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Author Topic: Gameroom/Theater [Construction is Finished!]  (Read 16814 times)

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pinballjim

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #40 on: September 23, 2010, 10:00:20 am »
I use my home theater pretty much daily - I'm in it right now, watching The Dark Knight again in full 1080p on my 92" screen and surfing on my laptop. 

Yeah, and home theaters are consistently trotted out as examples of home improvements with a poor ROI that frequently don't get used (up there with hot tubs).  If a home theater is something he's going to really enjoy, then by all means.  But also realize that you can slap a lot of waitress ass at a sports bar for the kind of money he's going to spend.


javeryh

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #41 on: September 23, 2010, 10:12:09 am »
Whats the property tax damage after this build javery?

A lot I'm sure.  We pay around $9,000 a year as it is and we only have 0.14 acres and a 650sqft. footprint.

Wow...where do you live? That's insane!

Right outside NYC, unfortunately.  If my entire family (and my wife's) weren't on the east coast from Boston to NY we'd probably move somewhere where you can get more bang for your buck.  I mean, I live in a really tiny house but when I go on realtor.com and look at the houses I could get for the same money in other parts of the country it makes me sick.  However, I actually like the location I'm in (a lot) which is why we are adding on instead of moving.  The schools are great, the location can't be beat (I can walk to the train station and be in NYC in less than 40 minutes) and there is tons to do.  I think the seclusion of living in the middle of nowhere would make me nuts. 

javeryh

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #42 on: September 23, 2010, 10:18:33 am »
I agree with the comment on running lots of power - I ran 2 20amp dedicated circuits for the equipment, and a dedicated 15amp line for the projector.  I would also suggest running conduit from your head-end to the location of your projector for future-proofing.  HDMI is the current standard, but who knows what the future may hold.

Personally, I think the counter/seating behind the theater seating is going to be too tight based on your current drawing.  What size screen are you thinking of doing?  You might be able to move the primary seating forward a few feet.  I think my second row (where we sit most of the time) is 14' from the screen, and it's 92" diagonal - I'll measure this weekend if you're interested.  My front row is 8' or so from the screen and it's a tad close for me but still looks good.

I will definitely consider adding more power to the room.  It's a great idea and something I want to have figured out before the drywall goes up.  I'm also planning on running conduit rather than just bare wires in the walls for the exact reason you mention.  I'd like to be able to swap out wires if I need to in the future.

As for the space, the length of the room is 22' (approximately).  I think I'll only need 5' max for the counter and chair room behind the seats so that would put the couch/seats about 17' from the screen if I don't go with the fake wall and hang it on the opposite end of the room.  I could probably squeeze another row in at 10 feet back from the screen, right?  I'm not sold on the layout (which is why I'm asking for suggestions) but I do want the ability for more than 4 people to comfortably watch TV or a movie.  I obviously don't know what I'm doing though...  I'm revising my plans right now (in sketch-up, if I can figure it out).

Do you have any pictures of your theater?  I'd love to see it.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #43 on: September 23, 2010, 11:16:03 am »
Just a quick comment on the layout javeryh. If you use the right hand wall for your projector screen you could set it up for proper surround sound for movies. I know you mentioned watching movies was pretty low down on the list, but its one option to throw into the pot.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #44 on: September 23, 2010, 01:02:45 pm »
A few pics of my theater here:

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=105425.msg1117405#msg1117405

I honestly don't remember the dimensions of my room anymore.  My front wall is 'fake' - there's a 3-4' gap behind it for access behind the screen wall.  The equipment rack is recessed into it, and my subwoofer is behind it.  The second row of seating is raised 6" or so for the stadium seating effect.  I would have moved my back row further back, but the rear of the room has a sliding door that goes outside to our deck / front yard and I didn't want to get rid of it. 

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #45 on: September 23, 2010, 01:23:22 pm »
Just a quick comment on the layout javeryh. If you use the right hand wall for your projector screen you could set it up for proper surround sound for movies. I know you mentioned watching movies was pretty low down on the list, but its one option to throw into the pot.

Yeah - the open floorplan is going to mess up surround sound.  Heck, I usually leave the door open to my theater and that messes up the dynamics a bit.  I compensate by running my left side and left rear speakers a touch hotter.

