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Is this the end of Home Theater for me for a long time?

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18 replies to this topic

#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Jonny K

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Posted December 18 2004 - 11:11 AM

I posted this in the After Hours section as I don't know where else to put it.

I'm currently having my first taste of living away from home. I'm off on an internship for a year in Vancouver, and my home theater is back in Calgary. I went from living in a house to living in a small apartment. I've only been here for 4 months now, but already I'm missing my movies so badly! My beautiful home theater sits dormant at home!

This has brought about the startling revelation that once I'm done university and move away from home for good (which isn't too far off) I don't think I can bring my home theater with me! There's no way I can have a Tempest sub in an apartment. I can hear the person next door turn on the tap and walk around - there's no way I can watch a movie without disturbing everybody!

Is this the end? It'll be years before I've got a house of my own. Just as my theater was starting to be everything I dreamed of, I've gotta throw it all away? Is there hope?

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#2 of 19 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted December 18 2004 - 05:06 PM

How old are you Jonny? The reason I ask is because my roommate right out of college had a solid job, little credit history, but a down payment--and got into a house just fine by the age of 23. I don't know what mortgage lenders are looking for these days, but with a decent job about a year out of school, I'll bet you could find a starter home and financing--and there's your very own home and home theater. - Steve

#3 of 19 OFFLINE   Jonny K

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Posted December 18 2004 - 05:23 PM

I'm 22. I'll be 23 when I graduate a software engineer. While my profession does provide me with a reasonable salary (although lower than a comparable US paid software engineer), even a little house in Vancouver will cost me at least $300,000 Canadian (more often 500,000), which is too much for a starter home! My current plan is to invest heavily in stocks and real-estate in the next few years, so I can't be spending my money on a house of my own just yet!

#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Aaron Reynolds

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Posted December 19 2004 - 01:17 AM

Rather than looking at apartment buildings, you may want to try renting a small house or partial house. My wife and I just found a spectacular little two-bedroom house in downtown Toronto right by the subway for $1200 a month, which is about the same as what well-located two bedroom apartments were going for. Cruise some neighborhoods that are convenient for you to live in and look for For Rent signs. That's how we found this place.

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   Bill Slack

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Posted December 19 2004 - 04:27 AM

I've lived in apartments for the last 4 years or so. Buying a condo around here is often just buying an apartment... A decent house of your own in the city is over a million, so that's out... I bought a smaller sub, and don't turn the volume all the way up, and it's never been much of a problem. That said, don't live in a cookie-cutter new contruction with paper-thin walls. Like said above, find a duplex or an apartment with pretty thick walls. I can hear people walk around in my building sometimes, but you don't hear much beyond that.I've had a couple complaints over the years, but no one was really mad at me over it. I have also chosen my apartments and the setup of the room somewhat stategically over the years to minimize the problems I might have from neighbors. Sure, you'll have to compromise, but you don't need to go without. Heck, in my current apartment, the main reason I got a new sub was that the electrical is so poor that the old one would trip the breaker! The new little one gives just enough oomph to be noticable to me, but doesn't seem enough to bother the neighbors...

#6 of 19 OFFLINE   Jeff Ulmer

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Posted December 19 2004 - 05:11 AM

Depending on where you need to work (I assume downtown) you may want to look at rental housing somewhere close to Skytrain out in the burbs - New Westminster, Burnaby, Surrey or Coquitlam.

Either that or find yourself a rich girl/boy-friend and move into their mansion. Posted Image

#7 of 19 OFFLINE   Jonny K

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Posted December 19 2004 - 07:24 AM

I think renting a house around Vancouver would still be too expensive. A decent apartment is 1000 a month! And it looks like a small house is about 3000 a month! I estimate my starting income to be about 2900 a month, so that's no good!

I've begun looking for a rich girlfriend. I'll let you know. Posted Image

#8 of 19 OFFLINE   Joel C

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Posted December 19 2004 - 07:40 AM

Where I live, a mortgage on a decent house with no down payment is around $600-$700 US, so it's stupid to rent as long as you have decent credit. With insurance and gas, I pay more than that for my car every month!
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#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Jonny K

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Posted December 19 2004 - 01:13 PM

Ah, but what would the mortgage on a 500,000 dollar house be? I don't think it would be financially wise to jump head first into a new home right out of University, especially when I'm going to concentrate on investing for the first few years. And those house payments don't take into account all the extra costs of owning a home that aren't listed (such as maintenance). I remember driving through a new neighbourhood in the late afternoon with my dad. While we looked at nice houses he pointed out that there were no cars parked outside these houses because everybody was out working to pay for them. Making myself a slave to my house at an early age will only trap me in the rat race for life. I need to start small and build my investment portfolio first.

#10 of 19 OFFLINE   Jeff Ulmer

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Posted December 19 2004 - 02:28 PM

You'd be better off investing in real estate than the stock market, but you are correct, a half millon dollar house is not a starter home. Joel has a point about rent vs mortgage, all rent does is pay someone else's mortgage. Stocks sound like a good idea until you take your first bath, and realise you have lost not only your principle, but after perhaps years of investing, any gains you may have made. At least real estate generally appreciates, unlike the markets, which are great for insiders, but not so great for the general public.

