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wilked

Home-owners...What are your current projects?

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2 hours ago, matttyl said:

So repainting my finished basement area (mancave, workout area, small "kitchen" area).  Been in house for 6 years now and still has poor builders grade "off white" on everything - ceiling and walls.  Have colors picked out, and I'm very particular about paint lines and such so it will take a few days - hopefully done this weekend.

Anyway, over the years I've accumulated a decent collection of full sized football helmets.  Currently ~20 and growing by 2-3 a year.  I currently have cheap shelves (laminated wood ~3/4" thick, with slightly decorative brackets) from home depot installed ~12" off the ceiling wrapping around the mancave area to have them, and the wife doesn't like them - and I'm not crazy about them either.  Want something nicer as a helmet (and other sports memorabilia) display.  Must be wall mounted so as not to take up any floor space.  And not crazy expensive, as floating shelves can be.  Any ideas?

If all the helmets have air holes on the top crown area, you could run high strength clear fishing type wire through them and hang from the ceiling (at appropriate viewing height that a shelf would be at).   Could put some up lights on the ground below to illuminate and will look like they are floating in mid-air.    

Edited by offdee

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4 hours ago, offdee said:

If all the helmets have air holes on the top crown area, you could run high strength clear fishing type wire through them and hang from the ceiling (at appropriate viewing height that a shelf would be at).   Could put some up lights on the ground below to illuminate and will look like they are floating in mid-air.    

Not quite what I'm going for as I often take down the helmets and "match them up" against each other if those two teams are playing.  Example - I took down the San Fran and KC ones this past Sunday when I had friends over for the big game, having them "face off" just below the TV. 

What I'm really looking for are nice looking most likely floating shelves that aren't huge (not too thick), and not too expensive. 

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1 minute ago, matttyl said:

Not quite what I'm going for as I often take down the helmets and "match them up" against each other if those two teams are playing.  Example - I took down the San Fran and KC ones this past Sunday when I had friends over for the big game, having them "face off" just below the TV. 

What I'm really looking for are nice looking most likely floating shelves that aren't huge (not too thick), and not too expensive. 

Ikea

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They sell footbal helmet hangers. Decent investment as they are about $20 a piece, but they look great and functionally are a nice solution I think 

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On 2/5/2020 at 12:45 PM, wilked said:

Here's my advice:

 

On redfin (and others) you can look at recent sales.

 

With some sort of narrowed scope (say 2-4 towns, and a max spend) have you and your wife independently do a 12 month search of sales.  From there, make a list of top 5 homes that you like with specific notes on why you like each home.  Then basically present each list to each other and gather feedback.  See if there is any overlap in the 5 homes.  From there you should gain good perspective on what is important to each of you, and be more informed on making a shared search

I like this! Right now we set up a search with basic parameters and have just been favoriting things off the daily list of what turns up with a plan to run through them later. There's a few we have both marked, which is nice (I did marry someone with similar views on a lot of things, so hopefully won't have too many surprises here). 

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Just so I’m clear, look at sold homes vs homes on the market. Couple reasons:

 

big difference in many cases between list price and sold price

 

greater inventory when looking at last 12 months sales 

 

removes the temptation to go buy something now (instead it is just planning, which is a good thing) 

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7 hours ago, matttyl said:

Not quite what I'm going for as I often take down the helmets and "match them up" against each other if those two teams are playing. 

You do what now?

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What should it reasonably cost me, in a pricy coastal suburb, to have someone gut reno a small half bathroom? (Probably like 30sqft, 10’ ceiling, a toilet and a sink). It’s old and awful and the floor is terrible, want to gut it, fresh Sheetrock, new tile on the floor, maybe some wainscoting or tile halfway up the wall, a new sink and vanity; new light fixtures etc. 

If I weren’t a wuss I might even try and do this myself. But I’d actually like it to look nice soooo...

 

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Starting our kitchen project which includes knocking down a wall to open space. Very excited but also very nervous about how long and how much this will cost. 

Edited by shadyridr

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7 minutes ago, Otis said:

What should it reasonably cost me, in a pricy coastal suburb, to have someone gut reno a small half bathroom? (Probably like 30sqft, 10’ ceiling, a toilet and a sink). It’s old and awful and the floor is terrible, want to gut it, fresh Sheetrock, new tile on the floor, maybe some wainscoting or tile halfway up the wall, a new sink and vanity; new light fixtures etc. 

If I weren’t a wuss I might even try and do this myself. But I’d actually like it to look nice soooo...

 

I always estimate 10k for average bathroom. For half id say 7500. But that's a rough guess

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Just now, shadyridr said:

I always estimate 10k for average bathroom. For half id say 7500. But that's a rough guess

I’m figuring $15k, would be thrilled if it’s less. 

