Know when to hire a professional

by Joe Somebody on Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Most DIY stuff around the house you can do. These ones to look out for are the following:

Load bearing walls

All of these have extreme consequences if something were to go wrong. Plumbing can damage almost everything in your home. Electrical can stop your heart if you mess with the wrong wire or forget to turn the power off. Load bearing walls can bring your house down on itself.

Me personally would not want to deal with any of these issues. This is a perfect time to call in a professional.

Project: Fixing a wet basement

by Joe Somebody on Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Slowly coming along with the wet basement. So many things going on in this house that its hard to keep it straight at times. I'm finding it hard just to gets small jobs done. I know they will all get done. Its just a matter of time.

That wasn't there when I bought the house.
 I had to tear into the wall to find where the water is coming from. Unfortunately we are in a bit of a dry spell so its hard to see where the water is coming in.

Notice the water stain.
This last photo is hard evidence that water is coming in.

Project: Remodling the Bar

by Joe Somebody on Monday, March 28, 2011

A summer project of mine will be to remodel the wet bar. The construction of it is sound but the appearance of it is very rough and dated. No real ideas of what to do to it so far so I figured I would post photos and let you guys come up with some ideas. ;)

Its a nice size bar. Just needs a face lift.

Wet bar means it has a sink.

Plenty of room to mix drinks and store bottles of energy.

This old house is true

by Joe Somebody on Sunday, March 27, 2011

Part of my HGTV addiction is This Old House. This show has some of the best Home Improvement and Remodeling ideas on this network.

Expert advice on kitchen design and planning, from remodeling to easy upgrades for every layout from great rooms to galley kitchens. Find more space in half baths, powder rooms, and other tight-squareeze bathrooms by looking at design, layout, and storage options. Ideas, projects, upgrades, and step-by-step instructions for creating a cozy great room, living room, library, and more.

And their website is killer. They have all kinds of videos you can watch and learn from. They also have a wonderful gallery that other homeowners post too. This is a great way to get ideas from and also comments back on what people think of your home.

I plan on posting a few photos on there to see what people think of my home.

HGTV Addiction

by Joe Somebody on Saturday, March 26, 2011

I’ve watched way too many HGTV shows over the last couple of days.

I found out how to watch them on Hulu and I’ve consumed many episodes of House Hunters, Top Design, and more. I’m addicted. It’s giving me an escape. It’s letting me escape for thirty minutes and dream about renovating my place.

HGTV gives me a break from these thoughts. It let’s me escape into someone else’s home buying or decorating process and pretend it’s my own. I like having that ability to make the decisions in my head and talk back to the show when I feel they made a horrible choice.

It’s too bad they don’t pay you for watching HGTV.

How to meet your neighbors

by Joe Somebody on Friday, March 25, 2011

I actually met one of my neighbors by accident. I was leaving with a friend when they pulled into their driveway. It was interesting the number of questions she had for me. Do you smoke? Is that your wife? Do you have kids? She wanted to know so much about me. It was actually pretty cool. Sadly the only thing I now know about her is her name and that she has a dog. Need to find more ways to introduce myself.

Just because delivering a Jell-O mold to welcome a newcomer to the block is creepy doesn’t mean you’re destined to live a lonely, anonymous life in your neighborhood. Even if you are the new person.

Saying hello "a lost art that needs to be brought back." Try this: Walk around your neighborhood and actually look at people, not down at the sidewalk or at your iPhone. As you pass someone, make eye contact and smile, nod, or say "Hi." Afterward, continue walking, and don’t look back. Repeat.

Practice common courtesies. Return your neighbors’ mail if it’s delivered to you by mistake (including a nice note wouldn’t hurt). Help strangers who need assistance with large packages, or carrying strollers up and down stairs. Open doors for others.

These are just some small things that you can do to learn more about your neighbors.

How to be a first time homeowner

by Joe Somebody on Thursday, March 24, 2011

A first time home owner often starts the real estate search all sunny & happy. They are finally going to get their dream home. A few weeks later you can see first time home buyers tearing out their hair or even crying.

Look past what you see in the house. Many of the homes that you look at will be dusty. They will probably be cluttered and decorated in a style that you don't like. You need to learn how to look past people's possessions. You aren't buying the furniture. Use vision as a first time home owner to turn what you can afford into your dream house.

The first rule of real estate is location, location, location. You can change pretty much everything about the house except for where it is. If you are looking for a prime location you will probably have to spend more money. If you think it's in a great place, so will another first time home owner. This may mean that you'll end up with an older home that costs more money.

