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Buying a house in a sellers market- rant

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Buying a house in a sellers market- rant

Old 05-15-2017, 10:56 AM
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Default Buying a house in a sellers market- rant

I'm moving to Joint Base Lewis-McChord (near Tacoma, WA) this summer and flew up there with the family this weekend to look for a house. Calling it a sellers market is an understatement! The average home up there is selling within 7 days for $30k over asking. I've lived in NJ,VA,KY,TX,KS and MS. These houses are NOT worth what they're selling for! Also, since the market is so hot, renting is not an option as a lot of owners are putting their rentals for sale and cashing out. This has put more pressure on buyers as these military renters are now struggling to find another rental or buy. On-base housing is not an option since there are only enough on-base houses for <20% of Soldiers assigned to the base and the housing available is not acceptable to the wife and me.

On top of the above, I also have to find a house within a 20 mile radius of the base. The geography of the area, and the way the base is situated, makes I-5 the ONLY main road going north/south in the area. This bottleneck creates a daily traffic nightmare where living 20 miles from the base means a 45min commute to/from work every day at best.

We found a house we REALLY liked listed for $317k. I offered $330k and insulated $5k since I'm positive the house won't appraise for $330k. STILL did not get the house. We liked it because it was one of the only houses we saw with a real yard. Backyards in this region are little more than dog runs, and I'm used to .5-1 acre yards. We're putting an offer in today on our second choice so we'll see how that goes.

The worst part of all this is I know I'm buying into the peak of the market. Houses cannot appreciate much more before you start pricing out the military. I'm not talking enlisted here...I'm talking field grade officers. Once that happens, a large percentage of your buyers in this area disappear. It also makes renting out the house difficult, as I would need to rent it for my mortgage. The ridiculous closing prices of these houses means that rent in this area will be stratospheric in 3-5 years when the current owners put their houses on the rental market priced to cover their monthly mortgage payment.

Sorry for the rant. Just frustrated. This will be the 6th house I've bought or rented and I've never seen a market like this.
Old 05-15-2017, 11:13 AM
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It sucks no doubt.
Think long and hard about what is or isn't acceptable to you and your wife.

Buying a house you don't intend to keep at a price you begrudge is a bad formula.
Old 05-15-2017, 11:25 AM
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I would suck up an apartment for a few years and bank the cash, in a year the bottom may fall out and you can buy whatever you want.
Old 05-15-2017, 11:27 AM
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I think there are still some "reasonably" priced options in the Steilacoom/Lakewood area. They may be dated, but if it's temporary or you want to flip it while you're there, I'd think you could do okay in the end. You could avoid I-5 in that location too.

Edit: if you play golf, you have to get up to Chambers Bay. If not, at least go up there for dinner some evening in the summer. Food's decent and priced accordingly, but the view is top-notch.
Old 05-15-2017, 11:36 AM
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Rent

Buying a house that is a bad deal is a bad idea
Old 05-15-2017, 11:38 AM
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OP, with regards to your question, I'm as worthless as "Tits on a boar", but I do want to say thank you for your service to this great nation!

Good luck and God bless!
Old 05-15-2017, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Kenny Powers View Post
I think there are still some "reasonably" priced options in the Steilacoom/Lakewood area.
We loved Steilacoom. Unfortunately, nothing (literally nothing) listed right now in my price range that isn't a shack. The type of house we're used to sells for $500k+ in that town.

Originally Posted by Kenny Powers View Post
if you play golf, you have to get up to Chambers Bay. If not, at least go up there for dinner some evening in the summer. Food's decent and priced accordingly, but the view is top-notch.
Will definitely check it out. Haven't played in two years due to deployments/field training (doesn't help my Callaway's were stolen last year from my house in El Paso). Looking forward to buying new clubs and getting back out on the courses.

Originally Posted by SRQMynatt View Post
I would suck up an apartment for a few years and bank the cash, in a year the bottom may fall out and you can buy whatever you want.
I don't think I'd survive living in an apartment with my wife, 3yr old son, 9mo old son, 2 cats, and dog.

Originally Posted by Elusive View Post
Rent. Buying a house that is a bad deal is a bad idea
I agree, and that's the problem. I know buying is a bad decision, but I HAVE to provide somewhere for my family to live. On-base is definitely not an option. Renting, as of now, is not really an option. A LOT of renters are being thrown out after their leases come due since owners want to sell. We looked at 2yr rentals but everything remotely decent is insanely expensive and no pets. No pets doesn't work for us. Also, the insecurity of year-to-year up there is a concern. I really don't want to live knowing I might have to move again in a year. That leaves buying and it's just as unattractive as the other options. Never seen anything like this in the six other duty stations I've been at. This is a problem with no attractive solution, hence the rant.

Originally Posted by spraynet 1 View Post
OP, with regards to your question, I'm as worthless as "Tits on a boar", but I do want to say thank you for your service to this great nation!

