Sunday, July 31, 2005

It's an investment

I suspect that to most of us housebloggers, our homes are more than an investment. To Steve and I, sacrificing weekends and summers is more a labor of love (or a life on insanity depending upon how one views it). If this building were strictly an "investment" we wouldn't be putting so much of our own time and TLC into it and things would be done more expediently.

I don't really like the idea of living somewhere just to make money. I go to my share of neighborhood meetings and it troubles me that few of the new condo owners in our neighborhood seem to show up. I don't understand the concept of just "sqautting" somewhere until you can sell -make a profit- and move somewhere else. But then, I love our neighborhood despite its imperfections. I plan to grow some mature roots here if you know what I mean.

It is nice to know however, that your building is an investment that could say --help you live better when you are retired. One reason we bought a two-flat is because housing is to terribly expensive in Chicago- especially near the lake (which we are-2 blocks to be exact). Steve specifically asked his realtor to show him "dingy kitchens and baths" when shopping and wanted a two-flat because the rental income would help offset the cost of the mortgage.

Just to give you an example of the cost of property and homes around here, take a look at this single family home about 2 miles west of the lake. It's going for $375,000 and looks to need alot of work.

Today, there was an interesting article in the Chicago Tribune about two-flats and the real estate market here. It confirms that we are on the right track. I like to think we are not, after all, pouring all our time and money into a cipher.

6 comments:

Aaron said...

Thanks for linking to the Trib article. We've got friends considering going in on a two or three flat with another couple, so I've forwarded the article to them. I agree it's a great approach, as Jeannie and I considered it too until we bit the bullet on a single-family fixer-upper instead.

Greg said...

Yes, for me as well, it is much more than an investment, but you probably knew that about me. Reading that article was interesting. Even though I know only a little about you, it seemed to me as if it was written about you and Steve.

The older houses around here that are restored nicely always sell for more, and more quickly, than the houses that are slapped together remodels. It makes sense to do it right.

What kind of house is this he said, where I have come to roam. It's not a house said Judas Priest, it's not a house it's a home.

Bob Dylan
"The Ballad of Frankie Lee & Judas Priest"

Jane said...

I feel the same way about where I live - it's not an investment but a HOME, and I have a commitment to do justice to the home and neighborhood while I inhabit the space. By the way, love your house! And thanks for your supportive comments.

Patricia W said...

When we visited Chicago in March I fell in love with the two-flats that were all over but had already decided on Michigan. Besides, I don't think I could have afforded it!! I think buying real estate anywhere is a great idea. I bought my house here in 1993 and the value has more than doubled. Renting is the biggest mistake anyone can make. Most who continue to rent are afraid of the responsibility of upkeep; they don't understand that even with the headache of maintenance, they are making the best investment of their lives. Like you I'm hoping to grow old at my new old house. It was a 2-unit when I bought it and maybe when I retire, I will convert it back for income in my.

Gary said...

That same house in the City of Dayton would be $80,000 or even less. I tell you, sell the flat and retire to Dayton. It's not as windy (unless I eat beans) and certainly not as cold and so you'll lose an hour getting here but......

M said...

I was planning on writing a post referencing that Trib article today as well! Maybe I still will. It echoed many of the reasons we went with a two-flat, right down to the bit about couples buying masonry two-flats to convert to single familiy homes (our intention down the road). There is a strange disconnect in the single family home market in the city now. I don't know how it will play out, but the new single family homes seem way overpriced versus the fixer-upper two-flat alternative. Your concerns about condo owners resonate with me as well. I know some and talk with them periodically about upcoming improvements in neighborhood and their response is always something like "I hope it's in by next year, before I sell". Their target ownership time seems to be in the 2-3 year range, hardly more than that of a renter, if at all. They also seem to be more car-oriented, driving in and out of their garages without really lingering in the yard like house-dwelling neighbors. This is in contrast to apartment-dwellers who either seem to walk more or park on the street and have at least the walk-by hello level of interaction with neighbors. I'm wondering how these condo buildings will age...