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Old 08-16-2014, 06:11 AM   #201
DoTheMath
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Re: Home ownership

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark32607 View Post
The drain field in my septic system is fubared, so now I have to hook into city sewer. I've had 3 plummer out for a quote: the 1st one was $6600, the 2nd one was $5400 and the 3rd Plummer hasn't sent me his quote yet. All of these quotes include the $2800 fee I have to pay the city. Why the **** does the city charge me $2800 to connect a pipe to their sewer?
1) They need to register the fact that you are connected.

2) They probably need to inspect, supervise or perform the actual connection, to ensure it is done properly.

3) You will be permanently adding to the required waste treatment capacity of the city, and wear and tear on lines.

4) Can you connect to the city sewer without cutting a sidewalk or street surface?
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:19 AM   #202
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Re: Home ownership

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im starting to realize that i really dislike digging holes. :/
try meth
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Old 08-16-2014, 12:29 PM   #203
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Re: Home ownership

What is your opinion on buying old homes? Like pre-1960? Some of them look very good inside but I am not sure if I will start having roof, plumbing problems etc once I buy. Is this a legit concern?

What about buying a house where real estate market is good (but in another state from where you live) and renting it out?
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Old 08-16-2014, 12:53 PM   #204
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Re: Home ownership

You seem to have crossed the border into BFI territory. This thread (for example) could help you figure some of that stuff out;
https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/30...vesting-99351/
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Old 08-16-2014, 06:07 PM   #205
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Re: Home ownership

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Originally Posted by #Thinman View Post
im starting to realize that i really dislike digging holes. :/

lol

I built my first deck this summer, and used a 2-man auger for about 4 hours. not fun

think it was 28 post holes, used a post hole digger to start them the night before, the first hour of the day after was a bit slow.
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Old 08-16-2014, 06:11 PM   #206
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Re: Home ownership

yeah, just finished digging numbers 4 & 5. six holes sounds easy enough, but once you hit that hard pack...uuuugh. i'll get the last one dug today though and get the cement and bases in there tomorrow.



...then all i need to do is come up with a design

lol
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Old 08-16-2014, 06:14 PM   #207
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Re: Home ownership

also, dunno why I haven't been in this thread before.

wifer and I bought our house almost 4 years ago, and I've gone from mostly retarded to mostly okay at basically everything house-related: minor plumbing, some electrical, drywalling, general upkeep, etc.

helps I have an uncle that can do everything who also shares my affinity to drink beer, bull**** and work to improve my house.

we've gotten pretty ****ing good at building koi ponds too. kinda mad we did my first, bc the one we just finished at his house is way better. haha girl at school asked what I'd charge and/or what she needs to build one, and I said "rocks. lots and lots of rocks".

anyway yeah, soooo much more fulfilling and fun to DIY **** around the house. I like working and getting dirty anyway, the fact that I can drink beers while I do it and enjoy the results afterwards just cements it.
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Old 08-16-2014, 06:15 PM   #208
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Re: Home ownership

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Originally Posted by #Thinman View Post
yeah, just finished digging numbers 4 & 5. six holes sounds easy enough, but once you hit that hard pack...uuuugh. i'll get the last one dug today though and get the cement and bases in there tomorrow.



...then all i need to do is come up with a design

lol

again, I realize how absurd this may sound to some (though maybe not to people itt), that sounds like fun. haha

like, days where I'm off and don't have anything to keep me busy suck.
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:08 PM   #209
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Re: Home ownership

Up until now I've only rented apartments but recently I moved in to a house (still renting). It's probably ~100 years old and kind of a PoS. I am glad that this thread got bumped because it gives me some good material to chew through. I am not particularly handy but what better way to practice than by starting on a house that's already in need of some fixes. The toilet upstairs was leaking through in to the living room but the landlord hired someone to replace it. There is an light in my closet that's mounted horizontally on the wall. There is no fixture and gravity is the only thing holding the light on the neutral wire. The hot wire is fine but the white one needs to be reset. I don't want to do it hot so one of my first projects will probably be labeling the unlabeled breakers in the rat's nest that is the breaker box downstairs.

I've got a fun video that shows that if you pull on the light's chain you can turn it on and off by making or breaking contact with the floating neutral wire.

