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How to clean house like the professionals.

Between bad timing and desperation I hired a professional housekeeper to clean before family arrived for the holidays last year. She left the place looking better than when I first moved in. How can I do this on my own? [more inside]
posted by adapt on Jun 15, 2014 - 30 answers

Skyrocketing Zillow Estimate For My House

Holy crap. My house value has been creeping up since the bust, which was to be expected. But I just checked Zillow, and they've boosted its estimated value by 23% in the past 30 days (I'm in Westchester County, not far from White Plains). [more inside]
posted by Quisp Lover on Jun 12, 2014 - 22 answers

Can my parents make me a mortgage loan?

Trying to buy a house. Have money for a down payment, but I'm self-employed and was turned down for a traditional loan. My parents are willing to lend me the money I'd need for the balance, and have me pay them back with interest, á la a mortgage loan. Is this doable? [more inside]
posted by toomuchkatherine on Jun 5, 2014 - 12 answers

What do I do about this hole in my yard?

I discovered a hole, roughly 10 inches across, in my yard (at a house I just moved into). It's basically a pipe going far far down, and had a stone top resting over the hole, loosely covering it. It reminds me of the Baby Jessica well, which makes me want to get rid of it, fill it in, cover it up. But I don't know what it is. Who might I call to figure out what it is, what it's for, if I can just remove the whole thing, or if it's necessary to keep it as-is?
posted by davebug on Apr 25, 2014 - 28 answers

Production Home Help Needed

My husband and I are thinking about having a home built -- a production home -- in one of the many subdivisions in our growing area. We have purchased a home before (and sold it later; not in our current area) but it was older and had been flipped. What do we need to know about the production home process? [more inside]
posted by danielle the bee on Mar 9, 2014 - 9 answers

Arrowhead wall fixture in 70's house?

We had a home inspected today that included two of these fixtures (below cut). They say "Arrowhead" on them but even our inspector had no idea what they were. Home was built in 1972. Any ideas, old home lovers? [more inside]
posted by juniperesque on Mar 2, 2014 - 15 answers

All our eggs in one basket? First time home buyers...

My wife and I have been working and saving over the last 4-5 years. We've managed to pay off all of our debts and have gotten ahead. It feels great to be debt free, but we want to buy a house. We found a bank foreclosure that's been sitting vacant for 6 years as it slowly worked through the courts. We have just enough to buy it outright, but that will leave us almost broke. Should we buy it? [more inside]
posted by karst on Feb 21, 2014 - 28 answers

Plumbing woes

I'm asking this Q for a friend and I really hope someone will be able to help. We moved into our house about two years ago. We've had problems with our sprinklers in the past and when we had them repaired, a sprinkler expert told my wife there was "something wrong" with how we get water to the front since they couldn't shut off the water. That didn't make sense to me, but now that I've tried to fix the sprinklers in the front myself, I've encountered the same problem. When I turn off the shut off valves near the water meter (what I think are the main valves), nothing happens, though it does turn off the water to the backyard. When I need to repair plumbing inside the house, the valve close to the house does the trick, but again, I can't shut off water to the front sprinklers. I have no idea how the sprinklers were installed, but it is getting frustrating and I'd like to know how to go about troubleshooting this. Is there any way to identify where a valve might be to shut off the water to the front sprinklers? Here's a simple diagram I drew. Thank you!!!
posted by BitterYouth on Feb 17, 2014 - 17 answers

Costs of pricey home repairs/replacements? (& IDing them before buying)

We're first time homebuyers, and getting a little overwhelmed thinking about all the things we might have to fix and/or replace in whatever house we buy, and how that should affect what we're willing to pay for a home. What are the most expensive (and/or frustrating to fix) things we should be keeping an eye out for and factoring into deciding whether to make an offer on a house and the offer price (i.e. adjusting up/down compared to comparable homes)? [more inside]
posted by EmilyClimbs on Jan 21, 2014 - 13 answers

Time to buy a house!

I have a newly good income, a very tiny (yes, I mean very tiny) beginning of a savings account, shitty credit, a little (in the hundreds) debt and I want to buy a house. What should I do? [more inside]
posted by latkes on Jan 13, 2014 - 10 answers

How do I find a Mortgage Broker?

