Join Early Retirement Today
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Investment dedicated to home upkeep, snow removal, grass, etc.
Old 12-15-2013, 12:25 PM   #1
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 21,829
Investment dedicated to home upkeep, snow removal, grass, etc.

I was reading the thread about snow removal, and got to thinking about the investment needed to support a suburban or country home.

Has anyone estimated or tallied the investment in home support equipment when you live in country or suburb? How about 4wd car or SUV to deal with roads between you and work or other important destinations?

Just snow-blower, riding mower, tools, maybe pickup to transport these things when repair of maintenance is needed. If seems like it might be a lot.

Some of this is just SFH expense, regardless of where that home is, but some is depending on the size and lot size of non-urban homes.

haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 12-15-2013, 01:28 PM   #2
Ronstar's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Somewhere between Chicago and Phoenix
Posts: 7,211
Let's see. To maintain our 5 acres in far suburbia, I have:

4wd F150
ATV with plow, winch, and bucket loader
John Deere rider mower and trailer
Wood chipper
2 chain saws
Brush trimmer
Lots of shovels, rakes, brooms, ladders,

Probably more than $50k worth of stuff, that I wouldn't need if I lived town. And this doesn't include the extra garage to hold it.

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years" - Abraham Lincoln
Ronstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2013, 02:30 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 6,206
Yep, it's a lot alright.

Like Ronstar, I have most of the same equipment, plus the 12x16 shed it's stored in, and we only have a bit over two acres.

At some point in the next five years, we plan to move to a condo, and that will be a huge lifestyle change.
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2013, 02:48 PM   #4
W2R's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 34,854
I don't have to pay to have snow removed here (not needed), but unlike those in snow country I do have to pay my lawn guy through the winter. In the wintertime, he doesn't mow as often so that comes to about $70 per month during the winter months. In the summer, it comes to $140+ per month.

Yearly total for grass cutting in 2012 was $1400. Worth every cent.

I also will be needing to get someone to tend my bushes, because I have not doing it faithfully and they are looking awful. I assume that will cost another $500-$1000/year or so. Most of that is in the summertime, though.

This is for a 50'x100' city lot, not a big estate...
"You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." - - - C. Columbus
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2013, 02:55 PM   #5
Recycles dryer sheets
Brdofpray's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Upstate SC
Posts: 227
Let's see:

Lawn mower, weed whacker, leaf blower, chipper (a gift from another Chicago retiree), chain saw, assorted rakes, shovels, and misc. hand tools.

At this point, DW and I do all of our own work. We actually enjoy it!
Don't sweat the small stuff! And realize, it is all small stuff!
Brdofpray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2013, 03:06 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
RunningBum's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3,724
I've always used a snow shovel rather than a snow blower. So, $20 there.

My biggest lot was about 1/3 of an acre, and not all grass. Push mower, about $150, $75 trimmer. Throw in a tree saw, rake, and a few other tools and maybe it gets up to $500.

I have an SUV, but I had a slightly smaller one when I lived in the city anyway, and would have a car no matter what. Even when I considered living in downtown Austin I was going to have a car.

Given my small area of land, this probably isn't what you are looking for. But as I sit here in my living room, I'm looking out the large windows at mountains over a mile away with only a few small cabins tucked away in the woods between me and them so I have rural remoteness without all the upkeep.
RunningBum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2013, 03:15 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: No. California
Posts: 1,539
Because my hobby is gardening, I have more than the usual stuff. And I just consider it hobby expenses. I have a small greenhouse, multiples of different types of pruners, multiples of spading forks, different types of shovels, wheel barrow, garden cart, tall tomato cages, been towers. I installed raised beds for my vegetables and then had to fence it in to keep the pups out.

Then I needed all the seed starting equipment, racks and grow goes on and on...compost bins, etc. My front yard maintenance is done through the HOA and I have no lawn in back, so no lawn mower, etc.
KB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2013, 03:19 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 21,829
Originally Posted by RunningBum View Post
Given my small area of land, this probably isn't what you are looking for. But as I sit here in my living room, I'm looking out the large windows at mountains over a mile away with only a few small cabins tucked away in the woods between me and them so I have rural remoteness without all the upkeep.
Oh no, I am just interested. When I lived out, I tried to do everything on the cheap, and still I had thousands of $$ worth of stuff, and spent a lot of time trying to keep it going and safely functional.