Overall though, if your goal is to have a cool room where you can have a movie playing and chill at the bar at the same time, then it's an OK compromise.

javeryh

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - First Layout!!
« Reply #46 on: September 23, 2010, 02:42:03 pm »
yeah, the sound is a definite concern for me but I think the trade-off is worth it for an open room design.  I think the room will get much more use this way and I think I can still get everything to sound pretty good anyway.  I'm not an audiophile but I do like good sound.  I'm planning to soundproof the entire basement so I won't annoy the wife and kids upstairs - nothing fancy - probably just double drywall and green glue.

Anyway, what do you think of the attached layout?  It is my first attempt with sketchup - not a bad start I guess.  There should be plenty of room for the counter behind the main seats - the center of the seats are 12.5' from the screen approximately.  The last pic is sort of the view from behind the bar.   I don't know how to get a good angle for a better picture though. 
« Last Edit: September 23, 2010, 02:49:22 pm by javeryh »

javeryh

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Second Layout!!
« Reply #47 on: September 30, 2010, 12:28:01 pm »
Well, I hired the architect yesterday.  I don't know how long this is going to take (probably over a year) but it will be worth it.  We are going to need a variance so I think it takes a while to get through some of the red tape.  The next steps are the architect will come up with a "term sheet" based on our conversations - this will basically list all of the stuff we want to get out of the addition.  Then we get to mark it up and rank the level of importance of each item so she can draft the floor plans.  Once we approve the floor plans she will draft the elevations and we will start applying for permits and pricing out the job.  This is where it could come screeching to a halt if the GCs all tell me it will cost a billion dollars but I'm hoping the architect will have a feel for the overall cost as she is designing the layout.  It is exciting but scary as hell.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Second Layout!!
« Reply #48 on: October 01, 2010, 12:25:38 am »


 Good luck with this jav, it is exciting designing and building a home theatre.  I recently disassembled our HT in preparation for a complete redesign right down to the carpet, subflooring, wiring etc. I saw your floor plan and had to resist the urge to draw it up, I'll just never get anything done otherwise :).  Still, I have a bunch of ideas I'll be drawing up for myself and visualizing.  Happy to share.  It wonít be any time soon that the re-build will be completed (at least 8 months) I just canít afford it.  I think some of the technology I've learned about from this forum will come in very handy e.g. things like LED lighting / LED Blinky in the HT for lighting control, stuff like that.

Here are some ideas off the top of my head I've been dreaming up: (Totally subject to WAF and financing)

Revised Subwoofer system using custom cast concrete baffle and enclosure.

Split level timber subflooring (over concrete slab) for improved seating, I previously had an island podium for the rear seating.

In floor lighting

Fabric paneling for walls

javeryh

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Second Layout!!
« Reply #49 on: October 01, 2010, 10:51:31 am »
Thanks Ond.  Your ideas sound sick - especially the concrete baffle!  I'm thinking of incorporating some floor lighting and fabric paneling for the walls but I'm a ways off from thinking about those kinds of details.  Once the architect lays out the space and I know what I'll definitely have to work with I can start focusing on all the stuff I want to incorporate.  I've seen some really cool open theaters over at AVS that just use a large sectional couch for seating which seems very inviting too.  I like the idea of a dedicated theater but the reality is that it will get much more use if the floor plan is completely open.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Second Layout!!
« Reply #50 on: October 01, 2010, 03:16:55 pm »
For anyone interested in some sweet sound as well as ideas on how to PROPERLY isolate the sound between rooms, may I recommend a book called Home Recording Studio: Build It Like the Pros by Rod Gervais. I probably generate way more noise than most of you [guitarist/drummer/play in several bands/live in a recording studio] and though I have special needs as far as sound isolation, I used many of the concepts in this book working in my living room and redoing all my hvac.

It also has some great blueprints for sound absorption for the DIY'er including bass traps, slot resonators, fabric wrapped panel absorbers [Ond brought that up above which is what prompted me to mention this book].


In my case I didn't follow exactly as the book reads, as my studio does not need the isolation that this guy was talking about. I can play drums downstairs and not 12 feet above me my fiance can nap on the couch.

The myths section covers a bunch of the common misconceptions, and there is a chapter on fire safety [for example if you were going to cover some acoustic panels with fabric and line your walls with them]. Information  on orienting your circuit breakers to reduce noise in your electricity, using star grounding and isolation transformers etc etc etc I guess the point I'm getting at is it isn't all recording studio specific, it's a great resource for anyone building or remodeling a space that has special noise and acoustic needs, and especially for nice electronics.

