Once Retired. Rent or Own?
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    Default Once Retired. Rent or Own?

    Hello everyone. I have not been on this site in a bit.

    As I wait for my house to close escrow, almost two weeks late now, I'm wondering what to do in the future.

    I'll have the money to buy again if I want. Right now I love renting and I know I'll love it more once the load of that house is off my shoulders.

    The house was a bit of a money pit. I got tired of putting money into a house in 7 years I never enjoyed. I'm almost afraid to buy again.

    A friend said if I don't buy I could be priced out of the renting market in the future. I've looked at mobiles in 55+ parks online. Many look nice but then you have space rent plus all the upkeep including the roof on a home. Condos cost more.

    I'm almost 49. I'm researching senior housing. Much of them are for lower income.

    I'll have to decide to save like crazy or spend down all my assets to qualify for low income housing at 62. One new senior complex I called looks at income and assets. As an RN I have seen those with nothing get it all for free. It could be that slaving and saving may not be the smartest thing.

    That particular senior complex takes pets but their policy online stated only one pet per unit. This very nice apartment complex I'm living in now says officially the same thing but I have seen multiple people with two dogs. Even two bigger dogs.

    I want two cats so that is a consideration for me. Any thoughts? Thanks.

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    Registered User redeme's Avatar
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    My condo is going up for sale this month. I'm not ready to buy anything right now. There's no way to know what will happen in the housing market, but I do know, I don't want to have to live in another condo again. I've found you're stuck with your neighbors when they don't want to pay their dues (ours cover water, insurance, etc). So, I'm planning to rent for awhile and get some relief from the stress of being here. Keeping the budget here is a lot of extra work, I'm ready for a change.

    I think once I'm moved out of here and things settle, it will be easier to look at moving forward.

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    It's hard to say - I think the best way is to add up all the costs associated with home ownership - then compare it to rent. Interest money used from the sale of your house could be used to make rent payments. I, personally wold never live in a rental community - too transient. However I would rent in a condo community.

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    There are several factors to consider in your complex question. Some have already been addressed, but another is your state of health. If your health is poor, then it will be difficult for you to keep up with the work associated with ownership.

    We are retired and for many reasons, we choose to own. We hope to live in our own home for another 20 years or so. When we are in our 80s, then a condo situation could look attractive.
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    Thanks so much for your replies everyone! It is rather complex I know.

    My health is gratefully good. I do need to lose weight though.

    redeme, your story sounds so similar to mine. And much good luck on selling and closing your house quickly. I hope it goes well for you. I too found home ownership very stressful. I'm not handy at all. It seemed as though something always need to be fixed an it was just dollars and more dollars.

    With a condo you are stuck with the homeowners. Plus if you get an undesirable neighbor or the complex changes for the worse, it's not like you can just give notice and move.

    I agree that waiting and giving ones self time to think after you are free of ownership is a good thing. If you have pets, I hope you don't have a problem finding a nice place. Where I live there are more places taking pets than when I moved to this area 15 years ago. That's a good thing! My house is supposed to close tomorrow. 3/13.

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    redeme, I'm wondering also, if you don't think it's too intrusive to ask, how you felt about your condo when you bought it. Were you happy to buy it at the time? It sounds like you do have some undesirable neighbors.

    I'm asking because I knew I didn't want that house the day I signed for it. But it was 2001 and it seemed like everything was going up and and being sold so fast. I felt stuck. I had almost bought a townhouse in 99 but didn't. I could have paid it off in full by now. Of coarse I'll never know if I would have loved it there or not.
    Last edited by Teresa T; 03-12-2009 at 05:21 PM.

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    Registered User redeme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teresa T View Post
    redeme, I'm wondering also, if you don't think it's too intrusive to ask, how you felt about your condo when you bought it. Were you happy to buy it at the time? It sounds like you do have some undesirable neighbors.

    I'm asking because I knew I didn't want that house the day I signed for it. But it was 2001 and it seemed like everything was going up and and being sold so fast. I felt stuck. I had almost bought a townhouse in 99 but didn't. I could have paid it off in full by now. Of coarse I'll never know if I would have loved it there or not.
    I do and did have some undesirable neighbors, there are only 4 units in our HOA, so you'd think it wouldn't be such a deal.

