Homes, Your Castle Or Your Dungeon?

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Nostradamus
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Homes, Your Castle Or Your Dungeon?

Post by Nostradamus » Aug 5th 2004, 3:04 am

Some young friends of mine are moving into their first house soon; I'm happy for them, but I've heard a lot of horror stories about home ownership, so I wonder if any of you fine folks have tales along those lines, good or bad...

:?:
I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.
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Jody Barsch*
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Post by Jody Barsch* » Aug 5th 2004, 3:29 am

I'm still just a renter, but my apartment is in a house from the turn-of-the-last-century, so I have a lot of problems with that :puppydogeyes: (Plus my last two landladies have been bitches)
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Natasha (candygirl)
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Aug 5th 2004, 3:37 am

I think it really depends on how old the house is. If you buy a fixer-upper as your first house, you really have to be prepared to do a lot of work. If it's an older house, you should expect to replace a lot of stuff, and I'm not talking about little aesthetic things like the faucet handles. A friend of mine lived in a house that was built in the 50s and it was one thing after another - the heating system had to be ripped out and replaced, they put in new wooden floors, etc.

Unless you are buying a brand new home (which usually isn't the case with first time homebuyers), expect the unexpected. Not trying to be pessimistic, just realistic. It's better to go in with the mentality that you will have to deal with this kind of stuff than to end up curled up on the floor in the fetal position because everything in the house seems broken.
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Nostradamus
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Post by Nostradamus » Aug 5th 2004, 3:46 am

That's what I'm afraid of; this house they're looking at is 100+ years old. They got an independant inspection which found only minor problems, but you never know.

Also, does anyone have experience with the financial end of it? You know, mortgages, banks, forms with 1000 signatures, etc.

:?
I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.
-- Clarence Darrow

I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
-- Mark Twain

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Post by Megs » Aug 5th 2004, 11:00 am

My husband and I bought our first house here in the DC suburbs last summer. It's actually a townhouse. It was built in 1999, so we haven't had any real problems yet due to age. The only thing bad that happened was that the toilet overflowed and caused damage on all three floors. That was a fun day. :? But we got it fixed and all is good now. *fingers crossed* Last week we had hardwood floors put in on the entire second level and the foyer. It looks great! I love it. I should take pictures.

I love being a homeowner. I was scared to buy a house at first. Being in that much debt is very, very scary. But it was perhaps the best financial decision that my husband and I ever made. The prices for houses here in Northern VA are astronomical. And the prices just keep going up. Which is good for us. Example: our next-door neighbors bought their house when it was first built at around $175,000. Want to know what the last house in our neighborhood sold for? 5 years later? $370,000. :shock: I hope the economy in this area continues this way, which woud definitely be to our benefit.

Now both my sister and my brother bought older houses (1855 and 1900 respectively) last year. They both have a lot of updating to do to the house. They haven't had any sturctural problems, but the houses seriously need to be updated. I love my new house, but I love theirs for a different reason: the character of the houses. My brother's house (1855) has two old fireplaces and an old wood-burning stove. The woodwork is beautiful.

So, home-owning is scary, but it is definitely worth it. I still look around and say, "This is mine. I own this." It's a great feeling to have.
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Post by Nostradamus » Aug 9th 2004, 8:46 am

Ugh, I once had to replace a floor after a toilet attack, but that was only on one floor, in one room. You must have a sturdy constitution Megs!

:hairy:

My moving friends have already begun the Ritual Of Getting Rid Of As Much Stuff As Possible To Lessen Packing Hassles. There's even a chance I could get their prized articulated model Sentinel (from The Matrix). I don't have much shelf space, but maybe I could hang it for a nifty flying effect...
I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.
-- Clarence Darrow

I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
-- Mark Twain

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Post by starbug » Aug 10th 2004, 6:58 am

Mr. S and I moved into our first home together a couple of years ago now... (it wasn't his first home but it was mine).
Our flat was built around 1902, and it's of very solid Victorian/Edwardian construction; proper bricks, proper walls etc.

The only problem that came up in the survey was a slight bit of damp; but that's almost expected in an older property in England. It's to do with the near constant drizzle we suffer... but anyway, we moved in after a slight argument with the vendor who stated that it wasn't damp at all (we weren't willing to lose the house over it). The house required serious cosmetic work but we knew that when we moved in. To be fair, what we didn't realise was that the primary colours covering the woodwork were 7 layers thick and it would take Rodger the dimwitted workman 5 weeks, not 1 like he said, to sort it out.

