gratuitous homeownership items

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lthenderson
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby lthenderson » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:19 pm

Wildebeest wrote:We have 3 fire places one of which is a two way ( opens up to the family room and to the library ). Because of this we had multiple fire place experts over to see how we light a fire without the house turning in a smoke pit and the fire alarms going off. We ended up with vacuum fan on top of the chimney which we can turn up to the max and makes it sound like a truck engine is running in the house but the fires we have are amazing. Little smoke and we have a fire most nights when the temperature is below 60 degree.


With houses being made tighter and tighter this has definitely been a problem I've seen quite a bit. I actually open up a nearby door for a few minutes whenever I start a fire in our house. That helps considerably.



As far as gratuitous items in our house, I honest can't think of one. But I also don't have a:

pool
hot tub
central vacuum,
formal dining room
steam shower
extra bedrooms/bathrooms
alarm/intercom

I guess I got lucky.

Oh wait, I did think of one. I have a mother-in-law that lives in our basement!

mak1277
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby mak1277 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:25 pm

I'm surprised by how many people think alarm systems are gratuitous. We use ours every night, and my wife loves the peace of mind especially when I'm out of town. Plus we get a cheaper rate on homeowner's insurance as a little additional bonus.

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Clever_Username
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Clever_Username » Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:36 pm

Huh, this list is interesting to me as someone in the middle to later stages of buying a home.

Steam shower is actually a renovation I was hoping to put in. There's a home I'm thinking to make an offer on whose master bathroom needs a reworking anyway and I'd do that as part of it.

Jacuzzi bath I could see having, but for how rarely I take a bath, I wonder if I'd use it. Often when I take a bath it's because I have made my muscles sore, and it's often DOMA because I have been negligent in the gym or played what someone might argue is too much golf (72 holes in a weekend is not too much, for the record).

But I also feel vindicated that the pool is looked at as a liability. Not a big fan of it. Just like I wasn't a big fan of living near enough to the beach to walk there. Doesn't do anything for me.

I also don't see the need for a formal dining room, especially because when I'm serving dinner to friends, we'll usually play a game or watch a movie during the meal.

Now, indoor washer/dryer, there's something I don't foresee regretting.
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livesoft
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby livesoft » Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:52 pm

mak1277 wrote:I'm surprised by how many people think alarm systems are gratuitous. We use ours every night, and my wife loves the peace of mind especially when I'm out of town. Plus we get a cheaper rate on homeowner's insurance as a little additional bonus.

I think one can get a cheaper rate if they have an alarm system and don't use it, too.
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Carefreeap
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Carefreeap » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:12 pm

At 2500 sq.ft. we are over-housed for most people, including most Americans.

That said, we do use all the spaces. The formal dining room which we added in about 2000 is under utilized as a dining room (we used to host more dinner parties when DH was working) but makes a great project/craft room.

Yes, we have a fantastic ocean and valley view. No I wouldn't give that up until I have to. :wink: I'm still in awe of beautiful sunsets, moon-sets in the ocean. Sounds like the whales are back and I'll be looking for their water spouts. Then there's the free entertainment such as when a group of people stole a sailing yacht and ran it aground at our local beach. No, you can't make these things up! Crab season brings out the night time fishermen whose boat lights look diamonds cast upon a velvet bay.

Half acre lot which we finally landscaped almost two years ago. Now I have more outdoor entertaining areas which is great for informal parties.

We do have two gas fireplaces which we use. Technically they are room heaters and we use them as such.

We did forego the fancier upgrades when we remodeled the kitchen and two baths and went for more middle of the road appliances. Countertops in kitchen are Silestone for pragmatic reasons. Use Corian type product for bath walls and countertops. Fewer seams means less cleaning. Simple field tiles for the floor with a few stone accents. No big tub. I've seen what a waste they are.

Overall, we are very content with our space. I just wish the yard was self weeding! With all the rain we've had we've got a bumper crop of weeds and grasses!

Valuethinker
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Valuethinker » Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:18 am

Carefreeap wrote:At 2500 sq.ft. we are over-housed for most people, including most Americans.

That said, we do use all the spaces. The formal dining room which we added in about 2000 is under utilized as a dining room (we used to host more dinner parties when DH was working) but makes a great project/craft room.

