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Old 02-04-2007, 08:17 PM
Location: Springfield, Missouri
2,815 posts, read 12,989,349 times
Reputation: 2000001497


Originally Posted by Boof View Post
Hey MoMark, Yours is a very beautiful home! I can't remember the post, but you'd posted a pic of your house...I think. Beautiful Brick in a beautiful setting. If ya REALLY wanna blow their minds, post that pic again. I know I was green with envy when I saw it.

Hubby & I are also looking for a mini-farm, preferrably an older style home, fixer ok. Or....something like you've got too. Looks like we're gonna have alot of competition, huh?

Sunshine Girl,
Thanks for the great post. Very informative and helpful to those of us planning to move to MO. Although my husband was in MO many years ago, I've never been there, so having someones personal/honest perspective on things, is of great value. Thank you for sharing.

Thank you Boof! Homes are very...VERY...reasonable here. You get a lot for your money, especially if you stay out of Nixa and Republic which in my view are more expensive because that's where most of the new construction is and therefore the need for Mello Roos and city taxes is greater to provide infrastructure and schools.
The prices haven't really moved much in the past year from what I can tell and many homes stagnate on the market, especially outside Springfield simply because there are few buyers.
You can sell out in California and still buy a gorgeous home here, maybe even with cash and eliminate the greatest debt of all.... that monthly mortgage!
Just be prepared that it's not as professional as California and although people and realtors are polite, they really for the most part haven't a clue what they're doing and don't do the background work and preparation you'd expect.
Coldwell Banker here is terrible and so are all the other realtors I used...except one. If you need a recommendation, I do have one, a very good one.
Also... in my experience, come prepared to be shocked by the unsanitary conditions in some homes for sale. I don't get it... but it seems to be an area issue...
Once you find the home you want though....it's a dream!
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Old 02-04-2007, 08:42 PM
1,174 posts, read 6,945,845 times
Reputation: 1104
MoMark, Do you really have that "Mello Roos" bond back there? I thought that it was just a California thing to get around the old Prop 13 tax revolt.

It is something that I need to be aware of when I start looking. If it's not called "Mello Roos," what would I call it when talking to a Realtor?
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Old 02-04-2007, 08:54 PM
Location: Las Vegas, NV
76 posts, read 394,824 times
Reputation: 52
Your home is beautiful MoMark and I would have to agree with you on the wallpaper. Some of the ones that I have seen online were scary crazy. I'm not one for wallpaper. I like to have borders in the kitchen and bathrooms but that's about it.

Garth, your comment about the FUGLY stuff on the walls was funny!

NOLA2SGF, there does seem to be a lot of red walls and I would have to paint those ASAP. I'm all for neutral warm colors like beige, tan, maybe light grey depending on the flooring.
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Old 02-04-2007, 09:02 PM
Location: Springfield, Missouri
2,815 posts, read 12,989,349 times
Reputation: 2000001497
Originally Posted by garth View Post
MoMark, Do you really have that "Mello Roos" bond back there? I thought that it was just a California thing to get around the old Prop 13 tax revolt.

It is something that I need to be aware of when I start looking. If it's not called "Mello Roos," what would I call it when talking to a Realtor?
I apologize. It's not called Mello Roos in Missouri, you're right. The money is raised for new schools by voting in bond measures to provide the funding which is then financed by property tax increases in the school district or area. I guess you'd just call it "School bonds" and ask if there are any existing or planned. The areas of rapid construction of new homes and schools south of Springfield clearly have to pay for the schools somehow and Fair Grove recently had a town meeting regarding floating a 6.8 million $ school bond I believe.
I'm so used to it being called Mello Roos that I considered it a generic term. It's not though. Thanks for correcting me.
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Old 02-04-2007, 10:58 PM
Location: Springfield MO for now :(
393 posts, read 1,737,035 times
Reputation: 268
Wink update on house hunting

