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Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: Lizabeth
Date: September 29, 2020 05:45AM
Background: decided to keep parental's house for awhile. It's in pretty good shape - minor things need attention (new thermostat, dryer vent cleaned, some internet wiring stuff to figure out). Also looking to get on the HOA board (small - 15 units, not at each other's throats, neighbors seem pretty civil) The appliances are in good shape except for one switch in the two drawer dishwasher (it has shifted due to use and I use a skewer to turn it on for the time being)

Transitioning the utilities etc has gone pretty smoothly so far.

Besides reading the By Laws of the HOA and understanding what they cover and what I'm responsible for what does the forum wish they had known but didn't with their first house? TIA
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: Speedy
Date: September 29, 2020 06:01AM
No mortgage? Then pay property taxes directly in a timely manner. How’s the roof? Furnace in good shape? Be prepared to shell out a few thousand dollars on a moments notice.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: DP
Date: September 29, 2020 06:04AM
Don't buy cheap toilet plungers!

Condo? Home with yard? Maintenance will need the most attention. Get with neighbors about "handyfolk" they use and like.





A throwback image to celebrate Autumn.

Disclaimer: This post is checked for correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Any attempts at humor are solely the responsibility of the author and bear no claim that any and all readers will approve or appreciate said attempt at humor.
My name is DP, and I approve this message.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: Lizabeth
Date: September 29, 2020 06:20AM
Quote
DP
Don't buy cheap toilet plungers!

Condo? Home with yard? Maintenance will need the most attention. Get with neighbors about "handyfolk" they use and like.

What is considered a "cheap" toilet plunger? There's one with the house (age unknown) and a toilet "snake" too.

Basic yard work is taken care of by the HOA fees (grass cutting, spreading grass seed and dealing with weeds in grass) And I'm responsible for the bushes etc. which I'm able to do easily since I'm the "youngest" on the block.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: d4
Date: September 29, 2020 06:37AM
There is always a local handyman that is familiar with the condo neighbors, home's construction era, and the HOA. Seek him out first.



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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: September 29, 2020 06:42AM
All I can add is that any HOA needs careful monitoring, because they can turn into a dictatorship in a hurry. Keeping it an association of friendly neighbors is a wonderful goal. Don’t get sucked into volunteering for all the hard work, though.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: d4
Date: September 29, 2020 06:44AM
Before making any repairs or improvements you need to honestly ask yourself, are you living there long term? Or living there temporarily and then looking to sell. This will affect the type and cost of repairs and upgrades. Something that is good enough and liveable for you might be unacceptable for a buyer. You don't want to have to pay for a repair/home improvement twice.



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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: d4
Date: September 29, 2020 07:04AM
In the condo/co-op I've owned in the past you have to be formally voted into the HOA. You don't just "get on the board". People have to like you to vote you in. People also have to feel the current HOA is not doing a good job.

Let's say you manage to get voted onto the board in the future. You have a bright idea to purchase a new sign for the condo complex. You have to do all the research into costs with multiple bids, fees, restrictions, timeline, and then present your proposal to the HOA. HOA will vote to see if it's worth pursuing. At the next meeting, there will be a follow-up with questions and more in-depth research. Maybe a rough sketch sample or two of what the sign may look like. Another presentation. Another vote. etc. And this is just your one idea. You have to listen to and vote for everyone else's ideas too. As well as the usual mundane things like taxes, and lawyers, and HOA fees and late penalties and repairs and problems.

It's A LOT of work. Many people who work jobs full-time do not have the patience or time to be on the HOA. That's why the HOA is usually filled with a more "senior" crowd who have A LOT of free time on their hands. Who have a lot of time to schmooze and get friendly with all the neighbors.



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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: DP
Date: September 29, 2020 07:18AM
What is considered a "cheap" toilet plunger?

Get one like this that has the extension out of the main plunger cone:



They're usually a little more than the "usual" type but far more effective when needed, especially in a floor drain. In my IMHO, of course...





A throwback image to celebrate Autumn.

Disclaimer: This post is checked for correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Any attempts at humor are solely the responsibility of the author and bear no claim that any and all readers will approve or appreciate said attempt at humor.
My name is DP, and I approve this message.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: WHiiP
Date: September 29, 2020 07:25AM
Do a search on google for "NextDoor.com" and you should turn up a link to Join your neighborhood. This is aa great source for finding recommended services.

Several years ago I started a document for various trades that were recommended by various neighbors. Appliance repairmen, roofers, painters, Handy men (and women), swimming pool, etc.

And you get to know who your neighbors are.



Bill
Flagler Beach, FL 32136

Carpe Vino!

Fermentation may have been a greater discovery than fire.
— David Rains Wallace
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: September 29, 2020 07:41AM
When was the furnace and AC last serviced? Filters changed? Don't buy cheap filters. The higher the MERV number, the better it captures smaller particulate. I use a minimum of 13. Filters come in different sizes and thicknesses.

