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      08-11-2019, 05:23 PM   #1
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We've got a group of smart folks here on the forum, and I was surprised to see there wasn't a real estate discussion (at least not that I found). Who on here has purchased land as an investment? Maybe a future retirement spot? What percentage of your gross income does your primary mortgage account for? How do we feel about the current market and its somewhat-immediate future? Prices in Tallahassee seem to have skyrocketed in the past few years for example - selling for 50% more than they did just a couple years ago in some instances - makes a current buyer uneasy.

I sold my home a few years back in Atlanta and we have been renting while we figure out what we want on a personal and career level as well as where we want to be. We've since relocated to the panhandle of Florida and ramped up the decision to buy as we intend to be here for the next five-ish years. We have been thinking to buy a cheaper home here with little money down and use our cash to invest into a lake property in the North Georgia / Tennessee / North Carolina / South Carolina triangle as a place to vacation and park our cash. No clue if it's smart, but it feels right. Trying to be pragmatic. 401k company match is maxed, about six months worth of expenses stashed in case something hits the fan...ready to put the extra into something more tangible and then start the college fund up for the kids that don't exist.

Not intending this thread to be an "answer ME" thread but more of an open discussion. Certainly welcome any feedback, but what have others done? What has been your recipe? What mistakes have you learned from?

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      08-11-2019, 07:20 PM   #2
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We own some land in western N.C. where we will eventually build a place to retire to. Purchased a number of years ago when real estate in the region was still pretty depressed and even though we have had offers from prospective buyers we will not sell it... but you never know!

We don’t have a mortgage on our current home and at least where the market stands today, selling it will pay for the construction of our future home. But who knows where the world will be in 4-5 years!

The current real estate market is concerning given the shifts caused by recent tax law changes etc. Add in rising rates and the potential for a recession/stock market down turn and real estate could head south again though this has already happened in parts of the country.

No interest in real estate for investment purposes/rental etc.
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      08-11-2019, 07:23 PM   #3
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My wife and I just closed on a small condo in downtown Asheville, NC. It will be used as a vacation residence and we expect it will appreciate well while we hold it (although we won’t be devastated financially if it doesn’t). We got into it pre-construction about a year ago and believe it is priced well below comparable older properties in the area. Small chance it will be the place we retire in but you never know. Could also turn into a long term rental property if we so choose.

We waited a long time before we bought our primary residence, which we still live in, and spent 2+ years studying the market in Asheville before pulling the trigger on this second residence. We probably could have made a lot of money if we moved on something as soon as we started considering it, but hindsight is 20/20. We had to figure out priorities, budget, etc. and it took a while to decide what we really wanted was a place with restaurants and lots to do within walking distance, as well as low maintenance. Opposite of our suburban primary residence. I’d say make sure you know what you want, what you plan to do with it and what you are getting into financially.
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      08-11-2019, 07:39 PM   #4
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My wife and I are renting, after 25 years of home ownership. Renting is a choice we affirmatively chose. Mentally we are open to the idea of renting for several years, for example five years, or longer if needed. We are early empty nesters and have options now, that we didn't have a year or two ago.

Keep your powder dry.

Asset prices are high. Don't buy now. Unless you have special knowledge, the average consumer will pay a high price for real estate. If you stumble into a sweet deal, go for it. The definition of sweet is subjective. I categorize myself as an average consumer, from a real estate point of view.

The real estate market for primary dwellings in the $100k-$250k price range is smoking hot in the midwest. Homes sell the day they are listed for slightly higher than asking price. Too hot for me.

I am waiting for the market to definitively soften. I might be waiting for a while, because the consumer is healthy, interest rates are low, and the economy is generally strong. Automotive sales are softening, but I don't see that affecting the broader economy.

If you have cash burning a hole in your pocket, pour it into a balanced portfolio of liquid assets. Get some financial advice on your options through your employer's savings custodian companies (e.g. Fidelity, Vanguard), friends, family, etc.

Last edited by chassis; 08-11-2019 at 07:44 PM..
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      08-11-2019, 07:39 PM   #5
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right now, i'm focusing on paying everything off except for the houses. i'm carefully watching interest rate trends, and have a great relationship with a lender i keep close contact with. i'm hoping to refi my primary residence to a 15 year loan if it gets down to 3% or better.
at the moment- i've been listening to a lot of dave ramsey for perspective. if you're not sure what order to do things when it comes to saving, paying things off, investing, or buying, dave ramsey is great.

