buying a house.

Posted by: dakkon

buying a house. - 03/12/12 10:39 PM

When buying your most recent house, how many of you had a audio/HT room on your list of "must haves"? I will most likely be buying a house in the next year or so... Not sure what part of the country yet, as i need to finish school/get a job prior to said house purchase.

I am fairly sure that Nick had that on his list, as demonstrated by his ongoing basement project...
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: buying a house. - 03/12/12 11:21 PM

And I will be the first to respond... You know my answer. With our last house, we were going to "settle" for something in the living room. After a year it turned into "maybe a common space in the basement". Another year or so later, and it was its own room. Not a great room, but its own.

With the search for a new theater, I mean "new house," we (ok, mainly just I) was looking for a place for a theater in every house. Some we said "well, we could kind of do something in this space", but those houses usually had too many compromises on their own. This current house just happened to have a large and open basement with just a 6 foot slider and a window on one side of the basement (plenty of dark areas to build a theater)...

So for us, yes, we wanted a theater. Oddly enough, as we get closer and closer to being able to use it, the WHOLE family is getting more and more excited and anxious...
Posted by: INANE

Re: buying a house. - 03/13/12 12:12 AM

Both of my house searches I had a requirement to find a space for a HT. I focused on basement space because it's much easier to find a blank slate to work with. If you're not into taking on a remodel project yourself or paying someone to then you'll probably have to be a lot more picky about the rooms upstairs (or find a house with a remodeled basement).

And it was primarily my requirement but my wife had no issues with me wanting that plus she enjoys it too.
Posted by: Murph

Re: buying a house. - 03/13/12 07:55 AM

I know you say "buy" not "build" but I'll chime in anyways. In building my last house, wiring for HT and audio was top of mind. Both the living room and the HT room in the basement were planned carefully. Also remember that networking can be a part of the mix. Wireless is much more common now but sometimes it pays to have that extra copper run.
Posted by: dakkon

Re: buying a house. - 03/13/12 12:26 PM

Murph, i agree.. If i was going to build, i would run the wires as well as hard wire network connections.. While wifi is convenient.. There is no substitute for a hardwired connection...

When i buy a house, i will most likely look for one build either in the 60's or prior to the 60's. From watching Holmes on homes, i am not wanting a new construction. If i do go new construction, i will buy from the ground up and inspect the site on a daily basis... I dont know why people who are having a house built dont inspect their house on a daily/weekly basis...That is one HECK of a lot of money to not be checking on...If someone had 200,000$ in a briefcase they sure as Sh$(!would be checking on it daily!!!... Anyhow, that's enough of that rant..

I think as long as there is a space that i can do something with, i will be fine. If it means removing a wall i'm ok with that, if it means removing a load bearing wall and installing a header well, I'm ok with that to...
Posted by: shoeless

Re: buying a house. - 03/13/12 02:15 PM

Still a work in progress, but here's what I did in my house:

need to paint and put painted grilles over all the speaker openings. Have m22's and a vp100 up front, M0's for 5.1 and 7.1 and a Hsu sub with a drop down 96" projection screen
Posted by: dakkon

Re: buying a house. - 03/13/12 03:23 PM

Shoeless, your room is similar to my room now.. A Great room... That takes a lot of power to fill... I had to buy more power with the current room i have.

I really like how you had room to recess the screen, i would like to be able to do that as well. Did you have to remodel the house at all to facilitate the screen/speaker locations? Or, did you get lucky and get the space somewhat the way it currently is?
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: buying a house. - 03/13/12 04:17 PM

Holmes on Homes. Great show! There are new construction horror stories, but he is in Canada. Not sure how different the building codes are, but corners are cut regardless of which side of the border you are on. Regular inspections are a must.
Posted by: shoeless

Re: buying a house. - 03/13/12 04:25 PM

Built it that way (from scratch) on purpose. The idea was to not limit the TV to just a home theatre. This way we can watch a show and still entertain. Heck, I can watch the NCAA's while I go and get a beer and not miss a thing.
Posted by: INANE

Re: buying a house. - 03/14/12 12:33 AM

Here is my sketch/plans from almost 2 years ago...


I'm almost done with it (argh!!! be done already!!) I decided to make my HT a multipurpose room as well. Going with wide seating vs multiple rows. Not ideal for movies but better for football games!