Thought I'd expand on a few things from my original post and let you know we did find an absolute angel of a buyer's agent here who helped us tremendously. We are closing on a new house just south of Republic street(that's on the south side for those not yet here) next week. It is not the dream house we are planning on, but it was priced right and suits us for the next 2 years while we look for something else later after we get to know more of the nuances of the area. Let me say that I did not mean to sound uppity or anything like that. We had the shell built on our last house and finished the entire inside, drywalling and all, ourselves. So we are not afraid to redo anything. In fact, we wanted an older house that was not just "throwed up there" as my husband so quaintly puts it. We wanted charm and character and an established neighborhood. Well....here's what we found instead. Yes, there are beautiful houses full of charm and character, but out of our price range. We are talking about the 150K -200K range here for us. We could have afforded more, but choose not to be house rich and cash poor. There are many nice places priced over 250K, but we looked only in our price range. We also limited ourselves to the two school districts we found to be most desired by the area folks. However. We also found quite a few that looked absolutely spectacular on the net. Some we even thought we could live in the rest of our lives kind of spectacular. Ok. Now the reality. We looked for 2 months, people. Daily. I swear I think I can now price a house as well as an appraiser after this. What we found mostly were one of two catagories. First, grandparents died and house was left for years empty before selling. Great you say, yeah. ok. Picture ruined hardwood floors due to burst pipes. Picture hot tubs being placed indoors and moldy smells over everything. This is a very rocky area, and an area where folks love their old trees. Well, before the ice storm anyway. So what you say, charming you say. How about broken septic tanks, ruptured water lines, foundations shifted, roofs rotten, all from the abundance of trees too close to the houses. The wood floors that looked so good on the net, buckled, floor joists uneven and shifted from foundation problems. The outside looks good if photo taken from the street. Up close, you see the cracking, the rotten eaves, neighboring houses you may or may not want to live beside. The second type of house we found are the ones that are bought either at foreclosure or at auction by flippers. They "update" these places, but not to period of the house. They use cheap contractor supplies with the brassy bright gold trim on the overhead fixtures, slick and shiny floor tiles, cheap carpeting to hide rotten floors. You get the picture. Wow, sorry you guys, I'm too long with this, I could go on though. It's just that we were very discouraged and disappointed once we really started looking finding this kind of thing and not what we envisioned after viewing these same places on the net. It's not all bad, like I said, we did limit our search to specific areas. I just wanted to let you guys looking from afar know you really need to get here first before you fall in love with something on the net. We also looked and fell in love many times over the 6 months or so before we actually got here. More later.... Thanks for listening.
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Old 02-04-2007, 11:40 PM
Location: Springfield MO for now :(
393 posts, read 1,737,035 times
Reputation: 268
Wink Ok, more now