Cheers.
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Old 08-17-2014, 01:48 AM   #210
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Re: Home ownership

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Originally Posted by wiper View Post
wifer and I bought our house almost 4 years ago, and I've gone from mostly retarded to mostly okay at basically everything house-related: minor plumbing, some electrical, drywalling, general upkeep, etc.
Same thing. I bought first place 15 years ago. When I started out I had to call somebody for virtually anything that happened. Fast-forward to now and I don't think anything about replacing a sink drain or toilet, a compression valve, doing drywall, cutting moulding, changing outlets, hanging a ceiling fan, installing cabinets are all pretty easy. Probably half of it is having the right tools for the job and not trying to take a shortcut.

Problem was I'd never really had to look at home repair bills before, my parents rented. After a dozen pros came through charging me insane amounts for quick jobs and realizing how drastic the markup was on parts, figured I'd take a shot here and there.

It was pretty lol when I figured out that you can get a box of 10 electrical outlets for $10 and it takes 10 minutes to replace one with a wire stripper and some electrical tape. Drywall, corner bead, joint compound cost almost nothing. For less than $20 you can replace a pop-up sink drain with a decent metal one.

The first time you do any particular job more expensive, but if you just want to stick to the common/easy stuff you don't need much nor high-end expensive pro gear.

Obviously I'll still leave something like an HVAC furnace install or granite cutting to a trade pro. And now my time is sometimes worth more than the cost of hiring out, plus some jobs I just don't like doing. But there's so much that's so quick, easy and cheap to fix still.

It has made me OCD about things I didn't used to care about. 15 years ago having to jiggle the handle on the toilet was normal, and I could ignore a nail pop.

Last edited by Gonzirra; 08-17-2014 at 01:55 AM.
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Old 08-17-2014, 05:46 AM   #211
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Re: Home ownership

I started building some stairs yesterday. Kind of ****ed up the first stringer, but got the second one done correctly. I'll use that as a template for one to replace the first one, and after that the hard part is more or less done.
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Old 08-17-2014, 11:01 AM   #212
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Re: Home ownership

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Originally Posted by Gonzirra View Post
Same thing. I bought first place 15 years ago. When I started out I had to call somebody for virtually anything that happened. Fast-forward to now and I don't think anything about replacing a sink drain or toilet, a compression valve, doing drywall, cutting moulding, changing outlets, hanging a ceiling fan, installing cabinets are all pretty easy. Probably half of it is having the right tools for the job and not trying to take a shortcut.

Problem was I'd never really had to look at home repair bills before, my parents rented. After a dozen pros came through charging me insane amounts for quick jobs and realizing how drastic the markup was on parts, figured I'd take a shot here and there.

It was pretty lol when I figured out that you can get a box of 10 electrical outlets for $10 and it takes 10 minutes to replace one with a wire stripper and some electrical tape. Drywall, corner bead, joint compound cost almost nothing. For less than $20 you can replace a pop-up sink drain with a decent metal one.

The first time you do any particular job more expensive, but if you just want to stick to the common/easy stuff you don't need much nor high-end expensive pro gear.

Obviously I'll still leave something like an HVAC furnace install or granite cutting to a trade pro. And now my time is sometimes worth more than the cost of hiring out, plus some jobs I just don't like doing. But there's so much that's so quick, easy and cheap to fix still.

It has made me OCD about things I didn't used to care about. 15 years ago having to jiggle the handle on the toilet was normal, and I could ignore a nail pop.


I thumbs-up'd you mentally about 4 times in there. haha

this summer I've put in a ceiling fan in my garage, and added another electrical outlet box back by my work bench.

if you told me 6 or 7 years ago that I'd be able to figure that out I wouldn't have believed you...

things change when it's *your* home. having a deck is cool, the fact that I built the mother****er is better.
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Old 08-17-2014, 04:13 PM   #213
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Re: Home ownership

I distinctly remember the first thing electrical I changed was a pair over overhead light fixtures in a kitchen & DR. Bought a 2-pack of everyday apartment grade flush mount jobs for under $20. Something like this.

When I unscrewed the first light fixture and saw just the two wires and a ground, and how easy it all goes together with wire nuts, it was a serious wtf moment. I don't know if I was expecting to see Skynet or something out of Tron under there or what.
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Old 08-17-2014, 05:20 PM   #214
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Re: Home ownership

I just re-did most of another place by the way and would pass on a few tips to first-time homebuyers and remodelers, especially those in modest starter homes with smaller budgets, and who don't have any DIY experience at all.