I live in Vancouver and I'll be looking to buy a condo this year somewhere in Coquitlam or New Westminster. I've never bought a place before and have literally no idea what I'm doing. I'm told a Mortgage Broker is my best bet but how do I choose the right one for me? [more inside]
posted by JenThePro on Jan 2, 2014 - 6 answers

Can I buy my parents' house in a way that makes financial sense?

My parents have always struggled financially, living under crippling debt and never able to have an income able to match the bills, the biggest of which is their mortgage. I hate to see how difficult this situation is for my dad, and I want to help out for the sake of his stress level, and also because once he retires in a few years the math truly does not work out in their favor. I've been thinking of buying some land anyway, so I'm wondering if there is any feasible way to make this work for both my parents and me. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Dec 8, 2013 - 20 answers

Buying a house... weirdly

I want to buy the house I'm renting. How do I even start? [more inside]
posted by MrVisible on Nov 13, 2013 - 12 answers

What regular maintenance should I schedule for our new home?

We bought a house, yay. It’s a small 1910’s bungalow with gas appliances and everything basically works. The foundation’s been replaced in the not-too-distant past and it’s ready for an earthquake. I've never been anything but a renter, so what kinds of regular maintenance should I be thinking about to minimize the risk of catastrophic emergency repairs? Plumbing, gas, heating, electrical, sewers: what’s a good schedule, and what kinds of things do I ask for to make clear that there’s nothing particularly wrong but I’d like to keep it that way? I looked at this old question, but most of the interesting-sounding links are dead.
posted by migurski on Nov 12, 2013 - 10 answers

My window jamb... is... crumbling! How do I fix it?

My mother's house has these recessed casement windows, and the mystery material the jamb (or maybe jamb extension?) is made of has started to crumble. Whole chunks come out when I put the air conditioners in each spring and take them out every fall, and forget about keeping the window shade hung -- I have yet to find an anchor that won't get pulled out. I'm going to take a stab at fixing it while I'm home for Thanksgiving, so I need help devising a plan of attack that can definitely be completed over a four-day weekend, even if that means it's just a stop-gap band-aid-type repair. [more inside]
posted by patnasty on Nov 2, 2013 - 10 answers

My apartment's radiators are loud and letting out steam. Is that normal?

We've just moved into a new place and it's now gotten cold enough to turn on the heat. Two of the radiators are really loud with air escaping, and often have visible steam coming out of the valve on the side. I've never seen radiators do this. Is this normal? Is this safe?
posted by msbrauer on Oct 31, 2013 - 9 answers

Transformer in basement ceiling buzzing--what is it?

I heard this weird buzzing sound coming from my basement today, and I eventually opened up the ceiling and traced it to this transformer or something that's up in there. I tapped it with a piece of non-conductive material and it stopped buzzing. Tapped it again, it started buzzing more quietly, and then I tapped it again and it was silent. Anyone have any idea what this is, and why it's there? The house is from 1952 and doesn't have any electrical issues that I know of. Pictures: Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3
posted by Slinga on Oct 23, 2013 - 7 answers

Not yet for sale by owner.

Seeking advice on how to prepare for making an offer on a house that's not on the market. That our friends rent. [more inside]
posted by deludingmyself on Aug 19, 2013 - 13 answers

Burglar-proofing your house before going away

I need some advice about making sure my house is safe from burglars especially when I'm not at home - without going overboard or getting paranoid. [more inside]
posted by Ziggy500 on Jul 25, 2013 - 20 answers

One part Bob Vila, two parts clueless

I'm looking to develop a good maintenance schedule for my new old home. It was built in 1930, radiator heat, newish boiler and water heater. Beyond the standard cleaning, what kinds of monthly, yearly, semi-yearly things should I be doing to make sure it doesn't fall apart?
posted by Think_Long on Jul 22, 2013 - 7 answers