How old is the water heater? Has the anode been replaced? Has it been flushed thru the drain at the bottom? Connect a garden hose and run to a drain, sink or outside if allowed.

Check sink traps for leakage.

Not sure how old the home is, but check the circuit breaker box to ensure it's not a Federal Pacific. If it is, call a licensed electrician ASAP to have it replaced. There are a lot of issues with Federal Pacific breakers failing and/or causing fires. Many of the replacement breakers are counterfeit.

Make sure landscaping/mulch isn't piled up against the siding/stucco. This can lead to bug and water damage issues.

Edit: If your water heater and or furnace vent thru the wall (might be PVC pipe), make sure to keep clear of debris. Some discharge not far above grade and can get blocked by snow. These need to be kept clear or they won't operate.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/29/2020 07:43AM by macphanatic.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: September 29, 2020 08:02AM
....don't forget to party like it's 1999......



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/29/2020 08:02AM by NewtonMP2100.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: mattkime
Date: September 29, 2020 08:16AM
It might not be a bad idea to get a book on home maintenance. Not to tell you what you need to do (that would be a VERY big book) but what you need to be aware of. A home is a collection of systems that provide comfort.



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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: mikebw
Date: September 29, 2020 08:37AM
It almost seems like you might consider hiring a home inspector to come and check everything out (~$250). That is typically only done prior to the purchase of a home, but even though you are not buying you still have an interest in all the same information that an an inspection would provide.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: Lizabeth
Date: September 29, 2020 08:49AM
Quote
DP
What is considered a "cheap" toilet plunger?

Get one like this that has the extension out of the main plunger cone:



They're usually a little more than the "usual" type but far more effective when needed, especially in a floor drain. In my IMHO, of course...

That's the type I have here smiling smiley
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: rz
Date: September 29, 2020 09:21AM
No advice, but I will say you will most likely learn to hate the HOA. We will never own property that has an HOA again. First house I owned had an HOA. The board was like Nazis. I could tell all kinds of tales of woe. Then we purchased a condo that we mainly rented out. It was in a beach town, so we used it as a personal vacation place for a few years before renting it out. Not quite as nightmarish as the house, but still had our share of issues.

The house we live in now technically has an HOA, but it's more of a social organization. We can't even get anyone agree to be the president. Dues are $20 a YEAR, and cover the cost of printing a neighborhood directory, and a few neighborhood parties. The board has no power to dictate anything to anyone.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: mattkime
Date: September 29, 2020 09:43AM
Quote
mikebw
It almost seems like you might consider hiring a home inspector to come and check everything out (~$250). That is typically only done prior to the purchase of a home, but even though you are not buying you still have an interest in all the same information that an an inspection would provide.

Worth it if you got a good inspector. Garbage if not.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: September 29, 2020 09:51AM
Don’t get get too high a MERV for air filters-That can cause the blower motor to work too hard and die too soon.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: Todd's keyboard
Date: September 29, 2020 10:14AM
Quote
Speedy
No mortgage? Then pay property taxes directly in a timely manner.

Would advice about paying property taxes "directly in a timely manner" be different were there a mortgage?

Todd's curious keyboard
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: testcase
Date: September 29, 2020 10:15AM
One more vote for a professional home inspector. The several hundred dollars it will cost could give you good insight as to problems that are likely to pop up (and will "pop up" at the worst possible time). These days, the internet should make it easier to check the reputation of prospective candidates.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: September 29, 2020 10:33AM
Quote
Todd's keyboard
Quote
Speedy
No mortgage? Then pay property taxes directly in a timely manner.

Would advice about paying property taxes "directly in a timely manner" be different were there a mortgage?

Todd's curious keyboard

For some people with a mortgage, the lender requires that they pay towards taxes and/or homeowners insurance as part of their monthly payment. The lender then pays them as they come due.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: GGD
Date: September 29, 2020 10:34AM
Quote
Todd's keyboard
Quote
Speedy
No mortgage? Then pay property taxes directly in a timely manner.

Would advice about paying property taxes "directly in a timely manner" be different were there a mortgage?

Todd's curious keyboard

Possibly because sometimes the mortgage includes an escrow account for property taxes and the bank actually pays them out of the escrow.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: Lizabeth
Date: September 29, 2020 10:41AM
These are all great ideas. Have been thinking about a home inspection. The furnace/ AC was checked last year and we change the filters yearly (it’s almost time) Hot water is a tankless one but something does need checking on it. Will look at the breakers. Also put grounding the propane connection to the house on the list to do - there was a fire due to a lightning strike on the mountain. We do have a Next Door community- definitely helpful. Mulch was pulled away from the house 1st thing when I came down and a loose stone border put down to prevent that from happening again. The dryer vent is on the list to be done because I don’t think it’s ever been done and not a DIY project the way it’s set up.

