Housing situation
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  1. #1
    Registered User Ayanka's Avatar
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    Default Housing situation

    Hey everyone, I want some advice. And no it is not the usual how do I pay back my debts without effort kind of question :p. As some of you probably know I have been battling some degree of mental problems since I broke up with my ex. Sleeping on the floor for several weeks and being stalked does that to you. However because of other problems with my past who are haunting me, it made me semi-permanent unstable. I do well when there is no stress on me. But there is a lot of stress on me. And frankly, I can't take this much longer.

    Now what about the housing situation? I currently rent the same appartment as what I moved in with my ex. All his stuff is (finally) gone and it is not really the memories haunting me. More the fact the place is very hard to heat and there is at least one thing seriously wrong with the plumbing. Plus some minor stuff like only having 2 working firepits. I currently pay 485 Euros rent. Which is not a lot, but for the state the place is in combined with the fact the bathroom is in the hall, for me it is too much. And I just don't want to deal with living here for another winter.

    The problem? I don't know where to move to. I have about 55 K saved up for a downpayment and I would love to move to a house one day. I don't have any debt of any kind in case anyone is wondering.
    Option one: believe the bank and assume that I can pay off the mortgage they tell me I could easily pay off. This would give me an option between a couple of houses in a not so good part of town. I am young, no kids and currently live in a place which is considered worse so that is no issue. The one big but is that I would have to keep my job, no matter how high stress gets there. And the stress that come from that, not being able to leave the job.

    Option two: believe my anxious mind that tells me to keep my payments low. The problem is that if I want to buy something I can resell easily one day, I can't keep my payments as low as I would love to. The difference with a house would be that the payments are lower, but not that incredibly much. I could be lucky when I manage to buy a really cheap one, but competition on that is hard inhere (low income area).

    I saw a house that I would really like for sale for a highly reduced price today, so I will make the call Monday and see what comes from it. However I need some advice on a plan B in case this doesn't work out.

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    Registered User ilovechocolate's Avatar
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    First of all, I'm sorry to hear about the issues you've been having.

    Home ownership is wonderful BUT it's necessary to have enough money coming in or saved up to handle all the things that can happen---leaks, rot, appliances breaking, trees need removing, etc. It can add up quickly and it's very stressful. Plus, it's easy to spend more than you anticipated on a new home in terms of improvements, new furniture, etc. I speak from experience here. And there are the ongoing expenses on maintenance such as the yard.

    On the other hand, there are advantages to ownership too, tax-wise. And it's very satisfying to pay off that house and own outright the most important purchase you'll ever make.

    If it's less stress you want, I can't guarantee that home ownership will do the trick. A lot depends on the age/condition of the house you buy.

    Good luck with your decision.

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    Registered User Ayanka's Avatar
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    The things that can happen is one of the things that frighten me. Though it seems unlikely there will be trees to be removed since the size of the place I want to buy. Rot, would seem more like a wooden house which is not that common inhere, or am I overlooking something? The appliances breaking wouldn't worry me that much, as half of the appliances in the appartment already is mine. And well, the other half isn't in star condition. Granted I wouldn't have to pay for the repairs, but that doesn't worry me too much tbh. It is more things like leaks, a furnace or a window that is broken. I have read to put 1% aside a year, but how much could one repair wipe out in one time? And I am not sarcastic or so, that is really what I am wondering about.

    Improvements and new furni are things that might just have to wait till I have more money. But that is ok, what worries me is not having money to pay repairs or other needs. I will probably buy a mild fixer upper as in good on the basics, needs painting, needs a new kitchen if you want to get it up to date, but still functions right now. So if I can avoid it, not too many repairs you can see. Sadly there will be things you can't see...

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    Why don't you try to find another job before you purchase your home. You don't want to be stuck in a job causing you stress . Also with a mortgage your income usually increases with inflation but your debt will decrease, so paying off your mortgage will get easier over time.

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    Heres a few
    $10,000 for furnace/air conditoning
    $6000. I paid 20 yrs ago for 13 vinyl windows
    $4000 to put oak in the dining room and front room area flooring
    $1000. for a water heater installed
    $5000. for our roof

    Now of course I dont know prices there or square ft. space for you
    Thing like stuff underneath siding and under the house and in walls that cant be seen are hard. You just dont sound excited at the prospect??
    Could you rent another apt. for awhile??

