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  1. #1
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    condo - worth the trouble?

    I'm really tired of paying rent.

    Looking at our income, credit, available funds, and the ridiculous housing market in this town a condo seems like an attractive option from a price standpoint, but from an investment standpoint it seems kind of pointless, considering this is not Paris or New York. Planning on doing the family thing soon, so most places are only going to be suitable for a few years anyway.

    Aside from building up our credit is there any reason to bother?

  2. #2
    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    It's a good stepping stone. Even condos generally go up in value, and likely in 4 or 6 years when you're ready to go to a single family home, there will be people out there just like you are now. That increase in value is better than paying rent.
    Tom

    "It hurts so good..."

  3. #3
    Administrator Allen's Avatar
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    Given the market, look at houses.

  4. #4
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    you may also find that you greatly enjoy not painting exteriors, not shoveling snow, not mowing lawns, not cleaning exterior windows, and not scooping rotted leaves from gutters.
    living in a condominium might be perfect for you for many years.

  5. #5
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    You're generally better off with a condo as opposed to not buying at all. The worse that happend is condo's hold their value. The best is you may have some price increase. On the plus side, interest is tax deductable so assume 1/3 of what you are paying reduces your federal and state taxes and is refundable. If you live in the condo a few years, you'll also pay down the principle some, and make some gains there.

    If you're young with expected income increasing considerably over the years, a condo is usually a graet investment to keep for rental income.

    Surte, this all is a little risky but people that make money do it assuming risks.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  6. #6
    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
    The best is you may have some price increase. On the plus side, interest is tax deductable so assume 1/3 of what you are paying reduces your federal and state taxes and is refundable.
    Careful here. The interest is deductable, but that doesn't mean it's refundable. If you pay say $8000 in interest, that comes off the top line, not the bottom line. The refund benefit is equal to what you would pay in taxes on the $8000, not the $8000 itself.
    Tom

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  7. #7
    King of the Plukers Spreggy's Avatar
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    I can't imagine a better time to be someone looking at houses without having to sell one too. You should be able to buy a house that will get you well into the family years.
    “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
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  8. #8
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
    The worse that happend is condo's hold their value.
    No.. the worst that can happen is that a 2 ton meteor slams into the building at 4000 m/s while you're at work, demolishes it, and you're not insured for destruction by meteor.

    Also, if the value drops and you still have to pay off the interest, you lose.

  9. #9
    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    Svloid is right. It's a negative feedback in the current housing downturn. When home values started falling, some people ended up holding debts that were greater than the value of the house. Even after the lender foreclosed, they still didn't get all their money back, certainly not with the profit they were counting on, and especially not after you factor in the cost of finding a new buyer for the house.

    However, there's indications that the downturn is slowing, so we might be getting into a good time to buy.

    And if you're paying as much in rent as you would on a mortgage, you should definitely look into it.

    BTW, usually you don't buy a house to build credit. You build credit to buy a house.
    "The internet is a place where absolutely nothing happens. You need to take advantage of that." ~ Strong Bad

  10. #10
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    Condo pros:

    Someone else takes care of the painting, lawn work, etc... just like stated above.
    You own your own place, which is an asset, and can be an investment.

    Condo cons:

    You are at the mercy of the condo association which can fine or perhaps boot you out for any stupid thing. Check the contract out carefully.
    You have to pay for what other people want. The neighbors vote for a fancy swimming pool addition? Your condo association fee goes up by hundreds of a month, and nothing you can do about it. If the condo fee doesn't get paid, the association can foreclose.
    If hail hits the roof and it has to be replaced, everyone in the condo has to pay a chunk, which could be unexpected thousands of dollars out of nowhere.
    Insurance companies are random, and depending on insurer whims could demand hundreds one month without warning.
    Some condos are converted apartments... which means crap for wiring and plumbing, and no way to pay cash to fix that because you can't just add another circuit, or replace the Orangeburg pipe (which is tar paper) with PVC pipe.

    Conclusion:

    Use a condo as a stepping stone until you find a real house, or use the condo as a place in town, and have your real digs out in the country, so you have somewhere to sleep in town without having to commute out during rush hour. In all cases, try to keep a slush fund going of several thousand just in case.

  11. #11
    Who has a good sense of humor for going along with my little April Fool Gag (The Admin) Mr. Markets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marqueemoon View Post
    I'm really tired of paying rent.

    Looking at our income, credit, available funds, and the ridiculous housing market in this town a condo seems like an attractive option from a price standpoint, but from an investment standpoint it seems kind of pointless, considering this is not Paris or New York. Planning on doing the family thing soon, so most places are only going to be suitable for a few years anyway.