In the first week, the boiler broke and the TV aerial fell off the roof. That said, the pros far outweigh the cons - it's nice to have property which if it rises in value results in a lovely little profit. However, house prices are astronomical here (think £240k for what you Americans would consider an absolutely MINUTE technically-2-bed but more like 1 1/2 bed flat) so we're skeptical about it going up much more. It's also wonderful just to have somewhere thats yours, and not some ditzy lowlife landlord who conspires to make your life hell at every turn (the time of a rat infestation and refusal to pay for someone to rid the property of them features in bright lights in my mind here). Yes, I'm still bitter about my days as a tenant.

So far we have done lots of cosmetic work, but that's actually relatively enjoyable. I like instant results like painting.... however, this week, I am mostly hating home ownership as the plumber who is installing our new bathroom has reached new bounds of never-before known moronic tendency. The catalogue of screw-ups is long and boring, but suffice to say that it's been going on 14 days now and I could have done a better job myself. :bad-words:

I'd say that almost without exception, everyone we know who owns their own home finds it more expensive that they thought it would be, because suddenly you're responsible for a whole heap of things that you forgot to factor in. Plus you're inclined to spend money on things to make them better. But also, without exception, everyone I know enjoys having their own place and the security and enjoyment it brings.

But don't even get me started on tradesmen!

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starbug
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Post by starbug » Aug 10th 2004, 7:06 am

Nostradamus wrote:Also, does anyone have experience with the financial end of it? You know, mortgages, banks, forms with 1000 signatures, etc.

:?
Oh boy. Well, not in the states; but in the UK.... We had to produce documentation detailing the ins and outs of a cat's behind in order to get our mortgage. Quite apart from having to send our passports to the lawyer before they would act for us, we had to dredge up payslips, insurance documents, have critical illness and life insurance cover in place, bank statements, details of the buildings insurance on the last flat Mr. S owned (?!), P60s (tax document), and the list goes on. That's just what I can recall from the top of my head. Originals, not photocopies.... entrusted to the fabulous Royal Mail who like to chew things up and stomp on them regularly.

It took possibly 6 hours just to fill out the form, and then you have to pay £295 for the priviledge of actually getting the building society to consider it. Big, Giant Rip-Off. Plus then the mortgage you do get comes with 19trillion conditions attached, and a penalty for early redemption should you suddenly and unexpectedly win the lottery.

Fortunately I am of average intelligence and have a long and healthy credit history in this country. Goodness only knows what foreigners, the slightly stupid, or the less well-off have to endure.

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Nostradamus
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Post by Nostradamus » Aug 31st 2004, 7:21 am

My friends are all moved in now. The house is nicer than I expected, lots of hardwood, tiles, antique fixtures, etc. The neighborhood, well... a couple of the neighbors have already been in the police blotter for an altercation with baseball bats. One of their three cats is MIA since the move, but they've got two new stray kittens living on the porch. During my last visit I was helping the husband assemble a table-and-chairs set until we realised that we'd used all of the table screws on the chairs; we both agreed that the people who design the "easy" instructions for those sets need to be drug out into the street and shot.

:roll:

Anyway, they seem to like their new abode, so that's good enough for me.

:)
I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.
-- Clarence Darrow

I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
-- Mark Twain

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emmie
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Post by emmie » Aug 31st 2004, 11:20 am

Nostradamus wrote: During my last visit I was helping the husband assemble a table-and-chairs set until we realised that we'd used all of the table screws on the chairs; we both agreed that the people who design the "easy" instructions for those sets need to be drug out into the street and shot.

:roll:

Anyway, they seem to like their new abode, so that's good enough for me.

:)
yeah, my dad quickly began to grumble to himself when he was putting together a computer desk for me. would've been humorous if he wasn't so mad. tee hee.

in Savannah, we are full of homes older than our great grandparents. so I hear all kinds of weird stories about things fallen apart or breaking. I live on the second story of a house. my landlady is just 30 and totally cool. she's one of those fix-it-yourself kind of people and is very prompt in getting things done. I don't take her for granted at all, I know how lucky I am. and I love the apartment, it has tons of character with odd fixtures and giant windows and doors. it's a one bedroom, but so big that I don't have enough furniture for it. in fact, my cats have their own room! :-P I love older homes because somehow they just feel cozier. hopefully one day I'll own one!

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Post by starbug » Aug 31st 2004, 11:42 am

emmie wrote: would've been humorous if he wasn't so mad. tee hee.
In my family, things are humourous because dad is mad. :mrgreen:

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