October Mortgage Update: Fixing up the house = $$

Last month (September):
Balance:$20,210.15
Years left: 1.5
P =$1,129.93, I =$84.47, Escrow =$809.48

This month (October):
Balance:$19,075.74
Years left: 1.4166666666666667
P =$1,134.40, I =$80.00, Escrow =$809.48

One month’s prepayment savings: $0

On top of all the things we needed to do (get things painted) to get things into shape for new tenants, and optional things we didn’t do (replace carpets that are starting to look their age), we also got get hit up with home maintenance things.

While DH was gone on a business trip, I noticed that the mat surrounding the toilet in the guest bathroom was soaked through.  It didn’t smell like cat pee or effluent in any way.  So I removed the mat and waited a day.  The next day the carpet was soaked through.  Upon further examination there is a crack in the tank, so our option of getting the toilets replaced became a necessity for one of the toilets and it wasn’t even the rattier of the two remaining toilets.  That was $600+ for another two wonderful toto toilets plus $80 installation (since we had a bunch of plumbing stuff that needed to get done, we figured we might as well have the plumbers do the installation and not take our time).  Although we love the sani-gloss on the children’s toilet, we didn’t spring extra for the sanigloss on these two because one is the master toilet and the other the guest bedroom toilet, but we did buy an ADA compliant toilet for the guest bathroom.

DH put off having our deck repainted, even though it was rapidly becoming more wood than paint because he wanted to replace a board first and ask his dad for advice on that while he was visiting over Easter.  Well, over Easter his dad said the entire walk-way needed to be replaced and to hire someone to do that.  We tried, but it kept raining, and then when it stopped raining, all of the handymen and companies were booked solid.  So in the end DH had to do it himself while I watched the kids and took care of other moving issues.  He did a great job, even though there were concrete posts involved!  When it came time to paint the deck, DC1 helped which made it go a bit faster than it used to.  So that entire experience ended up being only ~$200 (for wood, paint, cement, and painting paraphernalia) when we had been expecting much more.  We thought we were going to have to pay to dispose of the concrete posts (after several weeks of the city not taking them with our trash), but fortunately they (barely) fit into DH’s trunk and the guy at the concrete disposal place just laughed at what a tiny amount we had brought compared to the industrial waste they normally handle and said no charge.

I suspect the refrigerator is on its last legs, but we didn’t have time to look into replacing that.  I hope it doesn’t die too horribly on our tenants, but if it does, they will get a much nicer refrigerator, since this was the cheapest model available at home depot back when we were grad students.

Oddly, in our rental, DH can’t seem to let go of the homeowners mentality and has been fixing their broken things rather than asking the landlord to say, send in a plumber.  So he’s taken care of a leaky shower and a broken toilet without even mentioning it to the landlord.

What kind of housing maintenance things have you been having to take care of?  What do you call a landlord in for?

26 Responses to “October Mortgage Update: Fixing up the house = $$”

  1. hollyatclubthrifty Says:

    This summer was expensive for us! At our primary residence, we had to replace a busted water heater, pay $1,100 for an AC repair, and pay $1,000 for someone to remove bad bricks from our chimney and rebuild it. Then our lawnmower died and we had to replace that. Then the HVAC unit went out at one of our rentals and we went ahead and paid around $4,500ish to replace both the AC and furnace!

  2. Kellen Says:

    Our deck paint was worn in spots… so I decided the “right” way to fix it was to strip the paint off, and then stain the underlying wood. 3 coats of stripper later I have a patchy, flaky deck, mostly still covered in paint. Where I got the paint off, it turns out there was a second layer underneath….

    Also, have learned a lot about how the stripping chemicals are going to kill me, the toxins released when I sand the deck (the next attack in my arsenal) are going to kill me… Sounds like your DH knew the right way to do things!

  3. Karen Edwards Says:

    We needed a new roof (which we decided we couldn’t manage to do ourselves) and then decided to get the roof strengthened in order to also get solar panels installed – £14,000! But, we will be dry this winter and not have to worry every time the wind blows a little bit.