Look for up and coming neighborhoods or add 15 minutes to your commute to save more money. Be sure to factor in the added cost of getting back and forth to work (Even if gas prices sky rocket) to see if the money that you would save is really worth it.

Most first time home buyers have a list of dozens of things that they want, like dishwashers, stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops. If you are on a budget, you will have to learn to compromise. Decide what you can and can't do without. Needs and wants are different. Learn what they are to you.

Slow as a turtle

by Joe Somebody on Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I finally worked out with A.B. May on who will be installing my dishwasher. They at first told me that Nebraska Furniture Mart was going to install it and I would have to pay their fee and they would reimburse me. I felt that was to much of a pain. I paid them $60 USD and all they have done was give me a $90 USD credit to NFM. So they are basically out $30 USD. I really don't feel like I'm coming out a head here. After speaking with them I finally got them to install my dishwasher for free as this was covered by the first $60 USD fee.

The part that I felt unfair about is that I had to climb the food chain to get this answer. Everyone before hand was telling me that it was an extra fee for them to install it since I purchased the dishwasher from someone else. Sure one person can make a mistake but I got the same answer from two different people before I spoke with someone in management. Mangement was very clear that the install was included with the first fee and that I will not be charged an additional fee. If it wasn't for the fact that I am stuborn when it comes to money, they would have got another $60 USD from me. Some how I bet that is how their system works. Its just a racket to make more money.

I have zero plans to renew this home warranty. A.B. May is a scam. This is a clear example that gives insurance companies a bad name. They are not playing fair. They are 100% for the system. Know your rights as a homeowner. Read the fine print. Make sure you are not getting screwed by them or any other company for that matter. They will all try to make a buck off you.

Samsung is now my kitchen theme

by Joe Somebody on Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So I went up to Nebraska Furniture Mart to purchase the Whirlpool dishwasher. Turns out that sell ended the day before. Talk about being upset. I then asked to see a GE model that I had compared to the Whirlpool. Turns out that one was also part of the sale. Talk about suck.

I can't drive all the way out here and not get something. So now I told the guy to just show me stainless steel dishwashers with hidden controls. Showed me serveral but all of them either did not have features I was looking for or it had a big brand badge on the front of it. Thats kind of why I like the GE models. They do not have any labels on the front of it. I took a longshot and asked if they had any Samsung models on the floor. To my surprise he said yes (Their website still does not show any Samsung models). The price was still high but it was nothing like the others. Plus I knew I had $190 USD in credit coming to me.

The Samsung had all the features I was looking for and it had a stainless steel tub to boot. It was also the quietest dishwaser I looked at (51db). I should be able to run it just before bed and not have to worry about it.

After getting home I made a realization. The dishwasher is 34" tall. My counter is just under 34". Sounds like I will need a BFH. Im going to make that thing fit no matter what. I wont care if it never comes back out. Unless it breaks, it better not break. I decided not to purchase the exteneded warranty on this one. I have 30 days to change my mind. I don't think I will.

Huge savings on dishwasher

by Joe Somebody on Monday, March 21, 2011

Looks like A.B. May is coming through for me. They are giving me a $90 USD credit (cost of the part) to go towards any appliance purchase. This is awesome. Combine that with the $100 USD gift card and this washer is going to cost me $208 USD. It would have been less if I could have gottent the entire $158 USD credit but they would not include the labor since I was buying from else where. Either way I am happy.

Im actually thinking about getting a GE model. Its about $100 USD more but it matches my fridge handle much better. This will give the kitchen a more unified feel. This will end up being an in the moment purchase. Im trying to keep expenditures down. The more I spend the less I make when I go to sell the house. At the same time. What is $100 USD when it could mean a quicker sell of the house? This is just one of the questions that I fight with myself on.

Epoxy basement wall crack repair

by Joe Somebody on Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ive dealt with leaky basement since I was a child. They seem to be typical. Though they should never be ignored as the problem will grow in to a major foundation issue. Its best to identify the problem and address it while it is small. This is not just in the basement. This also includes your garage, pool, and patio.

Most are caused by the drying shrinking, thermal movement of the ground. If you do not fix the cracks while they are small. They will widen and get worse. Then you will have to do much more than a simple epoxy job. You may have to run tile drainage or do some kind of excavation. Foundation cracks will also hinder the value of your home.

Lucky for me they have inexpensive epoxy crack repair kits. These are cost effective and a homeowner like myself can get the job done. Poured foundation cracks may be repaired by using low-pressure injection of an epoxy or polyurethane foam material. For the repair of concrete floor cracks, certain epoxies and polyurea materials exists, suitable for such slab repairs.

