Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Midnight home buying

  • Please log in to reply
96 replies to this topic

#26 mrlovt

mrlovt

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 643
  • Joined: 08 Sep 2012
  • Loc: Smyrna, TN

Posted 02 September 2020 - 10:47 PM

I did drive by at night, and absolutely will again next time we're house shopping.  Sadly the skies are only getting brighter at night, but I've never had a client ask for a midnight showing. I'm a Realtor in an area near Nashville TN that goes from basically red to green.  Every time I'm in a backyard I'm thinking "where would I put the observatory?"


  • George N likes this

#27 TX4812

TX4812

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 119
  • Joined: 16 Aug 2014
  • Loc: New Braunfels, TX

Posted 15 September 2020 - 02:14 PM

Before we bought our lot to build our new house, we drove around the subdivision (no streetlights allowed, dark-sky lighting requirements in the HOA guidelines) after dark and the sky looked pretty good.  Exterior lighting on the houses was subdued and no direct glare was seen.

After completing our new house and moving in, we have fairly dark skies but the first of about a dozen model homes planned for a nearby street has been built, and it looks like this all night (picture taken from our driveway).  I plan to obtain one of CCD-Freak's skyboxes so I am not looking at this while observing.

 

attachicon.gifModel Home 05282020.jpg

And now, another house down the street in the other direction has added very bright new lights on all sides.  This house when built had nice dark-sky light fixtures which are now left turned off and the new brighter lights are left on all night.

Attached Thumbnails

  • P1040003.jpg

Edited by TX4812, 15 September 2020 - 02:18 PM.


#28 iwannabswiss

iwannabswiss

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,477
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2014
  • Loc: Somewhere in Space

Posted 16 September 2020 - 06:00 PM

And now, another house down the street in the other direction has added very bright new lights on all sides.  This house when built had nice dark-sky light fixtures which are now left turned off and the new brighter lights are left on all night.

You should introduce yourself and take the photo with you to show them how it impacts you. Also, show them the glare blinds you and doesn't help you spot mischief around their house; otherwise, what's the point of having the lights, right?



#29 George N

George N

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 7,203
  • Joined: 19 May 2006
  • Loc: Binghamton & Indian Lake NY

Posted 17 September 2020 - 11:39 AM

When you were in the process of looking for a new home for whatever reason did you check candidates at night? .....

Gary (old-timer)

A very good suggestion!

 

Personally - I decided a long time ago (while living on the Jersey Shore and working in NYC) that 'rural living' - with an 'edge of wilderness' get-away - was best for me - even knowing I was giving up "career advantages", financial opportunity, 'culture', etc. I was looking to escape Light Pollution - but that was one of many 'lifestyle' issues I was addressing.

 

So -- I bought a house in rural NY with only one neighbor visible - and maybe one streetlight within several miles (now there are 2 or 3 homes - thanks to downed trees - but no light issues from the neighbors). My rented Adirondack "camp" has maybe 10 streetlights within 50 miles -- but an hour drive one-way to the nearest grocery store and maybe twice that to the nearest hospital ER - in good weather (a major snow storm can make the area unreachable except by snowmobile). As I age, the second consideration is getting more important. Looking back -- I think I made the right decision - but it did involve giving up things that I expect most people would not.


Edited by George N, 17 September 2020 - 11:44 AM.


#30 sparks

sparks

    Sputnik

  • *****
  • Posts: 46
  • Joined: 24 Jan 2006
  • Loc: Virginia

Posted 17 September 2020 - 12:56 PM

When I was scouting for a dark sky retreat in WV a decade ago, I found what seemed like a perfect place with a cabin. No trees for 300' around the cabin meant unobscured horizons. It had a lot more land than I really wanted (200 acres) but the dark sky atlas showed it as a Bottle class 2 or 3 location.