i'm 32 now, and my focus has switched from aggressive acquisition to conservative in the way i'm handling my real estate. i only have two rentals and my primary residence, but i'm focused on getting everything paid off by the time i'm about 45, then the transition will be to dump most of the income into mutual funds from 45-50 to bridge into retirement at 50. at 50, i'll probably still work, just at something i truly enjoy.
right now, i do a solid amount into retirement, plus two maxed out backdoor roths each year for my wife and i.
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      08-11-2019, 10:46 PM   #6
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i also forgot to add- the older i get, the less i want to pay any interest and i'm much less comfortable leveraging assets to acquire real estate like i have before. i love owning rental properties, and i'll continue to do it for a long time, but its getting tougher for the numbers to make sense in california. if i buy anything else, it will likely be cash just as a diversification investment.
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      08-11-2019, 10:53 PM   #7
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Agreed. I’m 55 and won’t borrow to buy real estate which is why the plan is to sell the current house to pay for the retirement home...
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      08-12-2019, 04:02 AM   #8
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I bought some undeveloped land not too far from where I live (Upstate SC) years ago right after everyone was buying property/land to flip when it was the "in" thing to do.

Once the "bubble popped", I grabbed up a few things. I remember buying 4 acres outside a popular area and held it for 6 years or more. It wasn't expensive (about $1K per year) in taxes.

Guy that originally bought it was going to split it into 6 lots. I think he paid about $85K as it was right outside a development and not far from the lake. Well he had to firesale everything as he got in over his head when things went downhill. I picked it up for about 1/2 if what he paid.

Well about 2 years ago, they built a Golf Course Community in that direction and I ended up dividing and selling each lot for between $20K-$25K apiece.

I paid my current house off with it.

Also my wife and I (well she does) own land and a house not far from Boone NC. It's were she is from, and her parents had 61 acres. They gave 30 to her, 30 to her brother, and kept 30 which will go to their grandkids. We will probably retire there.

Only problem up there is that they are building these huge expensive vacation homes, and property taxes are going crazy.

To me, I feel it's their way of "weeding" out the people who've owned large tracts of land there for generations. They build these new homes, raise taxes, and a lot of people can't afford it.
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      08-12-2019, 12:01 PM   #9
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Somerville MA a part of Boston was nicknamed "SLumerville" less than 10 years ago now I can't afford anything here

I literally got priced out of Boston year(s) ago and I've been making OVER 6 figures consistently for 15 years +

For all you west coasters, Boston area is similarly priced to SF California but with shitty weather and ugly women


I'm not 40 yet, kids 2/3 of kids already @ university little guy few more years, Sell all my assets and move to NC? Definitely considering
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      08-12-2019, 12:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEfan508 View Post
Somerville MA a part of Boston was nicknamed "SLumerville" less than 10 years ago now I can't afford anything here

I literally got priced out of Boston year(s) ago and I've been making OVER 6 figures consistently for 15 years +

For all you west coasters, Boston area is similarly priced to SF California but with shitty weather and ugly women


I'm not 40 yet, kids 2/3 of kids already @ university little guy few more years, Sell all my assets and move to NC? Definitely considering

I remember being offered a job in LA years ago when I was doing some contract work. I declined as my house here would cost $500K+ out there.

Everyone I work with moved here from Connecticut or Boston years ago and made out like a bandit!
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      08-12-2019, 01:35 PM   #11
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Anyone living in an area where you can buy a detached home for less than $350k run don't walk to your real estate agent. The world is a tumultuous place, home many countries have safety, security, good job prospects and are open to new comers. Not many. I can only think of USA, Canada and maybe select parts of Europe but Europe has high taxes and doesn't always welcome foreigners.

Unless the area is economically depressed, values will rise. We bought our home in 2012 at what we thought was a very high amount and my wife and I make good money. Our home has doubled in value and I only wish I kept my condo as well downtown Toronto. It was a nice boutique condo but small, I thought it would never really appreciate, how I was wrong. Well, I used the money for a good down payment in the suburbs and love it.

I plan to buy an investment property in the US that I can use for retirement, thinking of somewhere hot like Florida but I just need some motivation/help to start looking. Something modest we can rent out or put on Airbnb with a property manager.
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      08-12-2019, 02:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEfan508 View Post
Somerville MA a part of Boston was nicknamed "SLumerville" less than 10 years ago now I can't afford anything here

I literally got priced out of Boston year(s) ago and I've been making OVER 6 figures consistently for 15 years +

For all you west coasters, Boston area is similarly priced to SF California but with shitty weather and ugly women


I'm not 40 yet, kids 2/3 of kids already @ university little guy few more years, Sell all my assets and move to NC? Definitely considering
Sounds about right. When we sold our house in Nashua in 2011 it was to a couple who had been renting in Slummerville and couldn't afford to buy there.
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      08-12-2019, 02:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spazzyfry123 View Post
We have been thinking to buy a cheaper home here with little money down and use our cash to invest into a lake property in the North Georgia / Tennessee / North Carolina / South Carolina triangle as a place to vacation and park our cash. No clue if it's smart, but it feels right.?
On piece of advice: Buy a property that already has a structure on it. If it's lake front, buy one that also has a dock. Environmental and zoning laws can and do change. You could find yourself with a lovely lakefront piece of land and prohibited from building on it because after your purchased it was deemed a "wetland" or a breeding habitat for some endangered critter. Most of the time if you already have a structure you are grandfathered in and can still build, renovate, etc.

