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Talk to you later 09.09.2020 13:25

Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
https://i.ibb.co/9qXxs8k/Wood.jpg

If I buy a small house, I will be capable of doing small DIY jobs but I am trying to understand the consequences of owning a house in the mountains (will have road access). Take this house as an example-

1) How does one maintain the wood? You just apply the correct coating every summer? How long can well maintained wood last before losing it's structural strength? Google says maybe150 years? I want it to last my lifetime only. I am in my 40s currently. My remaining life could be anything from 1 second to 60 years.

2) I assume one of the weakest failure point of a house like above would be the roof? How do I maintain it? Repair any damage ASAP before it gets bigger?

3) In case of roof failure, what would a new roof cost for a small house like above?

4) Insurance!!! How much would monthly insurance for a 300k house be roughly? Are acts of nature like landslide, rockfall etc covered?

Quote:

AXA Protect yourself from financial building risks with AXA's various insurance products. Whether fire, water, earthquake, or burglary: Put together your own optimal building insurance with AXA's modules.
Some negative points of living away from larger towns/cities-

a. Distance to Town
b. Communication
c. Weather and Seasonal Issues
d. Wildlife

st2lemans 09.09.2020 13:57

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Talk to you later (Post 3215731)
4) Insurance!!! How much would monthly insurance for a 300k house be roughly?

The insurance depends on the size, not the purchase price.

We paid 90k, insured value based on volume is 140k or so, around CHF 200/year for insurance.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Talk to you later (Post 3215731)
Are acts of nature like landslide, rockfall etc covered?

Depends on what you ask for.

Tom

bowlie 09.09.2020 14:17

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Talk to you later (Post 3215731)

Some negative points of living away from larger towns/cities-

a. Distance to Town
b. Communication
c. Weather and Seasonal Issues
d. Wildlife

Those are also positive points ...

smileygreebins 09.09.2020 14:46

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Here's our checklist for every autumn, again granted that we're at 1100m.
  1. Clear out all water drains and gutters
  2. Restain all timber garden furniture and cover them up
  3. Cover up the concrete garden fireplaces
  4. Tie up all the younger trees where snow weight could snap their branches
  5. Service all the garden tools
  6. Put mulch layers over all the vegetable beds
  7. Move all the potted plants into the greenhouse with its heater on lowest setting and winter's worth of water in the tank that we can access easily
  8. Purchase and store close to the house, a winter's worth of firewood
  9. Drain the motorbikes of fuel and store them on cardboard rather than just the concrete garage floors
  10. Regrout any gaps in the stone stairs/pavers
  11. Relocate a large compost bin for winter foodscraps close to the house
  12. Service the snow clearing machine and store it at the front of the garage doors
  13. Move all our snow clearing shovels, gloves, hats etc right by all doors
  14. Check the heaters and extension cords that get used in the cars
  15. Bleed the garden hoses and let them dry out before storage in the shed
  16. Ensure every painted exterior surface of the house is repaired
  17. Ensure pantry has all the basics for at least a couple of weeks (bad storms resulting in fallen trees have blocked our road historically for days)
  18. Check the garden shed roof and house roof shingles are all in good order
  19. Relocate the BBQ's under the eaves for easy access (love a winter grill!)

Very simply, we might not see our grass or driveway clear of snow for 4-5 months. And its a chore to have to keep clearing access routes through the snow, so we stock up on supplies, keep everything else required close to the exterior doors, or super easy to unload from the car to the house, and then hunker down!

Extreme cold is an enemy of any part of your exterior house that is not in good repair - and you don't want to be trying to patch roofs or fix anything outside in minus degrees with a biting wind!

We had our timber house painted 7 years ago, with an assurance it would last for 10 years before needing to be redone. We've just had to strip back to bare timber and repaint all of the shutters, and really we should have redone them last year - they were showing signs of weather wear much earlier than expected. We are also well past repainting the cladded walls - they are looking very thirsty. And we're in the process of fixing all the rendered concrete walls - they are cracking badly. So either we didn't get the best contractor or paint type with the promise of 10 years, or our weather conditions have been more extreme than usual.....Our slate clad roof however has been on for 45 years and is still looking good, and all our copper drainpipes and copper chimney stack & hood are holding up perfectly. We painted the garden shed ourselves 8 years ago, and it still looks perfect. And happily, our bathroom pipes no longer freeze up every winter, after we went crazy with quadruple insulation in those walls!

smileygreebins 09.09.2020 15:07

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bowlie (Post 3215759)
Those are also positive points ...

