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Old February 23rd, 2006, 08:20 PM
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Default Cruise or buy condo???

As I mentioned in a reply to the packing thread, I may or may not be able to cruise in September....or very often, if things go as planned.

I am going Saturday morning to look at a townhome to buy. If I do decide to buy, my cruise money then becomes part of my down payment and cruising gets put on hold.

I have been thinking for a while to purchase a home and now that prices have stablized in this area, I have found a new one (still under construction) in my price range. If I like it (going to see one completed), then I will make an offer. I already have my preapproval for the mortgage, so it is now just a matter of finding one I like. The one I am going to look at is only 1/2 mile from where my parents just purchased a home, but would add about 25 miles to my commute.

I have to decide if I want to own or cruise....what would you do??? I live alone and don't have to own, just thought it would be nice to have a place of my own. I will be moving in August when my lease is up, whether it is to another apartment, or to a home, remains to be seen.

I will keep you updated on my progress.

Jodi
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 08:36 PM
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This would ordinarily be a " no brainer "... Buy the condo. It is long term and not temporary such as a cruise. Hopefully you would also benefit from the appreciation in value.
You get the mortgage interest deduction on taxes.
However, you must make sure of all the costs associated with home ownership in Florida which are terrificably expensive !!
Be sure and check property taxes and Homeowners insurance and Windstorm Insurance ( which is excluded in Homeowners Insurance in Florida ) and Flood Insurance if you are in a Flood Plain.
You also need to eyeball whether the housing market, which has been super heated in Florida, is due to bust.
All in all though, the condo would be a much better investment than a cruise.

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Ben
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 08:41 PM
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Yah Jodi,,,what Ben said,,,Buy the roof over your head,,,then you can start saving for another cruise,,,,although weighing it out,,,home,,,against cruise,,,it's a tuffy,,,<bg>
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 08:48 PM
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Jodi: I know how important cruising is, but I would vote for the condo also. Once you have the condo, I know you will find a way to cruise also. Where there is a will, there is a way. Good luck with what you decide.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 08:53 PM
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Okay, somebodies got to be devils advocate here and suggest waiting a year. I think the housing market is cooling. This time last year there were 3000 homes for sale in the Orlando market and now there's 12,000 (this info courtesy of Mr. Z who has been following the housing market with interest.....a friend of a friend is probably going to take quite a bath on a house in our neighborhood)
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 09:15 PM
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My advice, buy the condo (with all the care and reservations put forth by our friend Ben). You have a good job, great skills and the drive for a successful career. It is unusual for a young person to have already done the cruising you have done, with a bit of time all that will return. It won't be too long before you are the youngest cruising CFO on cruisemates.
Stay with us and cruise vicariously with us for a while, enjoy your condo and the cruising will be back with you sooner than you think.
Best wishes to you however you choose.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 09:16 PM
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We used to own a townhouse up north.It was brand new when we bought it.The problem was A> They raised the condo fees to a high level B> the noise coming from both sides was so bad because it's just like an appartement where you can hear your neighbor. I am very weary of condos and associations.You might want to talk to Phyll as she lives in one here in FL. As for the question cruise or own a home this is a no brainer...home ownership must come first. Angela is right , I think the market is cooling down a bit but if you find a good deal go for it.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 09:42 PM
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Thanks all for the responses. I know this should be a no brainer, but I am so cruise oriented, it would be like losing a limb.

The condo I am looking at is 3 bed 2.5 bath 1545 living space with attached garage for $222K in Steven's Plantation in St. Cloud (for those of you who live here). If I use their mortgage broker, I get $1000 off closing costs, and upgrades in my paint scheme (basically, I tell them the color and they paint it for me). My parents found out Tuesday that they are in a flood zone, so I can be pretty sure I would be also.

I currently pay $925/mo in rent, which will go up to about $1250 when I move, so I figure If I am paying a mortgage amount in rent, why not build up equity....HOA fees are $40/month, so that isn't too bad.

My grandfather was a contractor, so my dad is also very trained in this area (has built homes and done home inspections) so he would never allow me to buy someplace that he felt would not be the best possible place. We both know that the construction can have a lot to do with the noise factor.

Sue mentioned about her HOA going up so much, in Celebration (Where my parents live - at least for the next month until they move to new home) they just got notice that their fees are increasing 150%...can you imagine???

Who knows, I may hate this place...but I have seen the layout and know two people who have already purchased there.

Angela, I have considered waiting, but I cannot take another year where I am, so I will move when my lease is up - I have a deposit down on a 2 bed apt in Lake Nona (refundable if I buy a home before then), so I would be moving twice in two years, do I really want to do that???
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 10:06 PM
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Nah, you don't want to move twice in 2 years.....I hope to never move again after our last move! And it's nice that Gardner will be looking out for you.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 11:31 PM
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A couple of years back, I surrendered my cruise fund to beef up our downpayment on "Cynic Manor North". We were renters before that. It's been a good five years since our last cruise, and things are looking up for January 2007......... perhaps a good back-to-back will put a dent in my grouchiness. I might even have to change my identity to something less negative, like "Cruise Skeptic"....

