Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Joys Of Home Ownership

Remember the days when homes were an investment? The bygone era of equity building each year as your American Dream gained value? Yeah so do I… now lets look at the present, since 2008 our house has seen a drop of at maximum $150,000 and currently it’s worth about $100,000 less than it was in 2008. Disappointed smile 

Some would say houses were gaining value too fast, I would agree with this since I couldn’t capitalize on it. Disappointed smile Dagnabit….

We have replaced the roof, siding and repainted the house all in the past few years, net gain of all that work? Still $100,000 less, no gain whatsoever plus our very large neighborhood which enjoyed a near zero rental status now has just this year had 100 homes purchased by management companies who throw a coat of paint on their purchase and then rents out to whomever they can get, including section 8.

The result on values is a trend down further because the market reacts to these things, never in a good way. So what was once one of the most desirable neighborhoods in South Elgin is now not even on the list. It’s still a nice looking neighborhood but you can spot the rentals as you drive down the street, banged up garage doors, unkempt lawns, weeds growing taller and taller, it makes you sad… so there is about 1 or 2 houses per block that look not too good when the rest look very well cared for.

What is my point you ask, well after we have replaced darn near everything the AC died yesterday and could it just spring a slow leak, nope, it blew a line most likely in the A-Coil. The unit while high efficiency and near silent in operation uses the old refrigerant meaning its expensive to buy and get put into the system. The tech that came out like most of them went into it all needs to be replaced because if I replace the A-Coil it could spring a leak somewhere else blah blah blah it’s going to be very expensive.

I happen to know if you replace the A coil and do a proper pressure/vapor/temp check and look for leaks it will probably last for years. I spoke to the tech on the phone after he left my wife and he wasn’t pushing the new system on me like he was her (my impression was he pushed the new system on her), I got the impression he felt she would just pass on the info that we need a new system and that would be it. When I called him he seemed perfectly ok with replacing the A coil and recharging the system, perhaps because I told him the chance of us buying a new one is ZERO.

I explained to Ronda they all come off as charming, nice and believable but I used to be in the AC/Heating industry and they’re like the old pushing tin guys so I don’t trust any of them. Plus I know how this stuff works, they aren’t that complex and in the old days if there was a leak it was repaired. When did we cross over into the everything has to be replaced mode that we have today?

I’m not dumping $5,000 to $10,000 on a house that is LOSING money and all the money we have dumped into it has thus far been thrown into a pit never to return or to return at less than 1 to 3% a year. 14 years of home ownership wasted, we’ll have to stay here a very long time to build equity again, the economy is laughing at me saying that.

So, I am purchasing a new A-Coil myself, replacing it and then hiring somebody to charge the system since I couldn’t find the right refrigerant online. This system has been inexpensive to run and has kept Ronda cool as an ice cube for 14 years, I know this repair should be good for another 5 or more easy and should come in under $650.00. All of our neighbors have new AC units, we can hear all of theirs, ours is near silent, it’s going to stay that way.

Anybody want to buy a house? It’s the same price we paid for it 14 years ago….


Big Matt said...

Might be a good time to get out while you can, it'll be even harder to get rid of when it goes below what you bought it for, especially when the artificially low interest rates come to an end.

Erik's RV Blog said...

Big Matt - We tried, we are stuck my friend... too long to get into but we are locked into this thing for the long haul unless something changes and with the housing market looking like the oil futures market it's going to suck for a long time.

Erik's RV Blog said...

Big Matt - Hey, where are the pictures and blog post of the new rig? Post it bud!

Big Matt said...

They're up on my FB page right now :).

Merikay said...

Even 1% -3% is more than some investments are returning these days. Rent is unbelievable, at least out here in California. We have ours on the market now, but it seems all the hype about an upturn in the market applies to the lower priced homes. Many of the properties on the market here are priced much higher than ours because they have more updated things like granite countertops. Ours is very clean, impeccably maintained, but lack some of the fluff. We really want to sell, but we don't want to give it away. Every 50K is a year on the road.

Erik's RV Blog said...

Merikay - I hear ya!

JO said...

Where I live no rentals were aloud but when so many came up empty do to death or lost to foreclosure things had to be changed. But to rent you have to be investigated. Sometimes HOA's are good to have.

As for the AC/Heating guys man what crap. My late husband had his own business. So when this jerk came in to do a check and reported that my furnace had a crack in it and the furnace would have to be replaces pronto which meant I would also have to replace the a/c unit. Threw him out called in another guy who said it was fine. I reported the company to the Attorney Generals office. Hate when these creeps try to rip people off.

TexCyn said...

It's always something! I really don't miss home ownership. Every year, we had a/c problems. Oh wait, I still did, but mine was wrapped up in a small portable a/c. Big difference than the central air.

SweetMarie said...

I hope things work out for you. Not easy these days.
Keep your chin up. :)