 

So I told the owner I was very interested but was buying it for astronomy purposes and would need to check it out at night before I could make a decision. He left a key under the mat and let me stay in the cabin when I wanted to check it out. I chose a moonless, clear night and was thrilled with the horizon to horizon Milky Way as I drove up the driveway. It wasn't until I started setting up a small scope (and my eyes became dark adapted) that I noticed a massive light dome to the east. A quick check on the map revealed the problem. The land was 50 miles from the US-81 highway (in the next state) and that corridor had the worst light pollution in the area from the industrial development, gas stations, fast food, and convenience stores near it.

 

With no trees blocking that direction it was so objectionable that I chose not to buy it right there and then. It was another 4 years before I finally found my current spot that was 40 miles farther to the west and nestled in the crook of national forest land (= no lights).

 

So definitely try before you buy.

 

Bob



#31 dx_ron

dx_ron

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,332
  • Joined: 10 Sep 2020
  • Loc: SW Ohio

Posted 29 January 2022 - 01:57 PM

I did drive by at night, and absolutely will again next time we're house shopping.  Sadly the skies are only getting brighter at night, but I've never had a client ask for a midnight showing. I'm a Realtor in an area near Nashville TN that goes from basically red to green.  Every time I'm in a backyard I'm thinking "where would I put the observatory?"

Thinking toward retirement in a few years and every once in awhile I peruse various "where?" CN threads, and this post caught my eye.

 

How great would it be to have a directory of realtors who are astronomers. That's who I want helping me look for property someplace I'm not totally familiar with.



#32 dciobota

dciobota

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,428
  • Joined: 07 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Sitting in a corner in southeast Arizona

Posted 03 February 2022 - 02:41 PM

Funny thing about this topic, I did exactly that with the two places I have bought.  But neither turned out the way I thought.

 

The first one is a bortle 2, and it was nothing but forest when I bought it.  Before buying it I spent an entire night there with the owner's permission and took pics from the edge of the forest and oohed and aahed at the beautiful sky... perfect.  Well, four years in and I can't find hardly anyone to 1) finish clearing the land of stumps, install a solar system and 3) actually build a house on it.  Lesson learned, when you live in the middle of nowhere, getting anyone to do anything on your land is hard to do.

 

The second one, I looked for months for the best night sky I could get for my budget.  I stayed at a place in the area so I could evaluate the night sky, which was not as good as my first place, but not bad (bortle 3).  So I ended up buying a place about three miles away from there thinking it would be similar.  No neighbors within hundreds of feet, the only town nearby was less than 10k people and about 15 miles away..  What I didn't count on is that three miles placed me close enough to that town to have to deal with the light dome right south of me.  And turns out the town actually spreads south of the border into another town of about 40k people.  And, I still have the same issues I did at my first place, can't find a builder to build a house or even a solar installer.  I'm about to give up and just buy a mobile home and be done with it.

 

So buyer beware, you may give up a lot of other things moving into a place with dark skies.  No such thing as a free lunch.


Edited by dciobota, 03 February 2022 - 02:42 PM.

  • jcj380 and CltFlyboy like this

#33 Chucke

Chucke

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,009
  • Joined: 12 Mar 2010
  • Loc: AZ

Posted 03 February 2022 - 03:02 PM

There is a reason why almost every one in SE AZ who is not in a city has a manufactured home.


  • Jon Isaacs, dciobota and firemachine69 like this

#34 dciobota

dciobota

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,428
  • Joined: 07 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Sitting in a corner in southeast Arizona

Posted 03 February 2022 - 04:46 PM

You're so right Chucke.  Something I was completely unaware of before I bought the land.



#35 firemachine69

firemachine69

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,122
  • Joined: 19 May 2021

Posted 03 February 2022 - 04:54 PM

There is a reason why almost every one in SE AZ who is not in a city has a manufactured home.

 

 

100%

 

 

Or DIY.

 

I may end up with a "nature research property". Need to have a chat with a CPA familiar with non-profits, first. 