#11 of 19 OFFLINE   Colin Dunn

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Posted December 19 2004 - 02:35 PM

My advice: If an area is so expensive that even a good professional salary isn't adequate to buy a starter home, then don't live there. Though I would love to live in a progressive coastal city like Vancouver, the costs are just prohibitive.

This scenario happened to me. Housing costs escalated out of line with incomes in Denver, so I took profits and moved to Austin, where housing costs were more appropriately aligned with salaries in my profession. I got a much nicer place for about the same monthly cost.

When it is exceedingly difficult (or impossible) to make more money at your job, you can improve your standard of living by reducing your expenses (especially housing, which is the biggest one). I'm not sure about software engineering, but network administrator salaries are not sufficiently higher in the biggest / most expensive U.S. cities to justify the housing expenses there.

Besides, I think the real-estate market is due to correct in places like San Diego, the Bay Area, Washington D.C., and Boston, and would recommend against buying in those places ... period. If housing costs are totally out-of-line with incomes, as it is in these places, only two scenarios are possible: 1) the real-estate market is in a bubble that will soon burst - buy and lose your shirt in a few years; or 2) the market is constrained by inadequate supply and too much out-of-town money chasing it, and you will never be able to afford a decent place anyway.

So my thought is: Don't get too attached to Vancouver as a place to live permanently. After your year-long assignment is up, move somewhere less expensive, where your starting salary will be sufficient to buy a small house. Then you can enjoy your privacy (and kick-ass subwoofer) without the pressure of trying to buy into a market that's priced you out.
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#12 of 19 OFFLINE   Mark Philp

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Posted December 19 2004 - 03:34 PM

Jonny K:You can still enjoy your home theatre, regardless where you live if you invest in a really good set of headphones. While I don't have this kind, they do make the ones with the 5.1 processors that give a good illusion (so I'm told) of the real thing. If you only have experienced cheap phones check out the higher end ones I think you'll be surprised. Because of my work schedule, I watch most of my movies after midnight, long after my wife and neighbors have gone to bed (not together of course). It works for me and I don't feel deprived by not being able to use my speakers.

#13 of 19 OFFLINE   Jonny K

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Posted December 19 2004 - 05:48 PM

First of all, regarding investing:

What makes you think that "portfolio" only implies stocks? Posted Image My primary investment interest is real estate!

Regarding living in expensive Vancouver:

It's much cheaper to live in Calgary (where I'm from) than Vancouver. It's much cheaper to live in many places. But I've recently gotten a great job at a great company who's offices are located primarily in California and Vancouver. After graduating I think I'll want to stick with this company for at least a few years until I get my feet thoroughly wet. It was hard enough to get here...I'm not going to just give it all away so soon!

Regarding high end headphones:

Yes, I actually do own a set of (moderatly) high end headphones. I bought them in preperation for moving into an apartment where I can't blast speakers. But the whole fun of the bass is feeling it - not hearing it! Movies just aren't the same if I'm not vibrating along with them. Posted Image

#14 of 19 OFFLINE   Wayne Ernst

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Posted December 20 2004 - 02:05 AM

Until you get ready to buy, I would consider the following options:

1) Rent a basement apartment where a family or room mates occupy the upper part of the house.

2) Setup your theater gear in the basement - assuming it has a larger, open family area.

3) Offer to share the theater experience with the other members of the house so they can enjoy your gear with you.

4) When the other members of the house don't want to partake in movie watching - or, if it is later at night, then use the "midnight" mode on your system so they don't get blasted out of the house.

Enjoy ! Posted Image
"My reality check ... just bounced"

#15 of 19 OFFLINE   Jonny K

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Posted December 20 2004 - 04:24 AM

That's actually something I was wondering about - sharing the theater. Assuming I knew my neighbours, I could arrange a movie night where we could all watch together and then there isn't any problems (assuming they also like to feel the bass). But I don't think I could ever watch on midnight mode! A movie is an experience that should be...experienced! And you only see a good movie for the first time once - make it the full experience. Unless it's a chick flick though, those don't matter. Not that I'd be watching them anyway... Posted Image

#16 of 19 OFFLINE   Wayne Ernst

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Posted December 20 2004 - 05:13 AM

Johnny, A few other suggestions: - You could purchase some transducers (butt kickers) and customize a favorite chair of yours to enjoy the bass experience. Using such a device means that you could either: 1) Still incorporate a sub, but have it turned down real low (no pun intended.) 2) You could utilize headphones for late-night listening in conjunction with the transducers.
"My reality check ... just bounced"

#17 of 19 OFFLINE   Jay Taylor

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Posted December 20 2004 - 06:40 AM

One of these babies oughta do the job:

Ultimate HTF Headset
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#18 of 19 OFFLINE   DaveF



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Posted December 20 2004 - 10:07 AM

It's not the end of "Home Theater", just the end of Loud Home Theater (for a while). Suck it up, you'll survive.

#19 of 19 OFFLINE   Rob Gillespie

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Posted December 20 2004 - 10:24 AM

I've got the Pioneer 5.1 wireless headphones and was amazed at how well they work. True, you don't get butt-kicking bass but they're not exactly lightweight's either. I can watch movies as loud as I like at 2 in the morning and not piss anyone off - great!
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