Home > Archive: August, 2020

Archive for August, 2020

Uh Oh Home Repairs

August 29th, 2020 at 09:07 pm

My house was built in 1915 and has very solid masonry construction.

A half-bath was added on to the back of the house at some point, probably 50 years ago.

A couple of weeks when Tropical Storm Isaias came through, most of my neighbors had water in their basements, but I was lucky; my basement stayed dry.

What I did have was water coming through the door frame in between the main house and the add-on. I put a pail underneath and checked the next day; once the pail went down, the floor on both sides of the door seemed dry, so I closed the door and didn't think anything of it.

I don't really use that room except as a storage closet for household supplies, so I didn't go in the room again until last Saturday when I needed a battery.

My nose noticed a smell first, and I looked up and saw mold on the ceiling.

My neighbor came by on Monday and painted over the ceiling with mold killer.

My other neighbor is in the process of selling his house and had a friend over who is a roofer who was doing some patching for him and did some patchwork on my roof too but he also told me that I should replace that roof.

So I am now in the process of gathering estimates. The first estimate was done this morning; $800 for the back porch roof only; and $1800 if I get the front porch roof done at the same time (a $200 discount from having the two projects done at different times). (The roofer who seal-coated my main roof last summer said that the front porch roof should be replaced in 3-5 years.) I'm getting two more estimates this week.

The last thing to figure out is addressing whether there is any mold growing in the space under the roof and over the ceiling. I'm just not sure about that. There is a drywall person who lives at the corner who the neighbor who applied the mold killer was going to talk to.

I always feel so completely helpless when there are home repairs but so far this one is reasonably in control, Still a bit nervous about the mold though. Not sure if it could get through from the attached structure into the main structure. And I just never know who to ask.

Back to a Debt Low since buying my house

August 16th, 2020 at 08:45 pm

I bought my house 15 years ago this October. Before that, I had had no long-term debt for well over a decade, only credit cards that were paid off monthly. The initial mortgage was $92,800, and, until this year, I had never gotten my debt total below $90k for more than a couple of months. A career change involving periods of unemployment, and the illnesses/deaths of several pets as well as my mother, meant that the debt would creep up and came to include some non-mortgage debt--a couple of low-interest loans (about 4%) and credit cards, typically with 0% balance transfer offers. This year I decided to get serious about paying down the debt.

I was able to get my debt below 80k for a brief period in February, when I got my 2019 bonus--but then the pandemic hit and I did some purchasing of some food and household stores, and it crept back over. I've been working it back down again, and it finally looks like it's below 80k for good, barring any major pet health, car, or home repair emergencies (knock on wood and prayers!). I'm aiming to get it to 70k by year's end and I think I'll be able to do it. I'm aiming to lop off 10k a year, more if possible (which basically means when I get a bonus at work). The mortgage is down to 47.5k now, close to half its starting balance (should be more than 50% paid off by October 1).

The mortgage payoff is steady, $400 a month (I round up the payment each month to make it that even number). In any case it will be paid off by the end of 2027 (22 years after purchase) and if I get a couple of bonuses between now and then, I should be able to make my goal of paying it off by the end of 2025. But first the non-mortgage debt! I am finally making progress there. Again, we'll see what the year has in store, as the best-laid plans go oft awry. In any case, it is satisfying that never this year has my total debt balance gone over 90k and now it looks to be firmly below 80k. After nearly 15 years of having debt over 90k, this feels like progress.

Net Worth is progressing too; up 6.75% despite the pandemic since the retirement accounts are now net positive for the year.

The house next door to me (other half of my twin) is in the process of being sold and the price was good, which only helps my home value. Another single woman is the purchaser, and I hope that we get along well. I'll be curious to meet her, probably next month. The closing date hasn't been set yet but I know they are aiming for the end of August.