Going home again?


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I first moved to my present city in 1990 when the Army reassigned my dad to the local military base. 

As we moved over Winter Break, we didn't have a lot of time and so a relative agreed to put us up for the rest of the school year. My parents used the time to find a house, and we found a nice rental property about a mile or so away from where we already were. Not only was it a nice neighborhood, it meant that my brothers and I could stay in the same schools. The house itself had an odd layout (for example, since it was on an intersection, the front door faced one street but the garage another), and we had to install drainage to keep it from flooding, but there were two massive pear trees in the back yard that kept us in fresh fruit. 

About two years later, however, we were informed that the landlord was coming back and so we had to vacate. Thus, we moved to our present house on the other end of town.

I drive past the old house when I'm running my delivery route, and noticed that after what seemed like years of being empty it was now being cleaned up and repaired. Sure enough, a for sale sign finally went up in the front yard. 

A sense of nostalgia caused me to look up the online real estate listings and I did a double-take.

Yes, they removed a wall that was in an awkward location, a wall I honestly thought was structural. 

...But the bathrooms and the kitchen were the exact same as they'd been when we lived there 30 years ago, barring the additional 30 years' wear and tear. 

Yet despite this the listing was for $135,500 and there was a tag reading "sale pending". 

Either the housing market in my part of Texas is getting super hot right now, or something screwy is going on. 

 

Anyone else have any such encounters regarding houses they once lived in?

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1 hour ago, Vort said:

How big is the house? $135,500 sounds dirt cheap to my Seattle ears.

Me too.  We bought in Lehi, Utah  for $240K in 2012 and is now Zillowing at $646K.  

But as for the Texas house:  I’d pull the the permits on the renovation project.  Just because the wall was structural, doesn’t mean some chucklehead wouldn’t go ahead and knock it out . . . or that the house couldn’t seem fine for a few years before one day randomly collapsing under its own weight.  

Edited by Just_A_Guy
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Looking through Zillow, I see plenty of properties available between 120-150k.  I'm as surprised as any.

My dad's house in Salt Lake that we sold in 2002, was recently sold for twice as much as we sold it for.

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16 hours ago, Vort said:

How big is the house? $135,500 sounds dirt cheap to my Seattle ears.

In my area, a house that size in that condition would normally only go for $85K at most because of where it's located. 

The housing market has gotten so hot they were asking an extra $50K for it. 

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2 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

My dad's house in Salt Lake that we sold in 2002, was recently sold for twice as much as we sold it for.

Our house in So. Utah County would sell for 3x to 4x what we paid for it in 2002 (according to zillow).

What surprises me is how different it is around the country. My family has got a kind of habit (that often feeds a dissatisfaction with our current residence) of looking at other housing markets and finding large, cheap houses in various parts of the country. One day it's a 7bed 7bath house in Michigan somewhere for 150k, or something similar in No Carolina or even in Texas. The Utah (and much of the western US) housing market seems so overpriced right now, but I can't explain with my limited understanding in economics why houses are so much cheaper elsewhere in the country.

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1 hour ago, MrShorty said:

Our house in So. Utah County would sell for 3x to 4x what we paid for it in 2002 (according to zillow).

What surprises me is how different it is around the country. My family has got a kind of habit (that often feeds a dissatisfaction with our current residence) of looking at other housing markets and finding large, cheap houses in various parts of the country. One day it's a 7bed 7bath house in Michigan somewhere for 150k, or something similar in No Carolina or even in Texas. The Utah (and much of the western US) housing market seems so overpriced right now, but I can't explain with my limited understanding in economics why houses are so much cheaper elsewhere in the country.

It's the local economies. 

For example, I live in Central Texas. 

Find Austin on a map, follow I-35 north until you hit Belton, then follow I-14 / US Highway 190 west until you get to Fort Hood. That's the part of the state I live in.

Land here has traditionally been quite cheap, and as a result housing is plentiful. Thus, there were periods where it was actually cheaper to *buy* than rent, with military service members using local real estate companies as property managers for their homes while they were deployed abroad or reassigned elsewhere. This has helped to keep the overall cost-of-living down. 

Not only that, remember Fort Hood. A rather large chunk of the people who live and work here are tied to the base in some fashion. They could be actual military service members (in which case they can seek on-base housing instead of living in the city), civilians who work for the military in some fashion (such as clerks or working at an on-base eatery), retirees, or private companies who have contracts to support the military. This means local wages are often tethered to Uncle Sam's wallet, and so anyone who seeks to charge what people on military wages can't afford is going to be in trouble sooner rather than later if they don't have product that is affordable. 