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1 hour ago, shadyridr said:

Starting our kitchen project which includes knocking down a wall to open space. Very excited but also very nervous about how long and how much this will cost. 

It's not load-bearing, is it?

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59 minutes ago, Otis said:

I’m figuring $15k, would be thrilled if it’s less. 

We’re talking you here so double it. 

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1 hour ago, Otis said:

I’m figuring $15k, would be thrilled if it’s less. 

It won’t be $15k

 

materials will be < $2k. Rest is labor. Figure 50 hrs max for this job@ $100/hr. 
 

$7-10k is a good estimate 

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Best thing you can do is spec the job very clearly. I’ll post a materials list for you, it’s not much

 

im installing a brand new full bath (replacing an office) and I’m estimating $18k currently 

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I tore up the plywood that had rotted in places on my 240 sq ft deck and replaced it with 2x4x20 boards, I think? I know they were 20' long. I am almost done with it. I have some more railing repairs and the final pain and I am done. The plywood was a good idea but it cant handle the weather here and I had some spots where people stepped through some rotted areas. Construction is not my forte but I am happy about how it came out. It's much better. I also added some shelves for plants on three corners of the deck. Should look nice and add stability to my railings. I would like to replace the railings but can't afford that right now. I am about $850.00 into this project right now.

 

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46 minutes ago, Uruk-Hai said:

It's not load-bearing, is it?

It is. Im not doing it btw. Going to either have to put a header or post.

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9 hours ago, shuke said:

You do what now?

I have the helmets up on a cheap shelf that runs around the entire room about a foot off the ceiling.  My "man cave" area has 3 screens, and I often have multiple games on at once.  If I have both helmets of the teams playing in a particular game (especially when I have people over), I take them down and set them in front of the TV on the cabinet so that you know what game is on what screen.

I've seen those helmet hangers, but at $20 a pop, times 32 teams (which I'm on the way towards), that's getting really pricey and can really only be used for that one thing.  At least with shelves I can put other memorabilia as well (it's just that most of what I have are full size helmets). 

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15 minutes ago, prosopis said:

I tore up the plywood that had rotted in places on my 240 sq ft deck and replaced it with 2x4x20 boards, I think? I know they were 20' long. I am almost done with it. I have some more railing repairs and the final pain and I am done. The plywood was a good idea but it cant handle the weather here and I had some spots where people stepped through some rotted areas. Construction is not my forte but I am happy about how it came out. It's much better. I also added some shelves for plants on three corners of the deck. Should look nice and add stability to my railings. I would like to replace the railings but can't afford that right now. I am about $850.00 into this project right now.

 

You had plywood as exterior decking? It is not a good idea. It's not made for that, even if pressure treated.

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Otis, my stab at a materials list.  Try identifying exactly what you want for the finish materials

 

Plumber
Handyman
Electrician
Roofer
Sink/Vanity combo
Faucet
Toilet
Toilet Seat
Electric (materials)
Lighting Fixtures
New floor (tile?  Something else?)
OSB Subfloor (take floor sq ft, figure out how many sheets you need)
Plywood (take floor sq ft, figure out how many sheets you need)
New Sheetrock
Fan
Mirror
Door lock
Paint
Trim
 

Edit to add - I did wainscoting in my 3rd floor bath, turned out great.  Use PVC wainscoting in a bath (even a half bath), paintable and looks same as regular

 

Second edit: The only thing complex about your job would be plumbing.  Main factors to consider (ahead of bringing a plumber in)

-You will have a 3" sewer/drain line.  How will you route it / connect it with your main sewer line (presumably in basement).  Think about how it gets there

-You need to vent that drain line with a 2" vent.  Where does that vent go?  Can go out the side of the house or through the roof.  Consider where it will go and how it gets there, esp if it needs to go through another room

-You need hot and cold water.  Since you will run a sewer line that shouldn't be an issue for how to get it there, just make sure you don't run it through an exterior wall

Edited by wilked

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7 minutes ago, Uruk-Hai said:

You had plywood as exterior decking? It is not a good idea. It's not made for that, even if pressure treated.

Now I know. :shrug:

The other mistake I made with the plywood was using nails instead of screws. I am sure this was an economic decision at the time but nails is not the way to go. I am now replacing all the nails with screws. The only upside to this is that it is really easy and my wife thinks I am hard at work on the deck. In reality I am just drinking and listening to the radio. Sometimes a neighbor comes over to check things out and we have more beer. 

