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Old 10-21-2011, 02:50 PM
 
71,520 posts, read 71,694,121 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadManofBethesda View Post
It doesn't have to be. The only "work" I do around the house is changing lightbulbs.

The HOA handles the exterior work and my checkbook and Angie's List takes care of the interior.
we have a handyman /snow plow /gardner guy but the fact is where we are there is always expenses in one of the above . i dump a constant flow of money into our house all the time.


at home in nyc i pay our rent and done!.
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Old 10-21-2011, 02:57 PM
 
Location: WA
5,394 posts, read 21,390,738 times
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It depends upon your capabilities and outlook.

My mother of 88 still lives in the same single family home she bought over fifty years ago because that is what she wants even though we have talked through options. She still drives a little and has a house keeper come in every few weeks to do cleaning. She hires a local handy man and a local yard service.

There are many ways to live but you have to be open to change and willing to adjust.
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Old 10-21-2011, 03:11 PM
 
71,520 posts, read 71,694,121 times
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my first house i kind of didnt keep on top of everything. it wasnt to much work or a money pit because i let things slide until they became real issues or i just didnt deal with them at all. same thing with my wifes mom. when we went to sell the house after she died there was a ton of stuff that had to be taken care of , her mom just chose not to deal with it so the house was trouble free to her.
this house we have now i deal with every little thing. since we dont live there full time i never know what will suddenly become an issue and when. its a very high maintaince area as well . being in a forest with trees and leaves, harsh winters,bugs and insects and high winds at times as we are 1500 ft up make for constant maintaince.

nothing really breaks,its just constant preventative stuff mostly that makes it a little money pit.
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Old 10-21-2011, 03:18 PM
 
Location: Florida
2,291 posts, read 4,945,414 times
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Before I moved to Florida, I owned a condo/townhouse. I would go back n forth from NJ to Fl, everything was ok. When my husband retired we moved into the condo, it was terrible, the condo commandos wouldn't leave anyone alone. So, we sold and bought a 4300 sq ft house on the water. It was lovely.

When my husband died I sold it and bought a small home 850 sq ft and a one car garage, total of 1100
sq ft. I am happy, I have a nice fenced yard for my doggies, and the home is not in a deed restricted area, I am basically free to do my own thing.

I have a man who cuts my grass and does small handyman jobs, so, I am in pretty good shape in that area.

It's probably a personal choice, however, condo living was not for me, and the condo fees went from $100 a month when we bought to $330 a month when we sold, now they are up to almost $500 a month, kind of hard to swallow on a retirement income, and they are not tax deductible.
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Old 10-21-2011, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,971,705 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zarathu View Post
Not us! We want all these things so we can stay thinking and stay remembering, but also keep learning new things, and new coping skills. I hope to be still chopping wood when I'm 85, in 23 years! And learning to play a new musical instrument.
Hey Zarathu, check back in when you're up on the roof at age 80 scraping off snow so you don't get an ice dam.

You've got some great points here, nonetheless!
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Old 10-21-2011, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,925,663 times
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I think it's obvious that there are different kinds of places to live (each with upsides and downsides) and different kinds of people who like to do different things.

We have lived in apartments - high rise - mid rise and low rise (when we were very young) - condos - and then we built a single family house after we had retired. Some comments. Note that a person's mileage may vary a lot depending on the size and "luxury" of the residence involved.

Upsides of apartments. Fixed cost (rent). No maintenance responsibilities. Ability to leave at end of lease with no resale problems. Downsides. Not being able to do the place up like you want. Possible problems with what neighbors do - or what you do if your neighbors don't like what you're doing (everything from playing your music loud at night to smoking). Rent increases. Landlord may or may not maintain the property to your standards. Rent can go up. Rental may be converted into a condo. In a fair number of markets - renting is now more expensive than buying.

I didn't like our first apartments so much (they weren't very nice). But I liked the last 2 (more at the luxury level in urban areas - center city Philadelphia and Miami). Note that these last 2 were converted to condos when they weren't very old. My husband and I were working long hours - and were out doing something a lot of the time when we weren't working - not spending too much time at home (sleeping and showering was about it). An apartment was perfect for us.

Then we lived in condos - 2 high rise luxury condos - each for about 10 years. During this period - we retired - so we spent some pre-retirement and some post-retirement years in condos.

A high rise condo is kind of like an apartment. Except your costs aren't fixed. And - in today's market in some areas - it's harder to sell and leave if you want to - have to.

I have to disagree with the poster who said (or implied) that BODs waste money on purpose (or with any degree of intent). It's the nature of the beast to some extent. Anything run by a committee will run less efficiently than something run by one competent person. But you can never forget that a condo (or a HOA) is run by its owners. Who don't always see eye to eye on things. One person's necessary maintenance can be another person's "it can wait for a couple of years". One person's acceptable insurance coverage and deductibles can be another person's "I can't afford it".

FWIW - insurance coverage is a huge issue when it comes to condos or HOAs that have home repair responsibilities - especially if there's some kind of big loss. I worked on condo insurance committees for quite a few years (because I knew a lot about insurance) - and then concluded that my personal exposure doing that work was too large - so I quit.

When it comes to condo fees - you have to look at what they cover. Here in Florida - they will include most (not all) insurance coverage (a big nut) - the cost of which can vary a lot - up or down - from year to year. Some fees may cover all or part of one's utilities (in our last condo - the association paid for all the water). Etc.

Another thing to keep in mind with regard to these entities in the current real estate environment is that if your neighbors stop paying their fees - you will have to pay more to keep up the level of services you expect. A condo or HOA has a lien against property for unpaid fees - but that doesn't do the condo or HOA much good if the property is under water and the owner is broke.

