PSA: Don't buy a big house

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bikechuck
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by bikechuck » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:28 pm

ThankYouJack wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:17 am
letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:11 am
Anyone figure out how to change the tall smoke alarms without buying a taller ladder? We have one on a perhaps 12 foor ceiling. My 14' orchard ladder is too tall to set up; the regular 6' ladder isn't tall enough.

I have the light bulb changing stick which works well, and all our other ceilings are 8-10'. Just this one gives us trouble.
I know you don't want to buy another ladder, but I have something similar to this ladder and love it - https://www.homedepot.com/p/Werner-22-f ... lsrc=aw.ds

Very versatile and the only ladder I need
Well that ladder is good for skinny folks but it is only rated for 250 pounds and I exceed that by a fair margin.

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Cycle
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by Cycle » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:32 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:10 am
dbapaddy wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:08 am
Don't buy an old house either unless you're excited about replumbing , replacing everything etc. sigh...I would buy a newer house next time.....
Or just buy an old house where that's already taken care of. Or budget for it.
Like mine. I'm the sucker who put hundreds of hours (thousands?) and 100k into rennovating a foreclosure, but now it's a fantastic property that won't require much work for some time. Now I know what to avoid in a house purchase.

We have 1100sqft and it is great and meets our needs. I do wonder what is going to become of these neighborhoods post personal car ownership in the coming years.

ArmchairArchitect
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by ArmchairArchitect » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:21 pm

McMansions suck from an architectural standpoint, especially when theyre with vinyl siding, but high ceilings are nice.

Just get LED bulbs, you'll never have to change them again. And get yourself a tall ladder.

Gray
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by Gray » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:00 pm

http://mcmansionhell.com

You’re welcome

2pedals
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by 2pedals » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:20 pm

Gray wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:00 pm
http://mcmansionhell.com

You’re welcome
"Curtains that look like diapers" 🤣

DanEmmy
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by DanEmmy » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:23 pm

jharkin wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:59 am
barnaclebob wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:10 am
dbapaddy wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:08 am
Don't buy an old house either unless you're excited about replumbing , replacing everything etc. sigh...I would buy a newer house next time.....
Or just buy an old house where that's already taken care of. Or budget for it.
Or don't get trapped into false idea that Old = Bad.

My house is over 200 years old. I have more problems with badly done renovations from the 1980s than I do with any of the original structure from the 18th century. The house is built like a fortress and will still be standing long after those McMansions are gone. I get complements on the charm all the time from folks sick of their dreary white on white modern caves.
Wow, that's great. I'm in the Boston 'burbs too and our house is 123 years old. It has its "charms" (like the $11k i just dropped on a new steam heat boiler...) but i wouldn't have it any other way. It was made when a 2x4 was actually 2" x 4"! hah

Calli114
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by Calli114 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:30 pm

Gray wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:00 pm
http://mcmansionhell.com

You’re welcome
Oh gosh, I had not looked at that for a LONG time, thanks.
The beige kitchen with white appliances. Must.Have. :shock:

madbrain
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by madbrain » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:51 pm

JackoC wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:34 pm
True of CFL's but not LED's IME. FEIT brand CFL's from Costco frequently lasted shorter than the 1yr warranty let alone the much longer estimate of life on the package.
My house has over 240 lightbulbs. We used FEIT CFLs from Costco in 2010. About half of them failed in 8 years. I had been replacing them with LEDs one at a time as they failed. I didn't have a single failure at less than 3 years. I know tihs because I write the date I place the bulb in service on each bulb with a marker.
This year, the FEIT LED prices dropped so low at Costco that I replaced all the working remaining CFLs with LEDs. A lot of them were taking a while to get to full brightness - inconvenient in the bathroom at night for example - and didn't reach as high peak brightness as before. Still, at 8 years, they exceeded their lifespan.
I wonder why we have such different experiences with the same bulbs. Probably has to do with the quality of local power. PG&E power isn't cheap, but seems it hasn't killed any equipment. I don't have a whole-house surge suppressor.

hmw
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by hmw » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:58 pm

LarryAllen wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:38 am
letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:16 am
What stick?
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercial- ... lsrc=aw.ds
+1. I use this to change light bulbs in my house. No need for a ladder.

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wander
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by wander » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:06 am

sunny_socal wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:47 am
Next time we're buying a much smaller house where everything is within reach :beer
When will be your next time?