    Aside from building up our credit is there any reason to bother?
    I don't know your city, but as a student of economics and housing (I read more in a week than
    most people do in months), I can tell you time is on your side. I can also tell you we are headed
    into a good recession that will last a total of at least 4 quarters. Furthermore, I personally believe
    that interest rates in the US will be forced up sometime in the next 3-8 years beyond what we have
    experienced in more recent time.

    So what's this all mean? Tapped out consumers are going to be losing more houses, and the
    decline in housing should get to where the avge house runs close to 20x rent (historical avge)
    unless you are in, say, Malibu ot NYC or similar. At tha point, you can feel 'safe' to buy in, even
    if prices continue to decline somewhat as they will eventually rebound to this 20x area.

    The other side of this coin is that if rates increase dramatically, housing prices will again have to
    fall or remain stagnant for most to be able to afford into them. This is the downside to owning.

    Finally, the US is facing the "perfect financial storm" in the future. We have borrowed and spent
    ourselves into humongous debt, are dependent on countries that do not like us for energy, and
    have a boomer population heading into retirement, counpled with a nation that has not saved. Couple
    all these together and you have consumers who will be forced to spend less and scale down over time.
    In addition, any energy shock has the potential to really impact all asset classes.

    If you have no 'love' or emotional 'need' to own a house, don't bother. Renting can be far cheaper
    in many cases, and saving your money in foreign stocks could well prove to render a mcuh bigger return
    int he long run.


    PS. For those who think housing will 'rebound' or 'bounce' off th bottom, they are sadly mistaken.
    This will not be the cae. And the bottom will not come before the end of 2009 earliest.
    "There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." -Ludwig Von Mises


  12. #12
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    What might mitigate the collapse of the US housing market is one thing -- foreign buyers. It seems that "equity groups" which are owned by offshore investors are becoming increasing more common.

  13. #13
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    I can't believe no one else brought up this about Condos.

    Pro's: You're protected and it comes in a variety of textures.
    Cons: It numbs the feeling slightly.

  14. #14
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatA** View Post
    If you have no 'love' or emotional 'need' to own a house, don't bother.
    Interesting perspectives, especially this part.

    I have to admit it is partially a matter of pride, but neither of us are completely happy and secure with our jobs, and in the current climate are not really expecting our incomes to increase anytime soon.

  15. #15
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Owning provides a tax advantage in the US. After all renters subsidize home owners...

    Condos, or homes in communities with homeowners associations and the fees related to them seem too be money pits in my opinion, but not as much as rent...

    A friend of mine has a condo, which is paid off, but she pays as much in association fees, property tax and monthly upkeep for within the walls as she would for a slightly smaller apartment, but she owns it... THere is a pride of ownership.

    Ownership allows for more flexibility of what to do with the property (internally only for a condo, internally and externally for a house) but renting provides for more flexibility in moving (30 days notice and you are gone to your next adventure).

    If you want to own a home, a condo is a good first step... or even a long term investment. As with any investment, there is no guarantee, but as with any real estate, if you do it right, there is a good chance of a beneficial return on your investment.
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  16. #16
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    I would wait, marquee. I think the market in the PNW isn't through being volitaile. Give yourself a chance to recover from your period of unemployment, save a nice, fat down payment, and then see how you feel about it.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by slvoid View Post
    No.. the worst that can happen is that a 2 ton meteor slams into the building at 4000 m/s while you're at work, demolishes it, and you're not insured for destruction by meteor.

    Also, if the value drops and you still have to pay off the interest, you lose.
    Or if, the crisis du jour in the paper, so many people in the building get foreclosed on that your maintenance fees have to get increased.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by marqueemoon View Post
    Interesting perspectives, especially this part.

    I have to admit it is partially a matter of pride, but neither of us are completely happy and secure with our jobs, and in the current climate are not really expecting our incomes to increase anytime soon.

    Totally sit on cash then.

  19. #19
    Senior Member JMT114's Avatar
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    If you do decide to buy a condo or house, I would definitely recommend looking into a first time home buyers program.

    My wife and I used one when we bought our house. All of the closing costs/inspections were paid and they set up an interest free loan to do needed repairs/upgrades to the house.
    My name's Jim, but most people call me...Jim

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatA** View Post
    So what's this all mean? Tapped out consumers are going to be losing more houses, and the decline in housing should get to where the avge house runs close to 20x rent (historical avge) unless you are in, say, Malibu ot NYC or similar. At tha point, you can feel 'safe' to buy in, even
    if prices continue to decline somewhat as they will eventually rebound to this 20x area.
    That 20x rent number puts 750 square feet, 1 bath and 2 bedrooms at $180k here in Madison. This strikes me as somewhat high compared to the property I'm seeing go on the market. If the location is genuinely good (within walking distance of groceries and medical services), the price will go up to *near* what you're suggesting is reasonable.