The book itself is about $50 and is worth every penny. Even if you aren't building your own area, knowing this information could really help you plan it with your contractor.

Ond

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Second Layout!!
« Reply #51 on: October 01, 2010, 05:12:01 pm »
That book is a great tip! (I'll be checking it out for one).

@javeryh - there's nothing wrong with an open plan approach and you'll be combining the best of both worlds Arcade and Movies!  Get beer on tap in the bar and a popcorn machine and you'll be living the dream  ;D.

It may be way down the track, but I thought about my room size and function first and then chose a house design and builder.  What I mean is, it doesn't hurt to plan some aspects in detail up front before construction.  In a more multipurpose area I'd go with a large 60" (or bigger?) Plasma or LCD screen rather than a projector arrangement only because projectors are at their best in a darkened room.  I know that one common mistake some folks make is they go and cram the biggest projector screen they can onto a wall without regard for seating distance and then find it too big later (think front row at IMAX).  There are easy to use formulas for optimum screen size vs seating distance around. 

javeryh

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Second Layout!!
« Reply #52 on: October 01, 2010, 09:27:34 pm »
@eds1275 - I'll check out that book.  Sound isolation is definitely a concern.  I have young kids and a wife who is way over sensitive to sound.  I'm planning on soundproofing the entire basement area but I'm not sure how yet (2 layers of drywall with green glue?).  I also don't have an unlimited budget.

@Ond - I think I'm going to go with a projector even though it will be an open design.  I can't resist that big screen.  I'm going to paint the walls a dark color in the theater area and the basement won't have any windows so light won't be too much of a concern (I hope).  I'm also going to put a TV above the bar.  The plan right now is to only go with one row of seats - viewing distance is a concern too.  There is so much information to absorb - I'm overwhelmed!

HanoiBoi

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Second Layout!!
« Reply #53 on: October 02, 2010, 11:55:23 am »
Hey Javeryh,

Another thing I'd highly suggest is to come up with a list of everything that you really want in the basement.  Measure that stuff and keep little templates (I did this in excel).  Then copy and paste them into your designs a la colorforms and you'll really start to imagine how the place will feel.  

Also, think about creating separate design plans.  One could be for lighting (lighting placement, switches, dimmers, which switch controls which lights?, etc.) another design for sound (speaker placement, receiver placement, in-wall controls, touch screen, etc.) and even another separate design for TVs/Screens (placement, outlets, coax cable, HDMI cable, receiver, receiver placement, etc.)

That stuff will really help you flush out some wants vs. needs as well as help you measure quantities such as wires, lights, speakers, screens, etc.

One last thought for now...our biggest decision for our basement was whether to add a bathroom or not.  Initially we weren't going to, but we are very happy that we did.  It's a little getaway and going 'upstairs' to use the restroom would be a big buzz kill.

-HanoiBoi
« Last Edit: October 02, 2010, 11:57:18 am by HanoiBoi »

Ed_McCarron

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #54 on: October 03, 2010, 07:49:16 am »
Are there any windows, or is it totally enclosed? Ambient light will effect suggestions on where to put things.

There are no windows (or rather, there don't have to be).  This entire thing is my basement so the most I'd get would be some transoms.

Code will let you do that?  Around here, once a basement becomes 'living space' and not 'storage' you need egress windows.
But wasn't it fun to think you won the lottery, just for a second there???

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Re: Anyone put an addition on their house? My head is spinning!
« Reply #55 on: October 03, 2010, 02:21:36 pm »
Are there any windows, or is it totally enclosed? Ambient light will effect suggestions on where to put things.

There are no windows (or rather, there don't have to be).  This entire thing is my basement so the most I'd get would be some transoms.

Code will let you do that?  Around here, once a basement becomes 'living space' and not 'storage' you need egress windows.

I'm not sure but if they are required I'll just make some removable window boxes to cover them on the inside.  

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - Second Layout!!
« Reply #56 on: October 04, 2010, 07:13:50 am »
Yes, you'll almost definitely need an egress.  Laws changed in favor of needing an 'exit' after 9/11.  Check at your local municipal building and they should have details.  An egress could be a bilco door, which is what we did, or a large window (like 4ft).  And it has to be low enough to access in case of an emergency. 