    Our boiler keeps going out as well which is £120 for each visit….

  4. Cardinal Says:

    Our 1929 house is in good shape but is old enough that it needs plenty of care. We generally do 1-2 major things each year, and we have about the next five years planned out. Right now it’s the electric heat in the main floor extension: heating that one room was costing us more than the entire rest of the house. Contractors have now replaced the electric heaters with hot water rads and are connecting them to the boiler that heats the rest of the house, and have re-insulated under the floor of the extension. I’m expecting it to cost ~$4000 but that might pay for itself in 2-3 years with energy savings.

  5. Leigh Says:

    This has been an interesting year for home maintenance – the most interesting so far since I bought the place.

    My place had the weirdest light switches. Every room basically had a different style. And a ton of them had a REALLY tiny switch and then a large dimmer portion. So we replaced the master bathroom one with this: http://www.amazon.com/Lutron-MA-600-WH-Maestro-600-watt-Multi-Location/dp/B0047DOYCQ/ and the hallway one with this: http://www.amazon.com/Lutron-MACL-153M-RHW-WH-Maestro-150-Watt-Multi-Location/dp/B008X3CH70/ They have been amazing. Being able to dim from both places is pretty sweet. We installed those ourselves – it wasn’t too bad. ($90 with tax for those)

    Then there was a special assessment from the condo board of about 2.5 normal months of dues.

    We painted the second bedroom ($120 with all supplies) and while doing that, damaged the guest bathroom sink, which then turned into a project which cost $1,300 when it was all done and finished ($280 install, $645 new sink and vanity, $82 stupid tax, $289 faucet, $18 cabinet knobs). The Amazon handyman service was great! We need to paint some of the supports white still and fix up the paint from moving the hand towel ring though…

    Oh yeah and then our 16 year old fridge had an issue at the end of July (just after the sink got damaged) and we thought it was dead. We found someone who fixed it for $200 and stored our fridge and freezer contents with a friend for a few days.

    We decided to insulate the windows after SP’s post and bought some the stuff to try one window and see if it makes a difference, but we haven’t quite found the time to install it yet.

    And we replaced the guest bathroom toilet seat (DIY) because the old one was gross. I’m not sure we’ll be able to color match the other toilet, so that seat might not get replaced. The toilets seem to be 1.6 Gpf, so I’m not concerned about them. This is the toilet seat we went with and it’s great so far: http://www.amazon.com/K-4639-0-Quiet-Close-Grip-Tight-Bumpers-Round-front/dp/B000TF1L18/

    One of the frustrating parts about these things to me is that Amazon is usually cheaper, but Home Depot is easier (local) to return things to. We got burned by that when we bought the wrong type of thermostat last year and had to pay return shipping to Amazon, so now we always buy the first of an item in store to make it easier to return if necessary.

  6. Linda Says:

    When I was a homeowner, my annual maintenance costs on my house and property usually averaged about $5,000 a year. The house was build in 1950, so little things wore out here and there. That amount covered things like the annual HVAC contract for maintenance of the boiler and high velocity AC system, landscaping maintenance (trimming the two mature trees in the back every 2-3 years, mulching the back and front yards, the occasional fall or spring clean up if I was too busy or unwell to do it myself), little fixes to the fencing or gates, rodding out the drain near the basement door and cleaning the cache basin, (clearing out the roots from those mature trees was necessary or I’d get some water coming under the basement door), the odd plumbing repair, etc.

    Now that I’m a renter I’m finding it somewhat challenging to not keep fixing things, too. I’m not the type of person who feels comfortable putting in electrical fixtures or climbing up higher than about 10 feet on a ladder, so when I needed the light near the driveway replaced I asked that it be done by the maintenance company handyman. He also ripped down the morning glory that had been climbing the front of the house and was growing into the attic, the crawl space, and under the clapboards. I finished those jobs, though, by making final adjustments to the light and digging out the roots of the morning glory. I’m going to scrape and paint some outside areas of the house myself before the winter rains come (or at least everyone hopes they do!). Overall this house is pretty well maintained, but I keep wanting to do things to it that would improve it for me (like install ceiling fans and a screen door).

