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Total home renovation

Jeaniegirl posted 12/15/2020 22:13 PM

Well, I'm taking the plunge and having almost a total make-over of my home. I THINK.

It's an older home, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths and 1800SF - not a huge home but a nice size ... on 8 acres of land backing up to a lake. The home was built in 1970 and has original hardwood floors everywhere except the kitchen and bathrooms. I have a contractor and he's been bringing out sub-contractors for estimates. While they are here, I go out to the garage and sit in my car - to be safe. They all wear masks.

I've been pondering this move for months, trying to decide to do it or not. I also have a smaller condo near Dallas that I have leased on a long-term lease but I will probably not ever use it again -- only have it as a rental.

The contractor says I will probably have to vacate for a lot of the work but I'll worry about that when the time comes as it will be late spring or early summer before work starts. All that depends on Covid (as everything depends on Covid!) I guess I am getting excited about it.

This is what is being proposed:

New energy efficient heat and air units

New windows

New kitchen (yay!!), stainless steel appliances.
My kitchen cabinets were redone about 6 months ago so not changing them.

(I also have a new roof so don't have to do that.)

New plank flooring in kitchen and bathrooms to blend in with wood flooring.

All the original wood flooring refinished

New bathtubs, at least one jacuzzi tub.

All the electrical and plumbing checked and anything needed to be replaced.

The outside multi-color brick painted a light gray and trimmed out with cedar trim.

A new, larger front porch with a different roof angle. I spend a LOT of time on my porch.

New sidewalks and new driveway.

Right now the contractor is gathering estimates and I hope I don't faint when I see the costs BUT .. with a new turnpike one mile away, my 8 acres is already 4 times more valuable than it was about 6 months ago -- so it's a good investment. It will never get 'crowded' where I live as everyone has a minimum of 5 acres on a dead end street. The lake behind my house also adds to the value.

Soooo big ideas, a big project .... and banker has already said YES if I need help with $$.

Something to look forward to!

homewrecked2011 posted 12/15/2020 22:41 PM

Yes, yes, and yes!!!! Iím originally from Dallas and whichever lake you are on is an awesome investment! My sons work for a general contractor in my current state and many people are doing renovations now to update their homes. Sounds wonderful to me. Enjoy!

Jeaniegirl posted 12/15/2020 23:15 PM

I'm sure going to TRY to enjoy it all. The contractor I have is awesome so I know he'll do a good job. AND not dipping into savings for this. Home is paid for so I'm taking advantage of some 2% money to have it done. I may pay it off later but that interest rate is too good to pass up!

The lake behind me has a little beach area and in addition it stocked with fish. But I don't fish, just like to sit down there and relax.

The1stWife posted 12/16/2020 05:44 AM

Sounds wonderful. Go for it!

Catwoman posted 12/16/2020 06:56 AM

I lived in my home during a fairly extensive renovation due to water damage. I would do it again; however, I was working (so gone all day), and the contractor was absolutely drop dead fabulous, letting me know in advance when I would need to vacate certain areas, etc.

Although mine was not planned, it turned out to be a fairly substantial upgrade and I LOVE IT.


Lalagirl posted 12/16/2020 07:49 AM

Ohmygosh, I would SO do it, Jeaniegirl! You only live once and you deserve to make your home your sanctuary, and if you can afford it, do it all the way!

Would love to see before and after pics!

Bigger posted 12/16/2020 08:08 AM

My honest opinion: Renovating a home seldom translates into an increase in sales-price that goes beyond the pre-renovation price plus cost of renovating. I.e. if you could get 300k for the house as is, renovate for 50k your market price will probably be around 350k.

This POV was reinforced many years ago when I helped a friend sell his newly renovated apartment. He installed a completely new kitchen along with a new high-end countertop. The couple that purchased the apartment commented that the kitchen was nice, but they would definitely renew the countertop, and then made an offer that reflected the price of a new countertopÖ The changes we make often reflect OUR preferences and choices, and those donít necessarily reflect what others want.
The exceptions are if you can do the renovations yourself and/or basic but necessary renovations to fundamentals like electricity, windows and plumbing. If Iím looking at a property I tend to walk away from those with old or bad plumbing (too much hassle and relatively expensive to fix.

By all means renovate but do it for yourself and without an expectation of ever getting the money back per se. After all Ė if you were renovating to increase value you would have to select generic colors, flooring and so on that would be appealing to many Ė not necessarily you. Renovate and enjoy it.

One idea: You mention replacing bathtubs (as in plural): Earlier this year I removed both bathtubs in my house and replaced them with walk-in showers. I also have a jacuzzi in my lawn to soak in, but even then, I would always have replaced at least one tub with a walk-in shower. I donít miss the bathtubs and absolutely LOVE the walk-in showers.

Jeaniegirl posted 12/16/2020 11:27 AM

Bigger, while the thought of selling for a huge profit sounds nice, I plan to live here -- for a long time. It's 'home' .... and my sister lives nearby so I'm staying. I definitely would make a nice profit because I only paid for $68K for the property originally

Jeaniegirl posted 12/16/2020 11:37 AM

Opinions please? Shiny stainless steel appliances vs. the dull stainless steel? My daughter says the shiny stainless steel shows fingerprints but I sure like the way it looks.

barcher144 posted 12/16/2020 14:10 PM

Opinions please? Shiny stainless steel appliances vs. the dull stainless steel? My daughter says the shiny stainless steel shows fingerprints but I sure like the way it looks.

