gratuitous homeownership items

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HIinvestor
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby HIinvestor » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:23 pm

Thought we'd use the patio and gazebo/trellis in the backyard a lot more than we are. Due to bugs, we rarely use either. The backyard is a nice buffer for noise though. H does use the smoker in the patio, to make fab smoked turkey.
Otherwise our home is quite functional and efficient. It does have a wired alarm system (installed by prior owners) that no longer works but still appears to from the outside, so I guess that is gratuitous.
We have a nice view of the stars and mountains that are unobstructed. Fortunately, our solar and photovoltaic panels also remain unobstructed.

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dumbbunny
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby dumbbunny » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:25 pm

Central vacuum system. It's easier to pull out the little "R2-D2" canister vacuum than the heavy c.v. hoses. We also have a jet-tub that used maybe 2-3 times a year.
“It’s the curse of old men to realize that in the end we control nothing." "Homeland" episode, "Gerontion"

blueberry
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby blueberry » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:35 pm

mrsytf wrote:Formal dining and living room. I still hold on to the illusion that one day I will host a dinner party in which the dining room will be of use. Hasn't happened yet, but hope springs eternal....


+1, my large dining room table is convenient for folding laundry.

HIinvestor
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby HIinvestor » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:39 pm

Our large dining table is useful for sorting financial docs, doing projects and every once in awhile, dining. :D

lightheir
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby lightheir » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:43 pm

I've got a japanese-style fancy looking deep tub (not a hot tub).

We rarely use it -a 'normal' shower and bathroom would have been far superior.

In our defense though, we didn't buy the house because of it - it was a neutral item for us.

gkaplan
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby gkaplan » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:52 pm

For almost twenty-five years, before I retired and moved up to Portland, I lived in Ventura, a beach town about forty-five miles south of Santa Barbara and about seventy-five miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. I was a renter (one-bedroom apartment), but it doesn't change my take of gratuitous/non-gratuitous household items.

Gratuitous item: wood-burning fireplace: I thought this would be a neat thing to have. Romantic, save on heating bills, and so on. I used it two winters, and that was it. What I found was that it didn't provide enough heat, and that it was a real hassle to keep clean. Plus someone was appropriating my firewood cords stacked outside. It might have be one of my triplex neighbors or just someone coming in from outside and walking off with them.

Non-Gratuitous item: living three blocks from the ocean. While I didn't have an ocean-view from any of my windows, and I'm not one who particularly cares about lying on the beach and basking in the sun, I did like the whole beach town atmosphere. I liked running alongside the ocean. I liked the cool ocean breezes. I liked not having to have an air conditioner. I liked the idea of coming home in the summer from my San Fernando Valley job to my home in Ventura where it generally was twenty-five degrees cooler.
Gordon

vveat
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby vveat » Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:11 pm

We've redone the whole house, so practically nothing is gratuitous. It would be easier to point out nice surprises - things we barely noticed or didn't care about that have been surprisingly useful. I could think of only 2 items:

Heated towel rack in the master bathroom that we used only in the first months after installation. The floor radiant heat keeps the bathroom pleasantly warm and you just don't get any extra oomph from a hot towel

The living room wood fireplace got a fair amount of use the first years, but then we installed a high efficiency wood stove in the family room where it's much more practical both from the view of where we spend time and where it contributes most to the overall house temperature. We run it daily 6 months in a year while the old fireplace hasn't been used since.

spammagnet
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby spammagnet » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:21 pm

alloykat wrote:Homeowners: Is there anything that you thought would be an asset when you bought your home and later found it to be gratuitous? For example, my husband wanted a pool.

When we had our previous home built 20 years ago, a standard feature was a garden tub with a whirlpool pump. The design of the bathroom and standards of the neighborhood led us to keep the tub in the plan but we skipped the pump and saved $1,000. I think we used the tub maybe 10 times, without whirlpool, in the 20 years we lived there.

Edit: the neighborhood was one where > 50% of houses had a pool. We weren't interested. A next-door neighbor added their dream pool when they moved in ~10 years ago. She recently told me they haven't used it in the past 2-3 years.

A friend who is a real estate agent tells me some buyers fill in the pool so they don't have to maintain it.
Last edited by spammagnet on Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

onthecusp
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby onthecusp » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:25 pm

Our pool is somewhat gratuitous, probably use it just enough to be worth the maintenance. We made sure to buy it with the house because it does not really add anything to resale values.

I really miss the few houses we lived in with nice views. One lakefront was the best, but looking out over a natural open space or even a small duck pond were really nice situations. This thread made me think about that much more carefully. Our retirement home will have to have some sort of nice view that changes. I'll consider a forest now, and hadn't thought of it before.

