The Home Ownership Thread

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Douglas, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

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    SO, I started re-siding the garage this weekend and it has become a major hassle. I won't bore you with the details (unless you really enjoy tales of misfortune and meltdowns) but let's just say part of my house is naked for now and I have a pile of junked tools and a freshly lacerated finger. And some raw nerves among the fambly.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2012


  2. Arthur PE

    Arthur PE Senior member

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    imo a home needs to be a labor of love, a hobby, something to work on with your wife
    it really isn;t an investment, and in someways you may be better off renting
    I guess if you stay in it long enough (like a car) it may pay off

    we have ours pretty much where we want it (but you always find projects) and have been lucky, mostly improvements, not much maintenance or non-value adding expenses (other than the usual, painting, etc.)

    one thing I've learned: no matter how well planned, double the time you think it will take, lol

    I can bring multi-mil projects for others in on time and at or under budget

    my home improvement projects, fiascos, lol
    but fun most of the time (after the usual swearing, blaming the wife, and damning the tools)
    haven't had many of these, but you start a little superficial improvement, and when you expose the work, you find some major structural/electricaletc. issue
     


  3. Piobaire

    Piobaire Not left of center?

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    I'm of a totally different philosophy about a house. My house needs to be my Shanghai-la, my oasis of calm and leisure, my place to relax and do no work. Outside of minor and easy projects, i.e. anything that will take more than an hour, I need to hire a professional and just get it done so I can put my feet up and sip wine.
     


  4. Arthur PE

    Arthur PE Senior member

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    we make a list over the winter (or did, most is done)
    we farmed out stuff done faster and cheaper by a contractor
    and knocked out the stuff we felt comfortable with, sweat equity

    we are done already for this year, might have 2- 3 weekends into it
     


  5. Ataturk

    Ataturk Senior member

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    Maybe I've just had really bad experiences with contractors and handymen. Just about everything I've ever hired them to do has been done poorly. They seem to put their experience and tools to work not necessarily doing a better job, just doing it faster.

    Just this year, the guys that took my tree came within about 5 feet of dropping it on the house. And they had the whole damn tree -- about two feet in diameter and 50 feet high -- held on a fork on a nearby oak with a branch that was maybe 4". At least they had insurance. The guys that put in my carpet were incompetent, ended up having to threaten to sue the store to get it replaced. And that's just in the last year.
     


  6. Piobaire

    Piobaire Not left of center?

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    I have a very good friend that is an award winning custom home builder. He's considerably older than me, been building high end custom homes for decades; even mentioned in the WSJ a couple of times. He told me experienced contractors will have fuck all to do with lawyers and they tend to sue a lot (imagine that!). So lawyers either pay a premium or tend to get sub-standard contractors as they need the business and will take the risk.
     


  7. Ataturk

    Ataturk Senior member

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    Could be right, though it's not like I introduce myself as Bob Turk, esquire.

    Suing over the carpet would have been a loser, anyway, so I'm glad they caved and replaced it. A court won't order them to replace it, nor will it let you rip the carpet out and order them to pay your money back. You just get the value of the carpet versus what you paid, I imagine.

    They really tried to screw me over, too. They seamed it (poorly) in the middle of a hallway (in two places!) and damaged the carpet when they were stretching it. The guy had the gall to accuse me of doing the damage with a vacuum cleaner (apparently when I was cleaning up the mess they left--it'd only been a day)--I ended up waving my electrolux in his face and daring him to damage the carpet with it again. The guy outweighed me by about a hundred pounds--probably not the smartest thing I've done.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2012


  8. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I've owned several homes, each for several years. I always got a lot of satisfaction out of doing a lot of the work myself especially landscaping, and painting.

    In my early homes, most were 15+ years old and were begining to need updates and upgrades. I think if when you buy a home you are realistic about what needs to be done in the next 5 years, then you are fine. It is the work and the cost of the surprises that throw you.

    On the positive side, I think a few of the best things you can do to any house are:
    1) having a pro install custom task or mood lighting on dimmers in all the main living areas. (i.e. lighting up a book case, around your kitchen, above mirrors, etc. I had multiple spots installed above my garage door on a timer. It is so nice to come home in the dark to a nicely lit garage. It also gives the home a nice glow. When I had my home theater installed the guy talked a lot about ambiant lighting. That was when I lit my book cases. You really can see a screen or plasm TV better with a soft glow of lights around the room.

    2) Nice landscaping- Everyday when I drive home I enjoy pulling up and seeing my landscaping. Without spending a bundle, the key has been to drive around numerous neighborhoods and see what plants thrive in the area and what combination of plants look their best. Just give it some time and plant sections each season and in a year or two you will have an amazing yard. Always be sure to go for a combination of colors. Solid green can be boring on its own. But adding something like a burgundy Japanese maple against it can really add drama.

    3) Efficient storage systems in closets and the garage. Anyone can install these, especially the white vinyl coated heavy wire ones. They make daily chores around the house easy.
     


  9. GreenFrog

    GreenFrog Senior member

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    Seconding Conne's post.

    Reading this thread has convinced me even further that owning a house is just too much of a royal pain in the ass.
     


  10. eg1

    eg1 Senior member

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    I'm with you on this one. I suck at anything "handy" anyway, so I generally won't even bother to try (other than the occasional simple light fixture or a loose screw here and there) since it's extra stupid to botch something and then pay somebody even more to fix it.

    I also highly recommend you let professionals handle all plumbing -- that way, when they fuck it up and you get a flood, your insurance company will nail theirs for the repairs. :satisfied:

    Here's a couple of photos of the pool -- the first before they drained it, the second as they are tearing out the old lining:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     


  11. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

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    Good points, but I'm generally restless, handy, and geared towards sweat-equity. Unfortunately this time around we found some issues that disappointed and confounded us, and exposed more work than we'd expected to have to do. One of the recurring conflicts that comes up in all projects is that I tend to come to a point where I have to stop and step through the rest of the project, sequencing and visualizing the exact steps to completion. Once I settle that, we press on. The Mrs, OTOH, is impatient and wants to work it out on the fly.
     


  12. Piobaire

    Piobaire Not left of center?

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    I'm actually handy enough, and quite good at some things like drywall/mudding and light carpentry, but am just not of the mind or inclination to do stuff like that anymore.
     


  13. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

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    When I grow up, I want to be just like....ah, who am I kidding. I'm never growing up.

    Reminds me...my uncle gave up a Big Oil exec position to start up his own gig(s), which doesn't really matter except that he is uncommonly, profoundly handy. I mean, he tells us his next project, we shake our heads and chuckle...and then he does it. No joke, he fitted shower, commode, sink, and storage into an under-the-stairway WC in his lakeside condo. I have learned to not question him.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2012


  14. Piobaire

    Piobaire Not left of center?

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    Your uncle sounds like quite the guy.

    I just never liked doing that stuff and now I don't have to. As I said, my home is my oasis, and I don't want to spoil that. I've actually had to work every weekend for last month due to this move and hated it. My second in command seems to spend every weekend with a huge "honey do" list that keeps him busy all the time. I have felt like him and am glad this Saturday, for the first time in about five weeks, I'm going to have one of my usual six hour lunches with a healthy dose of booze and wine. :)
     


  15. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    There is a huge difference between things you want/enjoy doing on your house :) and the things you have to do. Especially when those things are on repeated weekends and use funds/time previously allocated for "fun" :(
     


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