  7. chacha1 Says:

    Last year we had to replace our refrigerator. This year we haven’t had any real “maintenance” expenses. I’ve spent a little on products to keep the dishwasher working properly (Dishwasher Magic + Jet Dry = no horrible white film) with our hard hard hard water.

    Last year the landlords took out the dysfunctional whole-building AC system (it failed every time there was high demand) and installed individual HVAC units in each apartment. And thank all the gods for that, because with the neverending heat wave this year, there would have been blood.

    Management also had plumbers in when the kitchen sink started backing up (ew). Big pipe repaired in the main drainage system, little pipe replaced under our sink.

    Other than that? I’m finally catching up with some housework that hasn’t been done since I had my surgery, basically (6 months).

  8. crazy grad mama Says:

    When we lived in an apartment complex, we got in the habit of only calling the landlord for things that were big/expensive/electrical. Anything small and cheap (like basic toilet repairs) we did ourselves, because it was less hassle than worrying about when the maintenance folks would pop in. (They could never give us even a 3–4 hour time range, and we cold never get them to give us a warning call when they were on their way over.)

    The owners of our current house let us arrange dates and times with their preferred vendors, so when the clothes dryer started tripping the fuse every time we turned it above low heat, it was stress-free to get fixed.

  9. oldmdgirl Says:

    Replacing our old crappy refrigerator with a new huge awesome one that still fit in our kitchen was one of the best investments in our house we have made. I strongly recommend!

  10. becca Says:

    We just had our air conditioner condenser go out, which cost $1200 to fix. Before that it was a hot water heater + damaged flooring (ended up about $2000)- which at least was mostly covered by insurance. Before that it was the roof, which was about at the end of it’s lifespan according to insurance (that was $8100- ouch).
    Obviously, we have no landlord to call :-( Even when I had one, I generally avoided calling, but I never had stuff like this to worry about. Homeownership is pricey.

  11. Debbie M Says:

    I haven’t had to do anything lately, which is good since for the last three years I or my boyfriend or both have been unemployed or underemployed. I do have savings for repairs and maintenance, but if it takes too long to get a livable income, it’s nice to have it available for regular expenses.

    I used to call my landlord for everything. Well, everything important. I specifically remember calling about a broken dishwasher–it was gone for over a month and came back still broken. We needed the counter space on top of it more than we needed a working dishwasher, so we never called again. And I called about leaky roofs.

    Now I’m the landlord. Ugh. My last landlord was awesome and would always fix things the very next day, while apologizing profusely about not fixing them the same day. The fixes were cheap and crappy, but when they failed, we’d get another fix the next day.

    My current landlord–well, at least I can make sure everything important gets fixed and that the fixes are durable and of high-quality. And I really need to fix some less important things. It’s so easy for me to just not get around to it, which is terrible.

  12. SP Says:

    My husband also would fix things when we were renting.

    We haven’t done much lately, because we took care of several things upon moving in. By “lately” I guess I mean since february when we did our drainage project. We need some new gutters installed on the deck, and earthquake retrofitting is on the list.

    I guess we also installed some blinds. We have more to go….

  13. First Gen American Says:

    I will probably average $30k/year on repairs for the next 3 years. I got a real handyman special and the whole house needs residing and it’s a 2 family so it’s big. We still have about 10 windows and 1 door to replace, 2 bathrooms and a bunch of rooms to gut/insulate and put back together. We are doing the projects in $5000 chunks. The good news is that big things like roofs, kitchens, heating system, major foundation work are behind us. We will see how big a bargain it is when we are all done. Basically, my whole salary is going into it right now.


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