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    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    We're in a somewhat similar situation right now, although there are some big differences in that we already own a home we love on a lake, but are in the process of buying a home in town to retire to in 1-5 years. The equity in this place will leave us mortgage-free at the point we sell this place.

    We're very nervous about whether or not we can afford it. We don't now and never have listened to bankers who tell us we can afford way bigger payments than we would be comfortable making. We know our lifestyle, they don't, and since we're grown-ups, we make our own decisions about how much we can afford. We know what we've done in the past for payments. We have savings to cover large expenses like the heavy equipment that will be brought in this spring to fix our disastrous driveway. In the end we feel things will be a bit tight while we own both homes, but we are comfortable with the sacrifices we will be making to afford both places, such as not taking vacations. We know what the costs will be for extras like homeowners' insurance, extra real estate taxes, and that sort of thing. We have a good idea of what start-up costs will be for the new house, things like buying a lawnmower, buying a paint sprayer and gallons and gallons of paint, and doing some repairs, plus doing painting and repairs on our current house to get it ready to sell. We have that money set aside and we're not worried about it because of being prepared.

    Like you, we're planning to buy a fixer that has many important updates already done. Our house has a newer roof on the house and one of the garages, a new 200 amp breaker panel which means I can start the rewiring it needs immediately without having to get a new panel, new thermal pane windows in all but two of the windows in the house, new insulation in the attic, all kinds of important things that are very costly to have done. But the house was built sixty years ago and the sellers haven't done anything to update the decor in it. Consequently, all the floor coverings need to be redone and the whole house needs to be painted inside, among lots of other projects. But the whole house is completely livable as far as we can tell so far. We can do a lot of the work ourselves to save labor costs and have collected a good array of tools so will not have to spend on those, although we do need a good paint sprayer. Most of what the house needs can be put off till we have the money to do things, and there's a lot we can do over time that won't be very expensive.

    Do you have home inspectors available there? We're having a home inspection done next week. The inspector will look at everything in the house and tell us of any problems he sees. If they are major, we will have the option to renegotiate the price of the house, take responsibility for the repairs ourselves, ask the sellers to fix the problems before we take possession of the house, or decline to continue with the process to buy the house. It's expensive to have the inspection done ($450 US) but to us it's an insurance policy protecting the money we will be paying for the house. It can potentially save us from buying something that needs thousands of dollars worth of work or has an unsound foundation, or is spewing radon that might poison us, or any of lots of other potential problems.

    That said, buy the best house you can TRULY afford. Be sure to set aside the money you'll need for any immediate repairs. Consider ALL the expenses, such as house insurance, real estate taxes, any tools or appliances or maintenance equipment you might need to buy, the costs for heating and cooling, power, water and sewer, etc.

    If you're looking at a house that has had a drastic price reduction or has been on the market a long time, find out why. There may be a reason it's not appealing to people especially if the price is low. "Our" house has been on the market for fifteen months and it's fairly clear why, we think. The plaster on the ceilings in every room is cracked (can'twait to hear what the inspector has to say about that!), it needs new floor coverings in every room, the basement isn't finished, the bedrooms are tiny, the bathroom is small and needs updating badly, the kitchen is original to the house and needs updating with or without new cabinets (we like the custom-built vintage cabinets that are there), the garages both need new siding and the one has a dirt floor, the house is on five lots which is a lot to mow, the ten-foot window in the front of the house needs to be replaced which will be expensive, there's some weird wall covering in the kitchen that needs to be ripped out and replaced, the woodwork is beautifully done but needs to be stripped and stained, the hardwood in the living room needs to be stripped, sanded, stained, and sealed after the carpet is ripped out. In short, it's a good solid house but at the moment it's not real pretty although it's a cute house with nice curb appeal. We paying for the inspector to help ensure we're not missing anything critical.

    Home repairs can run into big money really fast, depending on what it is. Home insurance can help you keep large costs to a minimum in cases like hail storm damage or flooding, fire, or other types of natural disasters. Insurance won't cover routine maintenance though, or something like a failed furnace. I had some questions about the furnace in the house we're looking at so I called a fuel oil company here that installs them. A new fuel oil furnace for that house would run us about $5,000 US. I don't know if that helps you at all, but that would be the definition of an expensive repair. A water heater here would run about $300 but that's only because I can replace one myself. Any time you have to hire someone to do repairs, prepare to pay much more. We recently had our furnace malfunction on a Saturday evening and had to have someone come and fix it. The work cost about $100 but the after-hours charge was an additional $200. We had no choice because the forecast low for that night was thirty below zero Farenheit so not fixing it till the following Monday was not an option.

