Bennetts & Company

Small Projects = Big Improvements

We’re making some small changes to Old House while we wait to see what the future holds with New House.

You may recall from my last post that our plans to start construction on a new home in the next few months have changed.

Long story short – we bought land before we had decided on a builder, which on its own isn’t that unusual. Our problem arose from the fact that we bought in a sort of unincorporated area that was developed by a fairly large builder in town. At the time we bought, they said we could build with anyone we wanted “as long as they are approved by the neighborhood.” Then we met and fell in love with another builder’s work, and we couldn’t get that builder approved. We decided to list the land so we could buy elsewhere and build with the builder we loved. You can read that whole post here: https://www.bennettsandco.com/travel/plans-change

Our land is currently listed for sale. We don’t know what is going to happen. We made the assumption when we bought the land that we would start building in the next couple of years so we purchased it with a land-to-construction loan. If the land doesn’t sell in the next six months or so, we’re going to have to make a decision to pay off the rest of the land or start construction on a house so we can roll the land loan into that loan. It’s overwhelming to know that our financial situation could go in such different directions based on things out of our control. Either we sell the lot, free up the money we put into the land and the loan goes away -or- we start construction on a home which would entail more mortgage -or- we pay off the land and just sit on it but feel really cash poor. I question our decision pretty much every day. Would it be easier to just pay off the land now? Would it make sense to build a house strictly for the purpose of selling it? We don’t know. The land has only been listed for a week so hopefully someone comes along and loves it and we can move on.

While I can’t say that I’m ecstatic about this turn of events, some good has come from it. While it probably sounds crazy for someone who loves home renovation enough to blog about it – I’ve never really put a lot of effort into fixing up our current house. We always said this was our five-year plan house. I think because I knew it was somewhat temporary and then I was distracted with a wedding, then we had some health issues – I just never got around to it. I’ve been thinking more through the options of what is to come with the new home build and it became clear that we’ll be in this house for longer than originally expected. That means it needs fixed up. It needs to feel like ours, not like the most neutral and cost-effective version it could possibly be, which was the goal before. Julia Marcum is my favorite home designer/blogger and she is constantly reminding her readers that it’s important to love where you live, and I’m taking that to heart. Everyone deserves to love where they live and while I can’t spend $50K on a master bathroom renovation at this point – there is a LOT I can do that will make me feel better, will distract me from the drama of the new home build, and will ultimately improve the value of my home.

So, I’m taking a step back from the stress of selling the land, and evaluating what we can do in this house. It’s going to have to be fairly low budget, as we may need to put all our cash into the home build or to pay off the land, and even if we sell the land, we don’t want to over improve this house. Here’s my list so far:

· Paint Paint Paint! Paint is relatively cheap and can totally change the feel of a space

· Update some easy details, like weird molding, ugly hardware, boob lights, chair rail, etc

· Master Bedroom Refresh

· Window treatments

· MORE PLANTS EVERYWHERE

· Half Bath refresh (we re-did it a couple years ago but it could use some love)

· Full bath refresh

· Kitchen refresh

· Getting rid of knock-down textured walls

· Painting doors

· Painting basement stairs until we decide what kind of flooring to use

· Spend some time on artwork, whether its ordering stuff, buying local, or dusting off some photography from our travels

I’m excited to say we’ve already gotten started!

· Last week we tore the chair rail out of our entry way and up our stairs. We sanded, mudded, sanded some more, mudded some more, sanded again, primed it, then painted it Benjamin Moore Hazy Skies and I’m LOVING the results. The space looks so much bigger without that chair rail chopping it up. Not ready to share after photos yet because there’s some touch up needed, but I promise, this project was totally manageable for people with no skills, cheap (like under $50), and it looks so good.

· This week we decided to skim coat the walls in our family room. It had some nasty rough wood paneling halfway up the walls and all the door trim was the same rough wood. We tore that out, patched holes, and now we’re skim coating to get rid of the knock-down texture on the top half. I plan on writing a full post about it in the near future because this easy and cheap project is going to be DONE before we know it.

I’m really looking forward to sharing all these projects with you and I’ll keep you posted on the status of the land!

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