Yes, we have a fantastic ocean and valley view. No I wouldn't give that up until I have to. :wink: I'm still in awe of beautiful sunsets, moon-sets in the ocean. Sounds like the whales are back and I'll be looking for their water spouts. Then there's the free entertainment such as when a group of people stole a sailing yacht and ran it aground at our local beach. No, you can't make these things up! Crab season brings out the night time fishermen whose boat lights look diamonds cast upon a velvet bay.


Location is everything (and the orientation and engagement of a house with its outside light and space). Location matters more than anything else, really, once you get to the basic 1100 square feet for 2 people. (and that would be a king's residence in many places in the world).


Overall, we are very content with our space. I just wish the yard was self weeding! With all the rain we've had we've got a bumper crop of weeds and grasses!


I have very bad pollen related hayfever, for context. So I am no fan of "weeds" (there is no ecological definition of a weed, it's basically just a plant we don't see an immediate use for).

[OT comments removed by admin LadyGeek]

Vanguard Fan 1367
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Vanguard Fan 1367 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:02 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Carefreeap wrote:At 2500 sq.ft. we are over-housed for most people, including most Americans.

That said, we do use all the spaces. The formal dining room which we added in about 2000 is under utilized as a dining room (we used to host more dinner parties when DH was working) but makes a great project/craft room.

Yes, we have a fantastic ocean and valley view. No I wouldn't give that up until I have to. :wink: I'm still in awe of beautiful sunsets, moon-sets in the ocean. Sounds like the whales are back and I'll be looking for their water spouts. Then there's the free entertainment such as when a group of people stole a sailing yacht and ran it aground at our local beach. No, you can't make these things up! Crab season brings out the night time fishermen whose boat lights look diamonds cast upon a velvet bay.


Location is everything (and the orientation and engagement of a house with its outside light and space). Location matters more than anything else, really, once you get to the basic 1100 square feet for 2 people. (and that would be a king's residence in many places in the world).


Overall, we are very content with our space. I just wish the yard was self weeding! With all the rain we've had we've got a bumper crop of weeds and grasses!


I have very bad pollen related hayfever, for context. So I am no fan of "weeds" (there is no ecological definition of a weed, it's basically just a plant we don't see an immediate use for).

[OT comments removed by admin LadyGeek]


I thought it cool that someone I met in Barbados had a "lawn" of rocks with various drought friendly plants like cacti.

spammagnet
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby spammagnet » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:17 am

Vanguard Fan 1367 wrote:I thought it cool that someone I met in Barbados had a "lawn" of rocks with various drought friendly plants like cacti.

In Florida, state law disallows homeowners' associations from regulating against xeriscape, though few homeowners actually do that.

mouses
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby mouses » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:19 am

mak1277 wrote:I'm surprised by how many people think alarm systems are gratuitous. We use ours every night, and my wife loves the peace of mind especially when I'm out of town. Plus we get a cheaper rate on homeowner's insurance as a little additional bonus.


I've house sat or pet sat for friends with these systems, and having to race to set the code before the alarm goes off makes me a nervous wreck.

queso
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby queso » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:49 am

mouses wrote:
mak1277 wrote:I'm surprised by how many people think alarm systems are gratuitous. We use ours every night, and my wife loves the peace of mind especially when I'm out of town. Plus we get a cheaper rate on homeowner's insurance as a little additional bonus.


I've house sat or pet sat for friends with these systems, and having to race to set the code before the alarm goes off makes me a nervous wreck.

I didn't list alarm or video surveillance system because I consider those necessities. I am also surprised by how many list them as gratuitous. There was a time I may have thought that as well, but having your home broken into will change your mind fast. I take physical security very seriously now and have many layers, none of which I consider gratuitous.

Rupert
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Rupert » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:20 am

livesoft wrote:
mak1277 wrote:I'm surprised by how many people think alarm systems are gratuitous. We use ours every night, and my wife loves the peace of mind especially when I'm out of town. Plus we get a cheaper rate on homeowner's insurance as a little additional bonus.

I think one can get a cheaper rate if they have an alarm system and don't use it, too.


My insurance company requires proof annually that the alarm system is actively monitored by a central monitoring service. No discount without proof.

Carefreeap
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Carefreeap » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:42 am

queso wrote:
mouses wrote:
mak1277 wrote:I'm surprised by how many people think alarm systems are gratuitous. We use ours every night, and my wife loves the peace of mind especially when I'm out of town. Plus we get a cheaper rate on homeowner's insurance as a little additional bonus.


