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Housing FAQ (Refreshed June 10, 2006!)

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<center>Homes and Castles Forum FAQ</center>
This forum is for the discussion of all things related to Housing in UO.

As usual, a quick reminder of some basic and forum-specific rules entails.

Topics not allowed in the forum:
- E-Bay or other real world auction articles. Please make use of the Trade Forum for such matters.
- Personal flames.
- Discussing or explaining exploits or links to such discussions.
- Advertising free shards and or posting links to non-OSI shards.

Posts that are not on topic will either be closed, or deleted. In case of deletion, we'll send a private message to whoever posted the original thread.

The board is here for all to enjoy, but if you feel someone has hijacked or sabotaged your thread, let us know.

If you've managed to read this far and still think "hey, so this probably means I can post my lil' question here", try to post in regard to a couple of things:

- Do not use swearing, profanities or obscenities in your post.
- Do not insult other posters and maintain civility. Threads that end in a blatant flame war will be closed.

Remember, this is a private forum, posting here is a privilege. If you abuse your privilege, that privilege will be taken away from you. Please take the time to read the Rules of Conduct to familiarize yourself with the rules of the board.

FAQ - Table of Contents

1. Why should I use the search function and how do I use it?

2. What are the different decay stages of a house?

3. How do I transfer a house?

4. What items block placement and what doesn't block placement?

5. Is it safe to demolish a house and replace it with another and what precautions should be taken?

6. What about add-ons?

7. Where can I find useful links for housing?

8. How do I stack chests easily?

9. If I place an item it autodestructs and poof is gone!

10. Just how do I figure out if I can place a Large Tower where my current home(s) are?

11. How is it that some people own multiple houses on the same shard? Can I?

12. Vendors: How often do they pay themselves a day? How do I get rid of one I own? How do I get rid of one I do not own but is in my house?

13. How can I upgrade my current house to a larger house?

14. Is there a list of footprints for houses?

15. Housing Security

16. House Designs

17. House Decoration Guides

18. How do I create a custom roof?

19. How do I make the spiral stairs?

20. How do I upload screenshots to my thread?

21. What is this Housebuilder Program I hear about?

22. How do I get to the roof of my castle/keep?

23. Creating Pictures on Your Roof

Special Thanks

If you find any mistakes or have something you would like added to this FAQ, please contact the moderator through Private Message with the information.

Thanks to everyone that helped in the updating of this FAQ…your help and input is greatly appreciated.


<center> 1. Why should I use the search function and how do I use it? </center>

The search function is of help, if someone is trying to find any kind of information concerning a specific topic. You will find the search function on top of the forum (next to Main Index) and you can either search 1 forum at a time or all forums at once (but then you might get to many non relevant hits).


<center> 2. What are the different stages of house decay and how long does each last? </center>
Like New
Slightly Worn
Somewhat Worn
Fairly Worn
Greatly Worn
In Danger of Collapsing
Demolition Pending

-Each stage last about 24 hours, except for Like New (about 50 minutes) and In Danger of Collapsing (just under 8 hours).

-If a house that has entered its last stage of decay has rented vendors working out of it, the house will not fall until the vendor’s rental contracts have expired. At that time, another timer begins running to give the vendor owners time to collect the items and gold from the vendors. Once these waiting periods have passed, the house will begin to decay normally.


<center>3. How do I transfer a house?</center>
To transfer a house, have both parties standing within 2 (two) tiles of the house sign and outside of the plot, double click the sign and select the Ownership tab. On the next screen, select Trade House and target the character your transferring the house to. This will open a trade window which will have a

*Note for Windows XP users-It has been stated by Wilki that logging in two different accounts from one computer is legal but only by using the Fast User Switching option available with XP. Using a third party program to facilitate having two accounts logged in at the same time can lead to your account being banned.


<center>4. What items block placement and what doesn't block placement?</center>
Water barrels can block placement at the moment. To avoid this, carry an empty pitcher and take out the water from the barrel until it's empty. The empty barrel can then be picked up and the house placed.
A list of non-blocking flowers can be found here.
New tailoring BOD rewards such has stretched hides have also been known to block placement, best bet is to place around them.


<center>5. Is it safe to demolish a house and replace it with another and what precautions should be taken?</center>
Demolishing and replacing a house is never safe as the ground on both facets is slightly changing from time to time. What you could place yesterday, you may not be able to place now.
The best thing to do is check other shards to see what has been placed in your spot. Also, go to the Test shard and check there. While this isn’t a foolproof method of checking, you can get a general idea of what will fit where.