Also. Sorry I have to get it all out at once. I know there are lots of folks coming here, and l think some may be looking for similar places that we were/are. For those looking in town, nothing more really to add to above post right now. But, for those either A-looking for that farmette just outside of town or B-looking to go to one of the smaller towns within driving distance of Springfield, because they still need steady employment. Ok A first. The investors and developers are here. They have already bought up anything over 10 acres in the immediate surrounding area to build subdivisions on. The few that are left are priced high with the expectation that a builder will buy it. Like 150K+ for that 5-10 acres of bare ground. Yes, there are places with either a mobile or older house on small acreage, but we found most to be overpriced because, again, the expectation is that the value is in the land. And keep in mind when you buy bare ground, you have to drill a well, get electricity to your place, and also think about road access. We found some places that were esentially land locked. A loose arrangement over driveway access to the property. Meaning the neighbor actually owns the land in front, so if there is ever a problem, you need a helicopter to access your land because yours does not touch any road without going through the neighbors land. Also when you buy outside of town, you do have to figure in the commute to your day. And the fact that you have to travel for everything else also, groceries, taking the kids anywhere, etc. And you may have seen in other threads that you are limited in what you can do to and on your property depending on the county you are in. Greene county is more restrictive, Christian county has higher taxes. Webster county has no restrictions, but they are fighting an ethanol plant from coming in because of fears of ground water contamination and decreased property values. Do not fall in love with a place on the net, like it alot, but check it out in person. And talk to people. Area people. Folks that live and work in the area you are considering. Ok, now the B-folks looking for that small town America place. Sometimes the reason you see lovely places so cheap is because they do not sell fast in these towns. There is no work other than local small plants, fast food, the Walmarts, etc. There was a blurb in the newspaper about a new chain farm store opening in I think Marshfield or Seymour area that had 300 applicants for 40 jobs. If you don't need to work outside the home, no problem. There is no arguing that there are some absolutely beautiful towns and terrain out there. It's just that there aren't as many willing to buy into a slower, farther from the jobs place. We will eventually end up in one of these places also, lest you think I am being critical, but now, while I still have to work for a few more years, the practical thing to do is to live closer to the jobs. That's why in our case, we chose to buy in Springfield and take more time to decide which surrounding town is best for us. I don't want to break down in the middle of nowhere and there's no cell tower for service (it's very hilly here folks, and in the valleys, sometimes you get no signal). Maybe I'm just getting older and less adventurous. Cuz there are plusses and minuses to each one. The terrain is less hilly in the immediate west and southwest, more farmland, less trees. This all equals more flat clear land for a tornado to become a whopper for those who have never lived in this kind of area. It's wild and wooly in them thar hills south and east of Ava. Lots of things to consider. My rambling point is that you guys looking from afar absolutely must drive and see this all in person before you buy. The remote areas might be utopia for some, and a surprise for others. Some may love the idea of buying into the upcoming rebirth of the downtown area and want to live the urban loft lifestyle. It's a wonderful and diverse area here, and something for every cup of tea. We have found it to be a friendly, safe (especially compared to other cities) and plan to stay here. As I say, maybe not in the city limits later, but for now it suits our situation. It's kind of amazing to have so many different options in one place. And if one really wants to get away from everyone, you can end up 50-75 miles from here and buy some really cheap (again, compared to other areas) land, and beautiful countryside.

I do want to give a thanks to all who have been helpful to me before we came here. I did not post before, but read all your comments, and found this forum extremely helpful with what I feel is honest, friendly advice. That is what I hope to contribute also over time here. That's really it for today...I'm a talker!!!
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Old 02-05-2007, 08:02 AM
Location: Springfield, Missouri
2,815 posts, read 12,989,349 times
Reputation: 2000001497
I think a lot of the info. is accurate you state Sunshine Girl, however, it's not true that you'd be landlocked on a property where access comes through another's property. Those are called easements of access and happen all over the country. I wouldn't want one running through my property, or to pass over one to get to it, but those are legally arranged.
You're right about the landscape south of town being hilly, and the more East and southeast you go, as well as south toward Branson...it gets wild and rough. I don't like that kind of landscape at all, but they have nothing to do with tornadoes. Most of the tornadoes that have hit have hit in or near Marionville and Nixa in the last two years and Branson had two. Tornadoes can happen anywhere and their causes have nothing to do with terrain.
Also, going north of Springfield or to the west or northwest of Springfield the landscape and country is gently rolling. I live north of Springfield and it's basically flat except for some slight rolls here and there. The area around Marshfield, especially north of I-44 I think is some of the most beautiful country in the area.
As far as homes with damage to pipes or water damage. I wouldn't be surprised if hundreds of vacant homes had frozen then bursting waterpipes in this last ice storm. But... home inspectors here do what home inspectors do all over the country and inspect homes acting on your behalf. If there's such an issue, a home inspector will easily identify it just as he would termite damage or issues with cracked basements, etc.
As I said, a house still has to undergo an inspection before you buy it and lenders want to know the condition of the home as well as the appraisal. Any home insurer is going to have an idea about your area as well and likely send a home inspection team to more accurately assess your home versus insurance coverage. I had a team come through mine from Farmers Insurance to verify what was on the property deed record matched what they saw. There were small differences. Because of the inspection, I'm covered up to $275,000 for replacing the house though I paid only $227,000 and I have $125,000 for contents (and I've photographed every single freakin' possession I have to keep a record online and in physical form in another location in case I ever have to turn in a claim.).
The only other thing that your postings leave me with Sunshine Girl is that for you to have seen so many junky houses, I don't think you had a good realtor. I know you say you had an angel of a buyer's agent, but how would a good agent have shown you such crap for a prospective home?
I ran across the worst realtors here, truly unprofessionals. Only ONE matched my expectations and prior experiences for service, professionalism, and efficiency/preparedness here in Springfield. I explained what I was looking for, gave some examples I thought I liked from the SpringfieldMOMLS.com site, and then was shown only homes that met that criteria.
I'm sorry you've gone through so much hardship in your house search...it's definitely far more of a struggle than I went through...though...I looked for six months because I was VERY picky about what house I would end up with. But I think it's good to remind people:
-Get a recommended home inspector ( I can recommend a good one)
-If you get a home with a well, have the water tested ( I can recommend one)
-Check the roof and make sure the shingles aren't curling. Most roofs here are asphalt shingle because of the weather and they have to be thoroughly checked.
-Make sure to have your inspector look for termite damage, even in brick homes.
-Check plumbing, especially now after the ice storm which knocked out the power for a week while temperatures plunged to single digits. The inspector will need to crawl under the house and inspect.
-Try and stay away from trees and if they're there..know it will cost about $1500 to remove one if you decide to remove it. Also check that no big trees surround your septic or the roots may have or may invade it at some point.
-Figure out what heats the house. If it's natural gas, your heating bills will be huge. If it's electric, not so bad, but higher in town. Most of the residents outside Springfield belong to electric cooperatives. I do. My electric bills run usually about $45/month.
-Have a survey done if you buy acreage, or make sure it's on file at the recorder from an earlier survey so boundaries are open to dispute.

