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Old 01-08-2014, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Glenbogle
730 posts, read 1,196,569 times
Reputation: 1054

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Well, my username says it all, LOL.

I'm halfway through renovating my second "money pit" in the NYC suburbs and have to decide whether to cut my losses and move to NC before I lose any more $$ on this thing. :-( From what I've heard and read, the Charlotte area sounds like it might be what I'm looking for but I'd love some first-hand input as to what specific areas would be best to target. Here's what I'd like to find:

Single family home (no townhouses or condos)

New construction (I've had it with fixing prior owner's mistakes over and over again!)

Ranch/single story home or at least with all major rooms on the ground floor, including laundry (I'm in my 60s and can't handle stairs on a daily basis). It's okay if there's an unfinished second floor for storage etc, in fact that'd be great as long as it has a stair going to it instead of a trapdoor in some closet....

Full basement -OR- over a crawlspace (slab foundations way too hard on the bad knees and back)

Public water (this is a must)

Two-car garage

3 bedrooms on main floor

Between 2000 and 2500 sq ft.

Price range under $400,000 would be ideal; up to $450,000 would be do-able.

Would love 1/2 acre but will settle for 1/3 acre if I can get everything else on list.

Property taxes currently less than $5000/yr. (is this a deal-killer?)

I have always avoided "homeowner associations" because of the extra cost and all the restrictions on what one can or can't do, or must/mustn't do, with their property; but is it difficult to find new construction that isn't part of an HOA?

I'm retired/living on Social Security and so don't need to worry about commuting or traffic. What I'm looking for is more house for the money, lower taxes, and a milder climate (as I write this, it is 14 degrees and I had to pay someone $100 last week to plow out a 45' long driveway... and that was the cheapest price I could get. Ugh.)

Thanks for any and all suggestions, including recommendations and warnings re: new home builders. Because this would be a long-distance thing, I really want someone whose work I can trust. Been burned SO many times by contractors, etc.... :-(
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:00 AM
 
98 posts, read 155,256 times
Reputation: 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by StressedOutNYer View Post
Well, my username says it all, LOL.

I'm halfway through renovating my second "money pit" in the NYC suburbs and have to decide whether to cut my losses and move to NC before I lose any more $$ on this thing. :-( From what I've heard and read, the Charlotte area sounds like it might be what I'm looking for but I'd love some first-hand input as to what specific areas would be best to target. Here's what I'd like to find:

Single family home (no townhouses or condos)

New construction (I've had it with fixing prior owner's mistakes over and over again!)

Ranch/single story home or at least with all major rooms on the ground floor, including laundry (I'm in my 60s and can't handle stairs on a daily basis). It's okay if there's an unfinished second floor for storage etc, in fact that'd be great as long as it has a stair going to it instead of a trapdoor in some closet....

Full basement -OR- over a crawlspace (slab foundations way too hard on the bad knees and back)

Public water (this is a must)

Two-car garage

3 bedrooms on main floor

Between 2000 and 2500 sq ft.

Price range under $400,000 would be ideal; up to $450,000 would be do-able.

Would love 1/2 acre but will settle for 1/3 acre if I can get everything else on list.

Property taxes currently less than $5000/yr. (is this a deal-killer?)

I have always avoided "homeowner associations" because of the extra cost and all the restrictions on what one can or can't do, or must/mustn't do, with their property; but is it difficult to find new construction that isn't part of an HOA?

I'm retired/living on Social Security and so don't need to worry about commuting or traffic. What I'm looking for is more house for the money, lower taxes, and a milder climate (as I write this, it is 14 degrees and I had to pay someone $100 last week to plow out a 45' long driveway... and that was the cheapest price I could get. Ugh.)

Thanks for any and all suggestions, including recommendations and warnings re: new home builders. Because this would be a long-distance thing, I really want someone whose work I can trust. Been burned SO many times by contractors, etc.... :-(
I live in a very nice neighborhood that does have an HOA but fees are very inexpensive for what we have. Lots to offer. 3 pools, movie theatre room. Coffee bar to meet people and a fitness center. House price is probably half of what you want to spend. Look up bonterrabuilders in waxhaw nc. Sure you can find exactly what you want that is very affordable. Also look at Ryan homes,Essex homes and mattamy homes are Also in this community.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:01 AM
 
4,135 posts, read 10,903,945 times
Reputation: 1957
Ok, well, not to throw in a huge monkey wrench here, but new construction often has a lot of its own headaches and isn't always a guarantee that you won't have to fix builder's mistakes.

We flipped homes a bit in CA. The last house we renovated and sold was a 1910 Craftsman. But we did most of the work ourselves.

When we moved here we did NOT want an HOA…..and yes, that is going to be difficult to find in a new construction unless you want to buy land and build your own home…..and we wanted land. The house didn't need to be new but it needed to be well built. My husband is good at spotting well built houses so I trusted his judgement.

