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Old 06-10-2009, 02:07 AM   #1
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Buying our first home and it needs some "improvements"


update:
we closed on 7/1 and are starting to move in. cleaning, then painting, then trim and then finish moving in. pics in last post.

Hi, we are in the process of buying our first home. it is a 1917 1 1/2 story bungalow here in fargo, nd. it is in good shape and nothing needs to be done right away to make it liveable. there are many things we want to do over the next few years.

the bathroom needs remodeling as well as the kitchen cabinets.

my first "big" project is going to be re-finishing off a basement room that looks like it was fist done in the 50s. insulate it, sheetrock it, paint it and carpet it. this needs to be done so the kids (two girls 5 and 7) have a place to play that is not the dining room or living room.

next up is putting mop boards back in the dining room and living room. at some point in the life of the house they were pulled out and replaced with some not quite wood 3 1/2" baseboards that dont match the american craftsman feel of the rest of the house.

should be fun. i have always wanted to work with wood and construction but never had the time, money or space since we have been renting. my father in law is going to loan me some tools but i need to get some on my own too. right now i have basic automotive tools. never needed anything more than a hammer and a drill when it came to construction tools.

i have been using car forums for years to help with car repairs and it looks like this place will do the same for all my DIY needs.

all my pics are on our other computer and i will post them up when the house is a done deal. i dont want to jinx anything.

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Last edited by gregdonovan; 07-08-2009 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 06-10-2009, 06:26 AM   #2
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Buying our first home and it needs some "improvements"


good luck with the closing......best tool to have within the castle is a cordless drill ,and when you but nails and screws get the larger boxes of each,and dump them into the empty coffee cans..building up a good stock of stuff as the years fly by..and they will! the goal i've had being 20 years in my place was to keep contractors out of my driveway,and never go to Home Depot on a saturday morning kills the weekend check out these guys for any and all stuff to jump start that work shop out there www.harborfreight.com

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Old 06-10-2009, 07:58 AM   #3
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Buying our first home and it needs some "improvements"


Congrats on the house
1st thing I do is change the locks
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Old 06-10-2009, 08:56 AM   #4
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Buying our first home and it needs some "improvements"


Greetings and Welcome aboard.
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:38 AM   #5
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Buying our first home and it needs some "improvements"


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good luck with the closing......best tool to have within the castle is a cordless drill ,and when you but nails and screws get the larger boxes of each,and dump them into the empty coffee cans..building up a good stock of stuff as the years fly by..and they will! the goal i've had being 20 years in my place was to keep contractors out of my driveway,and never go to Home Depot on a saturday morning kills the weekend check out these guys for any and all stuff to jump start that work shop out there www.harborfreight.com
those are all very worthy goals. i too would like to keep the contractors away. i am allready a big fan of HF. they might not have the most fancy expensive unobtanium stuff but for a tool you seldom use they will get the job done.
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:49 AM   #6
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Buying our first home and it needs some "improvements"


Congrats on the house. My wife and I are also in a new house as of 2 months ago, and it is a great feeling to improve it bit by bit. One thing to mention, harbor freight is all made overseas. Obviously not all overseas product is low quality, but since it's all online, it can be hard to tell. I ordered a fiberglass fish rod from Amazon, it turned out to be from HF... And it's really crap, with glue holding the brass fittings to the rod that gets on your hands, the fittings can pull off easily, some of the threads are slightly too small so one piece can pull apart from the next... I saved maybe $10 over getting a pole made in US at a local shop. I almost always get burnt and end up spending more when I try to economize! Argh. Anyway, moral is: Buy quality, you'll only have to buy once.
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Old 06-10-2009, 01:21 PM   #7
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Buying our first home and it needs some "improvements"


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Congrats on the house. My wife and I are also in a new house as of 2 months ago, and it is a great feeling to improve it bit by bit. One thing to mention, harbor freight is all made overseas. Obviously not all overseas product is low quality, but since it's all online, it can be hard to tell. I ordered a fiberglass fish rod from Amazon, it turned out to be from HF... And it's really crap, with glue holding the brass fittings to the rod that gets on your hands, the fittings can pull off easily, some of the threads are slightly too small so one piece can pull apart from the next... I saved maybe $10 over getting a pole made in US at a local shop. I almost always get burnt and end up spending more when I try to economize! Argh. Anyway, moral is: Buy quality, you'll only have to buy once.
yeah, i will not order online from HF, we have a HF store here in fargo so i can touch before i buy.
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:39 PM   #8
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Buying our first home and it needs some "improvements"


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Hi, we are in the process of buying our first home. it is a 1917 1 1/2 story bungalow here in fargo, nd.
With 9000 Heating Degree Days per year I'd watch my heating bills for a while.
Average loss in North America is 6 BTU/sq. ft./HDD, give or take.