I've house sat or pet sat for friends with these systems, and having to race to set the code before the alarm goes off makes me a nervous wreck.

I didn't list alarm or video surveillance system because I consider those necessities. I am also surprised by how many list them as gratuitous. There was a time I may have thought that as well, but having your home broken into will change your mind fast. I take physical security very seriously now and have many layers, none of which I consider gratuitous.


We usually didn't lock our doors in either our house in AZ or in the Bay Area. Ironically, when we moved to Germany to a house with a self-locking door (you couldn't disable it) we were burglarized twice within 3 months. I'm not sure an alarm would have made much difference. I think if someone really wants your stuff they will figure out a way to get it.

livesoft
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby livesoft » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:48 am

Rupert wrote:My insurance company requires proof annually that the alarm system is actively monitored by a central monitoring service. No discount without proof.

Is the discount and savings high enough to pay for the central monitoring service?
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Carefreeap
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Carefreeap » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:48 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Carefreeap wrote:At 2500 sq.ft. we are over-housed for most people, including most Americans.

That said, we do use all the spaces. The formal dining room which we added in about 2000 is under utilized as a dining room (we used to host more dinner parties when DH was working) but makes a great project/craft room.

Yes, we have a fantastic ocean and valley view. No I wouldn't give that up until I have to. :wink: I'm still in awe of beautiful sunsets, moon-sets in the ocean. Sounds like the whales are back and I'll be looking for their water spouts. Then there's the free entertainment such as when a group of people stole a sailing yacht and ran it aground at our local beach. No, you can't make these things up! Crab season brings out the night time fishermen whose boat lights look diamonds cast upon a velvet bay.


Location is everything (and the orientation and engagement of a house with its outside light and space). Location matters more than anything else, really, once you get to the basic 1100 square feet for 2 people. (and that would be a king's residence in many places in the world).


[quote]

Ironically when we bought in this town most people would have looked down their noses at us. Blue collar town with a reputation of being too foggy. 27 years later we're still a middle-class community but with a lot more "white-collar" workers. And a cleaned up 1100 sq.ft. 3/2 built in 1959 is now pushing $1M.

Rupert
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Rupert » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:52 am

livesoft wrote:
Rupert wrote:My insurance company requires proof annually that the alarm system is actively monitored by a central monitoring service. No discount without proof.

Is the discount and savings high enough to pay for the central monitoring service?


No, it doesn't cover the cost of the service. So you wouldn't invest in a monitored alarm service for the insurance discount, but the discount is nice if you were going to invest in a monitored alarm service anyway.

queso
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby queso » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:12 am

Carefreeap wrote:
queso wrote:
mouses wrote:
mak1277 wrote:I'm surprised by how many people think alarm systems are gratuitous. We use ours every night, and my wife loves the peace of mind especially when I'm out of town. Plus we get a cheaper rate on homeowner's insurance as a little additional bonus.


I've house sat or pet sat for friends with these systems, and having to race to set the code before the alarm goes off makes me a nervous wreck.

I didn't list alarm or video surveillance system because I consider those necessities. I am also surprised by how many list them as gratuitous. There was a time I may have thought that as well, but having your home broken into will change your mind fast. I take physical security very seriously now and have many layers, none of which I consider gratuitous.


We usually didn't lock our doors in either our house in AZ or in the Bay Area. Ironically, when we moved to Germany to a house with a self-locking door (you couldn't disable it) we were burglarized twice within 3 months. I'm not sure an alarm would have made much difference. I think if someone really wants your stuff they will figure out a way to get it.

This is true, but locks really only keep honest people honest. They aren't much use as a security measure and if your house has a decent amount of glass all they are is a slight delay. A monitored alarm system and video surveillance system will hopefully be able to quickly notify both the homeowner and the authorities so a quick response can be mounted (limiting total losses) as well as possibly providing video evidence leading to the arrest of the perpetrator(s). You are right that if someone really wants your stuff they will find out how to get it, but I feel a combination of electronic monitoring, video surveillance, large hairy 4 footed monitoring and copious quantities of flying lead will make me a less attractive target than a less vigilant neighbor. :D

michaeljc70
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby michaeljc70 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:33 am

Whole house audio. It was expensive to install and the setup complicated (I always thought if 1 of the hundreds of wires came loose in the media closet I'd never figure out where it went). I had 26 speakers inside and outside. With modern technology like Sonos, Chromecast, etc. I think it is overkill. I did put in-ceiling speakers in my new place just in the living/dining/kitchen.

mak1277
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby mak1277 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:02 am

Carefreeap wrote:
queso wrote:
mouses wrote:
mak1277 wrote:I'm surprised by how many people think alarm systems are gratuitous. We use ours every night, and my wife loves the peace of mind especially when I'm out of town. Plus we get a cheaper rate on homeowner's insurance as a little additional bonus.