Old house - trying to fix up dirty moldy medicine cabinet

Just moved into a rental house. House built circa 1920. Medicine cabinet interior was completely lined with nasty old contact paper. I pulled off most of the paper. Now I'm worried about three things: 1. The paint underneath the paper is flaking. Is there danger of lead poisoning? 2. Black mold in the corner crevices under the paper. What's the best chemical for removal? Bleach solution? 3. What's the easiest cheapest way to get new shelves that will fit? PHOTOS. Any advice or encouragement is appreciated. How do I make this cabinet clean and functional? I don't like fixing old houses. Unfortunately there is much to do in this old house. The kitchen is a contact paper festival. The rental market is tight here, so landlords don't have to care.
posted by valannc on Jul 20, 2013 - 17 answers

Home Renovation Software

Buying-Our-First-House-Filter: Planning Edition. I've already read some of the other great AskMe threads about first homes and renovations and all of that, but one thing I haven't really seen (here or on the oft-recommended DIY blogs) is a solid recommendation or list of reviews of planning software related to home reno/landscaping. [more inside]
posted by Doleful Creature on Jul 18, 2013 - 7 answers

Help me feel at home.

I just moved house... and I am sad. This is stupid. Please help me make a new home for myself. [more inside]
posted by sockandawe on Jul 16, 2013 - 27 answers

Burning down the house

I recently made a switch to a different company for my homeowner's insurance (details after the jump about why). I fear I may have made a big mistake, but I honestly don't understand ANYthing about insurance and the more I try to read about it and look at my policies, the more confused I get. It's like someone's speaking Mandarin to me. I feel like a colossal idiot and I have no one to ask anymore now that my dad, whom I relied on to help me with this kind of stuff, is gone. I'm wondering how much I messed up here, and what I should look for to fix it. [more inside]
posted by emcat8 on Jul 10, 2013 - 14 answers

How do I budget for a home purchase if I have a good amount of savings?

I'm looking to buy a home. I'm not wealthy enough to just buy something nice enough straight out, and I've got a decent idea of how much I could/should pay for a monthly mortgage payment, but over the years I've accrued more savings (in fairly low-interest places) than I'd likely put for a down payment. So how do I decide how much of my savings to put into what size of down payment (and, since I know how big of a mortgage I could pay, how do I decide how much I should spend on a house?). [more inside]
posted by davebug on Jul 8, 2013 - 13 answers

Got any advice on possible pre-fab home building?

Have you bought a pre-fabricated home, or know someone who has? If so, what words of advice can be given about this? [more inside]
posted by drpynchon on Jun 15, 2013 - 7 answers

Is my home going to be taken away? (UK homeowner, 2nd mortgage)

More details after the jump, but in short: Mortgage lender holds the deeds to the house after missing payments for years. I am trying to figure out what the imminent risks to the house are and if I could find a debt negotiator. Many thanks to you all. [more inside]
posted by seatofmypants on May 21, 2013 - 6 answers

I want the Camry of sofas, not a Yugo or a Porsche

Where do you go when you've graduated from IKEA and are ready for decent, but not necessarily heirloom quality furniture? We're just hoping to find some stuff to carry us through the next 8-10 years, or is that unrealistic? How much should we honestly expect to spend? [more inside]
posted by Diagonalize on May 13, 2013 - 27 answers

Homescaping Query

What's a good bush to plant next to the front door? This is in coastal Massachusetts. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Apr 28, 2013 - 17 answers

Rent vs. Buy: Retiree edition!

Single retiree is selling a big paid-off house and asked me and huzzeh for help deciding whether or not it makes sense to rent an apartment or buy a condo. What questions should we consider to help make this decision? [more inside]
posted by elizeh on Apr 18, 2013 - 17 answers

Neighbor rebuilding shared fence--do I have any responsibility?

My neighbor has expressed a desire to rebuild the wooden fence between our houses. We share one side of the fence with her, and it's definitely in need of repair--warped boards, aging, etc. Should she be fully responsible for paying for the fence, since it was her idea to fix it? Or should we contribute some money since we share one side of the fence? [more inside]
posted by starkraven on Apr 2, 2013 - 36 answers

Please help me go from "under contract" to mortage-holder

I am trying to purchase a foreclosed house with a homepath loan, but I do not qualify for a homepath loan despite excellent credit. Apparently a conventional loan will not work for the current condition of the home. Can you help me sort out my options in Virginia? [more inside]
posted by shortyJBot on Mar 3, 2013 - 7 answers

Buying a car right before buying a house

How much of a bad idea is buying a car a month or so before buying a house? [more inside]
posted by glenngulia on Feb 18, 2013 - 21 answers

Building a house to accommodate pain and disability

Everything I do, all day, every day, hurts. The more I do things that are painful, the more the pain snowballs. We're going to build a house that we hope will help reduce the accumulation of pain, and maybe even let me recover a little. Help me make sure I'm covering all the bases in house design accommodations. [more inside]
posted by galadriel on Feb 13, 2013 - 35 answers

How can I eliminate a draft under my front door?

