Moving In: Part 67B

If you had shown me the curve of work versus time to get a new house in order 6 months ago, I would have just burned all of my stuff and gotten a furnished place in a high-rise. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, but there are days that I wish …. well, I just wish.

I am sitting on the lanai (expensive word for back patio) enjoying the roar of gunfire and ATV chases across the canal. Seriously: sounds of freedom. The sun is up, there’s a steady breeze, just enough clouds to keep it tolerable in the direct light, and a hint of stuff growing in the scent.

Inside my house the medicine cabinets and ceiling fans are finally done. The electrician came back this last week and fixed the “oops” wiring in a couple of rooms. I have learned that three levels of electrician come in and do the work. The first level just string wire from point to point and don’t connect much at all. The second level put in the boxes and switches. The third group put in the light fixtures themselves and test the power. Group one and two may/may not ever test the circuit. They work to plan – or habit. The third wave only tests the circuits they put bulbs/appliances on, and don’t check every outlet. This includes the ceiling fan holes that were preinstalled. Stout fixtures, but in modern homes you are on your own for putting in the fans. 

This also applies to towel racks, medicine cabinets, and anything beyond a minimal amount of shelving. We’re still working on the shelving, but most of the other stuff is done. Once the shelving is complete (we’re using the high ceilings and putting in two additional rows of shelves for a total of three) we will be able to empty the last containers. No point dumping out the contents until there’s a place to put them. 

At this point I’d like to offer my services as a decorator to new home builders. I know you leave things undone so the owner can customize the house. More importantly, it saves you labor and parts. I think I can reliably speak for over 90% of the people in the United States who are buying brand new homes: I don’t want to customize it. 

I’d like you, the builder, to put in an insane amount of shelving. (I can always take down a shelf if I need a taller space.) I want you to install the ceiling fans and test them: older people hate ladders and fiddling with wiring. It’s a pain in the rump to do the work. When you get to the last ceiling fan you’re good at it. The first two are tough. If you have a guy who does this all day, he can knock out 3 homes a day. I can’t. You can pick nice things and if they want an upgrade, they will do it. But you buy the stuff for 5K, install it, and charge 10K?  That’s a good deal.

Same thing with towel bars. Just put up brushed nickel and be done with it. I like a place to hang my towel (and do the shower rods while you’re at it) the first day when I’m taking a shower at the end of a filthy day of opening boxes. 

Now that I’m on a rant, let’s talk about some other high-end stuff. In remote areas (like mine) just install a whole-house Reverse Osmosis system at construction. Everyone here has one, the water softener you installed was doomed starting 1 year after install. RO is the only logical option. Again, if people are forking over 300-500K for a home, adding on 5K for good water isn’t a big deal. 

In Florida, offer a solar option. This is the only one that’s marginal, but hear me out on the logic. If you build the house to use solar, and you build a lot of houses, you get good at it. You make money, people like it, and it saves them from putting it in later. Make it a feature. Again, it’s lots cheaper if you put it in versus the owner. 

If you have made it this far, you will understand what I’ve been doing for the last two months. Today is the anniversary. We’re not done yet, but close. I am sure, however, that both of us would have been glad to pay 50K more for the house with it all done before we got here. 

So, builders, I’m available to consult with you and help you up the game. I’m cheap (relatively) and I know what people want in that new home. Give me a call. 

Later, my friends. I have to go install a shelf.

Joseph Courtemanche

About Joseph Courtemanche

I'm a conservative Christian author who's been happily married for over 30 years. I am a Veteran of the United States Navy, Naval Security Group. I speak a few languages, I have an absurd sense of humor and I'm proud to be an American.

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