I've house sat or pet sat for friends with these systems, and having to race to set the code before the alarm goes off makes me a nervous wreck.

I didn't list alarm or video surveillance system because I consider those necessities. I am also surprised by how many list them as gratuitous. There was a time I may have thought that as well, but having your home broken into will change your mind fast. I take physical security very seriously now and have many layers, none of which I consider gratuitous.


We usually didn't lock our doors in either our house in AZ or in the Bay Area. Ironically, when we moved to Germany to a house with a self-locking door (you couldn't disable it) we were burglarized twice within 3 months. I'm not sure an alarm would have made much difference. I think if someone really wants your stuff they will figure out a way to get it.


I don't really consider my alarm system as protection from burglary. It's primarily an early warning system for personal security. It would be impossible for an intruder to get to our staircase without setting off the alarm (blaring sirens, not just beeping requiring a code to be input). Ideally this would scare the intruder off...worst case it would give us precious seconds to at least arm ourselves before said intruder was in our bedroom.

bluebolt
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby bluebolt » Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:02 am

michaeljc70 wrote:Whole house audio. It was expensive to install and the setup complicated (I always thought if 1 of the hundreds of wires came loose in the media closet I'd never figure out where it went). I had 26 speakers inside and outside. With modern technology like Sonos, Chromecast, etc. I think it is overkill. I did put in-ceiling speakers in my new place just in the living/dining/kitchen.

Previous owners of my house put in a wired whole home audio system which I wouldn't do. That said, it is Airplay compatible, so it's nice to be able to play different audio in different rooms from different devices all from our phones.

btenny
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby btenny » Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:56 am

IMO most alarms are worthless. I have been robbed twice by professional burglars. Alarms do not slow them down. The gotcha is the alarm is not set much. Plus the pros don't care as they are in and out so fast and in ways to not trip the alarm. Plus alarms don't work for vacations or snowbirds due to false alarms. See below about the burglar who hit my home before he was caught.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nati ... e/2629175/

The best theft deterrent we have found is a steel security front door and door locks. Then cut back the shrubs around the front windows so they are easily seen from the street. Then put in a big heavy yard gate and security lock to stop entry to the back yard. Then join a neighborhood watch group that monitors strangers in the hood. If a bad guy cannot cruise the hood (in a car or on foot) without someone noticing his movements he will not stay around.

Good Luck.

fishandgolf
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby fishandgolf » Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:59 am

2-story log home in the woods. 3 bdrm, 2 bath, 2800 sq ft.....two people.

Everything previously mentioned about home maintenance, mature trees and..... leaves....they're everywhere. Bugs, insects (wife freaks out when she sees a spider) sticks and branches on the roof and in the driveway...everywhere. I probably own more ladders and scaffolding, chain saws, leaf blowers and tools....more than a general contractor.

Have had septic issues, had to drill a new well ($20K), replace several logs due to moisture problems. Have stained the entire home (top - bottom) 4 times during the past 15 years......but no pool :D

.....and we absolutely love it :sharebeer (except for the spiders). I know that sounds crazy.....but after 15 years....we still enjoy log home living.

michaeljc70
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby michaeljc70 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:22 pm

btenny wrote:IMO most alarms are worthless. I have been robbed twice by professional burglars. Alarms do not slow them down. The gotcha is the alarm is not set much. Plus the pros don't care as they are in and out so fast and in ways to not trip the alarm. Plus alarms don't work for vacations or snowbirds due to false alarms. See below about the burglar who hit my home before he was caught.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nati ... e/2629175/

The best theft deterrent we have found is a steel security front door and door locks. Then cut back the shrubs around the front windows so they are easily seen from the street. Then put in a big heavy yard gate and security lock to stop entry to the back yard. Then join a neighborhood watch group that monitors strangers in the hood. If a bad guy cannot cruise the hood (in a car or on foot) without someone noticing his movements he will not stay around.

Good Luck.


I agree with much of what you are saying. However, I think a lot of break-ins are by kids or thugs, not professional thieves. Professional thieves typically target homes very differently.