Finridge
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by Finridge » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:10 am

sunny_socal wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:47 am

- Most light bulbs are out of reach without a very tall ladder
- Bulbs in the hallways and great room require a lift or uncommonly tall ladder (16-ft A-frame or higher)
You need this: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercial- ... /100354521

msk
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by msk » Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:20 am

Just a heads-up regarding LEDs. Their lifespan is considerably shortened if they run hot according to a Wikipedia entry I read asome time back. It's not always a great idea to install them in, e.g. recessed pots designed originally for tungsten halogens or other fixtures without adequate ventilation. Better change out the whole pot/fixture to one meant for LEDs. Main reason why I still use CFLs in my outdoor all-night fixtures (hot climate even at night) but the CFLs do seem to last 10k hours despite the heat. Next, an early LED failure could also be from the electronic circuit delivering the correct voltage/current. My suspicion is that this is more common with store-brand purchases than big name brands, possibly quality control issues when some manufacturer in far off China is hard pressed as to pricing.

denovo
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by denovo » Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:38 am

sunny_socal wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:47 am
We just moved from CA to TX. We ended up buying a McMansion compared to what we had before:
- 4 BR, 4BA
- 3750 sq ft (Note: For many I'm sure this will still be 'small'...)

Do you use all 3,700 sq. ft or are there empty rooms?
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

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unclescrooge
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by unclescrooge » Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:35 am

msk wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:20 am
Just a heads-up regarding LEDs. Their lifespan is considerably shortened if they run hot according to a Wikipedia entry I read asome time back. It's not always a great idea to install them in, e.g. recessed pots designed originally for tungsten halogens or other fixtures without adequate ventilation. Better change out the whole pot/fixture to one meant for LEDs. Main reason why I still use CFLs in my outdoor all-night fixtures (hot climate even at night) but the CFLs do seem to last 10k hours despite the heat. Next, an early LED failure could also be from the electronic circuit delivering the correct voltage/current. My suspicion is that this is more common with store-brand purchases than big name brands, possibly quality control issues when some manufacturer in far off China is hard pressed as to pricing.
Halogens emit significantly more heat than LED bulbs so that Wikipedia entry seems wrong.

IngognitoUSA
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by IngognitoUSA » Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:24 am

Best to buy a home that is 5 years old, all the major kinks have been worked out and finishing touches put in place. We learned that window treatment would cost about $15k on our house had we bought it new.

Jags4186
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by Jags4186 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:31 am

I guess I’m lucky I have a 1500 sqft house with 8ft ceilings. Having the central AC running all of July and August produced $130 gas and electric bills. Our gas/electric in October was $79 with the heat running intermitently.

I can change light bulbs on the tip of my toes! No grand entrance or great rooms though. Would be nice to have a family room on the main floor instead of the basement. Also a mud room would be really nice to have when coming in from doing yard work or when its raining.

an_asker
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by an_asker » Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:39 am

FlyAF wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:13 am
2pedals wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:11 am
For large and high ceilings, in the summer whole house fans can be used to reduce cooling energy expenses. Open your windows and the turn on the fan. The shutter opens and the fan draws in the cool air through the windows. The outside air should be cooler than the inside air. Turn it on at night when it's cool outside.
Not useful for the OP since he is in TX and it stays 8 billion degrees here all summer long.
Do I see a change in username (hot_sotex or hot_notex) coming up? ;-)

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jharkin
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by jharkin » Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:59 am

Calli114 wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:30 pm
Gray wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:00 pm
http://mcmansionhell.com

You’re welcome
Oh gosh, I had not looked at that for a LONG time, thanks.
The beige kitchen with white appliances. Must.Have. :shock:
That is my favorite website!! I love to show it to people who don't get why they are so ugly :)

London
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by London » Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:06 am

jharkin wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:59 am
Calli114 wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:30 pm
Gray wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:00 pm
http://mcmansionhell.com

You’re welcome
Oh gosh, I had not looked at that for a LONG time, thanks.
The beige kitchen with white appliances. Must.Have. :shock:
That is my favorite website!! I love to show it to people who don't get why they are so ugly :)
Different people like different things. While I respect her training on architecture, I think she discounts that tastes change over time. If there were blogs in the 1920's, likely people would have been complaining about Craftsman style houses versus whatever the norm was at the time.

I find all modern houses ugly. That doesn't make my opinion correct for others.

camden
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by camden » Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:55 am

To each his own with house sizes and styles.