Either way, the repair of concrete cracks in either the foundation or the slab may efficiently and effectively be completed in as little as an hour or more.

Basement leaking

by Joe Somebody on Saturday, March 19, 2011

Finally got around to ripping out the basement wall. I have not located the leak but I know I am close. I think I have an idea of what is causing it. From the outside I see a small tree growing in the window area. Its about 1-2 inch thick. I would not be surprised if this was the culprit. I wont be for sure until I find the leak. I still have to rip out all of the insulation next.

Im hoping that a good epoxy filler will save me thousands of dollars. I really dont have to have to spend money to trully get this fixed. After I rip out the tree and apply root killer to everything in the area. I hope it goes away. I will also work on the grading of the house. That way water flows away.

I also plan on installing new gutters this summber. They are needed anyway.

How to clean stainless steel appliance without streaks

by Joe Somebody on Friday, March 18, 2011

If you are anything like me you have gone through the gamut of cleaning solutions and cloths. So far nothing has worked for me. Until now.

Vinegar. Common everyday viriety white vinegar. Spray it on in its undiltud form, then wipe with a clean wash cloth. Then take a paper towel over the entire thing. 100% streak free. This is the best cleaning tip I have ever seen. Plus vinegar kills 99% of all germs, so you dont have to worry about things growing on the surface.

Why is Nebraska Furniture Mart so awesome?

Filed Under ( , , , ) by Joe Somebody on Thursday, March 17, 2011

This store has so much going for it. They always make sure they have the lowest prices. If they don't they will beat the advertised price by another 10%. Now that is what I call commitment. They even gave me a $100 USD gift card when I purchased my Samsung french door refrigerator. They want you to come back often.

Now that my dishwasher has hit the fritz. I want to use this gift card before it expires. $100 USD toward a new appliance is pretty sweet. Even more so when I can find a hugely discounted item on NFMs website. And it just so happens I did. The Whirlpool Gold with Full Integrated Console GU2275XTVS. This is a sweet stainless steel dishwasher that will go really well with my fridge. I know some people really like to match their appliances but since im going with stainless steel. Its kind of hard not to match. Just have to follow the grain of the steel and I should be good.

The next part is to wait for the call from the A.B. May people. I want to get my $158 USD repair credit to go towards any purchase that I make. Not some cheap over priced piece of crap they want me to buy. I know its a long shot to get them to go this way but its worth trying. I cold have a new stainless steel dishwasher with integrated controls for as little as $140 USD plus taxes. This include my repair credit and my nebraska furniture mart card.

The MSRP on this model is $649 USD. I think I would be getting a pretty outstanding deal on it if all goes my way. This is a current model too. How awesome is that?

Stupid Dishwasher died on me

by Joe Somebody on Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chances are the thing was already dead. It was the first time I went to use it and the motor was siezed. I went ahead and called A.B. May. My home warranty is through them. They came out and diagnosed it. They came to the same conclusion. They gave me two options. 1. They will replace the part for free. 2. They will apply the repair credit ($158 USD) towards the purchase of a new dishwasher. Now the second option sounds great. The catch is that I must purchase the dishwasher through them. So I went ahead and got the model info from them and what it would cost me. OHH WHAT A RIP OFF! They want to charge $523 USD for the new dishwasher and thats with the $158 USD credit. I can buy that same fridge new from Lowes and it will cost me $386 USD installed, which includes hallway of the old one. To go even further. The MSRP on the Whilpool website says $499 USD for the stainless model. How the hell are they charging $681 USD for the same dishwasher!!!! A.B. May is a joke. I am not going to recommend them to anyone.

I left them a voice mail to give me a call back. We'll see what happens. I want the $158 USD to go towards any purchase I make.

Now you could say its not markup. Its the Labor involved. Im not paying for Labor. Its a warranty. I shouldnt have to pay for it. I'm already paying $60 USD just to have a service call. I now know why people usually don't get home warrantys. Its a rip off. The only reason I have one is because I did'nt have to pay for it.

Come next year, I will not renew it PERIOD!

What is the best mortgage lender?

by Joe Somebody on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

These are the main points that I went through when deciding on my lender and when searching for a home. I shopped myself around to different lenders and landed with Wells Fargo first. After getting horrible service with them, Stonegate Mortgage appeared. They treated me fair. My only fault with them is that I had to pay for the appraisal guy to go back out and look at some repairs that was made.

