Monday, October 2, 2017

And Then There Were Two......

In addition to the 12 houses we've already looked at, we've looked at another four in the past few days.

Some were quite nice, but in areas that I doubt would allow a 40' tower with a "proper" Yagi antenna on it, and others "needed some work", to be charitable.

If I were 20 or 30 years younger, they'd be good buys, but as somebody here commented (WSF, I think), I don't need a place where sweat equity is involved.

Sunday afternoon we, The Kids, and our realtor went and looked at the three contenders on the list.

One of them we scratched because the layout was a bit "obtuse", which left us with two.

This morning we did some "Drive By Viewings" of another four, and scratched those.

Back to the two prime contenders.

We sat down and scratched our heads for a couple of hours, writing down all the pros and cons of the two finalists.

We called the realtor to tell her we were going to make an offer on one of them, and then I mentioned to my wife that that particular house had 100% electric "baseboard heat", and there wasn't any ductwork that I could see in the house, making central air conditioning a very expensive retrofit.

I'm also not sure that we really need central A/C, as even the kids say it's not too bad on hot days....kind of a "dry heat" thing, which I'm not sure if I believe. Still, it would definitely be nice to have it rather than relying on portable or window units.

The heating system works very well (it was the only house besides the "#2 house" that even had the heat turned on), and since EVERY room had it's own thermostat, you essentially had "zoned heating", where you could shut the heat down almost completely in any unused room or space.

Since it's located *in* the city, and I've been told the electric company gets the power restored ASAP if it goes down, we probably wouldn't have to worry about freezing to death during an extended power outage. It also has a fireplace, so I suppose we could all huddle around the hearth and roast weenies if it came to that.


  1. (1) Invest in a propane or natural gas back-up generator for those days when the power WILL go down.

    (2) Don't be afraid of new construction unless they would frown on the antenna (in which case screw 'em). There are far fewer problems and everything is modern and turn key.

    (3) What about building Casa DRJIM from scratch? Buy land, build a compound where you can build a 100' tower if you want to. Throw the house up that meets YOUR needs. I realize that it's a pain in the neck - - I'm going through it - - and you'd need to rent while it's being built. But it would be your own.

  2. 1) I'm assuming you mean a "whole house" generator like those ones advertised "on late night TV!!", but I'm not sure the wife would go for it.


    My little Honda 2kW genset could run the fridge if it had to, but I'm pretty sure those heaters take 220/240 and draw way more than 2kW each!

    2) 99% of the new construction here has Draconian HOA's or CC&R's. ALL the new Ham friends I've met on the local repeater have advised very strongly against all the "new construction" areas. Besides, all those "new" places have fairly small lots, on the order of 6,000~7,000 sqft. I want more land than that!

    3) GROAN......that's a non-starter in my/our situation. We looked seriously at one overpriced ($425k) place that needed ~$30k worth of repairs from deferred maintenance. That's the one our contractor in-law said was really only worth about $350k, MAX, and that was including the premium for where it was located. The wife doesn't want to buy our "forever house" and walk into a $35k~$40k repair bill, even if we did get the place for a fire-sale price.

    So, no, building our own aint gonna happen....

    But, oh the dreams you just gave me.....

    1. Look at the Generac generators. I may not watch enough TV, but I've never seen them advertised.

      Everyone has their own idea about what is optimal. I couldn't find the place that I wanted in the place I wanted it and so am building the structure from scratch. I do NOT like renting even though I'm now renting. I keep telling myself, "suck it up, buttercup." It's a journey DRJIM. I wouldn't have taken on a massive fixer-upper in the place where I wanted to live because getting the subs in to do the work on my own would have not worked, and even at that it wouldn't have been precisely what I wanted.

    2. Gernerac is the brand I always see being pushed in 3~4 minute long commercials.

      They're good gensets, it's just surprising to see such a specialized item pushed to the general public.

      I admire your strength and gumption in doing WWM. I know it will be stunning, and I hope I'm able to travel down there and see it.

      If you ever get up this way, please let me know. Either house we buy will have a minimum of 4 bed rooms, and we'd love to have you stay with us.

  3. This area gets a "Storm of the Century" every 5-10 years but the longest I've been without electricity is three days. I keep an old Coleman white gas camping stove and a quart of fuel stored. A small generator for the refrigerator would be handy. If you have a place with natural gas heat would your generator be enough to run the furnace?

    1. Depends on the furnace, I suppose. It doesn't take too much AC to run a forced-air system, and my little Honda should be able to run a 2 HP motor.

      I don't know if the wife would go for the price to buy a whole-house generator like LL suggests, but I'm sure she'd be OK with "upgrading" my generator to a larger one.

  4. If it turns out that AC is desirable, it doesn't take a ton of money or work to add a "mini-split" system, and it will do some heat too.


    1. I've seen those when I was trying to find the cost of heating an all-electric place.

  5. That electric baseboard heat will get the electric meter spinning.
    Might want to check on the winter heating bills.

    1. The listing agent contacted the owner, and got back to us about it. We also talked to the electric utility here who gave us some good information.

      We won't know the actual cost until we've lived in it for a while, but the numbers looked reasonable, and several of the rooms will be closed off, with the thermostats set to minimum.

    2. The problem with not heating individual rooms is you move the cold onto the interior walls, which are NOT insulated. Don't forget the floors and ceilings that also get exposed to the cold.
      Granted, it's not quite as bad as direct outside exposure, but the end result may not be comfortable, as you may find yourself cranking up the heat in adjoining areas to make it seem less "drafty".

      Generally, the electrical grid is the most delicate system in public energy distribution.

    3. I wouldn't turn the heat completely off, but dial it back to 55* or so.

      But I entirely understand what you're saying. I hadn't thought of those things, so thanks for bringing them up!


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