Your thoughts on preserving empty house during NE winter - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 19 Old 09-16-2015, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Your thoughts on preserving empty house during NE winter

I’ve been looking for a state other than CA to retire to for years and my family has been pushing me to move to PA. Now my wife wants to go as well because she doesn’t want to be stuck someplace alone if something happens to me.

Well the other day I decided just for fun to take a peek at real estate near my family and wouldn’t you know it, I found my perfect house with over 2 acres of land. I can buy it now and may have to because the price will not last long, but the problem is that I can’t move for at least 6 to 9 months and I can’t even go there to look at it for a little over 3 months when I retire.

So I’m thinking about buying it unseen and take my chances, but I’m worried about how it will hold up without anybody there. Everyone says rent it out, but it’s not located where working people would be available to rent it. I’m a little leery about renting anyway because I’ve heard all the horror stories about getting people out when you need it.

Anyway I know that all the basin drains and toilets need to be sealed shut to prevent the traps from drying out and letting sewer gasses in.

I also know from when my uncles built some spec homes and could not sell them through the winter that doors and wood stairs started to warp without heat. This house that I’m looking at has wood flooring throughout the house and I'm a little worried about that. I guess keeping it heated through the winter would help, but I wonder what the lowest temp is that I could keep it at without going broke.

I have family within 20 to 40 min who could drop in maybe once a week to check on things and see that no squatters have moved in.

I kind of wish now that I would have never looked until I was actually free to go.

JohnnyB
Iím a die hard DIY guy. Donít tell me to hire someone for what I can do myself.

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post #2 of 19 Old 09-16-2015, 08:13 PM
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When we leave our house in NH in the winter we turn off the water and winterize the plumbing. We have the heat set for 55 which is the lowest our thermostat goes. The house is 150 percent wood LOL. It is 60 year old. It use to be left without heat for entire winters. We have not noticed any issues with the floors, wall, or doors. Anything that happened occureed decades ago. I do not remember my dad and I working on anything except to plane the doors once or twice.
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post #3 of 19 Old 09-16-2015, 08:17 PM
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Since you have someone that can check on the house I would just turn the water off and turn the heat down to about 50 degrees. You already know about the sink traps. Since nobody is living there you might get someone to inspect the heating system to make sure the furnace doesn't burn the house down. I think the biggest problem will be with your insurance company. They don't like to insure an empty house. Maybe should keep that a secret.
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post #4 of 19 Old 09-16-2015, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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I forgot about the water and that sounds like a very important thing to do in freezing weather. My brother in law is a retired electrician and maybe I can find a thermostat with a low setting and have him install it for me.
I need to put that in my notebook so I don't forget.

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post #5 of 19 Old 09-16-2015, 08:54 PM
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you need an agent

You shouldn't buy real estate sight unsseen. An agent who will represent your interets would be cheap what ever the cost IF they keep you from making a mistake. They can also hire a property management firm to keep the place together until you can move in.

There are really 2 separate issues here, the foremost being the condition, and value of the property, the second being the maintenance of the house. The first one is the big one. I'd get a reputable real estate agent. Some are lawyers as well, which would be best.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #6 of 19 Old 09-16-2015, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Well the only one that will not be there would be me. I plan on having my cousinís look at the place and send me on the spot photos so if I see something I can have them investigate a little closer with more photos. My whole family has been in construction their whole lives so I trust them. I have one cousin thatís in insurance now, but she used to flip houses for a living and I trust her more than my other cousins who actually build houses.
As far as maintenance goes, I donít know how much would be required during the winter. Snow might be the only issue and it is brick along the ground level and the roof has a good slope on it. It is already missing the front porch and roof so that will need some looking into before I move in. I have no problem of building another one, but I donít want any water getting through to the basement. My cousins will be able to help me with that, but they donít do anything for free.

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post #7 of 19 Old 09-17-2015, 12:38 AM
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On the spot photos are a good thing. Can they face time you so you can see it live and talk about observations? I use that technique with contractors and has worked pretty well when I can't be on the job site.

Cut it twice, measure once and it's still too short.
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post #8 of 19 Old 09-17-2015, 12:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper
I forgot about the water and that sounds like a very important thing to do in freezing weather. My brother in law is a retired electrician and maybe I can find a thermostat with a low setting and have him install it for me. I need to put that in my notebook so I don't forget.
I would turn off the water heater.
I put in an Internet TStat so I can adjust the temp remotely and it gives me the outside temp for my second home.
The insurance on the second house is cheap as the insurance carrier assumes I can only be one location as claims usually occur when the house is occupied. Doesn't make sense to me but I'll take the discount.
My garage door opener is also on the internet so I get texts if the door is opened while I'm not there.
As far as the house being empty for several months is because your doing renovations - right? Wink wink

Cut it twice, measure once and it's still too short.
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post #9 of 19 Old 09-17-2015, 03:08 AM
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Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
You shouldn't buy real estate sight unsseen. An agent who will represent your interets would be cheap what ever the cost IF they keep you from making a mistake. They can also hire a property management firm to keep the place together until you can move in.

