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Old 07-29-2014, 04:05 PM
 
13,044 posts, read 15,400,418 times
Reputation: 15299

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwiksell View Post
I wasn't saying that the Greatest Generation necessarily expected their own kids to want their houses. I apologize if I mis-communicated that. I was saying that they expected their houses to be valued by someone in the younger generation. I seriously doubt they expected their old houses to sell at a loss, and convert to majority renter-occupancy.

I specifically requested an end to the portion of the conversation that was about my parents, because this thread is not about my relationship with my parents, and I got tired of everyone thinking they knew more about them than I did.

I'd like to think we can all manage to discuss this topic in an objective manner, without trying to second-guess others' personal relationships, or persistently accuse others of lacking insight.
Again, all I have seen is property values rise, rise, rise. I don't know ANY parents of my Baby Boomer peers who had to sell their houses at a loss because no one of the younger generation wanted them.

 
Old 07-29-2014, 04:17 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
12,268 posts, read 12,511,970 times
Reputation: 19430
Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
Your experience with old houses is a lot different than mine. But, as I started to realize in the thread I linked to above, a lot of this is regional. The older houses in a region that was well established and wealthier at the time, had better quality construction and materials. The older houses in a region that was closer to the frontier (less established) or poorer, had lower quality construction and materials, in general.
The difference in opinions is because I spent many years as a remodeling contractor. I have been in, under and on top of houses of every vintage from the 1850s on. Here in the West, we have our share of mansions that have been lovingly tended for a century and a half. It wasn't the construction, it was the fact that it was always occupied by people with money who could afford to maintain the building.

Many of the construction techniques of a century or more ago were markedly inferior. One of the biggest ones was the use of unreinforced masonry. Of course, it takes real money to dig a crumbling brick foundation out from under an old Queen Anne house, replace it with reinforced concrete, then clean the old brick and use it to face the concrete so it doesn't destroy the historic appearance of a classic house.

The gingerbread detailing that was so common in a bygone era has nothing to do with the quality or durability of a house. Indeed, it just contributes to ongoing maintenance problems. The same is true of the complex roof lines that only resisted leaking because they were too steep to stand or work on. I have seen wealthy men blink at the roofing estimate of a 3-story house with a 12/12 roof pitch and a round tower at one end. There has been a recent trend to emulate the old complex roof lines in the last decade or so. The owners of that property better have deep pockets in 15 or 20 years, when the roof has to be replaced. At least their foundation will be fine.

Even something as fundamental as a flue liner in chimneys was not a common requirement until the 1950s. I won't even go into the electrical shortcomings of any house built over 50 years ago, and of course the plumbing has long since been torn out and replaced. It was common for the toilet to be on the back porch, which was enclosed as an afterthought. The original owners never set foot in the kitchen, which was where the help worked. The kitchen was typically poorly lighted and miserably hot in the summer, though the wood cook stove warmed it in the winter.

It's easy to look at a lovely old mansion and be oblivious to the fortune it took to nurse it into the 21st century.
 
Old 07-29-2014, 04:36 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,011 posts, read 102,621,396 times
Reputation: 33077
Re: the inheritance of houses-

When the "kids" inherit the parents' house, they often live in a different town, maybe even in a different part of the country. They have their own houses. They are usually well into middle age themselves, and have kids of their own, who may be well into school themselves. The kids usually have no desire to change jobs, sell their own homes and move back to the family homestead, regardless of whether it is in the inner city, or the far out exurbs, or wherever. The kids' kids don't want to change schools. So the kids sell the house and split the proceeds. Their own kids may be in college or close to it, so the money is very much appreciated. If one of the kids does want to live in the house, s/he gets it appraised and pays the others their share. IME, this seldom happens.

My mom sold her house about a year before she died, to help pay her expenses once she couldn't live in it. We (DH and I) used the money we got to pay for our kids' college, and make some repairs on our house, 1500 miles away. A young family, with little kids, bought it as it was a "family" home, ie, 3 BR, large (for the area) yard, 2 car garage, stuff you don't find everywhere in W PA.
 
Old 07-29-2014, 04:39 PM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
4,896 posts, read 7,660,338 times
Reputation: 4508
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
The situation in the Rust Belt cities resulted from the economic collapse of the steel industry, an external source. It did not result from the housing choices of the Greatest Generation. There is no analogous situation here in Denver, or even in Chicago, which did have a lot of people working in the steel industry. It had a more diversified economy.
NE Ohio, the part of the rust belt I'm most familiar with, has had a pretty stagnant population over the last few decades. Yet, the urbanized footprint has continued to expand. The difference is that there were no new people moving in to take the place of people moving out into sprawlburbia.

rwiksell outlined the pattern pretty well; I've seen it first-hand. Members of the greatest generation lived out the rest of their lives in their houses in the city. When they passed, or when their children convinced them to move, or put them in an assisted living facility, the children sold the houses cheap, (often to investors who were only interested in collecting rent from whoever they could find) because the market for them was weak.
 
Old 07-29-2014, 04:43 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,011 posts, read 102,621,396 times
Reputation: 33077
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Caldwell View Post
The difference in opinions is because I spent many years as a remodeling contractor. I have been in, under and on top of houses of every vintage from the 1850s on. Here in the West, we have our share of mansions that have been lovingly tended for a century and a half. It wasn't the construction, it was the fact that it was always occupied by people with money who could afford to maintain the building.

