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Thread: Home Ownership Questions/Advice

  1. #16
    First Time Caller SunDeck's Avatar
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    Re: Home Ownership Questions/Advice

    Make sure you have good ladders- a 24 foot extension, a six foot folding ladder and a little one, a two or three stepper. Most homeowners have extension ladders that I wouldn't trust- get a good one that you aren't extending all the way every time you use it. They are much more stable when extended only half or so.

    I second Roy's advice on getting to know the place. Get in the crawlspace if there is one, if you have a basement look up and see where all the wiring is going. If the house was built in '39, you may have a few generations of electrical stuff going on, so make a note of the kinds of sheathing you see on the wires, which helps you to know how old it is. It will also give you an indication of how much messing around previous owners have done. Make sure your service is adequate- at least 100 amps, but 200 is best (but unlikely, given the age). Also, get to know the breakers and what they control. Know how to shut off your entire panel.

    Crawl around the attic and look at all the wiring there, too. Inspections are all right, but look at the fine print and you will see they only inspect what they can see. Pull up the insulation, look at the junction boxes and make sure they are all closed. And speaking of insulation, make sure you have enough. If you can see the rafters, then just roll another layer perpendicular to them.

    Inspect the eaves and the roof for proper ventilation. Most houses that age do not have good attic ventilation. It's not a deal killer because those houses are not as air tight as newer ones, but ideally you will have a way for air to move into the eaves and out the highest point of the roof. So, if your new roof had vent caps, you should also have eave venting as well.

    Get to know the plumbing. That age house may have some galvanized pipe, but for the most part you should see copper supply lines. Tighten all the valves, read up on the kind you have and if you're really ambitious learn how to pull them and replace them.
    You probably have cast iron waste lines. They last about 80 years and eventually you may see pitting on the outside, which indicates their end of life. Easily replaced by a plumber with PVC. How fast do your drains run? Old drain lines can be as small as 2 inches, which is pretty small, so if you are ambitious you can learn to run an auger down to the public sewer (or just call Roto Rooter). I do mine once a year. Inspect all the goose necks on your sink drains. Sometimes you will find that the chrome plated ones are in bad shape. Easy job to swap them out with PVC, requiring only a hacksaw and a pair of channel lock pliers.

    Seal all the holes in the foundation. Helps keep the rodents out (although I live next to the woods and have some to accept mice in my attic as a regular nuisance). Make sure your inspection also included a termite inspection. Make sure you don't store wood next to the house and make sure that you have a few inches of space between the top of the soil and the sill plate (where the foundation meets the walls).

    OK, this last one is really important- make sure you have ground fault interruption outlets in places where there is water- bathrooms, around the kitchen counters, any outdoor or garage outlets. I also pull the cover plates off of all switches and outlets that don't look original because I trust no previous home owners when it comes to electrical installations. I look for wire nuts that are too small, sharp bends in the wires or an indication that someone just jammed the stuff in as quickly as they could. Good electricians make neat installations.
    Last edited by SunDeck; 01-16-2012 at 07:12 PM.
    Next Reds manager, second shooter. --Confirmed on Redszone.

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  3. #17
    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Home Ownership Questions/Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    http://www.ahs.com/homeowners/

    Home warranty. I have friends that swear by this. I haven't done it myself, but i am considering it.
    I got one when I moved in and it was kind of a waste of money. There were alot of things they wouldn't cover that I thought they would and I also think there was some type of deductible.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

  4. #18
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    Re: Home Ownership Questions/Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Redsfaithful View Post
    House was built in 1939. Roof was new in 2008 and good gutters, home inspection did say one gutter could use an extended downspout, which I will take care of soon.
    Find a good handyman. The one in my neighborhood is so cheap, my wife and I call him before we even think of doing anything on our own.

    Good luck, and whenever anything breaks just remember it's the joy of home ownership.
    When people say that I donít know what Iím talking about when it comes to sports or writing, I think: Man, you should see me in the rest of my life.
    ---Joe Posnanski

  5. #19
    Member 15fan's Avatar
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    Re: Home Ownership Questions/Advice

    I'll echo many of the sentiments on here already.

    Annual HVAC contract & service twice a year. Make sure you're prepared for power outages ahead of time.

    A dehumidifier can be your best friend if you have a basement or crawl space.

    I'm a big fan of gutter guards.

    Programmable thermostat.

    Find yourself some help that you aren't afraid to enlist when you need to outsource. Yard work, painting, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, etc. There's always too much for one person to do. Quickly figure out what you (1) are good at and (2) enjoy, then outsource some of the other things.

    Remember that nothing in a house fixes itself. Ignoring it doesn't make it better. If you can get ahead of the curve, more power to you.

    Also, get to know your neighbors. Their homes were likely built about the same time as yours. They can tell you about things they've run into as well as who they have used for various projects. Both of those things can save you money and aggravation while you live the American dream.

    Finally, there are two things that you always want to replace too soon rather than too late: your hot water tank, and your furnace/AC. When one of those goes out, it's baaaaaaaad news.

  6. #20
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Home Ownership Questions/Advice

    AC.

