Pros and Cons of 90s Houses

90s house, 90s style home

Between the unprecedented seller’s market that was spurred by the pandemic and the now sky-high mortgage rates, many of us have been forced to reconsider spending our money on older, outdated 90s houses. While you may not be getting the new custom home of your dreams, you may be surprised by the benefits of owning and living in a 90s home!

90s homes, suburban sprawl

Property Size

If we’re talking about the average suburban home in a second-tier city, such as Charlotte, North Carolina or Columbus, Ohio, a home built in the 90s typically has more property than a suburban home built today. There are a few reasons behind this, but chiefly it’s the cost of land paired with the exponential growth of these cities. To put it simply, metropolitan areas are running out of space – but that’s a win for you! Here in Charlotte, new build lots are generally 0.15 to 0.2 acres whereas it was not uncommon to find 0.3 to 0.5 acres in the 90s.

Prevalence of 90s Houses

It’s no secret that the 1990s marked a period of economic expansion in the United States. This economic prosperity, coupled with an increase in immigration, set the stage for the apex of suburban sprawl in the U.S. These factors, along with others, culminated in a suburban residential construction boom – meaning there are plenty of 90s era homes to go around!

Mature Trees and Landscaping

To me, nothing is more depressing than the landscaping of a brand-new housing development. I understand, trees don’t grow on trees…or wait, do they? It’s not even the waiting for trees to grow part that really bothers me – it’s the downright disrespect that builders get away with – two small trees and a bush per house? Move to a neighborhood established in the 1990s, there will be no shortage of shade trees and hedges, unless of course you’re in the dessert.

Swimming Pools?

Now hear me out on this one – I know I’m deviating a bit from the pros and cons of 90s homes – but a pool is technically part of the home. Not all 90s homes have pools, but there is a higher probability that a home built in the 1990s (or before) will have a pool than a new home, unless you had one installed. And to top it off, you did not have to buy the pool in the backyard of your 90s house! This is just something to consider when you’re down and out about not being able to afford a new house.

A Clean Slate

If you’re a DIYer like myself, an older home is an opportunity to sharpen the skills and create a masterpiece! Chances are your floors need replaced, bathrooms need remodeled, kitchen need updating, lighting needs updated, walls need painted, and exterior doors need to be replaced. Yeah, that sounds terrible, doesn’t it? But could you imagine a life where everything was done already? Ugh. Yeah, while these can be some downsides of buying a 90s home, it can also make it easier for you to execute your vision. You should also use these as negotiating points when buying the home!

More Bang for your Buck

Depending on your city and area, you may find that you can afford more home if you stick to houses built in the 90s. Newer homes tend to be in demand – many people like the convenience of a completely new home, and they will pay top dollar for just that. If you’ve read this far into my article, maybe that’s not you? I could be wrong though. Buying a 90s house can be a big win for some, especially those with a family. I do recommend ensuring that the mechanicals (HVAC, water heater) are in good working order before you buy though. These items can be quite costly if you need to replace at the same time.

Old Mechanicals

Did I mention that I was going to talk about some negatives as well? For starters, many homes built in the 90s still have original, or at least heavily aging HVAC systems. It’s not uncommon to see 25+ year old air conditioners in the southeastern U.S. The home I bought had just this – and 3 years into ownership, I had to replace the entire HVAC system. I knew this was coming, but it still hurts the pocket. Do your due diligence when buying a 90s home and understand what the repairs will cost down the road.

Wall to Wall (old) Carpet

There’s a good chance your 90s home still has 90s carpet! That sounds gross… and it is, I know from experience! But again, with the clean slate – you can now put heated tile in your kitchen, or vinyl plank throughout to mitigate the damage your dog does! You have to stay optimistic here if you want to own a house!

Worn Out Windows

Old windows are not only ugly, but they are inefficient as well. It’s estimated that up to 30% of your heating energy is lost through windows. Comparable losses are experienced in the summer as well with the added heat from sunlight radiating on windows. It may be time to replace those old existing windows in the name of saving your hard-earned money! Windows can be quite costly as well, so if you’re in the market for a 90s house, know what you’re getting into.

Already Own a 90s House?

