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Old 09.09.2020, 14:25
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Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions



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?

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

a. Distance to Town
b. Communication
c. Weather and Seasonal Issues
d. Wildlife
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Old 09.09.2020, 14:57
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Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions

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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.

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Are acts of nature like landslide, rockfall etc covered?
Depends on what you ask for.

Tom
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Old 09.09.2020, 15:17
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Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions

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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 ...
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Old 09.09.2020, 15:46
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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!

Last edited by smileygreebins; 09.09.2020 at 16:00.
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Old 11.09.2020, 22:04
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Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions

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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.
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Old 11.09.2020, 23:20
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Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions

I had a dream, to find a home in the mountains.



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




To be able to travel in winter when I will.


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.
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Old 12.09.2020, 22:41
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Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions

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I had a dream, to find a home in the mountains.



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 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
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Old 12.09.2020, 02:19
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Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions

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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.
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Old 12.09.2020, 05:28
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Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions

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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.

Last edited by Urs Max; 12.09.2020 at 05:39.
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Old 09.09.2020, 16:07
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Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions

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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!
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Old 09.09.2020, 18:21
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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...
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Old 09.09.2020, 18:34
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Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions

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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 ...
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Old 09.09.2020, 23:48
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Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions

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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
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Old 09.09.2020, 23:56
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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...
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Old 12.10.2020, 19:39
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Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions

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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...

Bliss- when you are all melting and complaining bitterly about being too hot, can't breathe - we are lovely and warm up here during the day- and then later in the evening, it cools down with a lovely breeze- and we can sleep wonderfully. No light pollution, no noise - bliss. And in winter, when you are all complaining about fog and damp, and lack of light- we are in bright sunshine, cold but dry, and sparkly. sheer bliss. Oh, and no rocks above, and no chance of flooding either.


Horse- courses.
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Old 09.09.2020, 19:16
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Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions

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...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
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Old 09.09.2020, 19:34
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Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions

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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.

Last edited by BasP72; 09.09.2020 at 23:52.
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Old 09.09.2020, 20:30
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Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions

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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?
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Old 09.09.2020, 20:42
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Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions

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Shouldn't a garage suffice to keep them away?
Only if underground and on the neighbor's property.

Tom
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Old 10.09.2020, 03:51
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Re: Maintaining small house & living in the lower mountains questions

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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...
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