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Why are houses in America so expensive if they're made from flimsy materials?

I come from a country where practically every house is made of brick (blocks) and mortar. They last a lifetime with minimal upkeep (just painting every 5 or so years).

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by Anonymousreply 104Last Friday at 3:38 AM

Wood houses are not all the same. Though your stereotype, like all, has some truth.

Real estate prices are not just about quality of materials. But an idiot would understand this so of course you do as well.

Why does a 1.5 tiny room shit hole apartment in NYC cost 600K? And this sleek modern 3 bedroom in Sofia half as much. Gee I wonder. Why oh why?

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by Anonymousreply 1Last Wednesday at 2:05 AM

OP the bigger part of the cost of buying a home is the property it sits on, not the building itself.

by Anonymousreply 2Last Wednesday at 2:08 AM

Nothing is made to last anymore OP.

by Anonymousreply 3Last Wednesday at 2:09 AM

The tiny NY shit hole apartment at least has some concrete and steel in it's construction. Suburban homes are wood and plywood.

by Anonymousreply 4Last Wednesday at 2:10 AM

I lived in a 250 year old wood house in Providence RI, dear.

by Anonymousreply 5Last Wednesday at 2:11 AM

This is why I'll NEVER buy new construction. Or really any house built after 1960.

by Anonymousreply 6Last Wednesday at 2:11 AM

There are sturdy 100 year old utilitarian craftsman among other models all over the USA.

by Anonymousreply 7Last Wednesday at 2:14 AM

There are trade-offs you’re ignoring and they are economic obsolescence and material waste that make rehabbing older homes expensive and bad for the environment.

Your old formal dining room is now used as a hallway and your galley kitchen has to be opened up for dining space. You want a bathroom per bedroom instead of the old 1.5 baths per household.

Your flooring was once oak or softwood, but that was old growth that no longer exists, so you get a chip board base layer. This would be fine, but we’re no longer installing wall-to-wall because it’s a recycling nightmare that off-gases and traps germs. Now, you need a thin non-porous floor that can be kept clean. Also, under that old wall-to-wall; is it asbestos tile? That’s extra money to dispose when you rehab your house. Is the paint on the house lead-based? It still happens and it’s a nightmare to dispose of properly.

Your roof should be fitted with solar within the next ten years, so how attached are you to slate or stupid peeks? As to water run-off, are you going to continue guttering away from the house, or are you going to save that bird-shit laden liquid to water your garden? You’re not going to be allowed to add it to the sewer drains and it has to go somewhere.

Do you need the small garages of the 20s up to the 50s or do you need the airplane hanger-sized garages of the 60s to 80s? How many fucking car-holes do you need per house? Cars are relatively cheap and even poors can own three or four.

by Anonymousreply 8Last Wednesday at 2:28 AM

You type like a such a nice person R8.

by Anonymousreply 9Last Wednesday at 2:32 AM

The three hundred houses in my HOA are all made of cement block. They were built in 2003. In fact everything in my city was built and being built now with cement block.

Do your homework, OP.

by Anonymousreply 10Last Wednesday at 2:38 AM

To accommodate massive live weight like 4 400-lb beached whale?

by Anonymousreply 11Last Wednesday at 2:56 AM

Brick construction is not suitable for seismic areas.

by Anonymousreply 12Last Wednesday at 2:57 AM

[quote]This is why I'll NEVER buy new construction. Or really any house built after 1960.

Agreed. I have/would only live in old houses for many reasons, but I never understand the assumption people make that new housing in trouble-free or that old houses are always money pits.

The components of a house age at different rates: roofs, foundation materials, exterior wall or cladding materials, windows, mechanical systems, etc., but with a new house the life expectancy of those elements is on a short timeline. For a typical American house, modern exterior wood cladding has a life expectancy of 20-40 years; asphalt roof shingles 10-15 years, wood shingle roofing 20-30 years, metal roofing 30-50 years, copper roofing >75 years, quality slate or tile 100+ years; furnaces, HVAC compressors/ mechanicals 7-15 years; household appliances 9-15 years; light switches and accessories 10 years; garage door openers 10 years.

Buying a new house suggests that 8-10 years may the maximum time to hold onto it. After that a host of expensive replacement projects will be on the horizon, if not in your own budget than in the report of a good home inspector when you sell the place. A house that's 15 years old with no notable improvements over that time is on borrowed time for appliances to fail, roofs to leak, faucets to fail, the "engineered hardwood floors" popular in modern American houses have probably already been replaced once as their estimated lifetime can be as short as 5-8 years, the same as installed carpet, and the aluminum gutters and downspouts have probably already been replaced once as well if the property is in a location with heavy rains, heavy winters, or many deciduous trees (6-8 years.) Some modern things do last, unfortunately: vinyl siding has a life expectancy of 60 years (if you've ever seen the stuff at 15, you will wish it a faster death than 60.)