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3 minutes ago, prosopis said:

Now I know. :shrug:

The other mistake I made with the plywood was using nails instead of screws. I am sure this was an economic decision at the time but nails is not the way to go. I am now replacing all the nails with screws. The only upside to this is that it is really easy and my wife thinks I am hard at work on the deck. In reality I am just drinking and listening to the radio. Sometimes a neighbor comes over to check things out and we have more beer. 

Did you replace it with pressure treated decking? I know you said 2x4x20 (I don't think that's right - should be 2x6 at least, but whatever), but was the lumber CCA?

Screws are the right way to go. As is the beer and music.

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27 minutes ago, shadyridr said:

It is. Im not doing it btw. Going to either have to put a header or post.

Or both. Load needs to get to the ground. I'm sure your contractor knows this, though.

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1 minute ago, Uruk-Hai said:

Did you replace it with pressure treated decking? I know you said 2x4x20 (I don't think that's right - should be 2x6 at least, but whatever), but was the lumber CCA?

Screws are the right way to go. As is the beer and music.

Yes, and I believe you are correct it was 20x2x6.

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8 minutes ago, prosopis said:

Yes, and I believe you are correct it was 20x2x6.

Curious......

You're in the desert, right? I wonder what kind of finish - if any - is suggested for outdoor decking. 

I live in the Mid-Atlantic, where the humidity ranges from 0% to 100% and causes all kinds of warping. Staining/sealing helps some, as does using screws instead of nails. 

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I replaced my deck 2 maybe 3 years ago. Some boards were rotting, etc.   I made the decision to go Trex.   I was against the cost at first but man its been awesome.  I cleaned it last spring with a mop and a little water cleaner mixed.  Took like 15 minutes...

I dont miss the pressure wash restain dance every 3-6 years....

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18 minutes ago, Uruk-Hai said:

Curious......

You're in the desert, right? I wonder what kind of finish - if any - is suggested for outdoor decking. 

I live in the Mid-Atlantic, where the humidity ranges from 0% to 100% and causes all kinds of warping. Staining/sealing helps some, as does using screws instead of nails. 

I am using Valspar porch,floor, and patio latex paint.

Yes I am in the desert. Humidity is usually less then 10% here but we do have a monsoon season. I do believe most damage comes from the sun. This is what was recommended to me by the guy at Lowes.

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20 minutes ago, belljr said:

I replaced my deck 2 maybe 3 years ago. Some boards were rotting, etc.   I made the decision to go Trex.   I was against the cost at first but man its been awesome.  I cleaned it last spring with a mop and a little water cleaner mixed.  Took like 15 minutes...

I dont miss the pressure wash restain dance every 3-6 years....

I looked at this but the cost was to much for me.

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1 hour ago, belljr said:

I replaced my deck 2 maybe 3 years ago. Some boards were rotting, etc.   I made the decision to go Trex.   I was against the cost at first but man its been awesome.  I cleaned it last spring with a mop and a little water cleaner mixed.  Took like 15 minutes...

I dont miss the pressure wash restain dance every 3-6 years....

The #1 reason I bought my current house is the backyard had a Trex deck. No lie

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11 minutes ago, shadyridr said:

The #1 reason I bought my current house is the backyard had a Trex deck. No lie

#1 reason I bought mine was that it had a two tier deck on the back (each just over 500 sq. feet).  Replaced the top one with trex and put a waterproof membrane under it (rain collection system, from Trex), so the bottom deck now has a ceiling (and lights, fans, speakers, a projector and screen).  Love it. 

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9 hours ago, Punxsutawney Phil said:

Please expand upon this home Depot coupon buying.  The only coupon I ever bought was a book of them.

Bought one from this place, didn't think I paid that much though:

Home Depot 15% Off (Use promo code "35OFF" to get 35% off)

Spent over $1000 and saved over $150 because of the coupon.

 

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6 hours ago, prosopis said:

I am using Valspar porch,floor, and patio latex paint.

Yes I am in the desert. Humidity is usually less then 10% here but we do have a monsoon season. I do believe most damage comes from the sun. This is what was recommended to me by the guy at Lowes.

When I bought my current house the deck was painted and it was the worst.  Very poor durability and really tough to maintain. I would recommend a semi-transparent stain over paint.

I would be curious if anyone has any experience with painting their deck to see if my experience was an outlier. 

