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Old 08-16-2012, 10:50 AM   #1
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I value the opinions of ER folks over Suze.

I want/need to enclose my 10x18 patio. It need to see more of the outdoors from my patio but loathe the southern exposure heat and bugs. So, I'm pricing enclosures and expect to pay less than $50K. (Initial bids are coming in at $25K). I plan to stay in this house for at least 10 years to be near my Mom who is in relatively good health. I don't travel much since the bed bug outbreak in hotels a couple of years ago. Therefore, I want my home to be very comfortable.


Age: 57, single, furkids only
Retirement Income: ~$42K annual No-COLA Pension ($18K SS will start in under 5 years)
Expenses: $35K essential but actually $50K annual based on 1.5 years of retirement and no real cutbacks on my former living style (new iPad, computer, iPhone and home generator).
Debts: None
Assets:
$160K cash
$80K stock (Apple, Google, IBM, Amazon - mostly IBM)
$500K IRA
$300K home (I put over $50K of improvements since I bought it for $317K five years ago but I'm estimating on the low side)
Car is 2010 so won't need to be replaced.

How will I pay for it? I'm thinking about selling the IBM stock. Unless the next POTUS eliminates ALL capital gain taxes, I could take advantage of the current low tax rate.

ER, Can I afford it?

The attached picture give you an idea of what I'm planning but we are still working on the real design.
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Old 08-16-2012, 10:58 AM   #2
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I didn't review your financial information because ultimately only you can decide if it's worth the expense to you or not.

I've never understood the appeal of enclosed porches (HVAC), with that much glass they're not going to be energy efficient at all. That said, my parents put one on their house in the late 60's (all glass on two sides) and they spend more time in that room than any other in their house. I know our next home will have a covered screen porch with ceiling fans though - no ifs, ands or buts..
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:03 AM   #3
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When we built our house a few years ago we included a screened in porch. We found it either hot and dusty or cold and drafty, but rarely 'just right' and therefore seldom used. We had it enclosed as a play room for the grandkids - with a separate heating and air conditioning system - and it has turned out to be one of the best investments in my own personal sanity I ever made.
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:08 AM   #4
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Your financials look to be in pretty good shape. Does your area suffer from high wind storms? If so the screen porch might add a lot to your insurance cost. If not, it looks like a nice addition.
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beryl View Post
I value the opinions of ER folks over Suze.

I want/need to enclose my 10x18 patio. It need to see more of the outdoors from my patio but loathe the southern exposure heat and bugs. So, I'm pricing enclosures and expect to pay less than $50K. (Initial bids are coming in at $25K). I plan to stay in this house for at least 10 years to be near my Mom who is in relatively good health. I don't travel much since the bed bug outbreak in hotels a couple of years ago. Therefore, I want my home to be very comfortable.


Age: 57, single, furkids only
Retirement Income: ~$42K annual No-COLA Pension ($18K SS will start in under 5 years)
Expenses: $35K essential but actually $50K annual based on 1.5 years of retirement and no real cutbacks on my former living style (new iPad, computer, iPhone and home generator).
Debts: None
Assets:
$160K cash
$80K stock (Apple, Google, IBM, Amazon - mostly IBM)
$500K IRA
$300K home (I put over $50K of improvements since I bought it for $317K five years ago but I'm estimating on the low side)
Car is 2010 so won't need to be replaced.

How will I pay for it? I'm thinking about selling the IBM stock. Unless the next POTUS eliminates ALL capital gain taxes, I could take advantage of the current low tax rate.

ER, Can I afford it?

The attached picture give you an idea of what I'm planning but we are still working on the real design.
You probably can afford it, but don't base your decision on my OK.

But this statement has me wondering if you really have your expenses nailed down well:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beryl View Post
Expenses: $35K essential but actually $50K annual based on 1.5 years of retirement and no real cutbacks on my former living style (new iPad, computer, iPhone and home generator).
Does your budget have anything in it for maintenance on this $300K+ home?

...and maybe I am just too much of a perfectionist about this stuff, but this one also stands out:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beryl View Post
Car is 2010 so won't need to be replaced.
I think you can probably get by without major car repair or replacement costs for 10 years or so, but what about after that?

Either way between the pension and the income you can generate with your assets you should be OK.
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:57 AM   #6
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I think it's a great idea, and will provide work for some people during these tough times, too. Your financial info looks fine to me, especially if we can assume that the $50K expenses includes taxes and medical. I think you should go for it!
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
I've never understood the appeal of enclosed porches (HVAC), with that much glass they're not going to be energy efficient at all. That said, my parents put one on their house in the late 60's (all glass on two sides) and they spend more time in that room than any other in their house. I know our next home will have a covered screen porch with ceiling fans though - no ifs, ands or buts..
I'm told that the new windows are more efficient these days but then that could be just to sell them. I will seriously consider using screens instead. Thanks for that input.