There are plenty of old houses, however with wood frame construction where the weatherboarding has seen only some spot repairs and regular repaintings over 250 years or so. Many better houses from the 1930s and earlier were overbuilt with copper gutters and slate roofs (guaranteed for 100 years and many going strong well after that, though hugely expensive of slate and tile roofs when they do fail); and solid masonry construction (not a brick veneer on the elevations that count and some vinyl siding around the sides and back. They were built as solid as ocean liners and intended to last a century or two, not 40 years. Their wooden windows have been repainted and cared for fit snugly without leaks, whereas modern UPVC windows (life expectancy 8-15 years) with their double-paned mirror-faced glass enclose new construction so tightly, the better than you can inhale the fumes from the plastic carpets and basement drains that are pools are black mold stuck just out of sight, for now.

Of course modern housing construction can be of extraordinary quality. I've seen it and appreciated it, but I will never have the money to marry Old World and High Tech of the highest quality even if I were to want to do that.

by Anonymousreply 13Last Wednesday at 3:09 AM

I had this conversation with a European. We we fascinated by it too. Particularly noticeable on doors and windows: they all look good, but are actually flimsy and crap. It mirrors what has gone on with Ikea, which used to mark very good serviceable furniture, and now flogs chipboard tat.

by Anonymousreply 14Last Wednesday at 3:12 AM

Yes, America is the only place where shoddy houses are built. Bad America.

by Anonymousreply 15Last Wednesday at 3:17 AM

You op are made of the shoddy materials.

by Anonymousreply 16Last Wednesday at 3:20 AM

In Southern Europe there are practically no plasterboard or gypsum sheetrock covered hollow interior walls. (It exists, but when it's used it's mostly as temporary partitions for warehouse and industrial spaces.) If you want to add a closet in a bedroom, a mason comes and builds it in terra cotta blocks then a plasterer follows behind and finishes the walls and, finally, a carpenter to hang the door and painters to complete the work. The idea of using timber or plastic or metal supports to build a hollow frame that will be encased in wallboard is just short of incomprehensible. And the sheets of insulation and spray-blown stuff is equally a strange idea. Likewise hanging pictures on walls is very different one place to the other.

by Anonymousreply 17Last Wednesday at 3:26 AM

R13, yes, my mother’s house in Maine (now ours) was built in 1846 and stands solid. It’s been modernized, of course, but you can see some of the “bones”, and they’re good. Almost two centuries old, and she’s still snug and steady.

My sister’s house in CT is 100 years old, same thing.

The “problem” is that the rooms are small and separate. People want grand rooms that sprawl, with big picture windows and open plan. It’s a trade-off. I remember being in a new construction house and being frustrated by being unable to slam the door - it was a hollow particle-board thing.

by Anonymousreply 18Last Wednesday at 3:28 AM

My American parents live in a custom-built, architect-designed home on a beautiful property but much of it is of a poorer quality than my modest, over-100-year-old European apartment. Their non-picture windows are overlaid with a plastic grid to make them look like lattice windows. The doorknobs are of a cheapy quality and many no longer lock. The doors are hollow and made of something that doesn't feel like wood. The rod in the guest room closet is too close to the closet shelf, so that you have to bend hangars sideways to hang them on the rod. You can heat/cool the huge house only centrally--as if bedrooms, bathrooms, the kitchen or rooms with sun/no sun have the same needs. It always baffles me.

Of course, good quality is much more expensive, and if every low-earner has their own house it's going to be built on the cheap. In my parents' case, I think it's a lack of appreciation for quality and a lack of skilled craftspeople.

by Anonymousreply 19Last Wednesday at 4:04 AM

Yes it makes so much sense to compare your American parents' modern McMansion to a 100 year old European apartment building. Shall I tell you about the bronze casements in my Art Deco garçonnière in Zamalek, Cairo? As compared to my American nephew's dorm room at flyoverstan C list university?

by Anonymousreply 20Last Wednesday at 4:10 AM

My brick-built cottage here in the U.K. is 196 years old and has only had superficial maintenance in recent years. When I bought it, I wanted to replace the water tank, which is old tech, and replace it with a combi boiler. That was a hefty £3k last year.

by Anonymousreply 21Last Wednesday at 4:17 AM

Even more of a problem is that the fastest-growing parts of the US that see the most flimsy new construction are in the South and subject to the worst effects of climate change. They'll have to be rebuilt time and again after every severe storm. Even Levittown houses were of better quality than any of today's new bligh....housing developments.