Analyzing your debt to income ratio
This is one of the first things a lender will look at when you're buying a home. The less debt you have the lower your percentage will be. When I purchased my home. My debt to income ratio was 8%. Which is really good. Once you start hitting 25-27% its gets a little flaky. Reason being once you apply your mortgage to that ratio you will be close or over 50%. Most lenders want to keep you under 47%. In my opinion that is still to high. When you get approved, they are approving you for the max percentage. Always find this out. Try to stick to 22-25%. This way you won't be house poor.

Are You Really Pre-Approved for a Mortgage?
Pre-Qualified and Pre-approved are two different things. Know the difference. In face dont even wory about pre-qualified. It doesnt do anything for you. It may get some realtor to talk to you, but thats about it. Always get pre-approved when you find the mortgage company you want to go with. Use the pre-qualified as a way to feel out the mortgage company and how they work.

Do You Have a Mortgage or a Deed of Trust?
security instruments that gives a lender the right to sell your property to recover funds if you do not pay the debt. A mortgage and a deed of trust are both security instruments, but deed of trust allows a lender to take an easier road to foreclosure. As they dont have to go through a judicial process (no court).

Don't Get Caught Up In Loan Fraud
I dont see how anyone can get caught in one. If you are at all educated then you know what companies are reputable. If you dont, then educate yourself. I used Stongate Mortgage.

Facts About ARMs, Adjustable Rate Mortgages
If you dont plant to live in your home for more than a few years, get an arm. You can get a better interest rate in the earlier years. After the period has expired your loan will adjust each year until it reaches the max APR that is agreed apon when your mortgage was made.

Facts About FHA Mortgages
FHA loans allow you to buy a home with as little as 3% down. Unlike a conventional home loan that requires 20%.

RESPA's Required Disclosures Help You Shop for a Mortgage
Disclosures will become your best friend. These will break down all the cost. That way you will not have any surprises. Its there to protect consumers when they buy and sell real estate, and teaches them to be better shoppers. This will also make it easier for you to compare two different mortgage companies since you will see a break down of every fee you have to pay for.

Should You Buy Discount Points?
Unless you plan on living in your home for more than 10 years. Dont waste your time. I could have paid an extra $1000 and gained a point but it would have taken 7 years to before I would start seeing the savings.

Do I really need to scrape the paint?

by Joe Somebody on Monday, March 14, 2011

Scraping the wall was a mistake. I started with a half dollar size chipped area to a 3x2 foot area of scrapped paint. I should have just spackeled the area and called it done. Now I have a much larger area. What made me think about this was just how smooth the wall was. I was going to created a lot of unevenness that I would have to go back and fix. So this made me stop. I am just going to fix the area I did and wash the walls and get them ready for paint.

The material that was purchased for this part of the job can all be reused. Even the plastic. I purchased the 6mm plastic. Much easier to move around and repurpose later on.

Im going to go home and measure all my walls. Sherwin Williams will be able to tell me how much paint I need. I know they are more expensive than if I went to Homedepot or Lowes but I like the fact they keep your color choices on record, including any custom colors you come up with. Then they can mix you a small batch when ever you want and it will always match.

Im going to head back out to Sherwin Williams tomorrow as I will be measuring tonight when I get home and they will surley close before I am done.

Ive chosen to do the main dining room in Latte but two shades lighter. It gives off a very warm and bright tone. I think that will make the room feel much bigger. Im going to keep all the trim and ceiling white. I was given the suggestion of paiinting the ceiling first. I may just do that if I can get a sprayer from a friend. This may alter some of my plans.

Buying stock into a company

by Joe Somebody on Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ive been really contemplating buying stock in Homedepot and Lowes. These people are making a killing off me. It feels like I spend a couple hundred every weekend at one of these stores. I can only presume that hundreds if not thousands of other people are doing the same thing. It only makes sense that I should buy stock into these companies. Maybe this is another way I could profit off this house.

On another note. I have a good friend coming over that is in the heating and cooling industry. I have a concern with the heater and air conditioning. When ever the heater comes on, it sounds like the condenser unit outside is kicking in. I'm pretty sure I don't have a heat pump. So the condenser unit shouldn't be turning on. I've tried running out when I hear it. Both times I went out it was not running. Makes me think its coming from somewhere else. This worries me even more. It could be an even bigger problem or it could be nothing at all. Hopefully my friend will be able to determine that for me.

Fingers are crossed that this will be painting week. This is the kick in the ass I need to really start taking on these projects on the house. It will make it feel more mine.