I have a buddy that bought land overlooking Puget Sound, just to the east of Seattle. It was their "retirement" property bought 20 years ago. He's now F'd because of land use changes that prevent him from building on it. he cant sell the land because who wants to buy property they cant do anything with.

Similar situation with my step brother who has a house in Kirkland on Lake Washington. Only 1950's house that's been in his family for years. It's surrounded by mega mansions that are prohibited from building docks. He has a dock dating back to the 50's so he's golden. Grandfathered in.
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      08-12-2019, 03:28 PM   #14
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My dad was paying over 10% back in the 1980s I can get 3.5% now BUT all Propertys in and around major city's are high

Do I wait for another downturn? Blood in the streets is always a good time to buy right?

Whattama gunna do? Live in the Carolina's in a 1/2 priced mansion, but I don't like the south, we bypass it driving to Miami every winter, just put gas and piss, I can't live where they sell confederate flags at gift shops and Chinese takeout puts peas n carrots in porkfried rice (weird)

i think I love to hate my home town, traffic and noise is calming, going to NC with a couple acres sounds nice but the clean calm area will freak me out, I like our takeout Chinese food "Kowloon" I like our pizza "Regina's" and our clusterfuck roads, it's home

Edit: let me be clear, the south is fine it's just not right for me, I'm also a masshole so likely the south doesn't like me
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      08-13-2019, 03:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEfan508 View Post
My dad was paying over 10% back in the 1980s I can get 3.5% now BUT all Propertys in and around major city's are high

Do I wait for another downturn? Blood in the streets is always a good time to buy right?

Whattama gunna do? Live in the Carolina's in a 1/2 priced mansion, but I don't like the south, we bypass it driving to Miami every winter, just put gas and piss, I can't live where they sell confederate flags at gift shops and Chinese takeout puts peas n carrots in porkfried rice (weird)

i think I love to hate my home town, traffic and noise is calming, going to NC with a couple acres sounds nice but the clean calm area will freak me out, I like our takeout Chinese food "Kowloon" I like our pizza "Regina's" and our clusterfuck roads, it's home

Edit: let me be clear, the south is fine it's just not right for me, I'm also a masshole so likely the south doesn't like me

Lol....I'm an asshole too, but born and raised in the South. We live near the NC border, but Spartanburg and Greenville ( and all the area between the two.....Greer, Duncan) are nice especially since BMW moved in. You're going to have that typical cliche of southerners you mentioned, but few and far between in those areas and They are a dying breed. They typically like to stay to themselves...so they usually live way out of suburbia.

About 3 years ago, they built a huge equestrian center not to far from us that hosts some pretty big events (world ranked events), and then we also have the Steeplechase like event .

Plenty of nice lakes, Golf Courses, Schools (Go Clemson)....and plenty of nightlife in Greenville.

The area has really changed over the last few years. As you go mid-land...it's sparse until Columbia and then picks back up to Charleston.

So don't knock it until you've explored a little. I traveled extensively early in my career (NE, West Coast, etc), and I could find things wrong with pretty much anywhere I've been.

In fact I have a few NE guys that work with me, and I've never seen a group of people so quick to backstab you and each other if they think it makes them look better.

So we all have our faults.
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      08-13-2019, 10:49 AM   #16
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Subscribed. I own two duplexes and a single family home for a total of 5 doors in rentals. I'm not an expert but learning and growing!
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      08-13-2019, 05:39 PM   #17
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Read this article recently and thought it was relevant to the discussion:
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/th...ade-2019-08-08

My current home will be paid off in ~10 years and hoping to rent it at that time (or possibly sooner). Would love to find some investment properties in the meantime near my area (since I'd like to manage the property myself as well) but everything is so stinkin expensive around here. As a fellow mentioned above, good luck finding a detached home for a reasonable price, that isn't a complete tear down.

A friend of mine has had great luck finding, fixing, AirBNB renting during peak season, and then selling properties closer to the beach (OC Maryland) over the last year or so, but he lives there so it's easier for him to both facilitate that process as well as have his ear to the ground for emerging opportunity.