R18 Those vinyl/particleboard doors make me reject a house instantly. And there's clearly something wrong with me because I love having separate rooms that each have their own function.

by Anonymousreply 22Last Wednesday at 4:18 AM

Whoever wrote this shit America-bashing article needs to slap xhirself repeatedly.

by Anonymousreply 23Last Wednesday at 4:22 AM


Location, location, location

by Anonymousreply 24Last Wednesday at 4:33 AM

It all started when they began calling houses, "homes."

by Anonymousreply 25Last Wednesday at 4:36 AM

Point taken, R20. My parents' house isn't a McMansion, though. A rich lawyer had it built to his specifications and my parents bought it when he moved on to his next place. I don't understand why, when one is extremely wealthy and is spending millions, one would use flimsy materials.

by Anonymousreply 26Last Wednesday at 5:04 AM

"OP the bigger part of the cost of buying a home is the property it sits on"

The home doesn't sit on property, the HOUSE does.

by Anonymousreply 27Last Wednesday at 5:22 AM

Houses dont need to last more than 100 years max.

by Anonymousreply 28Last Wednesday at 5:37 AM

The building I live in is a converted print works. It is made of stone. It would withstand The Apocalypse (with broken windows). It isn’t in the US.

by Anonymousreply 29Last Wednesday at 5:59 AM

R2 Only if you have a lot of acreage. I live in an upscale residential area in the good ole US of A. I have an acre of land and the house cost 4 times the value of the land.

by Anonymousreply 30Last Wednesday at 6:12 AM

You think that's bad you should see Canadian minimum building standards, bloody third-world.

by Anonymousreply 31Last Wednesday at 6:15 AM

[quote] It’s a trade-off. I remember being in a new construction house and being frustrated by being unable to slam the door

Why must you slam a door? Are you a rageaholic? Nobody slams doors in my house or they’ll find themselves kicked out on the curb.

[quote] Those vinyl/particleboard doors make me reject a house instantly

Yes, because you can’t replace them with solid wooden doors. Oh wait.....yes, you can.

My parents house had solid maple doors & they were pretty flimsy. Not as flimsy as particle board, but not fabulous in any way. We survived. And didn’t slam doors

by Anonymousreply 32Last Wednesday at 6:37 AM

Agree 100%. The reason is people in US want BIG and new and shiny. They want 5-6,000 square feet of space with pretty, superficial new finishes. It makes no sense to me - they want these absolutely huge houses - and don’t care if it’s made of 2x4s and wallboard - which they then have to fill with equally cheap furniture. As long as it all looks big and new and trendy. The whole thing then looks dated and cheap in 15 years.

In almost all cases, these new construction houses appreciate less, if at all, compared to older houses because they look so dated and cheap after a few years. The Toll Brothers developments near me are selling for less in resale than what people paid 3-5 years ago new.

I do think it’s an American obsession with big and new and superficial impressions over substance and longevity.

by Anonymousreply 33Last Wednesday at 6:44 AM

Absolutely r33. Houses have to be BIG now. Everything has to be BIG. These tacky McMansions for a family of three or four people are obnoxious. Nobody needs that amount of space and that many rooms. Many of these McMansions are so ridiculously huge you feel like you're in a warehouse or an airplane hangar instead of an actual home.

by Anonymousreply 34Last Wednesday at 7:15 AM

R27 mine is on the range.

by Anonymousreply 35Last Wednesday at 7:17 AM

R1 It's up even in less-than-desirable locations. Someone bought an uncleared 4.1 acre lot on the street where I grew up for $32,000. I grew up in rural Florida, 12 miles from the Alabama line. This lot is between a shack occupied by incestuous meth heads and a trailer where an elderly couple lives.

Hilariously, someone built a McMansion on the same road a few years ago too.

by Anonymousreply 36Last Wednesday at 7:24 AM

It seems people fall into two categories--those who like older homes and those who like them new. I like older homes for their character. My partner and I bought a house about a year ago. I really liked my realtor and she worked hard for us. We did differ, though, on home preferences. She'd talk about her $1 million plus 6000 square foot home with an open floor plan. She had a family of four, but one kid was in college and the other soon to start college. It sounded like hell to us as we hate that style, but she obviously liked it and would brag about it to us. But she understood what we liked and didn't steer us toward anything else.