    A new kitchen will likely be quite costly, unless you can do a lot of work yourself or maybe even then. New bathrooms aren't cheap either.

    I don't mean to sound discouraging, but you did ask. It's a lot to take on, but it certainly can be done. The key is to do all you can to educate yourself about every aspect of home buying and home ownership, so you're an educated buyer. Don't be afraid to call local people and ask some of the questions you've asked here, and talk to other homeowners and real estate agents, too. Bit by bit you'll get a full education of the pluses and minuses of owning your own house, and that should help you decide if owning a house is the right choice for you at this time.

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    Registered User Ayanka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brilly69 View Post
    Why don't you try to find another job before you purchase your home. You don't want to be stuck in a job causing you stress . Also with a mortgage your income usually increases with inflation but your debt will decrease, so paying off your mortgage will get easier over time.
    You have a point there. And perhaps it would be a better idea. However at least part of the stress at work comes from being understaffed. In a couple of months our new people should be able to help more and maybe even going into shifts, that should help. Plus they plan a change of teams, maybe it will help, I keep hoping on it.

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    Registered User Ayanka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frugalwarrior2 View Post
    Heres a few
    $10,000 for furnace/air conditoning
    $6000. I paid 20 yrs ago for 13 vinyl windows
    $4000 to put oak in the dining room and front room area flooring
    $1000. for a water heater installed
    $5000. for our roof

    Now of course I dont know prices there or square ft. space for you
    Thing like stuff underneath siding and under the house and in walls that cant be seen are hard. You just dont sound excited at the prospect??
    Could you rent another apt. for awhile??
    Renting another appartement is something I would prefer to avoid. Before saying I couldn't do it, I did check it however, and renting a studio (which is what this also is in reality) would be an option. It would also be cheaper than my current set up and while it wouldn't help with the locked up part, it would be something that I could do if I don't manage to find something else in summer. (This place is awful to live in winter).

    I checked the price on getting central heating. If it would have to be installed from scratch is would be about 10 k and just to replace the furnace would be 3,5 to 5k. These are Dutch prices though, the Belgian site wouldn't give me prices straight away. But it is a good enough estimate. Air conditioning is euhm pretty much non existant in normal or low priced housing inhere. We just don't have enough days with above 90°F to make it worth it.

    Well Sq feet wouldn't be that much. I am European and I just can't afford to have a big house because prices here are that much higher. Plus I ever had to clean my parents house when my mum broke her arm, which set me off of big houses for good. Think maximal 1000 sqft.

    I always thought a roof would be that much more, though I guess this would be a repair and not a full replacement? Sorry if I ask too many questions, but this is one of the things that scares me the most.

  10. #9
    Registered User Ayanka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post
    We're very nervous about whether or not we can afford it. We don't now and never have listened to bankers who tell us we can afford way bigger payments than we would be comfortable making. We know our lifestyle, they don't, and since we're grown-ups, we make our own decisions about how much we can afford. We know what we've done in the past for payments. We have savings to cover large expenses like the heavy equipment that will be brought in this spring to fix our disastrous driveway. In the end we feel things will be a bit tight while we own both homes, but we are comfortable with the sacrifices we will be making to afford both places, such as not taking vacations. We know what the costs will be for extras like homeowners' insurance, extra real estate taxes, and that sort of thing. We have a good idea of what start-up costs will be for the new house, things like buying a lawnmower, buying a paint sprayer and gallons and gallons of paint, and doing some repairs, plus doing painting and repairs on our current house to get it ready to sell. We have that money set aside and we're not worried about it because of being prepared.
    One of the banks tried to tell me that I could afford a house payment of maximally 880 Euro on a wage of 1582 Euro. I actually told them respectively that I thought it was not a good idea. The base rule inhere is that you can pay 1/3 of a mortgage and you shouldn't get a mortgage as long as you have any other kind of debt. What would probably be a good idea is to make a projected new budget, with all of the new monthly costs in it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post
    Like you, we're planning to buy a fixer that has many important updates already done. Our house has a newer roof on the house and one of the garages, a new 200 amp breaker panel which means I can start the rewiring it needs immediately without having to get a new panel, new thermal pane windows in all but two of the windows in the house, new insulation in the attic, all kinds of important things that are very costly to have done. But the house was built sixty years ago and the sellers haven't done anything to update the decor in it. Consequently, all the floor coverings need to be redone and the whole house needs to be painted inside, among lots of other projects. But the whole house is completely livable as far as we can tell so far. We can do a lot of the work ourselves to save labor costs and have collected a good array of tools so will not have to spend on those, although we do need a good paint sprayer. Most of what the house needs can be put off till we have the money to do things, and there's a lot we can do over time that won't be very expensive.
    I ll be checking if the house actually has double windows as we call them, I guess this is what you call thermal pane windows. My goal is to buy something that would only require painting and maybe some very minor repairs. I have some painting stuff bought from when I started renting this place, though it is mingled with my parents painting stuff. I could probably borrow any things I need just to use once from my parents if I had to. It might seem like I would be using them, but part of it is cultural, they borrowed stuff from my grandparents and/or had stuff together with my grandparents all of the time.