<font color="red">If you have recently received a house, on any shard either by trade or placement, you have to wait 7 days from that event. To find out if you are in a "wait state" double click a house placement tool. If you get a message that says, "you have to wait X days before placing a house", by all means DO NOT RE-DEED your house!</font>

We used to suggest 1 final test, and that was to wait until the server stops saving, then try the upgrade. However since there is a 2nd server recording all housing activity, it is unknown if the shards server would send the information to the housing server while the server is not saving. While this is a good test still for homeless accounts, I would not advise someone who has a house on a shard to do this until more information is available.


<center>6. What about add-ons?</center>
If I transfer a house will the add-ons stay in the house?
Yep all that is inside the house will stay there, only if you re-deed a house all add-ons will be lost.

How do I re-deed an add-on?
Just target it with an axe. Once the add-on has been chopped, it will turn back into a deed in your pack. One thing to keep in mind though is that some of the new elven containers and add-ons (including the aquarium) must be unsecured before chopping.

Do I need to lockdown add-ons?
Nope they are automatically locked, extra locking them will only waste lockdowns.


<center>7. Where can I find useful links for housing?</center>

If you can't find an answer in the following essays then it will be material for the FAQ

http://uo.stratics.com/homes/*In the process of being updated.


<center>8. How do I stack chests easily?</center>
I found it best to target the lower left corner of the chest that is on the floor (make sure you don't highlight the chest, it will then drop inside the chest). You can also lay a quarterstaff in the tiles where you want the chests to stack at and target the staff. Once done with your chests, pick up the staff and use a house design tool to lower the chests to the floor. It takes a little practice, but practice makes perfect.

Another way to stack chests easily would be to lock down, NOT secure a chest (preferably empty). Place within the chest other chests (preferably empty) that you wish to have perfectly stacked above the first locked down one. Each chest will thus be locked down and can be raised via the house decorator tool. Viola! Perfectly stacked chests without worrying about how to target the right spot to stack them.


<center>9. If I place an item on the floor it autodestructs and poof is gone!</center>
Make sure you have no banned monsters outside the house, as then the moment you put something down the client will think you are blocking the monster and the monster will destroy the item. Happens a lot in towers for some reason.


<center>10. Just how do I figure out if I can place a Large Tower where my current home(s) are?</center>
One of the best ways is to simply check other shards. The lower population shards (Asian, Origin, Lake Austin, Legends) may have your spot open, in which case get a land survey tool and find out. Be careful before qualifying the land for an upgrade based on the fact there is a tower in Felucca, remember the rules could have been different when it was placed. Also, check Flippy's Art of Real Estate thread for an in-depth look at determining a large tower placement.


<center>11. How is it that some people own multiple houses on the same shard? Can I?</center>
There are several ways this can be done:

They own multiple accounts, one house for each.
They have homes that were created long ago, when UO had different house owning rules. Houses like this are considered Grand fathered.
They owned 2 houses, one condemned due to the other being placed, but before they could sell one, OSI changed all condemned houses to Grand fathered (don’t ask why). (And yes, even Flippy had owned 2 small marbles on LS, both that were refreshable)

Can You?
Yes! But it will cost you! You can purchase an account that has grand fathered houses OR you can purchase another account.


<center>12. Vendors: How often do they pay themselves a day? How do I get rid of one I own? How do I get rid of one I do not own but is in my house?</center>
Vendors can be purchased for placement in your house through a banker NPC, who will carry both vendor placement deeds (white deed) and vendor rental contracts (red deed). The vendor placement deed is for use by the house owner for personal vendors, while the rental contract is made for others that want to place vendors in your establishment.
To use a deed, just stand where you want the vendor to be and double click the deed. The vendor will appear right where your avatar is standing. If your clicking on a rental contract, the deed will fall to the floor and lock itself down. Now double click the contract, choose the rental period, rent charged and decide if you want it to renew or not. Once you have made your selections, then you can target the player that you want to offer the contract to. Remember, both players must set the contract to renew if the vendor is to stay on after the initial rental period expires.
After placing a vendor in your house, and stocking it, you say Vendor Status or double click on the vendor to bring up the vendor menu. On this menu, you will find information on how many real world days the vendor can sustain itself on the gold held in its account, as well as how much it charges per day and how much gold it has on it.
To remove a vendor that you own, empty out its pack of all goods contained on the vendor and remove any gold that it may be holding. Once the vendor is empty you can either let it time out or just click dismiss vendor on the menu. If it’s a rented vendor, and the contract has been set to renew by both parties, the only thing you can do is set it to not renew on the Landlord end of the contract and wait out its timer. Currently, Gm’s will not remove vendors from your house.