As far as the HOA, this is very small (15 houses) and I have been going to the annual meeting since 2018. And reading the minutes etc. It’s rather tame compared to the condo board in NJ.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: Todd's keyboard
Date: September 29, 2020 11:02AM
To macphanatic and GGD (and others),

In a non-ironic sense, thanks. I didn't know that.

Should I be embarrassed to admit I've never had a mortgage?

Years ago, someone on this forum (or the older one) asked about how to become self-employed. I was self-employed as a writer at the time. Part of my response was that I lived very frugally. A big part of reducing housings costs was buying a house that was so inexpensive I could afford to pay cash.

thanks again, Todd's keyboard
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: September 29, 2020 11:10AM
Don't drive a Cadillac and pretend you're some big shot, Morty!


At.least that's what I've seen on tv.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: D. Lawson
Date: September 29, 2020 01:33PM
Quote
Lizabeth
The furnace/ AC was checked last year and we change the filters yearly (it’s almost time) Hot water is a tankless one but something does need checking on it.

I would change the filter in the blower much more regularly than once a year. We change ours quarterly.

Maintenance on a tankless water heater is fairly simple, assuming the valves were installed properly. I circulate distilled white vinegar through ours for about an hour once a year, and it has given us no problems so far. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials that will show you how to do it. You will need a large bucket or pail, a submersible pump (I use a $50 1/4 HP Superior that I found on Amazon), and a set of "washing machine" hoses.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: vicrock
Date: September 29, 2020 02:13PM
[www.youtube.com]
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: September 29, 2020 02:56PM
The trick is finding a really, really good home inspector. Ours was good, but missed a couple of things that ended up costing us $2,000, which we might have been able to use to bargain down the price.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: September 29, 2020 03:22PM
Quote
D. Lawson
Quote
Lizabeth
The furnace/ AC was checked last year and we change the filters yearly (it’s almost time) Hot water is a tankless one but something does need checking on it.

I would change the filter in the blower much more regularly than once a year. We change ours quarterly.

Rule of thumb is to replace 1 inch thick filters quarterly and the 4 inch thick semi-annually. And don't use the cheap blue filter media that you can see right thru.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: September 29, 2020 04:28PM
All I can add is that any HOA needs careful monitoring, because they can turn into a dictatorship in a hurry. Keeping it an association of friendly neighbors is a wonderful goal. Don’t get sucked into volunteering for all the hard work, though.


Every one I've known who lived under an HOA lived under the thumb of the HOA.


you will most likely learn to hate the HOA. We will never own property that has an HOA again.


And this how they feel/felt about it.

Those with town houses/condos had it the worst, especially with maintenance fees.

Those with houses were a little better off, but not by a huge amount.

A couple of people in different HOAs were slammed for having a wreath on their door during Christmas season.

One guy, in a house, dared to put of a TV antenna and got a lot of grief even though the HOA knew they had no say.

But best of luck to you, whatever you decide.





Your boos mean nothing to me, I've seen what you cheer for.

Insisting on your rights without acknowledging your responsibilities isn’t freedom, it’s adolescence.

We are a government of laws, not men.

Everybody matters or nobody matters.

When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: Rick-o
Date: September 29, 2020 04:54PM
My advice would be that no matter how much you work on your house, there will ALWAYS be something else to take care of. It's a never ending story, but I wouldn't live anywhere else other than my own house.

Oh, and I would NEVER buy a place with an HOA. No matter how benign they seem to be.



Mr. Lahey: A lot of people, don’t know how to drink. They drink against the grain of the liquor. And when you drink against the grain of the liquor? You lose.

Randy: What the @#$%& are you talking about?
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: Bill in NC
Date: September 29, 2020 05:56PM
check under the sinks for leaks in the hoses that go from the cold/hot shutoff valves to the faucet.

same for the hoses that feed the toilets, dishwasher, fridge (if it has an ice maker) & the washing machine.

ask me how I know...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/29/2020 05:57PM by Bill in NC.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: September 29, 2020 06:03PM
.....always lock your backdoor.......



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: Lizabeth
Date: September 29, 2020 06:36PM
Quote
NewtonMP2100
.....always lock your backdoor.......

Yup and the screened porch door - we have bears.
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Re: Advice for a first time home owner please!
Posted by: Lizabeth
Date: September 29, 2020 06:38PM
Quote
macphanatic
Quote
D. Lawson
Quote
Lizabeth
The furnace/ AC was checked last year and we change the filters yearly (it’s almost time) Hot water is a tankless one but something does need checking on it.

I would change the filter in the blower much more regularly than once a year. We change ours quarterly.

Rule of thumb is to replace 1 inch thick filters quarterly and the 4 inch thick semi-annually. And don't use the cheap blue filter media that you can see right thru.

Good idea, time to go in the attic...
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