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Home ownership, 2 years in

August 16, 2016


Two years ago, we got the keys to our new home.  It was “move in ready”

In the two years we’ve been in our house, here are the projects and repairs that we’ve done:

  • New furnace and vents (and removed asbestos).  This was something like $10k, and we did it upon moving in.  The furnace would have lasted a bit longer, but I was nervous about the asbestos.
  • Installed fans in bathrooms (DIY, a couple hundred dollars)
  • Redid drainage to eliminate moisture in crawl space during rainy season.  The crawl space is unused, just a concern about mold.  This was something like $10k for a french drain, which we anticipated when moved in.
  • Added gutters to the deck, patched up some other gutters. This was about $500.
  • Repaired a few leaks on the roof.  This was DYI, about $100 for materials.  (We got quotes for fixing it on the order of $700, but the things they said they would do were kind of basic.)
  • Put UV film on most of the windows, $220.
  • Got our first round of blinds for the bedrooms, the only ones that really needed blinds for privacy reasons, $700.
  • Put up gates on the back patio in preparation for the pup.  About $300 in supplies, DIY.
  • Earthquake retrofitting.  Finally done!  Final out-of-pocket cost will be <$1000.
  • We’re in the middle of regrading our patio since it floods in the winter. I assume the previous owners installed it themselves, and they didn’t put in proper drainage (see a theme here?).  We’re digging it out, then will put in the appropriate drain materials, then relay the flagstone.  So far we’ve only bought buckets (yep, I’m hauling the dirt by the bucket), but the final cost is TBD.  We’ll have to pay for gravel, lumber, etc.

We didn’t fully furnish everything and we already had a lot of stuff, but we did get a quite a few things:

  • Chair and side table, $2k.  Expensive because it is a modern designer, not outrageous because it was used.
  • Sleeper sofa from Craigslist for spare room ($500)
  • Big table to use in the office as a desk and an office chair, from university surplus store ($100)
  • Several rugs for the hardwood floors (~$400 for two 5×8 rugs and 1 used 8×10)
  • Patio furniture (yay!) ($1500)
  • 8 new dinning room chairs (used)… but no table to go with them yet! $800
  • New lighting fixtures for the dining room, $340.  No more crazy swirl track lights that I hated!
  • Bar stools, $60 for two.  Eventually I’d like to get some nicer ones, but these are working fine.
  • We’ve also slowly been replacing our recessed lighting with LED bulbs.

This list covers most of the major projects identified when we moved in, as well as the most critical furniture needs.  Some things that are still on my wishlist are:

  • New dining table (likely used) that seats more than 4 people and isn’t a high top
  • Blinds on a few more windows
  • More/better rugs.  The one in our living room is pretty blah, but it serves a purpose and it is big.  We could use a hallway runner and a rug in the spare room.
  • Entryway project.  It is usable right now, but it is ugly and haphazard.  Like, I have 3M sticky hooks instead of proper hooks and we’re using an old end table as an entryway console.
  • Shading for the deck to go along with the recent patio furniture.  We might just get an umbrella, but I’m also looking at sail shades.  We’ll probably wait until next summer to make this happen.
7 Comments leave one →
  1. yuppiemillennial permalink
    August 16, 2016 2:23 pm

    Bad drainage is the worst. We have a gutter spout that lets out on the uphill side of our house (and therefore the water blows back through some bushes right into our foundation). We are getting that taken care of this week!

    I don’t know about you but I really enjoyed shopping for blinds. Was the one point (other than paint) I felt like I was changing the building aesthetic rather than just paying a bunch for invisible purely functional changes.

    • August 16, 2016 8:36 pm

      Yeah, the previous owners put in some DIY drainage, and… it really just didn’t help much. We decided to pay for pros, and I wonder how much the previous owners they wasted with their efforts. I have no idea what the story on the patio is and why it floods, maybe it has just been rainy after a drought. But whoever installed it didn’t do it properly.

      As you can see, we’ve done pretty much all invisible projects. We got basic/boring blinds, and so far have only put them where we really needed them… but I don’t really enjoy picking them out. Which is partly why we haven’t made that much progress on it. I like the look of staged homes that have completely bare windows. 🙂

  2. August 19, 2016 4:41 am

    When you bought the house and knew what needed to be done, did you consider it mostly “move-in ready” or more of a fixer-upper? IMO, pretty much all houses turn out to be fixer-uppers due to the action or inaction of the previous owners. PS: I love your new lighting fixture!

    • August 19, 2016 8:41 am

      It was was considered “move in ready” by us, although as you point out, most houses need some work. All of these projects were non-immediate and not new problems, but it seemed wise to take care of them now since we plan on staying here for some time. Considering the spectrum of houses we saw, it wasn’t a fixer upper. But all homes require some maintenance, and there was some outstanding work we took care of.

      The previous owners did a nice kitchen remodel in the past few years, opened up the main living space into a more modern floor plan, and fixed the deck possibly due to termite damage. Termites are apparently a big issue around here and many houses had tens of thousands of dollars in termite repair needed. That was probably the most surprising thing to me when looking at houses. Pest reports are required. We didn’t have any, which was a relief.

  3. September 3, 2016 1:08 pm

    My head is whirling. SO MUCH TO DO.

    For us, it was to replace all the lights with lower watt and energy savers, patch the holes, the UV film and all that was already there

    We also need to repaint and are considering not tearing down that STUPID wall they put up that looks hideous, covered in fake plastic stone.

    • September 7, 2016 8:10 pm

      I’m surprised that there was UV film! That is really uncommon, most people don’t do it, because you don’t need it if you have blinds/curtains/etc. I just prefer it to other window covering options.

      I didn’t repaint anything really, which most people found weird since people like to “customize” and choose their paint colors for the interior. Good luck with your projects!

      A lot of this could have been postponed (drainage, furnace) and many houses don’t have bathroom fans if there are windows… but I wanted them!


  1. Homeownership, 3 years in | Stacking Pennies

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