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Old 06-10-2009, 07:35 PM   #9
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Buying our first home and it needs some "improvements"


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With 9000 Heating Degree Days per year I'd watch my heating bills for a while.
Average loss in North America is 6 BTU/sq. ft./HDD, give or take.
it has a gas hot water heat. the previous owners showed that billing averaged about 70/mo. winter lasts from around oct. to may around here sometimes.
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Old 06-10-2009, 08:12 PM   #10
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Buying our first home and it needs some "improvements"


way to go

i own an old house too. they are great, so much character and everthing is over designed except for:

- electrical knob & tube. make sure you don't have any. my electrician signed a paper that there was "no visible knob & tube" which allowed us to get house insurance. good. once you get in the place, then you can look where it is not visible (pull a receptical/light fixture and check) to see if there is any in "not visible" places.

- foundation waterproofing. best way to fix this is to hire someone to trench the foundation and apply sealer with dimple board & maybe a drain system. this is not a DIY project because of danger of digging a deep & narrow trench.

- insulation in the walls. probably you have in the attic, but in the walls? this was not always done. and definately no vapour barrier. easy solution is to blow in insulation from the inside. but then you must patch the holes.. and THEN paint. so pull a receptical and see if it is insulated. do this BEFORE you paint each room (you don't want to do this twice).

- plumbing. the galvanized plumbing will last another 100 years no problem, but the insides are so corroded and rusted! you really don't want to be drinking that if you can help it. the lead drains might as well go at this time too.

otherwise.. enjoy and good luck!

Knucklez

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Old 06-11-2009, 10:54 AM   #11
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Buying our first home and it needs some "improvements"


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so both amazon and hf are crap? of just hf?
Amazon sells everything, though unfortunately they don't have a filter for quality. So I guess in general I like Amazon, though I do try to support local shops when I can. Harbor Freight, in my experience, hasn't been worth it.

This is another personal anecdote, but my family has several 100+ year old barns that we've been working to restore. My uncle does not have the same aversion to foreign products as I do, and so we've had a number of HF tools in use. We used a number of jacks to push the main frame of one of them up out of the accumulated muck... I say a number because while we only needed 4, we went through literally 10+ jacks before we got a set of 4 that worked reliably. In his opinion, the cost savings were worth the trouble. For me, the time wasted working with garbage was just unrecoverable. Looking back, we could also have been in danger with these jacks, but luckily they tended to fail during the start of the lift.

Guess I just recoil when I hear HF, perhaps more than warranted. I've had some crappy US-made products too. Just less commonly.
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Old 06-11-2009, 09:37 PM   #12
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Buying our first home and it needs some "improvements"


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it has a gas hot water heat.
the previous owners showed that billing averaged about 70/mo. winter lasts from around oct. to may around here sometimes.
How many therms do you get for $70?
And if you tell me the sq. footage including basement I can add you to my heat loss project.

For NG, cents per therm I've heard of is
64
110
147
with me being at the $1.10 price.
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Old 06-11-2009, 10:01 PM   #13
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Buying our first home and it needs some "improvements"


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How many therms do you get for $70?
And if you tell me the sq. footage including basement I can add you to my heat loss project.

For NG, cents per therm I've heard of is
64
110
147
with me being at the $1.10 price.
i need to learn a lot more. you are using terms i am unfamiliar with. the house has 1560sq ft but i am unsure of the basement. but if i had to guess it is around 800-900 sq ft down there.
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Old 06-11-2009, 10:09 PM   #14
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Buying our first home and it needs some "improvements"


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i need to learn a lot more. you are using terms i am unfamiliar with. the house has 1560sq ft but i am unsure of the basement. but if i had to guess it is around 800-900 sq ft down there.
A therm is 100,000 BTU and natural gas supplies 1 therm for approx. 100 cu. feet.

For the D.C. area I used 838 therms of NG in a 90 day period and it cost me ~$900.
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Old 07-08-2009, 12:41 AM   #15
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Buying our first home and it needs some "improvements"


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Congrats on the house
1st thing I do is change the locks
we closed on the house last wedneday. i changed the locks today with some nice kwikset deadbolts and keyed entry locks. decided on the venetian bronze finish. that was a fun little project. i learned that after there have been at least 8 different deadbolts in there it might be time for a new door and door jamb. oh well... i hate the front door anyway.







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