Indeed. Very real peace. And so many more stars at night.

We watch the deer grazing alone the treeline and wake up with bird song and get little frogs from time to time, plus the cats get plenty of mice to chase! The foxes are lovely, but they give no mercy if I forget to lock up the garbage bags or leave the BBQ grease trap uncleaned... There is also some kind of rodent that is notorious for eating at electrical cables in cars - maybe another EF'er can elaborate on this, but we finally had this happen to our truck this year which was a bugger.

The air is different, and so very clean.

The local water (here anyway) is better than anything Evian could ever produce.

Everyday is like being on holiday.

People smile more, and always say hello to each other.

We've had no significant issues with communication - either with the locals, the authorities, or reliability of phone and internet (in fact the internet coverage here is better than what I had in London!)

For sure it took me a while to get used to Swiss mountain ways, but I don't miss city life one jot. The weather can change on the turn of a dime BUT depending on where you're planning to live, there's something about living at altitude, and being above the fog line, or above the clouds, or above the town fireworks or level with the lightening that makes the occasional mountain storms and the work associated with snowfall worth it!

And sitting in an armchair, made out of snow, drinking a cold beer in warm sunshine....that's just a hoot!

AbFab 09.09.2020 17:21

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Be aware that "living in lower mountains" (assumed about 1200 metres) means that you will have snow on the ground from November to late April. Summers, though beautiful are short and nights can be cold - so no sitting out on balmy evenings.

A great place for a holiday, but for me not an ideal place to live...

bowlie 09.09.2020 17:34

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AbFab (Post 3215850)
Be aware that "living in lower mountains" (assumed about 1200 metres) means that you will have snow on the ground from November to late April. Summers, though beautiful are short and nights can be cold - so no sitting out on balmy evenings.

A great place for a holiday, but for me not an ideal place to live...

Well there is the (solar powered) hot tub ...

3Wishes 09.09.2020 18:16

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by smileygreebins (Post 3215781)
...There is also some kind of rodent that is notorious for eating at electrical cables in cars - maybe another EF'er can elaborate on this, but we finally had this happen to our truck this year which was a bugger.

It's a common problem mentioned on EF. The little beasts are called martens, apparently:
https://www.englishforum.ch/transpor...ating-car.html

BasP72 09.09.2020 18:34

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by 3Wishes (Post 3215867)
It's a common problem mentioned on EF. The little beasts are called martens, apparently:
https://www.englishforum.ch/transpor...ating-car.html

And if you have teilcasco damage from these animals is typically covered.

amogles 09.09.2020 19:30

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by 3Wishes (Post 3215867)
It's a common problem mentioned on EF. The little beasts are called martens, apparently:
https://www.englishforum.ch/transpor...ating-car.html

Shouldn't a garage suffice to keep them away?

st2lemans 09.09.2020 19:42

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by amogles (Post 3215892)
Shouldn't a garage suffice to keep them away?

Only if underground and on the neighbor's property.

Tom

Talk to you later 09.09.2020 22:48

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AbFab (Post 3215850)
Be aware that "living in lower mountains" (assumed about 1200 metres) means that you will have snow on the ground from November to late April. Summers, though beautiful are short and nights can be cold - so no sitting out on balmy evenings.

A great place for a holiday, but for me not an ideal place to live...


The areas I am interested in are situated between 1300m and 1600m. I think I will survive as long as the property survives :msnblush:

BasP72 09.09.2020 22:56

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Did you check your area on meteoblue.com ? There you can get climate information... i dont know where you have in mind but I think the Jura is the coldest with strong winds high in the mountains. Check your desired location to make sure it doesnt get too bad in winter.

Or reserve 80k and get a second place on Lanzarote...