Many of the construction techniques of a century or more ago were markedly inferior. One of the biggest ones was the use of unreinforced masonry. Of course, it takes real money to dig a crumbling brick foundation out from under an old Queen Anne house, replace it with reinforced concrete, then clean the old brick and use it to face the concrete so it doesn't destroy the historic appearance of a classic house.

The gingerbread detailing that was so common in a bygone era has nothing to do with the quality or durability of a house. Indeed, it just contributes to ongoing maintenance problems. The same is true of the complex roof lines that only resisted leaking because they were too steep to stand or work on. I have seen wealthy men blink at the roofing estimate of a 3-story house with a 12/12 roof pitch and a round tower at one end. There has been a recent trend to emulate the old complex roof lines in the last decade or so. The owners of that property better have deep pockets in 15 or 20 years, when the roof has to be replaced. At least their foundation will be fine.

Even something as fundamental as a flue liner in chimneys was not a common requirement until the 1950s. I won't even go into the electrical shortcomings of any house built over 50 years ago, and of course the plumbing has long since been torn out and replaced. It was common for the toilet to be on the back porch, which was enclosed as an afterthought. The original owners never set foot in the kitchen, which was where the help worked. The kitchen was typically poorly lighted and miserably hot in the summer, though the wood cook stove warmed it in the winter.

It's easy to look at a lovely old mansion and be oblivious to the fortune it took to nurse it into the 21st century.
Thank you for saying all that. There seems to be a consensus of opinion of the urbanists on this forum that "old is better", no matter what. No matter if we're talking about a Workman's Cottage vs a McMansion. And I don't quite get this derogatory "McMansion" business, either. There are some old mansions on Mapleton St. in Boulder that are quite valued. They were once new themselves. What's wrong with a new mansion?
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ma...f369e9!6m1!1e1

In regard to kitchens, my mom used to say that in these old houses (she and my dad owned two, one small, one large) they took whatever space was left over and called it the kitchen. When I did some research on kitchens a few years ago, I found out she was right!
 
Old 07-29-2014, 04:45 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,011 posts, read 102,621,396 times
Reputation: 33077
Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
NE Ohio, the part of the rust belt I'm most familiar with, has had a pretty stagnant population over the last few decades. Yet, the urbanized footprint has continued to expand. The difference is that there were no new people moving in to take the place of people moving out into sprawlburbia.

rwiksell outlined the pattern pretty well; I've seen it first-hand. Members of the greatest generation lived out the rest of their lives in their houses in the city. When they passed, or when their children convinced them to move, or put them in an assisted living facility, the children sold the houses cheap, (often to investors who were only interested in collecting rent from whoever they could find) because the market for them was weak.
The Greatest Generation is the one that supposedly "fled" the city for the burbs. What happened in NE Ohio is the result of the collapse of the steel industry. As long as the parents are alive and competent, THEY are the ones who sell the house. If they go into assisted living, they have to pay for it somehow.
 
Old 07-29-2014, 04:46 PM
 
20,150 posts, read 11,172,468 times
Reputation: 20161
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
As everyone knows, the 70-80 million boomers will reach geezerhood shortly. Many will lose thir driving ability. While most will be retired so getting to work not an issue, they still need to get around. Quite a few will try to age in place. Not all have children willing to drive them. Since many, if not most, live in suburbs devoid of anything walkable or local mass transit (though they may have commuter trains to center city). What will happen. Driving enthusiasts note: this could happen to you someday.
Computer-steered cars should be practical about that time.
 
Old 07-29-2014, 04:50 PM
 
20,150 posts, read 11,172,468 times
Reputation: 20161
Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
Actually, self-driving cars could accelerate a suburban decline. Seeing as how the cars would be able to be called for, rather than parked at the doorstep, giant parking lots and big driveways and garages could become a thing of the past as self-driving cars zip between destinations for different people. Parking would become less of a problem, as these self-driving cars would be constantly on the move, and likely would only be stored for a short time. Thus, areas that cater to a lot of parking (the burbs) might see a drastic shift in how they are set up.
You're needlessly combining two concepts. You're presuming self-driving cars won't be personally owned.
 
Old 07-29-2014, 04:53 PM
 
20,150 posts, read 11,172,468 times
Reputation: 20161
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
While I agree in the longer run self-driving cars will be a huge boon for the elderly I expect that Boomers will be the ones most suspicious of the technology in general, which will limit uptake in the shorter term. Also, they're not expected to be truly universal until 2035 or so. By this time many of the oldest boomers will have either passed on or have other issues besides mobility which will limit the uptake.
Nope, we Boomers in general are not anti-technology and certainly not automobile technology. We Boomers will demand self-driving cars in order to stay mobile as long as possible. All that needs to happen is for insurance companies to approve them and then be willing to insure an old driver who would otherwise have to hand over his keys.

Last edited by Ralph_Kirk; 07-29-2014 at 05:16 PM..
 
Old 07-29-2014, 05:06 PM
 
20,150 posts, read 11,172,468 times
Reputation: 20161
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwiksell View Post
The only "real" solution the article recommended was getting out NOW. My parents are in their early-to-mid 60s, living in a 3000 sq ft house in the suburbs by themselves, and I worry.
Why? Do they have any specific ailments? I'm in my early 60s and I can bicycle a century and squat 400 pounds. My blood pressure is 125/70 and my resting heart rate is 50.
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