Her husband, who was a nice guy, would sometimes come on showings with us. He actually liked older homes. Although she would talk about how fabulous her house was, her husband would complain about mold, shoddy construction, and other problems with their new-ish McMansion, which I could tell annoyed her. He loved the houses we looked at, and one time when she had to take a phone call said he'd buy older but his wife insisted on newer.

When we had our inspection, the inspector went on and on about how you just can't build homes anymore like the one we bought and it was so solidly built with wonderful materials. He said it would take about 3-4 times of the price we were paying to build something similar today, but even then construction isn't as good as it used to be in many respects so it would be hard to replicate.

I ran into my realtor a few months ago and they were selling the McMansion because it was too big. They were downsizing to - HA - 3000 or so square feet since the kids were gone. Like they needed 6000 square feet for four people anyway. Well we didn't pay $1 million plus but got a better constructed house and none of the problems the husband complained of. We'll have maintenance of course, but I'd rather be in a solidly built older home. I know people in the construction business who say anything after the 1960s or maybe early 1970s just wasn't built with the same care.

by Anonymousreply 37Last Wednesday at 7:30 AM

With the sharp run up in the cost of lumber, expect the problem to get worse. On the other hand, houses will need to get smaller as the builders can’t get the price they need to make money on McMansions.

by Anonymousreply 38Last Wednesday at 7:42 AM

R38, the algorithm used to throw up these ugly things lags behind demand trends. For the last 15 years, professionals have been told primary residences are their biggest reduced-tax investment and shoot for a $1mm investment.

That $ per square foot calculation leads to ridiculous condo pricing, so most are forced into the sprawl of suburban commutes - new development - to feel like they’re getting their moneys worth.

Add xenophobia/bigotry and you get scared white people willing to leverage their incomes to buy shit barns in the middle of cornfields.

by Anonymousreply 39Last Wednesday at 8:01 AM

yikes, Dillinger capitalism is grim

by Anonymousreply 40Last Wednesday at 8:04 AM

Well, on the bright side, these crappy new houses burn down 6 times faster than older houses.

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by Anonymousreply 41Last Wednesday at 8:13 AM

[quote]Agree 100%. The reason is people in US want BIG and new and shiny. They want 5-6,000 square feet of space with pretty, superficial new finishes. It makes no sense to me - they want these absolutely huge houses - and don’t care if it’s made of 2x4s and wallboard - which they then have to fill with equally cheap furniture. As long as it all looks big and new and trendy. The whole thing then looks dated and cheap in 15 years.

[quote]It seems people fall into two categories--those who like older homes and those who like them new.

Americans do have a great love of the new, the bright and shiny, the faddish, but they're hardly alone in this. In European countries where history and tradition are much more deeply infused in everyday life than in the U.S., there are no shortage of new residential developments and a steady clientele who prefer new over old for a wide range of reasons. More than ever before in my lifetime anything "old" is likely to arouse grumblings of "eww, icky, creepy, weird, haunted!" In the U.S. more than in Europe, the old idea of the starter home has fairly vanished in favor of the "forever until the next forever home."

A peculiarity of Americans, though, is for big houses, big as Texas, "never mind how we will use all these rooms we just want them." And with that big lots. I'm always amazed at the comments on Tasteful Friends threads on DL where someone will protest that "for that much money" (regardless of how little or how much), "I don't want to be able to see my neighbors." In Cow Hollow/Pacific Heights? In Manhattan? In Hancock Park? In central London? If you indexed the episodes of House Hunters where the husband complained that "Yeah, it's great, honey, but look here you can see the neighbors" it would represent a very high percentage. These aren't bear trappers or mountain men or even guys who like t cut grass but guys who work out of their basement office by day and play video games at night. What do they need with visions of a homestead on the prairie? Yet it's such an important pull in America.

by Anonymousreply 42Last Wednesday at 8:17 AM

Youroepeean here too. I've always been fascinated by people who build those lightweight wooden houses in America's Tornado Belt. No wonder every decent-sized tornado leaves those apocalyptic images behind; if tornadoes hit my hometown, with its firmly built houses, it probably wouldn't damage anything other than the windows and the shingles.

by Anonymousreply 43Last Wednesday at 8:17 AM

OP is a dumb cunt. it's called supply and demand, you ever graduate high school?

by Anonymousreply 44Last Wednesday at 8:20 AM

[quote] There are sturdy 100 year old utilitarian craftsman among other models all over the USA.

I’m in one now.

