We love our house, an 85-year-old home that was extensively remodelled, preserving much of the charm, including original A-grade fir hardwood floors, but with many improvements, including plumbing and wiring. The outside is the original cedar siding, which was sanded/filled/primed/painted about seven years ago. Now that it's in need of repainting, I'm considering whether I should paint or replace. Don't know if this wrecks the look/value of the house. Hope me! [more inside]
I have this pipe dream of settling down somewhere extremely rural and building a self-sufficient, environmentally friendly home. I've got a lot of ideas floating around in my head, but I'm always looking for new ones. How would you go about setting up such a dwelling? (Or how did you do it, if you've done it yourself?) I'm ideally looking for ground-up plans, but all ideas are welcome. [more inside]
I work from home and have an opportunity to move soon. I enjoy fresh starts and wondering about buying a house in the sticks somewhere and living the good life. I've recently cut my last geographic tie, and after a spell travelling, wondering if anyone has some insight/anecdata into living styles that might suit someone for whom commute is not an issue. [more inside]
We are buying our first home (yay!). Every time we go over there to poke around, I notice another thing that we don't deal with in our current four-unit apartment building. What are some things we need to buy? What are the things we need to do right away? Any tips you wish you would have known? Any thoughts on order of operations -- can we move as soon as there are beds, or when the internet arrives, or what? Please help us rehome. [more inside]
So, last night we apparently interrupted some burglars. The police were pretty negative about traditional home security systems (which we didn't have anyway), and I'm interested in either a DIY system or a modern digital system. Googling turns up a lot of things that appear to be not ready for prime time (e.g. Canary). But surely there are Mefites with good suggestions. Help? [more inside]
We're considering relocating across the country and renting out our current primary residence. We don't have experience with this, so if you've done something like this, what advice can you offer? [more inside]
We're in contract on a 1940 house in Seattle, Washington, USA, and the inspector said there used to be oil heat. There's no visible sign of a tank, and no records of a tank being decommissioned (city records for decommissioning or removal of old tanks only go back to 1997). We're trying to decide if it's worth looking for the tank and having it decommissioned if one is found, or if it's OK to just leave it be. [more inside]
As springtime arrives, I would like to spruce up my house with some cute, inexpensive textiles. Can you help? [more inside]
Bought / Buying my first house and the house has real cedar for siding. I can't find any definite answer to the maintenance requirements and frequency to this; only cedar shake but this is actual wood planks. Anyone have experience with maintaining real wood siding? If you ever had it professionally maintained, what was your cost and est. square footage?
After a rough winter, spring is ineluctably approaching. As the snow melts, I'm discovering that a number of the bushes are much worse for wear, the front brick path has heaved and needs to be re-set, paint is peeing, gutter downspouts and lots of wood trim are in need of replacement--the list goes on. And at some point, we'll need some grading work and other drainage projects. Plus (eventually) seeding the lawn and general cleanup. What's the best approach to thinking about and ordering these projects? [more inside]
Our house in Boston was built sometime around 1900. It has a stone foundation that is mostly intact and has been kept in fairly good repair. Unfortunately, there are some holes/gaps that need to be repaired along the front wall of the foundation, under our brand new deck. They can't access the holes properly without removing most of this new deck. As an alternative, the masons have suggested pouring a small thin layer of concrete in front of the stone wall. Is this a reasonable approach? Anything we should be considering? [more inside]
Buying our first home, I'm would like to go with a buyer agent and have our first meeting set with one Saturday. I'm turning to the hive mind for your tip, tricks, questions, and other things you wish you would have done or found helpful during meeting with your realtor. [more inside]
My husband and I are working on decorating a nursery for our first baby (due in 10 days!). We have most of the furniture figured out but we can't figure out what to put under the window. Do you have any ideas? [more inside]
My mother is moving out of her house and wants to sell it with as little fuss as possible. She doesn't want to make any improvements, hire a realtor, have 'open houses,' or have any protracted negotiations. Her plan is to just take the best offer of a "fast cash buyout" home-buying company. That sounds like inviting a ripoff to me, but we both know very little about selling houses and don't know of any alternatives. [more inside]
The ceramic tile throughout my house is old, crumbling, and needs to go. Please help me sort through my flooring options. [more inside]
I've realized that I have little idea how to properly care for a house. What regular maintenance and preventative maintenance tasks should I be doing? How do I do them? What things should I be checking for, on what schedule? What equipment do I need? What things will I probably need to hire someone for? I'm a-googlin too, but thought you all might know some good resources.
My parents just inherited my grandmother's house, a burden they are not happy with. At first they were worried they would have to keep the house for the time being and hire a realtor to get it sold - they are not in a place to take on the cost of a second house, even if it is just temporary. Now suddenly out of the blue, a relative of my grandmother calls and offers the services of her step-son, someone who pays cash for houses and fixes them up. I'm a little suspicious and want to check that this isn't a scam. [more inside]
The issue isn't us as borrowers... It's the house. The house is part of a coop/co-housing setting. We'd be buying the house, but the land it sits on would remain owned by the co-op. Mortgage? [more inside]
If I wanted to buy a house or condo in a distant state as an investment, and I had an opportunity to buy a place outright, with tenants and leases already in place, should I? How about outright but sans tenants? More info within. [more inside]
It's getting to be fall and winter's not far behind. This is our first fall/winter in our first home. What are the practical/DIY/gardening-y things we need to do to be ready for the change in seasons? [more inside]
After months of drawing and re-drawing, we have draft floor plans! Now we need more eyes on the kitchen layout. Looking especially for specific suggestions. [more inside]
It's been a few months since I bought my house, and I've received a questionnaire from the local assessor asking for details about the property. I plan to answer all the questions truthfully to the best of my knowledge and ability. Beyond that, do you have any advice on responding? [more inside]
So, our neighborhood has never been the awesomest in terms of violent crime and drug stuff (in Toronto, btw), and some sudden recent changes are about to make it even less awesome. We have little kids. We bought this house ten years ago as a "starter home we'll sell in two years" and just... never left. Now we'd like to leave. But where do we go? [more inside]
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]
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]
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]
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?
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]
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]
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]
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!!!
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]
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]
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]
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]
I want to buy the house I'm renting. How do I even start? [more inside]
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.
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]
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?
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
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]
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]
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?
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.
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]
I just moved house... and I am sad. This is stupid. Please help me make a new home for myself. [more inside]
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]
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]
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]
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]