We remodeled the bath room getting rid of the huge jacuzzi tub and making a much bigger simple shower and love it. We put a small but deep tub in for soaking and have only used it about 3 times in the year, but I intend to use it more, on the edge of gratuitous there. Granite counter tops there are great. I'm afraid of putting them in the kitchen because of the potential to break glasses and dishes.

mouses
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby mouses » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:56 pm

Appliances with lots of controls. I use the washer, dryer, and dishwasher on one setting each and never bother with the other settings.

I wish the house didn't have a skylight. It's a maintenance nightmare as it has leaked twice and it's very hard to find people to repair it. No one is interested in replacing it as it is not a standard size.

Contrary to the no central vac opinions, I loved having a central vac system where I lived previously, no dragging a heavy vacuum cleaner around or up and down stairs.

I agree glass shower doors are not nice. The bathroom looks much more open with a shower curtain pushed to the side. Also, less maintenance and they're ugly.

I doubt that anyone ever gets tired of a beautiful view.

FedGuy
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby FedGuy » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:25 pm

ralph124cf wrote:I have black-ish granite countertops, and I have never done anything to them other than occasional wipe downs in the twelve years since I moved in. No stains that I can see (perhaps because it is black). Is there any chance that your countertops are actually a different type of stone?

No, they're granite, according to the stoneware specialist that worked on them for me. He even identified the specific subtypes.

The bathroom countertops are black. There's a scratch in one that the specialist couldn't get out. The kitchen countertops are very dark green, so they look almost black, but have lots of black, silver, gray, and gold flecks in them. The specialist couldn't suck all the stains out, but I'm hoping that those that remain are hard to see--for those that don't know they're there--because of all the flecks. In any case, he re-sealed the granite and advised me to re-seal them again at least annually.

I'm still afraid to use the counters.

texasdiver
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby texasdiver » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:31 pm

Whirlpool tub. Last 3 houses I have owned have had them. Last two times I went to sell the house I had to deal with major hassle getting them repaired because they weren't working and we never noticed for years.

Alarm System. Last two houses have had them. Never activated them. Although when the kids were little I did have them set to chime when a door was opened so I'd know if a toddler was making a break for it. Cheaper and probably just as effective to get an ADT Security sign off ebay and plant it by your front door so it looks like you have security.

Lawn. Once your kids are past primary school age a lawn doesn't serve much purpose. I'm ripping out the lawn this summer and putting in low maintenance gardens and pavers.

Wired ethernet and phone lines. We don't have a landline anymore and everything is wifi. So no need for phone plugs and ethernet ports in every room anymore.

Fireplace. We had a traditional fireplace in the last house and barely ever used it. In this new house (in a colder climate) we have gas fireplaces that we use all the time. Knowing what I know now I'd pay the money to convert a wood fireplace into a gas fireplace in any future house.

We had a pool in Texas that was not gratuitous when the kids were young. They used it from spring to fall every year. But not so much by HS age except for suntanning (girls). It would be completely gratuitous in a colder climate than TX or if we didn't have kids.

We actually use our central vac. I like mine. This is the first house I've had with one. I used it most as a handi-vac in the kitchen, just the hose with no attachment to suck up messes.

randomguy
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby randomguy » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:43 pm

gmc4h232 wrote:I think about this every time I see the solar panels on the roof of my neighbor's house that are perfectly shaded by my 50' maple tree...


Just wait until you get sued for blocking the light. :)

spammagnet
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby spammagnet » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:28 am

Vanguard Fan 1367 wrote:
ralph124cf wrote:I have black-ish granite countertops, and I have never done anything to them other than occasional wipe downs in the twelve years since I moved in. No stains that I can see (perhaps because it is black). Is there any chance that your countertops are actually a different type of stone?

The wife and I agree with you. We also have black-ish granite countertops and find them super easy to care for with that "occasional wipe down".

We like our granite countertops. They do need to be sealed, and resealed periodically. Not a big deal.

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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Mudpuppy » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:13 am

randomguy wrote:
gmc4h232 wrote:I think about this every time I see the solar panels on the roof of my neighbor's house that are perfectly shaded by my 50' maple tree...


Just wait until you get sued for blocking the light. :)

You joke, but there have been lawsuits over just this issue... very expensive lawsuits in some cases. Here's an article from 2008 about the lawsuit that triggered a change in California law (where whichever came first, trees or panels, has priority): http://www.mercurynews.com/2008/03/25/i ... olar-wins/

2 bits
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby 2 bits » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:58 am

This has been an interesting thread.
I've discussed it with my wife and come to the Google losing that I really should retro fit the house with the central vacuum cleaner.
We would both like to have a pool. However we may want to rent a home for the 2 to 3 years that it would take before we got tired of it.
A nice view would be great. We will try not to be like someone we know that lives on the lake and keeps the blinds closed so the sunlight doesn't fade the fabrics. :oops:
We love our back deck. But I wish that I had replaced of the boards with Tree instead of pressure-treated wood.
This may all be a moot point as far as homeshopping goes. We have been here 25 years and there's no telling when we may move again.
I sometimes think that I am living the life of which my immigrant ancestors dreamed.