For example, if you were to look around at the vehicles everyone drives, you'll see that people tend to have vehicles like the Kia Soul, Dodge Charger, Toyota Tacoma, and Chevy Suburban. "Luxury" brands like Cadillac and Lexus are rare, but not unheard of. If you're a young hotshot you're likely driving a Dodge Challenger, although you might find yourself up against the occasional Chevy Camaro, Chevy Corvette, or Nissan 370Z depending upon which neighborhood you blunder into. 

I haven't seen a Lamborghini around here in over a decade, and the only Porsche I'm aware of is a vintage number from the 80s someone keeps for car shows. 

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Every week, my wife wants more and more to move out of Colorado and into Texas.  We don't mind a 30-45 minute commute into Austin, can we get a chunk of that sweet sweet local low cost of living stuff?

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25 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Every week, my wife wants more and more to move out of Colorado and into Texas.  We don't mind a 30-45 minute commute into Austin, can we get a chunk of that sweet sweet local low cost of living stuff?

30 to 45? 

Double that.

Although there are three ways to get to Austin from here, two of them are physically dangerous if you don't know what you're doing and/or there's inclement weather. So most everyone takes I-35, causing it to be jammed. 

That being said, depending upon what kind of work you're doing and what job skills you have, you might find something in this area anyway. While the powers-that-be in Copperas Cove *insist* upon keeping Cove as a bedroom community (I'll believe that they're serious about the Hills shopping center when I see them break ground...), Killeen, Harker Heights, Belton, and Gatesville are all plowing ahead on expansion, with Belton actually now hosting its own Comic Con each August. 

Failing this, you've also got Temple and Waco to the northeast, both of which are major cities in their own right. 

Focus on what job listings you can find for your career field, and that'll tell you where it'd be best to set up camp, especially with everyone from California and New York coming in & driving up housing prices.

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3 minutes ago, Ironhold said:

Failing this, you've also got Temple and Waco to the northeast, both of which are major cities in their own right. 

We need a temple in Temple. That would just be too appropriate.

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For those who are thinking of moving to my part of Texas but working in Austin, there are three primary ways to get there - 

One way is to take Farm-To-Market Road 2657 west of Copperas Cove and ride it south to the city of Burnet, where you catch a state highway through to the heart of Austin. However, there's a part of 2657 where you go down a hillside and *immediately* wind up on a bridge over a valley. If your car isn't up to snuff, you're not paying attention, or the road is slick, you're going over the railing. Also, the portion of the state highway that runs through Austin has been converted into a toll road. 

Another way is to take State Highway 195 from Killeen south through Ding Dong & Florence before winding up at Georgetown. But parts of that route are so dangerous, especially at night, that Fort Hood once forbade its soldiers from taking that route. This is due to the numerous blind curves and elevation changes once you get south of Florence. 

Hence most people taking I-14 / US 190 to Belton, then taking I-35 south to Austin. It's a little more out of the way and is often crowded, but it's safer.

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2 minutes ago, Vort said:

We need a temple in Temple. That would just be too appropriate.

We currently have one in San Antonio (about an hour south of Austin, or 3 hours from where I live), and one's been announced for Austin. 

Fort Hood owns so much land, and there's so much in the way of poor urban planning in the area, that it's unlikely we'll have a temple any closer than that unless the church convinces a rancher to sell land. 

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1 hour ago, Ironhold said:

We currently have one in San Antonio.

Mu wife and I spent our recent anniversary in San An.  We Toured the Alamo and did a sealing session at the temple.

The temple itself seemed to be similar to the Ft Collins temple in Colorado.  But the grounds were incredible.  I wanted our kids to get sealed there.  But a three hour drive would be too far for so many people.

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20 hours ago, Carborendum said:

Mu wife and I spent our recent anniversary in San An.  We Toured the Alamo and did a sealing session at the temple.

The temple itself seemed to be similar to the Ft Collins temple in Colorado.  But the grounds were incredible.  I wanted our kids to get sealed there.  But a three hour drive would be too far for so many people.

Bear in mind that the temple was built *first*. 

Once the roads were installed, the church moved in, bought the site, and started construction.

Everything you see surrounding the temple came *after* the temple was completed. 

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On 5/31/2022 at 2:23 PM, Ironhold said:

It's the local economies. 

But what about the economies that make this kind of difference?