We ended up in Union County/Marvin in a home on some acreage where all the neighbors also have acreage and the original owners bought land and had a house built individually, so no house is alike. We also have a full basement and no HOA.

The house did need some cosmetic work, but it is very solidly built so no structural issues or major issues.

Is there a reason you don't want HOAs? I ask because if you are retired I was going to suggest Sun City. It is a very nice retirement community where you can own your own, new, one story home.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Glenbogle
730 posts, read 1,196,569 times
Reputation: 1054
Dawn, the reason I'm leery of an HOA is the added cost and also the horror-story restrictions I've heard about. I'd hate to buy and then in 10 years find out that the HOA fees (which aren't tax deductible, like property taxes are) have increased to the point where they're a couple thousand or more per year.

I was under the impression that the lot sizes in the 55+ communities like Sun City are very small. I love to garden and also like my privacy, and I have a feeling that in an HOA or over-55 I'd probably have neither. For instance, I'd like to plant evergreens along the inside perimeter of the entire backyard and in an HOA that probably wouldn't be allowed. Or if one day I decide I want to get rid of most of the high-maintenance lawn grass and instead have just paved or brick pathways between planting beds, someone on the HOA board could say "sorry, you can't do that, you have to have a lawn". There's a small HOA near where I'm currently living, and not only do they dictate how much lawn you must have, but what kind of "plant material" (as they put it) you can use! People aren't allowed to have a blacktop or paved driveway but must use gravel; things like that.

I hear what you're saying about shoddy workmanship in both new and resale. The house I just bought (money pit #2) got a clean bill of health from my home inspector other than some small things. Well, long story short, what I assumed would be a $35,000 renovation is now slightly over $100,000 and it's not done yet. He missed things like a leaking heating boiler, leaking windows, upstairs bathroom leaking into downstairs kitchen behind cabinets, and worst of all, what turned out to be a rodent-infested finished basement that had to be completely gutted. The sellers were good at covering things up, and the inspector is not liable for things that are "not easily visible". NY also has no property disclosure law (well, we do but there is a Get Out of Jail Free card whereby the seller simply gives the buyer a $500 credit at closing in lieu of making any disclosures... so everyone does that) and so I have no recourse against either the inspector or the sellers. There's no way that I'll ever be able to sell the house for what I already have invested in it, so am seriously considering cutting my losses after finishing the now-gutted bathroom, pulling up stakes, and moving to somewhere where I won't run out of money before I die, LOL

p.s. Forgot to add that when I pulled up the existing kitchen flooring which was in bad shape, crumbled asbestos floor tile from the 1960s was discovered underneath. The subfloor was rotting from previous kitchen sink/dishwasher leaks, and so there was no choice but to have it all removed. A$be$to$ removal was yet another thing I hadn't counted on having to do.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:34 AM
 
Location: NC
6,032 posts, read 8,634,280 times
Reputation: 6369
Check out the 28210 and 28209 zip codes in Charlotte. Sedgefield, Madison Park, Collins Park, Selwyn Park, Barclay Downs, Selwyn Farms....
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:31 PM
 
4,135 posts, read 10,903,945 times
Reputation: 1957
That was more of an issue in CA…..people had $100 HOA fees in 1990 and by 2005 the fees were over $750/month.

That is not really the case here. It really isn't. They won't skyrocket like the higher COL areas. They may go up some.

I do understand about the garden. I just brought it up as an option, esp. since you mentioned newer construction and a one story home.

We didn't want an HOA because we don't like being told what to do! And because sometimes, even if the HOA fees don't change, the rules do. One person I know was told they could no longer park their van in the driveway anymore even though they were told it was fine for several years prior. The van didn't fit in their garage so they were up a creek. Things like that make me nuts.

Dawn

Quote:
Originally Posted by StressedOutNYer View Post
Dawn, the reason I'm leery of an HOA is the added cost and also the horror-story restrictions I've heard about. I'd hate to buy and then in 10 years find out that the HOA fees (which aren't tax deductible, like property taxes are) have increased to the point where they're a couple thousand or more per year.

I was under the impression that the lot sizes in the 55+ communities like Sun City are very small. I love to garden and also like my privacy, and I have a feeling that in an HOA or over-55 I'd probably have neither. For instance, I'd like to plant evergreens along the inside perimeter of the entire backyard and in an HOA that probably wouldn't be allowed. Or if one day I decide I want to get rid of most of the high-maintenance lawn grass and instead have just paved or brick pathways between planting beds, someone on the HOA board could say "sorry, you can't do that, you have to have a lawn". There's a small HOA near where I'm currently living, and not only do they dictate how much lawn you must have, but what kind of "plant material" (as they put it) you can use! People aren't allowed to have a blacktop or paved driveway but must use gravel; things like that.

