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    Extra SCI costs of housing

    I'm turning 40 next year and have been renting for the past 20 years. I'm a T8ish complete para who lives alone. I'm thinking about buying a house, though the housing market seems absolutely insane right now.

    Anyway I'm running the numbers to see if it is even worth it to me. It's relatively easy for me to figure out the cost of the mortgage and routine maintenance, etc, etc, that everyone has to deal with. Some of those costs are unpredictable, but it's easy to at least get a general idea.

    One of the biggest reasons for me not wanting to move out of my apartment is not being able to do routine maintenance myself or even really to investigate any minor problems.

    Right now in my apartment I have two dead light bulbs (out of three total) in my bathroom because they burned out and I can't replace them. I want to hang curtains to block out the light in my bedroom since I often work nights, but I have no way of doing this myself. A couple months ago the knob on my dryer popped off, all I had to do was call maintenance and they came by and fixed this. I couldn't get close enough or high enough to see how to replace it, had I not been renting I guess I would have had to pay a handyman a couple hundred bucks to come out and fix this with a little super glue, or just deal with it... which is probably more realistically what I would have done. If I buy a house it's highly unlikely I'd be able to do loads of minor maintenance that 99% of AB home owners are able to handle themselves. Chief among them is lawn maintenance, I could probably buy a riding lawnmower and do it myself, but for how long could I make that crazy transfer? Probably worth paying a couple hundred bucks a month for someone else to do it. Friends could pitch in for some things, but none of us are getting any younger and in twenty years I can't ask my then elderly friends to climb up a ladder and clean my gutters or check and see where a roof leak is coming from in the attic.

    I know many of you own homes. How much does it cost you, or how much would you expect it to cost if you have someone else doing things, to hire someone to come out to handle every minor household maintenance issue that arises? I'm guessing at least a couple thousand dollars a year, but I might be drastically underestimating.

    #2
    I can't say for 100% certain, since we spawned our own slave labor force, and they do most of the chores. But, when they were little spawns, we paid a lawn service $65 a month for a trim and edging on a 1/4 acre lot. Friend of mine owns a landscaping company and these days he charges $100 a month for service twice a month during peak growth seasons, and once a month otherwise, on a yearly contract, for a typical sized lot around here. (1/8-1/4 acre. Lots are small near the ocean here.) He does charge "wealthy" people more when he can get away with it. Nice house = +20% "because you can afford it" fee, he says.

    I just paid a plumber $265 to do a bunch of shit I would have done myself, after our recent kitchen and laundry room renovation. Reinstalling stuff mostly (couple appliances; new garbage disposal, water heater, dishwasher, fridge water, etc.) That kinda sucked.

    My Aunt, a realtor, says to budget $1 per square foot in annual maintenance and upkeep costs on a home. Some years will be more, others less, for sure. But saving that money for when something big goes, like HVAC, is still smart.

    Some of this maintenance you could do, but not all, so I'd say maybe $1.25 per square foot to cover the additional labor costs might be a reasonable amount to toss around.

    (I know I don't spend that much, consistently, every year, but one year was an $18,000 HVAC system...so...it prolly averages out to close to the $1 figure.)

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

    "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

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    • Oddity
      Oddity commented
      Editing a comment
      And with home equity rising the way it has been, and rates as low as they are, you could probably use a HELOC for maintenance and still be coming out ahead, big picture. I wouldn't NOT buy a house because of maintenance $.

    #3
    dang oddity i laughed in a good way about ur spawn too funny. i live in florida my house is 1550 sq . my house in ga was 2800 my maintence cost were not bad i found a good contractor and used them on hvac i had seviced yearly il got a instant hot water heater cost saving. yard work here is about 40.00 every 2 weeks in growing and maybe 1 a month in cold my lot is maybe 100x80 i am o the coast literally the ocean is my back yard. i think cost will also vary where you live. i am a quad and it still after 21 years irks me that i have to depend on others. but i would hold off buying for a few months as market is cooling off

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      #4
      Housing prices are so crazy right now I feel like they have to come down at some point. Possibly (probably) when interest rates are going up. I’m in no hurry to buy a house, just planning for the long term and going over my financial situation and budget for the new year.

      My job has a noncompete, so while it’s pretty unlikely, any day they feel like it they could fire me and prevent me from working in my city for 12 months. I don’t want to move, but I also wouldn’t be guaranteed to find a job in my city if I lose this one so I figure in addition to whatever closing costs I need to have an emergency fund of at least a years worth of expenses before I think about buying. I might be able to start looking in 6-12 months.

      Renting an apartment is just so hassle free. All I do is pay rent and if something goes wrong I call one number. I’m not looking forward to worrying about my packages getting stolen from the porch or finding a plumber/electrician/roofer/HVAC guy/lawn guy etc.

      But rents are going to increase ever upward so I guess the sooner I lock in a fixed price on a mortgage the sooner I get to that break even point. Even if a mortgage is 150% of my rent.

      What did you guys do while actually doing the house hunting? How did you get inside if there was a step or three? I guess I’m going to have to buy a portable ramp and get a real estate agent buff enough to lug it around for me?

