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Your Questions About Kitchen Appliance Repair Plans

Laura asks…

How do I calculate the break-even price of my selling my house incorporating what I would have paid in rent?

First off, I understand that the house will sell for what the market will bear, but for my personal sense of security I want to know how much I will have to sell my house for to at least break even. We have been in the home for almost three years and plan to stay a few more, but if the opportunity to move back North arose sooner rather than later I would jump on it. Here is what I have so far:
The price I payed for the home + improvements made with an 80% return on investment on the improvements – 6% realtor commission.

First question, without getting into the weeds, is the 80% return on investment reasonable? We put in a new kitchen, upgraded the bathroom, replaced all the appliances, replaced the entire HVAC system, replaced windows, installed a new front door, and upgraded the lower level floors.

I also want to somehow take into account the costs or savings of having chosen buying a home versus renting. The average rent in my area is $1,300 per month, but my mortgage is $1,000 per month. Do I just add the $300 a month as cost savings to my calculation? Or would it in fact be more since some small amount of the mortgage I pay goes toward the principal on our loan? Is there a formula out there that can help me?

Are there other costs I am not even considering?
For the first response, thank you, I will lower the return on investment on my calculations to 50%, that should be a conservative amount.

The $1,000 for my mortgage includes taxes and insurance. Upkeep I am not sure about, I have never tracked it. Is $1,000 per year normal (I know we had one plumbing incident and had the chimney checked, gutters cleaned twice, windows washed)? Does that include landscaping? I like to plant flowers and had a lot of mulch delivered.

I checked and Zillow has my home value increased by $40,000 since I purchased, but that doesn’t account for the improvements we made.

There will also be taxes due to the state on the sale when we sell the house, I will have to look into how much that will be as well.

James Conley answers:

80% on EVERYTHING you have done is high, it might even be high for areas that traditionally give a good return on investment like the kitchen and bathroom. You may have bought when prices were dropping but they have continued to drop so you really have to see what the property is worth now by looking for comparable, houses of similar size and bedrooms. You can check with a realtor or perhaps n you can check your own home.
Your mortgage is $1,000, how much are the property taxes? The insurance? The upkeep and repairs? That some small amount goes to your principal doesn’t mean it isn’t an expense, it just means you will eventually own the home so you wouldn’t have to pay a mortgage but for now it is still an expense.
The following link will give you additional information:

Paul asks…

What are some things to look for when choosing an apartment?

Moving out, looking for one or two bedroom for under $1300– In California (hard)

We have a couple options available, but what are some things to look for when choosing an apartment??

James Conley answers:

Think about what is most important to you…Check the bathroom to be sure that there is ample storage space, or room to put in your own storage items. Be sure that the shower, toilet, and sink are easy to access. This is really important if you are physically disabled or know someone who is. I would also check the kitchen to be sure that the appliances in there are easy to access, and that the cabinets are roomy enough for you. Make sure you will have plenty of counter space if you plan to cook a lot or have many small kitchen appliances. Check the closets to be sure you will have enough space to store your clothing and other items you don’t need easy access to. (Christmas decor, vacuum cleaner, etc.) Also, check the size of the bedroom. A really small bedroom may get you a better deal on the apartment, but your king size bed may not fit in it. Look for things like water damage on the floors and ceilings, or patched holes in the walls. This will give you an idea about the owners willingness to make repairs. Ask the landlord to turn on the water and air conditioning, if they can. This will give you an idea of how well the ac and water heater work. Talk to the neighbors closest to the apartment you want to rent. Ask them about the landlord and utility costs. This will give you an idea of how much more you may be spending a month, and lets you meet the people you will be living next to for the next year.

Mandy asks…

What is it like to live in a mobile home?

My mom is thinking about buying one. We are a pretty small family. It’s just my little brother, my mom, our dog, and me.

James Conley answers:

I just left my big nice house for a mobile home. It’s just like anywhere else. 4 walls, floor and ceiling. Neighborhood could rock, or suck. You will pee in water and cook in the kitchen. It’s just a different place.

The layout is something to get used to, but it’s not bad after you make it your own. I’ve seen very nice lavish mobile or manufactured homes, and I’ve seen trailers I wouldn’t let me dog sleep in. It’s just another place.

On the specific side,

*You need an evacuation plan if you live in the path of twisters. It would take a SERIOUS wind, but a trailer can roll where a house is fastened better to the ground

*There are a series of “Common maintenance issues” you should read about and make sure your new home is ok. Leaky roof, bent metal back door, insulation underneath and good skirting, and so on.

*There is less space available, most mobile homes are less than 1000 sq ft. Shop for apartment style furniture and appliances. Make sure you have storage containers and stackable shelves. You have no attic. All of your “keepsakes” will need to be cleverly stored in your living space. Every inch you save will help. Learn to store, stack, and stash. You won’t regret it.

*Smaller hot water heater = less hot water available. Time your laundry, dishes, and individual showers to make sure you don’t end up with cold water only. Give your HW heater time to re-heat the water.

*Fire hazards. You must always be aware of fire hazards. Many of the materials like carpet, paneling, and the insulation/ceiling-board crap used in the construction is highly flammable. Unlike a house, fresh air can feed a trailer fire from underneath. This makes fires happen hot and very fast. Make sure smoke detectors are everywhere.. .EVERYWHERE! You can’t have too many. I have some underneath my place. Make sure you have good, full fire extinguishers. Make sure you have an exit plan for every individual person (and I guess the dog too)

*Black roof = hot roof. Ceiling fans help, but using something to make it a white roof should be thought about for the long term.

*They aren’t built like houses at all. I’m doing a complete gut and remodel, but to make simple repairs you will sometimes need to find trailer specific items. Doors, tubs, plumbing, and other items are often different than regular items.

*It’s hard (if possible) to get a mortgage loan for a trailer because it isn’t on a foundation. If you plan to sell it, you will need to make payment arrangements or cash. The buyer won’t be able to get a loan to buy it.

*They’re often cheaper than apartments and almost always cheaper than houses. They are much better than apartments, because you don’t share walls, floors, and ceilings with other people. You also have a yard. The money saving aspect may be a big deal for your Mom. Money stress sucks.

There are a few items to look for, but it really is just like anywhere else. Hang up a picture of Johnny Cash, plug in the TV, and you’re home. It’s all what you make it.

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