Good luck and God bless!
Thank you.
Old 05-15-2017, 12:08 PM
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No...Thank You!!!
Hope and pray everything falls into place for you and your bride.

Now, seriously 45 minutes to go 20 miles!!!!!! Holy crap.
Old 05-15-2017, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by spraynet 1 View Post
No...Thank You!!!
Hope and pray everything falls into place for you and your bride.

Now, seriously 45 minutes to go 20 miles!!!!!! Holy crap.
Hell,It takes me 50 mins. to 1 hour and 10 mins. to get Home...29 freakin' miles!!...And You better be on your Toes 110% of the time..Every week I see at least 3 rear end collisions!
Old 05-15-2017, 01:04 PM
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If you have a deadline, check out the local RV parks. Many of them own a few units and you could take one until your search works out.

Good luck!
Old 05-15-2017, 01:25 PM
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Just curious here, and I'm not in the military so this will be pretty ignorant, but aren't there "free" options for you to live on the base? Shouldn't BAH cover something slightly above "shack" level in a particular locality?
Old 05-15-2017, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Kenny Powers View Post
Just curious here, and I'm not in the military so this will be pretty ignorant, but aren't there "free" options for you to live on the base? Shouldn't BAH cover something slightly above "shack" level in a particular locality?
Like everything military, the answer is yes and no. You get BAH and use it for housing. No military base has enough housing for 100% of assigned Soldiers. My new base can house less than 20% of assigned Soldiers. Also, most on-base housing is geared toward enlisted. As an officer, there are fewer housing options on base for my rank. Right now, the earliest I could get into a house on base is SEP. I move there in JUL. Also, the only thing available in SEP is a 1400 square foot duplex without a yard. When you live on base, you pay your entire BAH regardless of the house size. A 1400 square foot duplex is not worth what I make in BAH. That is why a lot of officers live off-base.

As for the "shack" comment, I didn't mean I couldn't afford anything better. That particular town only has low end or high end homes available at this particular moment. It's a small (really nice) town on the Puget Sound and good homes in the $300k range don't come on the market often there. For example, the only home for sale in that town right now in the $300k range is a 2 bed/1 bath/625 square foot (yes, 625) house for $320,000.
Old 05-15-2017, 02:17 PM
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I have some friends trying to buy a house in the Keys, which is what I thought of when you said seller's market. I hope they can find something they like and can pay for. I envied the folks across the street in South Miami when I was a kid, they had a nice place at MM 74 in the Keys and let us borrow it for a few days.
Old 05-15-2017, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Tread_Head57 View Post
Like everything military, the answer is yes and no. You get BAH and use it for housing. No military base has enough housing for 100% of assigned Soldiers. My new base can house less than 20% of assigned Soldiers. Also, most on-base housing is geared toward enlisted. As an officer, there are fewer housing options on base for my rank. Right now, the earliest I could get into a house on base is SEP. I move there in JUL. Also, the only thing available in SEP is a 1400 square foot duplex without a yard. When you live on base, you pay your entire BAH regardless of the house size. A 1400 square foot duplex is not worth what I make in BAH. That is why a lot of officers live off-base.

As for the "shack" comment, I didn't mean I couldn't afford anything better. That particular town only has low end or high end homes available at this particular moment. It's a small (really nice) town on the Puget Sound and good homes in the $300k range don't come on the market often there. For example, the only home for sale in that town right now in the $300k range is a 2 bed/1 bath/625 square foot (yes, 625) house for $320,000.

That's a lot of $$/sq ft!
Old 05-15-2017, 02:34 PM
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to the OP, I would suggest you find the house with the most warts. The one that obviously is going to bring the least interest. The best fixer upper you can. That may reduce your buy in exposure and future sweat equity could balance you out if the market slides a bit.

In other words, not the time to look for the dream home.
Old 05-15-2017, 02:37 PM
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although this is pretty sick.

http://www.washingtonwaterfronts.com...nnon-wa-98320/
Old 05-15-2017, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by SRQMynatt View Post
I would suck up an apartment for a few years and bank the cash, in a year the bottom may fall out and you can buy whatever you want.
In my area rentals have increased 110% in two years. This was a perfect option but no longer. I'm talking blue collar neighborhoods not high end beachy locations.
Old 05-15-2017, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by STEELA View Post
Nice, I could live there.
Old 05-15-2017, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Kamper View Post
If you have a deadline, check out the local RV parks. Many of them own a few units and you could take one until your search works out.

Good luck!
This is what I was thinking
Old 05-15-2017, 03:40 PM
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[QUOTE=Tread_Head57;10272169 These houses are NOT worth what they're selling for! [/QUOTE]

I understand your frustration, but the quoted comment does not make sense.

The houses might not be worth it to you, but the houses are worth exactly what they sell for at that moment in time.

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