Major buyer's remorse, sick to my stomach, looking for advise

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Sep 11, 2009
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I just moved from a paid for house in the metro Denver area to a paid for house in the Phoenix area. I feel like I undersold my previous house (even though the appraisal didn't agree) and overpaid for my current house. Redfin says my house was worth some 30k more, at the time I sold it. Recent sales and listings agree. Zillow says my current house jumped some 50k just before I bought it, which was likely because of the listing price. Granted, the previous owners did put in the salt water pool and spa with travertine tile, and inside granite coutertops and tile.

I'm sick to my stomach. Bills where I am now are so much worse. My salt water pool is expensive to run, the electricity usage by my noisy AC right by the master bedroom window is hell! I have to sleep with ear plugs in or I just won't sleep.

I'm 12 miles from the nearest highway. There's scorpions and termites. Everyone gets termintes! - hence terminte and pest control. The worst is my back yard has a view fence because my house was a former model. The HOA won't let me replace it with solid brick or put up a privacy shield, which leaves privacy bushes as the only option. This is a pain because privacy bushes require water, which costs more money that the corrupt water utility company charges a premium for. My goofball neighbor to the left ripped out all his privacy bushes. So it's like we're sharing a back yeard. I hate it. I'd rather enjoy my pool in privacy. Not while looking at a noisy street and a neighbor's yard and house.

Subdivisions are being thrown up everywhere, which makes me nervous that older real estate won't appreciate as much.

Just looking for advise on how to deal with this. If I sell now, the commission will suck, although zillow's estimate says the value has increased by 16k since my purchase, but who the hell knows if this is accurate.

I'd rather live in an area with a more private back yard, closer to the highway, less yard maintenance (I have to pay a landscaper because I'm never home and travel for work all the time).

Just sick to my stomach :-( I wish I could undo everything. Plus, AZ houses can be built very cheaply. The exterior can be punched through with a screw driver. Before, I had a solid brick house. I could crank music up and nobody could hear it. I can't even turn my alarm on at the new house because if it goes off, it'll likely wake up the entire neighborhood.

Lets not forget some tile is cracked due to settling. :-(

It would have been nice if the builder's could have joined drywall edges at studs and joists, rather than just haphazardly slapping the crap up there withtout adequate screws and tape.

I keep looking at the damn realestate sites and see what stuff is selling for now, what it sold for previously in both areas and realize how I screwed myself. I believe I got screwed over on my previous house because the square footage was innaccurate with the same models listed with 250 more square feet. My real estate agent should have caught this. Getting screwed on the appraisal really chaps my ***.

Words of advise for everyone else.:

Don't take a realtor recommendation from a family. Get he best damn one you can find to sell your largest asset.
Spend ample amounts of time where you're looking to buy. Find the best location.
Look at a 100 houses before you make a decision
Avoid HOAs.
Avoid noisy, old ACs that are installed right by a master bedroom window.
Avoid see-through fences with no privacy.
If the builder didn't bother to hang drywall properly, avoid.
Don't be dumb enough to overpay for a house - a house that's been on the market for a long time is a red flag.
Location Location Location!
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I want to reply to your post but not sure what to say or if I have any advice after the fact.

I’m glad you found your way back to posting here after 11 years and if you would have asked for advice on the move prior to doing it we may have been able to help. We have members in the area and I have several close friends that live there and could have maybe offered advice on where the better deals are out there. Although the time I have spent in Phoenix I always say it is a great place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there. It is nice to be able to go golfing in February if I wanted to spend 10 times what I could play here in July and where we spend a 4 months inside in the winter they spend at least that many inside in the summer. It is so busy and reminds me of a normal town that just repeats and repeats every 10 miles. In defense the people I know that live there never want to move back here and love it there.

As to making bad deals and I have made my share of them I think most people have. Looking back and dwelling on it is not a solution. Take account of where you are now and move ahead.

Thanks for a warning for others reading of what to avoid. :coffee:
Sorry for the rant-like post. I do love AZ and the climate. Freeways are wide open and adequate to support the population, unlike Overpopularado. I just wish I chose a different house. Would a quieter variable-speed AC unit really make that much difference with noise if the unit is right outside the bedroom window? My existing AC unit works really well, but is original from 2003 and is loud with an oscillating noise. It clunks on when it starts and just makes a hell of a racket. Any recommendations on privacy plants for the climate that don't require a lot of water and don't have intrusive roots? Would you recommend I hold onto the house a certain number of years before selling?
I did. The inspector said settling cracks are common in AZ. I agree it can be mitigated. He did mention the AC was old but didn't reference the noise in his report. He also missed the non functioning drip system control panel which I had to replace. Not to mention the non functioning reverse osmosis system that also needed replacement. Then we have the garage floor with cheap paint and the slab joins hastily filled in with cement that has come back up will have to be scraped back out. I also wish he would've found that the drywall was hung without joining up edges against studs and joists. This is basic stuff.
I feel your pain, but what it all comes down to is you have to buy land and find a builder that will do it your way. For instance, I hated the kitchen island in my house, so I ripped it out after 6 years. The carpet had been through 7 dogs and multiple cats, so it had to go. I don't like the windows, the cold laughs at them. I like the cathedral ceiling, but don't like needing a giant ladder to get to the smoke alarm that had a dead battery chirp last night. I like having an acre in the back. I don't like taking care of it because I'm not good at it yet.

