When we bought our house we violated one of the many rules that you’ll find on the “buying your first home” advice pages all over the internet: don’t spend every last dime on your down payment because your house is going to need stuff. (Actually, we violated several of these like “Use a real estate agent.”)
Our house needed a lot of stuff. An estimated $8,000 worth of stuff. There were somethings we splurged on (like faucets) and others we went cheaper on (laminate flooring) and in the end I’m happy with what we chose to do. At the time, we were planning on staying in our house for a good long while and wanted to buy the nice stuff.
When we bought our house, we wanted to put down every dime we could but we were buying a a house that had huge single pane windows (one broken), no heat, exposed subfloor, and no working toilet. And it was December and about 20 degrees outside as a high.
Home Depot consumer credit card to the rescue. They gave Forrest an $8,000 credit limit, no problem even with a few credit dings. We bought most of our supplies during a promotion where any purchase over $299 was interest free for 12 months. This was laughable. Since it’s a long drive to the store, we’d make mega purchases so if we made it out of Home Depot for less than $1,000 we were shocked. We were also told that if we had purchases over the $299 threshold after the promotional period could almost ALWAYS be converted to promotional purchases simply by asking at the service desk. (Not to mention that Home Depot runs the promotion at least every two months…)
Since we had the interest free option, we were also able to tackle more projects (like my windows!) at the cabin this summer and spread it out over time. We calculated our minimum payments to get out of this thing with no interest paid as interest accrues during your promotional period at 17.99% that they will more than happily hit you with when the period ends.
Today, after a year and a half of using Home Depot for their lovely interest free help, we’re paid off. The ability to borrow $5,984.31 interest free in the period from December 2010 and today was key to our renovation!!
Note: The credit card was also awesome because we tended to buy every little thing we thought we might need (and still missed things, of course) because HD is 80 miles away…and then we just returned ’em. So we charged even more than the $6K but just made a return of the “extras” every trip.
You know what happens when you (mostly) finish a renovation? Your house is pretty much impossible to clean. I’ve been done with sheet rock for a really long time but somehow, I still find sheetrock dust everywhere.
The renovation is also not totally completely done because there is still trim missing in miscellaneous places around your house. Summer in northern Idaho will be over soon and your cabin still doesn’t have siding so the trim is waiting until fall/winter (this probably only applies to me but oh well). Lack of trim makes everything just seem a little less clean somehow.
Anyway, my mom and aunt are going to be in town on Friday afternoon and I would really like my house to be looking completely fabulous (or as fabulous as it can) by the time they get here. Neither of them have seen the house in person so this is my first chance to show off our little life here in Idaho.
Rather than writing a blog post last night (sorry!), I washed down the slate, washed the living room floor twice (and there is still a cloudiness caused by residual sheetrock dust!), washed the living room windows, and did dishes. And on the docket for tonight is kitchen counters, cabinets, and floors and hopefully the bedroom and bathroom. Phew.
This is the last of my home-buying posts. There’s not much left in the way of home projects from the initial purchase flurry of projects; there’s a little trim left to be done but that will all probably wait for winter. Everything else that we’d like to do is just that, something we’d like to do but not necessarily something we need to do.
I cannot wait to share pictures with you all of my lovely house—but I’m going to make you wait to get the full effect . I can’t even describe what an incredible difference putting siding on the house is making. We’re slow but progress is being made…the whole front of the house is done!
We set the final window in the house today! When we installed windows in the house last winter we were unable to put in the kitchen window because of the enormous pile of wood on our front porch (it was the only dry place to put wood in December).
After dinner we pulled out the old window, enlarged the opening for a 2’x3′ window instead of a 2’x2′, and set our nice efficient window. F is a bit upset about the high vinyl to window ratio and is trying to convince me to price check a fixed (picture) 2’x3′ but I’m not totally sold. We have a lot of windows in our house but almost all of them in the front of the house are fixed so I would like that little bit of cross breeze in the kitchen.
Siding is going on the house this weekend. I’m pretty sure it’s going to make our little house look quite polished!
Sometimes when you’re tearing a whole house apart it’s the little things.
See the chimney in the middle? It’s painted beige just like the walls so you might miss it. Sticking out past the cabinet there? We’d pretty much decided taking it out was a lot of work considering that we had a whole bunch of other more pressing needs (heat and toilet basically) so it was moved to the back burner. Continue reading “Home Buying: Part IV”
Continuing our series about renovating our little house. Check out Part I for and Part II other exciting projects.
Today we’re going to talk about heat. We bought our house December 23rd and had taken a chance and gave notice at our rental about a week before…move in date…January 13. On top of making sure we would have a shower and toilet we needed to figure out how to heat the place.
Our house hadn’t been occupied full time for about ten years. Somewhere along the line the vent pipe for the furnace leaked and water got into the heat exchanger. The previous owner seemed happy enough to just heat with space heaters when he and his family came up to Mullan for the weekend (although I doubt they were here in the winter much after that happened). The electric space heaters they left behind barely took the edge off the cold. Continue reading “Home Buying: Part III”
When we bought the house it took a lot of imagination to picture actually living here. It also took a bit of ingenuity to figure out how to make our 900 sq. foot house nice and livable (like not having the washer and dryer in the kitchen). A few floor plans later we ended up gaining a closet, merging the bathrooms, and creating a more private master bedroom entrance. Continue reading “Home Buying: Part II”
When we purchased our house F asked me if I was going to blog about our projects. Unfortunately, we didn’t have internet at either our rental or our house at the time so it wasn’t really going to happen. I’m going to start a little mini-series on our adventure to home ownership and the subsequent renovation.
Last September, I was offered a job in rural Idaho. At the time, we were living in Missoula where I was working a job I hated (with people I really liked!), paying way too much for rent, and living in a big city where we did not want to be.
Suddenly, we were presented with an option that I thought it would take a lot longer than three months to find. I had foreseen us moving around for awhile while I built my career and eventually stumbling upon the golden combination of sweet job and even sweeter place to live. It took just three months. Continue reading “Home Buying: Part I”