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    Thread: Realestate Shuffle and Downsize

    1. Member
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      06-09-2019 09:42 AM #1
      Long, semi convoluted story about a change in housing we are considering.

      We are a family of 3. Wife and I are 47 and our son is 9.

      Live in Whitefish, MT. Ski/Lake resort town at entrance to Glacier Park. Lots of vacation homes here. Area is growing at a fast pace and real estate prices are increasing at a fast pace.

      Currently live in a 3600 sq ft house on an acre. Been here 5 years. Bought it after getting caught without a house. I had been travelling for work all the time and got tired of it after having the kid. Decided we were going to relocate wherever I could get a non travelling job. Put our old house up for sale. First guy who looked at it bought it. Week later the current job called and said "why don't you work from home?" Perfect, but now we were homeless. Found current house. 3 miles south of downtown in an older, well established subdivision. 5 bed/3 bath, 2 car garage, 1200 sq ft shop. Remodeled right before we got it. This house is great but it's way more than we need. Taking care of the yard is 3-4 hours a week. Cleaning 3600 sq ft takes a lot of time. Snow removal is 90 min per storm.

      With that in mind we've been looking at smaller places in town for the last couple years. Easier to take care of, kid can walk to school, and a small house will be cheaper. We could be close to mortgage free. We've made offers on two places that were not accepted due to the contingency of selling our house first. The market here is so hot sellers typically get cash deals in a few weeks. Our realtor has told us we are going to have to sell our place first, move into a rental and be ready to buy. We haven't done that as moving twice in a year would suck, the gamble of finding a new place, and our current place is comfortable. With that in mind we perpetually look and are mildly dissatisfied here but not enough to sell and rent.

      Side note - Wife and I are 15-20 years from retirement. Part of our retirement financial strategy is rentals. We have one currently that will be paid off in 5-6 years. We would like to get another. Also, we are boaters. Our summer activity is being on the lake. Our town borders an awesome lake with two problems, it's serviced by 2 small boat ramps that are crowded, and lake real estate is way out of our budget, $1 mil + to start. With that in mind we were thinking are buying a place on a lake a couple hours away. We could enjoy it and also use it as a rental. If our new primary residence was about mortgage free we could afford to do that.

      Fast forward to last week. Friend that is a realtor just listed a duplex. Two 2 bed 1 bath units, 2500 sq ft, oversize 2 car garage, .15 acre lot. The kicker is that it is on the lake. Well it's across the street from the lake. The street it is on has 18 non lake front homes that share a community beach. 13 of those homes elected to go in on a dock w/slips. There are 9 slips for those 13 homes. We have a friend who lives on the street and is on the dock board. He said most of the homes are used for vacation only a couple weeks a summer so boat parking is a non issue. Price for all this is about what we can sell our house for. Pretty much unheard of with water access. There are 4 neighborhoods like this on the lake. All are really expensive.

      Our friend listing the place has said if we are interested the seller will accept an offer contingent on the sale of our house. So this could work.

      The plan would be to live in the upstairs unit. I would work from home in the downstairs unit and it would be available for guests, overflow, etc.
      Once the kid graduates we would rent out the bottom unit.


      We've been working through pros and cons.

      Pros:
      Downsize house and yard.
      Small driveway so snow removal will be easy.
      Getting local lake house.
      Getting second rental.
      Buying cheapest house in nice neighborhood. I would guess everything around it is $900k +.

      Cons:
      Lot is small. We've got 5 cars, a boat and camper. That takes up all the space. Probably the old truck will have to stay at my Dad's place. Still will be tight parking.
      Location isn't right down town. Kid won't be walking to school.
      Living in duplex. You have to go outside to access lower unit. Two people have to poop at the same time? It will be a race. Loser has to make the outside loop.
      Getting another mortgage now. Interest rates are still low, so that's OK. Was nice to think about being mortgage free for a bit though.
      Prop taxes are about $2000 year higher.

      We are leaning toward doing it.
      The logistics of downsize are daunting. Anyone here done it? Did you get rid of everything you didn't need immediately? Did you move excess into storage unit to confirm you wouldn't need it? Any regrets?

      Some pics:

      House we built then had to sell when we were going to relocate.




      Current house.




      Duplex.

      Listing:

      https://www.nationalparksrealty.com/...efish-MT-59937






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    3. Member welderdood's Avatar
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      06-09-2019 10:06 AM #2
      Taxes?
      Nice jab Cale, nice

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      06-09-2019 10:09 AM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by welderdood View Post
      Taxes?

      Current: $3k
      Duplex: $5k

      Currently have HOA fees of $600 year.
      No HOA at the duplex. Boat parking is $8 per day. No addtl fees.

    5. Member welderdood's Avatar
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      06-09-2019 10:12 AM #4
      Damn. In fancy CT your current would be 5-15k per year in taxes. I gotta get out to MT/ID area!
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    6. Member
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      06-09-2019 10:16 AM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by welderdood View Post
      Damn. In fancy CT your current would be 5-15k per year in taxes. I gotta get out to MT/ID area!

