Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

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Erwin007
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Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by Erwin007 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:26 pm

As I’ve started looking towards the New Year and making goals and plans, I realized that we’ve been in our current home for 3.5 years. Aside from the 5 years we spent in our house in residency, this is the longest we’ve been in one house due to the nomadic schooling life we have lived. I don’t anticipate us moving unless something very drastic happens.

Our home was built 6 years ago, and we like the layout and fixtures so don’t anticipate needing to do any type of remodeling for many years. My question for the forum is, for those of you who have lived in the same house for many years, what are some improvements or updates you did early in your home ownership that improved your life or happiness with your home? Or, for those who made later improvements, what are some things you wish, in retrospect, you had done sooner?

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dodecahedron
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by dodecahedron » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:36 pm

Lived in this house for 28 years.

1) Removed the inground pool last year. I wish we had done it long before that.

2) Had cold, hard, dark quarry tile in the kitchen until last year. It was located over an unheated garage space and it was constantly cracking and breaking. We would get the cracked or broken tiles replaced only to have them crack or break again within a few years. It was a dangerous tripping hazard as well as unsightly. Also any plates, glasses, mugs that were dropped on that floor would break. Finally decided to have all the quarry tile ripped out and replaced with nice resilient, forgiving, warm, brighter, far more attractive lighter floating cork planking. (Having all the quarry tile removed was a majorly messy project due to the adhesive that had been used for the tile but now so happy to have this new click'n'lock flooring in place.) Again, I wish we had done it long before that.

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MikeWillRetire
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by MikeWillRetire » Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:34 pm

I have been in my house now for 24 years. Early on, I built a brick patio while my neighbors built wood decks. That patio has been maintenance free all these years. Not so with those decks.

ClaycordJCA
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by ClaycordJCA » Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:45 pm

Our house is 18 years old. We updated the kitchen after about 10 years with custom cabinets, six burner premium gas stove, venting the exhaust to the outside, getting a slightly larger island. Love the new kitchen. So much easier to cook. If you are thinking of updating the kitchen and like to cook, do it as soon as you can.

The second major upgrade was adding a solar system. My electricity charge last month was $10.50. I consider it to be a no brainer - it is better for the environment and will pay dip or itself.

2comma
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by 2comma » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:51 pm

Strange, I have comments on all of the posts with some bonus comments. Bonus first. My wife really wanted a sunroom addition, I said we'd never get our money out of it but here 15 years later it's where we spend most of our time.

WE are slowly converting all of our house to tile. We love tile but I've learned that if the substrate is not correct you'll get problems with cracking, there are fomulas tile setters use to get it right but there are many that cut corners or just don't know what they are doing. My last house had resilient tile, it looked great and now 25 years later I hear it still looks good, divorced so my son tells me so. Still, I'll stick with porcelain tile throughout, virtually indestructible, easy to clean, I'm using an epoxy grout, it should be good for at least 50 years.

We put in a paver patio and did all of the prep correctly. I'm not thrilled with the pavers look, my wife chose, but in 15 years it's as solid as concrete. It was a lot of work but it will out last a wood deck by many decades.

We updated our kitchen, again DIY for most, solid maple cabinets to the ceiling added much needed space, granite countertops, huge SS sink, top of the line faucet, custom built butcher block island, SS appliances my wife wanted (my chore to keep nice looking) and a solid surface SS stove (another pesky cleaning chore). She got what she wanted, we'll be here for a long time, so well worth the effort and expense to us and we get to enjoy it everyday.

If we were only going to be here a short while it would be a totally different economic.
If I am stupid I will pay.

MarvinK
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by MarvinK » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:05 am

I did a major renovation of my house 5 years ago.
Overall, invest in the quality items / areas that fit your life. Other items can be prioritized, delayed, etc.

Electrical: Successes: I didn't pay extra for LED lights, good thing because it was inexpensive to replace the bulbs for LED on my own. I have Cat 5e wiring for networking which has been flexible for locations in addition to wireless. I wired my own whole house stereo (instead of paying someone to do it) which was easy, and I haven't used it. Wired the security system with a local company which still works well. Exterior light boxes for christmas lights and tool have worked out well. Put in three exterior lights (optional) in a space my neighbor and I share - benefit is I've used the space better and it stays cleaner.

Plumbing/Mechanical: Miss: I skipped an exterior hose bib in one location, it would be nice to have it, and there's no easy way to get that redone. Successes: Radiant heat and combination hot water, cost a lot and was a specialty to put in, love it, low bills. Put in Kohler fixtures in the shower and bathrooms, love them. Handles move smoothly. Separate the toilet area from the shower area; that has been great with multiple people in the house.

Pets: Miss: I didn't have pets at the time, now I have 2, and sometimes foster more. Whether one has a dog, cat, parrot, etc. They all seem to have 20-40 pound bags of food/litter. And numerous supplies, towels, crate, etc. My next place I will definitely plan for the pet space and storage from the ground up. Also, separation doors/screendoor would be helpful. Washing pets also is easier with a warm water faucet at their height and tub or mini shower.

Mail: Through the wall mailbox. Love it. No more spilled mail on the front floor or outside where someone can steal it.

Insulation: Spray foam insulation. I took a chance on this and glad I did. Made a big sound difference for city living. Really keeps the cold air out.

