{to buy or not to buy (i.e. to rent)}

stevie bevie and i have decided to journey north to salt lake this fall. we anticipate a stay of around three years (the length of law school). we have begun the housing search/dilemma and we seriously need your input, bloggy friends. i found this cute little remodel in salt lake. right downtown in the action. new electical wiring, new plumbing, new flooring, fully fenced huge yard (i mean HUGE for a downtown lot). and...here's the kicker: exposed brick. have i ever mentioned how much i love exposed brick? it makes me week in the knees. stevie bevie asked me the other day if he were made of exposed brick, would i love him more? the answer is a definite yes.

so, let's start off with some pictures, shall we?

this is the living room. exposed brick. laminate flooring
(because it seems no one will spend the extra dime on
real wood). wainscoting, bay windows. ceiling fan. new
paint...it's basically a new space. it's a good size, clean,
and bright. plus, did i mention it has exposed brick?

this is the kitchen. it is small, but oh so perfect.
dishwasher and sink with these cute shelves on
one side (mounted on exposed brick). fridge and
stove with hood mounted microwave on the
opposite side. the big window wasn't replaced
when the others were, so we'd probably fix that.
i'm thinking glass block (another personal fav).

this is the cute little (and i mean little) bathroom. it's
totally revamped. new tile. new sink and mirror. new
fixtures. but it's a bit awkward, as most city dwellings
are in the bathroom department. there is about two
feet between the tub and the wall that runs parallel to
it. not a lot of storage.

this is just the doorway to the bathroom. to play up
the exposed brick and the large mouldings. which i
like. the 2 bedrooms have new carpet and there is a
small linen pantry in the hallway as well.

pros: a very very large yard. there's no garage or extra storage (except for a crawl space below the house), but there is plenty of room to build both. the location is awesome; just down the street from the Gateway (where I may be working) and a Trax stop (so Steven can take trax instead of driving). The only things that I would like to fix are mostly aesthetic and aren't urgent. it's small, so any updates, additions, changes would be low in cost. it's perfectly livable and cute and there is plenty of room for improvement (i.e. raise the value) later when we have the time and money to do it. plus....we'll own it. and i hate renting.

cons: it's 917 sq ft. the furnace is just fine right now, but it's old so there is a chance it will need replaced ($2500 ish). there is no A/C, but the house is surrounded by mature trees and stays quite cool. the bathroom is funny (remember the 2-foot space between the tub and the wall/). there's not a lot of storage so we'd have to get a shed right away ($300 minimum) to store bikes, lawn mower, tools, and my loads of christmas decor.

so....is it even possible to find something to buy that is in our price range that will be better? i don't know. from what we saw yesterday, i'd say no. we love the idealisms of the place. tree lined street, big fenced yard, exposed brick. but will we feel too crammed in? will it appraise enough to make it worth it? and will we be able to haggle it into the middle of our price range? so many things to think about... input please!!!


BA said...

I think the house looks sweet; however, I am the wrong person to ask about old houses because of my experience with ours.

That one definitely is in better shape then our house, but weird problems happen in old houses.

I'd be concerned about a few things. Is two rooms big enough if your family grows at all in the next three years?

One small bathroom is not fun. We've had to deal with it for a long time now and we made it a priority to make sure our next house had two bathrooms at least.

It seems that the market is cooling everywhere, nationwide right now. Last year SLC was one of the better markets in the country, so if it follows other markets that have led the country in past years you can expect the price to level off pretty soon.

It is a good tax write off though, and if you stay in SLC after graduation you could keep the house as a rental. So even if the price doesn't shoot up immediately you'll make money off it in the long run.

Tough decision.

Alifinale said...

Ooh...that does look like it has some great potential. The tricky part is wanting to upgrade things. I just know that once in school money gets pretty tight and may not be able to spend money to make the place as comfortable or cute as you would like. At least that was our problem. It is nice to own, but not if it stretches you so much that you can't make it what you envisioned. I hope that makes sense. Good luck...keep us posted.

{lizzythebotanist} said...

ali-the good thing is that all the major aesthetic upgrades i would want to make are already done and done well. the only upgrades i might want to do eventually are things like putting in a stainless countertop and glass block. i've alredy priced that out and it's next to nothing.

bri bri- two bedrooms is all we're going to afford in salt lake anyway-if we buy. nash's room would work for two kids, granted it would be a tight fit.

thing is...no matter what we aren't going to be as spoiled as we've been. two and a half baths (with a huge master w. jacuzzi) is most likely going to have to take a back seat for a while. it's the city-we can't get what we have now and afford to eat at the same time in the city.

new electical and plumbing takes a lot of the weirdness out of the house....

aaghhh. i don't know.

{lizzythebotanist} said...

plus...we've got a good chunk saved up that we can use for stuff when needed & i have a sweet job. and our school debt is going to be very reasonable compared to most....

DC United said...

take it...it's it a fabulous location and it's an easy resell in three years. That way you can make the changes you want and not have to worry about sinking money into the place that you won't get out again...honestly, looks good to me.

Jeff said...

Buy it... The market in utah is only going up and its going to be there for a good time.

One question can you put solar panels on the roof? LOL

{lizzythebotanist} said...

jeff-we can do whatever we want! there's no HOA! i want to hear more about your solar panels for sure. send me info...

Alifinale said...

I think you have your decision. Sometimes it takes a voice of dissonance to help you realize how you really feel. It seems like you really love the place and there are so many strong pros (exposed brick). I can't wait to visit.

ance said...

all i can say is that lali and i are in 917 sq ft right now, without a kid and i feel crammed...so the question is that can you handle the space for 3+ years? it looks like a really sweet place, but you don't want to go through buyers remorse once you've been in there a little while. and with the stuff you have and the storage needed, you'd be surprise how quickly you will run out of space. not to be a debbie downer, but i'd keep looking and see how long you can keep this place as an option.

Anonymous said...

Remember... location, location, location. If this is by the Gateway that means it's west side Salt Lake... not a good location. Gay bars, Rose Park, Homeless Shelter, Pioneer Park, Railroad tracks... well you get the drift. Don't expect it to appreciate, and if you plan on renting it out... plan on illegal aliens being your tenant.

{lizzythebotanist} said...

thanks anonymous-care to identify yourself? how do i know i can value your input? rose park is a rather hip place these days (hit or miss) and up-and-coming...housing is gradually expanding westward anyway. just food for thought. and when you're in our price range it means you're looking at condos (which suck when you have a dog)...