As to vacation homes, nowadays with cameras and internet (see what is going on on your cell phone), there are options that can work.

queso
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby queso » Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:41 pm

btenny wrote:IMO most alarms are worthless. I have been robbed twice by professional burglars. Alarms do not slow them down. The gotcha is the alarm is not set much. Plus the pros don't care as they are in and out so fast and in ways to not trip the alarm. Plus alarms don't work for vacations or snowbirds due to false alarms. See below about the burglar who hit my home before he was caught.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nati ... e/2629175/

The best theft deterrent we have found is a steel security front door and door locks. Then cut back the shrubs around the front windows so they are easily seen from the street. Then put in a big heavy yard gate and security lock to stop entry to the back yard. Then join a neighborhood watch group that monitors strangers in the hood. If a bad guy cannot cruise the hood (in a car or on foot) without someone noticing his movements he will not stay around.

Good Luck.

Just so I understand... The "rock burglar", who enters homes by throwing a rock through a window, albeit professionally (was he a former MLB pitcher? :D ), is the type of professional burglar that an alarm system wouldn't work on? I don't see how he's any higher profile than a smash and grab thug, which is much more common. I do agree that real professionals are going to be able to thwart any alarm system given enough motivation and time, but all this dude needed was for nobody to be home and no alarm so his rock throwing didn't result in a police or homeowner response. I think he's exactly the kind of burglar that an alarm system would prevent (or at least minimize his take). The likelihood of most of us being targeted by a real professional is pretty low I would imagine. Unless you have some really high end art, jewelry, etc. I just don't think there is enough to make most of our houses a good risk/benefit proposition for a real professional.

livesoft
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby livesoft » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:10 pm

I have no valuables in my home that need any perceived protection from an alarm system. We often leave the doors unlocked. Years ago, it would not be unusual to find a young neighbor's kid in my kitchen looking for my son who was still asleep. They would just come and go without knocking.

The meter readers have full access to the back yard where the meters are anytime they want to read them, too.
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tim1999
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby tim1999 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:18 pm

I just remembered that my parents installed a whirlpool tub in a bathroom they were renovating back in the early 1990s. The whirlpool function was never used other than to test it when the installation was complete. Who knows if it even works anymore.

DireWolf
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby DireWolf » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:31 pm

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btenny
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby btenny » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:10 pm

The rock burglar targeted high end homes and neighborhoods. VP Dan Quale and other celebs and pro ball players were some of his targets. Some times he broke in when the people were home so the alarms were off. In Arizona the big homes are long with bedrooms on one end and family rooms on the other end. So a burglar in the bedroom at dinner time would not be noticed. He was pretty brazen and very fast. He could go in and out in two minutes so he did not care if the alarm went off. He would be gone before the response. In our home he jimmied and bent every patio door trying to get in before he threw a rock through the window. His MO was to go to the master bedroom and steal jewelry and cash only and maybe a pillow case to hold the stuff. He worked mostly on foot for fast escape and easy movement between several homes where he hit several in series.

And the kids who are smart thugs work in similar ways. They break in and steal mostly cash and jewelry and maybe a gun or some liqueur if out in view. But others thugs are druggies and not so professional. They are messy and break locks and doors and rummage through and trash the whole house. Those guys are slower. Sometimes they will take 100% of the furniture if they can find a home vacant for a weekend with no alarm. This also happened in our neighborhood. They brought in a moving truck. Those people usually steal lots of stuff including TVs and stereos and electronics so they use cars or trucks. A alarm might discourage those guys to leave early. But only after they trash your house. They know it takes a LONG time for the alarm companies to do anything if they even come out. They also know that most alarms are ignored by everyone until they reset. So they are mostly worthless IMO.

Good Luck.

boglegirl
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby boglegirl » Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:07 pm

Add me to the list of those who think a view is not gratuitous but essential. I live in the suburbs, but for the last 9 years have been lucky enough to be on a hill where I'm above all the back neighbors, with hill/mountain views beyond. I will never again live in a house where I stare out from the kitchen sink into a 6-ft privacy fence that's all that separates me from my neighbor's 2-story house 40 ft away.

