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Apartment fees when renting a new place
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shifuimam
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Jul 23, 2009, 09:16 PM
 
We may be moving to the DC metro area (fingers crossed) and have been looking at apartments in the Arlington/Alexandria area of northern Virginia. Nearly every place we visited demands these astronomical "administrative fees" that are entirely nonrefundable - sometimes upwards of $500+, not to mention enormous nonrefundable pet deposits of $100 or $200, in addition to high rent add-ons for pets (like $75 per cat, which adds up when you have three).

We found a place that, amazingly, has no administrative fee, no pet deposit, and no monthly pet rent. Seems like that's way, way out of the norm.

Is this whole "administrative fee" thing common in a lot of metro areas in the United States? In all my apartment looking in Indianapolis, I never encountered such a thing - the only fee I had to pay when I signed my lease was a low, 100%-refundable security deposit ($300 for the luxury high-rise I lived in from 2006-2008). Pet rents were never terribly high, either - maybe a $200 pet deposit, and $15 a month extra on the rent (or nothing extra at all).
     
Chuckit
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Jul 23, 2009, 09:37 PM
 
Most places around here won't even give you the option of paying a fee to have pets, so that sounds uncommonly generous to me.
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Jul 23, 2009, 09:41 PM
 
I've always rented from individuals, so I've never really experienced this. When I have looked in large buildings, though, it always seemed that the application fee was more like $50-$100 and the only deposit was the usual one month's rent. I can't comment on the pet thing.

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shifuimam  (op)
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Jul 23, 2009, 09:43 PM
 
The "administrative fee" is what gets me.

Application fees everywhere were $30-$40. This is understandable; they have to pay for your credit check and stuff, so they may as well pass on the cost to you. But $400 in non-refundable administrative fees seems pretty suspicious to me.
     
Paco500
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Jul 24, 2009, 06:51 AM
 
I lived in the DC area most of my life and never paid those fees. I would guess anything in this climate is negotiable though- if you see a place you like that has silly fees, I'd make an offer- can't hurt.

I would expect at least an additional pet deposit and perhaps an additional cleaning fee upon leaving.

If you are looking in Alex/Arlington, I wouldn't settle on a place until you visited. It can go from lovely to war zone pretty quickly.

I would assume you are getting a good pay increase to move, cost-of-living is going to be much higher than indy.

Last thought, unless you are hung up on living in that area, I'd look a bit farther afield. Better prices and nicer areas can be found not much further out.
     
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Jul 24, 2009, 08:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by Paco500 View Post
Last thought, unless you are hung up on living in that area, I'd look a bit farther afield. Better prices and nicer areas can be found not much further out.
There's good and bad everywhere. I'd be more concerned with the commute. Traffic in metro DC is miserable.

Did you consider the District? I lived in Northern Virginia for many years before moving to the District (Capitol HIll) and loved it. Living in the city isn't for everyone but it's worth considering.
     
shifuimam  (op)
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Jul 24, 2009, 08:50 AM
 
We found the place we want (if the job happens) - it's a bit south of DC, by the Landmark Mall; it's called London Park Towers. The area doesn't seem bad, and the apartments were very nice - we ran into a resident in the elevator who told us he'd been living there for seven years. Traffic isn't a huge concern; there's a Metro station 1.5 miles from the building, and the Dash has a route that runs right by the building and takes you to the Metro station.

We visited several places while we were out there on Wednesday. Most refused to allow three pets, and I'm not real keen on kicking one of my cats out. The pet rents were generally astronomical as well. I really like big metro areas, but the kind of place I'd want to rent right downtown is just too pricey - our limit is about $1600/mo at this point, and we really need two bedrooms.

We're pretty well set on this place, I think - it has good amenities (pretty large gym, although it's not open 24/7, a pool with lifeguard, and a business center with free copy/fax/print), and the square footage seems pretty great for the monthly rent (1000 sq ft 2BR/2BA for $1650 month, utilities included).

It all depends on the job offer - if he gets it, and what the salary offer is. I'm expecting to be able to find work relatively quickly; I've found a load of job opportunities in the DC Metro area for web development.

We're just going to have to wait and see.
     