    One unit got caught up early in the sub-prime mess. They were a family with 3 little kids, didn't pay dues for over 18 months. The HOA is out over 12 months worth of dues for them, unless we can some how collect. The bank foreclosed and is only required to pay 6 months of back dues. They've moved to Nevada and I doubt we would ever be able to recover the dues.

    Currently another unit that was upset everyday about the unit that went to foreclosure, (didn't want to let them use the water, the common outside area's, etc) is now about 6 months behind and has been for quite awhile. They also, wants to fine everyone for all kinds of things (if someone smokes outside your unit he wanted to fine you, etc). They are non-communicative with the HOA, currently. They want the HOA to be responsible for things in their unit that are not our to take care and seems to want to blame anyone else for their stuff. They chose to paint the deck a different color (brown to white) with out HOA approval and has been asked to return it to match, but is not willing, so far. These are just a few of the things, truly it's a lengthy list and I think it will continue to grow.

    I like to enjoy my home and not feel like the people next door are planning how they can get one over on the group.

    Both units had different owners when I moved in and the issues we have now were not issues then. Here, we have no say if someone can move in or not. It's hard, we've had over two years with only 3 units consistently paying and have had to raise the due to cover it.

    I think laws vary from state to state, so it might be worth looking into.

    I had a house prior to this, I liked it and don't mind being a home owner, just need a break for a while. The move to here was to have my daughter go to a much better high school. I've considered the decision more than once, if it was the best choice. Financially, probably not; Education for her, probably so. She will be off to university (she's in her second year of running start) and well on her way to a degree and I don't know that would happen otherwise. I don't have college funds for the kids, but this is close to 2 years paid.

    This is probably way more than you wanted to know...lol

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    Registered User Thevail's Avatar
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    My 2 cents...

    Hubby and I bought a house, and we plan to stay there as long as possible.

    But my parents are coming to the.."You've got to be kidding..the roof! again!" stage of their lives now.

    My mom's an accountant and her solution was to find a way to be absolutely sure that your "money" isn't being beaten up by inflation.

    If you sell a house/condo which you already own then you have enough for another equivalent home on the market.
    But..if that money just sits around, then inflation, on average, "eats" 3% of it each year.

    At 3% per year that money is worth 30% less in ten years from now.

    So..if you decide to "wait a while" to buy or make a decision, just make sure that your money is growing by at least the same amount that inflation is eating it at.

    Then in 10 years you'll have 30% more money and if you want to buy you won't be "priced out" of the market.

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    redeme, no you didn't go on too long. That was interesting and it really explains what has happened to your complex and I think what happens to some as well. It's one reason I may be afraid to buy into a condo complex. I really do wish you the best on selling. The money from those foreclosed people is lost. I'm sure of it.

    Thevail, thank you also. That's something to think about. Right now I'm not so sure I'd be better off qualifying for senior rental housing when I turn 62, start drawing social security and living on that fixed income. I can't afford another money pit at this stage. I have a lot to think about.

    I try to discuss this with my mother but she doesn't seem to get it. My step father gets a nice pension from the county. They live simply but without money worries.

    My house did indeed close on 3/13 and that is a very, very good thing!

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    I talked to my mom about it today...she says save your money safely anyway, and then when you need to "qualify" buy the furniture, car, and dream vacation you've always wanted.

    Then you'll have really nice stuff to be going on with while you live on a "fixed" income.

    She says another great trick is to buy giftcards for yourself just before you do the qualifying paperwork. That way you'll have the means to finish getting the stuff you'll need for your new place, while still qualifying.

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    Registered User redeme's Avatar
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    Smile Way to go...

    Quote Originally Posted by Teresa T View Post
    My house did indeed close on 3/13 and that is a very, very good thing!
    Congratulations!

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    Thanks to you both. I've got a lot of time to think about it. I think it will take time. I still wake up in my apartment and think "Am I really here? Not at that house anymore"

    There are some really nice senior only, lower income, apartments in this town. One recently built. Not sure how availability would be when I hit 62. Maybe a waiting list. But still, I'm not 100% sure what I'll do.

    Thanks again.

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    Registered User dcompton's Avatar
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    I am a renter to the bone. I have never wanted to own a house - it would feel like an albatross hanging around my neck. In my case, with no family, there is also the issue of who would deal with it at my inevitable death? It doesn't seem like a nice thing to wish on a friend - who will probably also be old.

