Search found 1129 matches

by hand
Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Another discussion about private vs public schools?
Replies: 79
Views: 3940

Re: Another discussion about private vs public schools?

Funding model of a school does not in and of itself define the schools quality. I'd recommend determining for yourself what characteristics of a "good school" are important to you and doing some research on how well local options align with those characteristics. Off the top of my head there are a n...
by hand
Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: realtor wants to show house to buyer, no listing agent for me
Replies: 55
Views: 4648

Re: realtor wants to show house to buyer, no listing agent for me

Seems likely that one of the following is occurring: 1) There is a real buyer with interest and a realtor who is doing a good job for their client by finding hidden inventory with hopes of closing a fair (market, or market+) deal 2) There is an aggressive buyer and realtor who are hoping to buy a ho...
by hand
Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: House down payment - Smart for anything between 3.5% and 20%?
Replies: 23
Views: 1637

Re: House down payment - Smart for anything between 3.5% and 20%?

Others here are more knowledgeable about real estate, but you can remove PMI once you pay off a certain percentage of the home's original value. If you make a larger down payment, you are closer to that number, so you don't have as far to go. If you believe you can get a better return, elsewhere, d...
by hand
Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Creative home financing?
Replies: 2
Views: 327

Re: Creative home financing?

Want to build an 800K-ish retirement home. Very much prefer to have no mortgage after (could easily afford it, but with 2 kids in college, being 50+ and after not having a mortgage for years, would seem to be a bad idea; also would not want to mess with the construction loan process). The build nee...
by hand
Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying Points on Purchase Mortgage - Worth It?
Replies: 28
Views: 2288

Re: Paying Points on Purchase Mortgage - Worth It?

OP, I'm in the home buying process as well and have decided to do the same thing - put more down rather than mess with points. The escrow discussion has piqued my interest. With money market accounts and CD rates on the rise, I see a convincing argument to pursuing a mortgage agreement without escr...
by hand
Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen Faucet & Sink recommendations?
Replies: 41
Views: 3562

Re: Kitchen Faucet & Sink recommendations?

I've standardized on Grohe in the last couple of years and been very happy so far... "SilkMove" cartridges are great and I have no reason to question that the faucets I've purchased will last for decades (and are warranted for life). That being said, Grohe offers differing levels of quality, and has...
by hand
Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does agent get paid if property taken by eminent domain?
Replies: 13
Views: 1812

Re: Does agent get paid if property taken by eminent domain?

A couple of thoughts: 1) Perhaps fire broker now to start (and end) the 180 day exclusion period earlier. 2) Irrespective of whether seizure is covered by contract, perhaps agent is only paid for buyers they brought in - tough to make the case that agent brought in the government, and if they did, s...
by hand
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing a deck
Replies: 14
Views: 1924

Re: Replacing a deck

If "noticeable slant" represents an obvious defect, you'll probably partially double pay should you sell the house without repairing... Once when the buyers factor the issue into their offer, and a second time when the inspector raises it as an issue and you re-negotiate price to close the sale. For...
by hand
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tires: Where to Get? Warranty? And Questions?
Replies: 42
Views: 3202

Re: Tires: Where to Get? Warranty? And Questions?

I've had generally good experiences with Costco, though the logistics of leaving a car at Costco until work complete can be a hassle.

Latest experience with Tire Rack & a mobile installer through Tire Rack was great - guy in a truck showed up and mounted, balanced and installed tires in my driveway!
by hand
Mon Mar 26, 2018 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thinking about capitulating on house
Replies: 34
Views: 4022

Re: Thinking about capitulating on house

Since you already own the house, relevant financial evaluation isn't how much of the current house you do (or don't) use. Look at carrying costs of the current house vs. transaction costs + carrying cost of the alternative. If you expect to desire 800 sq ft for the next 5-10 years or more, probably ...
by hand
Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cookware Brands - Demeyere?
Replies: 43
Views: 3442

Re: Cookware Brands - Demeyere?

Commercial cookware seems to be a better value than the "premium" home brands. If it can stand abuse from harried chefs and line cooks, it'll probably last generations in a home kitchen. Vollrath has a broad range of stainless-clad cookware. I have one of their pans and like it. Available from vari...
by hand
Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bought house six months ago - now feeling like we're treading water and can't save money
Replies: 189
Views: 16414

Re: Bought house six months ago - now feeling like we're treading water and can't save money

And I technically have life insurance through my place of employment, but it's only $60,000. Would be nice to have more like $500,000 on both of us. It's not the possession of the blood that's the concern, it's the drawing of the blood - and not for any religious reason. It's the needle. It's both ...
by hand
Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bought house six months ago - now feeling like we're treading water and can't save money
Replies: 189
Views: 16414