Have more than a few aunts/uncles around the way that own/rent out 5 or 6 properties each, but the cost during the time that those places were acquired (late 70s) provided much better opportunity to amass multiple properties in a relatively short amount of time...new construction at the time could be had for ~$50k. Those same, barely renovated, homes are on the market now for ~$500k. Inflation and interest rates aside, that large of a gap makes it almost impossible to own a modest primary residence while also trying to afford an opportunity in the investment sector in my area.
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      08-13-2019, 09:53 PM   #18
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I live in Orange County, next to Los Angeles. Prices are high. I had a condo in Los Angeles that incurred significant losses during the burst, so that sucked. OC is priced similar to Los Angeles but offers slightly newer and bigger homes for the dollar, but it's still ridiculously expensive compared to other parts of the country. I bought during the burst, so I've already made a good amount on this home, with a jumbo loan that's still cheaper than what people are charging for rent in my neighborhood including property tax, I'm contemplating renting out and buying another home to live in. Even if the housing market dips again, I should be fine since we bought relatively cheap. When I retire I'd like to think that my wife and I would either sell one house and retire in the other, or just sell them both and live in a maintenance free apartment or gated condo community and use the money to travel during our golden years.

Another possibility is commercial property or a multi-unit rental complex. I haven't looked much into it yet, but it would be nice to have passive income be the cherry on top of our retirement and pension. An apartment complex sounds like a huge pain in the ass though. Again, lots of research ahead.
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      08-14-2019, 05:06 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FCobra94 View Post
Read this article recently and thought it was relevant to the discussion:
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/th...ade-2019-08-08
i know i'm going to sound like a broken record, but this is inline with what dave ramsey professes about- buying a house responsibly when you're ready and paying it off to hedge your future housing costs. while paying off the house, put 15% into retirement accounts. the end result is pretty much always financial independence and comfort.
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      08-14-2019, 02:09 PM   #20
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live in a maintenance free apartment or gated condo community and use the money to travel during our golden years.

When I retire, downsizing to a small condo where I can just lock the door and not worry about anything while I take advantage of last minute cruises/flights sounds like a good plan for me.

chassis My dad did the same thing. He owned a home for XX number of years. Then slowly went to a 2 bedroom apartment to a 1 bedroom to a studio. Each move he would get rid of more and more stuff. Last year when he retired, he decided to see the world and has been living abroad ever since traveling the world living as a nomad. Croatia, Ireland, Africa, Italy, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand, Germany, etc. I get random updates from him scuba diving in exotic waters or taking photos in majestic places.
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      08-14-2019, 05:12 PM   #21
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My father has been decently successful with RE investments. House we grew up in, plus 7-8 local rentals, and a few in Montana. Other than Montana, he always did all the maintenance (with some help from me) himself. Now he's reaching an age where he can't do it any more, but almost all of the mortgages are paid off so he can hire someone.

If I could afford to take 2+ weeks off every couple of months to clean up a rental, it might have been tempting. Dealing with all the deadbeats it just wasn't worth it to me.

My mortgage is paid off in 2022. I can't wait to have an extra $3000/month so that my wife can retire, then once I reach minimum age for my pension I'll head out the door too.

Wife/I had a heated discussion last week because she suddenly wants to buy a new property, and keep the house for the kids but also have room for them to move in with us??? I can't see starting over with a new mortgage on a new house, nor paying the new taxes.

Wife sees that Zillo lists our house in the mid-700s (WHAT???) so we can just trade up to a multi-floor McMansion further into the suburbs. Problem is those are in the low-1.7s now. Even if we could cash out all our equity and find something to trade straight across, it's those new taxes that would kill us. Right now we pay on land+improvements in the 185s since she originally bought the house almost 30 years ago.

Dad says he bought his last vehicle a few month ago. Just hold on honey, we'll soon have plenty of rentals, I'm the secondary on the family trust <JOKING>
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      08-15-2019, 04:58 AM   #22
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Home costs are a joke everywhere. I can understand upgrading inside and doing things to add value, but a lot go overboard.

I bought my house 15 years ago when it was me and my daughter. Think I paid around $165K. I never planned on getting married again. Meanwhile co-workers of mine were spending $300K+

I could have afforded the same as them, but I spend more time away from the house than I do in it. It is just a convenience for me.

My house is paid for as I opted for a 15 year loan, my co-workers who I still know are still paying. Only thing I did was refinance it about 10 years ago to a lower rate and paid all closing costs out of pocket.

Since they developed the street behind me, my property has gone up tremendously.

My house and yard is one of the biggest in the neighborhood. All the houses on the street behind me are smaller, look the same, and get this.....the first one they built sold for ~$235K. By the time they got to the end of the street, they were selling so quickly that the last few they are building are listed in the low- $260's.....and they are the same house as the first ones constructed!

I get offers all the time....and will eventually move as my wife doesn't like the crowded feeling. Before, the street behind me was completely wooded.

My house is valued at around $240K. We had done a few upgrades inside when I got married, and I have a nice workshop in the back.

But I'm almost 45 years old and don't want another mortgage. So I told my wife if we move....I was putting a cap on the total cost. I don't want to owe anymore than a $100K if we do this....and if she couldn't find something she liked in that range, we would just stay where we are at!
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