  • dciobota likes this

#36 DSOGabe

DSOGabe

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,609
  • Joined: 02 Aug 2019
  • Loc: El Paso, TX

Posted 04 February 2022 - 10:00 AM

In daytime, one big "tell" about your prospective neighbors is whether exterior lights are still on at noon or 2pm.  That's a clear sign that at best, they are habitually inattentive to the light / energy footprint of their house, or that they're afraid they'll forget to turn them on if they don't leave them on. Since your initial view of prospective houses is likely in daytime, this will help you initially winnow the prospects that might be worth a night-time cruise-by to check more closely for neighbors' night-time lighting habits.

I've read that the 24/7 light is seen by many burglars that the owners are out of town. So it can become a target for a break in. Makes one wonder just how safe the neighborhood might actually be or if it can be a regular target for break ins. My neighbor has that bad habit, she'll turn them on and forget about them. That front porch light will be on for at least 36-48 hours before she realizes it.



#37 Starlady

Starlady

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 16
  • Joined: 22 Jun 2021

Posted 07 February 2022 - 08:48 AM

I wanted to move to a 300K population city to be near all my kids and my job. None of the public light pollution maps have fine enough detail to help picking houses. Five years ago, I bought some wooded property (8 acres) with a nice clearing on top of a hill off a dead end road in the city. That in itself was a miracle. I had an unusual 40-ft house with a water reclamation roof moved there, and installed a cistern and septic tank. No gas lines, so I got a large propane tank for on-demand heated hot water. (I have a solar hot water tank, but it's not hooked up yet.) Had to top off four trees, but I have my view. Of what, you might ask? When the conditions are right, I can spot the Milky Way. 

Tradeoffs, yes, but I am pleased.


  • Mike G., jcj380 and CltFlyboy like this

#38 vsteblina

vsteblina

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,840
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2007
  • Loc: Wenatchee, Washington

Posted 07 February 2022 - 07:14 PM

There is a reason why almost every one in SE AZ who is not in a city has a manufactured home.

I have a winter place in SE AZ and what amazed me was the PRICE for any skilled trades!!  

 

Having lived in mostly rural or small towns for the past 50 years, be glad that you are NOT in a former small town that is now a urban area. 

 

Impossible to find anybody to do anything!!!  

 

I always talk to everybody about everything and keep notes about who to call to fix things.  During boom times, it is best to save your pennies and wait until the recession hits and then start fixing or building things.  You can always find people willing to work, when jobs are scarce.

 

The big shock with the pandemic is the number of people moving out to the middle of somewhere.  People use to make fun of the fact that I LIKED living in the middle of somewhere.  

 

I miss those days. 

 

Now they tell me how excited they are to be my new neighbors.


Edited by vsteblina, 07 February 2022 - 07:15 PM.

  • dciobota likes this

#39 dciobota

dciobota

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,428
  • Joined: 07 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Sitting in a corner in southeast Arizona

Posted 08 February 2022 - 01:50 PM

I so agree Vladimir, the prices here are ridiculous for basically desert living, I finally found a builder and agreed on price but man it hurts.  I know, the pandemic is partly to blame, but I don't have the luxury to wait until everything gets normalized.

 

Tbh though, prices almost everywhere remote are going to be generally higher, unless you can find someone very local (and doesn't know they're the only ones around and charge accordingly).  You definitely pay for those dark skies in many other ways.  It just comes down to what compromises you are willing to make and what your priorities are.  Mine have definitely changed looking for land this time.  Dark skies are not first on my list anymore, although they are still in the top 5.



#40 jcj380

jcj380

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,911
  • Joined: 08 Jul 2014
  • Loc: Home of the Nasty Biscuit

Posted 12 February 2022 - 03:17 PM

I can't find hardly anyone to 1) finish clearing the land of stumps, install a solar system and 3) actually build a house on it.  Lesson learned, when you live in the middle of nowhere, getting anyone to do anything on your land is hard to do.

