Search found 1059 matches

by hand
Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: House on the market less than a day. Did listing agent commit fraud?
Replies: 55
Views: 6437

Re: House on the market less than a day. Did listing agent commit fraud?

Plenty of legitimate reasons for the circumstances described by the OP, though I've heard of similar sounding shenanigans with bank-owned properties where realtor under-prices and then steers the listing to an accomplice, so anything is possible. As suggested above, no reason not to write a backup o...
by hand
Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Inexpensive way to ship heavy item...
Replies: 23
Views: 1798

Re: Inexpensive way to ship heavy item...

Two other ideas for heavy shipping that may or may not be useful for your specific situation of needing to deliver to a business: 1) Industrial supplier Fastenal does store to store shipping that is sometimes competitive for big heavy items: https://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=35993...
by hand
Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal letters to the sellers of your house can work!!!
Replies: 72
Views: 7454

Re: Personal letters to the sellers of your house can work!!!

Congratulations and good luck! I'm always interested in buying / selling stories since the reality is often more complex and interesting than the theoretical idealized transaction. I can't help but thinking that you are "burying the lede" with your "personal letter" headline. I'm sure the letter hel...
by hand
Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Where am I and where am I going?
Replies: 16
Views: 1813

Re: Where am I and where am I going?

To "hand". What would be the method to "discount your assets"? I conceptualize as follows: You have $3.5M portfolio which spins off $140k / yr at 4% (plus Federal retirement + social security) If the current value of your goals / obligations (vacation house + down payments + 529s ) is $0.5M; your r...
by hand
Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Where am I and where am I going?
Replies: 16
Views: 1813

Re: Where am I and where am I going?

You should do the math in detail, but my gut says that there is a disconnect between your assets / withdrawals and your stated goals. Perhaps I'm over-reading, but vacation home + expenses, plus two down payments for kids houses, plus 2(?) 529's could quickly add up to a substantial amount. You shou...
by hand
Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Worth changing 40 gal. to 30gal. hot water tank?
Replies: 90
Views: 4861

Re: Worth changing 40 gal. to 30gal. hot water tank?

Gas water heaters are significantly faster than electric water heaters and smaller water heaters are more efficient than larger ones. Newer water heaters are also faster than older ones. Dish and clothes washers are also much more efficient in water usage than they used to be and most newer showers...
by hand
Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: DIY vs work extra and pay a pro
Replies: 37
Views: 2879

Re: DIY vs work extra and pay a pro

I don't think there's any one right answer, but rather a continuum along which your optimal balance of DIY/Hire changes from day to day and project to project based on any number of factors: Do you have the skill to do or learn? How will DIY quality compare to hired work? Do you have the time? What ...
by hand
Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: what % return do you use?
Replies: 62
Views: 4200

Re: what % return do you use?

A bit complicated to model, but I understand the interaction of % return, withdrawal rate, and retirement age as a three dimensional matrix. Current nest egg, future savings amount, and desired retirement income are key assumptions / inputs to the model. For simplicity's sake, I set retirement age a...
by hand
Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay lump sum to get rid of PMI?
Replies: 13
Views: 1594

Re: Pay lump sum to get rid of PMI?

Probably worth reading through this thread regarding difficulties and legalities of removing PMI:

viewtopic.php?p=3590634#p3590634

Good luck, and please do report back with your real world experience so others can benefit.
by hand
Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay lump sum to get rid of PMI?
Replies: 13
Views: 1594

Re: Pay lump sum to get rid of PMI?

Lump sum needed to get rid of PMI is about 24k. If I do nothing the PMI will drop of in July 2022, adds up to about additional of $6.5k in pmi payment between now and then. So spend the 24k and save 6.5k is a no brainer right? Hopefully I'll be able to re-coop the 24k when I sell the condo. Assume ...
by hand
Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: metal roof: standing seam vs interlocking panels
Replies: 15
Views: 1405

Re: metal roof: standing seam vs interlocking panels

If I'm understanding correctly, your two options are #1 a new standing seam roof, or #2 interlocking panels placed over a failing shingles? #2 feels like an inferior technology (interlocking panels vs. standing seam) installed in an inferior manner (over old roof vs. replacing old roof). Additionall...
by hand
Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Who's got too much RE in India ??. Time to cash out??
Replies: 31
Views: 3014

Re: Who's got too much RE in India ??. Time to cash out??