    Dang glad I don't have to deal with that, my converted for oil coal furnace is bad enough

  7. #21
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Home Ownership Questions/Advice

    Being new to the neighborhood, get to know your neighbors. They can give you some sound recommendations, may know someone, when it comes to hiring someone for a project you might not be able to do for yourself.

    I've been fortunate enough, over these many years, to have a lot of buddies in construction. So earlier in my life, when I hired them to do a project that I didn't want to attempt, I asked them if I could be their "assistant" solely for the purpose of learning. That's where I gained a majority of my experience.

    Also...

    A majority of you know that my family incurred a devastating house fire almost 6 years ago. Do not cut corners when it comes to your home insurance. Thank God I had a premium plan from a major company. Yeah, it cost me a little more per month (not a great amount); but they treated me like gold. I don't think you'd get that kind of treatment from an independent agent. We had one prior to switching, and there was no way he would have been able to do what this other company did when we had the fire.
    Last edited by GAC; 01-17-2012 at 04:53 AM.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

  8. #22
    Member 919191's Avatar
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    Re: Home Ownership Questions/Advice

    I agree with TRF about an AHS home warranty. I have had those twice- got me a furnace in my old house, which I upgraded with an additional payment, and in my new house it got me an air conditioner repair and a water heater. It paid for itself. sadly, i let it expire while having a 30 year old Lennox furnace. My fingers stay crossed.
    I've been to dinner at Jimmy Buffet's house, and I've eaten it at a homeless shelter. And there's great joy and harrowing terror to be found in both places.
    -Todd Snider

  9. #23
    A Little to the Left Redsfaithful's Avatar
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    Re: Home Ownership Questions/Advice

    First, just wanted to say this is a great thread. So much good advice here that I'm going to take action on.

    On the subject of home warranties, I have one for the next year (I think real estate agents try to get that from the seller in most cases?), but I'm not sure I'm counting on it to do much from what I have read online. I'm sure it depends on the company.

    My water heater is from 1992 and the furnace is 1994. I'm debating whether to just replace the water heater now or wait the year and if it dies letting the warranty company handle it, assuming they wouldn't try to exclude it somehow. I have a family friend who could replace it a little cheaper than normal, so I'm factoring that in also. The furnace I figure could have 5+ more years maybe, so I'm just planning on keeping an eye on it, and maybe start saving money to replace it.
    We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
    --Oscar Wilde

  10. #24
    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Home Ownership Questions/Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Redsfaithful View Post
    First, just wanted to say this is a great thread. So much good advice here that I'm going to take action on.

    On the subject of home warranties, I have one for the next year (I think real estate agents try to get that from the seller in most cases?), but I'm not sure I'm counting on it to do much from what I have read online. I'm sure it depends on the company.

    My water heater is from 1992 and the furnace is 1994. I'm debating whether to just replace the water heater now or wait the year and if it dies letting the warranty company handle it, assuming they wouldn't try to exclude it somehow. I have a family friend who could replace it a little cheaper than normal, so I'm factoring that in also. The furnace I figure could have 5+ more years maybe, so I'm just planning on keeping an eye on it, and maybe start saving money to replace it.
    Wait a minute, you mean you are going to pay someone less than union wages?? I thought from dealing with you on other threads, doing something like this to you is very wrong.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

  11. #25
    Member medford's Avatar
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    Re: Home Ownership Questions/Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by GAC View Post
    That's one helluva list your wife has made out for you Roy.

    Actually, the only universal tool he really needs is duct tape!



    It usually takes the extra wide to cover the wife's entire mouth when she starts going off on her to-do list.

    Oh yeah... if you have a furnace, check the filters too.
    Uh, aren't you missing the other essential tool? WD-40?

  12. #26
    A Little to the Left Redsfaithful's Avatar
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    Re: Home Ownership Questions/Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    Wait a minute, you mean you are going to pay someone less than union wages?? I thought from dealing with you on other threads, doing something like this to you is very wrong.
    Paying the price he quotes me, the savings comes from getting the hot water heater wholesale so far as I know. A consumer/business relationship isn't the same as an employer/employee, but I gather you already know that from the emoticon.
    We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
    --Oscar Wilde

  13. #27
    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Home Ownership Questions/Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Redsfaithful View Post
    Paying the price he quotes me, the savings comes from getting the hot water heater wholesale so far as I know. A consumer/business relationship isn't the same as an employer/employee, but I gather you already know that from the emoticon.
    Nah, I kinda figured I caught ya using "scab labor" but I know you would never, ever do that.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

  14. #28
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Home Ownership Questions/Advice

    A comment about contractors....

    Ask what the discount is if you pay cash. It can be significant.

    Pay attention to the open sky

  15. #29
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    Re: Home Ownership Questions/Advice

    Check your water heater at least once a week for leaks.

    We just got through paying through the nose (just under $1,000) because I hadn't checked it for a couple months.
    "You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat."
    -- Christy Matthewson
    "Show me a good loser and I'll show you an idiot."
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  16. #30
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Home Ownership Questions/Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Redsfaithful View Post
    The furnace I figure could have 5+ more years maybe, so I'm just planning on keeping an eye on it, and maybe start saving money to replace it.
    Have a furnace company come in and inspect it, and even service it if needed. The cost is usually pretty minimal. That way you'll know where you stand and have a better idea.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations


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