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House built on old golf course - yes or no ?

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Dechi, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. Dechi

    Dechi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I am looking into moving into a brand new house built on an old golf course. The golf course was closed in 2013 and the city bought it for residential development. This will be an amazing place to live, with lots of trees, parks, water, pedestrian and cycling paths and even a dog park!

    My question is, knowing there hasn’t been any spraying of pesticides, fongicides or whatever they use on golf courses for 5 years, is it safe to live on this ground ? I haven’t visited the place yet, and I will be asking questions. I suppose the city evaluated the soils for public safety and hazards related to pesticides, but this is to be verified.

    Knowing also that in Canada, we only have 5, maximum 6 months out of the year to enjoy sitting outside, and that the other 6 months it’s cold and/or covered in snow, I suppose the level of exposition to pesticides, if there are any left, is divided by 2, which is good.

    What do you think ? Are there any specific questions I should ask when I go visit ?
     
  2. Alvin

    Alvin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I don't know what the persistence of different pesticides is but are you sure you can handle the pressure of building a house?
     
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  3. MsUnderstood

    MsUnderstood Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @Dechi , based on the concerns you have expressed regarding exposure to chemicals, have you considered the potential impact of spending half of the year living in the toxic environment of a brand new home with windows closed? Modern building products are full of unhealthy chemicals.

    My M.E. was mild until the office building I worked in was renovated — new everything including carpet, wall panels, furniture and woodwork. During the reno, I dramatically went downhill and was soon classified as severe, and disabled. It took years before I was able to spend more than a few minutes in new or recently-renovated buildings.

    For example, the half-life of formaldehyde is ten years. This means it takes ten years for half of the formaldehyde to out-gas, and another ten years for half of the remaining 50 percent, and so on. New homes, unless built with environmentally-safe products (few are, due to the expense) are full of this neuro-toxin.

    As result of my exposure, we purchased an older home and had it extensively renovated with safe products. Interestingly, many years later my husband also had an adverse reaction after moving into a new office tower. Fortunately, we recognized the symptoms early and removed him from that environment before his problem became chronic. He now has to be careful as well.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I’d be more concerned about the environment inside your potential new home than outside it. Do your homework before making this big decision. It would be a shame to be too ill to enjoy the parks, water and pathways.
     
  4. Dechi

    Dechi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Well, I hadn’t really thought about it. They’re model houses, which means they all have the same built and you only choose pieces of it like fixtures, counter tops, tiles and so forth. I think it would be very tiring for a while, and yes, stressful.

    You have a very good point. My first idea was to get a fairly recent house with nothing to do except painting maybe. Then today I sort of fell in love with this new dream neighborhood they are building.

    You’re right though, I have to think about this more.
     
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  5. Dechi

    Dechi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Those are very good points, thanks ! I will do my homework. I don’t have severe chemical intolerance like others do, but I don’t tolerate strong smells. I once bought a brand new house and it was fine but I wasn’t sick then.

    Here in my province, it’s mandatory to install air exchangers in new houses, so it would be possible to get fresh air, at least part of the winter. i think below -10c ou -15c the air is too dry and it’s too cold to use.
     
  6. Alvin

    Alvin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That does mean your going to get fiberglass insulation, OSB sheathing and 2x8 floors, minimum code, creaky floors and low quality :(
    Unless they are a rare upscale builder
     
  7. Dechi

    Dechi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    They’re upscale. The houses are fairly priced as long as you don’t add anything. As soon as you go off their basic choices, it costs you big bucks. I think I’ll be over budget and with what you and @MsUnderstood said, maybe I’ll change my mind real fast !

    I’m going to see the neighborhood tomorrow, and hopefully talk to the salesperson.
     
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  8. Alvin

    Alvin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Upscale granite or upscale plywood/2x10-12?

    I do like that your province requires HRVs though, i wish i had one.
     
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  9. Allele

    Allele Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    There were many factors for my ME onset, but one was moving into a brand new house. I didn't notice a smell or anything at that time, but I did notice that my intolerance of perfume and cigarette smoke went off the charts once I moved in there. I say this bc even if you can't smell the chemical jamboree, your body is having to process it all on top of all its other tasks. I'd agree that it could be more of an area of concern than the golf course.

    Have you considered asking if you can sleep there for a night or two before signing a contract? It might be useful even in such a short experiment to see if you wake up feeling like hell.
     
  10. Valentijn

    Valentijn Not a moderator

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    We moved into a new house 15 months ago, and haven't had any problems. We immediately went with tile floors downstairs (underfloor heating) which looks like nice planks of reddish-brown wood, and minimally treated wood upstairs, so no carpet chemicals to deal with.

    Any pesticides in the ground should be staying there if they haven't broken down already. I think the main concern would be growing edibles, in which case raised beds with fresh soil are a nice solution which also accommodates ME limitations.

    Newer houses tend to do much better in regards to weather proofing, ventilation, insulation, etc, so it's usually a lot easier to avoid mold or poor interior air quality. Our kitchen cabinets were pre-painted, so no problems with that. Wall paint also didn't seem to cause me any issues, though the stuff used in the toilet room had a bit of a smell for 6 months or so. You can probably specify certain types of paint to be used, with lower off-gassing, and I doubt it would cost you much more. I found my new mattress cover to be much more obnoxious than the new house, even with moving in before the floors were completely finished, the paint having gone on a week earlier, etc.