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Old February 23rd, 2006, 11:35 PM
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I own and live in my condo town house. It was the best thing I ever did. No matter where you live, there are costs, condo fee's do go up, but so does the repair bill on a private home.

All in all, after 18 years here, I have actually spent less on things than if I bought a town house that was not a condo( row house) I dont really get much noise from neighbours, our homes have cement blocks between each home from foundation to to the roof, and when I lived in a single dwelling home, we got noise from neighbours as well, that happnes no matter where you live,

my family lives on a farm in the middle of no where, and in winter my Mum will complain about all the noise from snow mobiles..........

Before buying check the administration, I actually am on the condo board here, the best way to keep fee's in line and watch where your money goes.......JOIN YOUR ADMIN!! I cannot stand people who complain about the condo.........but they wont join and help with the running.

It is not always easy, we just went through terrible times with a manager, but that is life, you will have the same with a non condo.

You are more than correct in saying construction has alot to do with noise level, some were built as paper thin partments and turned into condo's......Where I live, they were meant to be soundproofed, and really, very rarely can I say in all these years I have been bothered by noise.

Now after living here so long, living here is cheaper than renting an apartment, and renting my townhouse would be out of my league! In the long run, I am glad that for many years I put all into my home , and now have more freedom to do what I want.
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Old February 24th, 2006, 01:29 AM
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Jodi..
Sure you'd expect me to say CRUISE! CRUISE! CRUISE!

BUT.. I didn't go on my first cruise until 1994. I was 44 years old, with my own home, and my own business.. with funds put aside for my kids education.

You need a balance of work and fun and frolic in your life, because you never know what tomorrow holds. However all our lives need a foundation to build from... a home is a good part of that.
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Old February 24th, 2006, 07:24 AM
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get the condo and then get a home equity loan and take a cruise (VBG)

OR........ here in New Orleans (prior to Katrina) during Mardi Gras I would rent my house out to some friends that I have known for years and made enough to take a cruise duirng Mardi Gras week and escape the crowds

what goes on in your neck of the woods for a week that you could rent your condo out to ?
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Old February 24th, 2006, 07:56 AM
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Hi Jodi,
Yes, I too say, if it's a good deal, buy the condo. (Then you can cruise, and be one of the dreaded "Condo Commandos") VBG
Maybe take one of the inexpensive 3 or 4 day cruises just to keep from going insane.
See you aboard,
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Old February 24th, 2006, 09:27 AM
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Condo, condo, condo
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Old February 24th, 2006, 05:52 PM
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Venice,
I live in Orlando....I could easily rent it out...several times a year...

J
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Old February 24th, 2006, 06:01 PM
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UConn..just get either a huge damage deposit or know the folks that you are renting too...you could cruise once or twice a year doing it that way (of course you'll let me stay in your digs for a 10% discount) (VBG)
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Old February 26th, 2006, 05:37 AM
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The condo is TAX DEDUCTIBLE!!! The cruise is not! Use your refund to but the next cruise....that way the condo PAID for the cruise ! WOO HOO!!!
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Old February 26th, 2006, 08:36 AM
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Ok, so I went and looked at the townhome. I loved it! So much so, we then went over to pick out the color schemes. Construction on the building has not begun yet, but it is to be completed by the end of the year. It is in a development called the Sanctuary and this particular unit backs up to a conservation area. If I use their mortgage broker, I get $1000 off closing costs and a one level upgrade in color scheme (valued at $5000). However. I liked one of the standard color schemes so they will let me take the credit towards putting tile down on the entire first floor, if I so choose. I would also have to buy a W/D, Fridge, and microwave. The only thing I have to do now is decide whether or not I want to take on the mortgage, the additional costs, and to live out that far.

I will let you know when/if I put down a good faith deposit on it.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 11:22 AM
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Good luck Jodi in whatever direction your decision goes.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 12:42 PM
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DH owned a townhome when we married last year. It's the perfect size for us, and the payment is SUPER low compared to what we would pay for a house of comparable size.

I would buy the condo... cruising is fun, but owning your very own home is PRICELESS!!!
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Old February 26th, 2006, 12:56 PM
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BUY!!!!

But, how bad will the commute be? With the widening of 192, is the drive reasonable?
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Old February 26th, 2006, 03:40 PM
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Definitely buy. You have to live somewhere right? Why not live in a place you own and can sell for profit later?

I would strongly suggest you put in the contract with the builder his completion date. If he says he'll be finished by 12/13/06 then tell him he won't mind putting it in the contract. If he refuses, ask him why he won't back up his claim in writing! And establish, in the contract, that for every day he's late he's forfeiting $100 per day, or something similar.

I can tell you from experience working with contractors if you don't have a penalty built in to the contract they won't finish when they say they will.

Regards,
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