Our Crazy Project List…

April 21, 2011

We have several things on our project list.  Ranging from Want to do, Need to do, and HAVE to do.  Mostly the Have to do items are the dumb things; which really sucks.HouseThe problem really is – that before we bought the house, our city came and did an inspection on the property; and gave it a list of things that had to be done.  We put down a sum of money to the city as an escrow; saying that we promise to do these repairs – and then you’ll give us our money back.  That was the deal, or no house.

These projects include things like – fixing/replacing the deck; repairing rotted Stupid Repairswood from doors on the shed; fixing the wall in the garage to the house that has been dented (it’s a fire wall…); outdoor lighting; electrical boxes with saftey covers; vent covers; new doors for the bedrooms; and there is a ‘trip hazard’ in our driveway leading to the garage that is about 4” high that needs to be taken care of.

The city estimated these items at a little under $2k to fix.  And I’d sure love to meet the person who would do all of this for us at that price.. Because Seriously; we’ve had at least four people look at our deck and the Not_Up_to_CodeCHEAPEST estimate we got (doing a much smaller deck and having stairs running along the side of the house vs. into the yard) was $3500.  Every one of them said that replacing the rotted wood (most of the deck) and bringing the deck up to code would cost more than just tearing it down and starting over again.

The driveway on the other hand – has to get done.  We cannot get our cars into the garage with our ‘trip hazard.’  I love that they call it IMG_4861that– because its really so much more than that! Pretty much the asphalt driveway has sunk right near the cement skirt from the garage (due to the fact that there are no gutters on the house except over the ever so important garden… *sarcasm*). This wasn’t such a big deal for us in the winter; because we simply piled snow to make a ramp for our cars to get into the garage.  Now that the snow has melted; our cars bottom out on this ledge.  We’ve had several people look at it – and the cheapest estimate we had was $900 to have them repair the slope – all the way up to over $10k for a new cement driveway. ha! We were wondering if because it’s just a ‘trip hazard’ if we could just paint the cement yellow – and then it’s a legal trip hazard… you know? Winking smile

Well anyway –  we have decided to do that project on our own – at least as a temporary fix to get the city off of our backs. I will have a post about IMG_4863this when we finish the project.  It was warm when we started the project, but then got terribly cold and snowed the next day and since then it hasn’t been warm enough for long enough to get the rest of it completed.  It will most likely not be completed during this event. But details will follow.

The worst part of all these repairs is the mental battle; there are other things that we would much rather spend our time and money on – but we’re being held back by the city because of all these other repairs that they’re requiring.

GuttersGutters:  There are no gutters on the house.. Except for over the garden.  Weird? They Cared more about their garden getting no water drippage than they did about their driveway sinking and not being able to drive into the garage due to not having gutters…

Kitchen FloorKitchen Floor:  I was SO ready to do the kitchen floor the day we moved in.  I would have too, if we had the right equipment and someone was available to help us figure it out.  In our condo we had beautiful floors – and I *loved* that I could see all the dirt. I mopped the floor every day on my hands and knees because I could see it.  It was awesome.  Now – we have this crappy vinyl roll flooring that was poorly cut; leaving a huge bulge in the middle of the floor that we often trip on.  Talk about a REAL trip hazard.

I would have actually done a whole kitchen remodel if Lowes would have given me a better price off the bat.  The lady scared me out of the decision to do it.  I had the measurements done; and told her I wanted a nice – but cheap kitchen.  She gave me a price of over 10k.  I freaked, and never went back.

New sink in the 2nd bathroom: The sink in the bathroom works just fine; it just has a huge crack in it and is a pedestal sink.  But there is very little space for hiding my toiletries.  If I could do it again; I’d get a sink with a cabinet below and maybe a drawer.

We did buy a washer and dryer when we moved in; as well as a stove, and microwave. That has helped: but I’d also LOVE to have a new kitchen table254431-SM3 and some nice dining room chairs to go with it.  Our table is almost 10 years old and was purchased from Walmart on clearance for less than $80.  It’s wobbly, chipped, dented, all of the above – but it just wont die. I was dreaming while looking at a site that had beautiful side dining chairs and found a set that I would love to get. They would match my kitchen and go perfectly with the rest of my house.