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    Registered User Ayanka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post
    If you're looking at a house that has had a drastic price reduction or has been on the market a long time, find out why. There may be a reason it's not appealing to people especially if the price is low. "Our" house has been on the market for fifteen months and it's fairly clear why, we think. The plaster on the ceilings in every room is cracked (can'twait to hear what the inspector has to say about that!), it needs new floor coverings in every room, the basement isn't finished, the bedrooms are tiny, the bathroom is small and needs updating badly, the kitchen is original to the house and needs updating with or without new cabinets (we like the custom-built vintage cabinets that are there), the garages both need new siding and the one has a dirt floor, the house is on five lots which is a lot to mow, the ten-foot window in the front of the house needs to be replaced which will be expensive, there's some weird wall covering in the kitchen that needs to be ripped out and replaced, the woodwork is beautifully done but needs to be stripped and stained, the hardwood in the living room needs to be stripped, sanded, stained, and sealed after the carpet is ripped out. In short, it's a good solid house but at the moment it's not real pretty although it's a cute house with nice curb appeal. We paying for the inspector to help ensure we're not missing anything critical.
    The 3 reasons I see for the low price/price decrease are the following:
    1. This is not the best neighbourhood in town. I couldn't care less, but some people do care about it.
    2. The house is so small that you can't park a small car in front of it. Ok, maybe a smart, but I wouldn't put my hopes up high.
    3. There has been a flood in the street quite recently. I am not too concerned about it, because this place is not too close to the water and the factory behind it has to be flooded before the house will, but it doesn't help with the price.
    4. And this is what concerns me, the paperwork for the energy and elektricity aren't posted online. This could mean anything from there is no heating, to the notary doesn't know how to do it. I tried mailing the guy last week, with no result, so maybe he just is a bit old fashioned.

    Sadly home inspection does not exist/couldn't be found by google in Belgium. The closes I found was for renters, checking if there was no water coming in and elektricity was ok and such. These documents have to be provided with a sale anyhow, so there is no use having that done.


    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post
    Home repairs can run into big money really fast, depending on what it is. Home insurance can help you keep large costs to a minimum in cases like hail storm damage or flooding, fire, or other types of natural disasters. Insurance won't cover routine maintenance though, or something like a failed furnace. I had some questions about the furnace in the house we're looking at so I called a fuel oil company here that installs them. A new fuel oil furnace for that house would run us about $5,000 US. I don't know if that helps you at all, but that would be the definition of an expensive repair. A water heater here would run about $300 but that's only because I can replace one myself. Any time you have to hire someone to do repairs, prepare to pay much more. We recently had our furnace malfunction on a Saturday evening and had to have someone come and fix it. The work cost about $100 but the after-hours charge was an additional $200. We had no choice because the forecast low for that night was thirty below zero Farenheit so not fixing it till the following Monday was not an option.
    Thanks for the info, it really is helpful, because it gives me an idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post
    A new kitchen will likely be quite costly, unless you can do a lot of work yourself or maybe even then. New bathrooms aren't cheap either.
    I know, for the one I have an eye on, the bathroom is ok. Actually it is way better than what I currently live with. The kitchen needs some updating, but nothing short term, it just doesn't look very nice/modern.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post
    I don't mean to sound discouraging, but you did ask. It's a lot to take on, but it certainly can be done. The key is to do all you can to educate yourself about every aspect of home buying and home ownership, so you're an educated buyer. Don't be afraid to call local people and ask some of the questions you've asked here, and talk to other homeowners and real estate agents, too. Bit by bit you'll get a full education of the pluses and minuses of owning your own house, and that should help you decide if owning a house is the right choice for you at this time.
    It wasn't discouraging, it was educational . For me what causes the fears and the discourage is the not knowing. After all let's be realistic. I saved up over 50 k in about 4 years. Saving up another 10 k for a house repair funds isn't going to finish me. But not knowing what I should save up, would finish me.