    I absolutely love having a brand new house. It came with a bedroom, shower room, laundry room, and all the usual stuff downstairs, so I never have to go upstairs. We were able to design a kitchen counter with a little extended seating area - it looks like a cozy coffee corner, but it's also a great place for me to sit while making use of the countertop for cutting vegetables (or making coffee). The pots and pans I use most often are in drawers (instead of cupboards) which slide out at a nice height where I don't have to bend over. And even the drawers near floor level are a lot easier to access than the cupboards at the same height. It also gives you a garden with a blank slate to work from, so you can make that very accessible from the start as well.

    Anyhow, a new house is a great opportunity to customize both the setup and the materials used. But I've never been particularly prone to MCS or similar issues, mostly just finding chemicals unbearably stinky but not getting physically ill from it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
  11. Mij

    Mij Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I didn't either in the early years of illness but they developed over time.
     
  12. Alvin

    Alvin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Very interesting, an ME/CFS friendly design counting for a lot does make a lot of sense :)
     
  13. Louie41

    Louie41 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'd also be chary of sales representations re these issues unless you get in writing exactly what will be used. This caution is based upon experience.:(
     
  14. Dechi

    Dechi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Great advice everyone ! I have a meeting tomorrow with the sales rep. I went to see the new development today and I now know that I hate townhouses. All those houses are attached to one another, there’s at least 20-30 of them in a stretch, it’s very military like. Also you’re almost sitting with your neighbor when in your yard.

    Also the streets are still on rocks and dirt, and I don’t think I’m willing to live with hearing trucks and noisy construction workers drilling all day. I’ve had a house built on a street thay wasn’t on asphalt before and this causes a lot of dirt to come in the house. It’s also not good for your lunds and I have chronic asthma.

    They do have another proect though, more advanced and I’ll ak about it.

    So those townhouses are not for me. The prices for detached houses are outrageous, and I almost cancelled my appointment, but I figured I would go, just in case.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
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  15. Valentijn

    Valentijn Not a moderator

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    It depends on the style ... but it looks like that company goes ultra-modern on the townhouse exteriors, so they aren't going to look very nice in a row. Our new house is a townhouse, but they look like cute little cottages from the front even though in reality are nearly as big as the grander looking 3-level duplexes across the street.

    Our house is on a little dead-end, so even though there's still construction a few blocks away in the same development, we don't get trucks rolling by. Typically they won't put in a proper street until they've finished the construction on that street, since the construction itself is hard on those surfaces. Streets are fast and easy to put in, so probably would go in right before the ownership of the adjacent houses is transferred to the buyers.

    I miss the big North American back yards, but those aren't really an option in the Netherlands, and the smaller European size works well with ME when it comes to maintenance :p A fence can offer a lot of privacy, though we kept our fences partially open on the top half to make it look more spacious, one with a trellis on the top half and one with a pergola over a half-height fence. As plants grow in, it'll get a bit more natural and private-looking, while still remaining open. So I suppose we're embracing the close-neighbor situation and making the most of it, due to a lack of good alternatives.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  16. Dechi

    Dechi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I met with the sales rep, for like 10 minutes and quickly determined this was out of my budget. Since I was there, I still went to see one of the houses for sale. It was a 3 story house, very beautiful, intelligent house with everything you want. I even started thinking it didn’t look so bad.

    But, even if I had the money, the house with enough rooms has 3 stories, with the launddry room on level 3, so can you imagine the number of stairs I would go up and down everyday ?

    Also, they had this idea of having no garbage/recyclable bins allowed outside the houses (would be too cramped). So they posted some huge bins, buried in the ground, where you go put your garbage and recyclables. I can just imagine myself carrying my stinky garbage everyday... And if it’s too heavy, what, you put the garbage bag in your car, lol ?

    I have moved forward and visited semi-detached houses within my budget. One I love very much, so to be followed !
     
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  17. Alvin

    Alvin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That is interesting though i'm sorry to hear out of your price range and not designed for your needs :(

    I have always wanted to design my own house, and get it custom built, no energy/heating bills (super insulated net zero house) and make it ME/CFS friendly.
     
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  18. Dechi

    Dechi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Well, I’m having second thoughts... :-(

    Semi-detached houses, like the ones I’m looking at, and my favorite is one, are all 2 stories + basement. For example, my favorite has bedrooms and bathroom upstairs, which means I will have to go upstairs for bed and to shower. And naps occasionnally (I usually sleep on my couch during the day). So up the stairs at least once a day, more realistically 2+3 times a day. Good point is washing machine is upstairs.

    Right now my house is on one level + basement. I only go in the basement to get something (rarely) or do laundry (maybe 1 every 2-3 weeks).

    Am I going to make things worse for me in the long run ? This has to be my last house for at least 15 years. If I stay in my current house, I have to go through extensive renovations and I fear this will be harder than moving, because I have nowhere to go while they renovate. Also I would like to make a new beginning by cutting ties with my old active, professional life and this house is part of it. I want to start anew. I’ve been having depression on and off since being ill and moving will help lift my spirits.

    So confused, I though I had it all figured out but I’m back to square one...

    Maybe I should open a new thread to get more visibility.
     
  19. Mij

    Mij Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @Dechi

    I'm sorry and understand. I considered something similar years ago and became overwhelmed just thinking about it.

    I hope you can find a way to make some positive changes on a smaller scale.
     
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  20. Valentijn

    Valentijn Not a moderator

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    Something I kept in mind while we were house-hunting is that stair-lifts are an option, usually adding a couple thousand euros or dollars to the bill. Some house designs are a lot easier to work with for installing them, but it's probably possible to work around any quirks for more money.

    But the other option, aside from remodeling your current home, is to wait until something better comes along. New projects start on a regular basis, or a house might go up for sale which already has everything you need.
     
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