<center>13. How can I upgrade my current house to a larger house?</center>
A Short Guide to Buying Houses to Upgrade

By FFBooks

Upgrading houses can be as profitable as IDOC camping, and avoids the frustration of camping a building for hours only to have someone place a split second before you, or having your machine seize up only minutes before the final decay. IDOC camping is also not possible for some people due to hardware difficulties. Working on house upgrading may therefore be a viable alternative as anyone can do it- regardless of system spec. However, it is not an "easy option" since it requires both the patience of a camper, as well as the persuasion skills of a bard.

This guide does not cover in detail the process of working out whether a building will fit or not- Flippy has already done a much better post than I could on that subject. Instead, it covers ways of getting in touch with owners, and how to come to a fair price for that property.

Sections in this guide
1: Finding suitable sites
2: Contacting owners
3: The Negotiation
4: The Large Tower
5: Upgrading

Section One: Finding suitable sites

The two essential tools you will need are:
UO Auto-map,
UO Assist

if you do not have these two tools yet, get them immediately. For a serious realtor they are absolutely essential. UOAssist will cost $15, but after the short trial period you will wonder how you played without it...

Together, these tools will enable you to map out the houses on your shard, saving a copy of their positions on your HDD. Mapping can be achieved by simply running around the facets, coming with a screen or two of every house. The two facets are saved separately, and can be compared easily by simply flipping from one to the other.
You will be amazed at how many small buildings there are on small tower spots, small towers on sandstone/log spots, and log cabins on villa spots

There are many house owners- particularly in Fel- who do not realize that their house is sitting on a site in which a larger house will fit. When you come across such a site, mark its position on Automap with a flag, and mark a rune. Just because a building is there on Fel, it does not guarantee that it will also fit in Tram. However, the chances are much better if it is "properly placed" already. Tram buildings should normally fit on Fel, but this is also not guaranteed. Read Flippy's article on what items block, and try to work out if there is anything in the terrain, which will stop it.

Soon, you should have maps of your entire shard, covered with flags for upgrade potential and many runebooks filled with runes to these prime real estate sites. It's a good idea at this stage to arrange the runebooks in terms of preferred sites.

Section Two: Contacting Owners

Contacting the current owners of the site is the most difficult part of the process. Many only log in for short period of time per week, and so "catching" them when they're online can be very difficult. Below I make a number of suggestions on how to achieve this, but success is not guaranteed.

The best time to try this is at weekends, when most people play UO.

i) Some house owners leave their ICQ number on their house sign, or on a book locked down inside their house. These are the easy ones.

ii) Leave a book with your ICQ on their doorstep. The book will decay after about an hour. You may need to refresh the book a number of times each day by picking it up and putting it down again.

iii) Tame some animals and rename them: "IWantToBuyHouse" and "SeeBookOnStep", "SeeSignNextDoor" or "ICQ NinThreEigt..." etc and leave them inside the house. These will last longer than a book, but is less precise. You also can't put numbers in pet names, and don't have much room (grrrr).

iv) If you own a house next door, change your sign to give a message to the owner, and your ICQ.

v) Direct contact

This last section is where your runes come in most important. People will often wait inside their house, or (if Fel) sparring just outside it- particularly at the weekend. Since you now have books of runes to visit these properties, every now and then recall around the facets to visit each of these sites. This way, you can visit about 125 sites in thirty minutes. Four sweeps through (two hours) and you are bound to come across at least one, if not more than one owner.

If you are lucky enough to own a neighboring house, then use your training time at that house, keeping your ears open for your neighbor’s footsteps or door openings. In your excitement you will often be banned from a house, in Fel, since the owner will think you're rushing in to attack. Have macros ("Can we talk?” "I'm interested in your house") ready. Often you will have only seconds between them arriving and logging out so you need to be quick!

vi) Owner-induced

Sometimes you will be lucky enough to find that the house is already on the market, either as indicated on the sign, on uo-auction or from a seller at Brit Bank (or similar). Since you already have the upgrade spots marked on Automap, you can tell instantly whether or not the site is one you're after. If someone is at Brit, offering to sell a building, always go and see- you never know, it might be one of the one's you're looking for!

Section Three: Negotiation

So you've found a potential site, you've contacted the owner and now you have to agree on a fair price for the site.

The owner will always want you to make the offer first.

Since you need to persuade someone to move out, unless the house was already for sale you will normally need to offer him or her above market value to persuade him or her to move. Although this hurts, be prepared to pay up to three times the normal value for a property, depending on the greed of the owner! Before you make the offer, always look at how well the house is furnished. If it is full of costly items, then you may find that no cash offer is good enough. If everything is cheap, or there is very little inside the house, your task will be much easier. They may demand a million for a small, but if that small blocks a Tower it is worth paying it.