Life will always get in the way

by Joe Somebody on Saturday, March 12, 2011

Now matter how well made my plans are, life always finds a way to intervene. I was unable to get to the wall that I wish to scrape. I did purchase the tools I need to do the job. Some kudos are deserved.

Outside of daily life, I did forget to purchase the plastic drop cloth for the floor. I thought I had a bunch of old sheets that I could use. I was sadly mistaken. I will have to pick this up tomorrow. I don't want to postpone this much longer. I really need to get painting. Once I get the paint up I think I will finally have my first house warming. Not to worried about furniture. I dnt mind if people stand. Laugh.

Hopefully people will bring stuff. I know I need a lot of small things. A simple paper towel dispenser for the kitchen would make my day.

Scraping a 15 foot wall

by Joe Somebody on Friday, March 11, 2011

In order for me to get ready for paint, I have chosen to scrape the second highest wall in the house. It has been painted so many times, that the paint chips are actually 2-3mm thick. Luckily for me it flakes off fairly easy with a scraper. I will be wearing a hepa filter mask, since its possible for the paint to have lead in it do to the age of the home. Hopefully I don't get sick from it.

Once I get the wall scraped, I will give all the walls a nice sponge bath to make sure the surface is ready for paint.

When getting ready to paint, here are some great steps you want to take.

1. Take the time ti fill in any gaps and fixed any holes. Its a waste of time to paint if you are not going to take the time to do this.

2. Lay down drop cloths. More the better.

3. Put on throw away clothes. Its that simple.

4. Give the walls a quick rinse with a sponge and vinegar water. This will get rid of any residue and oils off the walls. This will assure that you have a good bond between the paint and the wall.

5. Paint all your trim. Try not to be messy but don't worry if you go over the trim line.

6. Tape all edges that you will be painting. This will make clean up easier and igve you those nice professional edges. This is also the make it or break it stage. The more time you spend taping, the better the finished job will look.

7. Apply the paint in even coats. Don't use to much or two little paint. If it drips. Its to much. If you can see through it or the color is not consistent, then you dont have enough.

8. Let the walls air dry the proper amount of time. Go with what the directions say on the paint. After drying, then apply your second coat. Some paints dont require a second coat. Refer to your specific paint.

9. Make any needed touch ups.

10. Tear off all the tape. And remove the drop cloths.

Now if you are lucky, it will look beautiful. Thats what I am hoping for it. I will take pictures once I have it all painted.

Mesothelioma, asbestos and my popcorn ceilings

by Joe Somebody on Thursday, March 10, 2011

Great, just great. My house may kill me. Facepalm. So I really hate my popcorn ceilings. They are an eyesore. Some people dont even notice. Every time I look up its like im being mocked. Well its no longer as simple as I thought it would be when I go to scrape it down. Apparently between 1970 to 1978, popcorn ceiling material contained asbestos. In 1978 it became illegal but it was still legal to install it. Installation of asbestos ceiling texture was not banned because of the financial loss it would have meant for manufacturers, suppliers and contractors who had already purchased stocks of the product. Asbestos ceiling texture was still being installed in homes until the 1980s when those product stocks finally ran out.

Well my home was built in 1973. Guess what my popcorn ceiling is made of? I dont really know the correct answer to that but I will find out before I scrape anything.

Im slowly becoming a mesothelioma expert. Mesothelioma information is abundent on the web. I can find all kinds of Asbestos related cancer research. This stuff is no joke. Its a rare form of cancer but it is lethal. The biggest problem is that you get cancer decads later. Most notably lung cancer. You breath in microscopic asbestos particles and they lay dorment in your lungs. You body fights them for years but it can never get rid of them. So eventually the toxins from it causes mesothelioma.

So I will have to have asbestos exposure testing done in my house. They will test all the rooms and send of peices of the popcorn ceiling to a lab. After they do all their testing I will find out what I need to do. I really want it to come back negative. The little research I have done shows that it will cost a small fortune for a specialist to come out and remove the asbestos from my ceilings. I dont want to have this happe. I would much rather do it, which I will only do if the test come back negative. I dont want to risk having cancer from trying to save a couple bucks.

There currently is no cure for Mesothelioma. Thats a big sign that you dont want to mess with asbestos. It will kill you in the long run.

Any and all testing you have done. Make sure that the lab is certified and if it comes back positive, be sure to use a certified asbestos abatement contractor. This will make sure that proper care is taken during removal.

I dont want to get lung cancer. I need to take these steps so nothing happens.

What are the top credit cards?

by Joe Somebody on Wednesday, March 9, 2011

There is no one answer that covers everyone. For example a capital 1 credit card is great because you can setup your online banking with them. Basically handle all your finances in one place. Capital One even has some 0 percent interest credit cards. It wont stay that way forever but its nice to have in the beggining.

