Car, Remodel or Pool?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
h82goslw
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by h82goslw »

Pools are so incredibly subjective.....totally a personal choice and one you need to carefully analyze.

We’ve had a pool for 15 years and cost $40K all in back then. Live in the northeast so we only get about 4 months of use.
First 10 years was lots of kids and friends and parties. Great memories. Last couple of years I basically have the pool to myself and use it every single day, love it. Kids, now very late teens, have a friend over occasionally. Maintenance is very minor with a salt water system. (Now that I’m a BH not sure I would drop that much cash on a pool were I to do it all over again).

As for teenage boys sharing a room.....I can’t imagine my boys in one room....they’d seriously injure each other... daily.
wfrobinette
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by wfrobinette »

harrychan wrote: Sun Jul 12, 2020 4:08 pm Hi All,

A very happy Sunday to all. My DW and I are at a crossroads and would love to get input from the great minds of people on this forum. I always found the posts here extremely insightful. My DW and I are looking at the pros / cons of upcoming major purchase or remodel and want to see what would be the best for our situation.

Background: Family of 4 (Early 40s with two boys 11 and 9 years old). Very active family. We're out 6 days out of the week pre-covid. DW is SAHM. I make between $160-190k depending on bonus which is about 20% of pay. NW $1.7M. No debt except mortgage of $350k. 401k is about $700k and brokerage is at $100k. We're planning to take money from our brokerage and / or taking equity or finance the purchase.

Below list is what is competing for our upcoming expenditures.

1) New car - Telsa Y - approximately $54k OTD. Tesla recently reduced $3000 and you can say this is my dream car. We recently sold our 2nd car as it was ageing and been wanting to replace this. We originally wanted the Outback but the tech of Tesla enticed me. We also looked at the Model 3 but it was just too cramped and small for me.

2) Remodel - My job is pretty much full time work from home. As our boys grow, we would like them to have their own room. In order to give them their own room, I have to vacate one of the bedroom I have been using as an office. The estimates we have been getting to remodel is about $80-100k which will add about 500 sq ft to our home. Our homes are well priced in the area and if we were to sell, we will definitely recoup the cost. Our house is currently 3 bedroom / 2 baths and about 1700 sq ft. Our home will become about $2200 sq ft. It currently appraised at $900k (we recently refinanced). I can potentially move my office to the master bedroom but it will be very cramped. I can't open camp out in the living room or dining as I am in meetings all day.

3) Pool - As a family, we frequently wish we bought a house with a pool. Our boys are active and loves jumping into a pool. I think I would put good use to it but previous times we were at an apartment with a pool, I barely used it. A pool will cost approximately $60k

Thoughts?
I'm a you only live once kind of guy. Some will say you are a fool for doing any of these. Here is my ranking.

1. Your boys need their own room and a single bath home is just undesirable these days.
2. Pool - We love ours. We won't get the money back but my teen age daughter is at the house more than she would be otherwise. Her friends love coming here. We want our house to be the "hangout" vs her being somewhere else doing who knows what.
3. Car - You work from home. Why do you want $55k car to sit in the driveway?

Like a few others have said you might want to consider upgrading to a home that offers 1 and 2.
inbox788
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by inbox788 »

With 2 young boys in the house, I'd do all 3!

Start with the pool and have the boys dig a big hole. You can learn everything on YouTube these days.

Dig To Build Swimming Pool Underground Water Slide Around Secret Underground House
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbEKBKzmPH8

Next up is the remodel. Some 2x4s and nails, screw in some drywall, paint, etc. It's a great family experience!