Talk to you later 09.09.2020 23:05

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by BasP72 (Post 3215950)
Did you check your area on meteoblue.com ? There you can get climate information... i dont know where you have in mind but I think the Jura is the coldest with strong winds high in the mountains. Check your desired location to make sure it doesnt get too bad in winter.

Or reserve 80k and get a second place on Lanzarote...


Not Jura but Valais region.





https://i.ibb.co/wNkt5cf/temp.jpg

smileygreebins 10.09.2020 02:51

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by 3Wishes (Post 3215867)
It's a common problem mentioned on EF. The little beasts are called martens, apparently:
https://www.englishforum.ch/transpor...ating-car.html

Our Swiss friends tell us that the critters don't like the smell of dogs, and stay away from driveways/cars where dogs have been present.

Could be an urban myth. However it is an odd coincidence that we've had zero issues for 7 years whilst our doggie was alive, and then, 6 months after her passing, the martens made a dinner party with the electrics in our truck...

Talk to you later 10.09.2020 08:19

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Damit!!! This wire chewing animal thing sounds like lot of trouble!!!! Do they like taste of Suzuki Jimny or Fiat Panda Cross 4x4 cables too?
What if they eat the brake lines? :o Will getting garden cats help?

Talk to you later 10.09.2020 08:36

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bowlie (Post 3215759)
Those are also positive points ...


For me yes and no. I got that list from online research. Let me break them down from my point of view


a. Distance to Town- Positive overall, unless some major emergency.
b. Communication- Neutral, I need good internet. If I have that, then I don't care.
c. Weather and Seasonal Issues- Positive, it is what it is and part of living in beautiful nature.
d. Wildlife- Positive, as long as it is not a bear that comes daily to my garden :)

st2lemans 10.09.2020 08:43

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Talk to you later (Post 3215982)
Will getting garden cats help?

Yes.

They will also take care of rats and snakes.

Tom

smileygreebins 10.09.2020 09:59

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Talk to you later (Post 3215982)
Damit!!! This wire chewing animal thing sounds like lot of trouble!!!! Do they like taste of Suzuki Jimny or Fiat Panda Cross 4x4 cables too?
What if they eat the brake lines? :o Will getting garden cats help?

After fixing the martens leftovers, our local garage chaps advised us to keep an oily rag stuffed in a nook of the engine bay. The critters don't like those apparently, and so far, all has been good.... There is also the option to put additional sheathing on the cable lines....

Talk to you later 11.09.2020 19:12

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
The power of nature is another thing to think about!



fatmanfilms 11.09.2020 20:12

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Talk to you later (Post 3216518)
The power of nature is another thing to think about!



Land is zoned for natural risk.

40 years ago in Verbier they decided to sell land for Chalets on the 'rouge' piste area to foreigners. It's an avalanche path & once every 5 years they get evacuated !

dragoneiric 11.09.2020 21:04

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by smileygreebins (Post 3215767)
Drain the motorbikes of fuel and store them on cardboard rather than just the concrete garage floors

At the risk of looking very stupid, could you please explain why you do this. Thanks.

Big Mara 11.09.2020 22:20

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
I had a dream, to find a home in the mountains.
https://www.englishforum.ch/picture....pictureid=3653


With a view to the Swiss Alps, above the winter fog.

https://www.englishforum.ch/picture....pictureid=7583


To be able to travel in winter when I will.
https://www.englishforum.ch/picture....pictureid=3642

Large towns with hospitals in the near. (16km)
The main roads are clear to drive most of the winter.

Where is my dream place? The Berner Jura since 25 years.

amogles 12.09.2020 01:19

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dragoneiric (Post 3216539)
At the risk of looking very stupid, could you please explain why you do this. Thanks.

I can't speak for dragoneiric and maybe this is an outdated practice no longer required today but my grandpa told me that any rubber tyred vehicle, be it a bicycle or a wheelbarrow should, if it will not be used for say 6 months or more, not be stored on its wheels but some other way. Bicycles can be turned upside down or hung from hooks. Wheelbarrows can be stowed on end or sideways. With cars its not really a problem because you typically don't store a car that long without moving it. I guess the reason you do this is because air gradually leaks out of the tyre and this can lead to tyre damage, but this is just a guess. I have noticed in the automobile museum in Mulhouse many of the older cars are supported by rather inconspicuous metal supports which I guess take the weight off their wheels.