Valuethinker
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Valuethinker » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:37 am

Koogie wrote:
rob65 wrote:The 3/4 acre lot was great when the kids were little. Now that they are grown, it's a lot of expense/work for very little use. If I could do it over, I would have bought a house on a much smaller lot closer to a park or neighborhood playground.
Actually, if I could do it over again, I'm not so sure that I wouldn't have just kept renting, but I know that's a minority viewpoint.


That makes us a minority of 2 then. I despise home ownership. My DW and I have been together 19 years as of today (yes, I remembered.. :wink: ) and we have rented two houses and owned three. I hated all three including the current one and would happily move back to the last one we rented (a great little bungalow a few hundred feet from Lake Ontario). However, happy wife.. etc...

As to gratuitous. We had a second full bathroom, with bathtub, installed in this house we currently own when we moved in nearly two years ago. The bathtub has been used once. Once. I assume that that will be it until we sell in a few years :oops: .

Still, I guess if money is spent on anything, bathroom and kitchens garner the return.


Actually kitchens and bathrooms have very poor returns, less than $1 per $1 invested. My guess for a new kitchen is you spend say $30k and get maybe $15k back on the value of the house. And it could be closer to zero (because *everyone* redoes their kitchen when they buy a home). For a pool, spend $15k, lower the value of your house by $10k, say. There are actually estimates of these numbers out there, whereas I am hand waving (but I don't think London England is so very different from Ontario in this regard).

Remember decor *dates*. Stainless steel appliances are going to look embarassing in 10 years. Remember the avocado bathroom tub? (if you don't, it was an British thing, you don't want to ;-)). Jet black granite counters? Probably cost $10k to install, and in 15 years time, no one will want one (how 2015? eww... ;-)).

The only thing that adds value, as much or more than it costs, is more usable space. As long as you don't lose the garden entirely. Oh and a private driveway and garage, if you don't have them already. Say for example (invented numbers, but the right feel), new space costs $500 psf (it probably does in Metro toronto, if it is extension which is always more expensive than new construction, including permits, inspection, taxes etc.) it will add say $750-1000 psf of value (depending on location).

I should add: *additional* bathrooms probably add value. If the other space is adequate (in the UK you tend to get them carved out of storage space, for example, which is in short supply normally, as we don't tend to have basements). And there's probably diminishing marginal return. 3 bedroom house 2 bathrooms is worth more than 1 bathroom. But the North American 1 bathroom per bedroom? Probably not.

I have a post under investment views citing the latest Economist magazine and their housing price charts (if you find it online, then tick through the tabs of the lower graph). [OT comments removed by admin LadyGeek, the post is here: 2018-19 Toronto Vanc Sydney Melb Auckland housing crash?]
Last edited by Valuethinker on Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

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ClevrChico
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby ClevrChico » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:49 am

Mature trees.

The right species in the right location is great. If done incorrectly, maintenance is surprising high. (Gutter cleanings twice/year, leaves in the fall, trimming, insect treatment, expensive take-down.)

MoonOrb
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby MoonOrb » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:17 am

Our house was already 90 years old at the time we bought it--partly as a consequence it is small and has no real "extras." The previous owners remodeled the bathroom in perhaps a way that we would not have, but they didn't add anything gratuitous. We were lucky that what we bought suited us just fine.

We are, however, currently finishing the previously unfinished basement and adding a 3/4 bath. Perhaps in ten years I'll revisit this thread and say that we've regretted doing that.

why3not
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby why3not » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:39 am

Not truly gratuitous, but our guest suite is 390 sq ft & only sees use about 4-5 weeks a year.
The only other thing that might make the list is the jets in the tub. It turns out a non jetted tub would have fared just as well...

Valuethinker
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Valuethinker » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:00 am

Mudpuppy wrote:
randomguy wrote:
gmc4h232 wrote:I think about this every time I see the solar panels on the roof of my neighbor's house that are perfectly shaded by my 50' maple tree...


Just wait until you get sued for blocking the light. :)

You joke, but there have been lawsuits over just this issue... very expensive lawsuits in some cases. Here's an article from 2008 about the lawsuit that triggered a change in California law (where whichever came first, trees or panels, has priority): http://www.mercurynews.com/2008/03/25/i ... olar-wins/


An important point (sorry I have not read through to the link).

Because trees lower air conditioning so much, especially in California. That's what the whole "white roofs initiative" is about.

Rupert
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Rupert » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:06 am

It appears the big loser in this thread is the giant, jetted bathtub. Swimming pools are a close second. Are you listening home builders?