My configuration is windows (or screens) on 2 sides with siding "kick wall", a ceiling fan between 2 skylights, and 1 or 2 doors. Attached is the "before" picture of my patio. Excuse the mess. It is just too hot for me to get out and tidy it up so I almost NEVER use it. Also, the ugly, never used dish on my wall will finally get removed with this project. I can't seem to get DISH to come take it out.

Regarding expenses, the majority of the expense is in leveling the concrete floor and installing the new floor. I'm thinking about a 3.5% Home Loan to pay for it. I can write off the little interest and not touch any or my investment or cash.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:32 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Rustward View Post
But this statement has me wondering if you really have your expenses nailed down well: Does your budget have anything in it for maintenance on this $300K+ home?
Yes. My budget includes taxes, insurance, lawn care, snow and doggy poop removal, HOA, cleaning lady, and incidental home repairs along with other things. I use a workbook with multiple spreadsheets tracked monthly for 1 year before retirement, 1 year after retirement and now quarterly.
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...and maybe I am just too much of a perfectionist about this stuff, but this one also stands out:I think you can probably get by without major car repair or replacement costs for 10 years or so, but what about after that?
I plan to get an electric self-driving car in 10 years. I'll have to use my IRA money for something since I plan to leave almost everything to charity.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:36 PM   #9
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I'll be interested to see how this project turns out. I have a similar problem with my deck...sun beats down on it in the afternoon and evening, although there is a momentary reprieve in the later afternoon as it passes behind a Maple tree.

I'm thinking of just going a cheaper, basic route though. Put up a framework, and then attaching some shade netting, both to the sides and roof. I figure that way it'll still get some sun for the plants, and rain, but it'll cut down on the full force of the sun. Won't do anything for bug protection though, and I doubt that what I want to do would fly in most neighborhoods that have an HOA!

Anyway, good luck with your project. Personally, it sounds to me like you can afford it.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:42 PM   #10
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You seem all right financially, but you don't say anything about your healthcare/dental insurance and its deductibles. Is it included in your $50k annual expenses? And is $50k gross with taxes or net spending and taxes need to be added?

I mean you're probably OK to improve your house, but I wouldn't get carried away and start making more plans with hefty price tags. Hopefully your employer's pension plan is funded sufficiently and will never get trimmed because its value will decrease over years.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:48 PM   #11
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I don't know if you can afford it, but the screened porch that I put on the back of my house is the nicest feature of the whole house. We use it 3 seasons and can even use it in the winter for special occasions with a gas fireplace that heats it nicely. My lot is heavily treed and all the windows open to screens, so it is rarely too hot or too cold when we want to use it.

If you have a lot of direct sun,though, you may find it a hot house.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Yes. My budget includes taxes, insurance, lawn care, snow and doggy poop removal, HOA, cleaning lady, and incidental home repairs along with other things. I use a workbook with multiple spreadsheets tracked monthly for 1 year before retirement, 1 year after retirement and now quarterly.

I plan to get an electric self-driving car in 10 years. I'll have to use my IRA money for something since I plan to leave almost everything to charity.
It's probably just the way I think about things, but to me stuff like lawn care, utilities, taxes, etc. are just ongoing expenses. When I think of maintenance thoughts of big ticket items like roof (1), water heaters (2), HVAC systems (2), replacement windows (24), siding, major appliances, etc. enter my head. But I live in a 20 year old house in which I have had to replace a lot of those things. I budget $6000/year for maintenance items. The ongoing stuff (taxes, lawn, utilities) are separate.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:56 PM   #13
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I'm told that the new windows are more efficient these days but then that could be just to sell them. I will seriously consider using screens instead.
Windows are far more efficient these days but...
  • These days walls are usually at least R-13 if not higher.
  • Ceilings are usually R-30 or R-38.
  • Todays's good Energy Star windows are about R-3, and they aren't cheap.
  • The most advanced windows you can buy are about R-6 to R-7, and the cost of them is astronomical. Get a quote, you'll be shocked.
You don't have to know anything about R-value, you can simply compare the numbers above. Even cutting edge windows are thermal holes. In the typical home 30% of the energy loss is through windows, without a glassed in HVAC conditioned porch.

Though come to think of it, if you're planning to be able to isolate the glass porch from the rest of the house so you can close it off from the rest of the house and close HVAC vents when not in use, that could reduce the energy losses in winter and summer.

Not saying what you should do, just letting you know there will be energy losses greater than a walled room. Best of luck...in the end your decision will be right for you!
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:11 PM   #14
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Since it's south facing - I worry about the greenhouse factor.

That said - I had a small screened porch on my house when I lived in PA. I added a ceiling fan, and later replaced the screens with windows w/ screens. It was definitely one of my favorite spots in the house.