At first, do not let the owner know your intentions. If they know that you want to upgrade to a larger house, they will either refuse to sell, or will raise their price accordingly. He will normally ask you why you want to buy the building, so be prepared with some vague answer. If you own a neighboring house this is much easier ("I own the house next door").

To determine your maximum offer, you will need to:

Know the value of the new house (say 1.25 million)
Know the cost of the deed which you need to buy (say 100K)
Know the value of the deed you will get for the existing building (say 50K)

The maximum that you could pay for the house is then:

1.25 million - 100 K + 50 K

Or 1.2 million. If you pay any sum of money up to this, you will still be making a profit. However, you have spent time and effort trying to get the building, so should always keep at least some extra profit back. I recommend a 20% margin. For this building, then, I would suggest a maximum purchase price of 960K.

Your initial offer to the owner should be about 40% higher than the market value of his building. If you have a LOT of room to play with, offer more than 40%. Hopefully this will be below the 960K figure calculated above.

I always make my offer by saying:

"Well, a xxx in this area would normally get about xxx K."
"I could give you yyy K"

Hopefully yyy is larger than xxx! The figure you quote first (xxx) should always be to the higher end of the the range of possible values, since most people tend to think their houses are worth more than they actually are.

The owner WILL bargain upwards, but you should have left yourself room to breathe. Small Towers to Logs are good upgrades, since a log is normally worth between 3 and 5 times the Small Tower price. As long as you keep the above figure (960K, or whatever you calculated) in mind, you'll be fine.

Do not seem too eager to buy. If the seller does not wish to sell straight away, do not hurry him- it may take him time to move out. Take his ICQ and message him a few days later, but do not bombard him with ICQs.

The seller will often tell you that "Well, ok, but I need to find another place to move to first". If you have other similar buildings, this is your opportunity to sell as well!

If all else fails, and you cannot buy the property from the owner (some simply refuse to sell at a sensible price), then before you leave let the owner know what you had been hoping to do. At best, this will induce them to sell, at worst they will benefit from your work, but the housing pool on your shard will increase (which is a good thing).

Section 4: The Large Tower (and other multi-house upgrades)

Sometimes, the upgrade path will involve redeeding more than one house to build a larger one. This is often the most profitable route, since the resulting house is normally MUCH larger than the ones that made it up. However, this introduces new complications because you are taking a risk when you buy the first house, in that you may not be able to buy the others. It is always best to try to buy the first few houses as cheaply as possible, preferably at market rate. This way, you can at least get most of your gold back if it all goes wrong.

Personally, I prefer to negotiate for the largest building on the site first. The largest building is the most important in terms of cost- if the owner is willing to sell at only 10% above market value, then the upgrade is probably viable. However, if they want 80% more then the whole plan probably has to be put on hold. For the small buildings, since these are normally only a fraction of the cost of the larger one, it does not really matter if the owner wants 200% more than the market value. I therefore prefer to find out if the largest can be bought at a viable price first.

Once you have one building on the site, obtaining the others becomes easier. You have a sign to let your neighbors that you want their property (be careful about alerting them to your intentions). You have a safe place to sit and camp while training a skill. You can give a good reason to the seller as to why you want their house as well. You may also find that the person who sold you the first house knows the ICQ of his neighbors- always ask!

If your neighbor refuses to sell, then fear not- all is not lost! As a last resort, tell him what your intentions were, and offer to sell him your own building. He will often agree, at a price higher than you initially paid.

For Large Towers you will often need to buy three or more buildings to make the upgrade, and so will need multiple accounts, or friends to hold the buildings, while you collect them all together. Be prepared for a long drawn-out process and many, many hours training those useless crafting skills while you wait. It can often take longer to "camp" a neighbor than to camp an IDOC, but is at least as profitable. I'll probably end up with a 7xGM crafter, even though the money you get crafting is pitiful compared with trading in real estate!