I have always felt that whoever decided that building codes should mandate smoke detectors be placed at the apices of 18 foot ceilings did not give much critical thought to the concept of risk-benefit ratio. Dying or being critically injured in a house fire is certainly a risk, but a very small risk statistically; having worked in a few Emergency Departments in my time I’m pretty sure that risk is significantly exceeded by the risk of dying or being critically injured by a fall from a tall ladder trying to change a battery in one of those things.

alfaspider
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by alfaspider » Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:02 am

London wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:06 am
jharkin wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:59 am
Calli114 wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:30 pm
Gray wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:00 pm
http://mcmansionhell.com

You’re welcome
Oh gosh, I had not looked at that for a LONG time, thanks.
The beige kitchen with white appliances. Must.Have. :shock:
That is my favorite website!! I love to show it to people who don't get why they are so ugly :)
Different people like different things. While I respect her training on architecture, I think she discounts that tastes change over time. If there were blogs in the 1920's, likely people would have been complaining about Craftsman style houses versus whatever the norm was at the time.

I find all modern houses ugly. That doesn't make my opinion correct for others.
I don't think people would have criticized craftsman houses in the 1920s in the same way. Such houses were decidedly middle class commodity houses aimed at being inexpensive but serviceable housing- there was little pretense about them. The issue with McMansions is that they go out of their way to appear fancy by aping random features that might be found on real mansions, but then do it in a way that makes them more like a tacky knockoff than the real thing. These design features tend to be quite wasteful of space and energy inefficient (i.e. "grant staircases" and extremely high ceilings).

Rupert
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by Rupert » Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:05 am

London wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:06 am
jharkin wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:59 am
Calli114 wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:30 pm
Gray wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:00 pm
http://mcmansionhell.com

You’re welcome
Oh gosh, I had not looked at that for a LONG time, thanks.
The beige kitchen with white appliances. Must.Have. :shock:
That is my favorite website!! I love to show it to people who don't get why they are so ugly :)
Different people like different things. While I respect her training on architecture, I think she discounts that tastes change over time. If there were blogs in the 1920's, likely people would have been complaining about Craftsman style houses versus whatever the norm was at the time.

I find all modern houses ugly. That doesn't make my opinion correct for others.
I've got to disagree with you there. There are objective standards of beauty. Artists study them. Architects study them. Everyone knows them when they see them. The problem with McMansions, as that term is being used in this thread, is that, in contrast to the 1920s Craftsman-style homes you mention, they weren't designed by architects with those standards in mind. Very few residential structures are designed by architects anymore. And so we end up with houses worthy of the scorn heaped on them by sites such as mcmansionhell. In almost every city I'm aware of (except, apparently, those in Texas), the most-cherished neighborhoods -- the ones the cities most want to preserve with historic district designations, etc. -- are those full of Victorians, Edwardians, and 1920s Craftsman-style houses. Some of those houses, particularly those from the 1920s-1940s, may have been mass-produced and sold via catalog, but they were still designed by architects. Can you even imagine any neighborhood filled with McMansions receiving that treatment in the future? Can you imagine most McMansions surviving long enough to receive that treatment? I can't.

bogle2013
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by bogle2013 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:13 am

Has any scientist ever done any research into why the smoke detectors always beep in the middle of the night as opposed to 10am? it never fails. i know it is just coincidence, but it is maddening. in our house we have 7, and in the middle of the night it takes me some time to figure out which one is beeping b/c it only does it every 60 seconds. Usually i disconnect the bad actor and then replace them all the next day.

I have not seen the 10 year battery detectors. Anyone have a recommendation on the best option for that? 10 years would at least get me to the kids in college:)

researcher
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by researcher » Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:48 am

Rupert wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:05 am
In almost every city I'm aware of (except, apparently, those in Texas), the most-cherished neighborhoods -- the ones the cities most want to preserve with historic district designations, etc. -- are those full of Victorians, Edwardians, and 1920s Craftsman-style houses. Some of those houses, particularly those from the 1920s-1940s, may have been mass-produced and sold via catalog, but they were still designed by architects.

Can you even imagine any neighborhood filled with McMansions receiving that treatment in the future? Can you imagine most McMansions surviving long enough to receive that treatment? I can't.
Excellent point!
Well said.

lazydavid
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by lazydavid » Tue Oct 23, 2018 9:59 am

unclescrooge wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:35 am
Halogens emit significantly more heat than LED bulbs so that Wikipedia entry seems wrong.
It's not. Halogens emit a ton of heat but are not appreciably damaged by heat--in fact, they don't reach peak output until they get hot. LEDs do put off less heat, but do so in a very concentrated area that is susceptible to damage by heat. This is why all of the better-quality and higher-wattage LEDs have very large heat sinks that you'd never see on something like a Halogen bulb.