1) **** tiling new showers, refinishing tile, or even getting to heavy into scraping out grout from existing tiles and all of that. It's not that hard or expensive, but in lower-end places a decent direct-to-stud shower surround is just as easy and definitely faster with less things to go wrong. Not to mention easier to clean & maintain with less potential for water leakage. Won't wow anybody but then neither does lower-end tile. Wish I'd followed this advice myself.

2) Not everybody can afford to update a kitchen or bathroom at any given time, but anybody can replace outlets, switches and their plates. I say go with white unbreakable plates in the "jumbo" size, it helps hide the imperfections you tend to have when paint has stuck to the old plate and so on. It's something people's eyes appreciate even if it doesn't register.

Case in point, this place had all beige 70s fixtures matching the doorbell chime you see in the upper left. Combined with fresh paint it makes all the difference in the world.

3) New vent covers, bathroom vent fans, light fixtures, door chime, ceiling fans and thermometer aren't far behind. They do cost a little more but are still pretty modest compared to major work. And very easy to swap.

4) Trafficmaster Ceramica is an awesome option for flooring on the cheap and it goes in easy. They're basically vinyl stick tiles thin enough to cut with a utility knife and even do odd cuts with good scissors, but you grout them like regular tile. ~$1.50 a square foot depending on color at Home Depot, and that's without a discount.

80 sq. foot bathroom done for about $150 in maybe 4 hours, and that's including the cost of grout, grout float, sponge, bucket, spacers, and some haze remover which I needed because I let it sit too long. If you have to level your floor out a little figure another $20 for patch/skimcoat. And it looks pretty close to real tile except it doesn't get cold. AND, if you should damage one, too easy to remove a piece and swap it out. VASTLY better than the regular vinyl stick tile crap with no grout lines. Lots of pictures on Google.

5) Patching imperfections in drywall is worth the effort. Grab a gallon of the Drydex DAP, some 150 grit sandpaper, and some basic putty knives. If you have any bigger things then patches and maybe joint tape. Combined with new fixtures, vents, outlet and switches and paint, you're talking about 75% of the visible interior of your house.

6) When in doubt and especially when selling, just go with a bone white or slightly brighter paint (not pure white), in flat, everywhere. **** all of that about walls this and ceilings that. With white for trim and doors. Safe choice, easy, it looks clean, and also makes it easy for people to envision other colors for a given room or wall.

7) Stock Lowes and Home Depot kitchen cabinets, like the typical white ones, are kind of meh. There are sales all the time on somewhat better stuff for marginally more money not only at the big boxes but elsewhere. The store stock stuff okay for something in the laundry room maybe.

Just purely imo/ime.

Last edited by Gonzirra; 08-17-2014 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 08-17-2014, 05:41 PM   #215
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Re: Home ownership

How important is a factor like school district when buying a home? We don't have kids right now but this new house is great value, near train station, shopping etc. But the schools rating on zillow are as follows: 7 for elementary, 8 for jr high, 9 for high school. When we do have kids and want better schools, can I choose to send my kids to better public schools while staying at this house or my only option is to rent in a neighborhood where there are better schools?
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Old 08-17-2014, 09:05 PM   #216
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Re: Home ownership

in the bay area, it can be the difference between only getting 10% over asking and an all out bidding war. ^_^

I'm very happy that I do not plan on any more children and was able to pick a place without schools in mind. My place butts right up against the 'great middle schools' district and would have gone for another 100k easy had it been 'over there'.
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Old 08-17-2014, 09:11 PM   #217
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Re: Home ownership

good tips above.

spent my weekend digging three more 18" cubes and filling (two of) them with 500lbs of cement each.

was very lucky I didn't load up the mixer after the 2nd hole because it turns out i am a bag or two short. but got two more bases poured and set with one pending a trip to home depot.

going to be nice to finally shop for some redwood....oh and that whole 'come up with a design' thing.



Oh, I also have a 50amp circuit I need to extend down to a sub panel and eventually run outdoor lights, outlets and circuits to the shed with. picked up the panel, breakers and wire and will hopefully knock that out soon(er or later).
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Old 08-17-2014, 11:12 PM   #218
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Re: Home ownership

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How important is a factor like school district when buying a home?
When my wife and I were looking, we looked at a place that had kind of crappy schools. The house was significantly cheaper and property taxes were lower. She kept insisting that the schools were relevant outside of those factors, and I kept insisting that the school situation was the driving factor behind the pricing, ie it was "baked in" to the price.

