There are many schools of thought in terms of whether buying a house should be considered an investment. I’m not sure. What I do know is that it’s expensive to rent a decent apartment and it’s unlikely I’ll splurge on on a nicer apartment when I know I’m throwing rental money “down the drain,” so to speak. My quality of life, therefore, would undoubtedly be better if I were to buy. That doesn’t mean such a choice would make sense as an investment, however.
The Motley Fools poses “Your Home Isn’t a Good Investment and Won’t Make You Rich.” Real Estate has generally appreciated 4% to 5% a year on average, compared to 9.1% for an S&P index fund and 7.16% for the “safe” 30-year Treasury. Then mortgages make your house cost more than it’s worth (and you’re throwing THAT money away too. “There are good investments in real estate, but your home isn’t one of them” the post argues. A rental property, where tenants pay rent that covers the mortgage, can earn 9.8% vs just 3.4% for a lived-in property. A commenter notes that rental property can end up with an even higher return, especially once the mortgage is payed down and all that’s left is rental income that has increased over the years. Continue reading
After apartment shopping for a while now, I’ve come to terms with the reality that $1700/month is not going to get us a “nice” one bedroom. It WILL get us a one bedroom that has crappy reviews and doesn’t make one feel calm after returning home from a long day of work. And a long commute with a lot of traffic.
The thing is, I CAN afford higher rent. My boyfriend’s maximum is $850 so it’s up to me if I want to split 50/50 or chip in more for a place that will make me happy. My bf has lived in a shed sans running water and a kitchen for the entirety of his adult life to date, so he doesn’t exactly have high standards. The fact he’s willing to pay up to $850 actually surprises me, it turns out he does have some standards. However, he’s made it clear that he will not pay for cable and he won’t offer a penny over $850, with a preference towards $800. Continue reading
I grew up in a household that wasn’t financially efficient, so it shouldn’t surprise me that my parents, like many Americans, continue to throw money into their homes when the actual home value will never be worth a lot more.
They claim they are making the updates for their own quality of life, and I believe it, but the actual amount of money they are putting into my childhood home is outrageous if you look at it from a financial perspective. Continue reading
There are two types of racists in the world — the ones who blatantly hate on another race for being different, and the ones who just would prefer to be around people who are more like them. Most people are slightly racist. It doesn’t matter what color your skin is. As the musical Avenue Q puts it – “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist Sometimes.”
Looking for an apartment, my racism comes out in full force. Neighborhoods around the Bay Area are very neatly divided along color lines. There are areas for Mexican-Americans, areas for Chinese-Americans, Indian-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Korean-Americans, Vietnamese-Americans, Cambodian-Americans, African-Americans and so on. Continue reading
As I’m wading deep in the hunt for my new Silicon Valley apartment, news of protesters – angry at rising rent prices in the city and nearby areas – smashing the windows of Google Buses – is all over my Facebook feed. Over the past 10 years, 75,000 people have moved to San Francisco, but only 17,000 units of housing have been added. Thus, you have angry residents who are getting evicted from their supposedly affordable apartments in a few regions of SF that had yet to gentrify.
The argument by the protesters is largely to send this group of (supposedly) highly-paid elite down to the Peninsula and South Bay. What the stories are missing is that there’s not exactly a plethora of housing down here either. Well, maybe there is in the far South Bay, but the issue would just move to San Jose should suddenly all the young single tech types move down here. Continue reading
We’re moving in together. For real this time. For better or worse, we found out the place he’s currently living in is not a legal dwelling and thus he must move out. We were planning on moving in together this year, but this also expedites the planning and upcoming move.
While it might be dumb to consider buying something together now, I have a few ideas that could make this concept be more logical than irrational. Even though I occasionally mention moving back east at some point, the reality is that I want to stay in The Bay Area. I want to live here forever and have my kids born and grow up here. Continue reading
It’s hypocritical of me to cringe when my boyfriend suggests that one day his mother might help us purchase a house. After all, my parents put me through college and didn’t require I pay back one cent. But, based on what they taught me, once college was done I was on my own. Want to go to grad school? That’s all on me. Want to go on a shopping spree and put myself into massive debt? My problem. Want to buy a house? Good luck and good riddance!
That’s why my nose chinches up when, in response to my commonly voiced concern — how are we ever going to afford a house to live in here — my boyfriend said “my mom will help.”
I feel incredibly stuck right now. Being stuck is not always a bad thing, but for a restless person like myself it’s unpleasant. I like to constantly be working towards some clear objective. But here I am, 30, theoretically successful yet not successful at all. I’ve created an illusion of success but it can easily and will likely all come crashing down at any minute.
When all my friends from back home and here even are posting pictures of their happy families and happy kids (most are on child #2) in their happy houses I sometimes think — well, at least I have a great job. At least I have a career. Except it’s all a rogue. I’m much, much more junior than my title would lead one to believe. Which causes a conundrum as I can’t get a promotion despite having worked at the same company for nearly four years — while a coworker who has worked here one, with more experience, has gotten promoted already. The coworker deserves the promotion, this isn’t about them, but it is about realistically looking at my potential career growth and I’m stuck.
As many of you know, I currently live in a 3br/2ba apartment where my chunk of the rent is $650. I’d like to move into a place with my boyfriend where I can maintain the same rent, but around here that’s quite challenging. For fun, I decided to research what $1300 a month gets you in different parts of the country. And cried a little.
San Mateo, CA (Bay Area)
400 sq ft “studio apartment” cottage
1 small walk-in closet
stainless steal range, fridge, sink, no oven
Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL
850 sq ft
2br 1 ba condo
washer/dryer in unit
private front yard
Santa Fe, New Mexico
1200 square feet, freestanding house
1br, 2ba w/ study
washer/dryer in unit
large walk-in closet
private landscaped yard
2205 sq ft
4br, 3ba plus bonus room
luxurious master bathroom
cathedral ceilings & gas fireplace
1400 square feet
holy shit this kitchen…
What does $1300 a month rent where you live?
I can’t afford a house. The cheapest houses here cost $700k and those have 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom and are major fixer uppers in not-so-nice areas. (Remind me again why I love the Bay Area?) But there are a few condos which fall into a price point that could make sense. $500k wouldn’t be that crazy (maybe?), if I were to liquidate all my stocks for $97k (well, it will be less than that due to taxes, but most of my stocks have been in there for a year so will qualify for 15% tax rate on profits.) Figure $80k from that, and I’d have to find $20k for a downpayment to have 20% down on a $500k property.
My credit score is a 724 (not perfect but still considered excellent to most lenders, I hear) so I should be able to get a pretty good rate. I don’t understand all the fees involved in buying, but I assume there will be quite a few added on to the total price of the condo, so that would mean I probably could only afford a $400k place. That would be basically enough for a decent 1br 1ba condo.