There are really 2 separate issues here, the foremost being the condition, and value of the property, the second being the maintenance of the house. The first one is the big one. I'd get a reputable real estate agent. Some are lawyers as well, which would be best.
I agreŤ with seeing the house before you buy. No matter what your schedule is, you have time to take an evening flight on a Friday, have a relative pick you up, see the house on Saturday and return to work on Monday morn. The cost of the trip is worth the piece of mind.
Second: cold weather doesn't ruin wood. Moisture ruins wood. I think you could turn off the water at the meter, pour a little anti-freeze in the toilets and all sink P-traps, drain the HWH and be good to go in the spring.
Still, you will need insurance and in order to buy insurance you will need to claim it as your second home and never mention its unoccupied.
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post #10 of 19 Old 09-17-2015, 07:04 AM
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Personally, if your cousin flipped houses successfully, that's the opinion I'd want.

Do like you always do,,,, get what you always get!!
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post #11 of 19 Old 09-17-2015, 07:29 AM
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For those that are advising the OP to "wink wink" or with hold information from your insurance company..you are giving real bad advice....even if in jest some person might actually do it. An outright lie (Sir, will your house be vacant or unoccupied ......No) is fraud. Saying that it is under renovation when it is not is going to either be fraud or misrepresentation.

Do you want to risk that you will not be paid out on an insurance claim?

My son interned at a large insurance company the last two summers and on part was claims. They paid out pretty liberally on claims but if they do investigate good. In the OP's situation he might be at risk of losing his house.

BTW: ever wonder why everyones insurance rates are so high? Misrepresentation, lying and not paying premium.

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post #12 of 19 Old 09-17-2015, 07:33 AM Thread Starter
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..
My garage door opener is also on the internet so I get texts if the door is opened while I'm not there......
Wow, now I need to look into that, That sounds pretty cool.

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post #13 of 19 Old 09-17-2015, 07:42 AM Thread Starter
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For those that are advising the OP to "wink wink" or with hold information from your insurance company..you are giving real bad advice....even if in jest some person might actually do it. An out lie (Sir, will your house be vacant or unoccupied ......No) is fraud. Saying that it is under renovation when it is not is going to either be fraud or misrepresentation.

Do you want to risk that you will not be paid out on an insurance claim?

My son interned at a large insurance company the last two summers and on part was claims. They paid out pretty liberally on claims but if they do investigate good. In the OP's situation he might be at risk of losing his house.

BTW: other wonder why everyones insurance rates are so high? Misrepresentation, lying and not paying premium.
Truthfully I never even thought of the insurance part until Steve brought it up, but I may have to put more serious thought into this now that it came up so many times.

I don't really have time to find someone who can stay there that I trust until I get my act together.

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post #14 of 19 Old 09-17-2015, 07:52 AM
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Truthfully I never even thought of the insurance part until Steve brought it up, but I may have to put more serious thought into this now that it came up so many times.

I don't really have time to find someone who can stay there that I trust until I get my act together.
You can get insurance on a vacant home or unoccupied home (there is a difference). Having people check on it once week is a plus as well. You most likely will have to pay more but it is better than not getting paid out. The biggest difference is that you most likely will not be covered for vandalism if vacant for more than 90 days.
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post #15 of 19 Old 09-17-2015, 07:52 AM
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There are companies that will winterize a house---foreclosed homes get the treatment and your bank or real estate company will have the names of winterizers.

Aside from adding antifreeze to the drains--all water lines are blown out with a compressor---

There is still the chance that the incoming water line can blow before the meter---so the curb stop should be closed.

If you are on a well---the pressure tank needs draining---


Keep the heat on---no cooler than 55---not all parts of a structure receive heat--and will freeze if the house is to cold----
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post #16 of 19 Old 09-17-2015, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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Well I had a relative take a look today and he said that although it is really nice these places come up all the time. He said I could pick up another place closer to the family for at lot less money and have it finished off the same for about the same price or do it myself for a lot less. Everybody is telling me to wait until I actually retire and I am free to move.

The real estate company said that they are getting a lot of offers and it will be sold at by the end of next week. So Iím backing out and will wait until next summer.

My wife told me to stop looking, but I may look around a little in NV just in case I find a place that might be acceptable to my wife. At least Iíll be able to drive there in 5 to 7 hours depending on where it is.

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post #17 of 19 Old 09-17-2015, 11:31 PM
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Wow, now I need to look into that, That sounds pretty cool.
Lift Master makes the opener

Cut it twice, measure once and it's still too short.
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post #18 of 19 Old 09-18-2015, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Lift Master makes the opener
Thanks, I just looked this up and I am sold. I think I'm going to order one to go with my brand new garage door I just ordered.

I've wanted windows in my garage door for years and was trying to just order the top panel with the windows, kept getting the run around. I finally gave up and ordered the whole door with the factory insulation. The wife is a little upset because we aren't planning on staying here that long, but I will enjoy it this winter for sure.

I guess I can take the door opener with me if I keep the old one.

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post #19 of 19 Old 09-18-2015, 08:55 PM
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hold on there.....

I have 2 Liftmasters. They mount on the wall! There is no center drive mechanism that always gets ion the way. They are very smooth and very quiet. Get those ....

http://www.ebay.com/itm/8500-2-PACK-...item2a56d47f43

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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