After a four month hiatus, it’s the triumphant return of the Thumb and Hammer Home Improvement Podcast. In this episode, I talk about acting on a life-changing decision we made back in the fall and how everything came together with hours to spare when it all could have just easily fallen apart.
I also talk about how losing over $100,000 isn’t the end of the world. And how it’s okay to admit defeat.
I explain some of the math behind renovating to flip versus selling as is, as well as why working with a real estate agent was the best choice we could have made.
The podcast will be now be returning to its bi-weekly schedule starting with this episode.
The plan is for the podcast to eventually return to its bi-weekly schedule. When this happens, members of the mailing list will be the first to know.
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John from AZDIYGuy.com returns to the podcast to give us an update on his pool, which was sitting empty, awaiting repair, back in Episode 5 of this podcast. And the timing couldn’t be better since I discussed contracts in last week’s episode. John shares his experience in hiring the right contractor for the job and relates how he was able to renegotiate a couple clauses in the contract. This episode is intended to be a continuation of Episode 11.
“Get it in writing.” Seems so obvious, doesn’t it? Why would anyone do work or have work done without a contract? As a homeowner, I have hired contractors and handymen and I have had work done with and without contracts. In this episode, I give a couple examples of when I had work done without a written contract and the consequences. I also explain what should be included in a good contract.
Elements of a Good Contract
The general job description
The price and payment terms (when installments are due)
What is included in the price– the materials to be used and what the contractor is going to do. Basically this is the job description in more detail.
What is not included. For example, “priming and painting not included.”
Details of any warranty and the transferability of that warranty.
Details of liability limitations (the damage waiver). For example, a roofing company is usually not responsible for cracks to interior plaster or drywall.
The contract should also mention that the contractor has worker’s compensation insurance or the equivalent.
In the last episode, Angela Allen of LivingSmall.com shared her philosophy and enthusiasm for downsizing and simplifying. We talked about tiny houses (Angela lives in a very small cabin) but the conversation evolved into so much more than that. In a very general sense, it became a discussion about figuring out what is important in life. And for Angela, working for a house and becoming a slave to the bank was not part of the equation.
And so I began to reevaluate my own priorities. We have been trapped in our money pit for more than a decade, sacrificing and saving so we could repair the damage done by the previous owner and make improvements. As we are preparing to tear down and rebuild the family room addition, I am feeling the stress and trepidation of going back into debt.
After talking to Angela, I finally concluded what I have suspected for a long time and my family and I were going to have to make a difficult, life-changing decision.
In this podcast episode, I elaborate on a few of the topics Angela talked about last week, plus I talk about our own decision.
Be sure to listen to Episode 9 of the Thumb and Hammer Podcast for my conversation with Angela Allen.
I have also previously written blog posts about how we would go about financing the addition (other posts related to finding the money for the addition renovation can be found by following the “Budget and Finances” tag at the top of that post).
Speaking of my daughter’s bedroom, here is a photo of it. That’s our black lab enjoying the new bedding. You’ll understand the significance of that if you listen to the entire podcast episode.
Angela Allen from LivingSmall.com built a small cabin in the woods and is living the dream. In this podcast episode she talks about how that dream is defined, as well as the virtues of tiny houses, simple living and deciding what is truly important in life.
Topics covered in this episode
Angela’s “cabin in the woods.”
The Tiny House Movement and the politics surrounding Tiny Houses.
Spur, Texas: a Tiny House community
Downsizing and decluttering.
The advantages of living in a small house.
The challenges of living in a small space and how to overcome them.
How technology can help us simplify our lives and our space.
SpurFreedom.org: Website for Spur, Texas, the nation’s first Tiny House friendly town.
My guest on this week’s podcast is Sarah Fogle from The Ugly Duckling House. Part story-teller, part DIY tutor, Sarah shares her experiences, successes and challenges in fixing up a house that suffered from 20 years of neglect. She uses her site as a running log of knowledge that she has gained in the hopes that it will help others with their own DIY.