Perhaps take a breath and separate the thoughts of: 1) your long term goals and ideal asset allocation (RE vs. Stock vs. Bond) and location (US vs. India) from 2) Indian RE future returns and US housing future prices and affordability, relative currency valuations (all of which I believe are largely...
by hand
Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dual Fuel Stoves
Replies: 19
Views: 1223

Re: Dual Fuel Stoves

A couple of thoughts: 1) Propane and natural gas are different - with propane being more expensive, but potentially providing more heat depending on your cooktop. It is not clear to me whether propane is generally preferred over induction for cooking. 2) Unhappy tag-alongs to international postings ...
by hand
Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Boglehead vs Mr Money Mustache philosophies]
Replies: 203
Views: 15708

Re: Hope I'm not unwittingly wading into anything here...

Bogleheads use a rational approach to investment with a heavy focus on reducing non-value added fees and optimizing risk (not taking unneeded risk). (see the Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Bogleheads%C2%AE_investment_philosophy) MMMers maximize savings by reducing consumption. There appears t...
by hand
Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: First time home buyer - gut check
Replies: 26
Views: 2366

Re: First time home buyer - gut check

We currently rent for $1,500 a month. Some math shows a PITI of $2500 - $3000 on the upper end of our $575k range. We have family thinking that we need to buy a house and that we are throwing money away renting. I do not see it as throwing away money because it is flexible and we have a roof over o...
by hand
Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:48 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: AAII Article: Target Wealth A Better Bet For Achieving Wealth Goals
Replies: 13
Views: 2141

Re: AAII Article: Target Wealth A Better Bet For Achieving Wealth Goals

Thanks for this - this approach aligns intuitively with my beliefs for optimal investor behavior, but I haven't come across an attempt to formally consider prior to this article. I've always characterized it mentally as not timing the market, but timing my returns. Two concerns I have are: 1) When t...
by hand
Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?
Replies: 58
Views: 6426

Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Wish someone would make AC-powered battery-backup smoke/fire and CO detectors that would talk to each other wirelessly, so it would be easy to extend the protection of such a wireless smoke/fire/CO network into each occupied bedroom. But as the alarms are loud, maybe a wireless network feature is o...
by hand
Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: For buying house: how do you know which schools are "good"?
Replies: 56
Views: 4113

Re: For buying house: how do you know which schools are "good"?

Specifically, we are looking to have two kids in the next few years, and our priority re where to buy a house will be: 1. Area that feeds into a "good" school for our kids and 2. Proximity to places of employment This is a difficult question because: 1) the definition of "good schools" varies based...
by hand
Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tenant wants to break contract. How much to pay an attorney?
Replies: 33
Views: 2484

Re: Tenant wants to break contract. How much to pay an attorney?

Don't let the contract get in the way of what makes the most business sense for you: 1) Are you sure you want the tenant to stay? What would it take to rerent, and what price could you charge? 2) As a short term way to address the concern, what about offering to put the space on the market and let t...
by hand
Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Realtor to buy home?
Replies: 36
Views: 3102

Re: Realtor to buy home?

My son is looking to buy a home and I'm just wondering if it's beneficial to work with a Realtor when buying? I do see the value working with a Realtor when selling but unsure when buying. With site's like Trulia and Zillow it's very easy to look for homes. Any help would be appreciated. It's usual...
by hand
Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Worth buying an excessive priced house?
Replies: 43
Views: 4204

Re: Worth buying an excessive house?

A couple of quick thoughts: 1) More isn't always more - unclear from your post, but many people who grow up with money as a concern feel that their financial success is partially tied to their struggles. Would a bigger house with all the fixings take that opportunity away from your kids? I wouldn't ...
by hand
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I do 20 or 25 Year Term Life Insurance?
Replies: 49
Views: 3891

Re: Should I do 20 or 25 Year Term Life Insurance?

At the time, there was less than a 1% chance of that happening, i.e. that is how life insurance companies make money. Many industry experts say less than 2% of insured actually collect on their term life insurance. The odds of me investing any insurance premiums and ending up with a significant amo...
by hand
Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Take car to dealer before warranty expires?
Replies: 10
Views: 1290

Re: Take car to dealer before warranty expires?

I would. For less than a $100 premium for required services at the dealer, you get the possibility that they identify and fix warranty and recall issues. Staying away from dealer makes sense if you think dealer may be more motivated to minimize issues to reduce warranty costs than to do work paid fo...
by hand
Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Installing Recessed lighting? Suggestions and cost?
Replies: 7
Views: 627

Re: Installing Recessed lighting? Suggestions and cost?

$100 / light give or take based on cost of living (NYC vs. North Dakota) and difficulty of access is reasonable. On a new install, LEDs likely cost less to install (due to integrated trims) AND to operate, so little reason to consider other options. Do note that there is a significant difference bet...
by hand
Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you have to paint stucco?
Replies: 31
Views: 2668

Re: Do you have to paint stucco?

