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The Home Ownership Thread - Page 282

post #4216 of 5760
We have a drastically underused deck that we finally want to start enjoying. The main reason we don't use it is because of exposure to wind and cold but we are planning on installing a nice space heater and possibly glass wind screens. I'm hoping one or more of you guys has gone through this before and might be able to help guide us here. Hoping to get something done this spring.

Just starting to research but I think the space heater will be much easier since there appear to be a fair number of options similar to what we see in commercial spaces from brands like bromic, solaira and calcana. I'm envisioning spending less than $3 or 4k for the heaters with installation but that will really depend on what it takes to get the job done. We want something mounted on our wall above our double doors which runs the length of the deck. The part of the deck I want to heat is about 20 feet wide by 10 feet deep and we will probably install two heaters above two sliding doors that run the length of the deck. We thought briefly about portable heaters but they seem like a half-measure and mostly run on propane tanks which are both more expensive to use and a relative inconvenience. We have a natural gas line that feeds into our deck so my assumption is that gas is the most efficient heat source but I haven't done the math yet. Seems like there are good options for both gas and electric. Main priorities in order are probably (i) heat quality, (ii) durability/weatherproofness, (iii) energy cost. Does anyone have recommendations for brands or things to look out for? We have a gutter above the doors where I would be mounting but it doesn't provide any protection from rain so I'm wondering if it would also make sense to install some sort of extension to give some protection from exposure to rain or if that would be senseless.

For the wind screens I just have no idea where to start. I am assuming they will require an engineer and city permits and that it won't come cheaply. I'm also concerned they will be difficult to clean but I guess that comes with the territory. Right now our walls are about 3.5-4 feet high (I haven't measured) and I'd like to get the glass up to about 7 feet or so minimum. I've seen a lot of decks like that in SF so I assume there is a way to get it through the city's inspection. One issue that brings is that the city required a certain setback for the space at that height (4th floor) for neighborhood feel so that could impact our ability to install glass which would be visible from the street.

Would welcome any feedback or advice you guys can give.
post #4217 of 5760
Just had our biggest oak taken down, probably a >100yr old tree. He gave me brake since I'm going to cut it up for firewood:
$1200 censored.gif
post #4218 of 5760
If it's a good sized tree you might consider having it sawn into planks and air drying them for a few years. Might come in handy.

The branches, of course, still get turned into firewood.
post #4219 of 5760
If it's white oak maybe. Red's not worth storing.

If there are a lot of burls (you know, big knotty, deformed lumps), they might be worth something to wood turners.
post #4220 of 5760
white oak
post #4221 of 5760
Are you sure? It's often hard to tell the difference (which is whether the pores are open at the ends, not what color the tree or the wood is).

If it's got a long, straight trunk, and it's not full of nails (or bullets, or whatever), and you can find someone to come saw it up, and you don't mind stacking it in your yard somewhere for a couple years, etc., and you have a use for the boards, it might be worth doing. Probably not though.

Quarter sawn white oak (sometimes called "tiger oak" or the like) can be really nice if you're interested in fine woodworking, but you need a lot of expensive tools to do anything with it.
post #4222 of 5760
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ataturk View Post

Are you sure? It's often hard to tell the difference (which is whether the pores are open at the ends, not what color the tree or the wood is).

If it's got a long, straight trunk, and it's not full of nails (or bullets, or whatever), and you can find someone to come saw it up, and you don't mind stacking it in your yard somewhere for a couple years, etc., and you have a use for the boards, it might be worth doing. Probably not though.

Quarter sawn white oak (sometimes called "tiger oak" or the like) can be really nice if you're interested in fine woodworking, but you need a lot of expensive tools to do anything with it.

Yeah, the tree guy told me he's an old pro. No, I'll probably just burn it. I need the wood and I don't have time to do any fine work. I'll count the rings here sometime in the next few day. It's got to be at least 100.
post #4223 of 5760
Sounds like he already cut it up into short chunks for you, if you planned to make it firewood. 100 yr old is not super old and especially sought after (typically oaks are considered mature around 175-200 yrs), but that wood was likely better as lumber than firewood.

I say it's handy to have because you never know what you may need that kind BF around for in the future.
post #4224 of 5760
Finally bought what I think will be the rug for our living room. It's a roughly 8x10 floral pattern Tabriz, but the coloring is more whimsical than most Tabriz that I have seen - more what I think of when I see things listed as Caucasian rugs (it has a lot of reddish orange in it). I'll post some pictures when I get it. I know you're not supposed to buy rugs without seeing them in person, but they do accept returns, so I'm really only risking shipping charges.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/222048120473?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

^ theres a link, FWIW
post #4225 of 5760
was looking at wrong listing before. looks sharp though.