A situation like this might make it worthwhile to check out container homes.  From my limited research, suppliers will build one to your specs, bring it out on a flatbed, and lift it into place.  Of course, you'll still have to have stumps removed, etc. and containers are not cheap.  Good luck!
 


Edited by jcj380, 12 February 2022 - 03:23 PM.

  • dciobota likes this

#41 Orion68

Orion68

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,444
  • Joined: 18 Jan 2014

Posted 21 February 2022 - 05:09 AM

Excellent idea. If I move from Oregon, I will absolutely make a night visit or two at the new location.

 

Unfortunately, new neighbors can make lighting changes at any time, as my neighbors have done. I'm in the process of building a portable light screen right now.



#42 jcj380

jcj380

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,911
  • Joined: 08 Jul 2014
  • Loc: Home of the Nasty Biscuit

Posted 21 February 2022 - 08:40 AM

Unfortunately, new neighbors can make lighting changes at any time,

I drive to work pretty early so I can leave early and beat the nasty afternoon rush.  I noticed that somebody who lives along a road I normally take before sunrise has installed one or more floodlights in their backyard.  Their backyard is now lit up like a football stadium and the lights shine onto the road.  tongue2.gif

 

Their neighbors must love them.


  • Orion68 likes this

#43 firemachine69

firemachine69

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,122
  • Joined: 19 May 2021

Posted 21 February 2022 - 08:46 AM

A situation like this might make it worthwhile to check out container homes. From my limited research, suppliers will build one to your specs, bring it out on a flatbed, and lift it into place. Of course, you'll still have to have stumps removed, etc. and containers are not cheap. Good luck!


Prefabs tend to be the superior choice.
  • Jon Isaacs likes this

#44 dciobota

dciobota

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,428
  • Joined: 07 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Sitting in a corner in southeast Arizona

Posted 21 February 2022 - 06:28 PM

Not to divert the thread too much, but while container homes look like a good idea, the cost involved to convert them and properly insulate them would actually cost more than a prefab.  You can still buy a mobile home for around $50k (small one bed, no frills, appliances included though) plus another 20k to deliver and install it.  And they have decent insulation, not great, but decent.

 

Luckily I found a builder, and while more expensive, it's not a whole lot more than a mobile home, and it's a design I really like.  Cross finger they'll start work in a couple months.

 

I found the process of building a home is a whole lot more complicated and slower than 30 years ago.  I guess that's progress lol.


  • jcj380 likes this

#45 kevin6876

kevin6876

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 33
  • Joined: 08 Dec 2020
  • Loc: RI, USA

Posted 22 February 2022 - 11:40 PM

One of the major factors in buying our recent home was night time survey.  Confirm that there would be no neighborly factor of significant ALAN next door and move next to a large section of open space land.

 

Two neighbors and 1,000 acres of open space across the street met the bill nicely.  Dark skies were a big part of the move.  I sleep great at night now.


  • jcj380 and Starlady like this

#46 jcj380

jcj380

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,911
  • Joined: 08 Jul 2014
  • Loc: Home of the Nasty Biscuit

Posted 23 February 2022 - 07:53 AM

I sleep great at night now.

Ummm, shouldn't you be out observing?   wink.gif  grin.gif


Edited by jcj380, 23 February 2022 - 07:53 AM.

  • csa/montana, kevin6876 and firemachine69 like this

#47 DSOGabe

DSOGabe

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,609
  • Joined: 02 Aug 2019
  • Loc: El Paso, TX

Posted 07 March 2022 - 12:07 PM

One other thing to keep in mind is the overall geography of the site. If houses are on hills and hillsides, always opt for the one(s) at the top of the hill. That way, any excessive lighting from the neighbors theoretically should be lessened by being higher than they are. Also lends itself to needing lower privacy fences and maybe not even needing a homemade light shield. Plus overall privacy in the backyard in general.