Another good answer would be a Mint credit card. Some of you may have never heard of them. They are a smaller company credit card company. Infact they limit the number of customers they allow to join. This is by far one of the best private companies I have ever seen. They are solvent and are not going anywhere. Best of luck trying to get a card though. You have to have amazing credit to get one.

Now you may be thinking, why? You just got out of debt. Im not looking at going back into debt. I just want to do what I can to build my credit score. Having a high credit score reduces a lot of things for me. My insurance on both my car and home will go down. Jobs can now look at your credit scores and base a decision from them. Im not looking to over extend myself in any way. I just want to reap the bennefits of a good credit score.

I spent a number of years paying off my credit cards. I only have two now. I only keep them for my credit rating. Having a credit card is very handy for a non pay week. You must also take care of them though or they will bite you in the ass. They can easily spiral out of control if you do not make choice decisions. The best thing you can do is pay them in full every month. I repeat every month. Not only does this look huge on your credit report but it also keeps you from ever paying interest. Some of them even give you bonuses for paying early. So thats more incentive to keep them payed off.

The two cards I have are both store cards. I plan on getting two more. One that gives cash back that I will use on everyday things and the other will be my heloc card which will be used on home renovations. Im leaning towards a cap one credit card. The Cash Reward card gives 2% back on gas and grocery store and 1% back on all other purchases. It doesnt have an annual fee which is also nice. I know Discovery has a card that gives 5% no matter what you purchase but it needs a high credit score. The cap one also needs a high score. I still need to build mine up. This wont be an issue having a mortgage. A mortgage is the fastest way to raise your credit score. Its even faster at lowering your credit score if you miss a payment. So be very careful with it.

No matter what you choose. You must be smart about it. Dont miss a payment. Dont over extend yourself. Dont be stupid. Its pretty simple.

Being a homeowner is a lot of work

Filed Under ( , , , ) by Joe Somebody on Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It seems almost every post is about fixing or renovating something else. I guess that is the life of a homeowner. I wont say I dont enjoy it but I do know as time goes on all these big projects will get finished. Then all I will be left with are small projects that I feel like doing. Fingers crossed I dont think of more bigger ones. Laugh.

In the long run, hopefully every project that I take on will only increase the value of my house. That is the true goal. That way when I go to sell I have a better spread to work with. Then I can start the entire process all over again. The goal next time would be to do it faster and try for a flip. If I can do a flip, this blog will take a drastic turn in direction. Flipping is an entire different bottle of wax.

At the same time, I may not sell this house. My current goal is to pay off as much as I can. I even have a spreadsheet that shows that its possible to pay off the house in 61 months. That time frame requires a room mate but it is possible. Ill then be 33 and own my home outright. That would be pretty impressive.

Having all that extra money every month. I would be doing a lot of traveling and investing. I think owning your home is one of the biggest steps to becoming wealthy. Just think about the money you spend every month. That biggest payment is either your rent or mortgage. If its your car, you either live at home or have several room mates or you possibly made a bad decision on a new car (Sorry but Dave Ramsey says so).

I like the idea of owning this home. I feel like I could accomplish a lot more in life. Thats an extra $15,000 a year. Thats a nice pile of cash to have around. I have a lot to think about in the next coming years. You will all find out what happens too.

Plans for a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

Filed Under ( , , , ) by Joe Somebody on Monday, March 7, 2011

Some think this is just another way to get deep into debt but I look at a home equity line of credit as a chance to purchase big ticket items and spread that purchase out over a couple months. With a HELOC you can get fixed or low APR. If I were to use a visa or mastercard with 22% interest. I would be so screwed.

The lowest fixed rate HELOC that I have found was in the 5s. Thats just above my mortgage loan. Thats dirt cheap for a credit card and thats not even an introductary offer. Thas for a period of 5 years. Most HELOC are based on a fixed term. Usualy a number of years. 5-10.

It doesnt take long to find a home equity line of credit. CitiBank, Wells Fargo, Countrywide, Chase all offer them. Key things to watch for is the term length and the interest rate. The fixed rate is what makes these so popular. You dont have to worry about an APR (adjustable percentage rate).

Another beughty of it is that you can choose how much you want to spend. You can use as little or as much of the credit line as you want. When you compare to a home equity loan this is by far better. With the home equity loan you are paying for the entire amount. Plus they usually have a hiring closing cost. While a HELOC you can get the closing cost credited. Push for that too.