Edited by mike1445 - 3/23/16 at 5:06am
post #4226 of 5760
Looks great!
post #4227 of 5760
I realize I'm talking to a group of proud home owners here... but then again i see some of you guys over in the stocks/bonds trading thread too. I was reading a blog post somewhere and it reminded me about the point of rent versus own debate and I figured eh I've got the time, so i spent a couple of days reading everything i could find and made up a list of pro/con for each side below... I'm curious to hear your guys' thoughts on this. Some of these points are obviously my own biases (I'm in favor of renting in many cases), and at least I think what it really comes down to is lifestyle choice/needs. I also put together a spreadsheet comparing the cost of owning versus renting but it's pretty detailed and a few small assumptions multiplied over large numbers and long time frames means that small adjustments are make or break at the end so it's hard to really know number wise since there are so many unknowns that far out. I will say however (I'm sure you guys agree) that people vastly underestimate the true cost of ownership, beyond the simple mortgage payment.
My working list of Pro/Con for Renting and Buying: (Click to show)

Renting:

Pro’s:
No need to lay out capital (especially if you don't have it)
Can put the capital instead into equity/markets (less risk, diversified and compounding regular returns).
Flexibility to move as needed. At any time can go get a get cheaper rent, better location for job or kids/schools, more space then downsizing, etc. If want to spend more, or need to spend less, quick and easy to adjust within a month or two's notice.
Landlord is responsible for all maintenance but may be slow or unwilling to do, or do bad job to save costs.
Tenants have strong protection rights (area dependent) so can’t just be kicked out or forced behavior. Often argued the landlord can kick you out any time they want.
Rent can only increase by small amount once locked in, compared to prime plus mortgages + maintenance. Again, rent control is area dependent. Renting is a more consistent cost. Owning has consistent mortgage cost but many large chunk costs pop up periodically.
More likely to live in heart of the city, so less cost for transportation and less time spent commuting to work or play. Depends on value of time and love/hate commuting and type (train versus car traffic)
Probably have less space in a rental so lower cost for and maintenance on the ‘stuff’ to fill it with.
Owner might not have calculated full maintenance cost and only charge enough to cover mortgage + small profit. If housing costs have inflated a lot, rental costs may be comparatively very low versus getting a mortgage on that same house at the time.

Con’s:
Lack of "stability" because it's not your home (possible to get kicked out?), or forced to move if landlord sells. But, they have to give notice to you, can't kick you out for any reason they want, and if you're renting you half expect to move anyway.
Lack of pride of ownership and ability to renovate/decorate as you want. But don’t have to pay/do maintenance. Depends on skills and desire to renovate.
Money is being paid towards someone else’s asset, so $ spent comparable to mortgage but mortgage = you own it at the end and rent = they own it at the end.
Renting cost has built in profit/ROI for the landlord, so is more than mortgage would be if you owned it. ? May not always be true.
Have to lay out last month’s rent and maybe damage deposit. But small compared to down payment.

Buying:

Pro’s:
Over long term generally retails most of its value. Statistically over long term, but depends when selling.
Can increase the value of the home by improving it, though limited by comparables and market
Depending on down payment, mortgage cost can cost less monthly than renting cost. Note that mortgage payment includes interest which like rent doesn’t contribute to equity. Also full cost of ownership includes many other ongoing costs (insurance, taxes, etc). Continue after mortgage too.
Personal sense of ownership, pride, safety and security and stability for raising a family. Might be illusion because bank has a lien against the house until the mortgage is paid off.
More stability in terms of location so get to know neighborhood, neighbors, etc. Kids play with locals.
Good opportunity to flip and can make a huge amount of money by buying and selling the right home (capital gains tax only or less if first time(?). High ROI because of leverage. Down payment vs profit.
Paying off mortgage is equivalent to a small but guaranteed ROI.
Some payments like mortgage interest are tax deductible.
Can use extra space like a basement to make money by renting, or home office, etc
Have to pay to live somewhere anyway, so either creating own equity or paying someone else’s. (?) Point mentioned already earlier. May be fake point.
Forced saving plan, where renting and investing the difference requires discipline. But assumption is that you downsize at some point. People often keep leveraging up or just keep the house even when it’s now more than they need but it’s ‘paid off’. Keep incurring costs on an asset larger than needs. Most people don’t have the discipline to save the mortgage versus rent difference, or how to invest it either.
Value of the house can be borrowed against either in emergency or leveraged for other investment.

