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Old 02-17-2017, 07:15 AM
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Default Home improvement

As many of you know, we are diligently working to pay off debt right now. At the same time, we bought a house this past summer and while it's an awesome house, it is dated and there are upgrades we want to make. Part of us wants to finish off the one big student loan (~$31k) before we do anything, but part of us wants to start modernizing this house. Dave Ramsey is screaming in the back of my head, telling me to not do anything right now and finish off the debts and then move on. The living room alone would be pricey since we're looking at removing carpeting, adding tile by the front door, totally repainting, removing wallpaper, new blinds, lighting upgrades, etc. Priorities are the living room and dining room.

It probably makes sense to just hold off for now and wait until we have better free cash flow right?
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Old 02-17-2017, 07:32 AM
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If you can do most of the work yourself, room upgrades like this can be done pretty cheap, and no reason you couldn't both fix up the house and pay down the student loan.

We remodeled our first house very economically, one room at a time as we could afford it.
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Old 02-17-2017, 07:37 AM
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We can do a few things on our own but luckily her step-father is a contractor and her mom has down a lot of interior design type work so it really is just the cost of goods which in and of itself can get expensive. I guess the first step will be to budget out how much we can expect it to be and go from there.
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Old 02-17-2017, 08:20 AM
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Personally I think you should get rid of the debt first.

We made the mistake of doing some kitchen and bathroom updates while we were still paying off debt. Since we obviously didn't want to incur any more debt, we went forward with a VERY TIGHT budget for the remodels. We couldn't afford complete makeovers, so we basically addressed what we felt needed to be addressed and left other things as is. We realize now that we should have waited and made sure we got everything done at once.
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Old 02-17-2017, 11:17 AM
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Default The Home Improvement Pitfall

It sounds like the improvements you are talking about are pretty helpful ones. You need to watch out though because getting carried away updating the kitchen and such can cause problems if the market tanks.

I have a friend who bought a home at the peak of the market. He and his wife are among the most intelligent people I know, so paying it off early was a no-brainier for them. They set a plan to pay it off in 10 years despite the high price tag. They stuck with the plan for a while, but as time went on, they made some trade-offs. Instead of paying the extra towards their mortgage, they started paying it into the house with kitchen remodeling and various flooring. 10 years later, when they would have been all paid off, they moved. In that amount of time, the housing market had dropped significantly and they were forced to sell for less than they still owed even with the updated kitchen. Had they stuck with the plan, they would have come out of the transaction with the entire sale price (minus fees) as liquid money for their down payment on the next home.

Moral of the story: If you pay off your home, you can always sell it for something. Stick to your payoff plan and get there as fast as you can because you never know what the market or your life has in store for you. If the market just goes up, you can always do the projects later. It won’t hurt you to focus on payoff first.

Milly
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Old 02-19-2017, 05:58 PM
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I think this is an scenario we all have faced from time to time.
I put off some improvements/ remodel on my home waiting for the right time financially and time etc.
in the end I feel, I should have done it so much sooner. the satisfaction level with the improvement I don't think I can measure in money.
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Old 02-20-2017, 01:28 AM
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another .02 cents worth...

DR is a multi millionaire and doesn't live in your house. Enjoying your home and it's decor offers a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction. I'd caution keeping the updates within parameters of homes on your street. It's not 'a good thing' to have the most expensive home on the block.

A lot of the updating you mention falls more in the category of 'sweat equity' than dollars spent. I know from experience that removing wallpaper and preparing walls for painting is DIY. All the research confirms that paint gives the biggest return for sums and effort spent. Quality paint isn't necessarily predicated on price [more on ratio of titanium]; designer colors can be copied by any good colorist following the numbers on paint chips.

Last fall we carefully removed quarter round and baseboard, ripped out carpeting and underlay in living, dining rooms and hall, rolled it up in reasonable sections and hauled it to the dump. A lot of discussion resulting in replacing it with mid-priced [25 year warranty] laminate and were pleasantly surprised by how much easier a DIY it was than expected. We had help from an experienced floor layer with our 20 or so really tricky corners. [he came in and did them all in under two hours.] We were so excited to be able to repaint and re-install the old baseboards. I was sure the variance in depth would make it impossible. [we had to touch up wall paint at a few points.

