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Why Americans don't make repairs and build from drywall: the opinion of an immigrant



Without European-quality repairs, suspended ceilings, curtains and wallpaper: what American houses look like and how much money you need to pay for them, mudraya user says in his column on

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Sergey won the green card and moved with his family to the United States. Today he will talk about the buildings in which Americans live and how much it costs.

I wanted a house - went to the bank

Living in the city center is not as prestigious as here. At least in most cities, Americans try to settle outside the city or on the outskirts.

They practically do not have such multi-storey buildings as we do. There are houses similar to our nine-story concrete buildings. But mostly in big cities like New York. Houses that resemble our stalinkas are rare. On the West Coast, where earthquakes occur and tremors are often felt, there are practically no high-rise buildings. They are only in the center, in the so-called downtown. But normal people in the center try not to settle: there are a lot of homeless people in the doorways, this is not the most pleasant neighborhood. Basically, young people, students who want to "move" settle in the center. So you can go out to the pub, have a drink and go home. But mostly Americans are trying to settle on the outskirts of the city.

In the city center, housing is expensive, and the issue of parking is also acute. And each family has 3-4 cars, and there is simply nowhere to put them in the underground parking - there is not enough space for everyone. You have to park on the street, you pay extra for it. Buying a home for a young family from us is almost science fiction. How is it in the USA?

It is considered that your life is going well if you have your own home, especially with the loan already paid off. According to statistics, 65% of Americans live in their own homes, the rest - in rented housing or buy apartments. Any working family can afford to buy a home. Real estate is always taken on credit. The interest rate per annum on a mortgage is 3-4%. But at the same time, the bank will not give credit for more than 15% of the total family income. You won't be able to take out a home loan worth $ 10 million if you have a salary of $ 5 a month. By the way, even rich people who can afford to buy a house take it out on credit. The fact is that the payment of interest on a loan can be attributed to tax expenses. And then the amount of taxes as a whole decreases.

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Therefore, it is not profitable here to repay the loan immediately, even if you have money. They make money on buying houses and selling. We bought a house for 250 thousand dollars, and after a while it costs 4 million dollars, because rich houses began to be built around, and the area became more prestigious. Naturally, it is immediately possible to pay off the loan and earn more. Many Ukrainians who arrived back in the 1990s have already changed 4-5 houses. They pay, over time they buy a bigger house in order to sell it more profitably before retirement and help out money.

The price of any house can be found online

On special resources in the public domain there is an estimated cost, photo, year of construction, size of the land, number of rooms, a description of what is in the house. The base cost of a dwelling is determined based on the state, district, location of the house, land, and the condition of the building itself. The more expensive the plot, the more the owner pays tax to the budget, and from there the money goes to roads, watering lawns and landscaping.

The appraised value can be increased if the owner makes improvements. To carry out redevelopment, major repairs, he turns to the authorities for approval. All work performed is recorded. As a result, the value of the house increases by the amount of the repair performed. Of course, you can demand your price when selling a house, but no one will buy it above the appraised value.

What makes up the price of an American house

The value of real estate depends on the state: the richer it is, the higher the salaries and the more expensive the real estate. Housing in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Seattle is expensive. For example, Florida wages are lower than Oregon. And a mansion there can be bought for 200 thousand dollars, while in Portland a similar one will cost 400 thousand dollars.

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Each state has its own crime map, which shows which areas are the safest. Dark blue - many crimes are committed, pale blue - there are almost none. The map is formed on the basis of police data: it indicates where and how many car thefts, robberies, etc. took place. The cost of housing in areas with a bad criminal environment is lower. But you will think a hundred times whether it is worth buying a house there.


Each school has its own rating based on student success: how many graduates have entered higher education institutions and what is their GPA. Near schools with a high rating, the cost of housing is more expensive, because if you settle nearby, children will study in it. You can take your child to school on purpose, but this is inconvenient if you live far away.

The rich area has good land deductions. And then the authorities provide additional funding for the development of the school. The more money a district has, the more opportunities the school has. She can acquire equipment, materials, attract the best teachers.

The appearance of buildings

I was surprised why two houses look exactly the same, but their cost is several times different.

For example, a house costs $ 4 million, but in terms of internal content it is almost no different from a house for 500 thousand. To this I am told that the view from the window is beautiful. The most expensive houses are overlooking the lake, ocean, mountains.

Houses that look out on the Dnieper in Ukraine would be very expensive by American standards. Understandably, if you have your own beach and boat dock, you pay even more for such amenities. Moreover, a piece of the lake may also belong to you. It happens that there is no public beach on the lake at all - everything is private. Only a narrow passage for a boat ride. But taxes for such a house will also be very high.

Plywood houses that don't know how to repair

Almost all of America lives in wooden houses. They are built from boards and plywood, and then they are simply painted beautifully. Soundproofing in wooden houses is terrible. If from the outside the house is lined with mineral wool, then the inside is plasterboard. Everything is audible.

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Those who are richer, immediately after buying a house, begin to make soundproofing. But in general, they don’t invest much in home improvement. If you bought a new expensive house that has everything, it will have beautiful modern decoration.

But they won't make a special renovation and cover everything with marble. They are not going to live in this house all their lives. The American family moves from place to place about once every 10 years. In that case, according to their logic, why invest in golden pens? There is no such thing as renovation here at all. They practically do not know what wallpaper is: the walls are simply repainted.

They have no curtains, only blinds. Americans don't hang windows at all. You walk past the house and see how people are having dinner. The bedroom is not visible, it is usually located on the back of the house. Nobody will change doorknobs, bathroom, furniture. Most people are not interested in all this at all.

You can buy a house in which people have lived for 30 years and have never been renovated. America is a country where it is believed that good things do not need to be changed. In old houses, especially where pensioners live, there are potbelly stoves: the XNUMXst century, and people with stoves. So they save: potbelly stoves work on firewood, which can be easily found in the forest. In some houses, furniture is like in a museum: wooden carved chairs from the beginning of the last century, which have long become a rarity. Everything in the kitchen can be sticky: they don't take much care of the houses. The furniture is also not particularly bothered. And in the kitchen they use only a refrigerator and a microwave. I would say that only a house worth over a million dollars can have more or less solid decoration inside.

Column original posted by user mudraya on

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