I've never seen a halogen bulb like this, have you?

Image

michaeljc70
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:09 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:49 pm
FlyAF wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:18 pm
Lots of replies touting the life expectancy of LED bulbs, are you guys working for these companies that manufacture them?

My new home was finished a year and a half ago. I've already had to replace some burned out recessed LED can lights. I got a laugh when the new ones showed up and packaging claimed a 35,000 hour life. I'm no mathematician, but somehow I don't think I've left any of these lights on continuously for years since before the house was built. :oops:
3 1/2 years and not a single LED has failed.

One of our smoke detectors started chirping last years (middle of the night, of course). They have a mute button that shuts them up for 13 hours (according to the manual). Reaching that button with a tall ceiling is a challenge by itself, of course, but I just used our long snow rake pole to poke it twice a day until I found a neighbor with a tall ladder. Used that opportunity to replace all smoke/CO alarm batteries with 10 year lithiums.

In about five years (assuming they last that long), I will either borrow that ladder again and do a proactive change, or I will get a handiman with a tall ladder, preferably when I can combine that task with other tasks for him/her.
Same here on the LEDs. It has been 4 years since I changed all the cans to LED cans (no bulbs). Not one has failed and they are on most of the day everyday.

dsmil
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by dsmil » Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:11 am

Low ceilings have been great for our utility costs. I figured that our costs would go up after moving from a townhouse to a single family, but they've gone down, and I think that the low ceilings are a contributing factor. With an underground basement and 7.5 ft ceilings throughout, it really keeps things reasonable.

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HueyLD
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by HueyLD » Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:17 am

bogle2013 wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:13 am
Has any scientist ever done any research into why the smoke detectors always beep in the middle of the night as opposed to 10am? it never fails. i know it is just coincidence, but it is maddening.
The well known smoke alarm maker Kidde says:

"It’s a sound nearly every homeowner has heard: the dreaded 2 a.m. chirp signifying a smoke or carbon monoxide (CO) alarm with a low battery. A survey conducted on behalf of Kidde Fire Safety, a leading manufacturer of residential fire safety products, ranked late-night low-battery chirps as homeowners’ top smoke alarm annoyance. So why does it happen? Kidde, a part of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), is setting the record straight — it’s a matter of the battery’s charge level and a home’s air temperature.

As a smoke alarm’s battery nears end of life, the amount of power it produces causes an internal resistance. A drop in room temperature increases this resistance, which may impact the battery’s ability to deliver the power necessary to operate the unit in an alarm situation. This battery characteristic can cause a smoke alarm to enter the low battery chirp mode when air temperatures drop. Most homes are the coolest between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. That’s why the alarm may sound a low-battery chirp in the middle of the night, and then quit when the home warms up a few degrees."

Texanbybirth
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by Texanbybirth » Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:30 am

bogle2013 wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:13 am
Has any scientist ever done any research into why the smoke detectors always beep in the middle of the night as opposed to 10am? it never fails. i know it is just coincidence, but it is maddening. in our house we have 7, and in the middle of the night it takes me some time to figure out which one is beeping b/c it only does it every 60 seconds. Usually i disconnect the bad actor and then replace them all the next day.

I have not seen the 10 year battery detectors. Anyone have a recommendation on the best option for that? 10 years would at least get me to the kids in college:)
I love our NEST Protect smoke detectors. Yes, they're pricey at basically $1/mo. :D

texasdiver
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Location: Vancouver WA

Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by texasdiver » Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:36 am

letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:11 am
Anyone figure out how to change the tall smoke alarms without buying a taller ladder? We have one on a perhaps 12 foor ceiling. My 14' orchard ladder is too tall to set up; the regular 6' ladder isn't tall enough.

I have the light bulb changing stick which works well, and all our other ceilings are 8-10'. Just this one gives us trouble.
I use one of these Little Giant folding ladders from Costco for my tall indoor maintenance issues. I think they are on sale right now. Works pretty good for extending high if what you are working on is on a wall or next to a wall. It will extend to a single 15' long ladder. It won't be high enough in the center of the room in stepladder form but will reach to the top of all but the most extreme McMansion walls. Much easier than dragging a big extension ladder or big orchard ladder into the house.

https://www.costco.com/Little-Giant-Meg ... 11832.html
Last edited by texasdiver on Tue Oct 23, 2018 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

lazydavid
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by lazydavid » Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:53 am

Texanbybirth wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:30 am
bogle2013 wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:13 am
Has any scientist ever done any research into why the smoke detectors always beep in the middle of the night as opposed to 10am? it never fails. i know it is just coincidence, but it is maddening. in our house we have 7, and in the middle of the night it takes me some time to figure out which one is beeping b/c it only does it every 60 seconds. Usually i disconnect the bad actor and then replace them all the next day.