      Plus no sales tax and minimal income tax.

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      06-09-2019 10:39 AM #6
      you should have bought that house on the island. originally listed for $77mil, I think it went for $13mil.

      I know there are a handful of lots for sale close to the lake, or with lake access. What about building again?
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    8. I wait in line 4 hours for Pretzels on Pretzel Day Metallitubby's Avatar
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      06-09-2019 10:52 AM #7
      I have nothing to add other than my father just sold his property outside of Whitefish for $13m after sitting on for 9yrs and only paying $6m. The area (much like everywhere in the U.S) has gone nuts for real estate currently.
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      06-09-2019 11:29 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by GreenandChrome View Post
      you should have bought that house on the island. originally listed for $77mil, I think it went for $13mil.

      I know there are a handful of lots for sale close to the lake, or with lake access. What about building again?
      You've got to start somewhere...

      You in the area?

      We would consider building again although construction prices are way up. We built the pictured house for just under $80 sq ft. Current rates are double that for similar finishes.

      You seeing stuff around Whitefish Lake? I haven't seen anything in our price range...

      https://www.nationalparksrealty.com/...efish-MT-59937

      https://www.nationalparksrealty.com/...efish-MT-59937

      This is close to affordable but the HOA is $6k a year. Plus there are some strict building regulations iirc.

      https://www.nationalparksrealty.com/...efish-MT-59937

      Quote Originally Posted by Metallitubby View Post
      I have nothing to add other than my father just sold his property outside of Whitefish for $13m after sitting on for 9yrs and only paying $6m. The area (much like everywhere in the U.S) has gone nuts for real estate currently.
      This place is blowing up.

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      06-09-2019 12:41 PM #9
      What kind of jobs support housing prices like this... or is Whitefish a big vacation and/or retirement town?

    11. Member
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      06-09-2019 12:58 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0T_Convert View Post
      What kind of jobs support housing prices like this... or is Whitefish a big vacation and/or retirement town?


      Resort town.

      Most of the houses on the street we're looking at are vacation homes.

      Whitefish is now dealing with an "affordable housing crisis." People who work here can't afford to live here.

      As an example the 2 units in the duplex were renting for $1500 and $1350. That's a lot for a 2 bed 1 bath.

      Whitefish is fortunate (unlike other ski towns like Summit County Colorado) to have two communities nearby that are more affordable.
      Last edited by PoorHouse; 06-09-2019 at 01:01 PM.

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      06-09-2019 02:01 PM #11
      tldr, house is an expense, not an investment. Buy a small house, invest the rest. A rental property is a good investment if you are handy.
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    13. I wait in line 4 hours for Pretzels on Pretzel Day Metallitubby's Avatar
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      06-09-2019 03:03 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0T_Convert View Post
      What kind of jobs support housing prices like this... or is Whitefish a big vacation and/or retirement town?
      My father fully intended to build a retirement house in the middle of almost 500acres, but he has since changed his plans, and hindsight it's for the best because he's not your stereotypical "Ted Turner" type guy (which is what he was trying to emulate at the time).
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    14. Senior Member DonL's Avatar
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      06-09-2019 03:37 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by PoorHouse View Post
      Resort town.

      Most of the houses on the street we're looking at are vacation homes.

      Whitefish is now dealing with an "affordable housing crisis." People who work here can't afford to live here.
      No kidding, with lots running $800K, that's almost California crazy. My nephew lives in Aspen, working for the city. He's in a similar pinch, housing is expensive, with few affordable places to stay.

      How far are those more affordable communities?
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    15. Member HI SPEED's Avatar
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      06-09-2019 03:49 PM #14
      I would stretch for the lake house. Even in a downturn that will be a desirable location. Once you decide to move on, you can hire a property manager and air bnb the top part for good income.

      Nice thing being that you can forgo a week or two worth of income to spend some time on the lake even after you left.

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    16. Member
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      06-09-2019 05:25 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
      No kidding, with lots running $800K, that's almost California crazy. My nephew lives in Aspen, working for the city. He's in a similar pinch, housing is expensive, with few affordable places to stay.

      How far are those more affordable communities?

      10-12 miles.

      The non lake prices in Whitefish aren't as crazy (but still high for MT). 2 bed 1 bath $250k-$350k.

      To give you an idea on rent, we have a 4 bed 2 bath rental 2 miles outside of town in an OK subdivision. Consistently rents for $1500 mo. The 2 bed 1 bath duplex units were also renting for $1500 mo.

      Quote Originally Posted by HI SPEED View Post
      I would stretch for the lake house. Even in a downturn that will be a desirable location. Once you decide to move on, you can hire a property manager and air bnb the top part for good income.

      Nice thing being that you can forgo a week or two worth of income to spend some time on the lake even after you left.

      Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk


      Plus we would always have the dock. Renters can access the beach but can't use the dock. That is reserved for homeowners only.

      That is pretty damn desirable. There aren't any marinas on this lake that rent slips so you are always dealing with the public boat ramp.