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    Registered User Ayanka's Avatar
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    Ok new projected budget if I would buy a house:

    Income: 1500 (this is less than I currently make, but this is what I should be able to make in another job too)
    Mortgage: 500 (the max payment I would be allowed on that income and the max I allow myself)
    Elektricity/gas: 100 (currently is 50, doubling it should cover it).
    Water: 30 (currently is 30, but the company said I use 280 l of water a day, no clue why, but this is probably due to the plumbing inhere, which has so many problems it isn't funny anymore)
    Internet: 30 (currently is 27, counting in inflation)
    House insurance: 50 (currently is 25, doubling should cover it)
    House taxes: 75 (this is an overestimate, but always plan for worst case)
    House repairs: 100 (1% rule)
    Food: 100 (currently paid by meal cheques, means this gets 0 for the budget right now)
    This gets me at 885, which is just needs.

    Replacing the computer: 100 (yes the poor thing will need replacement eventually, he gets 6 this year)
    Replacing furniture: 100 (I have a lot of items that came free from family, some of them I would really like to replace) and I might need some extra storage space

    These are wants for now, but might become needs eventually, though I could do this one after another or put on hold if I had to.

    Allowance (blow money): 100: for travel, clothes, crafts etc. I know it is not a lot, but as mentioned the other 2 categories technically are wants too.

    This gives a total of 1285 Euro or about 215 Euro leftover for car expenses I don't have right now, but I would if I would decide to change jobs. Ok that is not enough, but for now, this budget is good enough, I can tweak some of the wants if I have to.

    Now, did I miss something?

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    We have 2200 sq. feet and that doesnt incl. the bsmt.
    That is a full roof job w/no board replacement . no damage but a tear off of 2 layers of shingles and shingle haul away. I also paid $1300. to have the chimney for the furnace redone
    w/ 3 rows of bricks redone as ours was leaking into the family room.

    If I didnt want to answer questions I wouldnt have replied to the thread so no apologies. I am typing w/o glasses so bear that in mind when reading too lol
    When first married we had 1000 sq. feet and yes it was so much easier to keep up w/. I knew where everything was.

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    FW, I hope our roof only costs us $5K. I think our house is slightly bigger, about 2,400 sf. We need to get that done too.

    Ayanka, keep asking any questions you like. How else will you get answers? Many of us here are home owners with years or decades of experience we are more than happy to share with you. Ultimately, the decision to buy or not is yours, but getting differing viewpoints and hearing ideas, thoughts, and facts you may not have thought about can be helpful.

    You mentioned parking in front of the house you're considering. If on-street parking is an issue there, that could be a problem if you have to buy a car someday, or if you hope to sell the house and someone else needs off-street parking. We would not consider buying a house without off-street parking of some kind and that was a factor in our decision to buy the house we're buying, but I realize things may be different in Belgium, and also that different people have different needs. But here, there are restrictions during the winter season about on-street parking, using an odd/even system, meaning on odd numbered days you have to park on the odd numbered side of the street, and on even days you park on the even side. This allows snowplows to go through and clear the streets all the way to the curb. Having lived with the odd/even system at another house we had, we found it got to be a pain at times, such as when a car wouldn't start or we forgot to move it and got ticketed.

    If the neighborhood is bad where the house is and you're concerned about resale, you may want to reconsider. If the house has been on the market a long time and/or seems under-valued, the neighborhood could be part of the reason and could hinder your attempts to sell the house later on. The housing market is flat here at the moment, and we are expecting to wait two years or longer to sell our current house, even though it has a great location, great views, and is a nice house. Houses just aren't selling fast. If you will need to turn it over quickly due to a job change or something, then buying a house which is currently hard to sell for the people who own it now might become a problem for you when it's your turn to sell it.

