Housing surprises and making better decisions

All the different ways of solving the shelter problem. To be static or mobile? Roots, legs, or wheels?
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Re: Housing surprises and making better decisions

Post by Colibri »

I can't recall if this was mentioned or not but you may want to check the zoning of adjacent properties in addition to your own.
Is there any secondary usage that would allow someone to have a B&B next door ?
Or is the single dwelling land parcel across from you is in fact zoned multifamily ?
A friend bought land and built a house in a new single family development just to learn a few years later that the larger parcel behind them would actually allowed for up to 3 living units ( different zoning from previous era ). The son of the older guy living on that property is just waiting for his dad to move out to bulldoze the small house there and develop the land.

IOW, can you wake up with a casino next door ?

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Re: Housing surprises and making better decisions

Post by Henry »


That's an excellent point. It can happen anywhere. There are developers vulturing wealthy communities to identify properties that can be developed into low income units. It happened with Rosie O'Donnell's house in NJ. If you move to a rural area meet with your land use board to understand neighboring parcels.

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Re: Housing surprises and making better decisions

Post by grundomatic »

I'm going to add galvanized steel plumbing to the list of things to look for. A place with outdated electric won't pass inspection for a mortgage, but old plumbing will.

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Re: Housing surprises and making better decisions

Post by conwy »

Personally I've had to combine approaches: exploring / check-listing, moving frequently / iteration, mitigating problems and sometimes just waiting until the problem people/situation passed.

Exploring - I try to scout the neighbourhood on foot in advance a few times at various times of day/night, just get a general feeling for who lives there.
My checklist:
- No obvious signs of heavy crime, e.g. lots of graffiti, broken glass, needles. A few here & there are Ok though, just not lots.
- Not heavy police presence, but a police car here & there is fairly normal
- No very loud constant noise from people or traffic, occasional is Ok
- Within 15-20 min walk of a major transport hub but not immediately close to that hub (certain kinds of crime can tend to happen very close to major train or bus stations, but farther away is less likely)
- Home/apartment itself has solid doors that lock from inside
- Public area is well maintained - e.g. grass strips are mowed, streets are swept, gardens are maintained. These are signs of owner-occupiers and/or high council tax revenues, indicating that people are invested in the area and have high incomes

Moving frequently - this is where I think minimalism is best for city dwellers. Life's more enjoyable when you can easily move to a better situation than if you have every tool/gadget one could want but are stuck in an unpleasant environment.

Mitigating problems - slightly contradictory to minimalism, but having, e.g., some good noise cancelling gear can do wonders for at least mitigating noisy neighbours. My current neighbours make a lot of unintentional noise; the place is just very poorly sound-proofed, so I often hear footsteps, doors opening/closing, dog barking, conversations, etc. My best solution so far (found via Reddit) is: construction-grade earmuffs worn over Bose QC Earbuds playing continuous "pink noise" or calming ambience at a low volume.

Waiting - some problems are just temporary, though as mentioned, not necessarily all (e.g. noisy short-term AirBnB rentals that constantly turn over). If there's an isolated problem, e.g. just one noisy neighbour/family, waiting can be a good option. If it's a more systemic problem, e.g. many noisy neighbours, it's probably better to move sooner rather than later.

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