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Buying a house that is Christmas Light Friendly


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As many of you know, I live in a gated community and for 2008 the HOA has decided to have the gates shut for December. This means that 99.875% of people that have come and seen my display last year would not be able to see it in the future because they can not get in.

This year I am planning on moving the display to a friends house but thought about moving to a new house that is more Christmas Light Display friendly. Neighbors I am sure will be a little more tolerant than people that live in a gated community that want to be secluded from everybody.

I would have never thought that when looking for a new house I would be looking at how well it will work for Christmas Lights. A normal person would think you are nuts but I am sure than many of the people here have thought the same thing when finding a house.

For fun I was playing around with Google Earth and looking at the city to find "sweet" spots where a Christmas Light Display would work. A good setup would be to have no neighbors directly across from you. A better situation would me to have a "parking area" directly across from you.

Here in Happy Valley Utah (Home of Provo, BYU, Orem, Lindon, Pleasant Grove and a few others) we have a unique situation where 80-90% of the population is Mormon. This means there are Mormon Churches EVERYWHERE. It is not uncommon to see two Mormon Churches only a few blocks away from each other and there are actually some locations that have two churches that share the same parking lot.

This is great because all these Churches have large parking lots. Most of these churches are located in normal residential neighborhoods.

What this means is if you plan right, you can often times buy a house directly across the street from a church parking lot where people can watch the lights.

Here are a few spots I was scooping out.

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Here is a place that is only 1 mile from where I currently live that has a small park right across the street from these houses.

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I am wondering if anybody has moved to a new house just because the Christmas Light situation would be better?

-Richard

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Richard - I thought about moving earlier this year. There was a home on a high traffic area on a corner that had a nice barn for storage on it. If it did not have the foundation damage we observed, it would have been a sweet deal.

Good luck in your quest.

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Richarad

My Wife and I have in the past looked at house's to buy, and Thats is the first thing I look at is if it going to be a good Christmas House.

I wish you the best in finding a nice home. I would like to see you keep your display at a house you own, I think it a little more personal that way, lets face it, a Christmas display is a reflection of the individual. Good Luck Dave :smile:

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I would think across from a church or park would work well. Having briefly lived on a park, it wasn't always all that great, meaning some strange stuff went on in the park and some people showed up for basketball at 11pm, etc. Maybe where you live, people are better behaved in general.

I would think that any place with 2+ acres would be preferrable ... no gate and no HOA, of course. You might also consider a place that backs to the perfect viewing location. I saw a house a couple years ago that backed to a road on a park ... and all the viewers were technically behindthe backyardprivacy fence, but the backyard was sloped (and tiered) ... so the entire back yard was visible from the road ... and there were rows and rows of stuff to light up that everyone could see ... and it didn't seem to affect any neighbors at all. Probably not as beautiful as looking at the front of house, however.

I think folks on this board could certainly understand why you might consider moving. Its not ridiculous when your extremely good at something and need to move to continue doing it. My father is/was a big time woodworker and metalworker ... a real craftsman ... so when we moved to Colorado, we had to find a house with a workshop, or great workshop potential. He'd never find into an HOA community, but back then they were the exception instead of the norm.

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That is why I am thinking of being across the street from a Church may be better. It is not really a public space where people hang out all the time.

taybrynn wrote:

I would think across from a church or park would work well. Having briefly lived on a park, it wasn't always all that great, meaning some strange stuff went on in the park and some people showed up for basketball at 11pm, etc. Maybe where you live, people are better behaved in general.

There are a few other reasons I have thought about moving. I am one the smallest houses in my Gated Community and the resell value has jumped up a lot since we built the house 5 years ago. I was thinking about downsizing the house so I can use the extra money to make my mortage payment a lot less which would be nice.

Then maybe I could afford LEDs :laughing:

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christmaslover012 wrote:

I think it would be acceptable to move to a differenthouse so you could do you show at your own home.

It's a great idea.

If I could just snap my fingers and have it done, I would.

I Hate moving thugh. It is such a pain.

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We moved from Dallas to the Austin area a bit over a year ago. We wound up falling in love with a house on Main St in an old suburban town.The house is nearly 100 years old. Two of the biggest parades in Central Texas pass in front of our house including the lighted Christmas parade. A major part of our discussion with the realtor at the time was to discuss the atticude toward Christmas decorations and what would it take (permit wise) to build a storage building on the lot. I would not have wanted a house that was not conducive to Christmas decor.

The Dearings in Montgomery, TX have a huge display inside a gated community. They have taken in both houses on either side of them. Frankly, I was surprised that we were able to get through the gates to see the display.

Forest

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Great comment.

I agree ... it would be nice if you spoke with the head minister (?) and found out their views on these things beforehand. It could be wonderful to have a person on yuor side.

I have a feeling they would be all for it, esp. considering your fundraising ways. It could even be that the church would have a bake sale or a hot chocolate night ... and raise a little money of their own sometime. Your the ultimate free attraction ... and a role model of someone doing something good.

Richard, your handling this like the class act that you ARE. Obviously, the writing is on the wall ... you'll be a fish out of water without your own house to decorate. Down-sizing is something were all considering, esp. given the economic conditions in the country. It can be a smart move.

As would expected, you'll eventually make a smart choice that works for you and your family. PC folks totally understand. I don't even know you, but felt hurt when I heard the bad news. I watch your walkthrough video as inspiration ... your made it look easy and I know it wasn't !

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Well, good luck with your search. I for one can't afford a house and so I'm stuck with where I'm at. Must be nice to be able to just pick and choose house locations if need be.

I do love your displays and wish you the best of luck and can't wait to see where you end up at.