Wait for Tesla to enter the SP500, then buy the Y so all our investments can go up. I can't believe it hasn't already been added yet with a $300B market cap, but with the wild volatility, it might add another point to the VIX. Wait, it's in VTSMX in modest amount, comparable to Nike or Oracle. Strange NKE vs ORCL and market cap weighing discrepancy. Seems ORCL is underweight relative to NKE and TSLA to both. https://investor.vanguard.com/etf/profi ... o-holdings

Getting back to your 4 choices, since you're not driving much now, delay and get the Tesla last. Plus it's the only depreciating asset. The rest are "investments" and that helps justify the plan, and seems like you can afford it and can take advantage of the current low rates. Too bad you didn't take out some cash on your refinance (what rate? Deductible/amount?), but it would have come in handy. I'm seeing HELOC 4%, Tesla 4%, and by the time you're all done, locked in payback rate might be higher. What interest rate can you get for zero cost loan refinance with 200k cash out (350+200/900 < 60% LTV)?

Now with the summer heat, the pool would be ideal, but I doubt you could get it built that fast. Plus you might need the space as a staging area when building the remodel or would just get in the way. At best all the construction waste will fall in the pool causing a big mess, so that can wait too, but you can plan ahead. Since you need an office,

4) Pool house! Combination bathroom, changing room, exercise room. You don't have to finish it all, and leave the bathroom partially done, but you can use the rest as your temporary office. It's not much more complicated than building a garage (walls, power, light -- what else do you need?) and won't take much time or add to much to the cost (and remember, it's an "investment" you'll recoup when you sell -- keep telling yourself that).
illumination
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by illumination »

I'd prioritize #2 (especially since you'll likely recoup most of it), then the #1 (a new car) then several places down, the pool.

My kids are the only one that really like the pool and I don't like taking care of it. Most of the time maintenance is on autopilot, but when equipment fails, it can be a headache.

I know when I was a kid, I largely stopped using my pool regularly as I approached my teen years. Obviously everyone is different, but it wouldn't surprise me if after like 3-4 years your kids get bored with it. If you're not into it, I wouldn't be in a hurry to get one. When I bought my kids a really nice trampoline, it was all the rage for a few months, now it largely rots in our backyard.

Financially though, you seem fine to do all of it.
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avenger
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by avenger »

Don’t query Bogleheads for a decision like this. They will tell you the right financial decision but only you can answer the correct personal decision. The two are not always the same.

We are finishing $100,000 backyard project which includes an inground pool as we speak.

We sold a boat a month before this project began. No one would say a boat is a good investment, but we made some of the best memories of our lives on that boat that we owned for 10 years. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
cheers ... -Mark | "Our life is frittered away with detail. Simplify. Simplify." -Henry David Thoreau | [VTI, VXUS, VWITX, SV fund]
IMO
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by IMO »

Just personal thought/history, FWIW.

OP, as you live in SoCal, I believe for the most part, having a nice pool is not considered an negative for many perspective home buyers.

I grew up in SoCal where I shared a bedroom with a sibling and shared same bathroom with 3 other siblings. I did start to care more about my own room in high school. We did have a pool and it was used only during the summer months because it's too cold even in SoCal to use outside of that time frame unless you heat the pool. It was used all the time in the summers (even at night) except when we were on vacation. It was "the" house everyone hanged out at. It was fun not just for humans but for our dogs.

Parent had a nice car but it wasn't something that really was that important. Didn't drive the nice car when I got my permit/license. I've owned a nice fancy sports car. For that matter, tons of people in SoCal drive very nice cars, rarely is that impressing anyone or fun as you sit in bumper to bumper traffic or driving like an idiot dodging through cars on the freeways in LA with all the traffic. Maybe you can drive it up Angeles Crest Highway and have fun if you don't get an expensive speeding ticket(s).

Putting money aside, concerning the above things, the thing that had the most quality of life aspect as a kid growing up in SoCal was having our pool. It was also used for the parents grandkids.

Nowadays with elderly parents, it's not used that much except when family visits them in summers. However, asides from a few maintenance things like replacing a filter/pump and replastering it after 45 yrs, it really hasn't been that big of a thing for elderly parents to manage themselves with a automatic pool vac and despite the constant water shortages in SoCal, water is still cheap.

I agree it's not so easy to just up and find a replacement house with more space/pool even with your proposed budgeted amount.

