Home Ownership

I don’t think this would require it’s own section, but similar to the Android Apps thread, I thought it would be good to have a place for us homeowners for tips, tricks and questions.

I’ll start.

Anyone know of a decent household journaling app or system? What I’m doing now is using a couple of Google calendars. I have one for basic Home Maintenance and another for events. I put in things like ‘Lazy Boy at 2pm to fix couch’ and then I update the description with what happened or any notes. I’d like to expand on it a bit but I haven’t found anything decent to my liking. Suggestions?

I should use something like that, but I just have a reminder ap on my phone for changing the filter and taking the trash out.

Though since we’re asking questions, anyone found an easy way to replace screens? And what exactly do you do when the frame is toast? I don’t remember seeing any window screens at Loews. Except for the adjustable ones, which are awesome for what they are.

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I swiped mine from here. It does the job.

As to the screens, my house has almost no screens and the windows are an odd size so I just made a couple with the screen kits. The New York Wire kits are decent enough for making your own screen. Gratch and I are trying to just get our windows replaced but we’ve hit a few snags.

Update: HomeSpotHQ seems okay. But in order to get the contacts or inventory you have to pay. $25 a year. I always worry about the thing going down and then having to export out my info into something else. I’d rather setup a wiki or something that’s local.

I too have just used Google Calendar for my maintenance stuff. It’s a really clunky solution. though. I just make recurring entries on my calendar.

I’d really like an app where I can track what needs to be done and when, and then how much it cost me (cost of air filter, etc.).

HomeSpotHQ won’t let me log in with my Google accounts. Do I have to create an account manually, then link it?

Buy a new-construction house, pay off the mortgage in 10 years, then sell it and buy another new construction house. Repeat forever. Required major home maintenance and repair costs: essentially zero! Note: requires capital and luck. Offer not valid for most of the parts of the country where people want to live.


Not sure @dakboy. I try not to link my accounts if possible mainly because we have a central house account that we both can get into. It would just get confusing.

And that’s a nice thought @Lee_Ars but the only luck we’ve had lately has been of the bad kind.

I’ve talked to a bunch of people in the past few years that bought new-construction homes, but had a laundry list of complaints that they had to battle to get resolved, or just gave up on and decided to fix themselves or just live with. For example, my brother-in-law had had problems with his house, even though he visited every day after work (with camera and often while the work crews were still there, so they knew they were being watched) while it was being built, and at least once a week had to point out something that was done wrong. A few things were really outrageously bad, too, that would never have been caught if he hadn’t visited and demanded it be fixed before the sheet rock went up.
But at least he isn’t looking at having to replace an air conditioner system with parts of indeterminate age between 19-30 years.

Just because I needed some place to fist pump…

Insurance auditor just left. Looks like the kitchen water damage is covered. So no more mold smells soon. Plus this means we might actually have the money for the new siding and windows.

Things are looking up. NO ONE TOUCH ANYTHING!


I chronicled the crap I went through with our builder back in '12-'13 on the old board. I’m still trying to get the last few fix-it items taken care of.

Then there’s the laundry list of new stuff I’m doing now and knew I’d have to do just to finish bootstrapping the house - putting stuff on walls, growing a lawn, various construction projects, landscaping, etc.

But it sure beats trying to keep our old house standing. This winter’s heating bills would have broken us.

It absolutely depends on the builder, because there are some terrible ones out there (like KB Homes—a company that is literally worse than Comcast and AT&T rolled into one). We’ve had great luck with ours (built by Perry Homes)—we’re 10 years in next month and, knock on wood, will have gone the whole 10 year without any real problems. They were extremely easy to work with during the build and even though we were there at least every other day to check stuff out, they did everything right.

Buyer beware and research first, but if we ever do move, I’d build again rather than move into an existing house.

We went with CP Morgan, who is now out of business. They got taken out by the downturn.

We haven’t had anything major, we’ve been there for 8 years. The things that were cheap, are cheap. The HVAC is underpowered and maintenance intensive, the outlets just aren’t always convenient (our fault), the counter tops are coming apart (but we got the cheapest option planning to replace it), the carpet is done (8 years, 5 people, two dogs it better be a wreck or we’re not living), there is a crack in the foundation, but it’s really just cosmetic.

Needs painting, the yard is small, the screens all need work. That’s maintenance. All that being said, it was $160k for 2800 sq feet, 20 minutes from Indy, 4 beds 2.5 baths, just before the housing crash, on a tenth of an acre. After next year we’re down to one kid at home, so it may be time to start looking.

My next house I really want to be straw, with all the little energy saving tricks this place doesn’t have. Big south facing windows, windows on all sides for cross breezes, large eaves so we can open them in the rain, terra cotta tile, maybe some geo-thermal action. I’ve seen dozens of designs for houses that stay between 65 and 75 with no power expended.

I hear ya, to all y’all. And it is good to hear the positive review for Perry. KB could be a common denominator - they have signs everywhere around here. The home I’m in now (my first) was built in the early 80s, so I do a fair bit of maintenance, but it also is getting to the point where it is going to need larger investments - whole HVAC system, siding, etc. My next one will be new. If possible, I’d like to get a place just off the beaten path. There are still places around the Spring/Woodlands area that aren’t in cookie-cutter neighborhoods, so they’re secluded, but still near conveniences, like here.

I found a ‘possible’ solution to the home journal problem. Unfortunately, it’s Microsoft with an add-on.

I’ve been toying with OneNote as a place to keep various notes of things. I’m using more and more cloud services but silo’ing them into different things (Dropbox has my files. My phone backs up to Google Drive. OneDrive has files but not important ones). I’ve been using more and more OneDrive as most of my machines are W8 now. The all-in-one that is going into the kitchen is also W8 so something that would take advantage of that shared drive would be nice. I thought of MS Journal in Office, but in Office 2013, it’s been neutered pretty bad and it looks like it’s dying on the vine in terms of support. Enter OneNote. It uses the cloud drive of OneDrive and has Android apps as well as being designed for touch screens in W8. Some of the problems is no calendar and not a lot of contact integration. Part of that is fixed with a 3rd party add-on called Onetastic. Among other things, it gives you a calendar of when the notes were made.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a start…

Perry is a great builder (though the founder’s politics put a lot of people off—doesn’t make the houses any less good, though!). KB is just terrible.

Why is it when I hear the phrase:

I instantly assume the person in question is a conservative? How come no one ever complains about reading Bloomberg News and having to ignore Bloomberg’s name on the dang paper?

Anyway, my builder is bankrupt since the housing crash, too many 0% down loans to NINJA applicants. I’m still pretty happy with what I got, but it’s very generic, not surprising, it’s a McMansion, exactly what we needed at the time. I’m looking at places 10 minutes farther out in a small town, where the girls go to school anyway, and I can get a house with an even smaller yard, and ten tons of charm, that’s 10 times as old, for almost the same amount of money, despite it also being half the size.

I think I’m still going to end up building my next house, or at least the “final” house. I’m stuck on building with straw and trying to go energy neutral, we’ll see.

Soo, yes, apparently quite so!

Also, after @Woodman’s comment, I read the Wiki, too. Bunch of stuff I didn’t know, so I’m done learnin’ for today. :wink:

Perry Homes makes amazing houses. They’re a great builder. But yes, as @Woodman suspected and @dakboy linked, his politics gave (and still give) folks pause. He wasn’t just vocally conservative—he was a wealthy man who donated a lot to ultra-right causes about which he was very passionate.

Didn’t make me hesitate for even one second to buy a house from his company, though. It’s a damn good house.