Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

What actually qualifies as the "big dumb doctor house?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • What actually qualifies as the "big dumb doctor house?

    I've read a lot on these forums about the "big dumb doctor house" and how many WCI'ers have regretted that decision. As we are looking into our first home purchase, I was just wondering if there was a consensus as to what "big dumb doctor house" actually means to people. For instance, a multi million dollar home with a hundred bedrooms and bathrooms is pretty obvious, but most people don't go quite to that extreme. Do most people define it as...

    -Relation to your income. Clearly going much higher than the 2x income/mortgage rule?
    -Square footage. Buying a certain amount of square footage for a certain size family.
    -# of bedrooms/bathrooms?
    -Land: too much to take care of (or having to hire out for help and having the upkeep)
    -HOA, location (waterfront for instance), etc...

    I realize there will probably be a lot of variability in the answers and a lot depends on location (California vs Midwest for instance) but I was curious how people would actually define the big dumb house. It may be a situation where "you know it when you see it" but sometimes things aren't always that obvious and there is likely some gray area. Wanted to crowdsource the opinion of people smarter than myself




  • #2
    For me, BWCI (Before WCI), I bought a big dumb doctors house. I was living in a reasonable home but too small for my family. We had an extra room downstairs but since I had young kids it was not used and the 5 of us were living in about 1200 sq ft. It was tight... we then got a great deal on a Bank Owned (one of the last foreclosures in our area, yes, California) home. It was bigger than we needed but loved the location and the price per sq foot was amazing. The purchase price was ~1.5x our income and 6 years later the mortgage is less than 1x our income. However... it is huge. The actual house is 4 bed 4 bath 3900 sq ft but there is another 900 sq ft finished basement apartment with another bedroom, bath, living room and full kitchen. We planned to have my mother live there some day but in all honesty, not sure when she finally needs to live there if the stairs to get up/down into basement will be doable for her. At this point, I think about our heating bill during the winter (don't need AC during summer, so no need to worry there), about cleaning it, keep up with maintenance (Even just things like broken cabinets, up dating things, which we only do with cash), new carpets, furniture (with 3 kids, it breaks a lot!), etc. For my family of 5, we could have squeezed into 2500 sq ft and been comfortable in 3400 sq ft... but this almost 5000 sq ft is too much. However... good news is that it is California, so my price per sq ft has doubled... and it is a lot of sq feet!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by JK View Post
      I've read a lot on these forums about the "big dumb doctor house" and how many WCI'ers have regretted that decision. As we are looking into our first home purchase, I was just wondering if there was a consensus as to what "big dumb doctor house" actually means to people. For instance, a multi million dollar home with a hundred bedrooms and bathrooms is pretty obvious, but most people don't go quite to that extreme. Do most people define it as...

      -Relation to your income. Clearly going much higher than the 2x income/mortgage rule?
      • 2x income, 20 down, 15 yr mortgage paid by retirement, maintain 20%+ retirement savings, not impact life style spending.
      -Square footage. Buying a certain amount of square footage for a certain size family.
      -# of bedrooms/bathrooms?
      -Land: too much to take care of (or having to hire out for help and having the upkeep)
      -HOA, location (waterfront for instance), etc...
      • More than you need for you and your family. Better off building wealth than supporting a house.
      I realize there will probably be a lot of variability in the answers and a lot depends on location (California vs Midwest for instance) but I was curious how people would actually define the big dumb house. It may be a situation where "you know it when you see it" but sometimes things aren't always that obvious and there is likely some gray area. Wanted to crowdsource the opinion of people smarter than myself
      No one is smarter, after taxes and retirement savings, how you spend is really a personal choice.

      Comment


      • #4
        My understanding is it's a "big dumb doctor house" the moment you decide it's too big and expensive. Until then, it's your dream home.

        Comment


        • #5
          I imagine it is like caffeine intake. Too much is anything more then what I do.