WHEN I sell and have my place built, it will look normal on the outside, but I will turn the key and walk in to a plain subfloor and studs for walls. I will core bond and add R-38 or so, then use T&G Blue Pine instead of drywall. There will be no cookie cutter anything, no appliances from the 3 or 4 Chinese companies or the pretend American ones, no carpet ever, and the planted lawn will be half the size or less. The shop will be to my specs, and if here, I have the builder lined up for the trusses that I designed that are walk through. I will do the wiring in the house and shop, as I want power every 4 feet.

Now, if I was a builder, I would have no problem just putting up a frame with windows and a roof. I'm not the builder though, and I don't know how they think outside of the fact they love cookie cutting.

Good luck in AZ, I'm in MT. I don't like 7 months of cold, but I know I hate the heat there. I couldn't function in that.
Does AZ offer any sort of tax rebates or incentives to go with more energy efficient HVAC?

My only thoughts on the privacy "bushes" is maybe you can get fake bushes that look like real ones to put up? What does the fence look like? Any pics?

I don't think I could ever live somewhere with an HOA. Everyone I've talked to who lived in one of those neighborhoods said the board members often break the rules & give leeway to friends & family but will crack down on others & even manufacture excuses to harass others.

I'm sorry that you're having buyer's remorse. I hope that you can find some things to enjoy about the house-- perhaps if you can get the privacy issue taken care of. Maybe when you want to use the pool you can put up a tarp or something? Will the HOA let you put up a pergola or some sort of cover over the pool to shield it from the sun that would also let you hang some sort of curtains on to get privacy? I'm just spitballing here.
Thanks for the suggestions. Fake privacy bushes would be great if they existed. However, the only stuff I can find is too small (not high enough) or attaches to a fence which isn't allowed. If you know of anywhere I can get some fake 6 foot tall privacy bushes that would be great but I've looked all online and at the hardware stores and can't find them. The HOA will let me put up stuff that's not attached to the fence. The pool is somewhat awkwardly shaped (not square). Any sort of Pergola would only cover part of the pool. Although that wouldn't be a bad idea next to my patio. The HOA wouldn't be an issue at all if it weren't for that see-through fence.
Its only money... think about explaining your problem to someone who lives in a 3rd world country. Recall that anyone who makes $30k per year is in the top 10% of earners worldwide. yes, I think that may be inflated, maybe $30k per yr is the top 20%, but if you own your own home in Phoenix, you're doin' a-right...

My house often seems to hate me as well.
Only thing I can think of is to get fake plant stuff to put together from a craft store using wires & such to build it up. I haven't gone to a craft store in a long time though so I don't know what is available.

I mean, there's this that they show looking taller than the actual description Ejoy GorgeousHome Artificial Boxwood Hedge Greenery Panels Milan 20 in. x 20 in. (6-Piece)-Milan_6pc - The Home Depot

Not sure how it would look that large, but you could put it in planters or a raised "bed".

This link has some related fake plant privacy screens.

I hope you can find something you like & can afford.
Have you looked at bougainvillea? The roots aren't real invasive. When they start growing taller you can hide a t-stake inside the plant to give it support until it can stand on its own. They are dirty - as in they drop and shed leaves and bracts in abundance. But they love the sun, tolerate drought well, and fill out to create a nice privacy screen if you plant close together and intertwine the branches.
It's tough when you go from a well built home to one that is just not the same quality. But this is not the end of the world. Put it up for sale now and if you get your price, then sell it. If it doesn't get your price, then stay and replace the AC Unit with one that is more efficient and wait for the price to go up.

Here's what I learned over the years.

1. Lot's of people want a pool until they actually have one and then have to deal with the constant never ending costs for maintenance and energy. My kids loved our pool for about a year and then I don't think they ever used it again. I don't miss that thing!

2. There is a strong correlation to public school rankings and home values. The higher the public school rankings--the higher the sales price per square foot of the home. Even if you don't have kids, you should be aware of this because you might sell the house to someone that has kids.

3. HOA's are something to avoid these days. The builders set these up a cash cows and once you in in their claws, there is no way out. HOA's used to be an ok thing. Now they are problematic and I advise people to avoid them. They can cause you a lot of grief and cost you a lot of money.

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