A note about small (especially low rise) condos or HOAs. The kind of place where you have a townhouse or villa where the association does the maintenance. It's nice to have the association mow your grass or trim your hedges. But - in most cases - forget about trying to personalize your landscape with anything you would like to plant. Also - owners in small associations are especially vulnerable to large assessments because there are fewer people who can chip in to pay for an unexpected repair not covered by reserves - or a catastrophe loss (and - in Florida - there are many items that can be lost in a storm - including things like landscaping - that aren't covered by insurance).

Last of all - there are single family houses. Some in HOAs - some not. I happen to like living in a gated community (for security reasons) so we bought a lot in a gated HOA and built a house. A little less than 3000 sf under A/C on 3/4 acre. I agree with the poster who said if you start with new (especially new that you have spec'd - assuming you know what you're doing) - you do in general have some years in terms of breathing room when it comes to expensive maintenance. Our house is 15 years old now - and we have had little in the way of expensive maintenance (except for replacing our A/C system - kind of normal every 10 years or so in Florida). In part because we took some care in choosing low maintenance building materials/techniques.

So - after 15 years in the house - my impressions. We like living in a house. The privacy. Being able to make noise inside whenever we want - or to cook with garlic - and not having anyone complain. We like the space (our house may sound big - but we use every square foot of it just about every day - except for the guest bathroom in the hallway - e.g., my husband and I each have a nice home office - private places where we do what we want and don't bother one another).

And I don't care what anyone says - most people don't do heavy labor maintaining their places when they get older. In all cases - it's simply an issue of when you can't do something you used to be able to do. My husband and I - in our mid-60's - are slowing down (my husband's MS has taken its toll - but it could be anything - a knee problem - a back problem - a heart attack). Still - we do what we did 15 years ago - just much more slowly (we were washing windows/house/porch today - used to take us one day - now it takes us two). We delegate to others what we delegated 15 years ago (no way you will ever find either of us in the attic or on the roof or using a chain saw to prune our trees) - and some things we used to do ourselves (especially some "medium" landscaping chores - like pruning shrubs). But the handwriting is on the wall.

OTOH - if you have some money - it is easy to find good people (at least where I live) to do things for you when you now longer can or care to do them yourself.

Also - unless you're living in a double-wide in a rural area - your HOA or even your local government may get after you if you don't maintain your place properly. So we do. My father gave up maintaining his place in his late 70's - and eventually his local government got after him to clean the place up (his white tile roof was black). There's an issue of personal standards too. My late FIL's place in North Carolina looked ok on the outside when we sold it - but it was a total dump inside.

Anyway - in terms of a verdict - I think I am a split jury. If I wanted to live in a fairly urban area - I'd probably go with the apartment or the high rise condo. If I wanted to live in a suburban/rural area - I'd probably go with the single family house.

Finally - the poster who wrote about the pool was on target IMO. Just about everyone in our neighborhood has a pool - even though they can only be used about 6-7 months a year here. We didn't build a pool (although we have lots of room for one). When my husband used to swim - he did it at the local Y (he had and still has a membership there - $600/year). Where he could swim in an Olympic size pool that was heated in the winter. Minimum pool service charge here is > $100 month. IOW - if you plan a retirement place - don't do something just because you think you should - because everyone is doing it. Do a cost/benefit analysis - and think about what *YOU* really want.

Anyway - these are my thoughts and impressions. Robyn
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Old 10-21-2011, 10:18 PM
 
5,392 posts, read 6,532,509 times
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I am facing this question myself right now. Leaning away from owning and caring for a house. Got too much house to care for and am hiring folks to do the work. So thinking downsize down the road.
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:24 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
13,888 posts, read 25,316,043 times
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Some of the reasons I chose Las Vegas were related to home ownership. No severe weather here, nothing to shovel, and with desert landscaping, yardwork is a gallon of roundup every spring. YAAAAY! I can enjoy my own home and yard without the constant maintenance. I no longer own a lawnmower or a snowblower. My outside time is mostly spent around the pool or BBQing.

But right now, my house is still a money pit because I am slowly remodeling the whole thing. My choice, but it is taking longer than I anticipated. Part of the problem is me playing too much and not working enough. I guess I will be camping till it's done.

I am remodeling with ageing in mind. I'm trying to use materials that last a long time and require minimal work to maintain.
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Old 10-22-2011, 02:27 AM
 
Location: Prospect, KY
5,288 posts, read 17,955,447 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowsnow View Post
Some of the reasons I chose Las Vegas were related to home ownership. No severe weather here, nothing to shovel, and with desert landscaping, yardwork is a gallon of roundup every spring. YAAAAY! I can enjoy my own home and yard without the constant maintenance. I no longer own a lawnmower or a snowblower. My outside time is mostly spent around the pool or BBQing.

But right now, my house is still a money pit because I am slowly remodeling the whole thing. My choice, but it is taking longer than I anticipated. Part of the problem is me playing too much and not working enough. I guess I will be camping till it's done.

I am remodeling with ageing in mind. I'm trying to use materials that last a long time and require minimal work to maintain.
"No severe weather" in Las Vegas?? You've got to be kidding! I've been to Las Vegas in the summer - miserable!
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Old 10-22-2011, 05:05 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas
13,888 posts, read 25,316,043 times
Reputation: 26382
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cattknap View Post
"No severe weather" in Las Vegas?? You've got to be kidding! I've been to Las Vegas in the summer - miserable!
Hot, yes. But nothing like hurricanes, tornados, snow, blizzards, extreme cold, severe thunderstorms, excessive rain, gloom, etc. That kind of stuff. Yes, it's too hot for 8 weeks in the summer...but you don't have to shovel it and the rest of the year is almost perfect!
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