    I think it's important for you to call an insurance company to talk about potential flooding in the neighborhood you're considering. Also, I think doubling your cost of the rental insurance you pay now is probably not going to be enough. Renters are insuring things like clothing, pots and pans, books, a TV or two, stuff that's not very expensive compared to an entire building. Home insurance covers the entire structure, and if they have to pay you to rebuild the whole thing, that's a very large cost, much higher than replacing your personal belongings would be. If you can call the insurance company where you have your renter's insurance and give them some info about the house, they should be able to help you estimate what the cost of the premiums might be to insure it. I just talked to our insurance company about this very thing. They wanted to know when the house was built, what type of foundation it has, if it's in a flood plane, how old the roof (shingles) is, what type of heating it had, if the wood furnace it has was owner-built or factory-built, what kind of siding it has, those kinds of things. Even if you can't answer all of their questions, they should still be able to give you some idea. If the house has a history of flooding in the neighborhood, I can promise you the premiums are going to be higher. Our premiums for that house will run us almost $1,000/year US or about $800/year if we move the insurance for our cars, boats, and camper over to that same company. There is also a small discount included in that price because we already have a home insured with them. Don't know if that helps you or not because premiums are based on the replacement costs of our homes here and what the likely hazards are, so there are a lot of variables. That's why it's best to talk to an insurer in your area because they will know where the likely losses might come from in your city.

    Here's a pic of the kitchen in the house we're in the process of buying. It was custom built by the original and only owner of the house, who was a craftsman. It's very dated from the 1950's. I happen to like it, but it's not perfect and we may decide to remodel after our lake home is sold and we have more money. But I feel like you do, even if it's not perfect, it's something we can live with until we can afford to do something different. Paint is fairly cheap and can work wonders for updating and brightening up old woodwork, and it's a good DIY (do it yourself) project. We're planning to paint at least the doors and drawers in this kitchen and possibly the face frames if we don't like leaving the face frames a different color. It'll take some time, but won't be costly.

    I don't know how adventurous you are, but there are many, many repairs and updates that can be done by a homeowner, even a novice. If something is broken and not dangerous to attempt to repair yourself, then try it. If you succeed you've saved money and gained valuable experience, and if you fail you've lost nothing much since whatever it is wasn't working anyway. I personally think YouTube is one of the greatest inventions on the face of the Earth, because you can find info there on how to do or fix almost anything, with videos showing you exactly how to do it.

    I've recently joined Pinterest as well because of the wealth of ideas there for cheap DIY decorating, updating, and creative tips for all kinds of things home-related. Pinterest is the reason I was so ecstatic to find an antique oak organ in the basement of the house we're buying, which I plan to turn into an entertainment center. We will most likely have to hire movers to drag that monster up out of the basement and into the living room, but it'll be worth it to have a unique, cool entertainment center and not have to buy something at a retail store that looks like what's in everyone else's house. Boring!

    It's good if you have someone to borrow tools from. Nothing wrong with that. I think that's pretty common among family members pretty much everywhere.

    If you're not afraid to tackle learning new skills, that's a huge plus when it comes to owning a home, whether it's decorating, repairs, or renovating. If you have friends who do their own home repairs, volunteer to help them and tell them you're interested in learning all you can about home ownership and home repair. That gets you two things, an up-close look at what it takes to keep a home up and running, and a start on a good solid education on how to DIY a variety of things. If you don't sew, learn how so you can make your own curtains and do repairs to upholstery (or reupholster used furniture), or repair your clothes which saves you money to help pay for the house. I learned a lot of what I know about construction from watching tradesmen we've hired over the years and annoying them with lots of questions. That informal education has saved us untold thousands of dollars. I love that kind of stuff though, and I realize it's not for everyone. But the biggest thing I can say about it is don't fall into the trap of believing you can't do a project involving tools just because you're female. You can, if you want to. You just have to learn how.

  15. #14
    Registered User CookieLee's Avatar
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    You started your post by saying in incredibly stressed and were (or still are) being stalked by your ex.

    Changing jobs, moving, buying a house and having major changes in your financial situation are among the top 10 life stresses. I caution you to not add to your already stressful life.