Original wood windows (from 1880): Kept them and a local painting company made small repairs and used oil paint to repaint. Installed new storm windows on top. Love seeing the wavy glass.

FB01
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by FB01 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:06 am

ClaycordJCA wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:45 pm
Our house is 18 years old. We updated the kitchen after about 10 years with custom cabinets, six burner premium gas stove, venting the exhaust to the outside, getting a slightly larger island. Love the new kitchen. So much easier to cook. If you are thinking of updating the kitchen and like to cook, do it as soon as you can.

The second major upgrade was adding a solar system. My electricity charge last month was $10.50. I consider it to be a no brainer - it is better for the environment and will pay dip or itself.

How you expense you incurred for adding the solar system? Ball-park figure...

FraggleRock
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No regrets

Post by FraggleRock » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:34 am

Previous house - 24 years, built to our desires
This house - 6.5 years, built to builder’s desires. At the 6 year mark, spent $51K renovating the kitchen to our desires. Plan to spend 20 more years here. Miele ovens, Wolf hob, Sub-Zero refrigerator, SZ wine fridge, all drawers, no lower cabinets. Spent 3 years planning this reno.
Last edited by FraggleRock on Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

brennok
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by brennok » Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:39 am

Lived in the same house for 17 years or so. My biggest regret was not getting involved in the renovation process.

It is a family house that was renovated years before I moved in and I figured I would never live here so didn’t bother giving my input. 17 years later I am debating on gutting the house or moving. Every day it seems I discover something new or some corner that was cut that needs to be addressed.

I keep playing with floor plans, but can’t come up with something that will work while keeping the things I like and getting rid of the things I don’t. If I didn’t like the area and commute so much, moving would be a pretty easy decision.

OldSport
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by OldSport » Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:48 am

Adding garage storage, attic storage, and covering and enlarging the patio.

Theseus
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by Theseus » Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:52 am

We lived about 13 years in our prior house. When we decided to move we realized that to sell our house we had to finish the basement first. We ended up having to finish the basement to so we can sell it. We put up with all the construction and dust for weeks. I wish we had finished much earlier so we could have enjoyed it while we lived there.

In our current house, we finished the basement within two years of moving in. And I watch movies every weekend on my home theater. And we entertain people around our bar area regularly. Best money we have spent on home improvement.
Last edited by Theseus on Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

Diogenes
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by Diogenes » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:10 am

Renovated a home office, had a landscape designer redo the entire back 1/3 acre, bathroom remodel, garage upgrade, driveway replacement. Best decision we made though was to redo the house technology install professional quality security, including cctv and new structured wiring with a robust home network, and otherwise set up things to be absent. Regret the landscape work wasn't designed to be more hands-off, as now we only live there a couple months of the year. Thankfully we have a great landscaping company who has taken care of things for years, and we can monitor everything inside and out remotely.
It I would do-over, no more lawns!!

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GerryL
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by GerryL » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:57 am

Been in my house now 27 years (it was about 7 years old when I bought it as my first house). Around year 22, knowing that I wanted to stay here at least another 10 years, I had a whole house refresh: Paint, including woodwork, and all carpets and flooring. Lighting (love the LED). Also made modifications that slightly enlarged the kitchen by pushing counter out toward the area I use as an office and got all new cabinets (with deep drawers below) and a shallow pantry on a formerly blank wall. (LOVE it!)

The one thing I put off because I was going over budget was getting rid of the upstairs bathtub and replacing it with a tile shower. Had that done 3 years ago and am so glad I did. Makes the space feel much bigger.

One thing I did before doing the inside was to hardscape most of the small backyard. So glad I did that because it gives me a sort of outside living area in the warm months.

By the time I did the remodel/refresh I had been living here long enough to know what I wanted.

dekecarver
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by dekecarver » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:21 am

ClaycordJCA wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:45 pm
Our house is 18 years old. We updated the kitchen after about 10 years with custom cabinets, six burner premium gas stove, venting the exhaust to the outside, getting a slightly larger island. Love the new kitchen. So much easier to cook. If you are thinking of updating the kitchen and like to cook, do it as soon as you can.

The second major upgrade was adding a solar system. My electricity charge last month was $10.50. I consider it to be a no brainer - it is better for the environment and will pay dip or itself.
Hi, in regards to your solar system, my understanding is that solar systems are not cheap, how long have you calculated for the system to pay for itself?

harrington
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by harrington » Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:58 am

I built a new home 16 years ago. To save 10K I eliminated the third garage which I regret to this day.

Plymouth56
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by Plymouth56 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:12 am

We have been in our house 28 years,a small 1950's style rambler.
The remodel of our kitchen was a hit for us in the fact as we waited until we could afford to do it right.
Quality cabinets appliances, flooring etc all paid for with out a loan.

A hit and miss for us was replacing our worn out asphalt driveway with concrete 17 years ago.
A hit because the concrete still looks great with minimal cracking.
A miss because I should have widened the driveway at my garage entrance to accommodate another parked vehicle . :oops:
A big miss as at the time I had entertained thoughts of replacing my small cedar deck with a concrete slab.
I decided to keep the deck and 17 years of deck maintenance has been my punishment :wink:

Maya1234
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by Maya1234 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:21 am

Things we added that I realized were a "must have" after living here:

1) Big Mudroom with bench and lots of storage. Direct entry from garage.