Topics covered in this episode
One person’s definition of “move-in ready” is not necessarily the same as another person’s definition.
Sarah’s childhood experience helping her father: there is no such thing as “can’t”.
How her background in crafting helped her with larger home improvement projects.
How Sarah approaches teaching DIY.
Why she avoids writing about DIY “from a woman’s perspective.”
How the power of social media can be harnessed to define a brand.
Links to websites mentioned in this episode
Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls: Smart Girls seeks to help future women channel their intelligence, imagination, and curiosity into a drive to be their weird and wonderful selves.
Girls Who Code: Girls Who Code seeks to close the gender gap in technology, inspiring girls to pursue computer science by exposing them to real life and on screen role models.
DIY Diva: Kit is an experienced DIYer, admitted power tool junkie, and accidental farmer who has spent the last decade tearing houses apart, putting them back together again, and writing about it on her website.
On this episode of the Thumbandhammer Podcast, I talk to Vicki, who blogs at MyCrappyHouse.com. Vicki is a self-proclaimed DIY ninja who is not afraid to take on home improvement projects and her confidence and fearlessness are contagious. Talking to Vicki was like a refreshing kick in the butt to get me back into a DIY mindset and she will inspire you too.
Topics covered in this episode
Vicki talks about the scope of the crappiness of her “crappy house.”
The pros and cons of buying a former rental property
Why Vicki has no regrets buying a house after many years as a renter
Her logical approach to DIY and how her background in creating 3D trade show displays has helped.
Long Island Housing Partnership: created to address the need for and to provide affordable housing opportunities on Long Island for those who are unable to afford homes, through development, technical assistance, mortgage counseling, homebuyer education and lending programs.
Rehab Addict on HGTV: Nicole Curtis is saving historic houses, one broken-down fireplace at a time. Working in Detroit and Minneapolis, Nicole takes ramshackle homes from the wrecking ball to their original stunning glory. Whether it’s managing her rugged crew or wrangling city officials, this single mom wields her hammer with skill and returns condemned properties to their place as the pride of the neighborhood.
Yard Crashers on DIY Network: On DIY Network’s Yard Crashers, expert Chris Lambton waits at stores looking for the perfect weekend warriors who could definitely use his help. Once he finds his target, Chris and his team follow the surprised shoppers home and completely transform their yards.
John Gerard from OurHomeFromScratch.com joins me today to talk about his home improvement experiences, his website and his eBook. John’s website is a combination of home improvements and woodworking and in this episode, he shares some of the lessons he has learned as a homeowner and the tools and resources he used when he renovated his kitchen.
Topics covered in this episode
The phone call that led John to buy his first house.
What John recommends you do first if you buy a “fixer-upper.”
How his choice for the first improvement made in his first house wasn’t necessarily the best choice. What John recommends you don’t do first when you buy a house.
How a plumbing emergency led to a DIY failure and a learning opportunity.
John’s complete kitchen renovation and why and how he (mostly) made his own cabinets himself.
The tools he used to plan and design his kitchen
John’s book: Renovate Your Kitchen the Smart Way
The four things you need to consider before you renovate your kitchen: Do you need to renovate? What is your budget? What is the scope of the work? What are the functional requirements?
The GOAL of John’s website, Our Home From Scratch.
My guest today is John, from AZDIYGuy.com. That’s AZ as in Arizona. His blog is a side project where he enjoys sharing his DIY adventures with the world while injecting his “dorky” sense of humor in his writing.
Topics Covered in this episode
How Arizona shapes the blog.
John’s first DIY project, and first tool purchase.
The new house experience in Texas.
His career change and move back to Arizona into the house he owns now.
What was behind the decision to buy a “fixer-upper.”
Career plan vs. career reality.
Why he enjoys blogging, the niche that his website occupies, and his approach to writing.
The challenges of juggling DIY home improvement projects with content creation for the website.