I recall a few years ago (as many in my family were in various locations around Texas) looking at house prices in Texas compared to Utah. At that time, what I noticed was that, while the official "listing" price was a bit lower than in Utah, the overall mortgage payment (after insurance and property tax) wasn't that different (mostly due to Texas's higher property tax rates that offset the absence of any income tax). My thinking then was that the lower "valuations" were at least in part because people needed more for taxes than I did.

Now, though, as house prices around here climb wildly, I cannot understand what Utah (and Idaho and other states here in the west) have that other places in the country do not that drives such high prices (mostly because demand is very high). Some say that it is driven by Californians who are able to buy bigger houses here than they leave behind in Ca, but then why not consider other places farther east where you can get even more house for the money than you can in some of our western states? Some say it is because they want to stay in the west, but I don't know.

Maybe there's another tax incentive to buy an expensive house. As I understand it, if I sell my house (and I would make a sizeable profit compared to what I payed for it), and fail to reinvest all of that money in another house, then I would be subject to income tax on the profits from selling my house.

If it isn't obvious, I have no idea what I am talking about, but it seems like among the economic forces at play should be some kind of, "I can buy house x in Utah for 0.5 million or the same house in Tx for 0.25 million. I should buy the house in Tx rather than Ut." kind of logic that should lower demand in highly expensive states and increase demand in lower cost states. But that doesn't seem to be happening, so what other economic considerations are driving this? Jobs? Are we really saying that economies of these places are so depressed that no one can find work? Is it a tax burden issue? Other elements in the cost of living that offset the savings in housing costs? I agree it's about the local economies, but what?

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1 hour ago, MrShorty said:

But what about the economies that make this kind of difference?

I recall a few years ago (as many in my family were in various locations around Texas) looking at house prices in Texas compared to Utah. At that time, what I noticed was that, while the official "listing" price was a bit lower than in Utah, the overall mortgage payment (after insurance and property tax) wasn't that different (mostly due to Texas's higher property tax rates that offset the absence of any income tax). My thinking then was that the lower "valuations" were at least in part because people needed more for taxes than I did.

Now, though, as house prices around here climb wildly, I cannot understand what Utah (and Idaho and other states here in the west) have that other places in the country do not that drives such high prices (mostly because demand is very high). Some say that it is driven by Californians who are able to buy bigger houses here than they leave behind in Ca, but then why not consider other places farther east where you can get even more house for the money than you can in some of our western states? Some say it is because they want to stay in the west, but I don't know.

Maybe there's another tax incentive to buy an expensive house. As I understand it, if I sell my house (and I would make a sizeable profit compared to what I payed for it), and fail to reinvest all of that money in another house, then I would be subject to income tax on the profits from selling my house.

If it isn't obvious, I have no idea what I am talking about, but it seems like among the economic forces at play should be some kind of, "I can buy house x in Utah for 0.5 million or the same house in Tx for 0.25 million. I should buy the house in Tx rather than Ut." kind of logic that should lower demand in highly expensive states and increase demand in lower cost states. But that doesn't seem to be happening, so what other economic considerations are driving this? Jobs? Are we really saying that economies of these places are so depressed that no one can find work? Is it a tax burden issue? Other elements in the cost of living that offset the savings in housing costs? I agree it's about the local economies, but what?

Remember that the market is a thing of beauty. If you price something too high, no one will buy it. If you price it too low, it gets eaten up. 
 

To oversimplify real estate, it’s all about supply and demand. If a lot of people want to live in a certain area, the value goes up. If no one wants to live there, the value goes down. It’s that simple. 
 

I love real estate markets (and capitalism in general) because it can’t lie to you. No matter what your personal feelings are, if people like it, you can’t keep then away. If people don’t like it, there’s nothing you can do to get them to buy. Simple as that. Why do people like Amazon? Because it works. Why do people have a smartphone in their pocket? Because they work. 

Edited by LDSGator
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1 hour ago, MrShorty said:

But what about the economies that make this kind of difference?

I recall a few years ago (as many in my family were in various locations around Texas) looking at house prices in Texas compared to Utah. At that time, what I noticed was that, while the official "listing" price was a bit lower than in Utah, the overall mortgage payment (after insurance and property tax) wasn't that different (mostly due to Texas's higher property tax rates that offset the absence of any income tax). My thinking then was that the lower "valuations" were at least in part because people needed more for taxes than I did.