I spent a lot of time choosing a top stucco contractor in my area to repair the weather side of the house. He was almost religious in his belief that painting stucco was not only not needed, but was a negative due to inhibiting proper moisture handling. Unfortunately, part of the house is still pain...
by hand
Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Remodel or move?
Replies: 8
Views: 793

Re: Remodel or move?

Make sure you include transaction costs in your calculation. Depending on locale, you're likely paying 6-8+% (6% realtor fees + 2% misc fees and taxes) not to mention moving and furnishing expenses. On a $1M house that is $60k-$80k of value destroyed if you move rather than upgrading your existing h...
by hand
Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Heavy Duty Boxes for Long Term Permanent Storage
Replies: 20
Views: 1945

Re: Heavy Duty Boxes for Long Term Permanent Storage

I'm a fan of the Akro-Mils attached lid storage and distribution totes. These are industrial material handling quality, standardized and stackable. Depending on size, the are relatively easy to pick up and carry through dorways / stairwells etc. Major downside is that they are not air/water tight an...
by hand
Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Delta priority boarding - first timer
Replies: 80
Views: 6641

Re: Delta priority boarding - first timer

You probably want to verify that your Airline Frequent flyer number is properly linked to both your credit card and your upcoming flight. When you check-in you should see your "priority" boarding category on the boarding pass. If you don't, call the airline. As stated above, credit card "priority" i...
by hand
Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Making a Direct Offer to Purchase a Home
Replies: 28
Views: 2844

Re: Making a Direct Offer to Purchase a Home

Perhaps ask the owners what they think is a fair price? This appears extremely accommodating, but forces them to negotiate a bit against themselves for fear of losing the deal. If their fair price is at or below your fair price, deal is done. In a rising market, having sellers anchored by their purc...
by hand
Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Real Estate agent fees for purchaser
Replies: 9
Views: 809

Re: Real Estate agent fees for purchaser

As with any other major service, get multiple bids before you decide on a vendor.
If you don't, you're likely to overpay.

Personally I would never agree to the proposed terms - finding an alternate agent (and likely one who provides a rebate) is just too easy in most cases...
by hand
Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt?
Replies: 330
Views: 35620

Re: Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt?

Of course I understand that automakers like to have different options to encourage upsells but the point I was trying to make is that in an EV heated seats aren't merely a touch of luxury like leather seats or heated side view mirrors-- they are an important strategy for preserving range. Because E...
by hand
Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:48 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: If you were under 30 and had $3000 to invest, what would you do?
Replies: 14
Views: 1374

Re: If you were under 30 and had $3000 to invest, what would you do?

If you have access to a 401k at work, are you maxing that out already? If no access to that, what about an IRA? I think most here would want to know if this is excess cash after already contributing as much as possible to tax advantaged retirement accounts. It's also important to have an emergency ...
by hand
Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a House in Foreclosure?
Replies: 13
Views: 1409

Re: Buying a House in Foreclosure?

Some foreclosures are in a pretty sorry state of repair. The previous owner obviously couldn't afford to fix anything, since they couldn't even pay the mortgage first. I've seen shows where all the fixtures were removed--toilets, toilet paper holder, faucets, hanging light fixtures, doorknobs, wire...
by hand
Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What do you do when you run the numbers and don't like the answer that you get?
Replies: 29
Views: 3734

Re: What do you do when you run the numbers and don't like the answer that you get?

Recognize that failure of a $60k / year spending plan can take one of two forms: 1) Blind $60k / year withdrawal until you run out of money 2) Slow adjustment lower of your annual withdrawals as it becomes clear your risk of outliving your savings increases. Assuming you choose the latter approach, ...
by hand
Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Landlording....
Replies: 12
Views: 1750

Re: Landlording....

Be aware that there is a class of tenant that is adept at getting as much as possible out of you as possible and well versed in exploiting housing laws. "Doing you a favour by paying late" is a red flag in my mind that this may be a problem tenant who may be willing and able to fight lease terminati...
by hand
Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Landlording....
Replies: 12
Views: 1750

Re: Landlording....

On a month to month lease, there's a middle ground between hoping your tenant leaves and evicting them.
Why not just notify them that you are not renewing as of a specific date?
by hand
Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Negotiating a House Using Seller's Agent (opinions wanted)
Replies: 101
Views: 6511

Re: Negotiating a House Using Seller's Agent (opinions wanted)

If my realtor forwarded my email to the seller's realtor without my express permission, my next stop would be a lawyer. Doubtlessly that realtor made you sign papers, and those papers said something about fiduciary responsibility. To you. While I love the sentiment, this I believe is the crux of th...
by hand
Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Getting a new cooktop, gas vs electric?
Replies: 72
Views: 4722

Re: Getting a new cooktop, gas vs electric?