Carefreeap
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Carefreeap » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:00 pm

btenny wrote:The rock burglar targeted high end homes and neighborhoods. VP Dan Quale and other celebs and pro ball players were some of his targets. Some times he broke in when the people were home so the alarms were off. In Arizona the big homes are long with bedrooms on one end and family rooms on the other end. So a burglar in the bedroom at dinner time would not be noticed. He was pretty brazen and very fast. He could go in and out in two minutes so he did not care if the alarm went off. He would be gone before the response. In our home he jimmied and bent every patio door trying to get in before he threw a rock through the window. His MO was to go to the master bedroom and steal jewelry and cash only and maybe a pillow case to hold the stuff. He worked mostly on foot for fast escape and easy movement between several homes where he hit several in series.

And the kids who are smart thugs work in similar ways. They break in and steal mostly cash and jewelry and maybe a gun or some liqueur if out in view. But others thugs are druggies and not so professional. They are messy and break locks and doors and rummage through and trash the whole house. Those guys are slower. Sometimes they will take 100% of the furniture if they can find a home vacant for a weekend with no alarm. This also happened in our neighborhood. They brought in a moving truck. Those people usually steal lots of stuff including TVs and stereos and electronics so they use cars or trucks. A alarm might discourage those guys to leave early. But only after they trash your house. They know it takes a LONG time for the alarm companies to do anything if they even come out. They also know that most alarms are ignored by everyone until they reset. So they are mostly worthless IMO.

Good Luck.


Bolded part was my impression too. We bought in an area that was supposed to be in the Rock Burglar's territory. You can guess by my name which one it is! 8-) With the large lots (1.7 acre) and many homes being 2nd or 3rd homes, I doubted anyone would have heard or paid attention to an alarm ringing.

livesoft
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby livesoft » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:04 pm

I know that homeowners in my neighborhood use their alarms. A neighbor's alarm went off, the police showed up, checked out the house when neighbor's child came home, then left. When the mom came home, she wanted me to search her house in case the police missed a hidden person.
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stoptothink
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby stoptothink » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:20 pm

livesoft wrote:I have no valuables in my home that need any perceived protection from an alarm system. We often leave the doors unlocked. Years ago, it would not be unusual to find a young neighbor's kid in my kitchen looking for my son who was still asleep. They would just come and go without knocking.

The meter readers have full access to the back yard where the meters are anytime they want to read them, too.


I used to say, if someone was to break into our house, I'd be more concerned that they'd vandalize it because they'd be so angry that they spent the time to break in and there was nothing worth stealing. I guess they could take our ~$250 TV off the wall.

Our doors are also regularly left open, as they are throughout the neighborhood. There are about two dozens kids between the ages of 2 and 10 that live within 200ft of my front door, there are 9 alone in our row of 4 townhomes. They are constantly running between houses.

Sandi_k
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Sandi_k » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:28 pm

Rupert wrote:A giant bathtub in the master bath was a complete waste of space for us. We stored the toilet brush in there. Just had it ripped out last week to make room for a new tiled shower. For what it's worth, my contractor said removal of the bathtub from the master bath and addition of a larger shower is the number one renovation he's doing these days.


Thanks for this! We're about to renovate our master bedroom/bath, and the only thing we wonder about is whether ripping out the never-used tub is a downside when we go to sell.

Personally, since we will still have a tub in the hall bath, a luxury shower for the master bath seems the way to go. Good to read your confirmation.

birdy
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby birdy » Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:04 pm

I had 2 "invisible" screen doors put in. The kind that roll into the frame when not in use. I used them only 3-4 times because my dogs would run straight through them like they weren't there. The cat could get her head through the bottom of the screens to get out of the house.

birdy

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jabberwockOG
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby jabberwockOG » Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:05 am

Living on the SE U.S. gulf coast the big fireplace in our living room will never be used. The master bath has a 75 gal giant jetted tub that can easily fit three people. It also has never been used, instead it contains three laundry hampers, his, hers, and towels.

Location is what makes or breaks a house, everything else can be changed. View to private backyard with natural wooded buffer and the nice size screened-in back porch is priceless as is the location in a quiet safe golf course community near the gulf coast.

Stupendous
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Stupendous » Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:23 am

Nothing in my house. No pool because I knew they were a money pit and maintenance headache. I wanted/needed a 3 car garage and big RV gate so I got that. I knew it would come with more square footage than a single person needed, at 2100 sq ft, but most of the space is used. Formal dining room living room is a gym so that space isn't wasted with furniture that never gets used. I do have an empty bedroom and my guest room gets used 1 - 2x per year but I knew that would happen but it is nice to have.