Re: Bought house six months ago - now feeling like we're treading water and can't save money

We have no life insurance. We looked into it briefly awhile ago, but it seemed like the insurance agent wanted to take a sample of my blood? So I declined. Ideally, yeah, we'd have both my wife and I covered. To me, this is more than an "ideal" it is a fundamental requirement of caring for your fam...
by hand
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...
Replies: 235
Views: 12389

Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

- Is a degree from a LAC useful from an employment point of view ? My take (coming from a top 20 LA background) is that a liberal arts degree is different from a vocational degree - few employers specifically hire for liberal arts skills, however those same critical thinking, reading, writing skill...
by hand
Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: As a home buyer, do you use your own realtor or agent?
Replies: 25
Views: 2084

Re: As a home buyer, do you use your own realtor or agent?

Since it costs you nothing, I am not sure why you wouldn't get a buyer's agent. Almost all appointments are still made by phone (at least where I live). Let someone do this for you and try to coordinate going to look at properties (preferably lumping multiple into a few hour window). They may provi...
by hand
Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: As a home buyer, do you use your own realtor or agent?
Replies: 25
Views: 2084

Re: As a home buyer, do you use your own realtor or agent?

The nice thing about third party sites (Zillow, Trullia etc.) is that they are easy to use and typically free to list, so contain a superset of realtor listed properties (from MLS) and properties listed by owner that may not be on the MLS. Additionally, they are unfiltered by any agent, so you are a...
by hand
Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is this too much for a kitchen?
Replies: 69
Views: 6526

Re: Is this too much for a kitchen?

7. We rescheduled our meeting to discuss the quote due to priorities :) but have told them we will need price break downs for things. The quote does include a beautiful Kohler under mount farmhouse sink, a few allowances, LED lighting, 2 lazy Susan's, and a raised peninsula (about 38” high), 3 open...
by hand
Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sump Pump Issues - What can I do, if anything?
Replies: 27
Views: 2535

Re: Sump Pump Issues - What can I do, if anything?

A couple of thoughts in no particular order: 1) Not stated in your problem statement is the risk of flooding should your pump fail or power go out - priority one for me would be ensuring I had a functioning backup pump and battery / generator backup 2) Idea of triggering pump at a higher level to po...
by hand
Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does Anyone Invest In Berkshire Hathaway Instead Of Index Funds?
Replies: 69
Views: 9411

Re: Does Anyone Invest In Berkshire Hathaway Instead Of Index Funds?

There is yet one more advantage of owning Berkshire. They have vowed to defend the shares at 110% book value. That protects shareholders on the downside unlike any other equity. I doubt shortsellers would attempt to pit themselves against the cash reserves of Mr. Buffett even in the severest of mar...
by hand
Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is this too much for a kitchen?
Replies: 69
Views: 6526

Re: Is this too much for a kitchen?

I can't imagine spending $50k or $40k or even $30k and having mdf cabinets (IKEA). Plywood boxes. Do you know anyone that has Ikea cabinets and had them fall apart? I recall Consumer reports rating them in the top 2 a few years ago. We also have no idea what portion of the estimate is cabinets. I h...
by hand
Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone ever have success getting out of a lease?
Replies: 27
Views: 2022

Re: Anyone ever have success getting out of a lease?

Recognize you're dealing with two things here: 1) Formal lease language & applicable laws 2) The bureaucracy of the management company / self interest of the employees to do nothing Personally, I'd likely try to win over the management company & employees with kindness by asking what you can do to h...
by hand
Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice re: Flat Fee Real Estate Brokers.
Replies: 54
Views: 2928

Re: Advice re: Flat Fee Real Estate Brokers.

Disclaimer: I'm a former real estate agent - not active in the business anymore. If you are a buyer, contacting the listing realtor is a terrible idea, because the listing agent works for the seller and has a fiduciary responsibility to represent them in the transaction. They won't reveal informati...
by hand
Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is this too much for a kitchen?
Replies: 69
Views: 6526

Re: Is this too much for a kitchen?

There's not an absolute answer here. Clearly $45k is a lot for a kitchen, but determining worth is both site specific and a bit of a value judgement. What is the house worth now vs. what will it be worth with a $45k kitchen? Are there any reasonable alternatives to the quote you have in hand? To the...
by hand
Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing vanities?
Replies: 21
Views: 1868

Re: Replacing vanities?

Step one for any old water connections is to make certain you can cut off water to the house (and actually have the water stop flowing - some old system shutoff valves don't really do so), and then check to make certain you can shut off the under vanity valves without leaking. I had the pleasure of...
by hand
Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice re: Flat Fee Real Estate Brokers.
Replies: 54
Views: 2928

Re: Advice re: Flat Fee Real Estate Brokers.