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        #5
        me i owned my home when i got hurt so we had to modify and put in a ramp. actually walker concrete came out and did a concrete 1 to walk way the second my son carried me in the we had to build a ramp 3rd house wow had a roll in shower handicap vet had owned it now this house lol 17500.00 later outdoor elevator i am 20 feet in air costal living and only had to modify shower

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          #6
          I was already in my current house when I got hurt. Had to put in a ramp, roll in shower, chair glide for basement steps, widen doorways and pave driveway. - about $20,000 if I remember correctly. The land is 1/4 acre, and use a mini-jazzy power chair with a pushmower to cut the grass. I do the weedwhacking with a battery-powered Black&Decker weedwhacker - a lot lighter.
          The trailer we bought in the country for our retirement needs all of the handicap upgrades , except the chair-glide.
          The land in the country is 32 acres - roughly 10 of it cleared. I bought a zero-turn to mow 2-3 acres around the house. I contract out the remaining cleared land to a farmer that bushogs it twice during the growing season.
          Maintenance at the current home is done with combination of sons and contractors, depending on the job. Roof and HVAC are contractors - electrical, plumbing, and small appliance is me + sons.
          Down in the country it will be contractors mostly. Labor is somewhat cheaper, but the contractor service can be unreliable at times.

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            #7
            Originally posted by graybeard View Post
            I was already in my current house when I got hurt. Had to put in a ramp, roll in shower, chair glide for basement steps, widen doorways and pave driveway. - about $20,000 if I remember correctly. The land is 1/4 acre, and use a mini-jazzy power chair with a pushmower to cut the grass. I do the weedwhacking with a battery-powered Black&Decker weedwhacker - a lot lighter.
            The trailer we bought in the country for our retirement needs all of the handicap upgrades , except the chair-glide.
            The land in the country is 32 acres - roughly 10 of it cleared. I bought a zero-turn to mow 2-3 acres around the house. I contract out the remaining cleared land to a farmer that bushogs it twice during the growing season.
            Maintenance at the current home is done with combination of sons and contractors, depending on the job. Roof and HVAC are contractors - electrical, plumbing, and small appliance is me + sons.
            Down in the country it will be contractors mostly. Labor is somewhat cheaper, but the contractor service can be unreliable at times.
            This is encouraging to me I guess I could do some of this stuff, but the neighborhood's I'm looking at are pretty close in to the city. If I got an 8,000 square foot lot (with 1500 square feet of that taken up by the house, not counting the driveway), I'd consider myself to be lucky to have such a large yard for the neighborhood. I'd feel kind of silly buying, storing and maintaining a riding lawn mower (or some sort of a power chair to push a manual lawn mower) to manage such a small piece of land. Though I'd probably feel equally silly paying someone 100 a month to come out and mow 1000 square feet of grass.

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              #8
              You could "mower-proof" your yard and get one of those robots mowers. Small yards cry out for this kind of treatment.
              69yo male T12 complete since 1995
              NW NJ

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                #9
                Originally posted by pfcs49 View Post
                You could "mower-proof" your yard and get one of those robots mowers. Small yards cry out for this kind of treatment.
                I didn't even know such a thing existed. Sounds ideal.

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                  #10
                  Google is your friend!
                  https://www.google.com/search?q=self...t=safari&hl=en
                  69yo male T12 complete since 1995
                  NW NJ

                  Comment


                    #11
                    In your shoes funklab, I would be cautious. You are accustomed to being able to rely on maintenance people who are always on call. This is not easy to find in our area at this time. Especially since the pandemic when a lot of people are moving around and changing professions.

                    I have taken care of my own buildings for 40 years and I’m pretty sick of it. It is particularly frustrating when I cannot do something simple that I would have done before being injured. Much like your appliance knob, I think can be very simple but if I am in a new neighborhood and do not know people well enough to impose, which takes years, I must call someone. The last time I needed a plumber for something quite simple I had to wait three weeks before he could come out even though I am a regular customer.

                    One thing you can do when investigating neighborhoods it’s knock on a few doors and ask people how easy is it to find repair people.
                    Before we moved here, which is Southern California, I was done with owning and wanted to rent but my partner was against that feeling that one loses money renting. Well the last home we owned for only 4 years and sank at least $25k into adaptations, then sold for exactly what we had paid. My partner never even ran the math.

                    this home has needed $45k worth of new equipment, landscaping, HVAC, and a no barrier shower. I felt I could not avoid all that because my partner has a lot of stuff and if we rented he would need a warehouse 🤣.

                    much depends on your age, your health, and your sense of adventure. I can see where the problem of job security as another worry to your equation.

                    And I do agree that prices will change. They always do. On the other hand, real estate is local so it depends on where you are. If I Lived In Colorado Springs with its healthy tech and military based economy I would not count on prices drifting down much.

                    take your time. Last thing, when I came out here searching for a home, everything here is pretty flat. At most there is one small step into a home unless it is in the hills. Consequently, my real estate agent, who was in his early 60s, could back my manual chair over any step and get me in. I actually did not see the inside of the home that I bought because it was rented at the time was a do not disturb clause. I looked at many photographs and decided. I could look at the outside. This was a risk but it worked out.

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