Now I'm in San Diego and bugs are much less an issue. We just have shade sails set up to offer shade over our outdoor table and in front of a southwest facing window. We take down the shade sails in the winter. Much cheaper than an enclosed porch.
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:45 PM   #15
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Living in the south with all the bugs, I think I would really like a screened in porch one day. Can you imagine stretched out on one of these things on a lazy summer afternoon sipping on a nice cold med? Lord have mercy....................
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:01 PM   #16
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I plan to get an electric self-driving car in 10 years. I'll have to use my IRA money for something since I plan to leave almost everything to charity.
Yeah, I'm trying to wrap my mind about having self-driving cars on the roads. I thought RCA's and RCT's are sufficient to play.
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:59 PM   #17
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These are much appreciated comments! It helps me to think this through and modify my plan, if appropriate. It also makes me more comfortable with my final plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aida2003 View Post
You seem all right financially, but you don't say anything about your healthcare/dental insurance and its deductibles. Is it included in your $50k annual expenses? And is $50k gross with taxes or net spending and taxes need to be added?
Healthcare, dental, and vision premiums/deductions, all taxes, charitable donations, dog care, food, clothing, utilities, memberships, home maintenance, plus $15K comprise the $50K.

@Rustward , I understand what you mean now. That extra $15K is where I plan for anything above and beyond essentials. In 2011, I spent the extra on a home generator, lifetime dues to my sorority, and electronics.

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I mean you're probably OK to improve your house, but I wouldn't get carried away and start making more plans with hefty price tags. Hopefully your employer's pension plan is funded sufficiently and will never get trimmed because its value will decrease over years.
You are so right!!! When I look at home improvement desires, it would have been advantageous for me to work another couple of years. I swapped home improvement for self-improvement. I much happier and healthier in ER.

I don't trust my former MegaCorp although they report to be funded sufficiently. I'm planning for SS as my COLA.


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Living in the south with all the bugs, I think I would really like a screened in porch one day. Can you imagine stretched out on one of these things on a lazy summer afternoon sipping on a nice cold med? Lord have mercy....................
Perfect picture! That's what I'm talking about! I see chilling out on my enclosed patio with my iPad and tea.
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:30 PM   #18
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I'm told that the new windows are more efficient these days but then that could be just to sell them. I will seriously consider using screens instead. Thanks for that input.
My configuration is windows (or screens) on 2 sides with siding "kick wall", a ceiling fan between 2 skylights, and 1 or 2 doors. Attached is the "before" picture of my patio. Excuse the mess. It is just too hot for me to get out and tidy it up so I almost NEVER use it. Also, the ugly, never used dish on my wall will finally get removed with this project. I can't seem to get DISH to come take it out.
We screened in a 40'x10' lanai about a decade ago with the aluminum posts/channels and the screening material. It looks a lot like your photo. But of course you're going to need a roof, too, so yours is going to cost more.

Here's some suggestions:
1. Build the roof to extend a few feet beyond the screen walls. (Code may be as much as 36".) This will keep the sun off the lanai in the morning/evening and minimize the wind/rain blowing in through the screens.
2. Don't store anything valuable in this room, and keep a locking door between it and the rest of the house. Then you can use a simple screen door on your screen room without having to worry about beefing up security.
3. The screen pillars will probably be aluminum. Make sure they're adequately anchored to the concrete deck and the roof overhead, and with corrosion protection from any other metal used in either location.
4. Pet-resistant screening is more expensive but so worth it.
5. If heat is a concern, then spend extra to heavily insulate the roof. Use a reflective coating on top, or solar-reflective shingles. The room will stay cooler if the heat doesn't get in, and you won't have to use so much electricity to remove what does get in.
6. Consider an arched roof that will let heat rise to be blown out by a soffit vent.
7. Gutters. Otherwise the rain dripping off the roof will carve a trench in the ground underneath.
8. Don't store food out there-- not even birdseed.
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:25 PM   #19
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I'll be interested to see how this project turns out. I have a similar problem with my deck...sun beats down on it in the afternoon and evening, although there is a momentary reprieve in the later afternoon as it passes behind a Maple tree.

I'm thinking of just going a cheaper, basic route though. Put up a framework, and then attaching some shade netting, both to the sides and roof. I figure that way it'll still get some sun for the plants, and rain, but it'll cut down on the full force of the sun. .
I had a pergola built on my deck and had these attached
Canopies | Retractable Deck Awnings | ShadeTree® Canopies. They really cut down on the sun and are easy to retract when not in use.My SO & I installed them .
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:30 PM   #20
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We screened in a 40'x10' lanai about a decade ago with the aluminum posts/channels and the screening material. It looks a lot like your photo. But of course you're going to need a roof, too, so yours is going to cost more.

Here's some suggestions:
Wow! Clipping this to Evernote. Thanks.

I'm thinking that starting with screens instead of windows is wise since. I can always get windows later if it makes sense.

I'm going to expand my patio area in this project so that there will still be an unscreened area for outdoor cooking and go further out into the yard. I figure that if I'm needing to do leveling for this project, I'd might as well do that too.

Flooring? With glass, I'd planned to treat it like additional indoor space and get laminate flooring that resembles the hardwood in the house. What works best with screens besides brick and cement? I'm not feeling outdoor carpet but will consider it.
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