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11 hours ago, wilked said:

Best thing you can do is spec the job very clearly. I’ll post a materials list for you, it’s not much

 

im installing a brand new full bath (replacing an office) and I’m estimating $18k currently 

:thumbup:

 

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10 hours ago, wilked said:

Otis, my stab at a materials list.  Try identifying exactly what you want for the finish materials

 

Plumber
Handyman
Electrician
Roofer
Sink/Vanity combo
Faucet
Toilet
Toilet Seat
Electric (materials)
Lighting Fixtures
New floor (tile?  Something else?)
OSB Subfloor (take floor sq ft, figure out how many sheets you need)
Plywood (take floor sq ft, figure out how many sheets you need)
New Sheetrock
Fan
Mirror
Door lock
Paint
Trim
 

Edit to add - I did wainscoting in my 3rd floor bath, turned out great.  Use PVC wainscoting in a bath (even a half bath), paintable and looks same as regular

 

Second edit: The only thing complex about your job would be plumbing.  Main factors to consider (ahead of bringing a plumber in)

-You will have a 3" sewer/drain line.  How will you route it / connect it with your main sewer line (presumably in basement).  Think about how it gets there

-You need to vent that drain line with a 2" vent.  Where does that vent go?  Can go out the side of the house or through the roof.  Consider where it will go and how it gets there, esp if it needs to go through another room

-You need hot and cold water.  Since you will run a sewer line that shouldn't be an issue for how to get it there, just make sure you don't run it through an exterior wall

Thanks.  Re: your three bullets at the end, I shouldn't need to care about any of that, because there's a bathroom there already, and I'm not going to move any of the fixtures, just replace the toilet and sink/vanity with new ones, leaving them otherwise in the same location.  Right?   So the plumbing part should be pretty straightforward.

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Yes, cross off a plumber. You’re only tradesman should be a handyman. 
 

you’re definitely in the $7k range max. I’d quote it 3-4 ways

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On 2/7/2020 at 6:41 AM, Otis said:

What should it reasonably cost me, in a pricy coastal suburb, to have someone gut reno a small half bathroom? (Probably like 30sqft, 10’ ceiling, a toilet and a sink). It’s old and awful and the floor is terrible, want to gut it, fresh Sheetrock, new tile on the floor, maybe some wainscoting or tile halfway up the wall, a new sink and vanity; new light fixtures etc. 

If I weren’t a wuss I might even try and do this myself. But I’d actually like it to look nice soooo...

 

$25K

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On 2/5/2020 at 11:49 AM, Instinctive said:

Not sure if this is right thread or if Mortgage thread is, so feel free to tell me I picked wrong:

 

Any advice as someone beginning the search for their first home purchase? Things you wished you'd known?

Mortgage broker here... feel free to ask any questions. 

I posted a somewhat of a 'manifesto' in the Mortgage Rates thread that goes over most of the big tips I would want people to know. Let me copy and paste here for you....

 

#1: The difference between retail and wholesale. Retail is your banks, credit unions and direct lenders (some big direct lenders would be Quicken, Guaranteed Rate, Fairway, etc). Wholesale is your mortgage broker. I shouldn't have to tell you which is going to end up giving better rates and cost on average. 

#2: The bigger the Bank the more they usually suck. UNLESS you are your typical FBG rolling in cash. If you are, then the big and regional banks that have wealth management departments will be very aggressive in offering jumbo loans. They basically use it as a loss leader. They will give you a great deal and then get you into their wealth management where they make all their money off of you. When it comes to mortgages, a jumbo is pretty much the only time you want to talk to a bank. Otherwise, avoid banks though sometimes your smaller banks will have a pretty good deal.  

#3: If you see them advertising on TV, I promise you, they suck. Quicken spends ridiculous amounts of money on advertising. Why? Because the people who don't know better who have done loans with them before and almost always got bent over are paying for this marketing machine. Plus, they are pretty much the slimiest lender out there. Over and over and over again hearing clients tell me "they said X to me" and in reality it is "Y". They also typically will start off with what seems like a great rate and then charge 3 points in origination charges. DO NOT go to Quicken (aka Rocket Mortgage) or one of the slim ball VA lenders like Veterans United or New Day. 

#4: I love credit unions. Huge fan of them. I belong to two of them. CU's are usually your best bet for checking, savings, car loans, personal loans, equity loans or lines, etc. However, one area that they are not usually your best bet is mortgages. The reason is mostly about scale. There are some large CU's but most are still relatively small. They do not do enough volume to be efficient and the large loan amounts take a big chunk of their reserves. Go ahead and check with your CU, they can offer some good deals, I have seen it and they will still tend to beat banks and direct lenders but not usually the best bet. 

#5: Rate is not the end all be all of doing a loan. You have the rate which of course is important but there are also fees and origination charges. A typical game that is played is showing a great rate but then when you compare to another lender you see that you are really PAYING for that great rate. Often times as a broker, I am able to match the rate and give a credit versus the origination points they are charging. Be mindful of that. 