TheOscarGuy
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby TheOscarGuy » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:10 am

alloykat wrote:Homeowners: Is there anything that you thought would be an asset when you bought your home and later found it to be gratuitous? For example, my husband wanted a pool. After 8 years, I find it to be a waste given the amount of $$ in water charges to maintain the water level, the fact that he uses it minimally, and all the maintenance charges. Does anyone have a view (ocean, city lights, etc) that got old after awhile? What about the utility of a guest bedroom, large backyard, etc?


whole house vacuum cleaner.

barnaclebob
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby barnaclebob » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:11 am

FedGuy wrote:I'm still afraid to use the counters.


Afraid to use the counter tops or afraid of what people will think of your stained counter tops? Just use them and if they get too bad, get new counter tops. Its dumb to be trapped with a kitchen you don't want to use.

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby FrugalInvestor » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:12 am

Rupert wrote:It appears the big loser in this thread is the giant, jetted bathtub. Swimming pools are a close second. Are you listening home builders?


What attracts the buyer at time of purchase and what turns out to be a gratuitous feature can be the same. It isn't the builder's job to try and convince a buyer that they don't like what they think they like.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

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hand
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby hand » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:20 am

Rupert wrote:It appears the big loser in this thread is the giant, jetted bathtub. Swimming pools are a close second. Are you listening home builders?


Not sure production home builders care even if they are listening... A jetted tub is a relatively cheap upgrade that presumably sells well. Whether it is actually used after sale is immaterial to most builders.

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oldcomputerguy
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby oldcomputerguy » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:26 am

Master bath has a jacuzzi. We used it two or three times when we moved in, quickly came to the conclusion that it took way, way too much hot water to fill it. Haven't used it in years. We're now planning to rip it out and use the space to enlarge the shower.

Also rarely if ever use the fireplace in the den. It looks nice; however, we found out the hard way (due to losing the furnace the first winter we lived here) that it makes almost no heat in the house. Purely ornamental. So it really doesn't make sense to go through the trouble of keeping wood, building a fire, and having to clean up after it, just for the sake of having a pretty fire to look at.
Anybody know why there's a 20-pound frozen turkey up in the light grid?

ddurrett896
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby ddurrett896 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:27 am

Adding a tub inside of the shower. Small kids can bathe while we shower (time saver) and splash all they want and the water is contained within the shower.

mak1277
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby mak1277 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:32 am

The HOA that came with my house was the first thing I thought of when the word "gratuitous" was thrown out there.

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mrc
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby mrc » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:00 am

Pool (above ground) - removed

"Super Bath" Jacuzi Tub -- jets louder than a real jet, cold, large capacity, on well/septic - removed

Alarm system (we have fur alarms)

Intercom

Wood burning fireplace (heat sync and blackens the walls)

Whole house fan -- either too cold or too humid to use much

Heat pump -- replaced with dedicated A/C and oil furnace for heat (no natural gas to house)

Under cabinet counter top lights (burn hot, cause horrific glair)

Over-the-range microwave (good) with built in exhaust (lousy)

Formal living/dining room (we just don't use it but DW is a traditionalist)

***

Fixed:

Missing house wrap, and sheathing - stiff breeze made the curtains move before the new cement board siding, full sheathing, and house wrap

Concrete driveway replaced aging blacktop

Upgraded interior hardware -- hate hollow cheap door knobs

Moved laundry from main to second floor

Walk in curb less ceramic tile shower replaced plastic shower bath tub insert

Portable generator for power outage to keep fridge/freezer/furnace/well pump operative
A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you're doing it right, but not enough to know you're doing it wrong. — Neil deGrasse Tyson

remomnyc
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby remomnyc » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:00 am

Gratuitous:
- Swimming pool: Not only is it expensive (or time consuming if you do it on your own) to maintain, it is also a huge liability.
- Jacuzzi tub: Used once in 12 years (the week we moved in for the novelty factor).
- Fireplace: A fire is charming but not a source of heat and a pain to clean up after.

Priceless:
- Great view: We enjoy our wall to wall windows and great view every day. Tough to walk away from even though we need more space.

When my parents bought their current house, the first thing they did was fill in the swimming pool.

NYGiantsFan
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby NYGiantsFan » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:04 am

Jacuzzi bathtub. It takes 10 mins. to fill up and no one in the family wants to wait that long.
Formal dining table and china cabinets We never used that for formal dining. It ended up becoming study table for our son.
Dish washer Spouse doesn't like to collect dirty dishes and doesn't want to run half empty dishwasher. Dishwasher is currently being used as drying rack for dish washed in sink. :wink:

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englishgirl
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby englishgirl » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:17 am

We moved last year, and we had drawn up a list of things we wanted and didn't want and stuck to it. It made house hunting a little difficult but in the end we found a great house.