          Seriously though a lot depends on family size and usage.
          If you have bedrooms or bathrooms that do not get used you probably have too much house.

          Second kitchen, probably too much house.

          Can't afford a 15 year mortgage with 20%
          down, too much house.

          More then 2-3 times the average home for your area, probably too much house.

          Comment


          • Brains428
            Brains428 commented
            Editing a comment
            But what if 2-3x house in your area is total house cost less than annual income???

          • Lordosis
            Lordosis commented
            Editing a comment
            Then you have a great income and can afford the big dumb doctor house!

        • #6
          We stuck to a house 1x AGI in a relatively LCOL area, and so far are super happy with our decision. We can meet our FIRE financial goals and will probably be ahead of schedule.

          We have friends in the area who spent twice as much (with similar income mind you) and most of them have regretted it (unused rooms, too much to clean) even to the point of selling after only a couple years...our friends in HCOL areas who spent more like 2x or 3x even to be able to live where they do (mostly California) are pretty happy and have accepted the cost of living adjustment to their lifestyles. They'll just be retiring 15 years later than us It depends what you get for the extra money that matters. But as long as you can reach your retirement goals, live relatively debt-free, pay for your kids' college and not worry about making that mortgage payment every month...you can do it.

          Comment


          • #7
            In addition to some of the financial criteria listed above, I think another thing or two to consider is the size/cost of house relative to the local market, and how custom the house is. In other words, how easy would it be to sell the house, if needed, to move away for a different job, or to downsize and retire, etc.

            I have an acquaintance who owns a very custom, exquisite home that he is trying to sell for over $1 million in a town where the population is 50,000 and most of the local jobs are manufacturing or farming. There are only a couple of people per year who could afford to buy that house in that market, and they might not be looking for the 10,000 sq foot house with the indoor soccer field, infinite bedrooms, etc. To me, that is a “big, dumb doctor house.”

            Our house is slightly above the median in our zip code for size, cost, and is not a custom house with lots of specific things built just for us (it is a custom house in the sense that it was not mass produced, but was designed by and for the previous owners, but is definitely not an outlandish floor plan with idiosyncrasies). There are dozens of buyers in our area per month who could afford our house, should we decide to sell it. In fact we get letters from realtors 3-4 times per year saying they have people interested in buying our house and if we are interested in selling to please call them.

            Comment


            • #8
              I live in the SE. Housing costs are much less here. I would say that the average doctor house here is 6000 SQ feet +. I just bought a 4200 sf house (actually more like 3200 with 1000 sf of finished attic bonus space.) The downstairs is pretty perfect in layout. I never understand why people say they do not want a certain size house because of cleaning. I have had a housekeeper since I was a resident.
              Last edited by jfoxcpacfp; 12-29-2019, 07:49 AM. Reason: “motor” to “more”

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by MaxPower View Post
                In addition to some of the financial criteria listed above, I think another thing or two to consider is the size/cost of house relative to the local market, and how custom the house is. In other words, how easy would it be to sell the house, if needed, to move away for a different job, or to downsize and retire, etc.

                I have an acquaintance who owns a very custom, exquisite home that he is trying to sell for over $1 million in a town where the population is 50,000 and most of the local jobs are manufacturing or farming. There are only a couple of people per year who could afford to buy that house in that market, and they might not be looking for the 10,000 sq foot house with the indoor soccer field, infinite bedrooms, etc. To me, that is a “big, dumb doctor house.”

                Our house is slightly above the median in our zip code for size, cost, and is not a custom house with lots of specific things built just for us (it is a custom house in the sense that it was not mass produced, but was designed by and for the previous owners, but is definitely not an outlandish floor plan with idiosyncrasies). There are dozens of buyers in our area per month who could afford our house, should we decide to sell it. In fact we get letters from realtors 3-4 times per year saying they have people interested in buying our house and if we are interested in selling to please call them.
                This is something I feel a lot of people don't take into consideration when they buy their home. It's not just about the size, it's about the resale.