#6: Use the Loan Estimate! Wherever you go, when you get the Loan Estimate, shop it to other lenders. You can just send it to the lender and let them come back with their offer or you can put more work in it and just shop and compare rates. What happens if you do? Worst case, you get the peace of mind that you are getting a good deal. Best case, you save yourself thousands of dollars!

#7: Your current lender is not going to make it easier than going to another lender. They will need to get all new docs or if it a streamline another lender can do a streamline as well. 

#8: Unless you hate yourself and want to throw your phone away forever do not go to a website that 'shops' loans. First of all, they don't really. All they are doing is selling the leads to lenders. Second, you will get bombarded by phone calls and wish you never even heard of Lending Tree or whatever else. 

#9: Always shop lenders. Mortgage brokers do the shopping for you accessing multiple lenders and getting wholesale pricing. 

#10: Don't make assumptions about what you can or can not do with a refinance. Talk to someone who actually knows. They can go over your options after figuring out your situation and your goals. I have seen some bad thinking in here that is costing people significant money. 

#11: The better your credit score the better your rate. You are going to top out around the 740-750 area. So, don't worry about getting an 800 credit score. 

#12: If you have more debt other than the mortgage/equity loan or line then you might be better off refinancing all the debt into the home. 

#13: DO NOT listen to Dave Ramsey when it comes to mortgages. He is a dolt when it comes to mortgages, gives horrible advice and then sends his followers to Churchill mortgage because he gets paid advertising from them. It disgusts me. People trust him and he sends them to a crappy retail lender because he gets a big check from them on top of giving really HORRIBLE advice that ends up costing people tons. Just ignore him when it comes to mortgage advice. 

#14: If you are getting a mortgage, don't do anything stupid like deposit a bunch of cash into your account or buy a new car or change jobs. Anything to do with your job, credit and income can cause problems for the loan. Yes, I don't care if you are doing the same job for more money- I can't close your loan on time now. (real life situation, I was able to save the loan but this ding dong couldn't get through his head that most lenders would have killed the deal and it was all our fault somehow that we couldn't close on time). 

#15: Realize that the vast majority of down payment assistance programs are pushed by lenders who do them and realtors who want you to buy a home with them as free money is NOT. Why do they pitch it like that? Well, why wouldn't you use a lender or realtor who is offering you free money?! This is the way that most of them work... they are set up to give money in a form of a forgivable loan or silent second or another such form. You must keep the loan for an extended period of time 5-7 years is most common. Once you do (meaning you can not sell or refinance that loan) then you are free! Here is the thing... that 3-3.5% of the purchase price that they gave you jacked up your rate. I have calculated the differences- not from different lenders but from lenders that I know using a program, the rate you would get with them without the DPA and the rate you get with it... and let's say you got $10K from them... that $10K ends up costing you $30-40K over the period that you did PLUS potentially an opportunity cost of refinancing as I have done for all my clients who listened to me last year and now that rates have dropped are realizing large savings. There are true grants out there (where there is no ties to the money) but most of these also have a higher rate. I have access to some of these programs but only have done one in the last few years and that was after being sure to explain everything in detail and the real cost to the client (side not, the plan was to refi them later which we plan on doing in a couple of months). 

#16: If you are veteran, first responder, medical profession- the great sounding program (Homes for Heroes is the largest one) where you get money back isn't as great as it sounds. I promise you. The realtor part of it is actually a good deal for you but the lender side where they typically pay for your appraisal (around $400-600) is likely costing you a ton of money in the rate and cost of the loan. These are usually retail lenders who have lot's of extra cash (there is a reason why they have to charge higher rates and fees/origination) that pay into these programs, which are relatively expensive (for a lender about $1800 a year for Homes for Heroes just to be part of their program and that is it). You can still shop the lender. DO SO!

#17: First time home buyer programs are usually marketing schemes. There are some benefits offered if you are doing a conventional loan which anyone can have access to. Other things are usually the DPA programs (see #15)  and should be avoided. Your third cousins best friend's dog's breeders brother who got $10K free money to buy a home is more times than not money that cost them. 

#18: Most loans over 80% loan to value that doesn't have mortgage insurance is costing you in a higher rate. If you are doing conventional loan, you can get rid of the MI later. If it is baked into the rate it is there for life of the loan. 

#19: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THAT IS HOLY if you are building a home PLEASE understand that the builders preferred lender that they are going to give you $10K in free upgrades for using them is going to cost you much more money than the $10K they are 'giving' you. Here is how this scheme works. The free upgrades actually are going to cost them maybe $2K if that to do. In return for you using their preferred lender and getting absolutely bent over they are going to get a nice big fat check worth alot more money. The builder and the lender will laugh at you sitting in the model house counting your money you just forked over as they watch you move in. 

