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Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       02-21-2010, 6:55 PM Reply   
Here is the deal. I have been looking at condos for the last few weeks within the Seattle city limits. The condo I have narrowed I was thinking about buying is in a great area of Seattle with 2 high end grocery stores, bars, resturaunts and a Starbucks within a block or 2. It is about 3 miles from my work. The building is very nice, the unit has slab granite counter tops, gas fireplace, hardwood floores in the kitchen, a washer and dryer in the unit and plenty of closet space. The only downfall is the living room is small. It only has the room for one 3 person couch and maybe a small kitchen table pushed up against the wall. The building has concrete floors, a small workout room, secure parkign garage and a roof top deck with views of the Olympics and Cascade mountains. So really the only downfall is the small liiving space and that it is only 1 bedroom. The place is in the 150-175k range.

All of a sudden I am starting to think about looking at actual houses that are in the outlying areas. I haven't actually looked at any but from what I can tell I can get a 3 or 4 bedroom house with 2.5 baths, 2 car garage and a decent yard in the 200-250k range. The area I am thinking about is about 15 miles from my work but is probably about a half hour commute or so. The area is a place I swore that I would never live but that is more of me being a snob than anything. I think the neighborhoods are actually pretty quite and and clean from what I can tell. There are lots of families. I could get a newer 3 bedroom place that is more like a townhome or a 3-4 bedroom house on a bigger lot but that was built in the 60's-70's.

I probably wouldn't even think about the condo but I am a single guy in my late 20's who still likes to go out quite a bit. That seems to be changing pretty quick as all my friends are getting married and slowing down a bit. They still go out almost weekly but not like they use to. The houses would still only be 20-30 minutes from downtown Seattle where we go out.

Another thing to consider is that if I get a=one of the houses my payment will probably be 200-300 more a month total. I would probably need one roommate to comfortably afford the payment. I guess the more roommates the cheaper the bills as we would be splitting the utilites, cable, etc. The only problem with this is that I don't know a lot of people in the area I would be moving so finding a roommate, 2 or 3 may be tougher. I have already found roommates before using craigslist and as I am fairly easy going and can pretty much get along with anybody.

I am just trying to get some other people's point of view. Trendy, downtown 1 bedroom condo in the city or good sized family house just outside the city that maybe pushes my budget but gives me possible rental income?


Old     (ironj32)      Join Date: Jan 2007       02-22-2010, 4:54 AM Reply   
I would definitely opt for the house. I'm in your same situation...27, work downtown Minneapolis, life is starting to slow down a little (in the partying aspect). in my opinion a house is a much wiser investment, especially on the resale side of it. i just bought my house a few months ago. it's in the outer suburbs..about a 20 minute drive to downtown. i found a roommate on craigslist, who pays about half of my mortgage. fortunately she gets the entire basement so we don't really have much interaction (she has her own kitchen and bathroom/shower down there. i think the biggest thing for me was having a yard and a garage, and being able to have my XStar at my house with me.

that's just my take on it though. i also know people who live in downtown Minneapolis and really like it, however, they rent so are not locked in for the long haul.

you also need to consider that your utility bills will be much higher in a house. i would be sure that you can "make it work" without a roommate, just in the event that you end up getting stuck by yourself for a while.

(Message edited by ironj32 on February 22, 2010)
Old     (jaegermaster)      Join Date: Sep 2002       02-22-2010, 5:10 AM Reply   
Brett, buy a house. Condo resale in Seattle would suck. Or...look at some condos in West Seattle. Far enough out to be a bit cheaper, pretty good neighborhoods and still quick to get into tow.

Where are you thinking of looking at houses? Before we moved to Couer d'Alene, 200-250k would put you in Bonny Lake.
Old     (goinbigg17)      Join Date: Jul 2002       02-22-2010, 5:23 AM Reply   
Get a house. It's nicer to have your own piece of land on solid ground rather than floating in the air. Plus one bedroom is TINY, even for a single guy in a condo.

If the payment is only 200-300 more for the difference the house will be worth it in the long run, even if you have to cut back on your spending month to month. Chances are you wont have dues if your house is in Seattle, not aware of much for housing developments there. Plus you will have the extra space and wont hear your neighbors through the walls.

As Jae G said, check out West Seattle. We drove down California Ave yesterday afternoon and there were a ton of place for sale up there. Quiet areas and all of the houses had there own unique charm, plus you still have the bars and some great restaurants nearby.
Old     (jonblarc7)      Join Date: Jul 2006       02-22-2010, 5:45 AM Reply   
I would go with the house. I'm in a condo right now and would love to get in a house. I bought mine when I was 23, and it has served its purpose. But I'm sure housing prices are completely different in NC. I got a 1700 sq. with a single car garage,back yard, and really big bed rooms for alittle over a 100,000. If I wouldn't have found a this kinda of deal. I never would have bought a condo. Look at who will be living next to you, I live in a retierment community it feels like some times. One thinking you might not be thinking of with the condo is HOME ONWERS ASSOCIATION DUES. Mine are real cheap and its still 120 dollars a monthe extra.
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       02-22-2010, 6:42 AM Reply   
Jae and Nick. I actually live at the Alaska street junction right now in West Seattle and the condo I like is a block off the Admiral street junction right behind Metroplitan Market. It is about as ideal a location in West Seattle as possible. The place I live in now is the 2nd place in West Seattle I have lived in and I really like West Seattle. That is where this gets tough.