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Clever_Username
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Clever_Username » Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:31 am

Yikes, a few people said 2000-2500 square feet is too much for one or two people. That's the range I'm looking in ... should I be considering a smaller house?

Also is a guest room gratuitous? That's one of the things I really want.
"What was true then is true now. Have a plan. Stick to it." -- XXXX, [i]Layer Cake[/i]

spammagnet
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby spammagnet » Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:19 am

For all the mentions of a pool as gratuitous (I did), I regard as swimming pool as valuable in a rural location, along with concrete block construction and a metal roof. The reason is fire prevention and protection.

The pool can be a water source for the pumper truck trying to extinguish a fire. That fire might not be the house itself. Instead, it might be the forest/brush fire threatening your house.

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lthenderson
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby lthenderson » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:43 am

Clever_Username wrote:Also is a guest room gratuitous? That's one of the things I really want.


If it is only used a couple times a year, I would consider it gratuitous. I got around this by turning a non-conforming bedroom into an office with a murphy bed that folds down for those couple times a year we have guests. This way I have a room that is used 365 days of the year.

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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Doom&Gloom » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:13 am

Clever_Username wrote:Yikes, a few people said 2000-2500 square feet is too much for one or two people. That's the range I'm looking in ... should I be considering a smaller house?

Also is a guest room gratuitous? That's one of the things I really want.


It is only gratuitous if you never use it and turn it into a storage area. We use our guest room and certainly don't consider it to be gratuitous.

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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Rupert » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:42 am

lthenderson wrote:
Clever_Username wrote:Also is a guest room gratuitous? That's one of the things I really want.


If it is only used a couple times a year, I would consider it gratuitous. I got around this by turning a non-conforming bedroom into an office with a murphy bed that folds down for those couple times a year we have guests. This way I have a room that is used 365 days of the year.


Agree. Make it an office or gym that can be easily converted into a guest room when necessary. A Murphy bed, sofa bed, or daybed in an office works well.

stoptothink
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby stoptothink » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:44 am

Clever_Username wrote:Yikes, a few people said 2000-2500 square feet is too much for one or two people. That's the range I'm looking in ... should I be considering a smaller house?

Also is a guest room gratuitous? That's one of the things I really want.


This depends on you. We have 1500 sq. ft. for 4, and honestly, my wife and I talk all the time about how there is so much wasted (empty) space. Our master/en suite/walk-in could be cut in half and it would make no difference to us. As far as we are concerned, just more air to heat/cool and carpet to vacuum. On the other hand, my mother's home is ~3500 sq. ft for 3, and they wish they would have sprung for more.

Personally, I think a guest room is totally gratuitous. It is no different than buying a truck because you might possibly need to haul something maybe a few times a year. We have 3 bedrooms with 4 people, and guests are always staying at our place (heck, my in-laws lived with us for most of 2016). When it happens, my kids have a slumber party in one room (they actually wish they shared a room full-time) and the guests stay in the other. But, if you can afford it and want it, why not?

fishandgolf
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby fishandgolf » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:58 am

Clever_Username wrote:Yikes, a few people said 2000-2500 square feet is too much for one or two people. That's the range I'm looking in ... should I be considering a smaller house?

Also is a guest room gratuitous? That's one of the things I really want.


My wife and I have 2800 sq. ft. and when the kids and grand kids come over (which is often) at times we feel we could us another 2800 sq. ft. :)

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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Smorgasbord » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:16 am

Doom&Gloom wrote:
Clever_Username wrote:Also is a guest room gratuitous? That's one of the things I really want.

It is only gratuitous if you never use it and turn it into a storage area. We use our guest room and certainly don't consider it to be gratuitous.

I'd argue that if it's used as a storage area, it isn't gratuitous. Considering the monthly rent on a storage unit can easily exceed $100, having a storage room can be a quite valuable.

BW1985
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby BW1985 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:55 am

Sandi_k wrote:
Rupert wrote:A giant bathtub in the master bath was a complete waste of space for us. We stored the toilet brush in there. Just had it ripped out last week to make room for a new tiled shower. For what it's worth, my contractor said removal of the bathtub from the master bath and addition of a larger shower is the number one renovation he's doing these days.


Thanks for this! We're about to renovate our master bedroom/bath, and the only thing we wonder about is whether ripping out the never-used tub is a downside when we go to sell.

Personally, since we will still have a tub in the hall bath, a luxury shower for the master bath seems the way to go. Good to read your confirmation.