Getting a draft despite having weather stripping and a door sweep. How can I fix this? [more inside]
posted by asnider on Jan 1, 2013 - 12 answers

Did you see the pictures I did of a home with Asian design? Where!?

Have you seen (within the last decade) these pictures from a home design magazine? Traditional Asian (Japanese?) style - high ceilings with dark beams, large open spaces, tatami mats and paper screens, and very little else. [more inside]
posted by attercoppe on Nov 25, 2012 - 4 answers

Maid in Seattle?

Looking for a good cleaning service in Ballard, WA. [more inside]
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis on Sep 17, 2012 - 1 answer

Your scene is shitty, man

My asshole neighbors' pot smoke is seeping into our apartment through every crack and vent. Help. [more inside]
posted by littlerobothead on Sep 7, 2012 - 79 answers

Buy A House With Cash

My wife and I are buying a house in Austin, Texas ( Steiner Ranch ). We are trying to figure out how we want to finance it. We have the means to pay for the house with cash. We are being offered a mortgage at 3.6%. The cost of the house would represent about 50% of our net worth. The other 50% is fairly liquid, with an even spread between 401k, index funds, 529's, and cash. Should we do it? [more inside]
posted by jasondigitized on Jul 11, 2012 - 25 answers

Removall or other eco-friendly paint removers for retail in Twin Citites?

Looking for a lead on Removall 220 available for retail in the Twin Cities area, or recommendations of equivalent (brushable, eco-friendly) paint strippers. [more inside]
posted by longtime_lurker on Jul 10, 2012 - 2 answers

learning more about home construction and maintence

I own a house built in 1904 - how can I learn more about home construction and home maintenance? I do a lot of my basic repairs myself and always make a point to watch and ask questions (non-obnoxiously) when I have repair people over. [more inside]
posted by waylaid on Jul 7, 2012 - 20 answers

Building a deck used to just mean one thing, now we have ALL THESE OPTIONS.

To use composite decking or not to use composite decking, that is the question. [more inside]
posted by Medieval Maven on Jun 21, 2012 - 19 answers

Last night I was threatened by someone on my property.

Last night I was threatened by someone on my property. What should I do to get over feeling vulnerable/anxious? [more inside]
posted by brevator on Jun 15, 2012 - 21 answers

Is There a Quick and Easy Fix for My Paint-Chipped Porch?

I need to paint my previously painted cement block porch while putting in the least money, time, and effort. What can be painted over a chipped paint job without it chipping again? [more inside]
posted by paperclip2000 on Jun 11, 2012 - 5 answers

Installing a garbage disposal in a rental apartment

Installing a garbage disposal in a rental apartment [more inside]
posted by rainbowbrite on May 18, 2012 - 11 answers

Should I get a property survey?

What's the downside of not getting a property survey? [more inside]
posted by glenngulia on May 16, 2012 - 11 answers

Buying a furnished home

How do you negotiate buying furniture in a house - particularly generally unused furniture used in a model home? [more inside]
posted by raztaj on Apr 17, 2012 - 5 answers

Sell our House or Not? We are at an impasse, HELP!

Sell our House or Not? We are at an impasse, HELP! Extended explanation inside. [more inside]
posted by damiano99 on Apr 12, 2012 - 19 answers

The lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host, and then a master.

So much of my headspace is wrapped up in how my house looks (which is not so awesome) and it drags me down whenever I’m at home. This isn’t how I want to feel about my home. Can you help me change my attitude? [more inside]
posted by anderjen on Apr 12, 2012 - 32 answers

Home-Not-So-Sweet-Home

My boyfriend wants to buy a house. I don't. How do we work through this? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Mar 29, 2012 - 48 answers

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