Mrjinglesusa
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Jul 24, 2009, 12:36 PM
 
http://www.apartmentratings.com/rate...rk-Towers.html

Only 48% recommend it. That seems pretty low. Also, several reviewers reported mice, cockroach, etc. infestations. Read the comments in the reviews for other renters reporting the same problems.

The Landmark area isn't BAD, but it's also not one of the nicest areas to live in NOVA. IF I were looking for an apartment in the DC Metro area, Landmark is NOT one of the places I would consider.
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shifuimam  (op)
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Jul 24, 2009, 01:04 PM
 
I take apartmentrating.com's info pretty lightly - the last place I lived in was only 36% recommended, and I loved it. Pest infestations are usually a result of cleanliness problems; being on the sixteenth floor I don't think there will be much of an issue. Not to mention the fact that whiners are always the loudest on the Internet, and the places that get 75% recommended or higher are way, way out of our price range.

We looked at a lot of different places with the boyfriend's friend, who's lived in the DC area for about four years now. We weren't just going into it blindly.

And, to be honest, I'm not really looking for recommendations on a place - we've already decided what we're looking for and what we want, and London Park really fits the bill. I was just curious to see if these huge "administrative fees" were common in metro areas in the United States.
     
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Jul 24, 2009, 01:25 PM
 
Most things in life are negotiable (even when people say they aren't). If they have vacancies and you have money, you can get them to move in your direction. It's difficult to get someone to negotiate in a theoretical discussion, but when it is made apparent that you're going to pay immediately or sign immediately, you gain flexibility.
     
Mrjinglesusa
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Jul 24, 2009, 01:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
I take apartmentrating.com's info pretty lightly - the last place I lived in was only 36% recommended, and I loved it. Pest infestations are usually a result of cleanliness problems; being on the sixteenth floor I don't think there will be much of an issue. Not to mention the fact that whiners are always the loudest on the Internet, and the places that get 75% recommended or higher are way, way out of our price range.

We looked at a lot of different places with the boyfriend's friend, who's lived in the DC area for about four years now. We weren't just going into it blindly.

And, to be honest, I'm not really looking for recommendations on a place - we've already decided what we're looking for and what we want, and London Park really fits the bill. I was just curious to see if these huge "administrative fees" were common in metro areas in the United States.
Fair enough. Good luck!
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Demonhood
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Jul 24, 2009, 02:35 PM
 
administrative fees? ha. i won't even look twice at a place that charges application fees. especially in this economy.
     
Chuckit
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Jul 24, 2009, 07:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by Demonhood View Post
administrative fees? ha. i won't even look twice at a place that charges application fees. especially in this economy.
Aren't rentals doing relatively well as owning a home becomes less common?
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turtle777
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Jul 24, 2009, 07:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
Aren't rentals doing relatively well as owning a home becomes less common?
Actually, yes.

The good apartment communities (high class, good amenities, high security, keeping the scum out) will always charge those fees.

It just keeps certain "clientele" away. I'm willing to pay for this.

-t
     
Demonhood
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Jul 24, 2009, 08:18 PM
 
rentals, in my area at least, have been coming down in price for the past 6 months. there is a lot of choice out there. jerking people around with fees and such doesn't get people in your properties.
     
turtle777
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Jul 24, 2009, 08:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by Demonhood View Post
rentals, in my area at least, have been coming down in price for the past 6 months.
Where do you live, if you don't mind sharing ?

I haven't seen rents in Northern Indiana and Chicago come done. At least not in the higher class communities.

-t
     
Chuckit
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Jul 24, 2009, 09:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Demonhood View Post
rentals, in my area at least, have been coming down in price for the past 6 months. there is a lot of choice out there. jerking people around with fees and such doesn't get people in your properties.
Weird. I've been looking at apartments around here for falling prices and haven't seen any real change.
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Jul 24, 2009, 10:06 PM
 
Funny. Cause in Los Angeles, I get my deposit back plus interest at the end of my lease.
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shifuimam  (op)
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Jul 24, 2009, 10:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by hyteckit View Post
Funny. Cause in Los Angeles, I get my deposit back plus interest at the end of my lease.
These aren't security deposits. They're administrative fees.

All three rentals I've inhabited have had security deposits - $200 at the first place, $300 at the luxury high-rise, and $1000 at my current place because the property manager is a douchenozzle. First two were refunded 100%; I haven't moved out of this place yet so I don't know what I'll get back from my deposit.