I have not seen the 10 year battery detectors. Anyone have a recommendation on the best option for that? 10 years would at least get me to the kids in college:)
I love our NEST Protect smoke detectors. Yes, they're pricey at basically $1/mo. :D
I'll second this--have eight of them. Definitely an up-front investment, but they've been great. My oldest one is due for replacement on November 24th, 2020 (7 year lifespan on the 1st gen, 10 years on the 2nd). Assuming I don't replace it by then (despite knowing the date in advance), my understanding is the ring will glow yellow and I'll get a notification on my phone. No 3am chirping.
About two weeks before it expires, Nest Protect will light up with a yellow light. Wave at Nest Protect and it will say, “Nest Protect has expired. Replace it now.” Buy a new alarm and recycle the expired one. Make sure you test your new Nest Protect once it’s installed.

TravelforFun
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by TravelforFun » Tue Oct 23, 2018 11:08 am

My Texas home atrium is 20' tall and has a chandelier hanging on a may be an 8' chain connected to the ceiling. When I need to change bulbs on the chandelier, I go up to my second floor library where I can see the chain, and use a long poll with a hook to pull the chandelier closer to me. I can almost sit the chandelier on the library hand railing.

OP, you will adapt.

TravelforFun

tenkuky
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by tenkuky » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:01 pm

TravelforFun wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 11:08 am
My Texas home atrium is 20' tall and has a chandelier hanging on a may be an 8' chain connected to the ceiling. When I need to change bulbs on the chandelier, I go up to my second floor library where I can see the chain, and use a long poll with a hook to pull the chandelier closer to me. I can almost sit the chandelier on the library hand railing.
TravelforFun
:oops:
I'd rather pay someone to change a light bulb than do that. Just the image scares me

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mrc
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by mrc » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:06 pm

No one has mentioned my wife's objection to two-story foyers/great rooms and open floor plans of these McMansions: The noise is unbearable. Fire up a blender in the kitchen and the folks watching TV in a the great room can't hear the sound—even though it's often a different ZIP code.
If it’s not long term it’s small talk

Nicolas
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by Nicolas » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:17 pm

Deleted
Last edited by Nicolas on Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

srt7
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by srt7 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:41 pm

alfaspider wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:02 am
London wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:06 am
jharkin wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:59 am
Calli114 wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:30 pm
Gray wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:00 pm
http://mcmansionhell.com

You’re welcome
Oh gosh, I had not looked at that for a LONG time, thanks.
The beige kitchen with white appliances. Must.Have. :shock:
That is my favorite website!! I love to show it to people who don't get why they are so ugly :)
Different people like different things. While I respect her training on architecture, I think she discounts that tastes change over time. If there were blogs in the 1920's, likely people would have been complaining about Craftsman style houses versus whatever the norm was at the time.

I find all modern houses ugly. That doesn't make my opinion correct for others.
I don't think people would have criticized craftsman houses in the 1920s in the same way. Such houses were decidedly middle class commodity houses aimed at being inexpensive but serviceable housing- there was little pretense about them. The issue with McMansions is that they go out of their way to appear fancy by aping random features that might be found on real mansions, but then do it in a way that makes them more like a tacky knockoff than the real thing. These design features tend to be quite wasteful of space and energy inefficient (i.e. "grant staircases" and extremely high ceilings).
This. A hundred times this.

McMansions just scream “I have always wanted to live in a mansion but can not afford it.”

Now big houses that were custom designed for the users needs are a different story altogether.
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

srt7
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by srt7 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:47 pm

JBTX wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:34 pm
A lot of puzzling posts in this thread. We have lived in North TX 20+ years. We have a 2600 foot house, and I would say for people at or near our income level that is very small. Houses over 3000 Sq ft are not at all uncommon. I never considered 3500 Sq feet a mcmansion. You have to get much bigger than that. It would be nice to have more than 2600 with kids but we would probably just fill it up with more junk.