I know some like it, but I did it out of necessity, and I couldn't honestly say that I liked it. The quick and dirty way that I classify something as fun or work, is would someone else pay me to do this for him? If yes, it is work. If no, it may be play.

haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2013, 03:30 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
imoldernu's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Illinois and Florida
Posts: 3,935
Good subject. Ties in with my Phase II retirement plan, where a CCRC takes care of all expenses, with no overhead other than the phone bill. Something to think about as one gets to "that" age.
Current cost for our community apartments 1300 s.f. for two persons is $30,000/year.
That includes:
All maintenance... inside and outside, and the common area-- libraries, meeting rooms, dining room, beauty shop, exercise room, rehab facility, picnic areas etc...
All utilities- electric, water, sewer, heat, air conditioning and including Cable TV and internet.
Two meals a day in dining room, plus free access to"kitchen"
Major appliances- Refrigerator, Range, Washer and Dryer
Free tranportation - twice a week for shopping - two or three times a week dining for recreation, and free doctor/hospital transportation, anytime.
For most who read this, it seems to be a long time away... perhaps never, but if this ever becomes a choice for health or other reasons... it may speak to the return on investment for buying major tools or maintenance items.
Based on our experience here in Illinois and in Florida communities, there seems to be a point at which our friends go into the slow down mode. It varies... a few are do it yourselfers even at age 80+, but for the most part, the change takes place in the early to mid 70's, as hiring maintenance help becomes more common.

... and then I see folks in their 90's who are still going on African Safari's.

A True YMMV Question.
imoldernu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2013, 03:32 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 16,438
There's definitely 'stuff' and expenses associated with a suburban home, but I don't think it's too bad. For my 1 acre place:

$300 - Annual snow removal. We have a long driveway (~ 250'), plus turnaround. To do this myself, I'd need some heavy duty equipment ($$$$). And then I'd still have to do it. No brainer for me.

I cut my own lawn, an ~ $1100 mower lasts me 10-11 years, plus maybe $100 of gas a year, and some maintenance on the mower, which has never been much. So call that roughly $200/annual. Generally, mowing is much more pleasant (or less bad) than snow removal, and the schedule is more flexible.

Another $200 (guessing) of fertilizer, weedkiller each year.

We don't have so many large trees, so leaf raking is minimal, I can mostly just chop them up with the mower.

Landscaping - DW ends up with over $100 of annuals each year. Yes, I'm sure this would be more cost effective to select the proper perennials, but she enjoys it, so I'm not gonna make an issue of it.

Lots of miscellaneous tools, cart for the tractor, shovels, garden shears, pruning shears, (finally bought a pole saw this year), fertilizer spreader, rakes, hoses, etc. But these mostly last a long time, and none of them were big bucks.

When we remodeled and added a 3-season room, we had that and the whole back and 1 side re-sided in Hardy cement board. Paint on that lasts probably 10 years or more. I painted that cement siding myself (~ 7 years ago and looks almost like new). I recently paid $3800 to have the other half of the house painted (original ceder siding), but it needed a lot of scraping and prep.

I'm not sure that would be much more than many HOA charges?

ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2013, 03:43 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
calmloki's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Independence
Posts: 5,086
Up north we pay $80/month to Maccario, who does a great job year round of twice/month mowing, leaf raking, edging, and blowing. Down south we pay $75/month for 6 months while we aren't here for pool upkeep. So there is $1410. Add another estimated $400 for chemicals, fertilizer, a few plants, plus maybe $90 for yard sale tools and $100 for store bought tools... probably $2000/year to keep up the two places, and that is with us doing much of the work.
calmloki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2013, 04:54 PM   #12
Recycles dryer sheets
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 178
Having 5 acres and being 10 miles from the nearest town I have 2 lawn tractors, leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, loppers, a wagon, 2 wheel barrows, shed and tools too numerous to mention. I've thought about getting a goat to mow the grass but am afraid they'll eat everything else. My 2 cats might be intrigued.........
Dancer373 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2013, 06:46 PM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Colorado Mountains
Posts: 1,388
With just getting set up to live in the mountains, I'm sure my list will grow.
- Plow truck about $6000
- A new Jeep Rubicon for my retirement present. $32000
- A top-of-the-line chain saw and associated equipment $1000 (It is a day to get it to town and a month to get it fixed so I don't want it to break down.)
- A friend and I own a Ford 3000 tractor with a front-end loader and an old dump truck.
- A new wheel barrow this summer $100
- I will be buying an ATV and pressure washer probably next summer.
- I have plenty of yard tools from many years of suburban home ownership.