Security deposits make sense; they withhold some of it if they have to do repairs on the unit due to tenant negligence or abuse. Administrative fees, however, are total BS in my book.
     
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Jul 24, 2009, 11:47 PM
 
I put down a one month's rent deposit at the place I'm moving to next month - $1000.
     
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Jul 24, 2009, 11:54 PM
 
Shouldn't you be looking for one of those nice $45K foreclosure homes in 2009? It's not like they are going to stay that low forever.
     
Shaddim
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Jul 25, 2009, 12:07 AM
 
Rent? In this housing market? Have you lost your mind?

Buy the house you want, keep the pets you want. Rent is for suckers.
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Chuckit
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Jul 25, 2009, 01:05 AM
 
If I had a spare half-mil lying around, I surely would buy the house I want.
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Jul 25, 2009, 01:07 AM
 
At least where I am (New Zealand), companies have to be a registered real-estate agent to change an administration fee (what the seem to call a letting fee over here). From that, I would assume that they have to pay annual fees to continue to be registered. I'm sure they're mostly making a good deal off it, but it does make some small, if annoying, amount of sense.
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turtle777
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Jul 25, 2009, 01:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Rent? In this housing market? Have you lost your mind?

Buy the house you want, keep the pets you want. Rent is for suckers.
Geesh, that's nonsense. Why is this myth still perpetrated ?

Rent isn't by default bad or stupid, and for many people, buying is a money loser.
The days where you automatically make money when buying a house are over.

-t
     
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Jul 25, 2009, 07:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Rent? In this housing market? Have you lost your mind?

Buy the house you want, keep the pets you want. Rent is for suckers.
is this a joke?
     
shifuimam  (op)
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Jul 25, 2009, 07:47 AM
 
If we do move, I'm not buying a house in a city I am new to and know absolutely nothing about. That would be suicide. Not only that, but I'm not buying a house until I have a 20% down payment saved up, and that's going to be a bit longer down the line since I just bought a car last year.
     
davecom
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Jul 26, 2009, 01:14 AM
 
Hey, so my friend from college and I are currently looking to share in Manhatten. For commuting purposes we've figured that anywhere from the Upper West Side up to about 127th St. would work well for us. Any tips? We're seeing both things from Craigs List and things with an agent the next few days (we have a few appointments). Our budget is about $2,600 for a 2 BR. Any ideas about specific areas or things to watch out?

Sorry for hijacking the thread a bit. Also yeah fees seem pretty typical in NYC.
     
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Jul 26, 2009, 01:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by Sealobo View Post
is this a joke?
Nope. I've made just shy of $1.5M (as in profit) from real estate in the last 18 months. You?
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turtle777
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Jul 26, 2009, 01:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Nope. I've made just shy of $1.5M (as in profit) from real estate in the last 18 months. You?
Sure, and that's representative of the US.

Just because you got lucky doesn't mean it's a great deal for everyone.

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Jul 26, 2009, 04:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Sure, and that's representative of the US.

Just because you got lucky doesn't mean it's a great deal for everyone.

-t
Also, whether you have the money to invest and the ability to withstand risk (aka: being absolutely sure you are not ruining yourself) matters on who is going to make the most money in the recuperating economy.
     
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Jul 26, 2009, 05:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Nope. I've made just shy of $1.5M (as in profit) from real estate in the last 18 months. You?
I am only curious; how did you manage to make a profit by OWNING when the housing value kept sliding in the past year?

The apartment i own actually depreciated from $4m to $3m thanks to the financial meltdown. but i don't have a mortgage so i don't really care. it's just a place to live. i don't really invest in property. I own loads of Chinese stocks as investment though.
     
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Jul 30, 2009, 12:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Nope. I've made just shy of $1.5M (as in profit) from real estate in the last 18 months. You?
hey... what's wrong? don't feel like sharing your magical money-making skillz on a sliding property market?
     
Shaddim
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Jul 30, 2009, 05:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by Sealobo View Post
hey... what's wrong? don't feel like sharing your magical money-making skillz on a sliding property market?
Lately I've debated about whether it's even worthwhile to discuss anything of importance around here, since 90% of the people who are frequenting MacNN these days are so obnoxious. You really aren't helping matters with your approach either. Well, against my better judgment I'll give the benefit of the doubt, this time.