Con’s:
Down payment = very high % of savings for most of the investment period (ie, over allocation) and over lifetime, usually represents large portion of income at any given time. One single decision, at one stage of life, with a huge amount of money, impacting the next 20-30 years. Young decision = lifelong mistake?
Stable income and consistent mortgage is fine, but when something needs to be fixed/replaced, the one off cost of household items can be large and lead to a cash flow issue. Either a problem, or need to keep emergency fund available, which again is a lot of money that isn’t being invested.
Large chunk of capital is non liquid for 25 years until sell. Can’t be accessed (but can take out HELOC)
Will only buy it and sell it once or down payment $ could be moved around markets / taken out.
Markets move up and down but you can dollar cost average and trim. Mortgage is locked in rate
Single asset class, so non-diversified investment. One industry, one local market, one specific house. Almost like a penny stock type of bet.
Value of the house is mostly determined by the surrounding market comparables (not controllable)
ROI happens all at the end, compared to equities which either pay dividends (compounding) or can be bought/sold regularly and cycled through up/down markets. Small ROI if rent it out or pay down own mortgage, but most of the ROI happens as a lump sum when selling, a single bet on appreciation.
Long term trends show value grows, but more or less comparable to inflation. And when selling it might be up or down and when need to sell, usually short window of 2-3 years and cycles are 5-10. Also stock markets can be volatile but major events are not that common, and they recover quickly (3-5 years?)
Cost to buy and sell, financially and effort to move is relatively high, so might get stuck and can’t move.
Ongoing maintenance costs cut into long term return, also requires a lot of regular effort and stress.
Over the duration of ownership, most of the time the house is underutilized. First 5-10 years and last 5-10 is more space than needed, and ownership isn’t flexible.
Mortgages are locked in, so no flexibility to move geographically, but also financially. Lose job, change careers, maternity leave, go back to school, etc. Less life choice flexibility because high cost of living.
Might lock into a mortgage that is affordable at the time but over 20-30 years, prime will change faster than income.
If you have more money and want to pay off the mortgage faster, might be penalties for doing so.

post #4228 of 5760
^ man. You are doing the most.

It makes sense to buy if you have a strong preference to stay somewhere (and the ability to act on that preference). It makes sense to rent if you don't care that much about creating a "home", getting things just the way you like them, or you like to move around (or work might move you around).
post #4229 of 5760
Short version of my opinion:

Buying's not bad, just don't look at it like an investment. Sure, maybe your house will explode in value...but unless you want to leave the neighborhood, you can't actually capture that gain. You aren't going to move your kids out of their schools just because of a market fluctuation. Most people's homes won't beat the market (although the forced "savings" of your equity can be helpful for people who wouldn't otherwise save or invest anything). Treat it like you are buying a "home".

If you want to stick around and find the perfect house, great! If you want to do the Skinny Goomba treatment and perfect every detail of your home? Great!

But renting's not so bad either. Especially if you aren't sure you are going to stick around for a while, or you don't care about the fine details of your place, or you simply haven't found the right place yet. I'd rather rent for the next 10 years than be rushed into buying a place I didn't really like because my parents or somebody though "you should really look into buying".
post #4230 of 5760
Quote:
Originally Posted by otc View Post

Short version of my opinion:

Buying's not bad, just don't look at it like an investment. Sure, maybe your house will explode in value...but unless you want to leave the neighborhood, you can't actually capture that gain. You aren't going to move your kids out of their schools just because of a market fluctuation. Most people's homes won't beat the market (although the forced "savings" of your equity can be helpful for people who wouldn't otherwise save or invest anything). Treat it like you are buying a "home".

If you want to stick around and find the perfect house, great! If you want to do the Skinny Goomba treatment and perfect every detail of your home? Great!

But renting's not so bad either. Especially if you aren't sure you are going to stick around for a while, or you don't care about the fine details of your place, or you simply haven't found the right place yet. I'd rather rent for the next 10 years than be rushed into buying a place I didn't really like because my parents or somebody though "you should really look into buying".

As always really sound advice.

I also think it makes sense to look at your local market for rental vs purchase prices. I have a friend in DC who was able to buy a condo, pay less a month than he was paying in rent, and now he gets a nice tax deduction.

Here in Minneapolis, I think the housing market is out of control and about due for a correction. We're seeing pre-crash rises in home prices
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