Homebuying here is no different for the most part than anywhere else. We just have more house piglets here who don't clean before they put their homes up for sale.
Get passing inspections done before closing on contracts. It will spare you a lot of worry. Stay away from wood-sided homes ( I mean real wood). Woodpeckers (the birds) are a nuisance here and they will drill holes in your wooden sides and invade your attic making nice doorways for squirrels and other pooping and chewing pests, so stay away from wood.
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Old 02-05-2007, 09:03 AM
Location: New Orleans, LA
1,846 posts, read 3,941,788 times
Reputation: 3376
I just wanted to thank both Sunshine_girl and MoMark for their perspectives on house buying in the Springfield area and for taking the time to write about their experiences in such detail. All of these posts are very helpful!

I'm definitely going to be looking within the city limits, though I might consider someplace just a few blocks south of the city limits. Is there a big difference in property taxes inside and outside the city limits? (I would expect at least some.)

I've gleaned a lot from these posts. When the time comes I'll look for a house without large trees too close by, and I'll even look for foundation problems associated with big trees that were cut down after the storm. Now I'll be more aware of the possibility of flood damage being covered up with new carpet. True, a home inspector can detect such things, and I plan to have the house inspected thoroughly, but I will also try to detect such problems on my own and save myself a little time and money.

Again, thanks for these fascinating posts! The more problems I can forestall, the smoother my move will be and I appreciate the help.
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Old 02-05-2007, 09:57 AM
Location: 55 Miles East of Sanity :D
791 posts, read 1,820,362 times
Reputation: 817
Thumbs up Valuable Info.

Sunshine Girl & MoMark,

Ditto what Nola2sgf said.

Your posts are VERY helpful, and exactly what this forum is for. Thank you a million times! You are allowing us to learn from your experiences and first hand knowledge, and there is nothing better than that!

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Old 02-05-2007, 12:57 PM
Location: SW MO
339 posts, read 1,425,143 times
Reputation: 158
You and I have the same Duncan Phyfe dining room set. In fact, I'm looking for a couple of those lute-backed chairs - just in case you happen to come across any for sale.
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