Not sure of the knock on Southlake. It is a nice area, but yes it is expensive but nothing like CA standards. I kind of wish we bought into Southlake 20 years ago. We probably would have 200k to $300k more appreciation and home equity.

It does probably make sense to look at nearby areas. One attraction to Southlake is the schools. In TX you pay for better schools with more expensive homes with higher property taxes.

Energy prices are much lower here although yiu will use a lot more. If you live here you just accept you are going to pay $3000-$5000 in energy costs. People complain about electricity but having a big nice home is more important to them. They drive all over the metroplex in large SUVs and pickup trucks.

Opening up the house isn't practical. We just stopped doing it. It goes from cold to hot. We have run the air conditioner and heater the same day. Spring and fall allergies are bad. Fall has mosquitoes.
Exactly! One has to have lived in TX to know that 3500 doesn’t make a McMansion. It takes a much bigger house to attain that classification.
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc

onourway
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by onourway » Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:17 pm

srt7 wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:47 pm
Exactly! One has to have lived in TX to know that 3500 doesn’t make a McMansion. It takes a much bigger house to attain that classification.
McMansion is more a poorly chosen combination of styles that generally attempt to make the house look more expensive than it really is rather than a specific square footage. Increasing square footage is cheap, so a McMansion is often overly large with lots of useless space, but there are plenty of sub-3500' sq. ft. houses that have all the makings of a true McMansion. :D

http://mcmansionhell.com/101

montanagirl
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by montanagirl » Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:24 pm

mrc wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:06 pm
No one has mentioned my wife's objection to two-story foyers/great rooms and open floor plans of these McMansions: The noise is unbearable. Fire up a blender in the kitchen and the folks watching TV in a the great room can't hear the sound—even though it's often a different ZIP code.
Same for the cavernous "rustic" log restaurants here in Montana...horrible noise..WTH.

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White Coat Investor
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by White Coat Investor » Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:51 pm

sunny_socal wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:47 am
We just moved from CA to TX. We ended up buying a McMansion compared to what we had before:
- 4 BR, 4BA
- 3750 sq ft (Note: For many I'm sure this will still be 'small'...)
- 0.75 acres
- 10-ft ceilings throughout
- 20-ft ceilings in hallways and 'great room'

In some ways it's great, there is space to breathe. However, it turns out those high ceilings are a major pain!
- Most light bulbs are out of reach without a very tall ladder
- Bulbs in the hallways and great room require a lift or uncommonly tall ladder (16-ft A-frame or higher)
- Fire alarms are installed in every room per latest code, even in the "crazy high" areas

Want to swap out a fan? Change one of those high bulbs? It's now $100/hr to call an electrician. I can't even imagine what painting this place is going to mean some day. And fire alarms tend to wear out their backup battery at 2AM the night before I have an important meeting at work :|

Next time we're buying a much smaller house where everything is within reach :beer
I like higher ceilings and wider hallways/doors and great rooms.

I find the downsides of a McMansion are much different - more to buy, transact, finance, insure, maintain, upgrade, landscape etc. The height of the ceilings seems a pretty minor part compared to all that.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

JackoC
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by JackoC » Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:43 pm

onourway wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:17 pm
srt7 wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:47 pm
Exactly! One has to have lived in TX to know that 3500 doesn’t make a McMansion. It takes a much bigger house to attain that classification.
McMansion is more a poorly chosen combination of styles that generally attempt to make the house look more expensive than it really is rather than a specific square footage. Increasing square footage is cheap, so a McMansion is often overly large with lots of useless space, but there are plenty of sub-3500' sq. ft. houses that have all the makings of a true McMansion. :D

http://mcmansionhell.com/101
That's interesting in explaining why the appearances of some modern houses are intuitively unsettling. It's not a just a function of size I agree. However it's not also only attractive v unattractive design. To me it also means investing *relatively* more floor space in a relatively poorly built house.

Again, my baseline for well built house may be extreme (1901 brownstone). But when my wife wanted to look at places relatively nearby but a little more suburban (Bergen rather than Hudson Cty NJ) some of the targets were places built ca. the 1980's, after somebody razed a smaller older house on the lot, and the places really looked like they might better be razed *again*. A couple of the ones we looked at the eventual buyers might well have. Which isn't necessarily a complete disaster for a long term owner in this area because there's such perceived value of land close to NY, the house itself can become worthless and you still make money, at least that *has* been true. AFAIK TX, and much of the rest of the country, has housing/zoning policies which on one hand avoid arguably artificial 'housing shortages' but on the other develop former rural land into new developments where the land is never going to be all that valuable, as long as people are willing to just drive a bit further in their SUV/pickup. I would worry about long term real physical depreciation of a property in places like that given today's usual (low) building standards. It would be an additional incentive to keep housing expenditure limited.

letsgobobby
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by letsgobobby » Tue Oct 23, 2018 3:57 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:36 am
letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:11 am
Anyone figure out how to change the tall smoke alarms without buying a taller ladder? We have one on a perhaps 12 foor ceiling. My 14' orchard ladder is too tall to set up; the regular 6' ladder isn't tall enough.

