A Friday Chat About Home Renovation

Photo credit: Austin Godber, CC BY 2.0.

NICOLE: Happy Friday!

ANDNOWLIGHTS: Oh goodness! Happy Friday indeed! I keep forgetting it’s Friday, honestly, so tomorrow will be a great surprise.

NICOLE: For any particular reason, besides the fact that it’s Saturday (and my birthday)?

ANDNOWLIGHTS: I didn’t know tomorrow was your birthday! That’s an even better reason to celebrate, so happy early birthday! Great people were born on November 4th (one of my best friends is a Nov 4th baby, too).

No other reason. May work on the house some this weekend and I have pottery, but I honestly have no concrete plans.

NICOLE: You are currently renovating your house, yes?

ANDNOWLIGHTS: Ha, yes. Though we haven’t gotten anything done in a couple of months. Things take longer than you think they will and my husband has been working *way* more than expected the last six months, so things are very slow going.

I have bought a ton of light fixtures, though, so at least that part is done.

NICOLE: Light is important. I have been showing my unit to potential tenants and they are all interested in the amount of light the apartment gets.

ANDNOWLIGHTS: That’s an interesting question to ask, honestly. It’s not one I thought about when we bought the house (built in the late 1920s) but it is kind of a dark house because we’re pretty close to our neighbors on either side.

I love it, though. It has so much potential. Well, love it and hate it. A lot of work needs to be done and sometimes that is overwhelming.

NICOLE: Have you calculated how much work? And how far you are into it?

ANDNOWLIGHTS: At least $11,369.52. $3500 of that was a contractor to smooth our ceilings that was just a huge mistake all around, honestly. $475 was just on masonry repair for the bricks above our front door that needed to be fixed.

We have… a long, long way to go. I expect by the time it’s done, we’ll have put $40k into it, roughly.

NICOLE: That’s impressive! I hope the rest of the process goes well. How much are you doing yourself vs. hiring out?

ANDNOWLIGHTS: We’re trying to do the majority of it ourselves. Most of it is surface work, sanding and repainting walls, replacing the floor, etc. We’re laying our own hardwood. Maybe in the future we won’t do that? We may hire someone to finish that, honestly. But the bathroom and 1/2 kitchen reno we will hire out. I don’t mess with plumbing or electrical work.

NICOLE: Water and electricity are serious business. Also sewage.

ANDNOWLIGHTS: We have a FABULOUS electrician that was recommended to me by a coworker who said you could tell he’d been shocked a few times. Yes, sewage, too. None of those things are problems I want to deal with. I’m just glad our wiring is updated so we don’t have knob and tube wiring!

I think maybe we bit off more than we could chew in this house, so sometimes I regret buying it. I think the end result will be amazing, but for now, it just feels hard, especially as I consider going to grad school.

NICOLE: I can understand. Before we all go enjoy our weekends, I will ask: any renovation-related advice for The Billfold?

ANDNOWLIGHTS: We could talk for days about that! Honestly, I just think knowing that doing it right the first time, even though it takes longer, will be worth it in the end both for your own peace of mind and resell value!

Want to be part of a future Billfold chat? Email nicole@thebillfold.com.

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