This deserves a bump, so I'll chime in with my somewhat relevant experience. Quick version is that I did a DIY sale of a commodity townhome in a moderate market, which seems like an extreme version of the flat fee broker approach. Most of the listing items are not difficult if you don't mind spendin...
by hand
Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Morgan Stanley wants my 410K and everything else, Why?
Replies: 63
Views: 5382

Re: Morgan Stanley wants my 410K and everything else, Why?

Just wondering why everyone wants my 401K and looking for maybe some insight/advice on dealing with my MS FA. Thank you very much, glad I found the forum. Welcome, Regarding dealing with the MS FA, the right answer is undoubtedly to stop taking their calls, and to work with your low cost provider o...
by hand
Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen features
Replies: 96
Views: 5663

Re: Kitchen features

Biggest features are usability and quality... these aren't obvious on Pintrest, but if you plan to use the kitchen for years, take the time to understand how you (and your family) will interact the kitchen and ensure design and functionality support. Loves from our kitchen remodel: 1) Quality, easy ...
by hand
Thu Mar 01, 2018 6:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Anyone heard of Blueprint Income?
Replies: 4
Views: 598

Re: Anyone heard of Blueprint Income?

Bloomberg mentioned in a recent article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-01/how-to-retire-without-running-out-of-money Short version is that it is an annuity funded with small amounts periodically rather than a lump sum. Periodic contributions are hoped to be easier to stomach for th...
by hand
Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New construction woes
Replies: 30
Views: 2937

Re: New construction woes

Not clear as to whether this is a true custom house (your site, architect, builder etc.) or a production built house where you had some input on design and finishes (confusingly also marketed as "custom"). If you worked with a production builder (Toll Bros. or similar), they likely have a set of for...
by hand
Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling Condo without putting on the market
Replies: 20
Views: 1088

Re: Selling Condo without putting on the market

Be aware that one of the classic ways of getting new listings is to let a potential seller know that they have a buyer lined up and ready to make an offer. Often, the mystery buyer backs out..... Interesting, but I am not sure how this would benefit anyone? How does an agent identify "potential sel...
by hand
Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling Condo without putting on the market
Replies: 20
Views: 1088

Re: Selling Condo without putting on the market

Opportunity to buy a property without competition is worth a premium to the buyer - they've already established that by pursuing non-traditional channels to attempt to purchase. Selling without the hassle of showings, risk of the open market / changing market conditions and with flexible close / ren...
by hand
Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Your Paradigm for Long-term Inflation Risk?
Replies: 29
Views: 1729

Re: Your Paradigm for Long-term Inflation Risk?

I don't suppose keeping a couple trillion dollars (Zimbabwe) around as a sort of momento mori counts as a reasonable response? Rationally, my paradigm is that inflation is one of many possible risks that are fundamentally unknowable and hopefully already priced into the relevant markets (stock, bond...
by hand
Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Outward signs of a private company failing
Replies: 20
Views: 1208

Re: Outward signs of a private company failing

Late / non payment of vendors...
Perhaps a trailing indicator, but Dun & Bradstreet provides business credit reporting.
Perhaps additionally, talk directly to some of the companies key (as well as smaller) vendors.
by hand
Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealership oil change worth it?
Replies: 69
Views: 5100

Re: Dealership oil change worth it?

Numerous benefits to dealer oil change: 1) Dealer keeps record of the service, potentially increasing resale value 2) Dealer more likely to know, have and use manufacturer specified oil and filter 3) Dealer may be able / willing to update car's firmware as part of service at little or no charge 4) D...
by hand
Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AC/Furnace Questions- 1 stage or 2 stage?
Replies: 45
Views: 2360

Re: AC/Furnace Questions- 1 stage or 2 stage?

1) Ability to monitor outside temperature and home heating / cooling performance to deliver a specific temperature at a specific time (e.g. 68 degrees at 5pm) rather than simply turning on the heat at 5pm. Heat would not be turned on at 5 pm unless the Return temp was 68 deg, the Leave temp was les...
by hand
Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AC/Furnace Questions- 1 stage or 2 stage?
Replies: 45
Views: 2360

Re: AC/Furnace Questions- 1 stage or 2 stage?

@SpaethCo & @hand, thanks for taking the time to explain these smart thermostat and controls. Our thermostats from the early 1990s have no smarts, but do allow one to have Wake, Leave, Return, Sleep time ranges (M-F, Sat, Sun) and set points along with a temporary temp override. These thermostats h...
by hand
Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AC/Furnace Questions- 1 stage or 2 stage?
Replies: 45
Views: 2360

Re: AC/Furnace Questions- 1 stage or 2 stage?