You'll probably want to look into this sooner than later.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA???
« Reply #57 on: October 21, 2010, 05:28:24 pm »
I need to rant...  we are in the process of applying for a loan to be able to put the addition on the house.  The bank is giving us a VERY difficult time for no reason.  We have impeccable credit.  In the 17 years my wife and I have been using our credit cards we have NEVER missed a payment and we have NEVER not paid the entire balance - that is 17 years and counting with no interest payments ever.  We own both of our cars outright.  My student loans are completely paid off already.  Every month we send in more than the required amount on our mortgage to pay down the principal.  Our monthly income exceeds our monthly bills.  When we applied for our first loan on our house in 2004 we were approved for double what we ended up spending because we are responsible. 

Now the bank won't even give us enough money to buy a nice car.  I am completely dumbfounded by this.  They said it has nothing to do with us but rather the general economic climate and the bank will not extend money like they used to no matter your track record or your current financial status.  Thanks to all of you jackasses who caused this to happen.  Figures that I'm responsible my entire life and I'm getting screwed while friends and family of mine are living in their mansions that they bought when the bank was giving out ridiculous loans to anyone willing to sign. 

We are trying to see if there are alternative loans we can get (like a construction loan or something) but this project might be DOA.

 :angry:

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA???
« Reply #58 on: October 21, 2010, 05:56:30 pm »
It is a hard lesson to learn - but you have to live within your means.

Don't have the cash for the basement?  Save up.

Need cash for a new car?  Save up.

If you have been paying on time and clearing balances on cards, that is normal.  You are expected to do this.  It just means you are a responsible adult.

You do not get any brownie points for it. But I'll  :applaud: you for it.

I think the bank is doing you a favor.

Call them up and thank them, and learn from it.

Stay liquid and buy gold.
"I really do feel pity for those who go out of their way to perform a personal slight, than taking the effort in joining the conversation and creating some useful dialogue which would benefit the persons' perusal of this topic.  Yet where would we be without the persistant antagonist?"

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA???
« Reply #59 on: October 21, 2010, 06:43:06 pm »
But I can afford it and I do have the money.  That's the point.  The amount that I want to borrow (spread out monthly) is way less than the excess cash I have each month after paying all of my bills.  I can easily afford it.  I can also pay for the addition in cash outright but it is stupid to do that from a financial perspective (plus I'd have nothing left for emergencies).  I would have no problem walking into a car dealership tonight and buying three cars at once but I can't get a loan from the bank in the same amount?  Never mind this would ADD to the value of my house so if we did default on the loan (which we wouldn't) there is little to no risk for the bank.  I don't get it.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA???
« Reply #60 on: October 21, 2010, 06:43:56 pm »
It is a hard lesson to learn - but you have to live within your means.

Don't have the cash for the basement?  Save up.

Need cash for a new car?  Save up.

If you have been paying on time and clearing balances on cards, that is normal.  You are expected to do this.  It just means you are a responsible adult.

You do not get any brownie points for it. But I'll  :applaud: you for it.

I think the bank is doing you a favor.

Call them up and thank them, and learn from it.

Stay liquid and buy gold.
Pretty harsh response that seems completely unwarranted. It sounds like they ARE living within their means. Maybe they've done the math and would rather take a loan at a low rate rather than selling investments, etc. You have no idea what their circumstances are and yet you jump on them for wanting to take a loan.

Incidentally, you do realize that gold is about as illiquid an asset as there is...

Endaar

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #61 on: October 22, 2010, 08:54:31 am »
"Maybe they've done the math and would rather take a loan at a low rate rather than selling investments, etc."

In a lot of cases the interest on the loan can be deducted from your taxes -- a savvy accountant can make a loan pay off.
But wasn't it fun to think you won the lottery, just for a second there???

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #62 on: October 22, 2010, 09:34:07 am »
"Maybe they've done the math and would rather take a loan at a low rate rather than selling investments, etc."

In a lot of cases the interest on the loan can be deducted from your taxes -- a savvy accountant can make a loan pay off.

Good thing I'm married to a savvy accountant! My CPA wife handles all of the finances and even she cannot figure out why the bank wouldn't give us a decent-sized loan.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #63 on: October 22, 2010, 10:10:47 am »
Saving up a huge chunk of money and then blowing it on a single project or item is one of the stupidest moves ever.  What happens if there's an emergency?  You can ignore loan payments for awhile if you have to.