But it's a personal choice on what's important to you and your family. Financially, the best thing to do would be none of your choices.
Deighve
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by Deighve »

What about a first floor office/ enclosed porch build instead of a new bedroom? Might be cheaper and require less structural support. Might also be a better office.
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SmileyFace
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by SmileyFace »

#4 - start 529 college savings plans for the boys.
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harrychan
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by harrychan »

DaftInvestor wrote: Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:19 am #4 - start 529 college savings plans for the boys.
We already have 529s for them that has about $50k in them. 👍🏼
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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harrychan
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by harrychan »

Deighve wrote: Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:16 am What about a first floor office/ enclosed porch build instead of a new bedroom? Might be cheaper and require less structural support. Might also be a better office.
Either will be viable but our porch is already enclosed and is open to the dining and living room.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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harrychan
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by harrychan »

IMO wrote: Wed Jul 15, 2020 1:07 am Just personal thought/history, FWIW.

OP, as you live in SoCal, I believe for the most part, having a nice pool is not considered an negative for many perspective home buyers.

I grew up in SoCal where I shared a bedroom with a sibling and shared same bathroom with 3 other siblings. I did start to care more about my own room in high school. We did have a pool and it was used only during the summer months because it's too cold even in SoCal to use outside of that time frame unless you heat the pool. It was used all the time in the summers (even at night) except when we were on vacation. It was "the" house everyone hanged out at. It was fun not just for humans but for our dogs.

Parent had a nice car but it wasn't something that really was that important. Didn't drive the nice car when I got my permit/license. I've owned a nice fancy sports car. For that matter, tons of people in SoCal drive very nice cars, rarely is that impressing anyone or fun as you sit in bumper to bumper traffic or driving like an idiot dodging through cars on the freeways in LA with all the traffic. Maybe you can drive it up Angeles Crest Highway and have fun if you don't get an expensive speeding ticket(s).

Putting money aside, concerning the above things, the thing that had the most quality of life aspect as a kid growing up in SoCal was having our pool. It was also used for the parents grandkids.

Nowadays with elderly parents, it's not used that much except when family visits them in summers. However, asides from a few maintenance things like replacing a filter/pump and replastering it after 45 yrs, it really hasn't been that big of a thing for elderly parents to manage themselves with a automatic pool vac and despite the constant water shortages in SoCal, water is still cheap.

I agree it's not so easy to just up and find a replacement house with more space/pool even with your proposed budgeted amount.

But it's a personal choice on what's important to you and your family. Financially, the best thing to do would be none of your choices.
Thank you for sharing your experience!
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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harrychan
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by harrychan »

illumination wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:03 pm I'd prioritize #2 (especially since you'll likely recoup most of it), then the #1 (a new car) then several places down, the pool.

My kids are the only one that really like the pool and I don't like taking care of it. Most of the time maintenance is on autopilot, but when equipment fails, it can be a headache.

I know when I was a kid, I largely stopped using my pool regularly as I approached my teen years. Obviously everyone is different, but it wouldn't surprise me if after like 3-4 years your kids get bored with it. If you're not into it, I wouldn't be in a hurry to get one. When I bought my kids a really nice trampoline, it was all the rage for a few months, now it largely rots in our backyard.

Financially though, you seem fine to do all of it.
There are many unknowns which worry me and may be the least utility amongst the 3 but may yield great memories.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
tashnewbie
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by tashnewbie »

Sounds like you need another vehicle regardless of whether you buy the Tesla. I'd go ahead and do that and probably would get the Outback you were already thinking of buying.

I agree with others that it'd probably be easier in some ways to just buy another house. I wouldn't want 1 bathroom with a family of 4 (I lived with 1 bathroom growing up in a family of 4, and we made it work, but if my parents could travel back in time, they would've added another bathroom or gotten another house). I wouldn't want to live through a remodel. How would that affect your WFH experience? All very personal things to consider.

Was your job full-time WFH, even before the pandemic?
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Watty
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by Watty »

I am not sure where the talk of a one bathroom house comes from. The original post says;

harrychan wrote: Sun Jul 12, 2020 4:08 pmOur house is currently 3 bedroom / 2 baths and about 1700 sq ft.