About 60% of the profits came from buying a large tract of lakefront land, the owner was in a bad way financially and actually approached me looking for a buyer. He needed cash quickly and I was one of the only people he knew who could help. So, I investigated the property, talked with a couple local developers, and decided to buy it all. After having it divided into 16 attractive lots, I worked with the developers and county in providing highway, utility, and lake access. My initial estimates regarding the project were off, but not by a very large amount, and to my surprise all but one of the lots sold in less than 7 months (the last lot, which was the smallest, finally sold 3 months later to the owner of an adjoining lot). The population boom in this area is amazing, probably due to low cost of living, so our market hasn't been as stagnant as others.

The rest is from home purchases in foreclosure, in decent locations in the area, which I sold below market. Well, all but one small house, my cousin lost his home to foreclosure and I'm letting him live there with his family until they're back on their feet. I'm in no rush, they're great people and if they want to stay there indefinitely I won't lose any sleep over it. Also, I grabbed a small commercial property in a town nearby which sold very quickly, though I didn't really like that it was leveled and is being made into a parking lot for the seafood restaurant next door.

Watch the papers, go to auctions, and most importantly, talk with people about what's available. It can take a little time, and you have to be direct and friendly, but it isn't difficult. I can't say I'll drop everything else I'm doing and go into this full time, I have two other businesses (and my wife has her own business), but it has been a great opportunity.
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shifuimam  (op)
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Jul 30, 2009, 07:51 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
... 90% of the people who are frequenting MacNN these days are so obnoxious.
And you're not?

I'm just sayin', working the real estate market for relatively fast profit isn't for everyone. Nor is buying a home right away, even in the current housing market.

Comments like "rent is for suckers" are pretty obnoxious, no? Rent isn't for suckers. There are plenty of good reasons for renting, and it's that very attitude that has caused the mortgage crisis - people being convinced that buying is always better than renting, then buying homes before they can afford them rather than waiting, renting, and saving up the money until buying is truly a wise choice.
     
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Jul 30, 2009, 08:04 AM
 
Point well made Shaddim.
     
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Jul 30, 2009, 08:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
We found the place we want (if the job happens) - it's a bit south of DC, by the Landmark Mall; it's called London Park Towers. The area doesn't seem bad, and the apartments were very nice - we ran into a resident in the elevator who told us he'd been living there for seven years. Traffic isn't a huge concern; there's a Metro station 1.5 miles from the building, and the Dash has a route that runs right by the building and takes you to the Metro station.
Be prepared for monstrously terrible traffic at that location. Rush hour in DC starts at 6:00AM and runs until 10:30AM with the afternoon rush-hour from about 2:30PM to 7:30PM. You live next to the busiest highway in the metropolitan Washington, DC area. As such, you will need to plan any driving-necessary tasks around avoiding the traffic. (Unless you like spending lots and lots of time in your car in Stop-and-Go traffic.)


Granted, I am biased--You couldn't pay me to move back to DC, and I lived there for 14 years--but there is plenty of research-based evidence pointing out that the DC area has some of the worst traffic congestion in the country.
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shifuimam  (op)
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Jul 30, 2009, 12:35 PM
 
Oh, we're well aware. His friend has told us plenty about it, and we experienced it ourselves while driving around last Wednesday. But thanks for the tip. He'll be taking public transit to and from work most likely, and hopefully I'll be able to do the same.
     
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Jul 30, 2009, 04:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
And you're not?
No, not typically.

I'm just sayin', working the real estate market for relatively fast profit isn't for everyone. Nor is buying a home right away, even in the current housing market.
I can understand, it takes a decent amount of capital to buy for profit. However, it's rather simple finding a home for a very attractive price right now, usually your mortgage payments can be even less than you would be paying for rent. FHA loans are relatively easy to get, have low rates, and first time buyers can qualify for down payment grants (stick with approved programs such as the GAP).

Comments like "rent is for suckers" are pretty obnoxious, no? Rent isn't for suckers. There are plenty of good reasons for renting, and it's that very attitude that has caused the mortgage crisis - people being convinced that buying is always better than renting, then buying homes before they can afford them rather than waiting, renting, and saving up the money until buying is truly a wise choice.
Not really, but I suppose I should have said "rent is for suckers, nomads, and people who have butchered their credit through careless spending". The only good reasons for renting is if you're unsure about where you want to live, or if your credit is so bad that you can't purchase (this doesn't appear to be the case). However, once you've decided where to live, the smart decision would be to look into purchasing and building equity. As I said before, with a little work you can find a decent home for payments that are very close to what you're paying in rent.