    This suggests to me that the 20x value is an approximation, and you should make your call based on what is normal in your city. If you're not sure what normal is, start building up a baseline.

  21. #21
    Who has a good sense of humor for going along with my little April Fool Gag (The Admin) Mr. Markets's Avatar
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    I would agree with you. Again, I am only using larger broad strokes, and of coures markets are local.

    BTW, as to my comment on interest rates further affecting housing prices, this link would be a good
    read.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/news/stor...&dist=printTop

    Keep in mind that in the 'monthlly payment' society of the US, if the monthly payment has to go up,
    the price has to go down to be affordable again.
    "There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." -Ludwig Von Mises


  22. #22
    Who has a good sense of humor for going along with my little April Fool Gag (The Admin) Mr. Markets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlts22 View Post
    What might mitigate the collapse of the US housing market is one thing -- foreign buyers. It seems that "equity groups" which are owned by offshore investors are becoming increasing more common.
    They have lots of places to choose from...

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...57C0A96E9C8B63

    April 14, 2008
    Housing Woes In U.S. Spread Around Globe
    By MARK LANDLER; REPORTING WAS CONTRIBUTED BY VICTORIA BURNETT IN MADRID, EAMON QUINN IN DUBLIN, HEATHER TIMMONS IN NEW DELHI AND JULIA WERDIGIER IN LONDON.

    The collapse of the housing bubble in the United States is mutating into a global phenomenon, with real estate prices swooning from the Irish countryside and the Spanish coast to Baltic seaports and even parts of northern India.

    This synchronized global slowdown, which has become increasingly stark in recent months, is hobbling economic growth worldwide, affecting not just homes but jobs as well.

    In Ireland, Spain, Britain and elsewhere, housing markets that soared over the last decade are falling back to earth. Property analysts predict that some countries, like this one, will face an even more wrenching adjustment than that of the United States, including the possibility that the downturn could become a wholesale collapse.

    To some extent, the world's problems are a result of American contagion. As home financing and credit tightens in response to the crisis that began in the subprime mortgage market, analysts worry that other countries could suffer the mortgage defaults and foreclosures that have afflicted California, Florida and other states.

    Citing the reverberations of the American housing bust and credit squeeze, the International Monetary Fund last Wednesday cut its forecast for global economic growth this year and warned that the malaise could extend into 2009.

    ''The problems in the U.S. are being transmitted to Europe,'' said Michael Ball, professor of urban and property economics at the University of Reading in Britain, who studies housing prices. ''What's happening now is an awful lot more grief than we expected.''

    For countries like Ireland, where prices were even more inflated than in the United States, it has been a painful education, as homeowners learn the American vocabulary of misery.

    ''We know we're already in negative equity,'' said Emma Linnane, a 31-year-old university administrator.

    She bought a cozy, one-bedroom apartment in the Dublin suburbs with her fiancé, Paul Colgan, in May 2006, at the peak of the market. They paid $575,000 -- at least $100,000 more than it would fetch today. ''I sometimes get shivers thinking about it,'' Ms. Linnane said, ''but I'll let the reality hit me when I go to sell it.''

    That reality is spreading. Once-sizzling housing markets in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states are cooling rapidly, as nervous Western Europeans stop buying investment properties in Warsaw, Tallinn, Estonia and other real estate Klondikes.

    Further east, in India and southern China, prices are no longer surging. With stock markets down sharply after reaching heady levels, people do not have as much cash to buy property. Sales of apartments in Hong Kong, a normally hyperactive market, have slowed recently, with prices for mass-market flats starting to drop.

    In New Delhi and other parts of northern India, prices have fallen 20 percent over the last year. Sanjay Dutt, an executive director in the Mumbai office of Cushman & Wakefield, the real estate firm, describes it as an erosion of confidence.

    Much of the retrenchment seems to be following the basic law of gravity: what goes up must come down. With low interest rates helping to inflate housing bubbles in many countries, economists said the confluence of falling prices was predictable, if unsettling.

    This is not the first housing downturn to cross borders, but its reverberations have been amplified by the integration of financial markets. When faulty American mortgages end up on the books of European banks, the problems of the United States aggravate the world's problems.

    Consider Britain, which had one of Europe's most robust housing markets, with less of an oversupply than in Ireland or Spain. Then last summer came the subprime crisis across the Atlantic.