Get what YOU want. It's your place. Treat yo'self!

thatbpguy posted 12/16/2020 15:48 PM

Everything on your list seems reasonable. A few thoughts...

The electric & plumbing should be fine. If you leave it up to a contractor to decide, it's like a soft 'yes' and can be costly. Try and be firm that if things seem good, they stay.

I hope you have carefully vetted your contractor. Looked on Angie's list, verified the license & insurance... Think about getting competitive bids.

The only thing on your list I'd question may be the tub. I have heard more negative than positive about those types of bath tubs. Leakage, collect calcium deposits... I'd say to put an old fashioned hot tub under a cover outside with easy access. If you get tired of it, sell it off.

One last thought..... Don't leave anything in the house you wouldn't want to walk. I used to work in insurance claims and sometimes laborers will sell information about something they come across and it's stolen a few months after he job is done. Just be careful.

Jeaniegirl posted 12/16/2020 18:12 PM

That bpguy, thanks for your comments. My contractor is someone I've known since college. He built about 60 new homes a mile from me. So he's more like a long-time friend. I live in a small suburban area and he's well-known. I also know he's using sub-contractors that have worked for him for a long time. He usually doesn't do renos as he's a new home builder but he's doing it for me. I plan to be here except when the hardwood floors are stripped -- so probably out of the house 3-4 days tops. My 'good stuff" will be in my storage about 2 miles away. While I plan to purchase 'some' new furnishings, a lot of what I have is almost new or family heirlooms -- so I don't want it here during renovations.

Catwoman posted 12/17/2020 07:48 AM

I, too, hired a contractor that was building in the neighborhood. He has built the three homes across the street from me, and he was amazing. Simply one of the best (and I've built 2 homes).

Because it was a water damage issue, my insurance company had my belongings moved from the first floor, with the exception of the piano and a table and a couple of chairs. I put locks on two of the bedroom doors so I could keep valuables in there. No worries or issues. In fact, I'm going to have the same builder put on a new front door this summer.


tushnurse posted 12/17/2020 09:25 AM

Shiny stainless steel appliances vs. the dull stainless steel?

Brushed stainless.
I agree the shiny does show fingerprints and smudges easily. I have slowly replaced some of my black appliances with the brushed stainless I love the look of it.

Next appliance is going to be expensive, because I need to replace my double oven and downdraft range.

But I agree with Barcher, if you are planning on staying for good, get what YOU want.

JanaGreen posted 12/17/2020 13:27 PM


All that sounds amazing!!!!

josiep posted 12/22/2020 12:41 PM

Buy a stainless steel small appliance (toaster, coffee pot, etc.) and use it for a couple of months and then decide if you like the shiny.

If you're in the habit of wiping everything in your kitchen every night, you'll love the shiny. But if you're like me and only do that chore once a week, you might not enjoy it as much. Of course, I suppose if I had the shiny, I might get motivated to whip out the Norwex cloth or the Windex every night when I clean the kitchen.

And, of course, if you have grandkids and/or other people who come to your house a lot, the shiny might get to be more of a chore than you want to put up with.

Edited to add what I started to say in the first place: Congratulations on taking this big step! I just put in an offer on a home and will be moving closer to my DD and grandkids. It's quite dated, a widow lived in it since it was new in 2004 and made zero changes. But I'm still too paralyzed and unable to make decisions so I'll live with it the way it is. Your list sounds fantastic!

[This message edited by josiep at 12:44 PM, December 22nd (Tuesday)]

Chili posted 12/22/2020 13:29 PM

Congratulations on taking this big step!

To Jeaniegirl and you too josie!

The first thing I did after my legal stuff was over: full gut rehab of my kitchen. Feels so good to rearrange our environments - whether to remove the stink of an Ex or start a NB or just treat ourselves.

I'm at it again - unfortunately the manufacturing schedule of my latest indulgence is still 6 months away...practicing that delayed gratification whatchamacallit. Useful skill to practice in all home projects actually, now that I think about it...

Jeaniegirl posted 12/22/2020 14:34 PM

Thank you all for your input. So many decisions, big and little, to make! I have a budget in my head that I'm trying to follow. I've lived in this home for quite a while. The contractor stripped a small section of the original wood flooring in the living room, to ...'see what was under there' ... and it's a light oak. Of course through the years I've used a lot of wood floor wax because I like the shiny look. Contractor said it was a good thing I did that as it helped to preserve the flooring. It's such a pretty color of oak that he doesn't want it stained, just a sealer on top after stripping and cleaning.

Fun to find out such things. I guess I'm most excited about two new bathrooms a new kitchen and having great wood flooring ... but MOST of all I'm excited about a new, huge porch. I'm in the south and we are all great porch sitters. I'm even getting a ceiling fan on my porch. In my largest bathroom, there is a window and contractor suggests making that window larger and use glass bricks, to add a lot of light to the bathroom. I like that.

Because of covid, I don't expect actual work to start until March or April -- but that is okay as I have to dispose of a lot of things before then. Estimates are still coming in too as that all takes a while. I'm in no hurry.

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