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How do you figure out how much home you can afford? - Page 2

post #21 of 31
Thread Starter 
Oh, thanks. That helps. smile.gif

I think in the case of "omg we need this expense right now" we would be fine with putting it on a card. We don't carry debt otherwise but when we had to make oh-no purchases we did fine with paying them off after the fact. We have a pretty decent amount of credit we can use - $20,000 line of credit.

And yes, we would want a small mortgage. We would only be looking at $100K max. I think we would be qualified to take out considerably more than that but a small mortgage payment is important to us.
post #22 of 31

I think you have several things about your situation that are unique and specific to you to make an calculators helpful.


I have several thoughts and questions.


First, will the disability adjust for inflation? I had a housemate that was fully disabled and got monthly disability payments from her previous employer.  She got a percentage of her pay at the time the disabilty determination was made (circa 1994).  I though it was huge amount of money at the time (twice my salary at that juncture).  Now seventeen years later I make about the same as her (living in a much cheaper city, working part time) and it seem pretty paltry. .


Second, what happens to this property tax piece if your DH was to die or your marriage would end in divorce?  Would it revert to the market rate?


Third, I think I said this when you had a similar thread but were more strongly considering WV.  I would scout a town and rent.  I think you would find out if you like the community before you commited yourself and have a much better idea of what you want in a living space and neighborhood. Also aren't there lots of place in NY state that your cash would be enough cash to buy a house outright?  I guess I would concentrate on them and do an exhaustive search at things under your cash thresehold first before I would even consider borrowing money for a house.


Fourth, does the VA or other veteran group have anyone that could offer you any financial planning advice?  I think it could be helpful to you and you might be more likely to encounter someone that had experience with situations that resemble your own.




post #23 of 31
Thread Starter 
Disability adjusts for inflation - but minimally. We've had years when it didn't increase at all, other times by like a few dollars. The government sets it, so I guess it depends too on the status of things there.

If he dies, the property tax remains at the same rate as long as I live in it and do not remarry. I seriously doubt that he would leave. We have tried a separation before and we both agreed that we will never again try that. IF he did up and leave, just to play the devil's advocate, and we got an official divorce, etc., and for example I stayed in the house and he didn't, then the property tax would return - at least I think. It might not if we lived there for a certain amount of years and I didn't remarry, but I'm not sure about those specifics.

If he dies in the next 10 years we're a bit screwed because then we no longer qualify for healthcare. (SWEET. If he doesn't, then I'd qualify for the rest of my life, and benefits besides (reduced somewhat). If he dies under 10 years, I qualify for NO veteran's benefits (which is so wrong, I'm even trying to write to congress about that!! - if he dies in service or after 10 years you get benefits but if he dies after service and before 10 years you don't qualify for a dime) but we do qualify for SS to the tune of about $1600 a month until the kids grow up, and then it gets reduced to like $500. But I mean if he did die and the kids were grown I would be absolutely working - the reason I don't work (besides that the kids are young) is because I have to take care of him, and I don't have time to work. I guess the worst case scenario is that he died in like 9 years or something and I still wouldn't have any retirement savings.. but I mean I can't plan for EVERY variation of EVERY scenario... ykwim? greensad.gif

3rd - I like the idea. DH hates the idea because he views it as throwing away the rent money - but moving costs would eat up about the same too if we ended up hating the area... =/ But it's somethign to consider. We might spend some time at my mom's house in CT trying to look at houses but I am so tired of not having a house of my own... But we're seriously considering renting, yeah...

4th - We're meeting with a financial planner this week, not through the VA.. I'll have to see if the VA has any financial planners too, that's a good idea.

The basic issue here that's causing me SO much grief is that the doctors don't think that DH is dying... but he does. And while it'd be easy to just say, hey, the doc's say you're OK so we'll go with that - the last time he INSISTED that there was something wrong with him and the docs INSISTED that there was nothing wrong - it turned out he had a hemorhaging brain lesion. DH 1, docs 0.
post #24 of 31

There's a VA in Rochester and I know there's an office in Canandaigua. Both have nice areas. And $150,000 would get your a quite respectable house in both areas. Homeschooling was mentioned earlier in the thread and my mom homeschooled me for a short period. I remember there being local groups for support. Just thought I'd throw my 2 cents in.

post #25 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks - right now we've pretty much settled on the Bath/Corning area but if it doesn't pan out it's nice to have some backups. The houses there are all a similar price range, so we probably wouldn't have to worry about a mortgage. Yay. smile.gif