Incidentally, you do realize that gold is about as illiquid an asset as there is...

He's been corrected on that numerous times.   :P


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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #64 on: October 22, 2010, 12:54:09 pm »
Quote
If you have been paying on time and clearing balances on cards...it just means you are a responsible adult with impeccable credit and should have no difficulty securing a loan.

Edited for correctness.

Have you considered hunting down a private source of funds? I've known a number of individuals that secure loans/mortgages through private lenders rather than through banks. I'm in a different country, but you've got to have similar stuff in the USA. Private lenders tend to be more interested in evaluating the actual quality of a risk as compared to the banks.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #65 on: October 22, 2010, 02:30:27 pm »
private lenders

We call em loan sharks, here.   ;D

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #66 on: October 22, 2010, 02:31:49 pm »
Back on topic, who is your bank?  One of the big national players, or a local credit union? 

You may have more luck from a credit union.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #67 on: October 22, 2010, 03:06:48 pm »
Quote
If you have been paying on time and clearing balances on cards...it just means you are a responsible adult with impeccable credit and should have no difficulty securing a loan.

Edited for correctness.

Have you considered hunting down a private source of funds? I've known a number of individuals that secure loans/mortgages through private lenders rather than through banks. I'm in a different country, but you've got to have similar stuff in the USA. Private lenders tend to be more interested in evaluating the actual quality of a risk as compared to the banks.

Well, I'm in north Jersey so we definitely have the mafia!  I haven't considered a private lender (I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be with that).

Back on topic, who is your bank?  One of the big national players, or a local credit union? 

You may have more luck from a credit union.

We are using Wells Fargo/Wachovia right now (they have our mortgage).  Here's the deal... we had our house appraised last year for the purposes of refinancing the mortgage (it was an in-house appraisal where a guy from the bank came over and did a walk-through).  The appraisal came in ridiculously high (like $200K more than we paid for the house 6 years prior!).  We were joking that if someone was actually willing to pay that amount we'd move out the next day. 

Anyway, that appraisal is only good for a few months so we have to get another one.  Last week the bank did an "online" appraisal which I think involves them checking zillow.com or something stupid like that and the appraisal came back $50,000 LESS than what we paid 7 years ago.  That is a $250,000 swing in only a year!  Our next option is to pay $425 for another walk-through appraisal (the bank will send out another guy to inspect everything - and no, we can't get the same guy as before - I asked - it's whoever is next up on the list).  We have done some pretty decent improvements so maybe we will get lucky (new roof, central air, etc.).  If our appraisal comes back equal to what it was last year we will be able to qualify for a decent loan (not great but enough to where we'd probably go for it).  There's no reason to think the value of the house has declined.  At the very least (based on me checking realtor.com like crazy over the past 6 months looking at other houses in my town) it should be the same as last year.

The thing that annoys me is that if the appraisal comes in low again we basically wasted $425.  I thought this was going to be a really fun project but it is a headache already and I haven't even gotten into the zoning restrictions in my area (we will need a variance for sure). 

 :angry:

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #68 on: October 22, 2010, 04:23:31 pm »
I tell you this - it will be a headache. However, having done it, you will love it. Just did ours 3 years ago and *everyone* raves about it every time we use it. Bar, theater, game room, gaming table, guest bedroom, bathroom, dojo. Good times are had.
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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #69 on: October 22, 2010, 04:37:12 pm »
Dude, it's not 2005.  Don't borrow against your equity for a playroom.


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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #70 on: October 22, 2010, 04:52:32 pm »
I tell you this - it will be a headache. However, having done it, you will love it. Just did ours 3 years ago and *everyone* raves about it every time we use it. Bar, theater, game room, gaming table, guest bedroom, bathroom, dojo. Good times are had.

Sounds awesome.  Also sounds like you have a LOT more space than I will have!  I'm trying to squeeze in an open theater, bar area and room enough for 4 or 5 arcade cabs.  If the architect can figure out where to put a 12' shuffleboard table I'd go for that too but I doubt it's possible.  Got any pics or anything?  Was yours redone in connection with an addition or just a basement improvement?  I really really wish my house was big enough and all I'd have to do was finish the basement.  I'd do it tomorrow.

Dude, it's not 2005.  Don't borrow against your equity for a playroom.

What else am I supposed to do with my savings?  I work WAY too much and my job is WAY too stressful to not get to enjoy it at some point.  The goal is to pay for 1/3 out of savings and 2/3 from a loan.  Also, if the appraisal comes back at what it was at in 2009 we would only be borrowing against 40% of the equity.  Believe me, if my wife says we can do it, we can do it.  She is the most risk averse person I've ever met.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #71 on: October 23, 2010, 01:33:43 am »
Dude, it's not 2005.  Don't borrow against your equity for a playroom.

If it's true equity, and not speculative 'value' equity, and you plan on staying in the house for a while, then there's ZERO reason not to borrow against the house.  Heck, the interest deduction alone (depending on your tax bracket) can be worth it and tip the balance from using cash/investment vs borrowed money.


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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #72 on: October 23, 2010, 01:35:21 pm »
When I got my mortgage, they approved me for 500k. My home was 280k, and they said that I was STILL approved for 500k - if I would like to add on any amount to my existing mortgage for renos, etc related to the house that I could just make a phone call and they'd toss the amount on top of my mortgage - however my credit union owns all it's own money and therefore can make decisions itself without having to resort to a third party. I dunno if ts is the same as borrowing against the house, but it seems like a great idea if you are as you say you are - good with money.

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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #73 on: October 23, 2010, 05:14:25 pm »
Saving up a huge chunk of money and then blowing it on a single project or item is one of the stupidest moves ever.  What happens if there's an emergency?  You can ignore loan payments for awhile if you have to.

Incidentally, you do realize that gold is about as illiquid an asset as there is...

He's been corrected on that numerous times.   :P



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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #74 on: October 23, 2010, 10:35:13 pm »
I tell you this - it will be a headache. However, having done it, you will love it...

... Got any pics or anything?  ...

Check back when Pixelhugger completes his cabinet.
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Re: Building a Basement Gameroom/Theater/Bar - DOA??? Time to RANT.
« Reply #75 on: October 26, 2010, 10:43:27 am »
javeryh,

After reading thought this thread I have a couple of thoughts on the matter. You are correct to hire an architect. The hose we are living in now we bought from a friend of mine I grew up with. He went the design with contractor route, and let me say the layout of the house is pretty much FUBAR. It's a nice house and when we looked at it we didn't see anything wrong with it, but after living in it for a few years we can honestly say the layout just doesn't work very well. No, pantry, the washer and dryer are out in the garage, the living room is a long narrow space.. small kitchen ect. On paper though and if you are just walking though it, it certainly looks nice, but after living in the space, it just doesn't work all that well. An architect is going to think about the functionality of a space, the trick is to not let them go overboard.

As far as the appraisal. Yep the banks are being especially screwy on this right now. When we bought the house, my friend just wanted to get out and build a new house before his baby came. So he sold it to us for the tax value. At the time, this meant I had 30K in equity just for signing the dotted line! It was a no brainier at the time. Fast forward a couple of years to refinance time... The first bank (who we had the original mortgage with) low balled the hell out of us on the appraisal. The second bank (who got our business) came back with an appraisal right in line with what we were thinking, allowing us the refinance. Point is the banks are appraising property at whatever the hell is in their best interests to appraise a house it would seem. Bank A, wanted to keep me at a higher interest rate... Bank B obviously liked my credit history and wanted my business... so bank B won. I have to say though I honestly don't know what my house is worth after all that though.

As far as the banks not loaning any money right now.... yeah that's right. We bailed them out for them to continue to loan money to prevent the economy from tanking, help people still get home an auto loans and for small business loans to create jobs. The ---uvulas--- decided to sit on all that money. Now we live in a county where the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is going by by... In short the reason you can't get a loan right now is because your bank sucks ass... Stay away from the large banks. I will never bank with one of them again and will just do business with smaller local banking institutions. I would visit a mortgage broker and see what they can do for you.

