Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The House Painting Continues...

Well, I am finally getting the other two sides of my house painted. Back in April I had the South and East sides of my home done. When I started the project, I had hopes that I would be able to get the whole thing done at once, but I realized that realistically I probably wasn't going to have the funds. So, my painter and I worked out a deal - he would do two sides at a time. As he finished each side, I would pay him. That helped spread out the financial burden. He and I also talked about the fact that I might need to do two sides at the beginning of summer and the other two at the end, as I needed those summer months in between to raise the rest of the money. Which is exactly what happened. There is only one problem - I didn't come up with enough to finish the job. Ultimately, I ended up borrowing from my mother - something I really didn't want to do.

I should say here that I am really pleased with my house painter. His prices have been very, very reasonable and I love how willing he has been to work with me. He knows my situation so he has worked to keep my supply costs low. He has passed his paint discount on to me and he has gotten very creative in replacing only the siding that needs it. Cedar siding is running me a $1 a foot, so this is important! However, I do own a big old Victorian house - that's a lot of work and a lot of paint. Considering that my financial situation is already precarious, this is an awfully expensive project...

Not having part time work really put a dent in my extra income. My book sales were also down, and though I had two garage sales and really scrimped and saved, it just wasn't enough. Last month I knew it was getting toward the end of painting season and I really had to think about what I was going to do. Since I only had about half of what I needed to finish the job, I figured my options were:

* Wait until next spring to finish the job.

* Try to get a loan somewhere or do a cash advance on my credit card.

* Borrow from mom.

* Wrap the last two sides of my house in Tyvek Priority Mail envelopes and call it "art." (What? They are red, white and blue - just like my house.)

If I waited until Spring, then it would be another Michigan winter hitting the two unprotected sides of my house. Remember that $1 a foot cedar siding? I'd be buying a lot more of it! The only good side is that I might save a little in scraping costs - as my paint is flaking off so badly, a few hard storms might take the rest off!

Last spring, when I knew I might be in this situation, the thought of getting a loan to finish the job or even using a credit card to pay for it didn't seem like that bad of an idea. I even talked to a bank about special loans designed for Michigan homeowners who are doing repairs. However, now that I have all my debt paid off (except for mortgages, of course) the thought of going back into debt made me literally sick to my stomach. Every time I thought about it, I would just tighten up. I can't do it. I'm not saying that I won't ever have debt ever again, but it is just too soon. It feels amazingly good being debt free - I want to enjoy that for awhile.

Technically, borrowing from mom is still debt, and that is part of why it bothered me. Though really, that wasn't the main reason I tried to avoid this option. My problem with a "mom loan" came from the fact that I just didn't want to have to borrow from family. I'm a pretty independent gal and my emotions here were about accepting charity; being in my mid-thirties and needing to ask for help. There was a lot of shame and embarrassment involved.

As for the Tyvek envelopes, as stylish as that might be, the thought of buying all the tape to put them up with ruled it out. ...that and the fact that as funny as the idea was, it wasn't exactly practical!!

Then I went out to dinner with my friends Catie and David. I had pretty much made my mind up that I should borrow from my mom and just get it done, but I was glad for the chance to run it by them. They are both smart people, my age, who own old houses. They knew exactly where I was was coming from! They immediately recommended borrowing. As Catie pointed out, my mom has been wanting to help me out since my divorce. She is always offering to do something for me. By giving her this chance, I can actually make her happy and make her feel like she is supporting me. And as David pointed out, waiting to get it done would probably mean more money in materials come spring. After our dinner I thought about it some more, and then decided to bite the bullet and borrow from mom. When I emailed Catie and David my decision, (and complained once again about how I feel about borrowing) David said something to me that really made sense:

But you'll be able to have the painting done before winter, and instead of budgeting to save the money, you just budget to pay back the money. By the time you get to where you would have had all the money to do the painting, not only will the loan be paid off, but you're house will already be finished! Win-win!!
He is absolutely right. For me to get that $2,700 at $900 a month it would've taken me until November. By then it would be too late to paint. However, if I borrow the money now and get the house painted, I can still focus just as I would have, but now it will be on repayment. The time frame is the same.

So, I told mom I needed a loan. Catie was right - my mom was thrilled to help me out. As I said, she has been offering since the divorce, before that even, to help me in any way she can. I'm too stubborn to normally take any kind of help, but this time I did, and I think it made my mom feel needed.

So, for the next three months I am going to have one simple goal - pay my mother back in total, well before Christmas.

I've got a good start. I have a separate online savings account that I've put the house repair money into, and I have plenty to finish the job. In fact, I am hoping I have more than I will need. If so, once the painting is done, I'll be able to cut mom a check right away for at least some of what I owe her. In addition, I have a lot of part time work lined up, so repayment is very doable. Naturally, I'll keep writing about how it all goes!

Photo by: M J M
via: flickr


Grace. said...

Painting and Roofing--the bane of every homeowner's existance! Of course there are the other plumbing and electrical and appliance failures, but for money gone fast, nothing beats exterior painting or replacing a roof.

Jessie said...

Good luck paying your mom back by Christmas!

Dawn said...

Grace - AMEN!! It doesn't help that my house is so tall and the yard so small - there was absolutely no way I would have been willing to do this work myself. I don't have a fear of heights, but I do have one of falling ladders. In other situations, I would be willing to DIY to save money, but this was one I wouldn't do.

Jessie - Thanks! I will let you know how it goes.

Frugalchick said...

Sounds like you came to a good, workable solution. And David's point is right on target.

Your house will be ready for winter, and I'm sure you'll be successful with your repayment timeline--good luck!

Dawn said...

Frugalchick - thanks! I am saving like crazy, I want this project done and paid for!