2) Don't have room for a 3 car garage but a parking pad next to the driveway has been a huge plus

3) Remodel of kitchen with mostly deep drawers

Biggest thing we like about our house: non -open floor plan. Yeah I know most people love these but I don't want my guests sitting in the den or living room with a Birdseye view of my dirty pots and pans when I entertain. We liked that someone could watch tv in the den without everyone on the first fooor hearing it unlike at a lot of our friends open floor plan houses.

WhyNotUs
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by WhyNotUs » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:56 am

Insulation improvements- went to R-60 in attic and did a better job sealing everything up. It is much easier to keep the house comfortable

Solar- for those committed to a home, it makes sense

Locally made fixtures and furnishings- hiring local artisans for art, furniture, and dining room light make a huge difference
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX

investingdad
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by investingdad » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:09 am

We built two homes, our current house about eight years ago.

We modified the floor plan.

Wins
Finished the basement into a game room. Biggest expense was the carpet and pad, huge success. Feels wonderful under the feet. Recessed pot lights everywhere on different switches, dimmable. Great renovation.

Faced the house south southeast. Biggest win of all. Winter sun in the breakfast area bumpout off the kitchen is wonderful.

Fails
Just one. We badly undersized the laundry room / mud room from the garage. With two kids playing sports, this is the sole weakness of the house. It will resolve when they move out, but for now...ugh.

cherijoh
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by cherijoh » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:45 am

Erwin007 wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:26 pm
As I’ve started looking towards the New Year and making goals and plans, I realized that we’ve been in our current home for 3.5 years. Aside from the 5 years we spent in our house in residency, this is the longest we’ve been in one house due to the nomadic schooling life we have lived. I don’t anticipate us moving unless something very drastic happens.

Our home was built 6 years ago, and we like the layout and fixtures so don’t anticipate needing to do any type of remodeling for many years. My question for the forum is, for those of you who have lived in the same house for many years, what are some improvements or updates you did early in your home ownership that improved your life or happiness with your home? Or, for those who made later improvements, what are some things you wish, in retrospect, you had done sooner?
I haven't made a ton of updates to my house even though I've been there 20+ years, but I have done a few:
  • Some of the original windows got cloudy (poor seal?) pretty quickly so I went ahead and replaced all but a couple of transom windows and the side ones at the front door with top quality, double hung windows with much better insulative properties. I'm very happy with the upgrade.
  • I replaced the builder quality HVAC with a much better system about 10 years ago. The air conditioner is two-stage which allows a lot more moisture to be removed for a given temperature setting. I'm in the humid south, so this was really worth it to me as far as comfort goes AND I saw a decrease in my electric bill. I also put in an electrostatic air clearer at the same time which has helped with my allergies.
  • I added a unique tile back splash in the kitchen that I still love, although it was a really frustrating experience trying to find what I wanted at the time. These days it would have been a snap since kitchen upgrades are so popular.
  • Replacing cheap builder-grade appliances - although I should have done the dishwasher a LOT sooner!
It is time to replace the carpet, but I've decided to upgrade to hardwoods. I'm now in the process of investigating flooring choices and installers. (So far I've gotten as far as picking up some samples from the big box store to narrow down the color/stain) and started some research online. I should have considered them when I originally built the house, but I went with upgraded carpet and tile instead. I plan to tackle the floors after I'm retired later this year and have a chance to declutter my house prior to doing the work.

My house has a small footprint, so any kitchen renovations would be limited although new countertops and cabinets are on the list as a potential next project after repainting the interior and the floors. But I hear kitchen projects are a bear to live through so I'm a little bit ambivalent on this one.

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Watty
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by Watty » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:23 am

A couple do things that worked for us;

1) Put a natural gas fireplace in the existing wood fireplace. It is nice to be able to just turn it off when you are ready to go to bed since you can just close the vent. A few times we have had a prolonged power outage and it would keep the living room warm.

2) Hardwood floors in the main rooms and hallways. I don't recall the numbers but they were not a lot more expensive than getting good new carpets. We left carpets in the bedrooms since they did not need to be replaced since they get so much less wear and we like carpets in those rooms.

3) We had an unfinished basement that I semi-finished by putting up acoustical tiles and a few walls to make a seperate play room and workshop areas. This only cost a few thousand dollars since I did all the work except the new wiring. If some future owner want to fully finish the basement then it will not be hard for them to take out what I did.

One thing to do whenever your are doing a significant remodel is to do whatever you can to make the house more handicap friendly. In addition to working better if you are still in the house when you are elderly I have known several people that have temporarily ended up in a wheelchair for several months after things like car accidents. In one case they could not go home from the hospital until some modifications were done to their home.

likegarden
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by likegarden » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:13 pm

MikeWillRetire wrote : I built a brick patio while my neighbors built wood decks. That patio has been maintenance free all these years. Not so with those decks.

My experience differs. Our wood deck needs repainting every 3 years. But our brick patio attracts algae and moss on surface and in cracks, and needs spraying with a chemical twice a year.

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GerryL
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by GerryL » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:20 pm

likegarden wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:13 pm
MikeWillRetire wrote : I built a brick patio while my neighbors built wood decks. That patio has been maintenance free all these years. Not so with those decks.

