I have a feeling that I won't go too wrong with 03062 purchase, I could still lose money though. That's why I'm looking to buy (possibly to finish bulk payment within 5 years) and then sell to move to a better school district when my kids are 5 or more & starting to know/realize more about a great lifestyle etc. So I'm ideally looking for a setup where I don't have to make a profit, just don't want to make a big loss.

Really only considering a purchase so that I could grow my equity which might help me make the bigger downpayment needed for a home in MA or other better locations.

I also rented a townhome in the Lebanon NH area for 3 full years (@ $1500/month + utilities) which was scary at the time to me (and my girlfriend, now my wife). Because everyone was renting apartments worth only $1200 or so (included heat) and we didn't know what we were getting into. Our landlord bought the condo as investment property for $245k and rented it to us so that we could pay his mortgage off every month.

Now to look back, my wife and I think that we should have purchased a condo like this because we would have possibly paid it off (almost) or even rented it out to somebody since there is so much demand for rental condos here that we wouldn't have to even worry about it... Dang my luck!

I don't want to repeat this mistake, want to purchase a home worth my money. Make it work on my salary somehow and stash wife's pay every month. Then finally pay off chunks of mortgage every year so that we are at least close to finishing it off in 7 years. I know it's easier said than done & lot of things can change in between, but I kind of like the chances...

So of primary importance to me are easy sale, easy to rent it out and no major losses to me. Hopefully it all works out. Concord/Acton/Burlington/Billerica/Bedford/Wilmington have homes that are either out of my budget or just not worth the money in my eyes. Rentals in this area are completely out of the question since they're asking at least $2200 for small-ish condo/townhome. I'm not a fan of renting apartments in communities since they seem to ask far more for less... Sometimes offering amenities that I don't even need like a swimming pool (my company has a health center), club house (might use once or twice per year). Tennis courts and basketball courts might be the only thing I use in regularity (summers) but everyone knows that they're useless from Nov to Apr time. Most high schools have them and are open to public for free in the summers...


Coming back to rentals in Westford/Chelmsford/Tewksbury/Lowell/Haverhill/Lawrence/Methuen: They're almost as far as 03062 with the drive mainly on Route-3 (some on I93 or I95) that I find it difficult to see why someone might pick them more than 03062 area across the border. The house in 03062 (just an example) I linked to in this thread is about $400k and a similar house in Westford is $650k (both are brand new). So assuming $7k taxes in Westford and $12k in 03062, it would take me 20 years (tax difference/Gas costs @$400/Mileage/Wear&Tear etc.) to approach the $250k difference in purchase price...

Thanks
Max

Last edited by maxie.maverick; 12-04-2014 at 12:32 PM..
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Old 12-04-2014, 06:46 PM
 
5,326 posts, read 3,794,931 times
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Originally Posted by Jeff_NH View Post
? Benefits of MA? Like higher vehicle ownership costs. Loss of gun rights. Non-responsive and serially corrupt state government.....

To the original poster - Don't let the others talk you out of your plans. I think you are on the right path. Try to stay in NH.
Agreed! I think most of the benefits people quote about MA over NH are HIGHLY subjective or even fallacious. With the exception of a small handful of MA school districts (Lexington, Andover, Concord-Carlisle, etc.) I think the typical school districts across both states are comparable.

The roads and intersections in NH are designed far better than those in MA and NH does a far better job of maintenance. There is more personal freedom in NH. The environment is cleaner in NH. The NH state government is smaller and more responsive. Subsequently NH citizens have a stronger voice in government because NH makes local government the strongest level.

The only benefit to living in Massachusetts over New Hampshire is proximity to Boston, if that is of importance to a given person. Otherwise the location of one's job should play a role in which state in which they choose to live.
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Old 12-04-2014, 06:51 PM
 
5,326 posts, read 3,794,931 times
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Originally Posted by bolehboleh View Post
For $400,000, you can find plenty of decent size homes on the Mass side of the border with lower property taxes. You're going to pay mass income tax anyway, you might as well get the benefits of living there as well.
For $400K in eastern Mass, a buyer will be trading off between decent size and decent condition.
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Old 12-04-2014, 06:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wxjay View Post
Also, I agree with those that state the drive could exceed 45 minutes to 1 hour, especially during peak travel times. Longer for your wife in Concord who has to wind through 62/Rte 4 to get to Rte 3. That is something to consider for sure.
I worked in Burlington for over 5 years and I knew several people who live in the Nashua area. The commute for them averaged between 1 hour and 1.5 hours during rush hour. I still talk to some of them and the commute time has not improved since then.

It would regularly take me 45 minutes to go from Burlington to Lowell and I was living just off the Lowell Connector. Route 3 has become a commuting nightmare because the towns along that highway have gone hog wild building office parks without any regard to the impact on traffic. Burlington and Billerica have been the worst offenders in this regard. That is why Route 3 becomes a parking lot south of 495 during rush hours. Traffic on the highway does flow fairly well north of 495 during rush hour, of course that never helped me when I lived in Lowell.

Last edited by AtkinsonDan; 12-04-2014 at 07:29 PM..
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Old 12-05-2014, 10:41 AM
 
Location: North of Boston
3,330 posts, read 5,997,488 times
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There is a lot of good information in this thread for you. However, there are a few distinctions that should be pointed out. Yes, the house that is $400K in Nashua will be $650K in Westford. When you are single, or married with no children, it may seem to you that Nashua is the better buy. However, 10+ years from now, with 2 kids in school and a new job in Billerica or Boston, you'll understand the attraction of Westford, or Acton, or Lynnfield, or Reading. Selling that house in Nashua may be difficult and you will never see the appreciation in value that you would get in one of the better MA towns, or even better NH towns like Amherst, Bedford or Windham.

I also wouldn't underestimate the commute down Route 3 from Nashua to Burlington - it's bloody awful. And your wife's commute to Concord will be even worse. Honestly, if you are interested in buying a house, I would look at Littleton and Maynard. Both of those towns will give you a better drive to Burlington and Concord than any of the NH towns and I have to think that $400K would get you something decent and if you are willing to stretch up to 450 or 500, you could be very satisfied.
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Old 12-05-2014, 10:51 AM
 
Location: New England
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Tewkesbury is not a great town...if you look in Mass, look elsewhere.
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