Very few American pass homes from generation to generation, so we don’t think in terms of permanence.

by Anonymousreply 45Last Wednesday at 8:36 AM

Yeah, no one with a brick home ever had a tornado break their house and smash a broken off brick into their head.

Fuck you.

by Anonymousreply 46Last Wednesday at 8:41 AM

As Murica is a a third world shit hole. Everything it builds is overpriced merde.

by Anonymousreply 47Last Wednesday at 8:44 AM

R43 Hope an F5 slams in to your town so you can rest assure that you do it the right way.

by Anonymousreply 48Last Wednesday at 8:48 AM

Poor dumb superficial yankees. Doing the towel dance to hide their ugly cut cocks retracted into their fupas, fat sitting ducks in their flimsy veneered McMansions, waiting for annihilations by extreme weather. We sublime, lithe, intact, hung Fins, laugh at you Uncle Sams, from our sturdy and cozy saunas! Silly Americans!

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by Anonymousreply 49Last Wednesday at 8:55 AM

The article’s writer isn’t bright, and isn’t a good writer.

by Anonymousreply 50Last Wednesday at 8:56 AM

Oh no! A tornado can't ever destroy a brick! We're European and we could handle a tornado! We would use brick and concrete. It's just a breeze!

Bitch, you don't know nothing about no tornado. And this was only an F2 ripping through brick.

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by Anonymousreply 51Last Wednesday at 8:56 AM

fuck finland. what the fuck are they famous for? any contributions to the world or culture? food is disgusting!

by Anonymousreply 52Last Wednesday at 9:01 AM

R37 Years ago, I knew someone who won on Who Wants to be a Millionaire and used the money to buy a house. She was insistent when she was looking about getting an older home. At the time I thought it was weird, but now I get it.

by Anonymousreply 53Last Wednesday at 9:04 AM

It takes a special kind of stupid (which for whatever reason is always on this website) to say "old houses are built to last" using only the old houses that have survived as proof of this idea. Like......shocking. Like "all the old houses I've been in are still standing" make it stop!

by Anonymousreply 54Last Wednesday at 9:07 AM

Sweaty Jesus, but Americans are defensive and competitive.

They could argue back in terms of the strength and cost-savings of frame construction, or the ability to achieve a respectable standard of insulation ,etc.... But no, it's "Bitch, you don't know what a hurricane is," and "fuck Finland, what are they famous for?", or "Whoever wrote this shit America-bashing article needs to slap xhirself repeatedly." Like 8 year old boys having an argument.

by Anonymousreply 55Last Wednesday at 9:11 AM

They are too stupid to realize the Finland post is satire.

by Anonymousreply 56Last Wednesday at 9:13 AM

R10, Are you in Florida? Because in Pennsylvania we're all wood and Tyvek.

by Anonymousreply 57Last Wednesday at 9:17 AM

WiFi works better in stick-frame houses.

by Anonymousreply 58Last Wednesday at 9:19 AM

What's the equivalent? I don't know why Finns have avalanches. All you have to do is be quiet. I don't know know why they keep getting mauled by bears. Just take bear spray. Why are alcohol rates so high? Just don't drink it. Suicide and depression? Just don't get sad and kill yourself, duh.

by Anonymousreply 59Last Wednesday at 9:22 AM

Only idiots will click on links.

by Anonymousreply 60Last Wednesday at 9:36 AM

I grew up in a house that was around 750 sq ft, built around 1954. It was what was called a “starter home.” Over the years most of the original owners added onto the houses & refinished the basement. Not my parents. All of the houses on the block were the same. When my mother sold in 2005, hers was the only original that was untouched.

But yeah, the problem with “starter” homes is that the owners don’t sell & move into a larger home. They wind up adding onto the starter home over the years & that makes it unavailable as a starter home to young people when they finally sell.

by Anonymousreply 61Last Wednesday at 10:10 AM

I hate large homes - but I have to admit I recently converted to a house on a lot of land where I can’t see my neighbors. It is incredibly peaceful to be completely surrounded by nature. Also I never worry about neighbors seeing me - whether it’s having my morning coffee outside or walking around naked inside. But the big draw is feeling like you live in nature. Not very PC - but Covid made me realize I don’t really want to be around people.

by Anonymousreply 62Last Wednesday at 12:05 PM

Finns are not all that attractive. And give me a cut cock over an uncut cock any day.

by Anonymousreply 63Last Wednesday at 12:11 PM

Damn, who knew there were pages and pages of hits on just this subject.