    The house you're considering is far less than ideal for a single person with no prior experience in home ownership or home maintenance. All of the houses we've owned prior to this one were fixer-uppers. Now that I've lived in a house that is less than 10 years old, I can't even begin to compare the amount of FREEDOM - financially, mentally and physically - we have now that we're not constantly in construction mode. Not having a place to park my car would be a major drawback, too; not just for me but also for any future potential buyer.

    I really like the flexibility in your life right now and believe you should use that to your benefit. You're not tied down by an mate, by your job or by your living space. The world is your oyster! Dream about where you want to be one, five, ten years from now and write down your priorities. What do you value most? Financial security? Love? Family? Spirituality? Design your life so you can live those values daily.

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    Registered User Ayanka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post
    Ayanka, keep asking any questions you like. How else will you get answers? Many of us here are home owners with years or decades of experience we are more than happy to share with you. Ultimately, the decision to buy or not is yours, but getting differing viewpoints and hearing ideas, thoughts, and facts you may not have thought about can be helpful.
    Thank you for the encouragement, you did indeed give me some things to check I would have never thought about to ask.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post
    You mentioned parking in front of the house you're considering. If on-street parking is an issue there, that could be a problem if you have to buy a car someday, or if you hope to sell the house and someone else needs off-street parking. We would not consider buying a house without off-street parking of some kind and that was a factor in our decision to buy the house we're buying, but I realize things may be different in Belgium, and also that different people have different needs. But here, there are restrictions during the winter season about on-street parking, using an odd/even system, meaning on odd numbered days you have to park on the odd numbered side of the street, and on even days you park on the even side. This allows snowplows to go through and clear the streets all the way to the curb. Having lived with the odd/even system at another house we had, we found it got to be a pain at times, such as when a car wouldn't start or we forgot to move it and got ticketed.
    Inhere, it is very hard to find a place in the whole city (500k) inhabitants. While parking can be very tricky there, especially if there is a concert in the local musical hall (one of the biggest in Belgium), it is not that much of a concern. I am used to having to park my car some what further. Most people that live there simply don't have a car or a garage somewhere else. At the end of the street, where the music hall is, there is a metro, which means public transport, about 10 minutes to the train. So while the car space might be an issue to some people, I doubt it would make it nearly impossible to sell.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post
    If the neighborhood is bad where the house is and you're concerned about resale, you may want to reconsider. If the house has been on the market a long time and/or seems under-valued, the neighborhood could be part of the reason and could hinder your attempts to sell the house later on. The housing market is flat here at the moment, and we are expecting to wait two years or longer to sell our current house, even though it has a great location, great views, and is a nice house. Houses just aren't selling fast. If you will need to turn it over quickly due to a job change or something, then buying a house which is currently hard to sell for the people who own it now might become a problem for you when it's your turn to sell it.
    As a big tax incentive desappeared in January, the market is as flat as it gets around here. But we are talking Belgium, where everyone is born with a brick in their stomach (an actual Flemish expression). If I would change jobs, the odds are pretty big it will still be in this region. Nearly all chemical activity is near Antwerp or at worst Ghent. Ghent is 30-45 min driving, so while it would suck, it wouldn't be impossible to do so if I had to.

    [QUOTE=Spirit Deer;4112107634]
    I think it's important for you to call an insurance company to talk about potential flooding in the neighborhood you're considering. Also, I think doubling your cost of the rental insurance you pay now is probably not going to be enough. Renters are insuring things like clothing, pots and pans, books, a TV or two, stuff that's not very expensive compared to an entire building. Home insurance covers the entire structure, and if they have to pay you to rebuild the whole thing, that's a very large cost, much higher than replacing your personal belongings would be. If you can call the insurance company where you have your renter's insurance and give them some info about the house, they should be able to help you estimate what the cost of the premiums might be to insure it. I just talked to our insurance company about this very thing. They wanted to know when the house was built, what type of foundation it has, if it's in a flood plane, how old the roof (shingles) is, what type of heating it had, if the wood furnace it has was owner-built or factory-built, what kind of siding it has, those kinds of things. Even if you can't answer all of their questions, they should still be able to give you some idea. If the house has a history of flooding in the neighborhood, I can promise you the premiums are going to be higher. Our premiums for that house will run us almost $1,000/year US or about $800/year if we move the insurance for our cars, boats, and camper over to that same company. There is also a small discount included in that price because we already have a home insured with them. Don't know if that helps you or not because premiums are based on the replacement costs of our homes here and what the likely hazards are, so there are a lot of variables. That's why it's best to talk to an insurer in your area because they will know where the likely losses might come from in your city.
    v