Urs Max 12.09.2020 04:28

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dragoneiric (Post 3216539)
At the risk of looking very stupid, could you please explain why you do this. Thanks.

I can't speak for sgb but here's what I know.

Fuel contains water. At the pump the amount is usually negligible but it can increase over time. The most common reason for this is condensation (a significant problem on the waters), the bigger the difference between the day's high and low, and the higher the relative humidity during the cold hours, the more likely condensation is to occur.

When the water content is high enough and the temperatures low enough, the water contained will separate from the actual fuel and flow to the deepest point in the tank. There's reserve space at the tank bottom for this very reason, but the reserve capacity is finite and if there's enough of it (or the tank shaken hard enough, think of an enduro bike doing trails if you will) the condense water may flow out the ordinary outlet and stop the motor from working and/or cause corrosion inside.

The outlet is probably connected to the carburator or fuel pump by a hose. After emptying the tank the hose will usually be disconnected at the carburator end and bent in a manner that whatever flows out bypasses the motor block and drops directly to the floor. That's the reason for the cardboard, it keeps the fuel-y oily water from staining the floor.

Talk to you later 12.09.2020 21:41

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Big Mara (Post 3216546)
I had a dream, to find a home in the mountains.
https://www.englishforum.ch/picture....pictureid=3653



I assume that whole house belongs to you? It must be more than CHF500,000, so outside my budget. Also too big for my needs.

I came across a nice small house for CHF200,000 and I fell in love with it but unfortuntely the whole area is kind of sitting duck for predicted future rock falls etc :msnsad: So it could end up being ok for next 40 years or it might not. Insurance is expensive there for obvious reasons.

Hopefully my dream can come true too within the next 5 years :D

meloncollie 12.09.2020 21:59

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Talk to you later (Post 3216738)
but unfortuntely the whole area is kind of sitting duck for predicted future rock falls etc :msnsad: So it could end up being ok for next 40 years or it might not. Insurance is expensive there for obvious reasons.

In addition to insurance, another thing to research is whether or not a place that lies in a danger zone is mortgageable.

Found a pretty-darn-close-to-almost-more-or-less-acceptable holiday house in GR. (My new definition of dream house, given the absurdity of the Swiss market. :rolleyes: ) Given it's location, no bank would mortgage it. Sure, it could last another 100 years, doG willin' and the creek don't rise. (Literally.) But the new owner better be prepared to put down cold hard cash.

Just another data point to file away...

meloncollie 13.09.2020 09:02

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Talk to you later (Post 3216738)
Also too big for my needs.

Another thing to think about:

Space needs have a way of increasing. And increasing, and increasing.

Unlike in all the other places I have lived and owned property, there isn't really the concept of 'starter home', where you buy small and move up several times as your income allows. People buy and then stay put, one factor in this is the tax penalty for selling within X years.

So... while you should never go over budget and leave yourself 'house poor', if possible, buy as much house as you think you will need in the next 10 years, rather than what you need now.

Just my 2P.

Talk to you later 13.09.2020 09:22

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by meloncollie (Post 3216784)
Another thing to think about:

Space needs have a way of increasing. And increasing, and increasing.

Unlike in all the other places I have lived and owned property, there isn't really the concept of 'starter home', where you buy small and move up several times as your income allows. People buy and then stay put, one factor in this is the tax penalty for selling within X years.

So... while you should never go over budget and leave yourself 'house poor', if possible, buy as much house as you think you will need in the next 10 years, rather than what you need now.

Just my 2P.


Good point but not valid in my case :) I don't have kids or anything that requires lot of space. 65 sq m is perfect living space for me and has been for last 30 years. As I get older, I do even more death cleaning so that I have less possessions.

magic 13.09.2020 09:58

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Talk to you later (Post 3216788)
As I get older, I do even more death cleaning so that I have less possessions.