I learned this lesson the hard way


  • jcj380 and Starlady like this

#48 vsteblina

vsteblina

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,840
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2007
  • Loc: Wenatchee, Washington

Posted 07 March 2022 - 09:40 PM

One other thing to keep in mind is the overall geography of the site. If houses are on hills and hillsides, always opt for the one(s) at the top of the hill. That way, any excessive lighting from the neighbors theoretically should be lessened by being higher than they are. Also lends itself to needing lower privacy fences and maybe not even needing a homemade light shield. Plus overall privacy in the backyard in general.

I learned this lesson the hard way

 

Looking for a "new" house I told my realtor that I wanted privacy.

When we were looking for a "new" house our realtor finally mentioned that "you said you didn't care about a view, but the homes you liked all were view homes."

 

I pointed out to her that view homes by definition tend to have fewer neighbors.  I finally told her...."can I **** in my yard without my neighbors watching me??"

 

The problem with view homes in urban areas is that they tend to be located with a view of city lights.  With the growth of

 

Wenatchee I don't need a night light to walk around my house these days.  I now have a double set of blinds on my bedroom door so I can sleep with it open and not be blinded by the light.

 

I have to shield the observatory!!!

 

I own three homes.  Sadly these days, I have found out that you really need to plan on shielding lights EVERYWHERE you live.  Most baby boomers and subsequent generations have NO ENVIRONMENTAL ETHIC when it comes to THEIR needs.

 

I really miss the WWII generation.  Those folks knew how to conserve and they kept the lights OFF at night.


Edited by vsteblina, 07 March 2022 - 09:43 PM.

  • kevin6876 likes this

#49 DSOGabe

DSOGabe

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,609
  • Joined: 02 Aug 2019
  • Loc: El Paso, TX

Posted 08 March 2022 - 10:21 AM

  Sadly these days, I have found out that you really need to plan on shielding lights EVERYWHERE you live.  Most baby boomers and subsequent generations have NO ENVIRONMENTAL ETHIC when it comes to THEIR needs.

 

I really miss the WWII generation.  Those folks knew how to conserve and they kept the lights OFF at night.

Its a result of a multiple things:

1. The mostly misguided way of thinking that more and brighter lighting is better, especially when it comes to security.

2. The lighting industry shift to LED lighting- which is more energy efficient- but at the same time promoting the brightest >5000K fixtures that produce the harshest, brightest glare. 

3. The lack of education on how to install those lighting fixtures which seems to extend to contractors and electricians as well.

4. The issue of mostly poor enforcement of lighting codes (at least around here).

5. The overall lack of concern for dark skies. People will come out to outreach events and "ooh" and "aah" over what they see, but will tune out any mention of better lighting options that preserves the night that would allow them to look up at home.

 

I have one neighbor who has several bare bulb fixtures in her yard, then added 2 LED motion tracker fixtures-both of which point into my yard!  She is my nightmare when it comes to observing. The other next door neighbor has a motion tracker fixture over his garage door set to the highest sensitivity and has the lights pointing straight out, flooding the street and the house across from him with harsh lighting. I'm actually surprised that those people haven't complained about that yet. Then another one who has lighting fixtures in the soffits of the house; they are bright and seems to be about 2 feet from each other- way too much!! In the case of both motion tracker fixtures they were installed by pros who were obviously unaware of lighting codes. 


  • kevin6876 likes this

#50 bjkaras

bjkaras

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 601
  • Joined: 24 May 2019
  • Loc: Back and forth between Santa Clara, CA and Las Vegas, NV

Posted 13 March 2022 - 09:08 PM

I am going to be in the market soon and suitability for observing will definitely be on my list of things. I just listed my late aunt’s condo in SoCal and will be selling my house in San Jose in the near future. I’ll be looking to buy in either Nevada or Arizona.




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics