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Old 05-11-2014, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,935,948 times
Reputation: 6716

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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
Also - I think that in many - if not most - cases - any person (regardless of age) who cannot afford to maintain a particular property - and who isn't capable of doing the maintenance personally - should move/downsize. Perhaps someone might disagree when it comes to the Widow Smith who lives in a $75k house in a somewhat run down area and is squeaking by on her SS and a meager pension. Someone who - even if she sells - has limited or no options available elsewhere. But - I'm the "blind person" only looking at part of the elephant - and I don't live near the Widow Smith or in a neighborhood like hers. The mileage of everyone here may vary (a lot).

And that's where I differ because I can well imagine someone who owns a nice house (not a $75,000 house. is there any such thing?) trying to maintain it on a meager pension. Just because they own a $250,000 home instead of a $million home doesn't make them riff raff. Divorce, death of spouse, serious illness, all can leave a person with less money than they would have had and why should they be forced to live in some dump or in an institution when a helping hand could keep them in their own home.
There are plenty of $75k (and often much cheaper) houses in often older run down neighborhoods in the metro area where I live (greater JAX metro area). Many have older owners. And many of the areas are considered blighted:

Blight is more then weeds and trash | members.jacksonville.com

These neighborhoods don't have HOAs like mine. Nor is there any attempt to impose the type of maintenance that's expected where I live in those areas. Basically - all anyone is hoping for is that someone will do some minimum work so the areas don't look like total eyesores (there's been a whole series of articles and editorials about what's going on in these areas in our local paper recently).

And I'm not passing judgment on anyone's moral character here. I don't care whether someone is a fabulous person - or riffraff (whatever that means). All I'm saying is that if your house is worth over a certain amount (which could be X where you live - Y where I live - Z where someone else lives) - and you can't afford to maintain it - you should relocate to a less expensive place you can afford to maintain. Especially WRT older people - this can sometimes involve moving not only to a less expensive part of town - but to another part of a state or elsewhere in the US (or sometimes even out of the US).

And I'm also saying that I don't think people have the right to forgo maintenance of their property because then they're imposing a "dump" on their neighbors. I mean if most people in a formerly nice neighborhood wind up being older - with less money - and decide to let their houses go to heck - then the whole neighborhood winds up like garbage (which is what happened in some of these JAX neighborhoods).

FWIW - we've had issues like this in my neck of the woods. There's a part of my area with older houses - occupied in many cases by older people. These houses are worth probably $300k to over $1 million (sometimes just as tear downs). Many have no mortgages. This area didn't have sewers - and the septic tanks were creating ridiculous amounts of pollution in local waterways. And the older people screamed like heck when the environmental people came in and forced them to install sewers. Said they were being deprived of their "rights" (I guess the alleged right was to live in an expensive house and pollute the waterways ).

Finally - I don't think any house will remain a "nice" house for long if someone doesn't have the money to maintain it. And the grass is perhaps the least of issues when it comes to maintenance. How about roof leaks - painting - replacing major things like water heaters or HVAC units when they die - etc.? Robyn
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Old 05-11-2014, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Deep In The Heart of Texas
1,608 posts, read 1,272,089 times
Reputation: 3031
Just because a little old lady drives a Cadillac doesn't by any means say she can afford to pay for lawn service. Maybe she
can't even afford to keep up the maintenance on said Cadillac. Also as we age we are unable to coordinate things like
we coold when we were younger....a lot due to health reasons. Some just don't even think about the lawn needing cut...they have much more pressing problems. I'm not going to even try to guess who's more deserving of assistance, the elderly woman or the young woman. I also wouldn't even think of starting a thread on this subject as it would not have
come to my mind!
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Old 05-11-2014, 11:19 AM
 
Location: SW Florida
9,760 posts, read 7,041,256 times
Reputation: 14300
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devans0 View Post
We have a new (to us) house. The yard and sidewalks can get out of hand if I get busy at work. Sixteen hour workdays or even twelve hour days doesn't leave much daylight to do the work needed. Mowing in the middle of the night? That would make neighbors justifiably p'd off. I am working to an saner solution. Landscaping with perennials and rock gardens. My new neighborhood has people with fun 'toys' to make life easy. Snow hits, and I blow the sidewalks of a few neighbors as well as mine. My neighbors do the same.
A neighbor offered to let me use his garden tiller. I like my neighbors. My kind of people.

I have the brochure of a robo-mower. I am seriously looking at that possibility. The wire gets buried around the perimeter of the lawn. Robo takes care of it. If the equipment will stand up to years of use, the dollar cost average makes it a reasonable option. A few amenities can make this house an age-in-place friendly house, without the crazy rules (to me) of an HOA. A combination of self reliance, neighbors working together, and a little ingenuity makes a more interesting life.

BTW, our house isn't far from the $75k range. Different parts of the country have vastly different housing costs.
Sounds like that would solve everyone's problem, LOL. I want one! - we have an acre here to be mowed and maintained, although at this point, and for the foreseeable future, we pay a lawn service to take care of it.
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Old 05-11-2014, 11:30 AM
 
Location: too far from the sea
19,847 posts, read 18,867,840 times
Reputation: 33760
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devans0 View Post
We have a new (to us) house. The yard and sidewalks can get out of hand if I get busy at work. Sixteen hour workdays or even twelve hour days doesn't leave much daylight to do the work needed. Mowing in the middle of the night? That would make neighbors justifiably p'd off. I am working to an saner solution. Landscaping with perennials and rock gardens. My new neighborhood has people with fun 'toys' to make life easy. Snow hits, and I blow the sidewalks of a few neighbors as well as mine. My neighbors do the same.
A neighbor offered to let me use his garden tiller. I like my neighbors. My kind of people.

I have the brochure of a robo-mower. I am seriously looking at that possibility. The wire gets buried around the perimeter of the lawn. Robo takes care of it. If the equipment will stand up to years of use, the dollar cost average makes it a reasonable option. A few amenities can make this house an age-in-place friendly house, without the crazy rules (to me) of an HOA. A combination of self reliance, neighbors working together, and a little ingenuity makes a more interesting life.

BTW, our house isn't far from the $75k range. Different parts of the country have vastly different housing costs.
That sounds like a good option. A robo mower (never heard of it but I like the idea), self reliance, and neighbors working together. WOW! $75,000 houses? Around here houses are $250,000 and more like $500,000 to a million $$. (I don't have one.) I guess the housing prices do differ vastly. And no HMO to contend with and pay additional fees to. Great deal.

Your neighborhood sounds more like mine. We borrow each other's ladders and offer to shovel each other's driveways in winter. Kids still come around to help shovel out (for a small cost but it works). It's more the helping out with little chores. No one's going to put in a new hot water tank for someone or put a new roof on for them--if the people can't afford the major upkeep, they need to move.
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Old 05-11-2014, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,935,948 times
Reputation: 6716
Quote:
Originally Posted by Littlelu View Post
Just because a little old lady drives a Cadillac doesn't by any means say she can afford to pay for lawn service. Maybe she
can't even afford to keep up the maintenance on said Cadillac. Also as we age we are unable to coordinate things like
we coold when we were younger....a lot due to health reasons. Some just don't even think about the lawn needing cut...they have much more pressing problems. I'm not going to even try to guess who's more deserving of assistance, the elderly woman or the young woman. I also wouldn't even think of starting a thread on this subject as it would not have
come to my mind!
Not being able to coordinate things is not an excuse. When you hire a lawn service - it just keeps showing up until you stop paying the bill . FWIW - when it comes to lawns - perhaps things are different in states other than Florida. Lawn maintenance here is a big deal in terms of money and $$$ and/or physical labor - at least if you want a lawn as opposed to a patch of weeds. Our lawns require regular applications of fertilizer and various chemicals to control weeds and bugs - except in the "winter" (which is perhaps 4 months in north Florida and no months in south Florida). They require regular watering (although less frequently in cooler weather than warmer). They have to be mowed at least once a week in warmer months (in peak growing season - lawns can start looking shaggy after 5 days) - and every 2-3 weeks in cooler months.

Now we have have statutes that allow people to have "Florida friendly" landscaping - which can eliminate all or most grass. But "Florida friendly" doesn't = no work or money. We have very little in the way of grass - but lots of shrubs and trees. The large trees in particular are more expensive to maintain than anything else. And you're not going to ask your next door neighbor to prune your 70 foot live oak.

It's one thing to have a neighbor blow your snow occasionally - but it would get a little old if he/she had to do it on a regular basis 52 weeks a year! The ultimate solution for people who don't want to deal with maintenance is to move into some kind of community - like a townhouse community - where the HOA takes care of the maintenance. They're super common in Florida. Which is one reason I guess I have little tolerance for people who don't take care of their own stuff. And if I had enough "back" left to do work on something other than my own place - I'd probably volunteer to help with a community garden/park (many have suffered in recent years as a result of government budget cuts). Overall - the issue the OP brought up is a money issue - nothing more - nothing less. Robyn
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Old 05-11-2014, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,935,948 times
Reputation: 6716
Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
...It's more the helping out with little chores..
The older I get - the fewer "little chores" there are <LOL>. What about washing windows - cleaning out gutters - raking leaves - doing laundry - vacuuming - washing dishes - making meals? I could go on - but writing the list is making me very tired (even though my husband and I don't do all of these things ourselves these days). Robyn
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Old 05-11-2014, 02:36 PM
 
Location: too far from the sea
19,847 posts, read 18,867,840 times
Reputation: 33760
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robyn55 View Post
The older I get - the fewer "little chores" there are <LOL>. What about washing windows - cleaning out gutters - raking leaves - doing laundry - vacuuming - washing dishes - making meals? I could go on - but writing the list is making me very tired (even though my husband and I don't do all of these things ourselves these days). Robyn
Tired, I know

I have NO trees -- practically had an entire forest when I used to have a real house, so no leaf raking, I don't wash dishes, that's for the dishwasher, laundry is a first floor laundry so it's easy, gutters don't need much cleaning, no trees. Vacuuming is men's work. Cooking we have to do in order to eat. This place may be cramped but it sure is low maintenance.