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      06-09-2019 05:33 PM #16
      The lake house doesn't seem to be too much of a stretch, and it would easily add to your rental portfolio now and in the future. Having private space should guests want to visit is a great bonus too - I'm sure it would easily rent weekly on AirBNB or VRBO. You also have the comfort of living in the other unit. Three people can easily manage in a 1 bathroom.

      As far as downsizing, in all honestly, we all have too much stuff. Crap we never use or used once, trinkets, etc. For the downsize, pack up whatever you need for the new house, along with furniture and decor set aside. It;s possible you will have enough of everything to completely equip both properties. Everything else goes into storage. 6 months later, whatever you didn't take out of storage gets donated. I find having less stuff less stressful.

    18. Member
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      06-09-2019 07:08 PM #17
      Wife spent the afternoon with our friends who live on the same street as the duplex.

      Got the low down on the neighborhood, spent 2 hours at the beach with the kids swimming, had a grand time.

      She texted me "THIS IS SO AWESOME!"

      So I guess we're doing it.

    19. I wait in line 4 hours for Pretzels on Pretzel Day Metallitubby's Avatar
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      06-09-2019 07:28 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by PoorHouse View Post

      So I guess we're doing it.
      That's a good way to get the dirt on the neighbors. Good work by you and your researcher.
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    20. Learning New Things Every Day. GreenandChrome's Avatar
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      06-09-2019 09:01 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by PoorHouse View Post
      Wife spent the afternoon with our friends who live on the same street as the duplex.

      Got the low down on the neighborhood, spent 2 hours at the beach with the kids swimming, had a grand time.

      She texted me "THIS IS SO AWESOME!"

      So I guess we're doing it.

      Cool!

      To answer your earlier q, no, we're not in the area, but the wife wants to retire/vacation home on/by Flathead. I'd rather be more remote, but she wants to be close to the amenities that come with a big town. I have a couple friends who live on Seeley Lake and my cousin lived in Kalsipell when he ran the Costco.
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    21. Member
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      06-10-2019 10:31 AM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by GreenandChrome View Post
      Cool!

      To answer your earlier q, no, we're not in the area, but the wife wants to retire/vacation home on/by Flathead. I'd rather be more remote, but she wants to be close to the amenities that come with a big town. I have a couple friends who live on Seeley Lake and my cousin lived in Kalsipell when he ran the Costco.

      You're not going to get remote around Flathead but it is an awesome lake with some cool communities.

    22. Senior Member AZGolf's Avatar
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      06-10-2019 11:32 AM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by PoorHouse View Post
      She texted me "THIS IS SO AWESOME!"

      So I guess we're doing it.
      Hey, if the wife and kids love it and it's a good financial move, I think you should go for it. It's kind of rare to tick all the boxes at once. My only complaint is that I don't like sharing walls with others, so a duplex means always sharing the structure with another family, but I guess at $1500/month or whatever, you're not going to be sharing it with somebody that's just looking for a cheap crash pad / party place, or at least hopefully not. My feelings are colored by experiences years ago with $600-800/month type places and renting condos in San Diego where there's a lot of party tourists. I'm guessing fewer people go to this lake to get drunk and party well into the night every weekend versus San Diego?

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      06-10-2019 11:45 AM #22
      It sounds like your wife is in support of it and I would agree that it sounds like a great idea.

      I need to have a heart to heart with my wife about making some changes like this. I've been so unsatisfied with work and our house situation for the past year.

    24. Member
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      06-10-2019 11:50 AM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by AZGolf View Post
      Hey, if the wife and kids love it and it's a good financial move, I think you should go for it. It's kind of rare to tick all the boxes at once. My only complaint is that I don't like sharing walls with others, so a duplex means always sharing the structure with another family, but I guess at $1500/month or whatever, you're not going to be sharing it with somebody that's just looking for a cheap crash pad / party place, or at least hopefully not. My feelings are colored by experiences years ago with $600-800/month type places and renting condos in San Diego where there's a lot of party tourists. I'm guessing fewer people go to this lake to get drunk and party well into the night every weekend versus San Diego?

      We would be living in both halves.
      Well we would live in upstairs unit and I would work in downstairs unit.
      At least until the kid graduates/moves out.

      Then your point is taken. I would manage renting the bottom half myself and would be selective on tenants.

    25. Learning New Things Every Day. GreenandChrome's Avatar
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      06-10-2019 11:53 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by PoorHouse View Post
      You're not going to get remote around Flathead but it is an awesome lake with some cool communities.
      It's hit-an-miss. There are a few properties available that aren't millions of dollars; but yeah, right now it's not that great. I'd need a financial windfall right now to jump in while it's "cheap".

      There are some places around Big Fork that are under $300k.

      Here's a little fixer-upper just off the lake on the westside: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1...16323193_zpid/
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      06-10-2019 11:55 AM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by PoorHouse View Post
      We would be living in both halves.
      Well we would live in upstairs unit and I would work in downstairs unit.
      At least until the kid graduates/moves out.

      Then your point is taken. I would manage renting the bottom half myself and would be selective on tenants.
      the duplex- how are the bedrooms orientated on each level? are they above each other? if so, that may make it a little awkward.
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