My heat pump (a 10 SEER packaged unit) is dead. It would cost at least $800 to fix it, assuming it's an easy fix. If not, it would either be unfixable (because no one makes the coils anymore), or cost well over $1k (if, for example, the reversing valve needs to be fixed/replaced). So I've had a few different quotes on new heat pumps, and can't decide what to do... Can anyone shed some light on the best route to take? [more inside]
We’re home-owners in Vancouver, BC. We love our house, but it’s needs some minor work on the exterior. Some of the wood trim needs repair, and the trim, fencing, and deck need painting. The majority of the work is the painting, and we are unsure of the best way to get this done. We are not handy, and so need to hire someone. [more inside]
I have a house that I bought it in 2000. Do I need to reassess the value? [more inside]
I would like to find a *reasonably priced* guesthouse in the Los Angeles area, specifically in or near Glendale/Pasadena/La Crescenta/Montrose. [more inside]
I am buying a house and trying to decide between two neighborhoods. Help me decide! [more inside]
Found a house I liked and seller accepted my offer however I just read sellers disclosure and seller indicated yes to the question "are you aware of past or present settling, soil movement or sinkhole problems on property?" And elaborated that "corner of garage wall was cracked due to mock pocket and was repaired in 1995". [more inside]
Looking to find our the square footage of a house. [more inside]
Seeking fiction and non-fiction accounts, as well as real-life anecdotes, of buying a mansion and renting out the rooms to friends and/or strangers (or, otherwise, of living in such an arrangement) [more inside]
My wife and I are buying a house and our possession date is on December 4. My brother is my lawyer who will close the deal on the house. We're driving up from Regina to Saskatoon this weekend. This is our first house. He sometimes thinks he's given clear instructions when he hasn't and he'll end up blaming us for not reading his mind. My brother said I need to bring my cheque book, but he wasn't willing to answer why he needs the cheques. My wife and I are assuming that they're for both processing fees and for the down payment. If they are for a down payment too, should my wife and I move our money from our non-chequing accounts to our chequing accounts? Or will my brother only need void cheques, so that he can then obtain from funds directly from all my accounts at a later date (my tax free savings account and my chequing account, my wife's separate accounts)? Will it also be fine to have two cheques for the down payment (one from my wife and one from I)?
Partner and I would like to use an oil-based primer on our moldings and baseboards, then use a no-VOC eco-friendly paint (Colorhouse; MSDS) for the topcoat. I've successfully used run-of-the-mill latex over oil primer before. But does anyone have experience with using no-VOC paint over oil primer? [more inside]
When my mom passed about 6 1/2 years ago, the only thing left was the house we grew up in. She died right before the crash when the value was lowest, and while there was no rush, it took about three years before I tried to do anything with it. [more inside]
I'm considering relocating to Seattle from the Midwest for a new job but am very concerned about affordable housing. Looking for a house or apartment rental within an hour's distance via public transit, if possible. Would like to spend between $1,000 and $1,500 if possible. Can go a bit higher. Would like a lot of space -- ideally, 1000 square feet. This would be for my wife, myself and our dog. Any advice about where I should be looking would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
In keeping with the recent question about buying a house in a competitive market... Those of you who have written letters to get a seller to pick you when you aren't the highest bidder - what did you write? Tips, suggestions, don'ts, samples all welcome.
Are you a big scaredy cat? Do you live in a house with lots of vulnerabilities anyways, and manage to sleep at night? How did you do it? Please hope me. [more inside]
I'm going to be in Vancouver for about 7-8 months, and I'm hoping to get recommendations for a short stay for the first month. I've checked out airbnb as well as some serviced apartments for the first few weeks but would love to hear any recommendations as those I've found are pretty pricey! [more inside]
While I was away, someone caused some minor damage to a corner of the house with their truck (chipped/cracked masonry, missing mortar, etc). My neighbour dealt with the initial incident, and I have the culprit's insurance details, and will be initiating a claim. Having not claimed on my house policy before, do I need to contact my insurance as well? Or do I just go through the insurance of the person who caused the damage? Thank you!