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by Anonymousreply 64Last Wednesday at 12:22 PM

My 1940s flat here in the Uk is absolutely perfect, except for the wafer thin floor/ceiling between me and the neighbour upstairs. It is ridiculous how much sound travels.

It’s a great shame, because that one design flaw ruins the building, and I am looking to move. Unfortunately, the options open to me here seem to be 1950s/1940s with smallish rooms and great solid build quality, or very modern which is much more of a mixed bag.

by Anonymousreply 65Last Wednesday at 12:26 PM

I'd like to see the whole McMansion thing be over and construction getting back to houses that are more realistically proportioned. Not only are they hideous, but it's ridiculous that only three or four people are living in these warehouse-sized homes.

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by Anonymousreply 66Last Wednesday at 12:39 PM

R65 I used to know some people on W. 110th St. in NYC and they had a large apartment in a 1890s-1900 building, a rather large building. It was like going into a cave in the middle of nowhere, you couldn't hear anyone in the building, just the occasional siren through the window.

by Anonymousreply 67Last Wednesday at 12:39 PM

1 bedroom; thick masonry walls; can’t hear my neighbors (unless the windows are open) across a large, bright, plant filled courtyard.

Built in central Paris in 1647.

by Anonymousreply 68Last Wednesday at 12:45 PM

I am a rich snob and I like vulgar tasteless modestly huge McMansions when they house happy families. I find it very American and comforting. I understand all the dark sides but it is what it is. My sister raised her two kids in that lifestyle and they turned out fine and I always loved the vibe in their oversized home, with he 12 foot Christmas tree because why not?, the decks, the immense garage, the utility rooms, pool, SUVs, modest boats, etc etc.

by Anonymousreply 69Last Wednesday at 12:48 PM

The stucco McMansions are an extra little bit of hell. Oy vey!

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by Anonymousreply 70Last Wednesday at 12:48 PM

Hi Scott! Lark is at lacrosse and Jaylé is at ballet. Gosh I don't know what to order for dinner. Will you pick up Lark and stop at Lombardi's? I'll order ahead. And I'll grab Chinese too when I get Jaylé. How's Dartmouth? You always were the smart one. Jaylé is waitlisted at Vassar. It doesn't look good. He'll be crushed. I told him he'll love state. His father will be relieved. How long you home for? Did you see mom? You can take Brendan's truck OK? I've got to get these geraniums in. Do you like the colors? Did you see Martica in the laundry room? Where is she?

by Anonymousreply 71Last Wednesday at 12:59 PM

My house is made of sand and fog.

by Anonymousreply 72Last Wednesday at 1:04 PM

Because government.

Fed prints magic money, Fed guarantees magic money loans (mortgages), Fed forced lenders to issue bad loans because of “equity” = loosy goosy lending and skyrocketing prices. This bubble popped once and it will again.

See also: price of college education.

by Anonymousreply 73Last Wednesday at 1:19 PM

R30 But an acre of land is a lot of acreage.

by Anonymousreply 74Last Wednesday at 2:02 PM

R59 Fins have avalanches? Do you know where Finland? Are you confusing them with Norway?

by Anonymousreply 75Last Wednesday at 2:03 PM

I recently visited a friend who lives in an apt built in the 1920s, you can hear everything. I thought pre-war buildings had thick walls, not all true. I can hear the neighbor upstairs walking around, she was standing by the window, talking on the phone and I could hear her conversation.

by Anonymousreply 76Last Wednesday at 2:32 PM

The people building the McMansion are the same people building the starter homes. I've lived in homes built in the 40's, 50's, and 60's. All were brick or block. I had a friend whose home was built in 1977 and it looks like a good gust of wind could blow her home down. For the most part brick/block homes holdup far better than the stick homes. I ride my bike by a house that had a fire. Finally was able to see in and it looks like all or most of the house was destroyed, except for the brick. The problem is most people don't take care of their home. There is yearly maintenance you should be doing with your home so you don't have major problems down the road. I'm amazed at how old a home is and not one person that has owned it redid the wiring or plumbing. I'll take an older home any day, but if they haven't rewired or replumbed it will cost them with my offer price.

by Anonymousreply 77Last Wednesday at 2:44 PM

[quote] Why must you slam a door? Are you a rageaholic? Nobody slams doors in my house or they’ll find themselves kicked out on the curb.