Look at induction for performance of gas with the convenience of using existing electric infrastructure.
by hand
Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Realtor fee negotiations
Replies: 27
Views: 2813

Re: Realtor fee negotiations

I am not a realtor but in the development business. Most people who go the FSBO route do save commissions, but they sell for a lesser price than a full service realtor and thus actually ending up netting less. In my business of buying and selling real estate I've found a good realtor is invaluable....
by hand
Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Realtor fee negotiations
Replies: 27
Views: 2813

Re: Realtor fee negotiations

List as For Sale By Owner and effectively start the negotiations at no commission!

This approach has the added benefit of forcing you to take some level of ownership of the pricing and staging which will be valuable if you do hire a selling realtor.
by hand
Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help, realtors disagree. Take out bookshelves, hidden bed combo before listing?
Replies: 55
Views: 4449

Re: Help, realtors disagree. Take out bookshelves, hidden bed combo before listing?

Realtors are incented to make quick sales... as such they often recommend making a house overly generic to apply to the largest number of buyers even if this means destroying some amount of taste specific value. As a seller, you need to decide 1) how taste specific the feature is, 2) what the positi...
by hand
Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bay Area housing
Replies: 69
Views: 6945

Re: Bay Area housing

I live in the Bay Area in a 2 bedroom condo we own. I have been wanting to move into a house for years, but my SO keeps wanting to wait for the market to drop, and while we've waited, prices have only soared up and upZ we have a baby and my SO still has no desire to move. I feel like this waiting i...
by hand
Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ideal basement humidity %
Replies: 10
Views: 1475

Re: Ideal basement humidity %

See Chapter 2, Lesson 3 "Humidity" from the EPA: https://www.epa.gov/mold/mold-course-chapter-2 "Indoor relative humidity (RH) should be kept below 60 percent -- ideally between 30 percent and 50 percent, if possible." I target for just under 50% for my finished basement. Note that basement humidity...
by hand
Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Negotiating a House Using Seller's Agent (opinions wanted)
Replies: 101
Views: 6511

Re: Negotiating a House Using Seller's Agent (opinions wanted)

Use the seller's agent against them... Speak with the seller's agent and offer to list your current property with them if you close the deal for the new house. Up your offer by $5k so the seller's agent has something positive to talk about. Watch and enjoy as the "seller's" agent convince the selle...
by hand
Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Negotiating a House Using Seller's Agent (opinions wanted)
Replies: 101
Views: 6511

Re: Negotiating a House Using Seller's Agent (opinions wanted)

Even with a buyer's agent, I would not reveal any of my cards. I might even have them show me houses even cheaper than $355K, so they can tell the sellers you are looking at less expensive homes. This is a nice strategy to use with the seller's agent - have them show you the nicest houses at $355k ...
by hand
Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Negotiating a House Using Seller's Agent (opinions wanted)
Replies: 101
Views: 6511

Re: Negotiating a House Using Seller's Agent (opinions wanted)

Use the seller's agent against them... Speak with the seller's agent and offer to list your current property with them if you close the deal for the new house. Up your offer by $5k so the seller's agent has something positive to talk about. Watch and enjoy as the "seller's" agent convince the seller...
by hand
Thu Jun 15, 2017 3:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it worth moving for a better public high school?
Replies: 32
Views: 2693

Re: Is it worth moving for a better public high school?

I wouldn't move based on school rankings (and especially not on US News rankings), but would consider moving if current schools were demonstrably lacking some critical component required by my child(ren). With a ranking in the top 1% of ranked (public?) schools nationally, it seems likely your curre...
by hand
Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cooktop died, not repairable, need recommendations
Replies: 36
Views: 2526

Re: Cooktop died, not repairable, need recommendations

If I was installing an electric cooktop, I would strongly consider induction for the improved performance vs. resistance electric. I'd be surprised if there are more than a handful of models that meet your size and appearance criteria. For others interested in this topic who have gas as an option, I...
by hand
Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dehumidifier woes
Replies: 66
Views: 5898

Re: Dehumidifier woes

Out of curiosity, at what relative humidity do you folks try to keep the area served by the dehumidifier? I don't measure the RH from the unit as it is notoriously unreliable in that regard. I measure with a standalone hygrometer mounted elsewhere in the room. I find that I need to adjust the unit'...
by hand
Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dehumidifier woes
Replies: 66
Views: 5898

Re: Dehumidifier woes

I have a Santa Fe Compact 2 which I've been happy with for the last 2 years. Payback vs. "disposable" grade dehumidifiers is several years into the future, so difficult to provide conclusive judgement, but feels and operates like the level of quality I paid for, and I have no reason to disbelieve th...