Wednesday, July 30, 2008

House Painting

One of the good things that happened at the garage sale was that I met someone that I might hire to paint my house. He stopped by to check out the sale and we started chatting. I don't know if I have mentioned it before, but the house is in severe need of a paint job. My mother scathingly calls it an "eyesore."

The paint is peeling off the house like a Dutch girl with a severe sunburn. After talking with some of my neighbors, (who also happened to swing by the garage sale,) I found out why. Just before my ex and I bought the house it was owned by a young couple. His father was a teacher that painted houses in the summer months. Now, my ex and I knew when we bought the house that the paint job was bad, but we felt like it could hold up for a few years. We didn't realize how bad it really was... every windstorm our driveway would look like a light blue snow had fallen - the paint was just flaking off the house. As I hoped to prevent that problem in the future, I always wondered why. I knew they had used good quality paint, what did they do wrong? My neighbors were able to fill in the clues. Apparently they had spray washed the house and then two days later painted it - without priming it.

One of my neighbors said he warned them that you can't paint a house when it is still wet, but apparently they didn't listen. So now, this 5 year old paint job looks like it was put on 30 yeas ago. I have known since I took over the house that I would need to get it painted sometime before I sold it, I just wasn't looking forward to it - the last quote we got on painting it was $7,000. As you know, I am struggling each month as it is!

So, this gentleman and I got to talking and he offered to give me a quote. I told him to go ahead - but was very honest about my financial situation and that I just wasn't sure I could afford to get it done this year. His quote - $5,500. That included everything, scraping and painting by hand, the paint, the trim - all of it. Let me tell you, this is a big old house! You can see it in the photo on the right sidebar there. (No, that isn't it in the top photo - and I promise not to paint my house orange.) My house was built in 1847 and is 2,800 square feet. It is an old Victorian home, with all the frills and fancy trim that implies. The painter even offered to use as many different colors as I wanted. (I have several big sunburst wood designs, currently they are all red. He offered to paint them multi-colors if I wished, which is very popular in my neighborhood.) He even offered to quote me two ways - one getting the house completely painted, and two doing it two sides at a time - so I didn't have to come up with all the money at once. I appreciated him being willing to work with me. I also really liked that he lived in my neighborhood, he is someone who understands these big old wood homes.

While the last thing I want to do is take on more debt, I admit I am very tempted. I have a friend of mine who has done some house painting and I want to get his opinion. The question will be if I want to do it this summer or wait. This is the kind of investment I would feel good about doing - it would significantly improve my property value and make the home all that easier to sell. While I am still thinking about staying 3 years in the house, I would like to open up all possibilities - maybe I will stay there 10 years, maybe just one. To have this freedom would be a great thing.

I'm not going to make any decisions yet. I need to do some investigating on how I would want to finance this and really whether I can even do it at this time, but it is certainly something to think about!

Colorful photo by Big Grey Mare

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