2500 sq ft house in the NorthEast... Short feedback is that we went with a 2 stage Bryant (Carrier) gas furnace, sized down the A/C and invested in a web connected thermostat. We've been very happy with all three decisions. The two stage furnace runs on low the vast majority of the time which is har...
by hand
Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 3 layers of roof. Pull my offer??
Replies: 63
Views: 5878

Re: 3 layers of roof. Pull my offer??

You don't have enough information to make an informed decision. Inspector liability is almost certainty limited to cost of inspection (check the fine print!) This may not be a big deal at all or may represent a structural issue (very low likelihood). Get a roofing expert and perhaps a structural eng...
by hand
Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good brands for Kitchenware?
Replies: 40
Views: 3157

Re: Good brands for Kitchenware?

There's no generic answer to good brands for pots/pans - you need to dig deeper to understand your specific needs and wants per pot. Standardizing on a brand or type of pot is likely to get you less than top performance. Doubtless discussed on cooking forums in great detail, but my approach as follo...
by hand
Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rant about relocation mortgage assistance, and a question
Replies: 54
Views: 3210

Re: Rant about relocation mortgage assistance, and a question

Anyway, we are done with the mortgage company. We are going to pay cash. We have sold enough in our taxable account to leave us $600k short of the total cost of the house. That generated some capital gains, but the next tranche of sales will be more painful. I don't mind resetting the basis, in pri...
by hand
Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Strategy to sell a sought-after condo
Replies: 15
Views: 1075

Re: Strategy to sell a sought-after condo

Zillow "make me move" listing, with a price you'd be willing to sell at today (significantly above market). Drop price a bit every couple weeks with a goal of ending up a bit above market at your desired timeframe. You'll have to put up with lots of realtors fishing for your business, but use each c...
by hand
Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Unfinished basement ideas
Replies: 41
Views: 5405

Re: Unfinished basement ideas

what is the best way to learn about how to insulation the rim joist? I am currently in the middle of a DIY basement remodel and found this post to be super helpful. Building Science Corporation has numerous resources which address the science and best practices of construction and insulation. Linke...
by hand
Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mesh wifi solution sought for new house
Replies: 46
Views: 2592

Re: Mesh wifi solution sought for new house

Is it possible that Mesh isn't the answer here? I've been hearing lots of good things about Ubiquity access points...
by hand
Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant
Replies: 105
Views: 9003

Re: Tenants want to break lease early and is pregnant

As noted by randomguy above, best answer is likely the intersection of what is contractually & legally required and what you and the tenants choose to additionally negotiate based on current situation. If it were me, I'd go for the win-win; tenants want to move out early, you want to raise rents, mi...
by hand
Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Washer/Dryer longevity ?
Replies: 69
Views: 6091

Re: Washer/Dryer longevity ?

Consumer Reports has a relevant free article which includes commentary from major brands regarding design life: https://www.consumerreports.org/washing-machines/how-to-make-your-washer-and-dryer-last/ While Frigidaire was not specifically identified, the trend was clear that machines were said to be...
by hand
Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Radon: basement stair and basement gym considerations
Replies: 11
Views: 1057

Re: Radon: basement stair and basement gym considerations

The EPA has data that is relevant: https://www.epa.gov/radon/health-risk-radon Bottom line is that risk is dependent on 1) whether you are a smoker, and 2) post-remediation radon levels. (Presumably age / cumulative exposure is relevant as well). Assuming post-remediation levels of <2 pCi/L for a no...
by hand
Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:38 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Finally going to invest, brother is FA
Replies: 89
Views: 6796

Re: Finally going to invest, brother is FA

I'm sorry, but any benefit of the doubt that I was willing to extend to your brother about his ability to protect your financial interests vanished when I saw these "porfolio results." I expect that there is no ill-intentions there, but if he's giving you these materials in good faith (and I expect...
by hand
Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:53 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Become a rent-to-own landlord?
Replies: 9
Views: 735

Re: Become a rent-to-own landlord?

I considered and rejected... In theory it seemed like it could be a fair and mutually beneficial arrangement, but in practice it seemed like the only "buyers" who were interested were those with poor credit because of poor financial literacy / unstable financial position. These types of "buyers" wan...
by hand
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sanity check of SS with less than 35 years earnings
Replies: 31
Views: 3684

Re: Sanity check of SS with less than 35 years earnings

juice wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:51 pm
Here is a good tool to play with: https://socialsecurity.tools/
Thanks for the reference - this is great!
by hand
Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?
Replies: 117
Views: 8934

Re: WHY do wireless routers need periodic reboots?

Fundamentally, this is a structural issue because the mass market competes on price and features rather than quality and stability. My perspective is that our lives would be better with a bit more engineering and a bit less marketing. Like most, you likely either purchased the lowest cost wireless r...