Wants that we we use a lot:
separate tub in master bath (but NOT jetted)
screened in porch
only one place to eat that is its own space but not a separate formal dining room (the living room is kind of L-shaped so the dining table has a specific spot)
glass shower door (super easy to keep clean if you have a rule to squeegee it after every shower)
parking for 2 cars
garage with laundry in it (or a separate laundry room would have been nice)
granite kitchen counters (ours are black - very easy to maintain)

Didn't wants:
Pool (the old pool in my house was just a money pit)
attached neighbors
large yard to maintain (we are in a gated neighborhood where they do all the maintenance)
Sarah

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alpenglow
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby alpenglow » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:32 am

Rupert wrote:It appears the big loser in this thread is the giant, jetted bathtub. Swimming pools are a close second. Are you listening home builders?


and
It looks like a nice view is the big winner.

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Meg77
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Meg77 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:46 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
skjoldur wrote:. . .But mostly we want better outdoor space with a view. It's encouraging to hear all of the comments hear about how that doesn't really get old.

We have a nice view of our own, but even though our neighbor is a lawyer, he can't charge us for the borrowed view of his pond that we see out our bedroom window.


We bought our townhome specifically because of the great view of the city skyline from the rooftop deck. At the time I thought it was a waste and that a rooftop deck would rarely be used (like most pools, hot tubs, and yards), but we actually spend a ton of time up there, mainly because we invested a lot in plants, an outdoor kitchen and comfortable higher end furniture. The view really does not get old, and I know it will be a major selling point if/when we ever sell. There are lots of town homes like ours, or even nicer ones, but it's hard to replicate a good view!

Most of our neighbors are rarely on their decks though, even those with a similar view. Most of them have hot tubs up there, and the ones we've talked to ALL say they regret the purchase and want to remove them but haven't due to the cost/hassle. Also though, most of our neighbors haven't put much into making their roofs a true outdoor living space. This is true for most backyards too. Of course you're not going to spend much time there if you just have a metal table and some ratty chairs along with a simple grill. We got the nicer wicker-looking furniture with comfortable cushions, put in a fire pit and some planter boxes, and also built in a grill, fridge and bar with (comfortable) stools that face the skyline. I love to go up there to have my coffee in the morning or a wine in the evening and watch the cranes start moving, or the sunset followed by the city lights coming on. We also try to find reasons to entertain due to the space.
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PandaBear
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby PandaBear » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:53 am

I've noticed a lot of people mention central vac. What exactly is that? It sounds like some sort of Roomba.

Valuethinker
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Valuethinker » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:08 pm

Hi

I don't know where you live but some of these surprised me.

mrc wrote:Pool (above ground) - removed


If you have kids under about 12, they are great. In ground has the snob value, above ground do the work just as well. BUT other than that, no one seems to get value out of them.


Wood burning fireplace (heat sync and blackens the walls)


Something wrong with the installation? Yes it blackens the *chimney". But the walls? That could imply it is quite dangerous. You do have to have your chimney swept periodically. We have a gas effect fire which does just as nice a job (and no, it doesn't produce a usable amount of heat). Friends in Ontario have wood fires (fireplace has glass doors) and it significantly warms the place (heats up the surrounding brick, which then radiates heat all night). In fact, the main problem is it warms the room *too* much.

You do need a good source of dry wood though, or the ability to store in a dry place, in bulk, for 1-2 years to dry it out.


Heat pump -- replaced with dedicated A/C and oil furnace for heat (no natural gas to house)


There was something wrong with your installation? An AC is effectively a heat pump. And I've never heard of an oil furnace being cheaper to run than an Air Sourced Heat Pump *unless* you get a lot of days down 10 degrees F or below? Oil furnace you have a storage tank-- that brings risks. And OK oil prices are low right now, but they will always be volatile.

Under cabinet counter top lights (burn hot, cause horrific glair)


We have LED strings from IKEA. There is no heat, and even with a light coloured (synthetic stone) counter top, no noticeable glare (using 2700k "yellow" lights rather than 3000K "daylights"). Wouldn't be without them, now.


Formal living/dining room (we just don't use it but DW is a traditionalist)


The modern tendency is towards open plan with "zones" indicated by subtle visual touches. That said, when your kids get to be over about 9, you want places you can seal them off, and places where adults can retreat to. The Victorians would have a separate front parlour only used for "visiting" by neighbours and relatives (and clergy, etc.) and I think if your kids are 10-18, that is not a bad idea.

***


Moved laundry from main to second floor


We were advised against that when we built attic extension. You need a special tray and electricity supply for washer & dryer? And the risk of a backed up washing machine flooding the floor and ceilings below is always there. I think the traditional fit is laundry room on main floor (British homes don't tend to have basements) or basement.

Valuethinker
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Valuethinker » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:10 pm

Meg77 wrote:
TomatoTomahto wrote:
skjoldur wrote:. . .But mostly we want better outdoor space with a view. It's encouraging to hear all of the comments hear about how that doesn't really get old.

We have a nice view of our own, but even though our neighbor is a lawyer, he can't charge us for the borrowed view of his pond that we see out our bedroom window.