I am currently on a crusade to sell possessions, especially those bought and rarely used. I look at it as more liberating and also helps me pay down debts and of course means when I find my man house/apartment/cave it can be much smaller.

The one thing I do look forward to gaining a lot more of when I hit retirement is time. Having the time to enjoy a good location, mountain walks, time to talk to strangers at a cafe, not to have to attend meetings, having time to cook with more passion. Time to read more books overlooking a great view, my kitty cats will be happy too :D

This thread is great though, so I am grateful as it now has a great checklist of what to lookout for and also sets expectations.

rainer_d 13.09.2020 12:39

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Talk to you later (Post 3216788)
Good point but not valid in my case :) I don't have kids or anything that requires lot of space. 65 sq m is perfect living space for me and has been for last 30 years. As I get older, I do even more death cleaning so that I have less possessions.


Ah, so you're really looking for what other people call a "holiday home"?

What's your budget then?

Talk to you later 13.09.2020 12:55

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rainer_d (Post 3216817)
Ah, so you're really looking for what other people call a "holiday home"?

What's your budget then?

Holiday home means for holidays only in general? My plan is to get it within next 5 years (just when I hit early 50s). So regular holidays (every weekend) and then permanent retirement there.

Tik tok, time is running out and grim reaper awaits. I feel by the time you retire you have already wasted many good years of your life. I want to maximize enjoyment of life.

Regarding budget, Max 350,000 but would prefer in the 200-250,000 region. Flat is what I was intending to buy but small house is more appealing now.

Patxi 13.09.2020 13:25

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Did I miss the bit about why you are thinking about Switzerland for your retirement plans? Seems like with your criteria, you can get a lot more for your money in other countries, friendlier neighbors and a lower cost of living as well.

Talk to you later 13.09.2020 14:08

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Hi Patxi,
I love the mountains, hiking, running and just looking at them.

Plan-B is Portugal but I don't speak the language nor fan of beaches. Mountains speak to my soul.

Also Switzerland is a more stable country. If things go south, more social support from the government.

rainer_d 13.09.2020 18:37

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Talk to you later (Post 3216820)
Holiday home means for holidays only in general?



No, you can make it your primary residence.

In fact, due to the "Zweitwohnungsinitiative", the number/percentage of secondary homes a town can have is limited. AFAIK, they really like everybody who moves there 100% and actually lives there.

From a cursory look at comparis, I'd say that smaller houses which you can actually live-in without the house being a "project" for two years, start at about 400k.

e.g. this one

https://www.comparis.ch/immobilien/m.../show/22750307

On the market for eight months, so it's not exactly priced to sell I'd say ;-)

Talk to you later 14.09.2020 11:50

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rainer_d (Post 3216891)
From a cursory look at comparis, I'd say that smaller houses which you can actually live-in without the house being a "project" for two years, start at about 400k.

e.g. this one

https://www.comparis.ch/immobilien/m.../show/22750307

On the market for eight months, so it's not exactly priced to sell I'd say ;-)


That house looks overpriced to me. Interior looks nice but too many houses near you. I have seen better for CHF250,000 with green space all around and much better views ;)

Edit- Ok it is the whole building so maybe not overpriced but location I don't like. The building looks solid though.


Edit-2
Lot cheaper-

https://en.comparis.ch/immobilien/ma.../show/23910302

CodPeace 14.09.2020 12:12

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Is there a reason, other than sunshine, that most of the villages and life are situated on the north side of the Vallais?
If there are less settlements on the south side, it's probably fo a good reason.

Patxi 14.09.2020 12:34

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CodPeace (Post 3217076)
Is there a reason, other than sunshine, that most of the villages and life are situated on the north side of the Vallais?
If there are less settlements on the south side, it's probably fo a good reason.

It might have something to do with those little hills on the south side of the Canton:confused:

Talk to you later 14.09.2020 15:59

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Is Comparis rating in general reliable?

Tom1234 14.09.2020 16:04

Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Talk to you later (Post 3217071)

Priced to sell though with no parking but you can rent a place down the road - two minutes walk (half an hour in a blizzard when you've done your two weekly shop before you get snowed in!)


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