I hear what you're saying about shoddy workmanship in both new and resale. The house I just bought (money pit #2) got a clean bill of health from my home inspector other than some small things. Well, long story short, what I assumed would be a $35,000 renovation is now slightly over $100,000 and it's not done yet. He missed things like a leaking heating boiler, leaking windows, upstairs bathroom leaking into downstairs kitchen behind cabinets, and worst of all, what turned out to be a rodent-infested finished basement that had to be completely gutted. The sellers were good at covering things up, and the inspector is not liable for things that are "not easily visible". NY also has no property disclosure law (well, we do but there is a Get Out of Jail Free card whereby the seller simply gives the buyer a $500 credit at closing in lieu of making any disclosures... so everyone does that) and so I have no recourse against either the inspector or the sellers. There's no way that I'll ever be able to sell the house for what I already have invested in it, so am seriously considering cutting my losses after finishing the now-gutted bathroom, pulling up stakes, and moving to somewhere where I won't run out of money before I die, LOL

p.s. Forgot to add that when I pulled up the existing kitchen flooring which was in bad shape, crumbled asbestos floor tile from the 1960s was discovered underneath. The subfloor was rotting from previous kitchen sink/dishwasher leaks, and so there was no choice but to have it all removed. A$be$to$ removal was yet another thing I hadn't counted on having to do.
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:12 PM
 
Location: Weddington, NC
5 posts, read 7,770 times
Reputation: 14
I too love to garden! It's one of the many reasons my husband and I moved to the Weddington area (Union County)! We have a nice size lot with a full brick home. And we do not have an HOA where I live; I'm not adverse to HOAs but it's nice not having one more bill to deal with. I completely understand where you're coming from. My kids will be in college soon so we opted to downsize our house / upsize our land to trim costs.

I've lived all over this area (I was born in Charlotte) and have not seen issues with rising HOA fees over the years here. Personally, I would not be too concerned with rising HOA fees.

Interestingly, most of my buyer clients these days are from NY. I hear a lot of the same sentiments that you expressed about keeping up the costs of maintaining their homes in NY. Here in the Charlotte area, you would have a fair amount of options that meet your criteria, both new construction and resale.
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:15 PM
 
1,056 posts, read 1,966,332 times
Reputation: 1001
Quote:
Originally Posted by StressedOutNYer View Post
I'd hate to buy and then in 10 years find out that the HOA fees (which aren't tax deductible, like property taxes are) have increased to the point where they're a couple thousand or more per year.
You'd be hard pressed to find any nice HOA community here where you're paying less than $3000 a year, seriously. The average monthly HOA fees I've seen lately in my search have been $250 upwards to $600. And these were in communities with $200,000 homes.

I'm split with my opinion of HOA's. They can be good and evil.
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Old 01-12-2014, 06:38 AM
 
314 posts, read 633,696 times
Reputation: 225
You can find what you are looking for...but there will likely be an HOA. I have heard this before that people don't want to be told what to do but honestly...it's a good thing for the most part. Most of us have common sense and courtesy but there are people who I wonder if they even look at the outside of their home when they are going in...toys/crap everywhere, junk cars in driveway, unkempt lawn, odd/garish paint colors,etc. Imagine you had to sell your home and your neighbor didn't keep up their property....it would affect your ability to sell because who wants to live next to that? The HOA is there to enforce the CC&R's and that is supposed to help keep the neighborhood looking good and values up. So I think the good outweighs the bad in that respect. I just tell people to read the CC&Rs and architectural guidelines prior to making and offer so they know what the rules and restrictions are upfront. It's usually nothing that you can't live with.
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Old 01-12-2014, 06:48 AM
 
21 posts, read 69,082 times
Reputation: 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by MA2NC View Post
You can find what you are looking for...but there will likely be an HOA. I have heard this before that people don't want to be told what to do but honestly...it's a good thing for the most part. Most of us have common sense and courtesy but there are people who I wonder if they even look at the outside of their home when they are going in...toys/crap everywhere, junk cars in driveway, unkempt lawn, odd/garish paint colors,etc. Imagine you had to sell your home and your neighbor didn't keep up their property....it would affect your ability to sell because who wants to live next to that? The HOA is there to enforce the CC&R's and that is supposed to help keep the neighborhood looking good and values up. So I think the good outweighs the bad in that respect. I just tell people to read the CC&Rs and architectural guidelines prior to making and offer so they know what the rules and restrictions are upfront. It's usually nothing that you can't live with.
I hear this argument a lot. But I'll be frank. The ugliest, worst kept neighborhoods I know of are new construction with HOAs. You know the ones, with a car leaking oil all over the place and weeds in every crack in the driveway.

Granted though, these are not houses selling for 3-400K. But the point I'm making is this: More expensive homes will equal more capable neighbors with prettier yards. The HOAs in those communities are just background noise anyway.

There's a discussion on the front page about ineffective HOAs (What to do with Messy Neighbor)
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