#20: A realtors 'preferred lender' can be good or can be bad. There is no way to tell. Here is how it works in the industry. Retail lenders who tend to charge more have bigger budgets to spend on marketing. They will 'partner' with realtors and pay for the realtors marketing (also sponsor things like their meetings, or holiday party, or conferences or whatever else) and in return the realtor makes them their 'preferred lender' so the realtor will refer you to them when you are not already using a lender. Now, you can also have 'preferred lenders' that don't do that stuff and the realtor has found them to be a good lender. (side note here, in the average realtors eyes, a good realtor is one that closes deals and does it on time and not so much about rate and cost) For example, I am several realtors 'preferred lender' but do not spend money on them and it is really based on them knowing I can get more loans approved, close on time and give their clients great deals. Overall, NEVER get loan advice from a realtor unless they are the rare ones that are licensed for lending and actually know what they are talking about (that is significantly less than 1% of them)

#21: You don't need 20% down. Don't keep waiting to buy when you are spending money away on rent. Every month you pay someone else's mortgage (paying rent) is money you will never see a dime of again. As an owner you are building wealth. Think of it this way... landlords are landlords for a reason. They are not losing money and on top of it are gaining equity. For most Americans, their 'wealth' is almost exclusively in their homes. Not retirement accounts or stocks etc but built up equity from paying down principle and appreciation of their homes which is historically pretty consistently 5% over periods of time (including booms and crashes). 

#22: You don't need perfect credit to get a mortgage. You can do a FHA loan with a minimum credit score of 580 with as little as 3.5% down of the purchase price. 

#23: When picking a good realtor find out these things about them: A) Do they do this as a full time job or is it a side gig or something they do when they are bored etc. You want a full time realtor for the experience and focus. Trust me. The exception on this would be a semi-retired realtor but honestly, they are usually ones to pass on as well. You want someone who knows the market, is sharp on negotiation and has good contacts. B) How long have they been doing the job. Experience counts for sure. But I rather go with a rookie doing it full time than someone been doing it 10 years as a part time gig. C) What is their availability. You want someone that will be available on your time tables and not theirs. D) How many houses have they sold or closed on? It will give you an idea about how productive they are. But keep in mind, someone who isn't as productive might be hungrier and more flexible to you versus someone who is doing tons of volume. 

#24: Always get an inspection done from a good inspector. Do not skimp here. A good inspector will give you very important info on the home even if there is nothing to be concerned over and potentially catch a very big problem. Keep in mind even the best inspectors will not be able to find out anything and everything wrong with a house. Find out of they do mold and radon testing or not and if it is extra if they do. I would go ahead and do it. Keep this in mind, this is usually the largest financial transaction of your life so far. Do you want to be penny wise and dollar foolish on it?

#25: If you are military or a vet. Run away from supposedly veterans lenders like Veterans United and New Day (and more but those are two big ones) THEY SUCK. Even good places like USDAA (who does insurance well), Navy Fed, may do a lot of good for vets in other areas but are not the best in mortgages. 

#26: As I will get to soon... brokers are better. This is true for insurance too. I see insurance quotes often and I personally did my own shopping where I shopped 10 carriers plus one insurance broker. The broker easily won out. Plus, the big carriers suck if you end up with a claim. I have a whole personal story about Allstate sucking big hairy monkey balls. On top of it all an agent at a large carrier has NO sway on anything on a claim. A broker actually does (as counter intuitive as that seems) because they can tell the insurer that if they don't do something right that he will not send that insurance company any more business. The captive agent has no choice. 

#27: If you are in a rural area, check out a USDA loan. You can finance up to 100% but keep in mind, you actually might end up better served doing a FHA loan depending on specifics. 

#28: Brokers are better. They weren't always... they use to be a pack of scumbags and slimballs who would screw over their own mothers for an extra 20 spot. Before 2008 I had plenty of chances to be a broker and would not even though I would have made 3 or 4 times more than I was making because again the vast majority were nastier than moldy dog poo with worms in it. That being said, even back then you could get a better deal from a broker IF you knew what you were doing and could protect yourself. Otherwise, you could get screwed so badly that it would make going to Quicken seem like a good deal. In fact, I actually used a broker on both of my home purchases even though at both times my wife and I worked at banks. That is right, when bankers want to do their loans- you know who they come to? Brokers. Things have changed and really the consumer advocates are now brokers and the things they use to do before that would screw people over are things that can not be done now. Not only are you going to get a better deal at a broker the vast majority of the time but you are also not going to get screwed over. Plus they have options that banks, credit unions and direct lenders don't have to get you approved if you have a harder to finance situation like a business owner, bad credit, recent major credit event (foreclosure, bankruptcy, etc) etc. Also, brokers can close quicker than other lenders on average. How do you find a broker? Well, you can ask me, I know brokers throughout the country. I have no problem connecting you to one (and if you are wondering, by regulation and the risk of losing my license, I can not get paid for referring you to a broker... it is purely out of help you out) or if you want you can check out www.findamortgagebroker.com oh... and if you are in Illinois, I can help you directly. 