If you already own a 90s house, most of this probably sounded redundant! That’s ok though, maybe you have some ideas of your own you’d like to share? Please comment on this post and let us know what you think. And while you’re at it, take a look at “Updating a 90s Home” to help get you inspired and motivated to bring your 90s house into this millennium!

Fencing Solutions for Dogs

As the spring time approaches and the weather warms across the U.S., one thing is on everyone’s mind – spending more time outside. I even gave up an hour of sleep last night for an extra hour of daylight! That’s how you know its getting serious. As we clean up our yards and make plans to enjoy them, be sure to think about fencing solutions for dogs. Fences are not only a great way to keep unwanted wildlife and people out of your yard, but also an excellent way to protect your dogs!

Fencing to Keep Pets Safe

Keeping our dogs (and other pets) safe is a serious concern. According to, 11-16% of pets will go missing at some point withing a 5 year period. Furthermore, depending on the study, only somewhere between 70-90% of these dogs are found. Data like this puts into perspective the importance of keeping your family pet safe and secure. These backyard fencing solutions will help you achieve that level of safety while giving your dog (or cat, lizard, or whatever you have) the ability to enjoy the outdoors with the family.

Best Backyard Fence for Dogs

In my experience as a home and dog owner, the hands down best fence to keep your four legged best friend safe is a six foot privacy fence. The privacy fence is an excellent fencing solution for dogs because of its height and design. The typical privacy fence is constructed with solid wood boards positioned one next to the other. This design provides for an increased level of privacy, and even more important, security for you and your dog. Neighbors or people driving by cannot see into your backyard and your dog will have less temptation to escape. Again, I have found this is the best backyard fence for dogs in regard to security. Privacy fences can cost you about $15 to $25 per linear foot depending on the features.

Split Rail Fencing

The house I’m in now has a combination of split rail and privacy fence in the backyard. The back of the property has privacy fencing that my neighbor installed before I moved in. I decided to fence off the other two sides of the backyard with split rail due to the cost as well as the landscaping (we like to see through the fence across our neighbor’s green, sprawling yards.

fencing solutions for dogs

The split rail fence consists of posts evenly placed about 10 feet apart, 3 wooden rails between them, and a 2” x 2” mess wire fence attached to it. I was not as concerned with privacy in this house because of how far apart our homes are and how they are situated. We are also fortunate to have a (somewhat) well behaved pooch -and she’s only about 20 pounds.

I’m not concerned about her jumping over the shorter, 4 foot tall split rail. Although we are happy with this style fence, the lack of privacy can be a concern for some dogs that are prey driven as they can see animals outside of their backyard and be tempted to escape – just something to keep in ind. If you’re to have someone install split rail fencing, it will set you back about $20 per linear foot.

Chain Link Fencing for Dogs

Chain link can be an excellent choice for fencing in a backyard with animals. Most chain link fence is 4’ tall and again lacks the element of privacy, but is more affordable like split rail. Maybe you have moved into a house that already has chain link, or the yard is partially fenced and you want to complete it. Some may just prefer the look of chain link fencing – either way, this is a durable fence solution that will keep your dogs just as safe. A quick look on the web shows that chain link costs about $10 – $20 per linear foot installed.

Temporary Fencing Solutions for Dogs

Not everyone is ready to spend the money or tackle a project such as installing a backyard fence and that is 100% understandable. This does not mean your dog cannot safely enjoy the outdoors with you the spring and summer. I’ve put together some quick dog fence ideas to enable maximum fun with your four legged friend.

Temporary Vinyl Fence

For less than $1 per linear foot, you can construct a fairly sturdy fence that will contain your pet – and the best part is, you can easily take it down when you’re not using it. Lowes sells 100’ rolls of 4’ tall vinyl fencing for about $40 per roll. Pair that with some a 4’ U-post every 10 feet or so and you have a temporary setup that costs a fraction of what  permanent fence would cost.

I have even found this setup to work well within the confines of my backyard to keep my dog out of gardens or mulched areas. Last year I put up a 3’ tall fence around our raised beds and it worked wonders.

Outdoor Kennels and Fence Panels

Another temporary option is to get a pre-fabricated outdoor kennel. There are many options out there that include modular fencing panels – you can add to or take away panels to make the kennel the right size for your dog. They come in different heights, some even have tops like a cage. Again, I endorse this as a temporary option, I wouldn’t advise keeping your dog unsupervised in something like this.