The main problem here is snow removal 5-6 months of the year.
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Old 05-11-2014, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,935,948 times
Reputation: 6716
Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
Tired, I know

I have NO trees -- practically had an entire forest when I used to have a real house, so no leaf raking, I don't wash dishes, that's for the dishwasher, laundry is a first floor laundry so it's easy, gutters don't need much cleaning, no trees. Vacuuming is men's work. Cooking we have to do in order to eat. This place may be cramped but it sure is low maintenance.

The main problem here is snow removal 5-6 months of the year.
We have a real house (our first after living in high rise condos for 20 or so years). With lots of real trees. Quite beautiful - especially this time of year. But we didn't know beans about trees when we built 20 years ago. If I knew then what I know now - I would have 86'd a lot of the trees. OTOH - many today weren't here when we built. They're just little volunteers that grew up into big trees (things here tend to grow *really* fast - live hard and die young).

Guess I was also tired because we were doing our "spring cleaning" today. Which consists of washing windows and washing all the pollen off the house. It's weird. A lot of our available maintenance in this area is fairly priced (although not cheap) IMO - but washing windows costs a fortune. Even though we have a single family house. Also - our windows are hurricane impact windows - and require some TLC in terms of cleaning. Also - it's not that hard to hose down the house (which is about all it takes to wash away pollen - but people want a fortune to do that too). I figured out a few years ago that our pressure washing guy could clean our enclosed porch and the furniture there in 30 minutes. So I pay him $50 to do a job that takes him 30 minutes and takes us 4+ hours (he does a big job for us in the fall - which is why he shows up for $50). But we still do the rest ourselves. It is highly gratifying to wash away all that yellow gunk with a garden hose .

At least at our place - we have 2800 sf under A/C. Far from cramped. And the inside stuff is pretty easy. We have a housekeeper about 3 hours a week who cleans the bathrooms/mops the floors/vacuums/etc. And do the rest ourselves. No big deal. It's the outside stuff that's hard - labor/money intensive. But I do love my (relatively) small herb/butterfly/hummingbird garden - about 90' by 25' - that also incorporates some of my late mother's stuff - used to be bonsai - but is too big to be called that today. Here's one of her Japanese azaleas in bloom today.



No way you can pay anyone to do something like that. When I can't do it anyone - it will be gone. In the meantime - I will enjoy best I can. Robyn
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Old 05-11-2014, 03:41 PM
 
Location: California
4,556 posts, read 5,473,472 times
Reputation: 9616
Hopefully, the drought and water restrictions will take care of the lawn issue and this thread!
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Old 05-11-2014, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Deep In The Heart of Texas
1,608 posts, read 1,272,089 times
Reputation: 3031
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robyn55 View Post
Not being able to coordinate things is not an excuse. When you hire a lawn service - it just keeps showing up until you stop paying the bill . FWIW - when it comes to lawns - perhaps things are different in states other than Florida. Lawn maintenance here is a big deal in terms of money and $$$ and/or physical labor - at least if you want a lawn as opposed to a patch of weeds. Our lawns require regular applications of fertilizer and various chemicals to control weeds and bugs - except in the "winter" (which is perhaps 4 months in north Florida and no months in south Florida). They require regular watering (although less frequently in cooler weather than warmer). They have to be mowed at least once a week in warmer months (in peak growing season - lawns can start looking shaggy after 5 days) - and every 2-3 weeks in cooler months.

Now we have have statutes that allow people to have "Florida friendly" landscaping - which can eliminate all or most grass. But "Florida friendly" doesn't = no work or money. We have very little in the way of grass - but lots of shrubs and trees. The large trees in particular are more expensive to maintain than anything else. And you're not going to ask your next door neighbor to prune your 70 foot live oak.

It's one thing to have a neighbor blow your snow occasionally - but it would get a little old if he/she had to do it on a regular basis 52 weeks a year! The ultimate solution for people who don't want to deal with maintenance is to move into some kind of community - like a townhouse community - where the HOA takes care of the maintenance. They're super common in Florida. Which is one reason I guess I have little tolerance for people who don't take care of their own stuff. And if I had enough "back" left to do work on something other than my own place - I'd probably volunteer to help with a community garden/park (many have suffered in recent years as a result of government budget cuts). Overall - the issue the OP brought up is a money issue - nothing more - nothing less. Robyn
Not keeping up with your yard could be because of a lot of reasons, not just monetarily.

Personally I wouldn't and don't want to live in a neighborhood where every yard has to be perfect, bug free and mowed every 5 days. I like things to look nice but not everyone does and remember we live
in an imperfect world so tolerance is in order.........just my personal opinion, mind you! I have mine and you have yours.
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