                Unless you plan on never moving, building/buying a million dollar home in a small town is likely going to bite you if you ever need to sell quickly. Not saying it can't work out, but it's something to consider.
                I should have been a pair of ragged claws. Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

                Comment


                • #10
                  So this is an interesting conversation as we're tepidly looking. Based on next year's expected income we could afford ~$1.2M home, peak home costs in the area upwards of $3M. The issue is property taxes, which husband, who has very, very minimal financial interest, brought to my attention this week. The homes in the neighborhood where I would like to live (especially ones with a view) have taxes approximating $25k / year. We're currently renting in the neighborhood, I love it and think this is where we belong, but the thought of paying basically our current rent in taxes AFTER the house is paid off is gross.

                  And then of course it's a historic neighborhood and many of the homes are very, very big. Our current apartment of 1700 square feet with basement space is perfect for the two of us so unless I suddenly get pregnant with septuplets and both sets of parents decide to move in, why would I ever need a 5,000+ square foot home? These things never come easy.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    I don't think there is a whole lot of difference between a "big dumb doctor house" and any other "big dumb house.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Hatton View Post
                      I never understand why people say they do not want a certain size house because of cleaning. I have had a housekeeper since I was a resident.
                      Whether you invest your own time or pay someone else for theirs, more house requires more time spent cleaning.

                      Comment


                      • mianesmd
                        mianesmd commented
                        Editing a comment
                        As I recently found out getting a cleaner for the first time...it's way more expensive than I thought. The more square footage you have you're either spending a lot more or not getting everything cleaned that needs to be cleaned every time they come.

                      • Lordosis
                        Lordosis commented
                        Editing a comment
                        When we had our twins someone got us a housekeeper for 6 months as a gift. We kept her on for about a year and a half. However we found it more stressful trying to get everything clean the night before just to have the kids wreck the house again the morning of. It was not as big of a deal when they were babies but 2 toddlers and a 4 year old can destroy a house pretty quick. I find it easier to just do the cleaning myself because it can be done on my schedule and it never has to be done all at once.

                    • #13
                      Originally posted by MaxPower View Post
                      In addition to some of the financial criteria listed above, I think another thing or two to consider is the size/cost of house relative to the local market, and how custom the house is. In other words, how easy would it be to sell the house, if needed, to move away for a different job, or to downsize and retire, etc.

                      I have an acquaintance who owns a very custom, exquisite home that he is trying to sell for over $1 million in a town where the population is 50,000 and most of the local jobs are manufacturing or farming. There are only a couple of people per year who could afford to buy that house in that market, and they might not be looking for the 10,000 sq foot house with the indoor soccer field, infinite bedrooms, etc. To me, that is a “big, dumb doctor house.”

                      Our house is slightly above the median in our zip code for size, cost, and is not a custom house with lots of specific things built just for us (it is a custom house in the sense that it was not mass produced, but was designed by and for the previous owners, but is definitely not an outlandish floor plan with idiosyncrasies). There are dozens of buyers in our area per month who could afford our house, should we decide to sell it. In fact we get letters from realtors 3-4 times per year saying they have people interested in buying our house and if we are interested in selling to please call them.
                      One of our radiologists built a > $1M custom house in our rural town of 20,000. He had it on the market for > 5 years, and eventually sold for a little over $700,000. I think that qualifies (as a big, dumb, doctor house).

                      We purchased a 5BR, 5BA house with 4000-5000 square feet (just me, my wife, and 2 small dogs), but it was only $319,000 and homes in that price range sell readily here. We don't use all of the rooms (i.e., the formal living room), but we're happy with the purchase. Inventory is limited here and the smaller homes just weren't very nice.
                      Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried (many) bags for a lovely and gracious 59 yo Cyd Charisse. (RIP) Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

                      Comment


                      • Tim
                        Tim commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Value purchase. Marketable if you ever chose. Brilliant! Winner, winner chicken dinner!