Home equity line of credit vs a home equity loan. Credit all the way. You are only paying for what you use. You dont have to take the lump sum amount. This will allow you to pay less interest in the long hall. Remember that. Always look for the best interest rates when shopping. Getting a lowest fixed rate HELOC will pay devidends year after year.

Need to get wood rot repaired

Filed Under ( , , ) by Joe Somebody on Sunday, March 6, 2011

When I purchase the home, I went in knowing that it had some cosmetic issues. Namely some wood rot on the outside of the house. One particular area is the patio. where the over head wood connects to the house, they did not leave a gap for rain so pass through. So what happens is that the water ends up making a puddle. Standing water is really bad when it comes to wood.

I feel this area may be kind of expensive. I'm hoping it won't be as this part of the remodel will be out of pocket.

The second relativly bad area is by where the utilies come into the house. The siding panels have started to rot away. This is by far the easiest section to fix.

I really like the fact the house does not have vinyl siding. I just hate the way it looks. It reminds me of the 80's. Its not timeless like other types of siding. Look at tudor style siding. Its been around for hundreds of years. It still looks great even today. Rant off.

Remodeling my Hollywood Bathroom (Jack N Jill Bathrooms)

Filed Under ( , , ) by Joe Somebody on Saturday, March 5, 2011

My home is a 2 bedroom and a 1 and a half bath. The way the bathrooms are connected it is considered a Hollywood Bathroom. What this means at that they both share the same shower. The shower is in its own room that is connected between the bathrooms.

The spare bathroom has a single vanity, average mirror, and a toilet. The master bathroom has a larger vanity, extra large mirror, medicine cabinet mirror, and a toilet. Both bathrooms are missing cabinetry and/or shelves for towels. In between these two bathrooms are the shower and tub.

Now that you can see what I have to work with, this is what I plan to do. I want to totally gut the shower room. Loose the tub completly. Im 28 years old and I havnt took an actual bath 20+ years. I see no reason to have a tub. I want a full blown shower with multiple heads.

Have two main shower heads on oppisite walls. Then place a giant rain fall shower head about overhead center. This will either need two drains or a larger one in the center of the room. No matter what I choose, I do not want to have standing water. That would be the death of the shower. I am thinking of installing heat lamps in the ceiling as well. That will all depend on the cost. If its relativly cheap, then I think it would be a good idea. Else it will get scrapped.

Im reading up on shower heads. Looks like Moen and Delta make the best. They are costly to boot. I have always been a big fan of Delta faucets. They always just work. Plus they come with a lifetime warranty. Once I get close on this project I will investigate different shower heads and faucets and post my findings.

This remodel wont happen for a while. Just making sure that I get everything documented before hand. That way I have something to look back on.

First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

Filed Under ( , ) by Joe Somebody on Friday, March 4, 2011

I was unforntuante to find a house in time for the governemnt tax credit. It sure would have been nice to get an extra $8,000 USD to renovate with. Overall I still think I came out ahead. If I would have purchased the same property I am in now, I would have paid almost $43,000 more!!! Yes, thats not a typo. Thats how much the bank has slowly taken off the price, since it went on the market. I am much hapier now. I would have been looking for first time home buyer grants if that was the case. I would have become house poor if the purchase was made last year. And for those who dont know. House Poor is when you have a mortgage and almost all your money goes towards it. You barely have enough money to do anything else. So you end up stuck in your home.

With my current situation I am not house poor. I am paying a little bit more a month but its worth it. Every payment I make, a portion of that goes into my pocket. When you are paying rent, that does not happen. You are lining someone elses pockets.

So if I were to have any tips for a first time home buyer, it would only be one. Be patient. I saw a number of houses that I thought was perfect in every way. Some I bid on and lost. Some were just to far out of my price range. All I did was get frustrated about it but in the end I knew it would work out. And trust me it did. I was able to get a steal on this house. I already have about $30,000 USD in equity and thats only going to go up as improvments are made to the home. Who knows what the housing market trend will do. But right now I think we are close to the bottom. It should start going up over the next 2-5 years.

Now you may be thinking. I got lucky. I dont feel it was luck. I did a lot of research and a lot of looking. I knew I wanted to have prebuilt equity in the home. This made me feel safer making a huge purchase like this. Everyday I still look at houses. Deals like this are still out there. You just have to look for them. Learn what areas are popular. Read about school districts. Look at how longs houses take to sell in a particular area. Watch was houses actually sell for. All of these will give you a better understanding of what houses are worth.