    The insurance I currently have sounds like it is more than renter's insurance in the USA. I am responsible for insuring the change that the building burns down by my fault by accident. So it is not just my stuff, but also the part of the building, plus if I am not mistaking, damage to the other units. The insurance also covers the personal liability for random stuff (a flower pot falling onto someones head) and burglary though, so maybe it is going to be a bit more. If I manage to get a look inside and I like it, I will call the bank, as I need to have my policy there to get the comfort interest rate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post
    Here's a pic of the kitchen in the house we're in the process of buying. It was custom built by the original and only owner of the house, who was a craftsman. It's very dated from the 1950's. I happen to like it, but it's not perfect and we may decide to remodel after our lake home is sold and we have more money. But I feel like you do, even if it's not perfect, it's something we can live with until we can afford to do something different. Paint is fairly cheap and can work wonders for updating and brightening up old woodwork, and it's a good DIY (do it yourself) project. We're planning to paint at least the doors and drawers in this kitchen and possibly the face frames if we don't like leaving the face frames a different color. It'll take some time, but won't be costly.
    Nice kitchen SD. I was planning on just painting them when I saw the pictures, so unless something horrible turns out, that is what I will do. Sadly it is not just woodwork as far as I can see, it might even be MDF plates. The kitchen of the appartment I currently live in consists of MDF plates, and I am not a fan. However, I am not going to make a fuzz about it, the kitchen is not the reason I want to move, MDF or not, it still is a highlight of the appartment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post
    I don't know how adventurous you are, but there are many, many repairs and updates that can be done by a homeowner, even a novice. If something is broken and not dangerous to attempt to repair yourself, then try it. If you succeed you've saved money and gained valuable experience, and if you fail you've lost nothing much since whatever it is wasn't working anyway. I personally think YouTube is one of the greatest inventions on the face of the Earth, because you can find info there on how to do or fix almost anything, with videos showing you exactly how to do it.

    I've recently joined Pinterest as well because of the wealth of ideas there for cheap DIY decorating, updating, and creative tips for all kinds of things home-related. Pinterest is the reason I was so ecstatic to find an antique oak organ in the basement of the house we're buying, which I plan to turn into an entertainment center. We will most likely have to hire movers to drag that monster up out of the basement and into the living room, but it'll be worth it to have a unique, cool entertainment center and not have to buy something at a retail store that looks like what's in everyone else's house. Boring!

    It's good if you have someone to borrow tools from. Nothing wrong with that. I think that's pretty common among family members pretty much everywhere.

    If you're not afraid to tackle learning new skills, that's a huge plus when it comes to owning a home, whether it's decorating, repairs, or renovating. If you have friends who do their own home repairs, volunteer to help them and tell them you're interested in learning all you can about home ownership and home repair. That gets you two things, an up-close look at what it takes to keep a home up and running, and a start on a good solid education on how to DIY a variety of things. If you don't sew, learn how so you can make your own curtains and do repairs to upholstery (or reupholster used furniture), or repair your clothes which saves you money to help pay for the house. I learned a lot of what I know about construction from watching tradesmen we've hired over the years and annoying them with lots of questions. That informal education has saved us untold thousands of dollars. I love that kind of stuff though, and I realize it's not for everyone. But the biggest thing I can say about it is don't fall into the trap of believing you can't do a project involving tools just because you're female. You can, if you want to. You just have to learn how.
    I will certainly try my best in reading more skills. One of my friends is female, only a bit taller than me, but she doesn't just do repairs, more house construction. It is more than I am willing to consider, but certainly a point for advice. When she gets the house livable that is.

    I have actually learned to sew in school, we were the year merging the boys and the girls, so they tried to learn everyone to do some basic sewing. You can imagine how that ended... . I have sewn the curtain that seperates the living room from the bedroom inhere, so I could probably also learn how to do the rings to make one for the windows. And I don't need new clothes right now, I can repair them and clothes just aren't important for my job.

    I haven't done upholstery yet, but I can scratch the paint of wooden furniture and repaint it, I did this with 2 chairs as a teen . I also can make pillows, so if I would like to try it I could probably do it.

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