Linda and I have spent our past few weeks, or those without my step-daughter around, home “shopping”. Sort of like “window shopping” really, as we are going into old homes, new homes, etc, trying to get a feel of the current market.
What’s the difference between buying a 20-30 year-old house and a brand new (still being built for the most part) townhomes?
With the house we have a yard and a “we can fix it up!” type of attitude. Some of the homes we have looked at are going to need $20,000-$100,000 in fixing up /repairing. New rooftops, new flooring, the works. However that would allow us to modify the home as well: add a room, run cabling how we want to design our own room configurations, and so on. That also comes with yard maintenance, water bills, garbage bills, but it would provide a backyard where our kids can play, much like how we both grew up.
On the flip-side is a new town-home; similarly priced, brand new everything. We trade the yard, water bill, garbage bill, and feel of independent isolation for a homeowner’s association monthly bill, which would also cover outside maintenance and repairs and building insurance. This sort of scenario is a possibility as the homes we have been looking at are all three or four bedrooms with two-car garages, but on three separate stories. The real benefit is that when the market climbs back up, this home should go rapidly along with it, and would be an easy rental property. We don’t need to upgrade the carpeting, add granite counter-tops, replace cabinets or shower stalls. It’s all new, and that is a beautiful thing.
We’re still perusing around, looking at different options that fit “us” right now as well as five years from now. We are not bound to California by anything other than my job and the little family that is in the bay area. Moving out of the state, or at least the bay area in general, is a complete option for us.
What to do, what to do.. only time will tell.