The Middle-Aged Genius’s Guide to Almost Everything 6 – Buy A House
March 8, 2018
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Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is the middle-aged advice for buying a house?
Rick Rosner: There are all sorts of new models for house buying because the internet is changing everything, but you probably still will have to work with a real estate agent or you should at least try one out.
It used to be that before the internet kind of democratized information that the real estate agents were much more the gatekeepers to showing you houses, but now you can do a lot on your own going online and maybe you’re not a regular newspaper reader.
But if you get the Sunday paper in a big market, they often list open houses. As I said, you should educate yourself about what’s available and what you like by walking through dozens and dozens and ideally more than a hundred houses that are for sale.
And unfortunately, you can’t really tell what you like or don’t like about a house until you live in the house for a year or two, but you can start forming ideas by looking at a bunch of houses. It also helps you form ideas about neighborhoods.
If you’re going to have a kid or if you have a kid, you often have to look at the schools in the neighborhood to see if they suck or not. In LA, where the public schools are broke, not all schools have the same resources or the same quality of administrators; there’s a thing called Dance of the Lemons where it’s tough to fire teachers and administrators.
So, they tend to get transferred to schools with parents who don’t know how to be activist parents with regard to the school. They may not be native English speakers, they may not have connections in the government.
So, you can have a school in the 90th percentile among schools in LA or in the state and then you cross the street and you’re in the district of the next school over, which might have scores in the 30th percentile because one school has active knowledgeable parents who are able to get the bad teachers and administrators out to parents who contribute to the school to support programs like music and art.
And then the other school across the street district, they have a bunch of families who are non-native English speakers who don’t know that school sucks, don’t know what to do about it and all these crap teachers and crappy pro we looked at.
So, we were looking at schools as much as houses. We’ve looked at one school where they had five different principals in the past year. That school’s going to be a mess and it was reflected in their test scores.
You want to think about a house that is flexible in terms you don’t know what your future is going to be, so you want a house that you can easily afford at your current level of income and that might offer some opportunities for renovation if you know want to live in a nicer house because that’s often cheaper than moving into a new house in a new neighborhood. And the level of renovation of it will depend on your level of income.
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American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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