My experience differs. Our wood deck needs repainting every 3 years. But our brick patio attracts algae and moss on surface and in cracks, and needs spraying with a chemical twice a year.
My stone paver patio does grow a lovely crop of moss. (I live in the Pacific NW, afterall.) I like the look, but when it gets out of control I can just scrape away patches with a hoe or edger. I do need to keep on top of the weeds that pop up between pavers, especially in the springtime. I do not expect my patio, which takes up 2/3 of my small backyard, to be pristine.

quantAndHold
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by quantAndHold » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:46 pm

My biggest "regret" is allowing the property manager to manage the renovation when we moved back into the house after using it as a rental for several years, instead of hiring my own guy. Among other things, the property manager and I spent several hours carefully choosing interior colors, then her incompetent painters came in and painted every room whatever color they felt like. We're still living with those colors.

The best thing we did was improve the insulation. Relatively speaking, it was inexpensive, and the house is much more comfortable now.

I also love the gas fireplace insert that the property manager put into our wood burning fireplace when the place became a rental. I wish we had done it years ago. After the first year or so we never really used the fireplace much when we had to deal with wood fires, because tending the fire was too much like work. Now that it's gas, we use the fireplace all the time.

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MikeWillRetire
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by MikeWillRetire » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:54 pm

GerryL wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:20 pm
likegarden wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:13 pm
MikeWillRetire wrote : I built a brick patio while my neighbors built wood decks. That patio has been maintenance free all these years. Not so with those decks.

My experience differs. Our wood deck needs repainting every 3 years. But our brick patio attracts algae and moss on surface and in cracks, and needs spraying with a chemical twice a year.
My stone paver patio does grow a lovely crop of moss. (I live in the Pacific NW, afterall.) I like the look, but when it gets out of control I can just scrape away patches with a hoe or edger. I do need to keep on top of the weeds that pop up between pavers, especially in the springtime. I do not expect my patio, which takes up 2/3 of my small backyard, to be pristine.
If you have a problem with algae/moss, I recommend a product called "Wet It and Forget It". You mix it up, spray it on, and wait a few months. Your patio will look like new again.

ifish100
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by ifish100 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:39 pm

Lived 14 years in previous house and 14 years in current house.

Wins
1) Current house has vinyl siding and vinyl windows. Previous house had wood windows and T111 wood siding. Really like the vinyl siding and like the vinyl windows even more, realizing many people will probably dislike vinyl siding. Keeping paint on wood windows is a challenge.

2) As another poster said, +1 on the brick patio. I did it myself and did a very high quality job on the prep work and laying the bricks, a lot of the success is in the prep work. Really like the brick patio compared to the cedar deck we also have. We enjoy it a lot of nights in the summer and on weekends. Something as simple as that is important as we live in a rather rural area, and the house is like our oasis, a great benefit to cost ratio.

3) When redoing the concrete driveway for a fence, at my wife's urging, she pushed for extending the driveway to more than just one parking space. It actually has 3 and it is probably my single favorite improvement. I was trying to watch the cost, but did it all myself (except for the finishing). It has received so much use with HS, college age, and now adult kids with a constant stream of friends and boyfriends/girlfriends. As a bonus it also is a great basketball court.

4) I would recommend making noticeable big improvements you know you will want while you can enjoy it, not right before you move out. We did that with our first house. For example if you have an old inefficient HVAC system, or old flooring etc that you will need to replace anyway... You never really know when you may actually have to move out, job change, etc...

ClaycordJCA
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by ClaycordJCA » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:06 pm

dekecarver wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:21 am
ClaycordJCA wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:45 pm
Our house is 18 years old. We updated the kitchen after about 10 years with custom cabinets, six burner premium gas stove, venting the exhaust to the outside, getting a slightly larger island. Love the new kitchen. So much easier to cook. If you are thinking of updating the kitchen and like to cook, do it as soon as you can.

The second major upgrade was adding a solar system. My electricity charge last month was $10.50. I consider it to be a no brainer - it is better for the environment and will pay dip or itself.
Hi, in regards to your solar system, my understanding is that solar systems are not cheap, how long have you calculated for the system to pay for itself?
California changed its net metering rules, so excess production from the system is no longer cashed out, which costs us about $400 a year. Our average bill is almost $300 less per month based upon 3 year comparisons before installation and the past 3 years. Panels are cheaper now than in 2012, so pricing for systems should be lower. After federal and state tax credits, the system was roughly $30K. So we should break even in little over 8 years, not considering any increase to the value of the house - we bought the system, didn’t lease. YMMV.

Mudpuppy
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by Mudpuppy » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:19 pm

Watty wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:23 am
One thing to do whenever your are doing a significant remodel is to do whatever you can to make the house more handicap friendly. In addition to working better if you are still in the house when you are elderly I have known several people that have temporarily ended up in a wheelchair for several months after things like car accidents. In one case they could not go home from the hospital until some modifications were done to their home.
This is my current quandary. My guest bathroom is only partially accessible and the master bathroom is not accessible at all. The guest bathroom is the standard long, narrow rectangle with the sink/cabinets next to the toilet and the toilet next to the tub. I have a relative in a wheelchair staying with me who is only capable of independent pivot transfers (no capacity to stand or walk). Fortunately, the guest bathroom toilet is located correctly to allow pivot transfers. But the bathroom is too small to manage a pivot transfer directly from the wheelchair to the shower chair and the toilet is too far away from the tub to allow a two-stage pivot transfer (wheelchair to toilet, then toilet to shower chair). So every shower requires an assisted transfer in a tiny, cramped space. It's not a fun time.