#29: You are not locked in to a lender with a pre-approval. Unscrupulous lenders who tend to overcharge will have a lot of nasty little tricks that they do to keep you stuck with them. Fear is one of the big ones backed with lies. That fear will be to tell you that you can not change lenders once you have an offer accepted from a pre-approval or you can lose your earnest money. FALSE! Or that you will end up not being able to close on time with another lender (a favorite of retail loan officers to say about brokers when broker turn around times are actually quicker than retail). Your Loan Estimate is provided to assist you as the consumer to not only better understand the true costs of the loan but to be able to shop your loan around or the best options for you and then be able to compare them as close to apples to apples as possible. Don't let liars overcharging you win!

Hope this helps guys. 

Best of luck. 

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36 minutes ago, Chadstroma said:

 

#24: Always get an inspection done from a good inspector. Do not skimp here. A good inspector will give you very important info on the home even if there is nothing to be concerned over and potentially catch a very big problem. Keep in mind even the best inspectors will not be able to find out anything and everything wrong with a house. Find out of they do mold and radon testing or not and if it is extra if they do. I would go ahead and do it. Keep this in mind, this is usually the largest financial transaction of your life so far. Do you want to be penny wise and dollar foolish on it?

 

I bought the house I'm in now about 10 years ago. My RE agent is one of my best friends, who I've known all my life. When it was time to line up the inspection, I asked" You know anyone?". He said "Yep. Can't stand the guy. He's a complete ####### and loves to hear himself talk about how smart he is. Best inspector I've ever seen".

The house is a 1200 sq ft rancher w/unfinished basement. The guy was here SIX HOURS. He wrote a 58 page report, complete with pictures and applicable codes.  Most of the stuff he found was minor, but it was nice knowing about all of it.

 

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3 minutes ago, Uruk-Hai said:

I bought the house I'm in now about 10 years ago. My RE agent is one of my best friends, who I've known all my life. When it was time to line up the inspection, I asked" You know anyone?". He said "Yep. Can't stand the guy. He's a complete ####### and loves to hear himself talk about how smart he is. Best inspector I've ever seen".

The house is a 1200 sq ft rancher w/unfinished basement. The guy was here SIX HOURS. He wrote a 58 page report, complete with pictures and applicable codes.  Most of the stuff he found was minor, but it was nice knowing about all of it.

 

Yea, a good guy is going to spend half the day there at least and for a couple hundred dollars to avoid potentially thousands or tens of thousands (more?) it is money well spent. 

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1 minute ago, Chadstroma said:

Yea, a good guy is going to spend half the day there at least and for a couple hundred dollars to avoid potentially thousands or tens of thousands (more?) it is money well spent. 

I think I paid maybe $300. Might have been $400.

I've been in construction my entire life (both residential and commercial) and knew what some issues were. In any case, he found two things I wouldn't have. One was a tiny crack in a toilet seal that he found with a sensor. There was no evidence of it either on the bathroom floor or from the basement below. I had the seller fix that. He also found a tiny wet spot in the corner of the basement on a wall, in a place that was covered. The downspout above was emptying too close to the foundation - that, I already knew was a concern, but didn't know water was already entering the house. I took care of that one - dug a trench and connected some drain tile to the downspout to get the water away from the house. Wala - moisture in basement gone.

The other stuff was mundane. Deck rails too loose, outdoor spigots rusting, etc.... I fixed those because I knew the seller was in dire straights and they didn't cost much of anything. The one that amused me was that the kitchen sink didn't seem to drain quickly. Turns out they had never removed the cap where the exhaust pipe exited the roof.

