October 19, 2016: Financial Panther

The Milkmaid and I are starting the process of meeting with a mortgage broker to work on pre-house-buying crap. I get bored easily, so I'm wondering if there's a way to fast-forward to owning the place.

44 thoughts on “October 19, 2016: Financial Panther”

  1. If your spouse is anything like mine, you distract yourself while she gets a taste of the market and decides this is happening. You'll be a homeowner before you know it!
    Also, the housing professionals will also be glad to see to it that things move along speedily, if you give them the opportunity.

    1. We bought our house four & a half years ago, before the market began to recover. We got pretty lucky, finding a mid-century house that was just being put on the market by the estate of the original owner. We bought the best house we could afford at the time, in terms of condition, location, and size. Over the last year, though, I've found myself wondering if we could do better now. The market is much more robust, which (combined with child care expenses) negates any advantage we might have over our first time when we were buying on a single income.

      I reinstalled the Zillow app on my iPad a few months ago, just to get a sense of what the market looks like. I'm heartened to see that there aren't many houses that would meet what we'd be looking for if we moved, which alleviates any grass-is-greener thinking. But I'm also left wondering what we'll do if my mother-in-law were to move in with us in the next five years. I can tell living two hours away from her only grandchild is wearing on her, and we get along well enough that I wouldn't mind having her live with us and be a regular presence in the Poissonnier's life.

      1. The wife and I bought our townhome before we even talked about having kids. And while the townhome certainly fit 3 people just fine, there was no yard and not much room to play. Thankfully our search for something bigger coincided with my mother-in-law's willingness to sell her childhood home (which was very hard) and move in with us. We still saw her all the time since she only lived a few miles away, but now she doesn't have to do house maintenance and snow shoveling. And now we have a yard and a huge play room. We're all still adjusting to this new life, though the kid took to it immediately and only required about 24 hours to adjust to his new life. Kids are amazing.

        1. Living in a multi-generation house currently, with my in-laws, I have to say it ain't all bad. Not nearly as bad as I anticipated.

          They might feel otherwise.

          1. I love my mother-in-law and enjoy her company. I think it's just the adjusting to each other's space, and sharing responsibilities and bills that is tough. It's not contentious, just stressful.

            1. There are certainly stresses. Things that matter to my in-laws (and thus become grounds for serious talks with my children) aren't always the same things that matter to me. Meals are chaos, and I'm okay with that. They aren't. So that can be tough, to have my kids "get in trouble" for things they wouldn't otherwise. But for the most part, the trade offs ($, time, extra hands) have been well worth it. We'll move into our own place again soon enough, but for now... this can last longer than I originally thought.

              1. I had to get relatively firm with my mother-in-law as to what does and does not constitute "trouble" for the girls. I was finally forced to get tough during a long, circular conversation and say "If there is a disagreement between you and I about the girls, you do not get a vote and your opinion is worthless."

                She remembered that one.

  2. We're already in our third house together (my wife briefly owned a townhome before we married).

    First was new construction (3 bed, 2 bath) in the country w/ only one neighbor, midway between our jobs (she drove an hour north, I drove an hour south ... 2 dogs, no kids). I wasn't there much - deployed or training.

    Second was for our move home to MN - sold the first at the top of the market in early '08, which meant we bought at the height of the market as well - 5 years, no equity, but not upside down when we sold... Loved the house (3 Bed, 2 Bath) mid-1920's bungalow in St. Paul's East Side) disliked the neighborhood, lot size, school choices, etc.

    Third move (current house - 4 bed, 2.5 bath, 2 car garage) - mid-1930's foundation w/ major renovation & addition in '85 (though they maintained the original character remarkably well) was for more room, schools, safer neighborhood, community amenities, larger yard: went from .19 acre city lot to nearly 2 tree-covered acres , access to shopping, commute, etc. Unless there's major upheaval with employment, this is the "forever" house. We're extremely happy with it (though I'm certain my wife will be relieved when the Hwy 36 construction is done), but it is a ton of work to keep up with the yard, trees and home maintenance - old bones, and the previous owners were not particular about upkeep, though they did some nice interior renovations.

    I'd recommend that your focus isn't just budget. Really talk about what you want out of the house (location, schools, size, neighborhood, transit/commute, etc.).

    1. When we bought earlier this year half our friends said, "oh, uh, that neighborhood......". The other half of our friends said, "woah, smoking hot deal in an up and coming neighborhood. Y'all won't recognize the place in 5 years."

      Just over two months later and I hardly recognize the hood now. In a three block radius there are 6 new constructions and 8 renovations happening. It's bonkers.

      1. We heard exactly the same "up and coming" talk when considering our East Side purchase ... 5 years later, things were no better and in some ways much worse (poor-economy driven). We really wanted it to work, but the frequency of murders, shootings, assault burglaries, thefts, vandalism, drug-related arrests, etc. - all within a mile-and-a-half radius - it really just soured us. Our immediate neighborhood (1-2 blocks in most directions) was awesome, but once the snow melted there was a noticeable increase in police presence due to the aforementioned issues.

        1. Heh. I live in a pretty violent city, , and I've come to accept it as part of doing business here. When I looked at the crime map the conclusion I drew was that there is no safe part of the city.

          our neighborhood is transitional, and frankly could be for ever for all we know. I'm just happy to have what we have.