Section Five: Upgrading

The precautions needed before redeeding should by now be known, as they've been covered many times by others on this forum. However for completeness I restate them here again:

1) Check that the existing building is properly placed
2) Take a screenshot of the existing building, so you have the exact spot if you need to replace for some reason. Look on the spot on other shards to see if the building you want to place is there-if so, take a screenshot again.
3) Carry with you a deed for the building you want, a deed for the existing building type, and a smaller deed. If the new house does not fit as expected, you can replace the existing one. If someone else comes along while you are placing, you can easily slam down a small "blocking" house to try again (much) later.
4) The day before you want to upgrade, hide near to the house sign and logout. When you login the next day you will be hidden, and won't be staring at the sign for five minutes prior to redeeding. It's better to give other people as few clues as possible.
5) If other people (the sellers?) know of your plans, wait a long time between acquiring and redeeding the property.
6) Before you make the upgrade, relax. Redeeding can be a nerve-wracking time. Unlike IDOC’s, you can choose the moment that you collapse the building, so there's no hurry.
7) Destroy all add-ons, and remove all decorations/chests/barrels before you re-deed. The less chance there is of having something block replacement through a bugged item the better.
8) Use "Tracking", "Detect Hidden", "Reveal" and Fire Walls beforehand to check to see if anyone else is there.
9) Test the upgrade first when the servers aren't saving.
10) Have footsteps turned on, and have the speakers LOUD. This will alert you if anyone else is coming.
11) Make the upgrade late at night, or early in the morning, when other people aren't around.
12) Have a "last object" macro set up. If your first place fails, this wil save you valuable time getting the ghost image up again.
13) Bring along a TRUSTED friend to keep watch for you and alert you of any people coming. They may need to place for you, if you panic and can't get the spot. Make sure your friend isn't moving around constantly within earshot, as his footsteps will make you more nervous/interfere with warning if someone else is coming.

14) For multiple-house re-deeds, pass one to the friend first, so that both can be re-deeded without you having to logout/login with your other account. For three, four or five house re-deeds (that elusive Large Tower) you may need to enlist help from the boardies.

Upgrading is profitable, exciting, and can give great satisfaction (well, for me at least!). So... good luck!

16 Aug 2001


<center>14. Is there a list of footprints for houses?</center>
Yes, there is. <font color="red"> * Keep in mind as well, that accounts upgraded to the Mondain’s Legacy expansion pack receive a 20% bonus to their total house storage. *</font>


<center>15. Housing Security</center>
There aren’t many issues these days with house security, with the changes over the years that have been implemented in game. Years ago, if someone stole your house key, they also got your house.

Today there are only a few things you should be careful of in regards to house security. The first and most important is to always use the detect hidden skill before you unlock anything of value in your public house. You don’t even need to have skill points in the skill to use it in your own house with 100% success. This simple step will nearly eliminate the possibility of you falling victim to a thief standing hidden in your house waiting for you to unlock that mega rare.

Another thing to remember is to include the northwest corner pole tile when designing your house. Without this tile in place, it leaves a small gap in the corner of the walls, in which a magical creature can teleport into the house and attack you at the most inconvenient times (like when you just logged in with your crafter character).


<center>17. House Decoration Guides</center>
You can see screenshots and descriptions on how to build different decorations for your house by checking out the Art of Decorating thread.


<center>18. How do I create a custom roof?</center>
Sarsmi has created an excellent FAQ regarding roof building and designs, which can be found here--&gt; Sarsmi's Roofing FAQ


<center>20. How do I upload screenshots to my thread?</center>
To upload screenshots to your posts, you need to have the pictures hosted at another site, whether it’s your own personal website or a hosting site, like Photobucket. Once uploaded to your web space, put the following line in your post--&gt;
[ image ]http://www.yourpicsurlhere.com[ /image ]. Make sure to delete the spaces in the image tags, and your picture should appear in your post.


<center>21. What is this Housebuilder program I hear about?</center>
Housebuilder is a offline program created by Kurgan that allows the user to design and build thier house outside of the game. The program can be downloaded Here.


<center> 22. How do I get to the roof of my keep/castle? </center>
While there are several ways to get up there, most of htem are illegal. LarisaBTH has created this FAQ on how to use Goza Mats to reach the roof of your keep/castle-&gt;Step-by-Step Goza Stair Building.

You can also use the ladder that be received from the 9th Anniversary box Heritage tokens. More information on that can be found on the 9th Anniversary Heritage Items Ppage.


<center>Special Thanks </center>

Special Thanks to:
Kurgan-Spiral Stairs Guide and the Housebuilder Program link
Sarsmi-Roofing FAQ / UO Radar Image Picture Creator
Wynne-Chest Stacking tip
LarisaBTH-Goza Stair FAQ


<center> 23. Creating Pictures on Your Roof </center>
Many people have seen the houses that when viewed on the in-game radar screen shows a picture on the roof, many located on the Asian shards. Lamas, Norse helms, potions, food, even a copy of a European players characters face at one time (as well as his backside at one point). The only way to do something lie this was through trial and error...until now.

UO Radar Image Picture Creator was created by Sarsmi to assist you in creating a picture on your roof. The page can be found Here.
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