Has anyone hired College Pro Painters to paint their house? [more inside]
We just bought a new house that was custom-built in the 50s and has some unusual features. Many of the walls have metal baseboards. They're 5.25 inches tall, and you can remove them by unscrewing them, revealing a metal panel the same size as the baseboard, which also comes off, showing the inside of the wall. What is the purpose of these baseboards? Pics inside! [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 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]
We're building a small house on a small budget. We want to dig a small cellar (maybe 6'x6') into the ground below the crawl space entrance and support its walls with a wood framework. Is this feasible? Or will the house cave in if we do this? You are not our architect, you are not our structural engineer. [more inside]
We're realizing that the only way our little family of three is going to ever own a place is if we buy something tiny - 900 square feet or less. I need some inspiration for a livable design though. [more inside]
I live in a fire-prone area in Australia. Help me think through a fire plan, given various constraints. [more inside]
My husband and I recently moved to be near my family (we have a 2 year old and a newborn). We are staying at my moms until our house sells and it just won't sell. We are cramped here and I hate the feeling of being stuck for the foreseeable future. We can't move out on our own until the house sells. How do we sell a house that just won't sell, and how do we make our situation more bearable until it does sell? [more inside]
How can I learn more about rat mites, that isn't just word of mouth? [more inside]
Help me figure out whether I should be heating my small house with the gas furnace or an electric space heater... [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]
This is a 'tap the judgment power of the hivemind' question. About a year ago I bought an old house (1920s) in a 'gentrifying' neighborhood in Saskatoon. On July 1st I discovered that the basement rug and drywall were soaked: I had the basement finish ripped out down to the studs and discovered several large cracks in the foundation. I need to repair this if I want to stay, but I can't decide if it's worth it, or if I should just move. Based on what's within, what do you think? [more inside]
How do you suggest I approach fixing this drainage issue at the side of our garage? [more inside]
I've been watching build up of moop from ants dining on my carport for a few years now. What can I do to remove these critters as they've seemed impervious to my attempt to remove them so far. [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]
I have to move soon, and I've found a place that's available starting this Saturday. My question is this: how much time should I budget for packing/moving? I have a small amount of furniture as well as the usual clothes and other belongings. I've packed about half of my stuff, and will pack the rest on Friday and Saturday, with the intention of moving on Sunday. Is this feasible? [more inside]
I want to get rid of a houseful of stuff, but I don't have the time or energy to sell it on Craigslist or hold a garage sale. Are there services that will pick up & sell things for me? Location: Seattle. [more inside]
Mrs. Penguin and I just bought a house, but we discovered today that the circuit breaker box is labeled in a mixture of English and Chinese. We will eventually just turn them off one at a time to figure out which is which, but in the meantime can y'all translate them for me? [more inside]
Yay--we bought a house! The house has what seems like miles and miles of coaxial cable in every room. I'm trying to figure out if we actually need it or not. [more inside]
I've got a BIG MOTH in my house. It flew in via a space between my screen and window in my kitchen. It flew into my house somewhere--I can't find him now. ANY Ideas on luring it back through the hole? [more inside]
I need a new doormat to go inside my front door. Recommendations? [more inside]
I have a deeply nostalgic love for my grandparents' former home, a generic but beloved split level they lived in from the 1950s to mid 2000s. As an artist and crafter with an obsessive love for details, I have long noodled with the idea of making an incredibly accurate recreation of the house in miniature... but I struggle with where to start. Architectural models, dollhouses? What is the best route forward? [more inside]
There's a mysterious metallic smell in a bedroom in my house. What is it and how do I get rid of it? [more inside]
I recently purchased a house. The deed was recorded back then and the initial flurry of "you should buy our security system, new homeowner!" junk mail has stopped. After a few weeks of quiet in my mailbox, I'm now receiving individual letters asking to buy my house. None of them has quoted a price, nor do I really want to sell. I usually just e-mail the address on the letter saying "make me an offer and maybe." Should I do anything else? [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've been wondering about this for a long time- how prevalent are basements and attics in houses in North America? It seems like I'm always hearing about people doing projects in their basements (or dwelling in them!)- or having all sorts of treasures stashed away up in their attics. [more inside]
So I have been working on my house and making it energy efficient. It is now time to replace the basement windows in my split level. One double wide window needs to be replaced with one that opens to meet code, but the other three single wide windows do not. Would I be better installing glass blocks in those three, not vented, or installing either a picture, slider, or another type of insulated vinyl replacement window? If I should do a replacement window, which type should I use? [more inside]
What can I do to make my home "dog-proof" for the new 18-month-old dog I'm getting from a shelter? And what can I do to ease the trauma for him of moving to a completely new home? [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.
At a recent meetup, we played a cool game called Betrayal At House On The Hill. It reminded me a lot of a similar board game we used to have when I was a kid, but I cannot remember the name of it. [more inside]
Where can I find historical data on US congressional press releases? [more inside]
I'll admit to being massively confused by the hype vs. non-hype of the water filtration industry. For those of you who have gone through this, which WHOLE HOUSE water filtration system did you decide on and why? I can't seem to find adequate customer reviews that I feel are objective and believable. The only decision I have made is that I do not want a reverse osmosis system. My entire house is under construction and everything is easily accessible, so this is the perfect time to get this handled. If it matters, the home is in Los Angeles, Hollywood Hills specifically.
Is it possible my moldy unit pushing my already run-down self over the edge? How much mold is too much? For how long? [more inside]
I'm trying to rebuild a mix tape made for me by a London friend around 1989-1990. One track I'm having trouble finding started out with "Are you sitting comfortably? [Good.] Then I'll begin," which is a sample from the BBC's "Listen with Mother" radio series (click on the second old time radio for a clip, starts at the :16sec mark). After that it had a very deep man's voice saying "Welcome," over and over again while the music ramped up behind it. I always thought the man sounded like Worf, from ST: TNG. Any leads?