We’re not even sure if the air conditioner works.  I’m kind of doubting it is based on its age and our luck.  Joe has some experience with re-vamping a/c systems; and so we will see 🙂

These are just a few of the many major projects that we’re looking at in the next few years.  I’m sure there will be more along the way – and I just pray that eventually I get a new kitchen floor.

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  1. Amy, I know it sounds so expensive on all the prices you got. But actually they were very reasonable. Especially the deck. I am married to a second generation remodeler. My Husband’s family started the business in 1961 and we do all our own work (cept plumbing and electrical which by law you have to sub out). Also have our own cabinet shop. The price Lowes quoted you was actually cheap. Unless you have custom built cabinets, most of what you get in those stores have particle board innards (bottoms and such). Not the better and more sturdy plywood. I know it seems like so much money. The house my hubby and I bought years ago needed as much and more work as yours does. I understand. We worked on things as we could afford too. We had to put on a new roof, new well pump, and new septic system in the first 2 years. Acck. But it was all worth it for where we live (in country but close to town). What I really wanted to say here is what some people don’t realize is that in the remodelers/contractors fee is all the darn things we have to carry and pay for. Insurance ( and this type of business has one the very highest rates in the country), Licensing, carrying over a million dollar bond, plus all the tools, and the list goes on. It is definitely not a cheap business to be in. Really did not mean to write a book here, and I for one understand all stuff you are going though. But if you like the location, it will be worth it. Good Luck and I wish you few headaches~~~


    P.S. Your boys are so cute. I have 2 girls, grown now.

    • Thanks for your reply Leta,

      I’m not meaning in any way to complain about their pricing; more so just about the amount of things that we *have* to do right away. There just isn’t that much $ in our bank accounts; making it hard. I’d more than love to do all of those things- but I just cant afford to do them all at once. Sorry if it sounded like I was complaining about the pricing of the services – I especially understand about the insurance and licensing and reasoning why these people charge what they do: I’m more complaining about the city requiring us to do these repairs that we wouldn’t choose to do first if it was our choice. Our deck: sure it looks crappy and has a few rotted boards: but I would in no way run off replacing it within 90 days of moving in if I had the choice. I’d wait until I felt it was necessary and we were able to save to do a deck that we would like. The way they’re forcing us to do it is making us choose between having a crappy or crappier deck design. Thanks for your input though 🙂

      • Oh, I did not think you were complaining and I also think it is nuts what the city is requiring when it is not on the darn sidewalk(where they do have a say). Actually what you have written is new to me. I have not heard of a city telling you what to do with your own home (unless it was a hazard to the general public). Does you city inspect all the homes for sale? Usually you are only inspected when you are having work done that requires permits. Our house was literally a square 900 ft. box when we bought it with a shake roof (first thing that needed replacing) and no eves. Poor house looked sad with no eaves. But it was structurally sound, good price and in a great location. So over the years we have made improvements.
        Like I said, I just don’t understand why the city has to be involved when what you are showing does not affect people walking past your house.
        I wish you luck, I know the work involved will not be easy but hopefully worth it for you. From your pics, your deck does not look crappy to me and its ridiculous that they want you to replace the whole thing right now instead of just the rotten boards. Goodness, they will not be paying the mortgage.

        Could you explain about why the city is requiring all this when most is internal in house, and the external is not a hazard to pedestrians, so I don’t get it.

        Leta 🙂

  2. UGH it sounds like a lot of work. I can’t wait until one day I can own my own house, repairs or not.

    Congrats on owning your own home!

  3. My husband is a carpenter, owns a cabinet shop, and my house is still not completely finished LOL!! That honey do list will always be there for us 🙂

    • I wish my honey could DO cabinets and carpentry! I am lucky though that he can do pretty much anything with electronics. He can jimmy-rig just about anything mechanical… but he just hasn’t had enough experience with wood to do much else…

  4. Kimberly says:

    You are not alone. Our list is longer than our bank account. We have live in our home for 18 years and I am still wishing for a new kitchen floor. I am just grateful to have what we do.

  5. Kimberly says:

    I should proof read before posting. We have lived in our house for 18 years not live. I just wanted to say I also enjoy all the wonderful pictures you post!

    • Yeah – I have a feeling that that is what homeownership is all about. Having the constant list of things to do that is much larger than our bank act.

      Thanks about the photos. I’m lucky to have these particular photos with the arrows. they’re actually from our home inspection report 🙂

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