In looking at houses in the neighborhoods I would like, almost all of the guest bathrooms have the same layout as my current home. Very few have the layout recommended by my relative's occupational therapist: more square-shaped than rectangular, toilet in the far corner away from the door, toilet preferably against the wall so grab bars can be safely installed, no wall between the toilet and the door so there's room for the wheelchair to roll right up to the side of toilet, and tub/shower across from the toilet with plenty of space in between the two for pivot transfers.

I've only seen two homes come on the market in the neighborhoods I've been eyeing that meet the bathroom criteria. Both homes had other issues that would have required massive renovations in other parts of the house. One seemed to be a relatively common floor plan for its neighborhood though, so I have an alert on future listings of the same square footage.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:21 pm

Custom home neighborhood.

Wins:
Concrete tile roof (forever).
Stucco exterior. (no wood rot, permanent)
Synthetic "Trex" decking and exterior stairs all around (forever, no maintenance)
Zone gas heat/ac on each of 3 floors, separate systems. (low utility bills)
Gas fireplace (no cleanup)
Huge utility sink in the laundry room.
Finished basement.
Facing the house toward the view not the street.

Not so wins:
Barn/stable walls out of cedar which was pretty but needs maintenance.
12 foot entry driveway gate instead of 16 foot with double 8 foot gates. (hard for big truck deliveries)
Did not put in a fire sprinkler system.
Did not put in spray foam insulation in the attic.
Did not epoxy coat the garage floor.
Have 20 acres. Should've bought the 35 acre lot next door. Now $$$$$. Shucks.
Not finishing any of the outside landscaping. The longer you put stuff off, it never gets done.
(and much more)

j :D

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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by Mudpuppy » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:25 pm

Erwin007 wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:26 pm
Our home was built 6 years ago, and we like the layout and fixtures so don’t anticipate needing to do any type of remodeling for many years. My question for the forum is, for those of you who have lived in the same house for many years, what are some improvements or updates you did early in your home ownership that improved your life or happiness with your home? Or, for those who made later improvements, what are some things you wish, in retrospect, you had done sooner?
When I bought my current house, I delayed moving in for a month so all of the carpet could be pulled up and replaced with luxury vinyl (bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and dining room) and engineered hardwood (living room and family room). That was a big win on my part, because my allergies have been far more under control since moving. The allergies are not gone, but no longer do I wake up completely congested like I did when renting places with carpets. I also had a cat with allergies at that time and he was able to be weened off allergy medicine entirely after we moved in.

On the other hand, I procrastinated on replacing the wooden patio cover until pieces of it literally started falling off of it. I should have done that soon after moving in, since my inspector said it was close to end of life due to age and weathering. The new cover is a bit higher up too, so a little more light comes in to the family room now.

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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by 123 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:29 pm

When we remodeled the house prior to move-in we also "remodeled" the rear yard by replacing some marginal retaining walls, added a patio slab, and redid the drainage system to accommodate run-off.
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by topper1296 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:32 pm

I bought my townhouse as a "starter home" thinking I would just stay a few years and then buy a stand alone house. I've been here for over 11 years now and I still like it other than not having a garage. Due to homeowner association rules, I can't go a lot of remodeling, however I did upgrade the faucets, lighting fixtures and sealed the concrete on the patio. I would like to replace the flooring in the kitchen since it is starting to age and I don't know if this will count as remodeling, however I will have to replace most of my appliances before too long. They are all nearing the end of their useful life (washer, dryer, dishwasher, fridge, oven and hot water heater). I need to start researching the best time of the year to buy appliances to get the best deals and check into a discount if I buy multiple appliances at once.

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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by IowaFarmWife » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:46 pm

Our house is 50 years old, and we have lived here as a family since 1998. We are actually living in the house that my father in law built, and my husband grew up here. When we first bought it 20 years ago, we replaced all of the flooring and put in nice laminate in the main rooms and bedrooms. We also tore down some walls as the main rooms were rather choppy and we opened them up to have a more open look. We also tore down the old wall paper (several layers) and had the walls resurface and painted. In all, we put about 40K into the house, and we did a lot of the work ourselves. Fast forward to 2018, we need to do some more work on the house. My husband wants to replace the laminate flooring (I think it looks fine, he doesn't) and we do not have a garage. Just this morning we were discussing eventually having a garage attached to the house via a breezeway of some sort. My husband ( AKA Mr Spendypants) wants to remove our fireplace with either a gas insert or wood burning stove.

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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by radiowave » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:54 pm

Some wins:

- installed a large slop sink in the garage. My wife is a gardener, I tinker, we never have to come into the house dirty
- when we bough current house a few years ago, I had about 3 weeks of bare house before we moved in. I painted the entire interior of the house and also painted the entire garage drywall white and added florescent lighting (compared to the dingy single lightbulb, it's great)
- replaced the rear deck which was poured concrete, peeling and just yucky with trex deck and pavers on either side. also put in separate irrigation zones for daily or less than daily watering (see comment above re wife is a gardener).
- replaced old windows so now with it gets very cold, we don't have the cold air blowing in.
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by harrychan » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:28 pm

Nice thread.