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Jul 30, 2009, 04:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Not really, but I suppose I should have said "rent is for suckers, nomads, and people who have butchered their credit through careless spending". The only good reasons for renting is if you're unsure about where you want to live, or if your credit is so bad that you can't purchase (this doesn't appear to be the case).
Exactly how awesome does your credit have to be to get a nothing-down mortgage for $500k with $600 in monthly payments?
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Jul 30, 2009, 04:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
Exactly how awesome does your credit have to be to get a nothing-down mortgage for $500k with $600 in monthly payments?
Obviously those places aren't similar, are they.
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Jul 30, 2009, 04:47 PM
 
They're similar in that one is a reasonably nice apartment and the other is a reasonably nice home or condo.

EDIT: Noticed it says $600. Should have been $900. My bad.
( Last edited by Chuckit; Jul 30, 2009 at 05:04 PM. )
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Jul 30, 2009, 06:19 PM
 
In this area, a $600 apartment is a one bedroom affair with a nice bath, half kitchen, and a 220 sq/ft living room ($900 will get you another bedroom and a living room that's a little larger). However, a $500k home is 4 bedrooms, 3 bath, huge kitchen, and ~5K sq/ft of living space (all of this on ~1 acre of land). Both of these are in the "better" part of town. Quite a difference there.

Knoxville Real Estate : Search: : Real Estate Knoxville: Selling, buying or relocating Knoxville Real Estate online or off
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Jul 30, 2009, 06:33 PM
 
Ugh, those McMansions are hideous Shaddim. I would rather rent a cardboard box than pay off those monstrosities for 30 years.

Just goes to show that money can't buy taste.
     
Shaddim
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Jul 30, 2009, 06:38 PM
 
After a little figuring, around here for a $900 mortgage (30 yrs @4.75% FHA) you can get a 4BR, 2 bath, w/ 2700 sq/ft of living space (on ~1 acre). Yeah, and that's just the ASKING price, likely they'll take 5-10% less.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
Shaddim
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Jul 30, 2009, 06:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
Ugh, those McMansions are hideous Shaddim. I would rather rent a cardboard box than pay off those monstrosities for 30 years.

Just goes to show that money can't buy taste.
Did you look at them? Those aren't "McMansions" they're actually nice natural stone or brick homes.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
Demonhood
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Jul 30, 2009, 06:39 PM
 
geography is a huge part of this equation too.
$600 here will get you...nothing. at least if you're not sharing a room.
$900 might get you a very small studio.
$500k may get you a 2 bedroom fixer-upper (if investors don't snatch it up first). altho, before the bust, all you could get for this was a really nice trailer home.

just trying to show that blanket statements about renting vs owning aren't applicable everywhere.
     
sek929
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Jul 30, 2009, 06:42 PM
 
I looked at a lot of them. I see quite a bit of unnecessary columns, brick faces right next to wood faces, and other assorted horrible design features.

Don't feel bad, my sister went to the second highest rated Architecture School in the country, so I'm very picky when it comes to home design.

Also, 5K sq/ft is more space than anyone without 8 children would need. A big, empty house full of rooms you never use, the very definition of McMansion.
     
Doofy
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Jul 30, 2009, 06:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Lately I've debated about whether it's even worthwhile to discuss anything of importance around here, since 90% 95% of the people who are frequenting MacNN 95% of everywhere these days are so obnoxious unaware.
Fixed.

Too much distortion, not enough gain. Love Mild dislike under will lots of shiny distractions.
Been inclined to wander... off the beaten track.
That's where there's thunder... and the wind shouts back.
     
Doofy
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Jul 30, 2009, 06:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
Also, 5K sq/ft is more space than anyone without 8 children would need. A big, empty house full of rooms you never use, the very definition of McMansion.
Everyone should own a house containing a room which they've never set foot in. It's good for the soul.

5K sq/ft + is where it's at. Home gyms, home studios, etc..
Been inclined to wander... off the beaten track.
That's where there's thunder... and the wind shouts back.
     
 
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