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Richard H,

I would check on if there was another route in ... So you block off in front of your place with people turning in and out of the parking lot. Then zoom out a bit and see if there is a natural overflow route ..

ours has being that it is kind of hemmed in with roads between 2 main drives as is ours ... so a couple of blocks in either direction is another route IN and around the blockage.

I am deciding that very question in the next few months ... do we stay put and upgrade or do we move on and look for a better spot ... Upgrade is winning so far .. I mean major remodeling, roof, inside, and outside. but as everybody said moving is a big pain

what to do .... what to do ...and the clock keeps on ticking ...

hope you find something that is great ....

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Richard I dont think you are crazy at all actually I agree with your thoughts.

I am currently looking for a house and everyone thinks I am crazy when the FIRST question I always ask the realtor is "is there a HOA in that neiborhood" and if so go on and cross it off the list and then when we pull up toa house I jump out and start laying out how the lights are going to be strung and the channels are going to be organized we looked at house the other day and I didnt like it because it had to many trees and I had no place to put my mega tree.

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I see a couple of those prospective locations appear to be vacant lots.

I guess if your really wanting to go all out -- then have a new house built, and it'll surely be LOR friendly to the nth degree. I mean building just adds another layer of stress to the mix ... but you can do exactly what you want ... just make sure the lot is HOA free and maybe get some land ... and maybe downsize it as necessary.

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I personally would go thru the pain and end up happy in the end and move to a better location and have an easier mortgage payment.

You deserve to have your light show at your house....I mean sure, your friend would be very popular for a few weeks....but its your work and you deserve to show it proudly on your house...

On another note, my hubby and i have been together for 8 years and we have had 4 houses...Im kind of an expert at moving.

Moving is a pain to pack and unpack, but worth it in the end..

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taybrynn wrote:

I see a couple of those prospective locations appear to be vacant lots.

I guess if your really wanting to go all out -- then have a new house built, and it'll surely be LOR friendly to the nth degree. I mean building just adds another layer of stress to the mix ... but you can do exactly what you want ... just make sure the lot is HOA free and maybe get some land ... and maybe downsize it as necessary.

The sat images off google are a few years old. Many of the locations where it shows a vacant lot, have houses now. I have actually have scooped out 12 different locations now. I am going to search some more and then take a Saturday to drive around to all of them and see how they look in real life and if I can find any that are for sale.

I guess I can always knock on their door. "Hello, I want to buy your house because it is in a perfect location for a Christmas Light Display". I can only imagine the look on their face. :laughing:

The last 2 years, builders starting building like crazy in this area because everything was going up and they were hoping they could make some quick cash. They built way to many houses and a lot of them have been vacant for about year and they keep dropping the prices. Usually you save some money if you build yourself but with the housing market right now, it is cheaper to buy a pre-built house in this area.

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snowlovergeorgia wrote:

I personally would go thru the pain and end up happy in the end and move to a better location and have an easier mortgage payment.

You are probably right.

I just know that I could get more if I finish a few projects like finishing the basement and doing some other things. Just not looking forward to doing a bunch of home improvements on a house and then move. :)

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Richard,

I am not a real estate agent but have frineds who are and i should really become one as i love real estate so much....

But in my opinion...you have a great small community, very desirable location, awesome views...and a well kept looking house. Your home will sell without putting all that extra money and hard workinto it as is.

Im sure a finished basement would add some bucks to your selling price, but im sure if you talked to an agent....they would tell you what i have said...

I would do the minor things that may need to be done, and go for it and sell without doing the basement. Then you may not wanna move....Ive heard of that happening too. People making big improvements to leave..and then dont want to.

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m gardner wrote:

Richard I dont think you are crazy at all actually I agree with your thoughts.

I am currently looking for a house and everyone thinks I am crazy when the FIRST question I always ask the realtor is "is there a HOA in that neiborhood" and if so go on and cross it off the list and then when we pull up toa house I jump out and start laying out how the lights are going to be strung and the channels are going to be organized we looked at house the other day and I didnt like it because it had to many trees and I had no place to put my mega tree.

I agree. Last yearwe moved into this house, and the first question I always asked was if thereis an HOA and are there covenants involved.I am a ham operator and "need"to have an antenna. To many, a 40 foot yagi that spreads 7 feet each way is an eyesore, but if no convenants exist, I can do what I want on my property (within reason.) Bottom line, no, you are not silly for wanting to move. It is quite nice to havethe freedom to basically move to a more Christmas friendly area.

edited to be less negative.

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Richard,

You probably already know this but if you finish the basement you won't get all of that money back out of it when you sell. If you can do it yourself you might make a few bucks but otherwise you would lose money on the deal.Also I live in a covenant community - almost impossible not to nowadays - and have no problem with my display. But in fairness I don't generate as much traffic as you and the community is not gated. Bottom line Iwouldn't rule someplace out because of an HOA. I'd check the covenants beforehand though and maybe ask some prospective neighbors. Otherwise I fear you might limit yourself quite a bit.

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I vote not crazy. When we were looking 2 years ago this was a large part of my criteria. Then when I found where we wanted to build we built off the main road rather than the country road against the advice of the builder and realtor... Once i cleared out the rest of the trees by the road it made for prime LOR viewing...

So you are not crazy, I just hope it all works out for you...

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Hello RichardH,

I was just at a clients home tonight and the first thing I said when he answered the door was you have a great christmas display house. He laughed. If you decide to build I will send you my spread sheet I use to run the cost to build for customers. But I am sure prices are way different there. I build homes for customers for 75 dollars a sqft. or cost plus 15 a sqft. Even for me with the market I can buy a new house cheaper than I could build it for myself right now.

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