7 years in this SFH originally built in 1945.


Win: Recessed lights. Spent about $120/light and it was the best money we soent. I cannot imagine how the previous owners got by with just lamps.

Miss: Upgrade the electricals. Now that we are moved in, we would have e to move out and relocate the furniture away from all the walls to tear out and upgrade the electricals of the house. Do this before you move in.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:18 am

We purchased a very old house about 15 years ago.
We never, ever expected to be in it long term, but it was DH's dream home.
(I had made $$$ twice by moving and getting that tax-free profit, so I was hoping for that. DH just doesn't want to move, until the stairs become an unbearable problem.)

But even though we "expected" to move "soon", after a couple of years, we totally renovated the two upstairs baths, which were ancient. Final straw was another huge plumbing bill.

We decided to go upscale "'for us", because we used those two bathrooms more than just about any other room other than our bedroom.
We loved how they turned out, and we love the functionality.

And here we are, 15 years later and counting.

However, the kitchen would have cost much more, and "we didn't expect to be here that long".
Well, here we are, 15 years later, still with the old kitchen. Two cabinet doors have come off and can't be put back easily, given how the hinges and support broke.

Main problem was that previous owners had put in thick and gorgeous granite countertops, many linear feet, on top of the OLD cabinetry, and we couldn't bear the thought of it cracking if we tried to work around.
Or the thought of the cost of replacing!
Also, the cooktop had a non-standard opening, and we just couldn't find a replacement that would fit without the risk of cutting out a "bar" of granite that went from front end to rear, about 2/3 the length of the extremely old cooktop/griddle/exhaust area.
Even so, there still wasn't anything standard that fit, and no vendor had any suggestion.

We'll probably get the cabinets refaced soon, and leave it at that.
We should have "done the kitchen", at least in part, some time ago.

RM
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by daveydoo » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:20 am

Over 20 years in this mid-range "spec" house that we intercepted before completion and changed a few things...

Glad we did:

Hardwoods up and down -- change or move the area rugs; always look nice. Plenty of water damage over the years, all of it invisible to anyone but us. Dents in the kitchen floor near the cupboards (canned tomatoes, anyone?), but it beats cracked tile.
Cheap fridge (they're disposable)
Gas fireplace insert (not a "gas log")
Original period chandelier (well, light) in dining room (Rejuvenation)
All bedrooms same level and close together (the early years); see below


Wish we had:


Mud room
Third garage bay (for ping-pong table years ago, fun car now)
Sink in the "toilet/shower bathroom-within-the-master-bathroom." Why they continue to do this I will never know
Bigger pantry/more cupboard space
All bedrooms far apart (the middle- and high-school years)
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by TheOscarGuy » Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:14 am

Erwin007 wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:26 pm
As I’ve started looking towards the New Year and making goals and plans, I realized that we’ve been in our current home for 3.5 years. Aside from the 5 years we spent in our house in residency, this is the longest we’ve been in one house due to the nomadic schooling life we have lived. I don’t anticipate us moving unless something very drastic happens.

Our home was built 6 years ago, and we like the layout and fixtures so don’t anticipate needing to do any type of remodeling for many years. My question for the forum is, for those of you who have lived in the same house for many years, what are some improvements or updates you did early in your home ownership that improved your life or happiness with your home? Or, for those who made later improvements, what are some things you wish, in retrospect, you had done sooner?
Lived in our current home for over 3 years. Changed carpet to wood everywhere except the basement before moving in. Also added insulation in attic and elsewhere. They have improved comfort and ease of cleaning (we have a dog) tremendously. Insulation was done a year after, in which we ended up paying for over 1000 gallon of heating oil due to poor insulation (ouch!)

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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by forgeblast » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:52 am

Pros!! Led bulbs, removed all the carpet and put in tile/hardwoods. replaced wood stove with a propane stove (look the same). Insulation, insulation insulation in the attic. New roof vented properly, Field stone that covered up the nasty chipping stucco. Ran all the gutters away from house, put in paverstone walk ways and patios.

Currently replacing 4 doors with better energy efficient doors. Moving our small galley kitchen to a large mud room and making the small kitchen into the mud room. Removing a whirlpool tub in our bedroom (don't ask we didn't build the house) to remove the last bit of carpet and put in hardwoods. Getting electrical updated (previous owner had noooo clue).

Want to do, so something with the t-111 siding to make it less maintenance.
Eventually pave driveway. replace deck boards with less maintenance type lumber.
More fencing, possibly a driveway gate, maybe a solar system. Large timberframe barn (just bought a sawmill).

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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by likegarden » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:56 am

You are young and able to climb, but retirees reading this should not buy a 2 story house because of climbing stairs in later years is not so easy.

In respect to fencing, neighbor had a poorly trained German Shepard dog who took my wrist in his teeth, so we got a fence. We had bad experience with a cedar fence which needed a lot of upkeep such as staining every 2 years. In spite of staining, horizontal wood was rotting within 10 years, and everything needed replacing after 20 years. We have now an aluminum picket fence with no upkeep. For a fence gate consider that lawn mowing and cleaning outfits need an opening of about 6 feet.