We bought our townhome specifically because of the great view of the city skyline from the rooftop deck. At the time I thought it was a waste and that a rooftop deck would rarely be used (like most pools, hot tubs, and yards), but we actually spend a ton of time up there, mainly because we invested a lot in plants, an outdoor kitchen and comfortable higher end furniture. The view really does not get old, and I know it will be a major selling point if/when we ever sell. There are lots of town homes like ours, or even nicer ones, but it's hard to replicate a good view!


I guess it depends on the weather? How many months a year is it comfortable to use? I agree views are great, but only if you can use them.

Most of our neighbors are rarely on their decks though, even those with a similar view. Most of them have hot tubs up there, and the ones we've talked to ALL say they regret the purchase and want to remove them but haven't due to the cost/hassle. Also though, most of our neighbors haven't put much into making their roofs a true outdoor living space. This is true for most backyards too. Of course you're not going to spend much time there if you just have a metal table and some ratty chairs along with a simple grill. We got the nicer wicker-looking furniture with comfortable cushions, put in a fire pit and some planter boxes, and also built in a grill, fridge and bar with (comfortable) stools that face the skyline. I love to go up there to have my coffee in the morning or a wine in the evening and watch the cranes start moving, or the sunset followed by the city lights coming on. We also try to find reasons to entertain due to the space.


One definitely doesn't want the neighbours to have one that they use for entertaining ;-). One wants to have one, oneself ;-).

Valuethinker
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Valuethinker » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:18 pm

englishgirl wrote:We moved last year, and we had drawn up a list of things we wanted and didn't want and stuck to it. It made house hunting a little difficult but in the end we found a great house.

Wants that we we use a lot:
separate tub in master bath (but NOT jetted)


English ;-).

screened in porch


English people are amazing naive about the North American mosquito ;-). When I tell them about small children being seized and carried off by the critters, they just don't believe me ;-). Winnipeg is not only nearly the geographic centre of the Continent, it is also unbelievably cold in winter, and it sits on the Red River Delta. So it is the mosquito capital of Canada ;-).

only one place to eat that is its own space but not a separate formal dining room (the living room is kind of L-shaped so the dining table has a specific spot)
glass shower door (super easy to keep clean if you have a rule to squeegee it after every shower)


Yes amazing (glass doors). And re the first, previous owners knocked out the wall between the (late Victorian) front parlour and the dining room, the result is a space painted (and with folding doors) that is cosy and dining, and one that is light and living (and happens to face nearly due south). A great combination.

parking for 2 cars


I am amazed, in North America, that one could sell a home without that

garage with laundry in it (or a separate laundry room would have been nice)


Yup. Especially given how much laundry someone living in Florida would do ;-).

granite kitchen counters (ours are black - very easy to maintain)


Putting them in is expensive. But if they are already there.... they will date, but the next buyer is likely to replace anyhow.

Didn't wants:
Pool (the old pool in my house was just a money pit)


Besides alligators taking up residence ;-) (I read Carl Hiassen, I know these things ;-). I imagine in the Florida climate, pools are overrated.

attached neighbors


It was for these, that the Founding Fathers gave Americans the Second Amendment ;-).

large yard to maintain (we are in a gated neighborhood where they do all the maintenance)


Again. Florida. OK you can use it in winter, but in summer? If you have kids, then they are nice, as long as you can get a nice game of footie going ;-). Also in that climate they will be a *lot* of work.

I imagine our friend the blood sucking insect is also fond of garden parties ;-). Home paraquat supplies? Canadians make these extreme forms of DEET, which probably should be banned as potential carcinogens (but Canadians would bootleg them ;-).

GoldenFinch
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby GoldenFinch » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:30 pm

We bought a six bedroom, six bathroom, four fireplace, house when we were thirty with one kid. So we had to have three more kids to fill up the bedrooms and we made the extra bedroom into a playroom. We only really use one fireplace. Nobody needs six bathrooms. We still are here twenty years later, but we never needed most of the house. It is old and charming though. :happy

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HomerJ
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby HomerJ » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:39 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:I like our glass doors, because it is nice and warm and steamy inside, and bracing outside the shower in the winter. I haven't timed myself on cleaning them with a squeegee after a shower, but I doubt that it takes more than 15 seconds.


Heh, we have a walk-in shower at our main house, and glass doors on the shower at our lake condo, and yes it may only take 15 seconds, but man, it bugs me to squeegee those doors after every shower... I want to dry off with a big fluffy towel, not bend over cleaning glass doors at the end of my shower!

To the OP... the main gratuitous item we have in our home is the formal dining room. We never use it. Complete waste of space.

bluebolt
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby bluebolt » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:10 pm

yellowgirl wrote:You won't regret a house with view and privacy. Anything else can be fixed.

Except location. Can't fix location.