Now, though, as house prices around here climb wildly, I cannot understand what Utah (and Idaho and other states here in the west) have that other places in the country do not that drives such high prices (mostly because demand is very high). Some say that it is driven by Californians who are able to buy bigger houses here than they leave behind in Ca, but then why not consider other places farther east where you can get even more house for the money than you can in some of our western states? Some say it is because they want to stay in the west, but I don't know.

Maybe there's another tax incentive to buy an expensive house. As I understand it, if I sell my house (and I would make a sizeable profit compared to what I payed for it), and fail to reinvest all of that money in another house, then I would be subject to income tax on the profits from selling my house.

If it isn't obvious, I have no idea what I am talking about, but it seems like among the economic forces at play should be some kind of, "I can buy house x in Utah for 0.5 million or the same house in Tx for 0.25 million. I should buy the house in Tx rather than Ut." kind of logic that should lower demand in highly expensive states and increase demand in lower cost states. But that doesn't seem to be happening, so what other economic considerations are driving this? Jobs? Are we really saying that economies of these places are so depressed that no one can find work? Is it a tax burden issue? Other elements in the cost of living that offset the savings in housing costs? I agree it's about the local economies, but what?

For a lot of the folks I knew in CA who later emigrated—it’s the Church itself that brings ‘em to Utah.

And for those who have no ideological/religious connection to Utah:  there’s still the fact that the Mormon Corridor from Idaho to Arizona is about as far east as you can move from the west coast, and still remain within a day’s drive of the family members you left behind you back in California.  In the summer, I can start driving at sunrise and be at my folks’ house by sunset—no overnights, no motels, and maybe without even switching drivers.  I couldn’t do that from Indiana (where I considered going to law school and still sort of regret not enrolling), or Texas, or even Colorado; but I can do it from Utah.

Edited by Just_A_Guy
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6 hours ago, Ironhold said:

Bear in mind that the temple was built *first*. 

Once the roads were installed, the church moved in, bought the site, and started construction.

Everything you see surrounding the temple came *after* the temple was completed. 

I'm not sure what you're pointing out.

I actually wasn't impressed with the stuff around the area.  It was a little nicer than the downtown area we were staying in (closer to the Alamo) that's for certain.  But the Temple grounds themselves were what I was impressed with.  The fact that it was on top of the hill gave it a 360 degree view of the entire area... which is pretty nice to have.  But it would have been a pretty view if it were unimproved as well.  :dontknow:

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2 hours ago, MrShorty said:

But what about the economies that make this kind of difference?

The economy is almost always booming in Texas.  It is almost always the last place to go into a recession, and the first to come out of a recession.  They do a LOT of things to be very business friendly.  And that means more jobs.  And those jobs often pay more than elsewhere, especially when you take into account the cost of living.

I would make the same salary in CA as in TX.  But no income tax, lower cost of living, lower sales tax, about the same property tax, other tax benefits (like lower transportation tax) better overall community.  The only downside is the weather isn't as nice in TX.

Quote

I recall a few years ago (as many in my family were in various locations around Texas) looking at house prices in Texas compared to Utah. At that time, what I noticed was that, while the official "listing" price was a bit lower than in Utah, the overall mortgage payment (after insurance and property tax) wasn't that different (mostly due to Texas's higher property tax rates that offset the absence of any income tax).

The property tax in Texas is not as high as one might think when considering we have no state income tax.  For most people, the lack of income tax balances out the property tax.  And for some reason Utah is weird when it comes to income tax.  I paid more income tax in Utah than I did in California (back when CA was actually tolerable).

Quote

Maybe there's another tax incentive to buy an expensive house. As I understand it, if I sell my house (and I would make a sizeable profit compared to what I payed for it), and fail to reinvest all of that money in another house, then I would be subject to income tax on the profits from selling my house.

You most likely don't have to pay taxes on the sale of your house.  As long as you live in your home for 2 out of the previous 5 years, you get a $250,000 deduction (exemption) from the sale of your house.  If you're married filing jointly, you can get a $500,000 deduction (in most states due to community property laws).

Edited by Carborendum
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15 hours ago, Carborendum said:

I'm not sure what you're pointing out.

I actually wasn't impressed with the stuff around the area.  It was a little nicer than the downtown area we were staying in (closer to the Alamo) that's for certain.  But the Temple grounds themselves were what I was impressed with.  The fact that it was on top of the hill gave it a 360 degree view of the entire area... which is pretty nice to have.  But it would have been a pretty view if it were unimproved as well.  :dontknow:

The church didn't decide to plunk it down in the middle of a busy district; the busy district came to the temple.

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