Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Progess Made & Questions Asked

We went to Home Depot this weekend. We had a list of things to do: check out some furnishings we still need, pick up paint swatches, price countertops and buy hooks.

I keep a running list in google docs (two actually) so that we know what kinds of things we should be looking for. Mark's the type who buys stuff "because its a good deal" and knowing what we actually need is a good check point for him. So I have one list called "Stuff we need" creatively named to include small household items we need want. On it is things like serving spoons, a carving set, new towels, etc. None of it is pressing, but all of them are things we would love to steal from my mother recieve as gifts or pick up if we found a great deal. The other list is "Around the House" and we put it together pretty recently. Its a room-by-room list of things we would like to change about the room. It includes things like furniture and art for the walls, as well as projects we want to do (like those darn bathroom walls).

Although I learned that Home Depot isn't just for hardware (and we did look at the Home Decorators Collection for rugs) we were mostly there for business. We started with rugs, and found a couple of good and affordable options for the porch (although now I'm thinking of maybe painting the concrete floor instead). Then we hit the paint aisle...I'd tell you more about it, but Mark actually wrote a post that I'll put up soon all about it (how sweet of him!).

Finally it was the moment of truth...the kitchen department. My realtor told me I would want to upgrade to granite before selling, and if I'm going to shell out for something, I better get to enjoy it myself. I'd be planning on around $1500, but had no clue how realistic that was. Our plan was to get three quotes, and this would be the first. We priced out Kashmir White and White Spring (guess who picked the more expensive one. Young House Love has the first one, and I took their reminder to think about what it would look like all over the place to heart, shooting down one sample after another with too dark, too spotty. My kitchen right now has light gray laminate countertops and I love how it looks. So I want basically that, but nicer.

According to the consultant's calculations (based on my meticulous floor plan...I'm a math teacher; I always* measure right), I have 26.69 sq. ft of granite needed, including the four inch backsplash. On top of the granite cost, here's what Home Depot says I'm looking at:
Undermount sink prep 235
Undermount sink         269--I should be able to buy separately online for less
Tearout old counters   200.18--we might be able to do this ourselves
Plumbing disconnect     65
Plumbing reconnect     350--we might be able to have both of these done ourselves--I belive both of my parents can do minor plumbing, and I doubt redoing the faucet and dishwasher are very complicated.
All this bonus stuff comes to an extra 884, so I sure hope we can save at least parts of it. The countertops themselves run $1400 to $1900 for the amount I need, for a total between $2500 and $3000. The good news is: a) there's no tax on this, since its an installed product (Mark's brilliant question) b) Home Depot has 10% off til Jan 31. But still....

Lesson. Learned.

I'm not sure why my estimate of $1500 was so far off--probably all the bonus stuff didn't quite get taken into consideration. I'm thinking about what to do. I have plenty of money in my savings (I'm very very very patient. Also, cheap.) so I could afford to do it right now, but its more than what I earmarked. Mark, on the other hand, is all "oh, lets just do it", so its hard to be as level-headed about things. I'm still holding myself to getting two more quotes, and we'll see how things look once that's done.

Despite everybody else and my own mother having opinions about what I should do, this seems like a good decision. My kitchen is pretty nice as it is, but has white appliances and laminate countertops. I actually dislike stainless appliances, so that isn't happening...but I think the granite would be enough to send my kitchen into "really nice" territory. And, even if it does run me over $2000, I know its one of the things eventual potential buyers will look for, and is commonly touted in ads etc. I just need to decide when the right time is.

If you're following along with Mint, I hope you have your account all set up. I'll post a follow up next week about monitoring your account in the beginning--don't stress about anything but getting your info in there and correcting any mis-categorized transactions.

*How much do you want to bet I regret saying that?

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