January 7th, 2012

children of dune - leto 1

the time has come to consider a change

So for the first time seriously, I'm thinking of buying a house. By house, I mean, condo, townhome, residence not requiring me to know how to handle a yard and/or drainage. I am doing this under teh assumption certain family-related events occur as they should, but whatever, no matter how I do the math, my better choice is a mortgage over rent, as Austin rent is ridiculous. Scary, but true.

I've worked out three separate budgets, all of which include the slush fund, which is my term for all teh stuff I know I will forget really need to be in a budget, and under the assumption that bills are easy to underestimate. I've also increased my contributions to my stock account, since my one savant quality with finances seems to be choosing decent stocks at a low price. Ive' also started to make allownaces for things that will make my future abode look less serial killer like maybe a table of some kind, but that's under Furniture and in my family, we tend to exchange that a lot, so no worries, and I'll be honest, Child and I are tech; tables mean less than making sure we have enough routers to get wireless in every corner of the place and the place makes adding ethernet hookups easy.

Allowing for that, what precisely should I be looking for as reasonable in things like HOA fees and what they are supposed to accomplish, and for that matter, energy efficiency and what that actually means. In Austin, you can assume it's a good thing, mostly, but good doesn't tell me how I should balance that to mortgage payment.

These things are immutable: property taxes here range from disturbingly low to wtf; you would think there would be like, a reason for that, but sometimes, it really makes no sense. This is actually becoming a breakpoint for me; up to a certain point, all the mortgage payments themselves are within a few hundred dollars of each other, which is fine and well below my cutoff; the property tax issue is a huge problem, because that can be--and is--sometimes more than the mortgage payment itself. And I'm not actually joking about the randomness; even downtown it varies by how the bird flies.

I'm finding it most annoying that the most interesting places are south of the river; for those in Austin, I work just north of Manor Road and Child goes to school in Pflugerville. The odds of either of us not becoming sociopaths due to sleep dep is very high and I'm trying to be realistic about our chances of pulling this off, and its' best to upfront state our known weaknesses.

The one very nice thing is in Austin, Child and I jsut barely make the 80% median income (and I mean, I'm wondering if my next mandatory twenty dollars a month retentition raise will kick us over), so we qualify for at least one or two useful-looking programs for first time homebuyers. And I assume I should take the homebuyer classes.

But. Any advice, in general or in specific? In return, I hereby promise that should any fan-run convention make its home in Austin (HINT), I will totally open my kitchen to all baking and pre-con partying and I promise regular fan gatherings. It's kind of a dream of mine to host a premiere party, to be honest. Traditionally in my family, we also tend to have people come to live with us for months on end, but keep in mind unless there is a miracle in housing here, it'll be on a couch that I will presumably own at some point.

(I actually have a spreadsheet for this right now to work out estimates on everything, and realized that while I consider cable an 'eh', I consider broadband a requirement for survival, as does Child. We're currently debating whether we really need food as much as 50G broadband. We're both downloaders and box-set buyers of television. It's hard, yo.)

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