I have the light bulb changing stick which works well, and all our other ceilings are 8-10'. Just this one gives us trouble.
I use one of these Little Giant folding ladders from Costco for my tall indoor maintenance issues. I think they are on sale right now. Works pretty good for extending high if what you are working on is on a wall or next to a wall. It will extend to a single 15' long ladder. It won't be high enough in the center of the room in stepladder form but will reach to the top of all but the most extreme McMansion walls. Much easier than dragging a big extension ladder or big orchard ladder into the house.

https://www.costco.com/Little-Giant-Meg ... 11832.html
Of course mine is in the center of the room.

birdy
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by birdy » Tue Oct 23, 2018 4:25 pm

We designed and had built our "dream" home in 1997 in Carrollton, TX. 2015 sf, 3 bed/2 bath/great room (no extra "living spaces")/office with a 3 car garage. We have "small" dreams! Now all these years later, still love our home which feels just right for us. Just got our property tax bill which says the house we built for $165,000 has a market value of $295,191. Our Property tax is $5,873.85. The McMansion with extra living areas had no appeal for us. The house we owned before we built had a game room. All we did was use it to walk through to get to the back yard. So we knew what we wanted (but couldn't find it) so we built. Yes there are some large houses here in the Dallas area but I would rather pay off mortgage and be able to travel (which we have) than try to impress anyone else. Texas housing is less expensive than other areas in the country, so buying "big" is very tempting! Our house has electricity for running the air conditioner in summer and gas for our furnace in winter. What concerned me more was having a neighborhood where everyone would maintain the outside appearance of their house. After 25 years this neighborhood has existed, we are starting to get neighbors who don't maintain their yards well. At our last neighborhood block party for National Night Out we found out that some of the not so nice homes were purchased for elderly parents by their kids who live elsewhere. Most of the neighborhood still is nice, but not like the first 10 years we lived here.

birdy

saintsfan342000
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by saintsfan342000 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:11 pm

ThankYouJack wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:13 am
One nice thing about a big house is hosting parties and out of town guests. But with that said I think the biggest house I would want is 2,500 - 3,000 sqft for a family of 4 or 5.
You could put every one of your out-of-town guests up in the Four Seasons, W, Omni, take your pick, and never come close to spending what you'll spend on all that extra house.

lynneny
Posts: 187
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by lynneny » Tue Oct 23, 2018 11:46 pm

I may soon be buying a 2BR, 2 BA house with high ceilings. I just retired to Mexico, to a city people typically move to for the old colonial houses. Ceiling height is usually about 18", with lovely original exposed beams. That height helps keep the house cool in the tropical heat, and each room has one or more ceiling fan that you keep on 24/7. Ceiling fans also provide some mosquito protection because they keep the air moving. Electricity is expensive here, so air conditioning is typically only in the bedrooms, and only on when you're sleeping.

No idea how I'll change high-up lights, but it's very common in Mexico to have household help. So I'll let the maid, the gardener and the pool guy figure it out.

msk
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by msk » Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:51 am

unclescrooge wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:35 am
msk wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:20 am
Just a heads-up regarding LEDs. Their lifespan is considerably shortened if they run hot according to a Wikipedia entry I read asome time back. It's not always a great idea to install them in, e.g. recessed pots designed originally for tungsten halogens or other fixtures without adequate ventilation. Better change out the whole pot/fixture to one meant for LEDs. Main reason why I still use CFLs in my outdoor all-night fixtures (hot climate even at night) but the CFLs do seem to last 10k hours despite the heat. Next, an early LED failure could also be from the electronic circuit delivering the correct voltage/current. My suspicion is that this is more common with store-brand purchases than big name brands, possibly quality control issues when some manufacturer in far off China is hard pressed as to pricing.
Halogens emit significantly more heat than LED bulbs so that Wikipedia entry seems wrong.
Halogens run extremely hot, much hotter than normal tungsten bulbs, hence halogen bulbs use quartz rather than ordinary glass. At least they used to ... Nevertheless my understanding is, halogen bulbs are quite happy in very high temperatures so when one is designing a ceiling pot it has to be ventilated enough to protect the ceiling, rather than the bulb itself. LEDs hate even moderately warm temperatures hence the pots (and spots) made for LEDs have ample ventilation that looks overkill despite one never getting burnt when one touches an LED. To get maximum life they need to run quite cool. Hope that makes sense..

