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comment by OftenBen
OftenBen  ·  268 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Help with those end-of-year investments

Very vague picture of my finances -

I am on a fixed income that mostly meets my bills. My fiancee makes enough to cover hers, and save a bit, between the two of us.

I have a few thousand in cash savings I'd rather never touch, some of it in CD's.

Student debt in the ballpark of 40k, might be reduced to almost nothing if some paperwork processes.

And finally a little over 20k in a managed 401k that's going to be put almost entirely towards purchasing a home, pending inspection. As part of my benefits package that account gets about 5k/year combined.

My financial goal for the year is to buy and live in the house without completely destroying my savings. If we manage to do that I'll call it a resounding success.

My question at the moment is if it's worth it to try and get a little extra on the mortgage to do some non-trivial repairs/upgrades (Fix a bathroom with moisture-control issues, level the entryway, replace a god-awful carpet and carpet-pad) or get the place bought first and then look for other forms of financing for home improvement.

Also, if i'm redoing a bathroom, do I really need to start at $10,000 and work upwards from there for budgeting? I don't want to fuss with a tub, just tile the whole room from top to bottom so I can hose and squeegee it down.

goobster  ·  268 days ago  ·  link  ·  

As a homeowner who has done his own bathroom remodels three times (three different properties; not all in one house!), I say do 90% of the work yourself. Get in a pro to do the plumbing rough-out and the finished tile. Do all the rest yourself. It doesn't take any more than a hammer and some patience.

But don't do any of that work until you buy the house. A new bathroom increases the price $10k. A bathroom that needs to be re-done decreases the price by $25k. (Numbers I completely made up on the spot, but "feel" kinda right.)

And it is WAY EASY to get money to work on the house you own. EVERYONE wants to give you money for home improvement.

OftenBen  ·  268 days ago  ·  link  ·  


So the meat and potatoes for my practical points would be

1. DIY most everything but plumbing and final tile finish

2. Use the bathroom in need of remodel to negotiate on sale price

3. Don't begin work on said bathroom until the sale is done.

4. Homeowners have access to better lines of credit for this sort of work anyway.