One thing that may not have been mentioned is that you need to be careful about over improving the house compared to the rest of the neighborhood.

That can be a big problem when you need to eventually sell it since it may not get a high appraisal.
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harrychan
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by harrychan »

tashnewbie wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 2:44 pm Sounds like you need another vehicle regardless of whether you buy the Tesla. I'd go ahead and do that and probably would get the Outback you were already thinking of buying.

I agree with others that it'd probably be easier in some ways to just buy another house. I wouldn't want 1 bathroom with a family of 4 (I lived with 1 bathroom growing up in a family of 4, and we made it work, but if my parents could travel back in time, they would've added another bathroom or gotten another house). I wouldn't want to live through a remodel. How would that affect your WFH experience? All very personal things to consider.

Was your job full-time WFH, even before the pandemic?
Actually with the rebates, the Outback is pretty closely priced to the Tesla. OTD for the Outback is about $40k and the Tesla will be around $45 considering the rebates and when the lower priced trim comes out (RWD). If I really wanted to save on car, I could get something used but prefer not to do that.

Correction, we do have 2 baths but the other bath is on the other side of the home and is a bit run down. Hence, the boys like to use ours lol.

Yes, my job was basically full time WFH before the pandemic.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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harrychan
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by harrychan »

Watty wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 3:49 pm I am not sure where the talk of a one bathroom house comes from. The original post says;

harrychan wrote: Sun Jul 12, 2020 4:08 pmOur house is currently 3 bedroom / 2 baths and about 1700 sq ft.

One thing that may not have been mentioned is that you need to be careful about over improving the house compared to the rest of the neighborhood.

That can be a big problem when you need to eventually sell it since it may not get a high appraisal.
That won't be an issue. Based on redfin, the most recent comps brings our area's median sold price just shy of $1M. We purchased our home for just under $600k.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
ThankYouJack
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by ThankYouJack »

harrychan wrote: Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:13 pm
Ged wrote: Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:22 pm A car is a depreciating asset, and a pool club works well as an alternative to a pool. #2 is the obvious choice.

500 sq feet though is a BIG bedroom. I would sharpen my pencil a bit on that. In new construction homes the average master bedroom size is 224 square feet.

Don't forget the impact on real estate taxes.
Pool clubs acceptance fees are ridiculous around here ($100k?) and is by invitation only. We don't have much interest in such society. The 500 SQ ft would also include adding a bathroom for the boys. They currently use ours lol.
Are there any tennis clubs with pools that have a lot lower fee? Where I live there are fancy country clubs with super high fees, but also nice tennis clubs with nice pools for $0-$1,000 to sign up.

I'd probably go with 2, although a nice pool would be create a lot of great memories.
srt7
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by srt7 »

I was initially going to vote for #2 BUT I re-read your posts and a few other follow-ups. It sounds like you ordered the choices by your desire (sub-consicously?) so this isn't just about numbers anymore (if it were then #2 gets my vote). My vote is now for you to get your Tesla. You've worked hard to get to where you are and you deserve it. Simple. Sometimes you have to prioritize you. There will always be something pressing and it can wait.

What color is your Model Y? :sharebeer
chrischris
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by chrischris »

I’m surprised by some of these posts that treat you like you are living paycheck to paycheck and not saving any money.

If you really want the Tesla, you can afford it. You have worked hard and saved. Something else tells me you could use some fun in your life. If it’s something you want to do, go for it. My crystal ball shows you will die and leave lots of money to your children. You can’t take the money with you. Enjoy the car if you desire. I don’t see you keeping up with the Jones’s by buying your dream car that happens to be very practical for your family. It’s not a Porsche or Ferrari.... Find the balance in your life :)

I’d also remodel. You’d lose a significant amount of money in fees to sell your house. Upgrade and enjoy the quality of life by remodeling. Don’t move, that sounds like a hassle.

