I have mentioned previously how I am trying to increase not only the value of our home so that it can help our Statement of Net Worth but I am also trying to increase our intrinsic value of our home.
My goal here is to make the home as comfortable for us as possible so that we stay here as long as possible. We however are not going to go overboard with a $15,000 kitchen and bath renovation! I have listed a few small things that we can improve over time that will not break the budget but will make our home so much more enjoyable.
The dishwasher has been broken for quite some time. It is old, clunky, and doesn’t wash dishes all that well. I have gone through different phases of rinsing the dishes really well before putting them in the dishwasher to washing the dishes and then putting them in the dishwasher to rinse and sanitize.
One day, I went to throw a load of laundry in while the dishwasher was running, and realized it was raining in the basement!! The dishwasher was literally pouring water through the floor and through the ceiling of the basement! And it was falling directly in to my laundry room sink so I had never noticed because I had never happened to go in to the basement while the dishwasher was running. What makes matters worse is that the water was raining right next to an electrical box. We were risking our home every time I ran the dishwasher and I even didn’t know it.
New dishwasher: About $500
I have tried to get the dishwasher replaced before with a tax return a few years ago but learned that the laminate flooring was actually built up around the dishwasher. We were told by the Sears installer that we would have to completely rip up the floor in order to put a new dishwasher in. Which I’m kind of okay with because look at this floor!
It was like this when we moved in and it’s probably damaged due to the leaky dishwasher.
We have original hardwood throughout the house so you would wonder why they covered it up with a fake wood sticker, but my husband pointed out that it was probably so the transition to this added room would match.
Ripping up a whole floor is way out of our budget, though. I was told by another handyman that we could actually lift up the counter top, swap out the dishwasher and then put the counter back down and re-caulk it. That will be the plan, and I would like to of course replace the flooring (cover it up) at some point with a realistic tile like this:
Approximate cost for flooring materials for approximately 124 SF: $300+
I would really like a garbage disposal and I think it would make my life easier because my family is constantly throwing scraps in the sink with their dishes as if we have one!
Garbage disposal: About $100
Speaking of the laundry room sink….
This thing is dark and scary looking. Especially with our old washer that used a ton of water! Sometimes it would get clogged and I would have to reach down in to the murky depths to clear hair and lint out of the drain while imagining dead mice and other scary things that I might be touching that I couldn’t see!
When we bought the house, the hot water faucet was broken, and when we swapped out the old washer and dryer my husband had a hard time with the pipes because they are so old and corroded.
I’d love this one:
New laundry room sink and faucet: About $200
We have old fashioned bedroom and bathroom doors with the old fashioned doorknobs, the kinds that screw on to a square pole. Our door handles are completely stripped out so they go flying off their poles and sometimes they go missing.
My daughter is taking advantage of the situation by using it as a way to lock her door. This is a safety concern however; if there was a fire we would have to bust her door down!
Not to mention the bathroom door. Our husky, Aspen is a bit claustrophobic. We tried kenneling him and he would poop and pee in his kennel and pace and try to chew his way out, and actually broke a tooth! So we tried leaving him in the bathroom while we were gone to work and school for the day. He pooped and peed and paced in there, too and it would take forever to get the smell out of the house, and well, this happened:
We have since discovered if we leave him loose in the house while we are gone and make sure that our house is completely dog proof all he does is take a nap on the sofa (where he’s not allowed) and looks out the window. I just have to sweep off the sofa every day, and I’m okay with that.
I found some really great door handles on Amazon for $12. Similar door handles with privacy locks run about $30 at Home Depot.
We were advised by the handyman that we could fill the old door holes, sand them down and repaint them so they look nice, and drill a larger hole for the more modern door handles . This would be ideal since our house is very old, these doors all have very odd dimensions, however I’m not sure if that idea will work on our bedroom door. It has a weird block of wood that I’ve never really noticed before, and I’m not sure what that’s all about.
Cost of modern-izing doors: Unknown! My handyman quoted me a price of $75 per door and then promptly stopped answering my calls. I also don’t know if I need new doors, or if the ones we have can be salvaged so I can’t even make a good estimation of what that would be.
One of my best friends advised me of an app called ThumbTack where you can list the work you need done along with pictures, and handymen will bid to do your work for you! I got some quotes for doing that work but then we had to go to the funeral in NYC so I haven’t followed up on them yet.
And finally, the furnace and air conditioner. I have a HVAC company coming out today at 3pm to give a quote on a new system through Home Depot’s 24 month 0% interest financing. If the system costs $4,000 this will increase our monthly bills about $175 a month but I have faith that it will make our electric and gas bills so much more affordable. Also, it increases our value of the home because it will be more comfortable and the heat will reach to all the rooms in the house.
Our air conditioner is from the 1980s and our furnace is much older than that and they are both very inefficient!
I originally wrote this post on March 11, 2017 and today is March 21, 2017. The HVAC Company did come out and quoted us $7,100 for both the furnace and the air conditioner. This would have increased our bills $300 a month for 24 months which I was sure we could afford, but my husband talked some sense in to me.
He said that right now everything is perfect, but we should figure our bills on what we could afford if one of us lost our income. That’s a huge factor because with Home Depot 0% financing, the fine print is that if you are ever late on your payment, or if you take longer than the 24 months to pay off your purchase, then you agree to pay your regular interest rate amount retroactively, back to the date of the original purchase! I already knew this of course, but I hadn’t thought so far as to think “What if something happens?”
So long story short, we decided to just go with the furnace for now. The cost of the furnace alone is $3,852 and will get us the Wi-Fi thermostat installed which will also help with the cost of cooling in the summer because we can change the heat and AC from our phones, and also set up schedules with the app.
Shannon over at financially-blonde.com often asks what our “sacred cow” is. You can only have one, and I think mine is home improvements and/or 0% financing. I know that this will decrease my net worth quite a bit, but having a comfortable sanctuary to come home to is more important to me. And, as long as we always keep that buffer I think the risk we assume when taking on a new loan is minimal.
Finally, here is a repair that we have finally accomplished! Meet our old bathroom sink, Mr. Sink Face.
Oh, how I hated Mr. Sink Face. I hated it because there was no cabinet space, it was bolted to the wall and sloped downward so everything slid off of it (phones, toothbrushes, soap dispensers). My son, who has Spina Bifida couldn’t lean on the sink to support himself while brushing his teeth and washing his face. It was hugely inconvenient.
When we got our income tax refund my husband and I split it in half to use on each of our “sacred cows”. His is travel, mine is home improvements. We each had $340 that we put in a cash envelope. I posted the job for the interior doors on Thumb Tack, but we know that didn’t work out. In the meantime, I saw someone on one of those Facebook For Sale groups selling a vanity with attached sink for $75! I quickly jumped on that, talked her down to $70, got my husband and his friend to install everything, and now we have this:
I am in love.
Do you have a sacred cow? Tell me what yours is in the comment section!
As always, thank you so much for reading!