After buying our 2 story house we had gutters installed. It took some work for me to connect underground flexible 4 inch dia pipes to the gutter downspouts to lead rainwater far away from the house. Then you will have to cover the gutters against collecting leaves and other debris. The second story gutter and a gutter close to a large pine received Gutter Helmets, which worked fine. There is a learning experience. Since initially we had no gutters, we once started to get flooding in our basement during a 16 hr power outage (stayed up all night emptying sump every 20 minutes with buckets). Since then we have a battery powered backup sump pump.

You might need central AC. We initially used window ACs which finally got too bothersome as retirees. Now we have central AC.

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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by mak1277 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:09 am

Been in my house for 10 years now. Best thing I did was choose a house that didn't *need* anything done to it to satisfy our needs. Sure, there are minor projects that we've done purely for appearance but functionally the house is and was completely fine when we moved in. Just the way I like it...no fuss, no muss.

I don't enjoy projects.

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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by blaugranamd » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:29 am

mak1277 wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:09 am
Been in my house for 10 years now. Best thing I did was choose a house that didn't *need* anything done to it to satisfy our needs. Sure, there are minor projects that we've done purely for appearance but functionally the house is and was completely fine when we moved in. Just the way I like it...no fuss, no muss.

I don't enjoy projects.
Pros:
-Same. We've lived in this house (our first) for nearly 4 years now. Initially debated buying a cheaper home and spending the difference renovating to how we wanted. Glad we paid for one that was already renovated as I can't imagine having to deal with ripping up the house for months when we first moved in.
- Built a storage shed
- Didn't overspend like some of my friends did

Wishes:
-Put in spray foam insulation when we moved in. We're now looking to move in the next 1-2 years so it's no longer feasible but there's about a 5-10 degree swing from our addition (one register for a large room) and the opposite side of the house. I imagine this would have fixed some of this discrepancy.
-Outdoor fireplace on the patio.
-Gotten a house with more storage space, having no basement at all really makes it hard to stash all the baby stuff as they outgrow it.
-Convert the old wood burning fireplace that just has a gas insert into a vent-free gas fireplace. It's a bit drafty as it is and when running doesn't warm up the slightly colder (see above) addition much at all.
-Central humidification. Refilling room units daily in the winter is such a chore.
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by cheese_breath » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:46 am

I was too frugal and wouldn't pay the few extra bucks the builder wanted to install an outside electrical outlet at the front of the house. Now I have to run extension cords from the garage or out the front door to do anything there.
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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by dwickenh » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:50 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:21 pm
Custom home neighborhood.

Wins:
Concrete tile roof (forever).
Stucco exterior. (no wood rot, permanent)
Synthetic "Trex" decking and exterior stairs all around (forever, no maintenance)
Zone gas heat/ac on each of 3 floors, separate systems. (low utility bills)
Gas fireplace (no cleanup)
Huge utility sink in the laundry room.
Finished basement.
Facing the house toward the view not the street.

Not so wins:
Barn/stable walls out of cedar which was pretty but needs maintenance.
12 foot entry driveway gate instead of 16 foot with double 8 foot gates. (hard for big truck deliveries)
Did not put in a fire sprinkler system.
Did not put in spray foam insulation in the attic.
Did not epoxy coat the garage floor.
Have 20 acres. Should've bought the 35 acre lot next door. Now $$$$$. Shucks.
Not finishing any of the outside landscaping. The longer you put stuff off, it never gets done.
(and much more)

j :D
It is hard to get that landscaping done from the GOLF course.

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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:47 am

dwickenh wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:50 am
Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:21 pm
Custom home neighborhood.

Wins:
Concrete tile roof (forever).
Stucco exterior. (no wood rot, permanent)
Synthetic "Trex" decking and exterior stairs all around (forever, no maintenance)
Zone gas heat/ac on each of 3 floors, separate systems. (low utility bills)
Gas fireplace (no cleanup)
Huge utility sink in the laundry room.
Finished basement.
Facing the house toward the view not the street.

Not so wins:
Barn/stable walls out of cedar which was pretty but needs maintenance.
12 foot entry driveway gate instead of 16 foot with double 8 foot gates. (hard for big truck deliveries)
Did not put in a fire sprinkler system.
Did not put in spray foam insulation in the attic.
Did not epoxy coat the garage floor.
Have 20 acres. Should've bought the 35 acre lot next door. Now $$$$$. Shucks.
Not finishing any of the outside landscaping. The longer you put stuff off, it never gets done.
(and much more)

j :D
It is hard to get that landscaping done from the GOLF course.

:sharebeer
Many retirees say that they are busier in retirement that when working. So true.
Thus the importance of the OP addressing things taken care of early on for a long term residence, specifically retirement.
Because, once retired, there's: chores, "honeedoos", more chores, Dr. appts., naps, and golf.
j :D

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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by forgeblast » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:43 am

I can't Believe I forgot....Our Mini-Split System(Fujitsu halcyon) with Heat Pump. Not having to lug Ac units around is excellent!!!

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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by donaldc » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:22 pm

about 10 yrs ago, I decided to remodel my 20 year old house instead "moving up" because I wanted to keep my low California assessed value. My neighbor house pays 4x my property tax.

Below are my recommendations for remodeling. Main goal was comfortable and low cost maintenance home.