                    • #14
                      Originally posted by mapplebum View Post
                      So this is an interesting conversation as we're tepidly looking. Based on next year's expected income we could afford ~$1.2M home, peak home costs in the area upwards of $3M. The issue is property taxes, which husband, who has very, very minimal financial interest, brought to my attention this week. The homes in the neighborhood where I would like to live (especially ones with a view) have taxes approximating $25k / year. We're currently renting in the neighborhood, I love it and think this is where we belong, but the thought of paying basically our current rent in taxes AFTER the house is paid off is gross.

                      And then of course it's a historic neighborhood and many of the homes are very, very big. Our current apartment of 1700 square feet with basement space is perfect for the two of us so unless I suddenly get pregnant with septuplets and both sets of parents decide to move in, why would I ever need a 5,000+ square foot home? These things never come easy.
                      For me taxes are a big thing to pay attention to as you pointed out. 25k/year in taxes is over $2,000 a month! That will basically mean a larger number needed to retire. But, at the same time, if you love where you are located and the taxes are going towards good schools and keeping the neighborhood nice, then it's not necessarily a deal killer.
                      But a very big house, especially an old house, can be quite a burden financially and in terms of keeping it clean and furnished. The mortgage, taxes, and insurance you pay to live there will only be the minimum amount you're paying each month. You have to factor in costs of upkeep/maintenance, repairs, renovations, etc. We just moved out of a large historic house actually and I can speak from experience that the costs can be tremendous.

                      Comment


                      • Tyche
                        Tyche commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Yea while taxes are high in general, they're that high when it comes with a view. A few blocks in and they drop at least 50%. We love the historic homes but I don't think I'd ever consider buying something more than 3000 square feet. It's just too much and there's no reason for it. So hopefully I can get husband on board to sit tight in our beautiful rental until one of the smaller homes in the neighborhood goes up.

                    • #15
                      Originally posted by JK View Post
                      I've read a lot on these forums about the "big dumb doctor house" and how many WCI'ers have regretted that decision. As we are looking into our first home purchase, I was just wondering if there was a consensus as to what "big dumb doctor house" actually means to people. For instance, a multi million dollar home with a hundred bedrooms and bathrooms is pretty obvious, but most people don't go quite to that extreme. Do most people define it as...

                      -Relation to your income. Clearly going much higher than the 2x income/mortgage rule?
                      -Square footage. Buying a certain amount of square footage for a certain size family.
                      -# of bedrooms/bathrooms?
                      -Land: too much to take care of (or having to hire out for help and having the upkeep)
                      -HOA, location (waterfront for instance), etc...

                      I realize there will probably be a lot of variability in the answers and a lot depends on location (California vs Midwest for instance) but I was curious how people would actually define the big dumb house. It may be a situation where "you know it when you see it" but sometimes things aren't always that obvious and there is likely some gray area. Wanted to crowdsource the opinion of people smarter than myself
                      You ask a good question. But, it's a tough question to answer because everyone's definition is going to be vastly different. Generally speaking, I think most Americans have ridiculously high standards of living when it comes to the size and features of their homes. Doctors and other high paid professionals tend to be the worst when it comes to living up to these high standards. SO, more than likely, all of us on here have big dumb doctor houses. If you compare how we live now to how people lived in the 1930's for instance, we're all living like royalty...but we're paying for it.
                      My advice would be to really look critically at what you actually NEED. Ask yourself what you're used to and what your immediate plans are in terms of family and guests. Keep in mind that you probably won't stay in your first house forever. And keep in mind that bigger means exponentially more expensive in terms of upkeep, furnishing, taxes, repairs, renovations, etc. The 2X rule for mortgage size is good because even if you buy too big of a house, at least the mortgage won't be unmanageable.

                      Comment

                      Working...
                      X