I would agree. Nice walk-in showers seem to be in right now, big tubs out.

In our 2001 built master bath we have both a cheap, small plastic shower and a regular bath tub. I would like to rip one or the other out and convert it to a nicer tiled shower, then the other to a closet or open shelves. If someone did want to take a bath they could use the hall bathroom.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

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Clever_Username
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Clever_Username » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:57 pm

Thank you to everyone who replied to my question about the guest room. I don't know how much it will be used -- I think I'll be more comfortable inviting friends over for events that may necessitate it, too, which makes it a great perk if used right.
"What was true then is true now. Have a plan. Stick to it." -- XXXX, [i]Layer Cake[/i]

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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby gd » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:34 am

I heard/read that a pool uses less water than grass covering the same surface area. If your pool is using excessive water, is it possible you might have a small leak?
Got a good laugh out of this, since I've never watered my lawn in 11 years. Then realized that if you live in FL where a HOA requires an astroturf-clone lawn, maybe... An awful lot of posts in Bogleheads are pointless without people identifying their locations.

To the OP, just put in a new sink leaving out garbage disposal. Removed a giant hulking, leaking stone fireplace/chimney a few years ago, replacing it with a bunch of glass with a view. Patio & firepit lovingly hand-built by previous owners is used once every few years for burning some scrap wood and brush, and slowly degrading. Once tried to turn it into a frog pond but was too much trouble.

WolfgangPauli
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby WolfgangPauli » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:48 am

Fascinating topic. First, my gratuitous item is the size - over 3500 square feet for two people. It is ridiculous. The way I talked myself into it is I said if I were to sell, it will be attractive to a lot of families. Maybe, maybe not but given that I plan on staying here forever, I guess that was a stupid reason.

That is it - though I have kept out of buying gratuitous items using the following rule: Never buy from the builder something that:

1. Can be installed later on at a reasonable cost
2. Has a very high probability of being made useless due to technology.

This first one is because when a home is being bought your mind is in overload and you tend to make bad decisions. Especially when you think how much it will increase the monthly payment. Because I know my mind is not right during this time, I want to avoid all unnecessary decisions - like a pool. On this house we avoided the pool then went back after 6mos to analyze it.. .figured we could stay in suite at the Ritz on the water for 2 weekends a month for 5 years and still not spend as much as a pool. So, the pool was a no-go.

The technology thing has to do with things like intercoms. There are many ways now to talk to someone in your home through either a wireless phone, text message or intercoms built into IP phones. Technology has made home intercoms worthless and they may actually detract value.

Ditto for whole house music - Sonos takes care of that and you can always have up to date technology.
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby bluebolt » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:31 am

I'll add an item that I originally thought was gratuitous, but now I consider mandatory - a washlet toilet seat. I now only regret that I didn't get one sooner. There's a reason 75% of Japanese homes have them.

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Clever_Username
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Clever_Username » Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:23 pm

bluebolt wrote:I'll add an item that I originally thought was gratuitous, but now I consider mandatory - a washlet toilet seat. I now only regret that I didn't get one sooner. There's a reason 75% of Japanese homes have them.


I think that's a bidet? Either way, it's on my to-install list in my new home, and if it's gratuitous, well, the model I'm looking at is like $30.
"What was true then is true now. Have a plan. Stick to it." -- XXXX, [i]Layer Cake[/i]

bluebolt
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby bluebolt » Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:43 pm

Clever_Username wrote:
bluebolt wrote:I'll add an item that I originally thought was gratuitous, but now I consider mandatory - a washlet toilet seat. I now only regret that I didn't get one sooner. There's a reason 75% of Japanese homes have them.


I think that's a bidet? Either way, it's on my to-install list in my new home, and if it's gratuitous, well, the model I'm looking at is like $30.

Often people use bidet to refer to the standalone version, though it can be used to describe the seat with bidet functions. Washlet (a Toto brand term) refers to an integrated seat/toilet with those functions built in.

Prices range from $30ish for non-electric versions:
https://www.amazon.com/Luxe-Bidet-Neo-1 ... 099&sr=8-6

to several hundred (almost $1000) for high-end electric versions:
https://www.amazon.com/TOTO-Washlet-Elo ... 274&sr=8-1

to several thousand for toilets integrated with the seats:
https://www.amazon.com/MS992CUMFG-01-Ne ... 376&sr=1-1


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