Painting is all about prep. Tons of detailed info on You Tube. While I'm willing to shut off all electricity to merely replace an existing light fixture, [take a picture before undoing the plugs of existing wiring] Kitchen and bathrms are expensive both for materials and professional hours. I think an electrician, plumber and permit are needed for liability.
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Old 05-20-2017, 11:04 AM
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Default Saving money on home improvement projects

I agree home improvement projects can be costly. I am currently remodeling my 1996 RV. I have gutted it and am now redoing the inside of the RV. One way that I save money is by using coupons for Lowes from Myjibe.com. I try to separate my purchases into $50 transactions. Then I use the $15 off of $50 coupons. This saves me 30%. Then I purchase a gift card online from Raise or one of the online gift card sites. This can save an additional 10% depending on the gift card discount.
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Old 05-27-2017, 07:04 PM
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I think you should remodel the house yourself. One it will give you a hobby. Two it will give you complete satisfaction because you are actively involved in doing the hard sweaty work.
On the other hand I have remodeled houses and from my experience most people don't know anything about remodeling.
I've seen walls built on top of carpets, dry wall throne on top of the original walls, carpet in bathrooms (gross), mismatched ceiling tiles, painted wallpaper. And even had to remove wallpaper from the ceiling? Even found ceiling tiles hiding a ceiling that is slowly collasping. Carpet, drywall, ceiling tiles, and wallpaper are not the only things available to remodel a home.
So whatever you choose to do, don't just cover it up, instead restore it.
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Old 05-28-2017, 04:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammydabullz View Post
painted wallpaper. And even had to remove wallpaper from the ceiling
I'm not sure how old you are but both of these have been very common practices for decades. Our house has wallpapered ceilings and a few rooms have painted wallpaper (we did some of it ourselves).

We don't have it in our house, but my wife's mom's house, even the doors and switch plates are wallpapered. That was the style for many years.
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Last edited by disneysteve; 05-28-2017 at 06:12 AM.
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Old 05-28-2017, 09:40 AM
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We are still fixing up our cottage, which had carpeting in the bathrooms and kitchen. They are gross. We didn't even get to the kitchen yet because other things get in the way. We can't even tell what type of material is screwed onto our walls, but we have a feeling it is hiding a terrible drywall secret. The good news is that we think we have the bats in the attic problem solved.

We are also looking to move, and the "remodeling" done on the houses we are looking at makes me weep. Even I can see glaringly obvious mistakes that are not up to code. Several homes had finished basements filled with such jackassery that we would have to tear everything out and start over. The sad part is that we are looking in the $300,000 to $400,000 range, which should get us a nice house in this area.
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Old 05-28-2017, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msomnipotent View Post
carpeting in the bathrooms and kitchen.
We had carpet in the bathroom for quite some time. They sell carpeting specifically for that use that is washable. We would just take it up regularly and get it washed. Nothing gross about it at all. The only inconvenience was that it didn't fit in our home washer so we had to take it to a laundromat. We got tired of doing that so we switched to just a couple of carpeted mats which we can wash at home and cover most of the floor that we stand on anyway. Really, who needs carpet under the sink or behind the toilet.
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Old 05-29-2017, 03:20 PM
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Personally I would pay off the debt first. There are things that you can do yourself to help make your house feel more like home in the meantime. But as her step-father can probably tell you, the cost of remodeling can add up quickly.
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Old 06-09-2017, 07:54 AM
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I think working on the debt would be wisest, but could you do a few things like paint? Paint is often a cheaper (not cheap, price paint if you don't believe me), but can really make a world of difference to keep you going until you can afford so many other things. And Snafu is right on the money...don't over improve your home for your neighborhood. If you would have to sell at some point, you will never realize what you spent.
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