Also it sounds to me like you don't want a home theater, rather a media room. A dedicated home theater will never ever offer you a decent return on investment and will actually loose you money.... a media room on the other hand is another story and sounds more like what you want anyway. I'm more than happy with mine and would personally only ever go for a dedicated home theater if I ever won the lottery! Those things can run you 100 to 200K easy! Just run a crap load of outlets, cat 5 and speaker wire before the drywall goes up and your good to go...

http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/13889-digital-home-media-room-vs-home-theater-video.htm

Your going to also have to have an egress window in every room in that basement.. it's code now. Also spend your evenings watching HGTV and "This Old House" You will get a ton of great ideas watching that crap :)


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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I Hate The Bank - MORE RANTING!
« Reply #76 on: November 10, 2010, 09:43:17 am »
Thanks for the advice orion.  I am definitely only going forward with this project with an architect - I totally get what you mean about the "flow" of the house.  Also, looking at another bank might be the way to go based on....

We just got the valuation back from the bank this week and I am VERY disappointed.  The valuation came in WAY low based on my previous valuation in 2009 (it was $120,000 LESS) and also based on what similar houses are on the market for in my neighborhood.  There is a house with an identical floor plan as mine one block away (on a busier road) that is for sale right now for $100,000 more than our valuation came in at.  I am still in shock.  I can't believe I paid $400 for it. 

To put this in perspective, they did a free "drive by" valuation a few weeks ago and the valuation was only $20,000 less than the one they just did based on the walk-through.  We have a new kitchen with all new appliances, new hot water heater, new electrical box, new central air, a finished bedroom in the walk-up attic, a 1/2 bath downstairs, recently finished hardwood floors, chair rail and crown molding in every room, an "open" floor plan, new 6 panel doors in every doorway, etc.  We have done a lot and the house is really nice on the inside - the walk-through only got us an additional $20,000?  It makes NO sense.  The house could have been completely disgusting on the inside with 35 cats, cigarette smoke, 1960s wallpaper and appliances, etc. and they would be willing to lend us pretty much the same amount.  I'm getting angry just typing this up.

The real kicker is that when I asked the bank to see a write-up of the report they couldn't provide it.  I wanted to see an itemized list and written confirmation of how the appraiser arrived at his number and the bank couldn't produce it which makes me think the guy pulled the number out of his bum and the bank just pocketed our $400.

Anyway, we are still leaning on going forward with the addition but we are going to have to put out almost double the amount of cash we initially were hoping to.  I don't know what else to do at this point.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I Hate The Bank - MORE RANTING!
« Reply #77 on: November 10, 2010, 12:43:03 pm »
There is a house with an identical floor plan as mine one block away (on a busier road) that is for sale right now for $100,000 more than our valuation came in at.  I am still in shock.  I can't believe I paid $400 for it. 
Invite a realtor to come to your home for an interview. Pretend you are thinking of selling. Any good realtor will bring with lists of recent sales in your neighborhood and then you can compared prices on houses that have SOLD, rather than what someone is asking. That house $100k over your evaluation might sell for MUCH less.
NO MORE!!

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I Hate The Bank - MORE RANTING!
« Reply #78 on: November 10, 2010, 01:41:42 pm »
Forget a realtor...  just check out Zillow, and you can see the home sales in your neighborhood.

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Re: Gameroom/Theater/Bar - I Hate The Bank - MORE RANTING!
« Reply #79 on: November 10, 2010, 02:50:39 pm »
Forget a realtor...  just check out Zillow, and you can see the home sales in your neighborhood.

I've been looking on Zillow like crazy.  It is still hard to judge.  For example, the house 3 down from us is the same as mine and it sold in 2007 for $100,000 more than the appraisal came in at - but that was 2007 right before the bubble burst.  The house next door to me was bought in 1991 for $400,000 less (nice ROI)!  It's all over the map.  What could also be killing me is that down the street a house recently sold for about $90,000 (less than 20% of the actual value if I had to guess) because it was sold by a parent to their kid.  The bank said they factor in all recent sales in the area when doing the appraisal.

Anyway, we've been thinking about it for a while and I think we are still going to move forward with the addition.  I'm creeping up on 40 and I've been overly responsible my whole life (financially, at least) and this wouldn't be a huge risk because it's not like we'd be completely depleting our savings.  It would still be a risk though and I hate taking risks.  I've got to start living at some point instead of saving for the future all of the time.  The kids are only going to be living at home for another 15 years max - might as well go for broke (literally).  The realistic time line of the project would be over the course of the next year anyway - this gives us plenty of time to earn and save the difference that the bank is not willing to loan us.

 :dunno

  
 

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