Because door slamming goes hand-in-hand with flouncing and pouting .

by Anonymousreply 78Last Wednesday at 3:18 PM

Offering a seriously inferior product all the while insisting that it be the very best that money can buy is the American way.

by Anonymousreply 79Last Wednesday at 3:28 PM

What are the counter tops and appliances, nowadays. I'm out of the loop.

by Anonymousreply 80Last Wednesday at 3:38 PM

I just bought an American house made of cardboard and 2x4s for One Million dollars. I pretend it’s a Japanese Shogun palace. It costs 200 dollars a month to hear that damn thing.

by Anonymousreply 81Last Wednesday at 3:39 PM

OP, a shack in your "country" is a shack anywhere else. And unless you're writing from a Central European backwater where people are scavenging ruins for brick to stick here and there, your nation is NOT building traditional brick buildings with brick in a traditional manner.


[quote]Instead of a sentimental attachment to brick and stone, he said, we need to focus on how things can be built today, and what design can do for us in a changing world.

[quote]“I have hope that we will transcend this tired nostalgia, about a past that was really complicated,” he said.

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by Anonymousreply 82Last Wednesday at 3:54 PM

Wood much better than masonry in an earthquake.

by Anonymousreply 83Last Wednesday at 5:33 PM

I've heard it said that years ago, materials were expensive but labor was cheap. Now, materials are cheap but labor is expensive.

by Anonymousreply 84Last Wednesday at 11:17 PM

[quote]What are the counter tops and appliances, nowadays. I'm out of the loop.

Who cares? Look how many Americans voted for Trump, do you want want to follow what they think is hot and what's not?

Why do people *knowingly* follow trends in kitchen designs? Do you want a kitchen that in five years the world world will look at it and say, "so very 2021.".

If you care about resale, aim for timelessness not trendy. If you want to be trendy, change you kitchen every five years.

by Anonymousreply 85Last Wednesday at 11:31 PM

Oh honey I wanted to know so I could snark and feel superior in my sophistication. Never mind then.

by Anonymousreply 86Last Wednesday at 11:48 PM

I think it's the same story as American junk food. You think it's going to be fantastic, and you soon realise American junk food is the crappiest junk food in the whole world. The chocolate is barely chocolate; everything has fructose in it; and the food chemists have replaced what in other countries would be basic ingredients, with manufactured fillers. The only lifestyle things that America remains fantastic at are cheap clothes, household goods, and entertainment.

by Anonymousreply 87Last Thursday at 12:01 AM

R87, You think American clothing is manufactured here? What "household goods," pray?

by Anonymousreply 88Last Thursday at 12:15 AM

The only answer to the OP's question is the proven one:

The market will bear it.

by Anonymousreply 89Last Thursday at 12:17 AM

R88, all your cleaning products! Lysol anyone?

by Anonymousreply 90Last Thursday at 12:56 AM

A solid concrete or brick home is sturdy and will resist a wind storm - but as others have said, it's not as good in earthquakes. Every time there is an earthquake in Greece, Italy, or Turkey, all you see are stone houses collapsed with people crushed to death inside. Wood homes twist and bend but don't collapse. Wood homes with drywall separations between rooms allow for very easy remodeling. Need or want a bigger master bedroom? No problem, knock down the wall into an adjoining room and take some of that space. Want to add a dining room? Put up a drywall separation into a portion of your living room next to your kitchen and voila - a dining room. The forests in most of Europe were completely gone by the time of the great population explosion there in the 19th century, cleared for agriculture, firewood, and pasture. Stone and brick were the logical choices for building construction where wood was non-existent or extremely expensive. When the US was settled, half of the country was an enormous unbroken forest. Wood was a cheap and renewable resource. It made sense to construct wooden houses here, and still does. Wood is a MUCH better insulator than brick or concrete and wood houses heats up faster in winter, and cool off faster in summer.

All that being said, the finish work and craftmanship in American houses is abysmal. Corners don't meet, houses aren't truly square, floors aren't truly level, doors don't fit properly in their frames, gutters are poorly installed, windows don't fit properly in their frames, etc. That is a function of lack of training and apprenticeship in the building trades, and the desire to throw things up quickly. Houses are going up around me in my formerly semi-rural neighborhood, and I can't believe how fast they are being built. Of course there are short-cuts being used everywhere, and these are not houses to last the ages. The house I live in is a late 70s split level and probably cost $20,000 to build when new. It can be made comfortable, and with good paint choices and nice furnishings, the interior can look nice, but it will never be a beautiful or well-built home. According to zillow it's now worth $350,000, but in my mind, it's still a $20,000 home.

by Anonymousreply 91Last Thursday at 1:43 AM

I live in a house from 1742.

In the US.

I like it - but trust me, it ain't nothin' special.

