Thursday, March 11, 2010

This House We Live In

After three years of pretty much ignoring this house we live in (devoting our attention instead to the babies that keep showing up here), we're suddenly doing two projects at once: Ripping out and replacing the only full bath and refinancing.

No, we're not doing the bathroom work ourselves. But still, there has been a lot of work involved; vetting contractors, selecting toilets and faucets and tile.

We've been planning to get going on the bathroom remodel for more than a year, and it's finally going to happen at the end of this month. None too soon: look at our shower wall:

I leaned my hand on that wall one night, after signing the contract to gut the bathroom and replace everything, and four tiles just caved right in. Yeah, it's in bad shape. On the upside, I didn't see any mold back there -- but I didn't look around too much either.

So then I noticed that interest rates dipped back below 5% again last week, so I got in contact with our old lender who was once again offering the best rate and lowest fees, and dang, once you say the word "refinance," the sky just opens up and paperwork rains down on you. Two days after emailing the dude there was an appraiser walking through our house taking photos. It wasn't until a couple hours before she arrived that it occurred to me that a garbage bag duct taped to the shower wall might detract from our property value.

Well, I told her about the scheduled remodel, and apparently that was good enough. We got our appraisal report today and, using comparable property sales, our house is worth ...

wait for it ...

$1,000 more than what we paid in 2007. Considering how much the Chicago housing market has fallen in the last couple of years, I'm pretty psyched about that. When we bought this house I negotiated hard, and I know we got a very, very good price for it. And now I no longer have to think about whether we could have done better if we'd rented for another year and waited to buy. Hooray!

Bathroom tear-down starts March 29. Double hooray!

1 comment:

margaret said...

so do tell: Is Marmoleum in your plans? If you want my other recommendations, I vote for solid surface in the shower (no more grout care and no tiles caving in!) around a Kohler Villager tub. There are many more inexpensive solid-surface options than the luxe Corian etc. (we went with one called Marblecraft and also Swanstone). If you can, go for lots of different types of lights: sconces, pendants, and cans. The older we get, the more lumens we need. And put 'em all on dimmers! I'm a big fan of recessed medicine cabinets, so lots of lotions and potions go out of sight and yet stay handy. All right, way more than my 2 cents! Good luck, and remember you'll forget what a pain it was to undertake about 2 hours after it finishes. (It'll just seem like that's it's forever it never finishes; gosh, there must be a better way to put that.)