Tie Outs

Let us not forget about the original low budget solution to getting fido some sun without him/her running off into said sunset – the tie out. I love being able to put my dog on a tie out when we are working in the front yard, or when we take her to a friends house that doesn’t have a fence. Tie outs work great for well-behaved dogs, but if your dog is prone to running away or is super afraid all the time, you may want to ease your way into this one. Tie outs are only as good as the anchor – if you tie your dog to a plastic chair, your dog may run away with the chair attached!

Fencing Solutions for Dogs – Takeaways

There are many ways to make sure your family pet is able to get outside and enjoy the weather without getting lost, stolen, or attacked. Solutions range from 20’ security fences to tie outs, all of them having a different level of security and freedom for you buddy. I present you with these options as a way to explore what’s out there and how it can help you and your pets in the future. This list is not exhaustive as there are hundreds of solutions in between – let us know if you have a fencing solution for dogs that I haven’t covered – we’d love to hear your ideas!

How to Replace Window Locks

If you live in a home that is more than 10 or so years old, chances are the locks on your windows are wearing out and may need to be replaced. Every time you go to open or close a window, that locking and latching mechanism is put under stress. This is normal though, and I’m going to talk about how to replace window locks and latches.

The good news is, these locks and latches are easy to replace and are a fraction of the cost of a new window. So, this spring, when you go to open the windows and a latch or lock breaks – don’t worry, take a look at these easy steps below to replace it!

Types of Window Locks and Latches

Most typical modern windows have a locking mechanism at the top of the lower window that locks it into place with the stationary upper window. This makes it impossible (or at least near impossible) to open the bottom sliding portion in a normal manner. These locking mechanism’s look something like the picture below – note there are different variants, but this is typical. Take a look at Home Depot’s option – they have all different styles.

window locks

Window Lock Location

Take a look at the picture above and note the two sections of the window locking mechanism – the portion with the lever is attached to the lower sliding part of the window and the static receptacle is attached to the static upper window frame. By simply turning the lever arm, a latch is moved into the static receptacle to prevent movement of the lower window.

Window Sash Lock Replacement

Both the lever housing and the static receptacle are fastened to the window frame by small screws. In order to replace these locks in the event they become worn out, one must remove the screws. In the picture above, you can see the screws can be removed with a Phillips head screw driver.

Before removing the latch and housing mechanism, be sure the screw heads are free of dirt or foreign debris – this will help ensure you do not strip out the screws and cause excess damage to you window.

After removing the old latch housing, clean the window frame thoroughly and replace with the new mechanism.  It can be helpful to remove on of these locks and take it to a hardware store with you in order to be sure you’re purchasing the correct one. Another idea is simply purchase it on Amazon!

Window Tilt Latch

There may be other mechanisms on your window frame next to the lock that prevent your window from tilting inward. Many windows have this tilting feature to make it easier to clean the outside of the window. By operating the tilt locks, you enable the top of the bottom half window to tilt inward for access to the outside.

dirty worn out window tilt latch

When operating these spring loaded latches, they tend to wear out and break, requiring replacement just like the locking mechanisms.

Window Tilt Latch Replacement

Replacing these latches are just as easy as replacing a lock – they are held on the window frame by two screws. Be sure to take care when removing these screws that you do not strip them out and damage the window frame.

Just as the locking mechanisms were replaced, the new latch can be installed where the old latch was removed. Be sure to check the operation of the latch after installed and make sure its not being hung up or obstructed. If the spring mechanism seems difficult to operate, do not force it, only remove the latch from the window, identify the issue, and reinstall. Sometimes the spring is not lined up during installation and can get pinched between the housing and the window frame.

Common Parts

Window locks and latches are very common parts – window manufacturers realize that these small, plastic moving parts will break many times over the life of a window. That is why it is easy to find these parts at any local hardware store, or even more conveniently, Amazon. So take a look this spring as you are opening windows or going through and doing a spring cleaning. If you have broken or worn out locks or latching mechanisms on your windows, replace them to ensure your family’s safety as well as the health of your windows.