    2. I'd recommend that your focus isn't just budget. Really talk about what you want out of the house (location, schools, size, neighborhood, transit/commute, etc.).

      Hearty co-sign. Excellent advice. We got most of that right when we bought our place (although I have misgivings about school options; our designated HS is the fourth-place school in town with the least amount of attention & resouces due to the socio-economic demos of its students' families). I love our location; people of our means have been pushed to the periphery of the city by prices, but you can't by a lot our size for love or money on the isthmus. And we're clearly Eastsiders by temperament & taste, for those that know the People's Republic. I just question whether the configuration of our house – 4 bedrooms, 1 full bath, 2 half baths – will fit our lifestyle. I also feel some guilt about wanting more than one full bath when clearly our house was a fairly desirable arrangement fifty years ago.

      1. our house was a fairly desirable arrangement fifty years ago.

        ...so was having both a fridge & a freezer. Don't feel guilty about wanting more than one shower/tub.

        1. No kidding. Indoor plumbing was a big deal a hundred years ago. Don't feel guilty about economic growth.

    3. I'd recommend that your focus isn't just budget. Really talk about what you want out of the house (location, schools, size, neighborhood, transit/commute, etc.).

      Triplicate sign with CH. We're moving to CT (sigh) next year to be closer to wife's relatives and I think budget is the least of our concerns. Some of that has to do with our means but we've learned so much from our current house that we better know what things to focus on and to have budget be more flexible to meet that. Location is going to be the hardest because we don't like where they moved for a couple reasons and so are trying to figure out where to compromise.

        1. Yeah. We've known it was definitely happening for almost a year and probably going to happen for longer than that. I was hoping otherwise but had minimal influence.

    4. Good to hear, because that last sentence was indeed our focus. It's in the school district we want, it works for our vastly different sleep schedules, and we're both reasonably close to work (or the bus to work).

      It also happens to be the town home where my mom and stepdad currently live while my stepdad builds their new house. This is a very important detail, as they take immaculate care of their home and we can be certain we won't be walking into any surprise problems.

      They'll also be leaving a pretty nice entertainment center that will comfortably house my stupidly expensive TV and home audio setup, which is no small consideration. We Magnolia snobs have our priorities, after all.

  3. First off, I adore today's title.

    Second, after practicing in real estate law for about two months, I... think realtors are overpaid. That's the nice way to say it.

    1. And Title Companies? Man talk about a license to steal... $50.00 for an affidavit that I'm not the Freealonzo that is a deadbeat dad and passes bad checks from Aitkin to Zumbrota.

    2. My realtors have earned their money. And they've also both wound up cut their fees for me because things went so smoothly and quickly every time.

      1. variance is high and fees are largely (and collusively) fixed. Being in a seller's market is great when you are selling, because you can cram costs onto buyers. Being in a buyer's market is great when you are buying, because you can be choosy and not have to take it up the rear. Unfortunately, many of us are trying to negotiate both a purchase and a sale in the same or highly correlated markets.

        co-sign on the theft that is title companies (and so many of the other bogus closing costs that you are just stuck with).

      2. A GOOD realtor is worth money, but not the fixed cut they get. More important is a good mortgage broker -- getting the best rate at a good closing cost is worth its weight in gold. We've gone through several over the years, and have never had a problem even with the mortgage sold to other financial institutions, etc. Most of the scary transfer stories of the 80's were thankfully governed out of existence by the time we built our first home.

        1. I can tell you that there are (or at least were, pre-housing crash) many many bad brokers out there. Indeed, brokers selling mortgages people couldn't afford was a huge part of the problem. I saw some frightful closing documents (and don't get me started on the evil that was kickbacks to brokers for intentionally getting someone into a higher-rate mortgage than the person would have gotten if dealing with the bank straight up).

          1. Like any business, you have to know things going in. The real estate section of the Sunday paper posted rates / points for financial institutions / brokers back in the day, and it kept competition for those low rates. It's primarily the mortgage company's fault and not the broker's fault for selling a mortgage outside of someone's means.

            1. Strongly disagree, particularly as regards yield spread premiums (kickbacks to brokers for putting people in higher cost mortgages). Brokers ought to have duties as agents, to help the buyers they work with.

                1. I didn't work with a broker at all. But I represented a lot of people who did, who were actively ripped off by their brokers. I even saw a case, literally within the closing documents, that had payments made to car dealerships to buy the broker a new car.

    1. Fortunately it was proof-of-concept rather than something important to doing science. The TGO inserted into the right orbit so the mission is a success.

  4. I think I have finally made progress on my insurance giving me a fair value for my car. I should know by the end of the week. Then I can get a new car. This has been stressful. I think I hate deer now.

    1. deer suck.


      (NSFW)

      EDIT: i listened to this again and forgot that there is a potentially very shocking string of slurs towards the end. if you're unfamiliar with the special, let me mention, as strange as it sounds, it makes sense in context. out of context, it just sounds horrible though.

  5. Did I just see a commercial for an upcoming "reality" show starring Councilman Jamm during the Cubs/Dodgers game?

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