The amazing thing is the people who have lived up here for a long time do it on a shoestring.
Hermit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2013, 09:23 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 13,199
riding lawn mower, weedwhacker, chain saw, rototiller, snowblower, shovel, rakes, leaf blower, snow tires - that's about it for us - probably $4-5k if new for the whole lot. While we have a 4WD pickup and a AWD car because we are in the snow belt, we could get by with FWD vehicles (others do around here).
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
pb4uski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2013, 10:14 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 10,895
Typical suburban lot, and it doesn't take much to keep things tidy.
-Lawnmower (simple 5hp push type, with mulching blade (most of year) and rear bag (easiest way to get leaves up, I seldom rake except to get them out of flowerbeds)
- Electric snow thrower (About $150, very little maintenance, always starts)
- Plastic snowshovel
- Weedwhacker (gas, 4 stroke, about $150 and I've had it 10 years)
- Shovels, rakes, hoes, cultivators, pruners, axes, hatchets, etc
- No chainsaw, but a cordless recip saw does most of the same functions and is more flexible (for demo work in the house, etc.)

- No truck, but a 4' x 8" flatbed utility trailer for hauling brush and picking up mulch from the county chip pile. Towed by our minivan, about 1200 lb max gross weight, it has been a very handy item that has paid for itself many times over. It can fold up and roll into a garage against a wall on it's little wheels (less than $300, Harbor Freight)
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2013, 10:28 PM   #16
Moderator Emeritus
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 10,693
When we lived in our suburban home in the south, we owned an assortment of tools to keep up the property. Things like:
- a power washer to clean up the driveway, concrete walkways, and house exterior
- a ladder to cleanup gutters and climb on the roof
- an assortment of manual and powered garden tools (leaf blower, axe, chainsaw, hedge trimmer, rakes, etc...)
- a snow shovel for the occasional snow removal

No lawnmower though, since out lot was almost completely wooded or paved.
FIREd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2013, 05:03 AM   #17
Sarah in SC's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 13,411
For our four acres, we have a small used tractor and mower that we bought for $3000. Other than that, no special tools that I can think of. We rent a power washer every few years.

Oh, and an extension ladder. We used to have a chain saw, but those little guys are the devil to keep running when you don't use them often. My dad gave us a little electric one he wasn't using, and we trim limbs with that.

I don't count the minibike as a needed item, but it sure is fun! We also have a truck, but it is an older one that doubles as our daily driver whenever one of the cars need repair time under the house.
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
Gerard Arthur Way

Sarah in SC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2013, 05:09 AM   #18
Full time employment: Posting here.
cantlogin's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Pocono Mtns.
Posts: 883
About $20,000 for mowers, tools, and tractor.
The cost of a car isn't included, nor is the cost of the barn that houses the stuff.
cantlogin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2013, 05:17 AM   #19
Gumby's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 9,218
For our 1/3 acre in town, there is not a lot of equipment required -- push lawn mower, string trimmer, leaf blower, tiller, rakes, shovels, ladders, pruning saw, wheelbarrow, spreader, garden hoses etc. The big issue is labor. Right now, I do all the garden maintenance, lawn mowing, leaf raking, gutter cleaning and snow shoveling. When I can't anymore, I'll have to pay someone else and costs will mount.
Living an analog life in the Digital Age.
Gumby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2013, 06:01 AM   #20
Recycles dryer sheets
Jager's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 103
Yup, for sure. I have just under 5 acres, heat with wood, and have a 1/4-mile gravel driveway.

Two 4x4 pickup trucks (one for me, one for DW). ATV w/blade. Chain saws. 22-ton hydraulic wood splitter. Large zero-turn lawn mower. And lots of sweat equity.

The biggest toy (cough, I mean tool) of all is the diesel tractor I bought this past summer. That purchase was one of two reasons that I pushed out my retirement from 2013 to 2014.

The downside of such a rural existence is that it's a fair amount of work. And if I lose power, I also lose water (as we're on a well).

The upside is I can shoot my guns in my own backyard, have taught DW how to cast a fly line just outside our kitchen window, we have space for a large garden (one of the loves of DW, and the benefits of which I get to enjoy summer evenings at supper), and because we're so secluded, should I be outside I can walk up to pretty much any tree and "water the grass."

The biggest upside is not worrying about losing power during a snowstorm. Knowing that, come what may, you'll be warm and dry. There is something ineffably satisfying about sitting in the living room next to the woodstove, java in hand if it's the morning, adult beverage in hand if it's the evening, while snow softly settles across the landscape.

Jager is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:13 PM.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.