As for the pool, just don’t do it. I get it would be fun. But your boys will be teenagers soon and won’t enjoy cannonballs like they do know. When you sell your house, the new owner might fill the pool in anyway. Invest the money elsewhere in family vacations etc that make memories. A house pool will lose it’s appeal and your kids won’t want to hear how much you spent on the pool when the family is asking for Disneyland or Hawaii.

Hope my opinion helps.
westie
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by westie »

I would do #2 and #3. Maybe cut the remodel down to 400 sq ft....The whole family gets enjoyment from that choice, you can get a Tesla later.
RollDagoneTide
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by RollDagoneTide »

Save cash. Why would you liquidate precious accounts?


Don't harvest the gold yet..
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harrychan
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by harrychan »

ThankYouJack wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 11:15 am
harrychan wrote: Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:13 pm
Ged wrote: Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:22 pm A car is a depreciating asset, and a pool club works well as an alternative to a pool. #2 is the obvious choice.

500 sq feet though is a BIG bedroom. I would sharpen my pencil a bit on that. In new construction homes the average master bedroom size is 224 square feet.

Don't forget the impact on real estate taxes.
Pool clubs acceptance fees are ridiculous around here ($100k?) and is by invitation only. We don't have much interest in such society. The 500 SQ ft would also include adding a bathroom for the boys. They currently use ours lol.
Are there any tennis clubs with pools that have a lot lower fee? Where I live there are fancy country clubs with super high fees, but also nice tennis clubs with nice pools for $0-$1,000 to sign up.

I'd probably go with 2, although a nice pool would be create a lot of great memories.
Unfortunately, no. Nearby country clubs are for "high society" which can cost up to $100k for entrance fee with referral and $20-30k per year. It's crazy.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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harrychan
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by harrychan »

westie wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 6:55 pm I would do #2 and #3. Maybe cut the remodel down to 400 sq ft....The whole family gets enjoyment from that choice, you can get a Tesla later.
GC's we talked to say you might as well max out the SQ ft as you're already going through the process.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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harrychan
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by harrychan »

srt7 wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 11:32 am I was initially going to vote for #2 BUT I re-read your posts and a few other follow-ups. It sounds like you ordered the choices by your desire (sub-consicously?) so this isn't just about numbers anymore (if it were then #2 gets my vote). My vote is now for you to get your Tesla. You've worked hard to get to where you are and you deserve it. Simple. Sometimes you have to prioritize you. There will always be something pressing and it can wait.

What color is your Model Y? :sharebeer
Lol. Great insight! Maybe ;)

Either white / white or blue / white.

It's hard to not feel selfish.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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harrychan
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Re: Car, Remodel or Pool?

Post by harrychan »

chrischris wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 11:45 am I’m surprised by some of these posts that treat you like you are living paycheck to paycheck and not saving any money.

If you really want the Tesla, you can afford it. You have worked hard and saved. Something else tells me you could use some fun in your life. If it’s something you want to do, go for it. My crystal ball shows you will die and leave lots of money to your children. You can’t take the money with you. Enjoy the car if you desire. I don’t see you keeping up with the Jones’s by buying your dream car that happens to be very practical for your family. It’s not a Porsche or Ferrari.... Find the balance in your life :)

I’d also remodel. You’d lose a significant amount of money in fees to sell your house. Upgrade and enjoy the quality of life by remodeling. Don’t move, that sounds like a hassle.

As for the pool, just don’t do it. I get it would be fun. But your boys will be teenagers soon and won’t enjoy cannonballs like they do know. When you sell your house, the new owner might fill the pool in anyway. Invest the money elsewhere in family vacations etc that make memories. A house pool will lose it’s appeal and your kids won’t want to hear how much you spent on the pool when the family is asking for Disneyland or Hawaii.

Hope my opinion helps.
Thank you. It does and pretty much summarizes my thoughts after reading the wonderful feedback from everyone. We think back how busy our lives were prior to CV with school, sports. We're barely home. I think these thoughts come because we're at home, saving money and itching to do something to the home. Our focus will be to figure out how to do 1 and 2 together.

Thank you all!
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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