Should I buy? Should I continue renting? If I lived in a city where there was a clear choice, this wouldn’t be such a dilemma. However, living in a suburb of Los Angeles makes it a distressing, hair-pulling decision. Over the past 18-months, rent has soared in the entire county of LA making it one of the least affordable areas in the US. And of course housing prices have been on an upward climb as well.
Want a basic 2 to 3-bedroom starter home in a somewhat safe neighborhood (some tagging, but no real drive-by’s)? Just sign your name on a $400,000 loan. Yikes! I just can’t do it!
Obviously, renting for the next 12-24 months is in my future. Saving for a down payment is also on my goal list and I’m making some headway. It’s hard to predict what the housing market will do over the next year or two, but if it continues to climb I might be priced out of the market for another 5-10 year period. If it drops by 15-20%, I’ll be right on target and able to buy something very modest. On a side note, I’d be grateful for an earthquake next year, as long as no one gets injured, just shaken up enough to leave! The 1994 earthquake sent people fleeing California, too bad I was still in college and not thinking about property!
Yet, if I get priced out of the market for many years to come, there are some alternatives that I’ve been looking into such as buying a vacation home somewhere or a plot of land where I can plop a cabin. (Funny thing is, I could probably swing an affordable vacation home along with the rent I’m paying before buying a home in my area.) I recently came across three additional cabin/pre-fab models that are reasonably priced, functional and beautiful.
One such model is the MorHAUS 1216 reasonably priced at $17,000. Of course, this doesn’t include a foundation, plumbing, or electrical. To make this model a true home, options will need to be added (such as wall insulation, finished walls and floors) for another $6,000. Even with the additional options, the basic price is under $25,000 which is very reasonable. I’m guessing if you add another $10,000 – $15,000 onto this price for a foundation, plumbing, electrical, and other possible options, it’s still a very good price.
A more finished product is the Summerwood cabin line. Similar to Tuffshed cabins, Summerwood products range from garden sheds to pool houses to cabins, yet there are more choices in cabin design and size. The prices are a little more expensive than tradition pre-fab cabins, but you can add options onto your cabin using their design center.
For blokes that live across the pond, another option is Bespoke Cabins and Summerhouses. The finished cabins on their site are quite beautiful. The two downsides to this company are a.) they are in England and b.) they don’t list prices which always makes me think they might lean towards expensive.
This time next year, I’m hoping to be a little closer to buying something – whether that be a house in my area or a cabin in the woods.
Anyone out there in a similar dilemma? Can you afford a vacation home, but not an actual home?