    I have no idea what the future will bring. What housing will be like, what rents will be like, what the economy will be like, how much money I will have, how good or bad my health will be. So I will continue to rent, and whatever happens, happens. At the worst, I'll be a bag lady. At least I live in the South where it's pretty warm!

    Please don't think I'm not taking your question seriously - these are issues we all have to deal with. But this is the conclusion I have come to for myself. One of the most important reasons is that when I am old(er), I certainly don't want to be responsible for the upkeep of a house.

    One other thought - to me it seems a condo would be the worst choice - at least for me, for the very reason someone else mentioned. Neighors. In an apartment, if they turn out to be obnoxious, and the the management doesn't move them on, at least it's easy for me to move. But then, I seem to have missed out on the "rootedness" gene, so it's never made much difference to me where I live, and it doesn't bother me to move around. I'm sure that is a big part of being content looking at a future of renting.

    Not an answer to your question, really, just a different point of view.

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    Thanks dcompton, I think your post made a lot of sense. That house to me was a terrible ball and chain. I don't think I realized how unhappy I was there until now; Now that I'm out of there.

    The only thing that may get me to buy a condo would be a pet situation. I don't want some place telling me I can only have one cat. If they are subsidized low income, they may really enforce it. Something I would have to check into. A condo I agree has drawbacks for reasons mentioned here.

    I have moved so many times in my life and have never really felt settled. Even over 7 years in that house. Not 100% sure why. I'm grateful to be in this apartment, although not frugally cheap, I feel safe and secure here. I also like the freedom of not having to shell out the extra money to fix anything if it breaks. That house ate a lot of my money. I'm asking myself now why I stayed in a house I never liked and kept pouring money into it as everything seemed to break down.

    Thanks again.

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    I am personally a big fan of the senior housing projects. Most are for low to moderate income ranges and the range can be quite different than most expect. Not only that, but a lot of the housing projects are run and financed by different government agencies and so they "qualify" the tenants differently. Not to mention that with each different agency, there are different types of assistance for the rent and in most cases, if you quailfy to live there, then you can qualify for the assistance. The problem is that there is only so much assistance that they offer and usually the people who have been there the longest are the ones that have the good assistance. That is to not say that the rent is levelized and usually very fair. Most of these senior housing projects are pretty well taken care of too and that, once again is because of the government lenders and agencies that support these projects keep tabs on them. Most of the agencies will do serious inspections at least once per year and so if there are problems the "owners" must comply and fix them or they could lose their backing from the government lenders or agencies, not to mention the rent subsidies.

    The other thing about the senior housing is that most of the people in them are SENIORS and that usually means quite and more like minded people, and you are less likely to get tons of kids moved in next to you and such. In senior housing, they cannot deny you a pet, but they almost always only allow you one.

    One other thing, a lot of the "good" senior housing projects have waiting list and can sometimes take a year or so to get into, so if you are checking some of these living arrangements out, be sure to ask about waiting list and the best times to move in.

    Depending on the type of lender/agency that is working with the senior housing project will determine how much rent you pay too. Some projects charge a set fee for rent, no matter who it is, all you have to do is meet the income guidelines to quailfy to move in...and once you quality, and are in you can stay in, even if your income goes up. Other projects use more of a sliding scale to determine the amount of rent you pay, it can be a straight 1/3 of your total monthly income or even more. The nice thing about this is that you can take dedutions from your gross income to lower that and dedutions can be ANY medical costs, insurance, and other things that I no longer remember, but the mored deductions you take, the lower the rent can be.

    These places usually also have a no tolerance policy with drugs and such, any violations is immediate eviction...which is nice too. The paper work is long and intrusive, and will need to be redone each year, including all your income checks, and assets verifications.

    Once again, I still feel that the senior housing is a great thing and I would recommend them. The age guidlines can be different for them depending on the senior complex...some are 55, some are 60 and then some are even different than that. One other thing...most senior house is for seniors, disabled and handicapped, no matter what the age of the disabled or handicapped. This is also something to consider when thinking about who is living next to you, because disabled and handicapped persons are often young and do have kids, so asking these questions is important too.

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