It’s no secret that I’ve been posting a lot less frequently this winter. I’ve been way too busy and way too exhausted to find any time to write. It’s a darn shame, because I really enjoy writing about personal finance and investing!
Unfortunately I just have way too many “high value” projects that are getting in the way of blogging right now. Projects that are absolutely worth putting my time into from a financial ($$) perspective. These are projects that are worth thousands of dollars to me to DIY them myself. If I tried to hire a handyman or contractor to do these jobs, they’d typically charge around $100/hour.
With an hourly rate like that, it adds up fast. So it makes sense for me to put the blog “on hold” for a little bit and get my hands dirty.
And what is driving all these projects? The fact that we’re moving this summer!
Moving Summer 2022
Yep, we’re finally moving! It’s happening this summer once the kids are out of school. After years of thinking about where we might move, a lot of things suddenly came together in 2022 that made this possible. For one, the city that we’re moving to is actually paying us to move there. Yes, they’re paying us actual cash money, as well as airbnb credits, free internet, as well as a bunch other incentives that help make it worth our while. The full incentive package is worth about $8,500.
You’ve probably read in the newspaper about different cities doing promotion programs like this. Well, they really do exist, and real people can get them. That’s exactly how I found out about it — one evening I was reading through a newspaper and saw a mention of the program.
We simply had to apply and meet several different income and eligibility criteria, but it really wasn’t hard.
Eventually we were selected for the program. The only ‘hitch’ is that we have to live in the city an entire year before we can get the full payout. (It won’t be a problem.)
The beauty of being selected for this incentive program is that we were thinking about moving there already. The program just set our “moving” wheels in motion, and I now have a TON of projects to get done before this summer!
Along with selling our house and moving, I’ve been trying to find a painter to fix-up the outside of our house this summer before we list it. I wish I had the time to paint the exterior of our house myself, but I just don’t have the time to complete it before our move date. By my calculations it would take over a month and a half to do what a team of exterior painters can get done in a week. (Yes, I’m much slower than they are!)
We have some peeling paint around the outside that needs to be fixed-up. I’d like to get top dollar for our house, so fixing little flaws is necessary. Frankly, we need every dollar we can get from our house sale!
Hiring someone else to do all the work sounds easy, but it really isn’t. Let me tell you how hard it is to find a decent contractor… nearly impossible! I contacted nearly every house painter I could find that had reasonably online reviews or referrals from friends and neighbors. Only about half of the painters called me back. Of those that called me back, roughly half of those were either too busy or they couldn’t take the job due to our timeline.
This left just a small handful of house painters to give me actual estimates for the job! It’s going to be expensive too!
On top of the needed exterior painting, I’m doing a ton of patching and painting inside. As you probably know, over time walls can get scraped, dinged, or chipped. Eventually they need a fresh coat of paint. This is a lot of what I’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks. There’s a lot of hole filling and painting touchup to do.
Another example, our bathroom cabinet was also looking pretty rough, and needed a fresh coat of paint. Here’s the ‘before’ shot:
And here’s the ‘after’ shot. I think it turned out OK.
As you probably noticed, the doors to the cabinet have been removed. I’m still working on those. The cabinet doors have nice decorative ridges that took forever to sand down properly. After many hours of hand-sanding I’m finally ready for painting:
Another major repair and paint project was the garage door that had a giant hole in it. This was where a dog-door used to be (the previous owners had a dog). This hole looked really ugly and wouldn’t appeal to potential home buyers. Rather than purchasing an expensive new door, I opted to carefully fix the mangled door instead.
Can you tell where the dog door was? I think the repair turned out pretty good. Most people probably won’t notice there was a giant hole in that door.
A New Kitchen Table
Long time readers of this blog know that about 90% of our household furniture is used. We rarely buy new furniture, because used furniture is so cheap (often free) and easily available. In this case, Mrs. Tako recently found a “new-to-us” oak kitchen table that was completely free, along with 6 wood chairs.
Unfortunately the word “free” sometimes means “it needs a little work”. And let me tell you — this new kitchen table was in bad shape! The previous owners seem to have completely mistreated it. There was glue and paint of various sorts and all over it. I literally spent an entire day removing paint/glue and scrubbing down this table and chairs. It looks much better now!
The chairs had also seen better days, and needed some repairs to the feet before they could be used on our hardwood floors. Thankfully, I happen to own a 3d printer and printed off some new TPU feet for the chairs.
It turned out quite nice for a “free” solid oak table. Cleaning and fixing is tedious work, but a new dining table set like this could easily cost over $1,000.
Ultimately I still need to sand and refinish the tabletop, and that’s honestly not a hard job. I’ll do it once we’ve finished with our house move.
Replacing A Water Heater
After developing a slow leak over the last year, I’ve decided our water heater needed replacing before we attempt to sell the house. Our water heater is 17 years old, so it was probably due for a changeout anyway.
I called around to find out how much a replacement was going to cost, and almost had a stroke on the phone. The water heater company wanted nearly $3,000 to complete the job ($2,000 for install alone), which is just outrageous for a simple drop in replacement.
I’ve now ordered a new water heater from Home Depot (about $1000), and will be DIY’ing the replacement as soon as it arrives.
This will be my first time installing a new water heater, but I’m fairly confident I can get the job done and save a ton of money in the process.
Inevitably I’ll get folks in the comments who are going to say “Why would you do all this yourself? Your time is worth XYZ per hour. You should totally just hire someone else to do this.” Unfortunately I make far less than your average contractor (which generally have starting hourly rates at $100/hour). Blogging itself is also a very low value activity (less than $2/hour). For me, it makes perfect sense to do as many of these high value DIY jobs as I can.
That said, I’m sorry to all the readers who’ve been missing my posts! I’ll certainly try my best to keep on posting during our move, but it’s likely posts will be arriving slower for the next couple of months while we pack-up and move house.
Thanks for reading everyone!
[Image Credit: Flickr]