Exterior
garage door - I have wrought iron door. low maintenance. I didn't want wood due to maintenance
Precast concrete - I love the look. used thoughout my exterior. I should used more.
Front door - I have mahogany door. Regret I didn't use wrought iron door (due to maintenance)
Sunscreen - motorized. Preserves views while blocking sunlight. Great in winter months.
Solar panel. 30% tax credit ends in 2022. SoCal Edison sent me a check for $350 in my 12 month cycle
Tankless water heater if you have a pool or water. Tank heater so you have emergency water.
Hot water recirculator -don't wait for hot water.
Whole house water softener

Flooring -
Heated flooring - more efficient and great for walking in socks.

Interior
coffered ceilings - big fan of uplighting. I have 4 rooms with uplit coffered ceilings.
paneled ceilings - nice. I have one. I also have woven fabric on my ceilings.
crown molding - I have double and triple crown.
Door - 8 ft solid Brazilian mahogany - don't get those 6' 8" doors.

Windows - I have Anderson wood clad windows and French doors. low maintenance fiberglass exterior and beautiful wood interior. Avoid solid wood doors/windows which require painting/staining every few yrs. Cost is $5k on painting windows/doors. me - zero.
Other options are Composite door/window - some look just like wood but zero maintenance.
Consider folding panel doors if you want to open your space to outside. I regret I didn't get a big door unit.

HVAC
Consider Heat pump. More efficient than AC
Consider Whole house fan. Cools house with outside air.
Humidity controlled exhaust fan.

Wiring
Fiber optic. 2nd choice CAT6 ethernet. Place outlet in ceiling for ceiling mounted access point. I have router downstairs and access point upstairs via gigabit ethernet.
Surround Sound wiring - I have 3 systems - family, library and master.
Home theater room - Reference Dolby Atmos wiring for 5.1.4 or 7.1.4 (larger room)
Home automation system - Control 4. 2nd choice Samsung SmartThings. 3rd Homelink.
Smart thermostat and smart sprinklers. .
Our ceiling speakers are B&W via Sonos amp controlled phone or Echo
Home server - streams video, backups all 8 computers, iPads,
Video doorbell.

Plumbing -
Bathroom
Grohe - faucets. Replaced Kohler
Toto toilets - I have one ADA toilet. Wish all my toilets were ADA
Washlet - Requires electrical outlet. Toto is best IMO. GET THIS!!!
Towel heater - I like it in the winter. Wife thinks its a waste of money
Make up area - nice to sit down on a chair.. (can't do it at counter)
Shower - I have rain shower head and hand shower head.
Walk in closet - two (his and hers)
Steam shower. I had separate sauna room and Turkish steam room - never used them.

Kitchen
Steamer oven
walk-in pantry
warming tray
Chinese kitchen aka second kitchen
Consider island material different than counter. Friend has beautiful unique cut of marble (looks like painting) on island but granite on counters. Marble was cut in Brazil and finished in France. Another friend has 200 yr Tibetan monastery table as island.

Wine cellar
humidity and temperature controlled room.

temperature controlled Cedar closet - stored her fur coats.

Lightning -
Ceiling lights - smaller diameter the better. place everywhere so you don't need lamps. Separate ceiling halogen readings lights over every bed.

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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by daveydoo » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:12 am

^ Soooo...kinda hard for me to talk about my cool hose-bib after this :D
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

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Re: Long Term House—Any Regrets on things you didn’t do?

Post by Sandi_k » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:49 am

We were in our "starter home" for 20 years, and in our current home nearly seven. What we've learned:

You can spend a lot of money on things that buyers will never pay you for: roofs, electrical re-wiring, new front door, etc. But there is comfort in knowing that your house is weather-tight, up to code, and works well. Maintenance matters.

Upgrades that we were willing to spend on:

- Stuccoing the house. We had T-111 wood siding, and it took a beating in the direct sun. We could spend $15k every 5 years, or $30k to color-embed stucco. It's made a big difference in air-tightness and draftiness in winter.

- Better windows. We shopped and bargained hard to get upgraded Marvin fiberglass windows, dual pane with Argon. They replaced 30 year old aluminum windows that were not weather-tight.

- Lighting. Task lighting over counters and sinks, more central ceiling lights in other areas, and DIMMERS. The right lighting makes a huge difference in mood.

- Outdoor BBQ island, plumbed for natural gas. We spend half the year outside, and we use our outdoor kitchen more than our indoor kitchen during those months. We've cooked surf-and-turf on the grill for Xmas, and turkeys for Thanksgiving, too. So glad this was one of our first upgrades in the new house.

- When the 30 year old fridge in the "new" place died, we replaced both the fridge and the DW. Since our LRm shares an open concept with the kitchen, the quieter DW has been a great improvement.

- We had the laundry downstairs in the old house, on the main living level in the new; we vastly prefer having the laundry upstairs.

- We bought a house with very little landscaping both times - we have better things to do than yardwork on our weekends off.

- We are planning on master bathroom renos soon - we'll be removing the tub completely, and putting in a large shower, enlarging the water closet, and TILING the bathroom. I cannot understand people who put carpets in bathrooms. Ick!

- We painted the old house after living there for 8 years; with this house, we painted in the first 6 months. Good call. ;)

Regrets are not really the problem - cash flow is! ;) Best of luck in your planning.

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