Thank You, Mr. President

Don’t worry. This blog is about our home, not our political opinions.

That said, the first-time home buyers $8,000 tax credit was a big incentive to buy our house. We plan on being in our home for way more than 3 years, so we won’t have to pay it back. The “buyers market” & fixer-upper nature also helped make it affordable for us but back to the $8 grand.

Yesterday we mailed back our amended 2008 tax return. Doing everything at home via DIY tax software made amending last year return for this tax credit super easy. I think it took the hubs all of 10 minutes to amend, print, & stick it in an envelope. The money will be directly deposited into our bank account {hopefully sooner rather than later}. YAY $8,000!! Thank you, Mr. President!

While waiting for the bonus money, we’re trying to decide what we want to do with it. We won’t actually do any of these big projects until the money is in our hot little hands but we like to be prepared.

In no particular order, here are the big projects on the ‘ole TO DO list:

  1. Complete kitchen renovation
    As in gutted; new layout, new cabinets, new lighting, new counters, new {almost} everything. I don’t think $8,000 would cover the entire renovation cost but it would certainly make a big dent. While our new rolling storage is great, we could really use a fresh start.
    The red cabinets are certainly…. something…But maybe we should live with the current layout for a little while before tearing into it. See how we use the space and how we want the space to work for us.
  2. Professional Plaster Refinishing & Paint
    Our medallions and moldings are original & some of our favorite details in the house.
    Unfortunately, they also have ~ quite literally ~ over a century’s worth of paint on them. Some of the detailing has been lost. We’re toying with the idea of hiring a professional plaster restorer to come and strip the old paint away and then repaint. It’s a HUGE job and won’t be cheap. I love the idea of regaining some of our detailing but wonder if the labor & cost will be worth it in the long run.
  3. Backyard
    The retaining wall needs to be completely redone, which leads to new landscaping and perhaps a new deck.
    retaining wall
    I want space for a hammock & a little grass for the dog.
  4. 2nd & 3rd floor bathrooms {<- technically 2 major projects}
    Both bathrooms need to be completely gutted. We want to keep the sink & bathtub on the 2nd floor but both will need to be re-glazed. Everything else goes.
    DSC_1073The 3rd floor bathroom is going to be razed & redone from scratch.
    I don’t like how the wall between the tub & toilet blocks all the light. The sink is small & the pipe leaks. The tiles are boring. The floor is a gross, cracked combination of wall tile & school floor tiles. I’ve got some ideas but we’ll have to get down to the studs. cha-ching ~ cha-ching! {At least it’s clean; Thanks Mom!}

  5. 2nd floor wall between rooms & the whole front room too
    The wall between the bedrooms on the 2nd floor needs some work. The plaster is in bad shape near the scary closet.
    bad plaster
    The front room on the 2nd floor needs major {MAJOR} spackling but that’s something we could do ourselves.
    These 2 rooms aren’t areas we’d need a contractor but they will need lots and lots of time & effort.
  6. New Windows
    The windows…. oh the windows. The windows exist. I guess that’s the nicest way to put it. They need to be replaced; all of them. Easy as that.
  7. The Soffit
    You mean soffits aren’t supposed to look like this??
    back soffit

So those are the major projects currently jostling for position.

If you had $8,000 how would you spend it? All on one major project? Or divvied up amongst smaller projects?? Do tell!

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6 Responses to Thank You, Mr. President

  1. Kim says:

    I would probably do a bigger project. Since it’s a one-time deal, I’d want to make a big dent in a big project.

  2. Amanda says:

    Windows…they’ll repay you in the long run, as your energy bills will be lower…and if I remember right, there is a $1500 tax deduction for new windows (please confirm this before doing it!!!).

  3. Heather says:

    I agree with Kim. I would do a large project since this is only a one time deal. I think I remember reading or hearing about the tax credit for windows also.

  4. katie says:

    we also got the tax credit (but we got the one where we have to pay it back…) – anyway, our plans for the tax credit are to: buy new solid hardwood floors for the entire downstairs, install ourselves. fix/replace bottom six stairs. and restore and install our original front door. it will be tight, but i think by doing most of the work ourselves, we should hopefully be able to do all of those projects.

    we talked about doing the kitchen or a bathroom, but decided that these other projects are probably more important right now, our kitchen and bathroom are very useable, they just need updated.

    one word of advice though – we’ve found that having that extra $$ it’s very easy to start to use that to buy other things for the house – light fixtures, new dishwasher, etc… hopefully you’ll be better than us and stick to your plan 🙂

  5. MEA says:

    The tax credit came to us in about 6 weeks (AMAZING). I would take all 6 weeks to research, research, research. I think waiting on the kitchen is a good idea as that’s the best resale value of the house and knowing you probably the most exciting part of the reno (save the best for last). Think about what you can live with and what you can’t (are the bathrooms going to annoy you or can you shut the doors and pretend they’re not there). If you budget everything out you may be able to get several projects done with the 8000 like windows, back yard, and plaster refinishing. I do agree with Kim on doing things like the windows first, saves you money so you can put it back in other places.

  6. Eva says:

    Live with the kitchen for a little while, you’ll learn more about what you will really want out of a remodel.

    I’d do the windows first for two reasons- the tax credit and your energy savings. We saw a HUGE reduction in our winter heating costs after replacing the windows. Well worth it. Then I’d do the 2nd floor bathroom. Bathrooms fun to completely redo, as long as you have another shower/toilet, and you’ll get to flex your designer muscles.

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