I live in an amazing location very close to my neighbors. Wouldn't give it up for any view or additional privacy.

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mrc
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby mrc » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:25 pm

Valuethinker wrote:Hi

I don't know where you live but some of these surprised me.

mrc wrote:Pool (above ground) - removed


If you have kids under about 12, they are great. In ground has the snob value, above ground do the work just as well. BUT other than that, no one seems to get value out of them.

No kids. The pool was too cold most days, and very high maintenance. I poked a hole through the liner during the first spring cleanup -- so we removed.

Wood burning fireplace (heat sync and blackens the walls)


Something wrong with the installation? Yes it blackens the *chimney". But the walls? That could imply it is quite dangerous. You do have to have your chimney swept periodically. We have a gas effect fire which does just as nice a job (and no, it doesn't produce a usable amount of heat). Friends in Ontario have wood fires (fireplace has glass doors) and it significantly warms the place (heats up the surrounding brick, which then radiates heat all night). In fact, the main problem is it warms the room *too* much.

You do need a good source of dry wood though, or the ability to store in a dry place, in bulk, for 1-2 years to dry it out.

Had the chimney inspected. Any heat produced a) tricked the thermostat into freezing the upstairs, and b) the draft sucked out conditioned warm air. Burning wood will soot the house -- even with a properly functional system -- you just my haven't seen it yet.

Heat pump -- replaced with dedicated A/C and oil furnace for heat (no natural gas to house)


There was something wrong with your installation? An AC is effectively a heat pump. And I've never heard of an oil furnace being cheaper to run than an Air Sourced Heat Pump *unless* you get a lot of days down 10 degrees F or below? Oil furnace you have a storage tank-- that brings risks. And OK oil prices are low right now, but they will always be volatile.

IMHO heat pumps just make it less cold. It was a fine AC but lousy in the winter. The oil furnace was for "emergency" heat (e.g., when it gets cold). Already had the tank (new and above ground) for the furnace and hot water. Oil may not be cheaper than heat pump, but we find it way more comfortable.

Under cabinet counter top lights (burn hot, cause horrific glare)


We have LED strings from IKEA. There is no heat, and even with a light coloured (synthetic stone) counter top, no noticeable glare (using 2700k "yellow" lights rather than 3000K "daylights"). Wouldn't be without them, now.

These were halogen and very hot. I may replace with LED at some point. But to the OP, these were just not as useful as I expected.

Formal living/dining room (we just don't use it but DW is a traditionalist)


The modern tendency is towards open plan with "zones" indicated by subtle visual touches. That said, when your kids get to be over about 9, you want places you can seal them off, and places where adults can retreat to. The Victorians would have a separate front parlour only used for "visiting" by neighbours and relatives (and clergy, etc.) and I think if your kids are 10-18, that is not a bad idea.

1987 build, so still quite traditional floor plan. We could re-purpose the DR, but that makes DW unhappy.
***


Moved laundry from main to second floor


We were advised against that when we built attic extension. You need a special tray and electricity supply for washer & dryer? And the risk of a backed up washing machine flooding the floor and ceilings below is always there. I think the traditional fit is laundry room on main floor (British homes don't tend to have basements) or basement.

We have metal safety hoses on the laundry, and turn off the feed when going away. I ran the wiring myself (both the washer and dryer are 220v and very efficient). The only upstairs leak we have experienced was on the bathtub hot side supply. Destroyed the DR floor and ceiling. Something to be said for a rambling ranch on a slab I guess.

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queso
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby queso » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:39 pm

1) Jetted tub in master bath. Used twice.
2) Formal dining and living rooms (only used on holidays and we don't host every year so kind of a waste of space)
3) Gas fireplace (we use one of them, but the other one never gets turned on)
4) Steam Shower (used a couple of times, but we're usually in a hurry so don't bother with it)
5) Built in bar - looks kinda nice, but in reality we fold clothes on it and it only gets used once every couple years

Seemingly gratuitous item that we don't regret: whole house generator.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby TomatoTomahto » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:54 pm

HomerJ wrote:
TomatoTomahto wrote:I like our glass doors, because it is nice and warm and steamy inside, and bracing outside the shower in the winter. I haven't timed myself on cleaning them with a squeegee after a shower, but I doubt that it takes more than 15 seconds.


Heh, we have a walk-in shower at our main house, and glass doors on the shower at our lake condo, and yes it may only take 15 seconds, but man, it bugs me to squeegee those doors after every shower... I want to dry off with a big fluffy towel, not bend over cleaning glass doors at the end of my shower!

To the OP... the main gratuitous item we have in our home is the formal dining room. We never use it. Complete waste of space.