In my small experience, I'll somewhat echo thinman in that the school district can influence how long a place sits on the market or how active the market is. But I think that when it comes to price, school district is kind of a sunk cost. Places with good schools will cost more and have higher taxes, and if you don't have kids or plans for kids, then you'll be paying a tax for a utility you don't plan on using.

Drove me nuts when my wife would say something like, "Yeah, but the schools aren't very good." No ****, that's why that house is cheap and this one isn't!
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:00 AM   #219
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Re: Home ownership

When a wife harps on "how good the schools are" that means she wants more children than you currently have. (which I assume was zero)
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Old 08-18-2014, 01:19 AM   #220
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Re: Home ownership

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Originally Posted by KB24 View Post
How important is a factor like school district when buying a home? We don't have kids right now but this new house is great value, near train station, shopping etc. But the schools rating on zillow are as follows: 7 for elementary, 8 for jr high, 9 for high school. When we do have kids and want better schools, can I choose to send my kids to better public schools while staying at this house or my only option is to rent in a neighborhood where there are better schools?
It's enormous for some buyers, irrelevant for others, and generally school quality is related to the property tax burden too. Also depends heavily on the nature of the property in question. Someone looking at a $450k 4 bedroom figures to be more likely to have schoolkids and more likely to be in a position to make that a major factor when shopping, compared to say a $100k small 2 bedroom job in a less attractive neighborhood.

Also the impact of schools relates somewhat to the season. Home shoppers with kids are most common in the spring and want to get in before the school year starts. They become less of a factor from this point of the year on.

I can't add much to your moving schools question, but afaik I know you generally get what your district offers, but I think there was something in Bush's No Child Left Behind thing that permits it in some cases if your school is failing and your kids are super poor or something. You might look into that. So far as I can tell, basically everybody wants to have their kids in the blue ribbon school the next district over and hates where their kids go.

EDIT: There's always the private school option if you can come up with the $10k per kid, but if you can do that you might as well just rent in a district with good schools.

Last edited by Gonzirra; 08-18-2014 at 01:33 AM.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:59 AM   #221
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Re: Home ownership

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoTheMath View Post
1) They need to register the fact that you are connected.

2) They probably need to inspect, supervise or perform the actual connection, to ensure it is done properly.

3) You will be permanently adding to the required waste treatment capacity of the city, and wear and tear on lines.

4) Can you connect to the city sewer without cutting a sidewalk or street surface?
4) yes
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Old 08-18-2014, 02:33 PM   #222
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Re: Home ownership

How early in the process should I get a preapproval letter? Would an online estimater like this be enough to browse houses in my range? https://www.discover.com/home-loans/...y-calculator/#

Does it matter who I get the preapproval letter from...in terms how much I'll be approved for? Would bank of america or chase work? Or are there others who specialize in this kind of thing?

How do I get the best loan rate? Do first time home buyers have any benefits like lower interest rate loans?
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Old 08-19-2014, 11:31 AM   #223
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Re: Home ownership

much happier with my cement work 2nd time using the mixer. i made it a little bit wetter which made it much easier to work with, especially sinking the post bases that have a flat bottom. pain in the ass wiggling those bastard in there.

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Old 08-19-2014, 04:19 PM   #224
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Re: Home ownership

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Originally Posted by wombat4hire View Post
When a wife harps on "how good the schools are" that means she wants more children than you currently have. (which I assume was zero)
Assumption correct!
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Old 08-19-2014, 11:58 PM   #225
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Re: Home ownership

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzirra View Post

...

I can't add much to your moving schools question, but afaik I know you generally get what your district offers, but I think there was something in Bush's No Child Left Behind thing that permits it in some cases if your school is failing and your kids are super poor or something. You might look into that. So far as I can tell, basically everybody wants to have their kids in the blue ribbon school the next district over and hates where their kids go.

EDIT: There's always the private school option if you can come up with the $10k per kid, but if you can do that you might as well just rent in a district with good schools.
To the first point, as indicated it is highly specific to the location but between magnets, charters, and parental options for failing schools, there are often outs. It's also highly volatile as politics shift - generally fun stuff.

When you say 10k per kid, I expect that assumes tithing membership in the religious group providing the school.
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