Now we just have to see if DH's throat mass is cancer, if his brain lesion is actively hemmorhaging or not, what sort of tissue has grown on his chest (they said it was unexplained thickening at his last MRI, hopefully it's just the medication-induced gynocamastia and not, say, cancer) and if his TBI has worsened, and try to find out why his lungs are messed up and if it's something they can help at the moment. But once THAT all is taken care of, then we're heading north to househunt. Yay! joy.gif
post #26 of 31
Thread Starter 
Oh, and I called the assessor and utility company in the area and man were they helpful! The utility lady took like half an hour to talk to me and went through like a dozen houses that were listed for sale on the MLS and told me which ones were well-insulated and what their utilities had looked like for the past few years. OMG seriously, how nice of her?! We figured out we have to buy within the village border (whatever that is) instead of the town border because the util bills will be a quarter that of what it could be like across the street - just due to zoning. So that's good to know... Trying to research the hell out of this place to see if it's a good fit, hopefully we'll actually still like it when we get there.
post #27 of 31

Compare the tax rates outside the village boarder to those inside. It might not be worth it to pay an extra grand a year. Bath is an okay area from what I know. Not the best, but certainly not the worst either. I know someone who works at the VA down there. They like it. 

post #28 of 31

You may want to compare what living in the 'village' vs 'town' actually entails.  Does the town have garbage pick up or do you to contract your own pick up?  Does one offer city services and the other not?  What are the costs if your kids want to do city parks and rec programs?  Around here the fees are based on where you live so village would be one fee and town another fee.  Same with the library, village maybe free access and town would have a 'non resident' fee.  You may have a less expensive utility bill but other things could be more costly. You need to compare everything, apples, oranges, grapes etc.  Ya know?


Living inside the border may get you access to scholarships for the city run kids programs but outside won't.  All those 'little things' add up over the years.


I really think you need to live in an area for at LEAST a year before you purchase anything.


Its not just how much 'home' you can afford, its really how much 'life' you can afford.

post #29 of 31
Thread Starter 
Well, all the "city amenities" are in Corning, as far as I can figure, which is Mapquested to be around 20-25 mins away. That's for the programs we've looked into, anyway. (Ballet, the homeschooler's art programs, the bigger library, etc.) Bath appears to be, well, a little bit dead, minus the VA. Still not sure whether we want to live in Bath and go to Corning once or twice a week or live in Corning and commute to the VA once or twice a week. Eh, it's a toss-up I guess. I'm waiting until we get there and see it personally. And who knows, we might hate it and go somewhere totally different. Trying to stay flexible. If there were VA hospitals north of Albany I would totally go that route - like the far north. But there aren't, just a couple of clinics along the Canada border... =/

Anyway, that's a good point about taxes but thankfully we'll be getting (as far as I can tell at this point) a 65% to 75% reduction - um, yay. Even with that taxes will be higher there than in our old house but it certainly wipes out a large chunk of the issues of the high NY tax rates...

I have tried to talk my DH into renting for a year and I think we might. He's not fully on board yet but he's getting there, I think. smile.gif

Thanks for the advice to look into all those fees. Those are not fees I'm really familiar with considering CO didn't have parks and rec fees, (we did pay for the Y membership), library was free for anyone, we did pay for garbage pickup but it was pretty cheap. Snow removal is a biggie for me cos up there you want the snow removed for sure. Also there's cable Internet in the village and town and only DSL I think outside it - or something like that. I'm not even sure what else I'd look into...

Everyone I've met is completely unenthusiastic about Bath and the area, and I think it's so funny - everywhere I've lived before has at least a few people polarizing opinons about it, but not this place. No one loves it and no one hates it, it's just "eh whatever". Oh well... redface.gif
post #30 of 31

I'm in Syracuse (there is a VA here fyi). I was just looking at a map to see where Bath is...I have never driven that far, but it must be just as beautiful as half an hour east, in Watkins Glen. But maybe geography changes quickly??. Watkins Glen is a cute village and a beautiful geographical area with trails and gorges. There is some famous car race that happens there too. Corning has the glass museum...that is all I know about that.  I drive to Moravia each summer. I think that is a cute town, but probably too far to the VA. Sounds like you're making lots of progress! Good luck.


Edited by SunRise - 1/10/12 at 11:02am
post #31 of 31

I think the whole thing about the disabilty not adjusting much for inflation would be a vote for spending less and the fact that if DH died or you divorced you could keep you tax status would be a vote for spending more. I think you are on track pay close attention to utilities and homeowner's insurance too. 


That's funny that Bath doesn't get much reaction from people.  It might just be quiet and sleepy.  My little town is and mostly I like it except when I am jonesing some sushi.


I have spent the last 10 years living in a pretty snowy place (not this year).  In my old subdivision we always had a couple of neighbors that live to snowblow and would do our driveway before we ever got started on it.  DH always said that he was way better off just relaxing and having another cup of coffee than spending the money on a snowblower or paying someone to scoop.

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