The houses are in the Renton Highlands for the little bit smaller older places and then there are a few places that are a little bigger in the same price range somewhat close to Valley Medical Center.

One thing about the condo is that I am in a unique situation as my grandparents are loaning me the money. The building is currently having the siding and some windows redone. I think they built the place in 2002 with that effis crap or whatever it is called. Anyway the HOA sued the builder and it sounds like all the work is being paid for by the builder. The unit I am looking at is owned by a bank so they just want to get rid of it. The problem they face is no lender will give loan out right now to a building under construction. I get to go in with cash so I don't have to worry about that part of it. There are almost no places for sale right now in the building so it is hard to gauge but if the place were still on the market when the construction finishes the unit may jump up to the 180-200k range meaning I would have 30-40k in equity almost immediatly. It is somewhat feasable that after living at the place for a few years I could rent it for 1000-1200/month and pay for my mortgage, HOA and taxes or at least come close.

Too bad I can't just afford to buy a house on Lake Sammamish and call it good.
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       02-22-2010, 6:47 AM Reply   
Blair, I have thought about the HOA dues. I have actually been focusing more on the total monthly payment including everything vs the purchase price unless of coarse the listing price is way under what it should be. The dues for the unit I like are 220/month which is on the low/average side for a one bedroom condo in Seattle. It does include garbage, sewer and the structural insurance.

I actually had a friend rent out a one bedroom place in this building last year for 1100/month and she loved the building. It is really quit for being right in the mix. She said there were a lot of older people living there so that explains the quite part.

(Message edited by polarbill on February 22, 2010)
Old     (fatsac)      Join Date: Jun 2004       02-22-2010, 8:09 AM Reply   
House! At 24, I kicked myself up until 28, wishing I went the condo route. Now that I don't go out anymore, having a yard to relax, bbq, and maintain is the best. That and the occassional midnight whiz off the patio.
Old     (95sn)      Join Date: Sep 2005       02-22-2010, 9:46 AM Reply   
There is nothing harder to sell than a one bedroom condo. Remember, one day you will be the seller.
Old     (goinbigg17)      Join Date: Jul 2002       02-22-2010, 10:14 AM Reply   
Darrel has a good point, only a small percentage of people need one bedroom condo's. Even if the house is small (mine is 730sqf) it is still nice to have the extra room that you don't share with the rest of the community.

The other side of the situation, your profile does show that you own a boat. Do you currently pay for storage? If so, you could most likely cut that payment out if you get a place with a large enough drive way.

A buddy of mine and his wife bought in a remodeled complex in Des Moines about 2 years ago. Within the first year he was ready to move in to a house because he had zero places to go to get out of the house to keep him busy. He has no garage to hang out in and no yard to take care of. Just a thought for days when you want to be outside but can't be on the lake.
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       02-22-2010, 10:37 AM Reply   
Nick, I keep the boat down at my work in the winter and at the yacht club in the summer or over at the lake house on Sammamish I use to live in. Storage is not a big issue for me as our families business has a 10,000 square foot warehouse in the Sodo area.

Still it kind of seems like the saying people have about buying boats. "Buy your second boat first". I suppose that could be true when it comes to buying a house. In the early 2000's it probably didn't matter as anything that was bought increased in value like crazy. I don't see the market going crazy like it did within the next 10 or 15 years so buying something that I possibly won't outgrow could be a good decision.
Old     (timmy)      Join Date: Jul 2001       02-22-2010, 10:44 AM Reply   
Exactly. I am ready for a house, but now I am stuck in my townhouse thanks to housing values.
Old     (phatboypimp)      Join Date: Apr 2005       02-22-2010, 11:52 AM Reply   
I have lived in quite a few different types of homes from a big house on a lot (Renton) to a 2 bedroom condo (Kirkland). I now live in a town house (Bay Area).

I have done the roommates for rent gig and I will not do it again. Although I am older somewhat less tolerant, chasing 2-3 roommates for rent every month is a waste of time, not to mention getting a good rommate is nearly impossible. If you can't afford the house on what you make, you shouldn't buy it. That is my personal opinion.

I have always been told that condos are hard to sell, yet I have never had a problem getting market value for a condo. I am sure you can find the data on that, but I personally have never had a problem moving a condo.

I am preaching to the choir here, but commuting in Seattle is HORRIBLE. I would get the condo, build some equity, find a boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband and buy your first house together. You can live stress free without the big mortgage and a long commute. Plus you can hang out in White Center and gang bang with the rest of them.
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       02-22-2010, 12:50 PM Reply   
Thanks for the thoughts guys. Keep them coming.

Phatboypimp, I appreciate your input. I do have a question though. When did you move from the house to a condo in Kirkland and then sell that and move to Cali? The only reason I ask is because no matter what kind of place it was everything was selling quickly and for top dollar in the mid 2000's.


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