My IMAX Home Theater

Filed Under ( , , , ) by Joe Somebody on Thursday, March 3, 2011

I will never have true IMAX video. Thats not my goal. I just want the audio experience. Its just not cost effective in video. Now 1080P is very doable. The cost of HDTV has done down remendously over the past couple years. Even the HD projectors are becoming consumer friendly. You can get an HD projector for as little as $400 USD. That gives you 720P and 1080I. Thats really impressive. Plus they are now introducing LED projectors. The bulb in those are suppose to last from 10-20
years. Compared to a couple thousand hours you get out of the regular lamps that also cost $150-450 USD a pop. LED sounds very promising.

Right now they do not have the lumens (brightness) that you would find in a regular lamp. A couple prosumer LED projectors do exist that have very high lumens. The catch is that they are very expensive. I figure in about a year or two they will have come down in price just like blueray did.

Im thinking I will post pone the video portion of the IMAX project. I can purchase something cheap for now. I want my current Samsung HDTV to be in my room so I dont have to go downstairs to watch TV or play my PS3.

Here are a couple pictures of the base end of my system. Keep in mind that each box weighs over 200 pounds and each speaker adds another 39 each. They are a pain to move up and down stairs. The design is considered a cylinder in a square. This is IMAX or even club quality base.

My first Utilitie bill

Filed Under ( , , , ) by Joe Somebody on Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I received my Gas Utilitie bill in my email today. Yes I am paperless. Saves the enviroment and id rather read an email then open up mail, just to throw it away since it will be paid online.

This will probably be the lowest Gas bill I ever receive. It is for $18.00 USD. This is only for 5 days of usage. Sounds really expensive.

I'll break the price down:

$6 Cost of Gase
$5 to start new service
$2 Service Charge
$3 Delivery Charge
$2 Taxes

Now in theory all should stay the same except for cost of gas and taxes. Those should be the only ones that increase. This being my first bill from a gas company, I could be wrong. I know my electic bill from my old apartment, all the fees stayed relativly the same. Only the usage and tax fluctuated. Wont know for sure until my next bill. I could call them but from my bad experiencing just starting service. I'd rather not call.

I did go through their website though. They had some interesting ideas for making you home more gas effieciant. One of the key items that I liked was adding a ceiling fan to rooms. A room that has a standing tempature of 80 defrees. A ceiling fan moving the air causes a wind chill effect. This will make the room feel like its 72 degrees. This allows you to run the thermostat at a higher temperature and you get gas savings. Of course this will increase your electrical bill but electrical cost far less than gas.

So I may be investing in a ceiling fan soon. They are not that expensive and give any room a nice look. Plus who doesnt like a fan above their bed while they sleep.

Man of Steel eat your heart out

Filed Under ( , , ) by Joe Somebody on Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My new Samsung RF266AERS Refrigerator is amazing. It has so much room. My apartment fridge was
pretty much maxed out. It feels like this thing has twice the amound of room. Plus not having to bend over to see what I want is trully a blessing. I dont keep very many freezer items. Mostly chicken, beef, and frozen fruits.

I had the urge to go out and try and stock it full of stuff. Then I remembered something. When I moved into my first apartment, I did jus that. I went out and bought everything I could think of. It was great. I had everything at my finger tips. Fast forward 2 months later. Half the stuff I bought gets thrown away do to it expiring. Never again I said. Its best to buy for 1 week in advance. If you can shop every 3 days, I would recommend that. You can buy less overall and save that way. Plus you get the advantage of eating fresher food.

The only thing I plan on stocking up on is chicken and goat. Yes I said Goat. If you have not tried it, you must go and find some. I had to search far and wide for it. The only place I know of is a local indian grocery. Goat is amazing. Its easily one of the best meats you can eat. Goat meat is 50%-65% lower in fat than similarly prepared beef, but has a similar protein content. The US department of Agriculture also has reported that saturated fat in cooked goat meat is 40% less than that of chicken, even with the skin removed. Sounds like the perfect meat to me.

The taste is very similar to beef, just not as strong. Texture is more lamb like. Taste is wonderful. Thats my speal on goat. Back to the kitchen.

The fridge is pretty big for my kitchen. I think when I go to renovate, I will recess it in the wall. This will free up valuable walking space and make the fridge cabinet depth without loosing capacity. The kitchen wall is backups to the garage so it shouldnt be an issue recessing it. This will make a bump in the garage but who cares. Its a garage. The kitchen and bathroom will sell this house. The two car garage is only a bonus. I dont plan to do anything with the kitchen for at least a year. Everything now will just be planning.