randomguy
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by randomguy » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:13 am

alfaspider wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:02 am


I don't think people would have criticized craftsman houses in the 1920s in the same way. Such houses were decidedly middle class commodity houses aimed at being inexpensive but serviceable housing- there was little pretense about them. The issue with McMansions is that they go out of their way to appear fancy by aping random features that might be found on real mansions, but then do it in a way that makes them more like a tacky knockoff than the real thing. These design features tend to be quite wasteful of space and energy inefficient (i.e. "grant staircases" and extremely high ceilings).
And McMansions aren't middle class commodity homes? Now to some extent the problem is that McMansion more of a pejorative than a style. If you like the house you use a fancy term. If you don't you call it a McMansion. There definitely are some ugly homes out there but I am not sure they are worse than a lot of the tract homes of the 50s,60s,70s,80s, and 90s that I have been in:). And yes a lot of architecture is inefficient. Nothing really beats a box for maximizing space but they are pretty boring to look at. The question is how much you want to pay for something attractive:.

msk
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by msk » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:25 am

Is this thread much different from a thread espousing a Toyota Camry rather than a Lexus or even a Ferrari? If you would like to wallow your toes in the luxurious shag pile of a Rolls Royce Phantom and you even pay cash for it, why not? YOLO! We all have different tastes and hobbies. My hobby used to be building houses and apartment blocks. My final build, I think it's my eleventh, was our own "retirement" home. We moved in when I was 69. Now I wonder how come I even had the energy to design it and supervise the construction :confused Of course myself and DW piled in everything we ever wanted in a home, having lived in 13 company houses all over the world during my working career, and designed a similar number. So we had a very clear idea of what we were doing and we realized exactly how silly we were to build a 14,000 sq ft house (all concrete, including inside walls so it should outlast us!). BHs are a very tolerant crowd. I feel there is room for both a retiree couple living in a small, downtown condo (there are many advantages!) and the silly ones like us who want to accommodate all the children and grandchildren for a fortnight a year :beer I have a friend who bought a whole 5-star hotel at some far off beach because his wife kept pestering him to build a vacation home there but he hated the thought of all the maintenance that would entail. The hotel even makes him :moneybag
PS have you guys seen those Chinese knock-offs of Rolls Royces? I think they'll go quite well with the pejorative McMansion. Let's not take ourselves too seriously.

mancich
Posts: 418
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by mancich » Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:59 am

mptfan wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:19 pm
shell921 wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:05 am
High ceilings are cavernous! Lower ones are cozy ! And "great rooms" are pretentious!
I agree. I like my 8 foot ceilings.
+1. Traditional colonial here with 8' ceilings and no "open floor plan concept" that one continuously hears about on HGTV. 2,800 square feet, 2 adults, 3 kids, 4 BR 2.5 bathrooms. Somehow we survive :happy

alfaspider
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Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Post by alfaspider » Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:34 am

randomguy wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:13 am
alfaspider wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:02 am


I don't think people would have criticized craftsman houses in the 1920s in the same way. Such houses were decidedly middle class commodity houses aimed at being inexpensive but serviceable housing- there was little pretense about them. The issue with McMansions is that they go out of their way to appear fancy by aping random features that might be found on real mansions, but then do it in a way that makes them more like a tacky knockoff than the real thing. These design features tend to be quite wasteful of space and energy inefficient (i.e. "grant staircases" and extremely high ceilings).
And McMansions aren't middle class commodity homes? Now to some extent the problem is that McMansion more of a pejorative than a style. If you like the house you use a fancy term. If you don't you call it a McMansion. There definitely are some ugly homes out there but I am not sure they are worse than a lot of the tract homes of the 50s,60s,70s,80s, and 90s that I have been in:). And yes a lot of architecture is inefficient. Nothing really beats a box for maximizing space but they are pretty boring to look at. The question is how much you want to pay for something attractive:.
I think the difference is one of pretense. They are middle class commodity homes pretending to be something else.

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