Houses and Home Ownership


Formerly known as “House Hunting:”

The first post:

I occasionally look around for a future house. I am not really seriously looking for a new place since mine is pretty nice but a new house is in the cards in the next 5 year so I'm constantly flirting with the idea of buying a new house. Except, searching for a freaking house is a FREAKING chore. Since Google dropped it's real estate search functions your left will trolling around piece of crap housing search sites that lock down information (especially on foreclosures) and make it impossible to actually find houses that you are interested in. The more easy to use ones leave out things like "Would I like a basement" in it's options to check off. Blah.

Blah I say, maybe I should do work at work :-p

The last post:

Their price is pretty competitive for any other non-discount operation that I've found, but I haven't done a ton of research either.

The thing about the tanks is irritating, but they also don’t charge a tank rental fee of any kind (which other places do charge), so I can see why the previous owner went with 'em.

But pretty much the only reason I went with these folks is that the previous owner went with them, and I didn’t want to deal with getting a new propane supplier.

I like the idea of buying back that unused propane, though. I’ma add MainCare to the list of people I’m investigating.


The only things I really miss about living in an owned house are:

  1. Freedom to drastically modify said house
  2. Yard/garage/basement spaces


This is like saying the only things I miss about having arms are:

  1. The ability to grasp things
  2. All forms of contact sport.


Except that these things don’t affect me all that much.

I would add lofts to my current apartment (hugely high ceilings), but it’s not that big of a deal that I can’t.

I’d like a garage to wax my skis: instead I have to do it semi-ghetto in the bike room downstairs.

A yard allows pets and enjoyment, but also causes huge amounts of work.


I think maybe it comes down to what you value.

As an armature welder, and professional idiot who likes watching things go boom, a yard and a garage are pretty important to me. Not living in an owned house is akin to giving up a hobby(s).

I care quite a bit less about ability to modify willy-nilly but I’m the sort of person who values the option more so than the action.


House hunting related:

Where in the US would the climate be appropriate to build a traditional Japanese style home. Traditional in the ‘no nails’ and ‘sliding paper/wood dividers.’

As I approach retirement age I know that I will not be retiring in my current house but instead plan to custom build a home to my liking.

I have been researching custom home builders in the US and as such I know it is possible (though expensive) to have a home built in this style. I just don’t know where would be a good location (other than California) more specifically an East Coast location would be preferred.

By climate I refer not only to the weather but also the people. Living in the Northeast spoils you…


Well, your first criterion probably needs to be temp/humidity range. That kind of construction doesn’t seem like it would do well in high-humidity situations.

As for the rest… well, I am kind of in the “I don’t want to live in this world” boat right now, so I’m not coming up with anything.


My mother was a real estate agent, so she’d always push the value of home ownership, I just think that in the modern economy, it makes more sense to rent as there’s no longer jobs where you can guarantee you can work at the same place for the rest of your life. If you move every 3 years, it will make more sense to just rent, as any gain in equity is consumed by land transfer taxes, real estate fees, etc etc. You get more of a return if you rent, put the money you would have spent on a mortgage into index funds. This also diversifies your capital instead of putting it into a single place.

If I inherit a home though, I would live in it, instead of selling it and renting.


[quote=“Nuri, post:7, topic:166”]
Well, your first criterion probably needs to be temp/humidity range. That kind of construction doesn’t seem like it would do well in high-humidity situations.
[/quote]One would think that, but Japanese summer is maximum humidity in most of the country.

There’s a Japanese museum in Florida on the site of a failed Japanese settlement that has a few Japanese houses that seem to be doing fine, probably because the climate is very similar to Japan’s. Other than Florida, California and Hawaii come to mind as likely sites.


I have also heard that the Washington area is good. Not sure if they were referring to the State of Washington or Washington DC. Though I have seen some beautiful Japanese style homes for sale in Washington state but I don’t have eight million dollars to spend.


Yeah, the Pacific Northwest would be a good place too.




So let me qualify my post by saying upfront that I have no idea how to go about buying a home.

That being said, after renting the same apartment for 3+ years and living with roommates, I’m starting to look for a condo or townhome to buy. I talked to a mortgage broker and have a preliminary number as to the amount I can expect to borrow from a bank for a mortgage. Recently, I found a townhome that I really like the look of, and price-wise, seems very manageable.

What should I do now?

Should I schedule a tour of the townhome on my own to check it out or should I get a real estate agent before I go over to look at it?

I should really check Amazon to see if there’s a “Buying A Home for Idiots” book or something similar.


I like renting, and because I live in the civilised world I have an apartment with a terrace, a small garden, a shared garden, and a view of a park. Also a cellar. Also a reserved parking place down in the indoor parking garage. You guys in New York would faint if you knew how much we pay per month to rent.


While you could do the majority of the legwork yourself, an agent can be really really helpful. If nothing else, my agent wound up being an extra set of hands and a brain extension. There were at least 6 times during the process where I emailed her and said “Christy I literally can’t think about this right now. Can you just make this happen?” And she did.

Honestly, the way I started was by browsing on Zillow. When we decided we wanted to see houses, I clicked on 3 names in the window that popped up. I went to showings from 3 different people, and then basically told one of them “I want to work with you. Let’s do this thing.”

“What do I do now” is literally what your agent is for. Also, they often have access to listings that you can’t get any other way, so there’s that.

In the end, I didn’t even notice what her commission was. We just threw a bunch of fuckin’ money at the wall and we got a house.

@Rym Oh…oh my god. The horror. I am cringing into myself so hard right now.


In other news, I have confirmed that there is no natural gas availability at my property. Awesome.

This means I’m going all in on researching ground-source heat pumps. We already have a water well on the property, and if it’s productive enough, I may be able to install an open-loop system and recoup costs in 2 - 3 years, as opposed to ~7 for a closed-loop system.

This technology sounds like witchcraft, but it’s legit, and it can save me an incredible amount of money on my heating and cooling bills.


[quote] I talked to a mortgage broker and have a preliminary number as to the amount I can expect to borrow from a bank for a mortgage.[/quote] Make sure you take into consideration the taxes and insurance as well as the percentage rate on your future mortgage. You might find a home that you like and can afford until you see the taxes.


You know, glad I saw this because that second one about dryers not drying clothes is an issue that we have, so I might look into that (dryer is on the top floor, so seems likely the vent is up there too). We are renting, so don’t know what I can do about it, but it’s worth investigating.


We looked at another place yesterday. It had so much good, but the bad will require big investments of work, time, and money to fix. Since we are looking at income properties, that amount of work is just not cost effective for anywhere near what the sellers want for the place.


Idiots guide to buying your first home ordered.

I am both excited and terrified by what I’m about to embark upon.