See, that's where my username comes from. We also differ on how we like to dry off after a shower. I hate fluffy towels; I would spend a lot to get cheap, worn, scratchy towels that absorb water but are anything but soft. I found that a cheap towel from Bed Bath & Beyond works best. I like to get my blood flowing after a shower, and "luxurious, soft, fluffy" towels just don't get it done. You have to love the fact that tastes differ so much, even among otherwise sane people :D

Let me add one more thing to the gratuitous list: a bathtub. We have one in our house, and perhaps it would be difficult to sell to parents of young children without one, but we have not used it for years. We have 4 bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms/showers (two with radiant heat), a standalone shower, and a standalone tub/shower with a curtain. And, fwiw, every one of the showers has glass doors.

:sharebeer

Texanbybirth
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Texanbybirth » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:57 pm

Our master bath has three walk-in closets, and every bathroom (3) has two types of fan: the fan to get the "smell" out, and the heater fan type thing. As you can tell by my username, we're in Texas. The heater far type thing is COMPLETELY gratuitous, but my wife does love it.

(We did, however, consider those things gratuitous before we bought the house; they simply weren't dealbreakers.)

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Elsebet
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Elsebet » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:19 pm

henry wrote:Jetted whirlpool tub. Have used it only a few times in 12 years. It's a bit noisy and I'm just not a bath person. Have considered removing it and making my stall shower larger.


Our home came with one of these tubs. I've never actually used it as I hate baths and prefer showers, however I did find several other uses for it:

- fill it up in times of bad weather for toilet-flushing water if the power goes out (we're on a well)
- use it to soak all of our white towels in Oxy-Clean, we are on septic and can't use bleach; our front load washer leaves something to be desired for soaking
- very easy to give both dogs a bath in it at the same time since it's so large

texasdiver
Posts: 2204
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Location: Vancouver WA

Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby texasdiver » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:23 pm

Texanbybirth wrote:Our master bath has three walk-in closets, and every bathroom (3) has two types of fan: the fan to get the "smell" out, and the heater fan type thing. As you can tell by my username, we're in Texas. The heater far type thing is COMPLETELY gratuitous, but my wife does love it.

(We did, however, consider those things gratuitous before we bought the house; they simply weren't dealbreakers.)


I replaced the incadescent heat lamp bulbs in all my baths with R40 LED bulbs that use much less electricity and don't put out heat but still light up the room nicely. So far no one seems to have noticed including my wife. :D

livesoft
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby livesoft » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:52 pm

I'm liking my house even more after reading this thread. We have house guests this weekend and every room, every tub, every shower is being used.

The master bathroom has 7 doors if one includes the shower door. We don't squeegee the glass door because that's what the maids do.

The dog uses the back yard, so can't give that up. :)
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Meg77
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Re: gratuitous homeownership items

Postby Meg77 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:04 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Meg77 wrote:
TomatoTomahto wrote:
skjoldur wrote:. . .But mostly we want better outdoor space with a view. It's encouraging to hear all of the comments hear about how that doesn't really get old.

We have a nice view of our own, but even though our neighbor is a lawyer, he can't charge us for the borrowed view of his pond that we see out our bedroom window.


We bought our townhome specifically because of the great view of the city skyline from the rooftop deck. At the time I thought it was a waste and that a rooftop deck would rarely be used (like most pools, hot tubs, and yards), but we actually spend a ton of time up there, mainly because we invested a lot in plants, an outdoor kitchen and comfortable higher end furniture. The view really does not get old, and I know it will be a major selling point if/when we ever sell. There are lots of town homes like ours, or even nicer ones, but it's hard to replicate a good view!


I guess it depends on the weather? How many months a year is it comfortable to use? I agree views are great, but only if you can use them.

Most of our neighbors are rarely on their decks though, even those with a similar view. Most of them have hot tubs up there, and the ones we've talked to ALL say they regret the purchase and want to remove them but haven't due to the cost/hassle. Also though, most of our neighbors haven't put much into making their roofs a true outdoor living space. This is true for most backyards too. Of course you're not going to spend much time there if you just have a metal table and some ratty chairs along with a simple grill. We got the nicer wicker-looking furniture with comfortable cushions, put in a fire pit and some planter boxes, and also built in a grill, fridge and bar with (comfortable) stools that face the skyline. I love to go up there to have my coffee in the morning or a wine in the evening and watch the cranes start moving, or the sunset followed by the city lights coming on. We also try to find reasons to entertain due to the space.


One definitely doesn't want the neighbours to have one that they use for entertaining ;-). One wants to have one, oneself ;-).


It does depend on the weather, and in the heat of summer we are up there a lot less (we are in Dallas). But it's actually really fun when our neighbors use their roofs too. It makes our view better to glimpse other well-kept and well-used decks and adds to the cool urban feel when we can see lights and people on other rooftops. More importantly though, we have really gotten to know two other couples well via introductions that started on our respective roofs. A third former neighbor who had the home adjacent to ours was throwing a party at the same time we had friends over a few years ago, and we combined parties. My husbands' best friend met his now wife that night on our neighbor's roof.
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