Posted by: jakewash

Re: buying a house. - 03/25/12 11:31 PM

Just built a new house 2 years ago and I wired our 'great room' or bonus room or what ever you call it for 5.1 and had cat5e run to every room. A specific room for HT would be nice but with a growing family and my basement occupied by my parents I had to make do with what I could. I would love to have a room specifically for HT but I also really like having my most used room with all the HT toys in it.

So far as why people don't inspect the build on a regualr basis, at least here, you are not allowed onto the site during construction without a builder representative, ie salesman and appropriate safety gear(hard hat) so this cuts into the time you have to look around, you also have to remember until you make that final signature and they hand you the keys, you do not own the house/property, the builder does, you are in fact trespassing with out that builder representative. Not to mention there are far too many people that do not know what is right or wrong with what is going on...............I went by when I got off work at 2:30AM
Posted by: dakkon

Re: buying a house. - 03/26/12 12:42 PM

Jason, you edited half of a sentence out... now you have to unedited, and share your story.......

If i was going to "build" a house, i think i would put that in the contract. That i could inspect the house whenever workers were not present.... I am no expert, but i can tell if they are not putting much care into their work...

I have already decided, when i do buy a house. i will have a
home inspector
master electrician
master plumber
HVAC person
and a general contractor inspect the place.

I think those inspections will be about 1-2k$... But, if i am going to spend 100-200k$ or more... spending 2k$ in inspections is only 1% of the total cost... I would rather spend that money and find out oh wait, the ENTIRE HVAC system is JAcked, and will need to be replaced 10k$... or something specific that a home inspector is not an expert at....
Posted by: autoboy

Re: buying a house. - 03/26/12 07:26 PM

I just bought a new house that has a basement with room for a dedicated HT. I'm pretty excited about it, but it wasn't on the must haves list. It just happened to be the house that we liked the most. The basement was certainly a bonus, but the rest of the house is still the best we had seen. My search also resulted in a great family room that could also house a decent HT so now I have two spaces.

On my must haves list was a family room that was designed around a TV and not around a fireplace. It was extremely hard to find a family room that could accommodate a 65" TV at proper viewing height and wall space for speakers. Almost all the homes we looked at had the TV above the fireplace, so you ended up looking at the ceiling to watch TV. It's the stupidest place to put a TV because who gives a crap about a fireplace when the TV will be used for 3 hours a day? I'd rather put the fireplace above the TV just to prove the point that it's a retarded feature of new homes. Yeah, can you tell it pissed me off? Why does any home in this day and age has a single fireplace? What is the usefulness of them and why would you spend a fortune putting them in? The other room that baffles me in modern homes is the living room. It's a totally wasted room with no valid reason to exist. It used to be the "living" room where the family would sit and spend time, but now it is designed as a room to accept guests who would rather be in the family room or around the kitchen munching on Doritos while watching the game. If the living room isn't attached to the entry of your home like most new home construction in my area, why not turn it into a HT because as it is it makes no sense to exist.

Depending on where you live a dedicated HT can be fairly easy to accommodate (in the midwest basements are common) so I feel like this is something that you need to figure out for yourself. How much does a HT matter to you and how hard is it to accommodate that need?
Posted by: jakewash

Re: buying a house. - 04/01/12 12:45 AM

It was in our contract that we had to stop by the local showhome and have someone take us onto the build site as well as we had to have the appropriate safety wear on, no unauthorized access. I suspect much of this has to do with liability if there ever was an incident; like I said I just went by when convenient for me and kept an eye on things, overall it was a good experience.

I highly doubt they would have signed off on any clause that would have allowed me unacompnied access.
Posted by: dakkon

Re: buying a house. - 04/01/12 02:28 AM

Jake, did you ever find anything that you didn't like/wanted changed during any of your trips to the build site? I am thinking HFAC duct work that isn't sealed well, stuff like that... Ect.. could you have put in the contract that you wanted to have inspections conducted and problems corrected before drywall was allowed to go up? Also, to have the plumbing inspected prior to the concrete being pored, if it was a slab foundation..?