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Question for the masses:

 

We've got a ground level and second level (on top of each other) set of 3 season porches (or sunrooms).  These have poured footings but no foundation.  Oriignal to the house I am pretty sure (100 years old).  Each is separated by an exterior door.  No HVAC, switched lighting, lots of crank-out windows.  Probably where you went to smoke back in the day.  Some photos

https://ssl.cdn-redfin.com/photo/52/mbpaddedwide/047/genMid.71715047_7_0.jpg

https://ssl.cdn-redfin.com/photo/52/mbpaddedwide/047/genMid.71715047_16_0.jpg

 

That top level (second photo) I want to make usable year round (this is Boston area).  It's 5x11.  What I intend to do:

-Spray foam the whole thing (3.5" on all walls, floor and add insulation to ceiling)

-Reframe, replace windows with double-hung, insulated windows

-Add a couple outlets, and a baseboard electric strip

-New floor and walls

 

Figure I'm into it for $6-8K if I do all that (mix of DIY and some trades)

 

I will not tie in my central A/C, and I will retain the exterior door.  In other words I want this to remain a sunroom, and don't plan to count the sq ft when I sell (which is not for 15 years)

 

The neighbor you see out the window is cool w/ me.  I am on a somewhat busy street.  Three options I see:

-Stop into permitting office and talk to them, see if I need permit

-Chat w/ neighbor, let him know I am making room more usable by insulating and replacing windows, and do the job w/ no permit

-Something else

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9 minutes ago, wilked said:

Question for the masses:

 

We've got a ground level and second level (on top of each other) set of 3 season porches (or sunrooms).  These have poured footings but no foundation.  Oriignal to the house I am pretty sure (100 years old).  Each is separated by an exterior door.  No HVAC, switched lighting, lots of crank-out windows.  Probably where you went to smoke back in the day.  Some photos

https://ssl.cdn-redfin.com/photo/52/mbpaddedwide/047/genMid.71715047_7_0.jpg

https://ssl.cdn-redfin.com/photo/52/mbpaddedwide/047/genMid.71715047_16_0.jpg

 

That top level (second photo) I want to make usable year round (this is Boston area).  It's 5x11.  What I intend to do:

-Spray foam the whole thing (3.5" on all walls, floor and add insulation to ceiling)

-Reframe, replace windows with double-hung, insulated windows

-Add a couple outlets, and a baseboard electric strip

-New floor and walls

 

Figure I'm into it for $6-8K if I do all that (mix of DIY and some trades)

 

I will not tie in my central A/C, and I will retain the exterior door.  In other words I want this to remain a sunroom, and don't plan to count the sq ft when I sell (which is not for 15 years)

 

The neighbor you see out the window is cool w/ me.  I am on a somewhat busy street.  Three options I see:

-Stop into permitting office and talk to them, see if I need permit

-Chat w/ neighbor, let him know I am making room more usable by insulating and replacing windows, and do the job w/ no permit

-Something else

For that work in my area I would not need a permit. 

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Chief - to be clear, would you just do the work assuming no permit or do a double check with the permit office?

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New air conditioner/heating unit being installed tomorrow. I am not doing it but I will be here making sure everything is cool. Thanks to ChiefD and his help in selecting a company and quote to go with. They will also be cleaning and repairing duct work. I also have them disconnecting and removing my swamp cooler. I think this may have been how the Jeffersons felt when they moved up to the east side. It has been over 20 years that I disconnected our air because we could not afford the electric bill. I am pretty happy to be getting air conditioning.

I bought a bunch of gatorade and water that I will put in a cooler for the workers. I also bought some snack stuff for them if they get hungry. Anything else that would be cool to have for these guys? Was going to get beer but decided that is probably a bad idea.

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19 minutes ago, prosopis said:

 

I bought a bunch of gatorade and water that I will put in a cooler for the workers. I also bought some snack stuff for them if they get hungry. Anything else that would be cool to have for these guys? Was going to get beer but decided that is probably a bad idea.

I think you have it covered.

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It's almost official now I guess, locked in a rate with the mortgage guy tonight. General Contracting it myself and doing as much work as I can myself (demo, some plumbing, some electrical, flooring). A good friend of mine has his own construction company and will be doing much of the work.

- Building a 20' x 22' addition on the back of the house that will include living room and a mud/laundry room combo which will bring the laundry to the main level from downstairs (wife is pretty excited about that).

- Moving stairs to add square footage to kitchen

- Full Kitchen remodel

- Knocking out a wall between kitchen and current living room

- Existing living room will become a dining room

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16 hours ago, prosopis said:

New air conditioner/heating unit being installed tomorrow. I am not doing it but I will be here making sure everything is cool.

i just liked that you said everything will be cool when your ac unit is installed that is some good stuff right up in there bromigo take that to the bank

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23 hours ago, wilked said:

Chief - to be clear, would you just do the work assuming no permit or do a double check with the permit office?

I think I would always call the town and ask about the permit. 

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On 2/18/2020 at 3:54 PM, wilked said:

Chief - to be clear, would you just do the work assuming no permit or do a double check with the permit office?

Always double check.  Some jurisdictions would make you get a permit since you're changing electrical, even if you're not adding indoor square footage.

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