    Within two months, mortgage approvals dropped 31 percent, compared with the previous year. And by March, average housing prices had fallen 2.5 percent, the largest monthly decline since 1992.

    ''The boom in house prices was actually much bigger here than in the U.S.,'' said Kelvin Davidson, an economist at Capital Economics in London. ''If anything, people should be more worried than in the U.S.''

    Britain has one of the most developed home-financing industries, not far behind that of the United States. The amount of outstanding mortgage debt, as a share of total economic output, is higher there than in the United States, according to a study by the International Monetary Fund.

    ''The U.K. followed the U.S. into never-never land, pushing mortgages out the door, believing that prices would go up forever,'' said Allan Saunderson, the managing editor of Property Finance Europe, a newsletter for investors.

    Still, the problems in Britain pale next to those of Spain and Ireland. Residential investment accounts for 12 percent of the Irish economy and 9 percent of the Spanish economy, compared with 5 percent in Britain and 4 percent in the United States, according to the I.M.F.

    The glut of housing has brought new construction to a standstill, driving up unemployment and dimming the prospects for two of Europe's stellar performers over the last decade.

    ''We're waking up from the property dream and finding ourselves in a situation where prices are falling in Spain for the first time,'' said Fernando Encinar, a founder of Idealista.com, a real estate Web site.

    In Spain, more than four million homes were built in the last decade, more than in Germany, Britain and France combined. Average house prices tripled in parts of the country, as Spain's torrid economy attracted immigrants and Northern Europeans snapped up holiday homes along the Costa del Sol.

    Now, though, thousands of those houses stand empty. The I.M.F. estimates that property is overvalued by more than 15 percent. With mortgages drying up and prices swooning, speculators who once viewed Spanish property as a no-lose proposition are confronting hard reality.

    In 2005, Julian Felipe Fernandez bought three small apartments, as an investment, in a huge development being built outside Madrid. He paid 100,000 euros as a deposit for the units, and now he is eager to sell them to avoid having to taking on a costly mortgage. But with the market stalled, Mr. Fernandez's asking price is what he paid for them.

    ''Three years ago, it looked like I would be able to flip them for a nice profit before they were finished,'' he said. ''I just want to get them off my hands, to get rid of this headache.''

    If he unloads them, he will be lucky. Enric Bueno, head of marketing for Ibusa, a real estate company in Barcelona, said his firm was closing six or seven sales a month, compared with 40 a month a year ago.

    ''Things are really bad,'' Mr. Bueno said. ''If this goes on for five years, we won't make it.''

    Economists have been busy cutting their growth forecasts for Spain, with a few saying that it may stagnate this summer. BBVA, a leading Spanish bank, forecasts that unemployment will rise to an average of 11 percent this year, from 8.6 percent in 2007.

    Such cutbacks are well under way in Ireland, where the taxi drivers complain that their ranks are being swollen by laid-off home builders. The housing collapse has brought an abrupt end to more than a decade of pell-mell growth that earned Ireland the nickname ''the Celtic tiger.''

    Today, the mood in this country feels like a wake, and not an Irish one. Average house prices fell 7 percent last year, the most in Europe, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a British real estate group. They are likely to fall by a similar amount this year.

    After a 16-year boom that was interrupted only briefly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Ireland has the most overvalued housing market among developed countries, according to the I.M.F. In its recent economic outlook, the fund calculated that prices are 30 percent higher than they should be, given Ireland's economic fundamentals.

    For many Irish, accepting that reality is like passing through the seven stages of grief. Some homeowners are still in denial, brokers said, asking $5 million for houses worth no more than $4 million. But developers have begun cutting prices for smaller apartments like the one owned by Emma Linnane.

    ''Last year was our 'wake up in the middle of the night with sweat pouring down your face' period,'' said David Bewley, a director at the Lisney real estate agency. ''Now we've grown up.''

    Not all the omens are negative. Mr. Bewley said houses were selling again, albeit for 25 percent less. Ireland has not yet suffered widespread incidences of defaulting mortgages or foreclosures in this downturn, in part because lenders have not been as aggressive as those in the United States.

    But some worry that the housing meltdown could spoil Ireland's recipe for success. Like Spain, it attracted lots of foreign workers, many of whom came for well-paying jobs in the construction industry. That fueled the Irish rental market, which has remained buoyant and been a source of income for Ireland's many real estate speculators.

    ''If the immigrants go back home, will this hurt the rental market?'' asked Ronan O'Driscoll, a director in the Dublin office of Savills, a real estate firm. ''If that happens, it would definitely cause foreclosures.''
    "There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." -Ludwig Von Mises


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