Maybe i have been watching to much Holmes on homes/ Holmes inspection, but i don't have much faith in new construction homes from the last decade....
Posted by: jakewash

Re: buying a house. - 04/01/12 11:17 AM

You get to do a walkthrough once the rough ins are done, so if you have an eagle eye and time you can catch that stuff at this time. The site supervisor caught a number of issues that I wasn't at all concerned with and the bigger items I noticed he easily caught, it took extra time and pushed our date back a couple weeks but in the end it was worth the wait; however I did have to stay on top of them to ensure all those items did infact get fixed.

The one thing I have learned after now having 2 houses built is that even though you think you have added all the items and adjusted plans to suit your needs, once you move in you find there is still the odd thing that was over looked.
Posted by: Gary Vose Sr

Re: buying a house. - 04/01/12 01:13 PM

Having a dedicated space for HT would be my preferences, but with where I live it's difficult to obtain. The builders place homes on a reinforced concrete slab with no option for a basement. So that leaves the family room as the only viable area within the home. Simply buying a home with an extra bedroom doesn't give enough space (generally 11x12). One would have to purchase a home with formal living and dining with a bonus or family room as well. With all that the other rooms within the home become larger as well, easily upping the total homes sq. feet to as much as 1200- 1500 sq. feet. My family room is definitely a doable space for my HT needs, though I'm still saving up some cash for it, I'll have to wait until the fall to begin. This will be my first venture into setting up a HT. With the HT 101 course I've been taking for over a year now (visiting forums) along with help from Axiom,and AXiomites I'll be fine.

Jakewash all the best with your project, I bet you're getting antsy about now, because I got to tell yeah, I certainly I'm.
Posted by: Murph

Re: buying a house. - 04/02/12 03:04 PM

I find the 'not allowed on the build site' bit pretty bizarre by our standards here. I'd imagine fist fights if contractors tried to tell locals here that they could not come onto property they own to inspect materials they bought in a home they have to live in when it's done.

The laws are probably different though. Here, If I hire a contractor to work on my property, as the hiring body, I am responsible to ensure the foreman will follow proper safety precautions. I don't think a court case has ever once come of it though, for a non-commercial build. 95% of residential home builders would not even know that they were responsible. I only knew this from an Occupational Health and Safety course I took through work.

Not saying it's a better system. Safety is important, but we were at our build sight almost every evening. Mostly because we rented a neighbours place for the duration, but I still would not have felt comfortable without regular visits. Although, to his credit, our contractor was top notch and last minute corrections or changes were never an issue. A rare experience, but true.
Posted by: dakkon

Re: buying a house. - 04/02/12 03:20 PM

Murph, I think in the U.S. it is common for the contractor to "own" the property and materials, until the money is transfered for the purchase... Only after the money is transfered does the homeowner actually "own" anything..... This is the normal way to buy a new house in the U.S. from my understanding....

But, if the home owner bought the land separate of the house deal, then you would own the the property like in your case. But i get the feeling that not many people at all go this route in the U.S.
Posted by: Murph

Re: buying a house. - 04/02/12 03:32 PM

There certainly are 'some' homes going up here that follow that model. Most are in subdivisions owned by the developer and you would pre-pay in that model. Certainly not the norm though but I could see that it might be much more common in larger metro areas.

Even with the above model, local Maritime culture still largely dictates that a framed in house is an open invitation for curious neighbours to come and freely explore. Until you put doors on it, it is considered fair game. Might as well be a public park for the nosy.
Posted by: Hansang

Re: buying a house. - 04/02/12 05:56 PM

Having the builder "own" it until it's built is the safest approach. This way, if he ends up *not* paying his supplier, the suppliers cannot put a mechanical lien on your house. I've heard more than once from people who found out that they had a mechanical lien because the builder did not pay his bill, and it's the home owners problem because the "build" was done under the ownership of the home owner.

As to not letting people in, you have to remember that US is the most litigious country in the world. So I imagine fear of lawsuit is the single driving force. Just like most mechanics will not let you wander around the garage while they work on your car.
Posted by: Murph

Re: buying a house. - 04/03/12 11:34 AM

Those are good points, although I wasn't trying to say which system was better. I was just commenting on the differences in the two cultures, as I found it interesting.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: buying a house. - 04/03/12 10:57 PM

If I was the general contractor then I would be in control of it all as you say Murph and this all would have been a non-issue, but we bought through a builder here and they claimed this approach was for our safety and in reality for their insurance/liabilty. It really wasn't a big deal to go to the sales office and ask for someone to take us through, they were really good about it.