That said, I think American craftsmanship was at its height from the 1880s through and into the 1950s. Things started going downhill in the 60s, in part because of economic factors and in part because of changes in zoning. But a classic house or apartment block from the pre-war period here is just as solid as anything in Europe, and sometimes surprisingly better than a lot of the European 19th century stuff (who was produced under boom conditions and was often jerry-built). European houses have more codes to follow but I confess I don't see the end result as necessarily more attractive or bound to weather better. And for truly horrific construction, Canada and New Zealand are pretty hard to beat. The ring of crud that surrounds Montreal would never pass muster south of the border, at least not until you reached Texas.

by Anonymousreply 92Last Thursday at 2:23 AM

New construction American houses are flimsy, and have been for more than half a century they're not expensive, except in the places that they are.

Atlanta GA, the 9th largest metropolitan area in the U.S., has loads of the sort of Colonial-ish houses that are found throughout much of the eastern U.S.: frame construction, free-standing, two-stories, attached garage, a panel or two of brick veneer, with 3+ bedrooms and 2+ baths, built in recent decades. You can hardly argue that large numbers of them are expensive. This one was built is 13 years old.

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by Anonymousreply 93Last Thursday at 3:07 AM

And a Dallas/Ft. Worth metro area equivalent, bigger, 10 years old, less Colonial, room for another car, but the same sort of thing, and again at $225,000, not hugely expensive for a place where the median household income is $55K.

Americans love big and are willing, time and time again to sacrifice quality for quantity — as thousands of suburban developments attest.

The U.K. is not as big on bigness, though they are too willing to sacrifice on quality. For a nation which on the one hand places such emphasis on "health and safety" and zoning and building standards, their new residential construction is a horror story of "cowboy builders" and miserable, even deceptive work. The quality is miserable, though of course in either country you can have excellent quality, but usually at a price unaffordable but to a very few.

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by Anonymousreply 94Last Thursday at 3:16 AM

I thought houses in America weren’t that expensive. You could buy a flimsy house in the middle of nowhere for dirt cheap. If you want a good location, solid wood and stone floors, real wood shutters, real wood and glass window panes, the price keeps going up and up anywhere in the world.

by Anonymousreply 95Last Thursday at 5:54 AM

We price them as such to keep out undesirable elements! Everyone knows their place in the US! Anything different is taking away what I am entitled to! 🤡

by Anonymousreply 96Last Thursday at 6:03 AM

My house was built in 1962 entirely of concrete block and covered in stucco to make it look like an old farmhouse. I’m amazed how rock solid everything is. It never occurred to me when buying it but over time I appreciate it’s built like an atomic bunker. I’m surrounded by McMansion developments where the houses are over 5,000 square feet made with wood sticks and with 1/2 of one side of fake stone veneers and the rest siding. Yet people will pay over $1 million because it has shiny new accessories and lots of space. Absolutely zero concern for structure - or architectural aesthetics.

by Anonymousreply 97Last Thursday at 6:21 AM

Why are so many of you taking this so personally?

Yes, a lot of newer American homes are shoddily made, especially in exurban Sunbelt McMansion communities where cheap material allows developers to sell 3000+ SF houses for $289K

But "a lot" does not equal "most"

by Anonymousreply 98Last Thursday at 6:30 AM

Yeah whenever I've watched US property shows I'm always quite surprised by how basic the structures are with basically plywood walls. No wonder they tend to be detached, you would hear every fart from a neighbour in a semi or terraced house like that. Bricks all the way baby!

by Anonymousreply 99Last Thursday at 6:48 AM

U.K. new builds seem to be extraordinarily focused on energy efficiency. Friends of mine have moved into a new semi in an all-new village and all the properties (flats, houses, the lot) are A-rated, with insulated walls and ceilings, double glazing, smart metres, drought proofing, low-carbon heating and solar panels. Ironically, there's a built-in mechanical ventilation system, I don't quite understand, to improve air quality.

by Anonymousreply 100Last Thursday at 12:02 PM

Is this your first time playing capitalism, OP?

by Anonymousreply 101Last Thursday at 12:11 PM

Are these good quality, well built homes?

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by Anonymousreply 102Last Thursday at 4:55 PM

[quote]Is this your first time playing capitalism, OP?

Yeah, yeah, unlike in much of the rest of the world where a house costs 30 rupees, a bowl of chicken feet, and a letter from the district council government.

by Anonymousreply 103Last Friday at 3:33 AM

The obvious answer is so a tornado can lift your house easily and transport it to Oz, dear.

by Anonymousreply 104Last Friday at 3:38 AM
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