A testimony from Courtney
After looking for our dream home for several months, we quickly realized that what we had in mind as the home to raise our family didn’t exist on a police officer’s salary. I was working too, as a teacher, but only for another year or so before I quit to become a stay-at-home mom.
We decided to get used to living on one income early by purchasing a home based on my husband’s salary and using my salary to build our savings.
Finding a home under our budget and fit all our requirements was a difficult and sometimes frustrating process.
We realized if we were going to find a home we could live in for the long-term it would not come without some flaws. We were careful though, and knew we had to find a home at the low- to mid-range end of our budget so we wouldn’t be financially stressed to complete the renovations.
We also decided that we didn’t want to buy a home that needed a kitchen remodel since those can tend to be more expensive.
Having these things decided, we found a home we loved and fit our budget, but needed some cosmetic changes. The kitchen had been remodeled eight years earlier and was in great condition. We just changed the handles on the doors to update it a bit. New hardware for the cabinets and drawers cost us around $60.
What We Did
- New carpet throughout
- The hardwood floors in the kitchen sanded, sealed and extended
- New interior doors
- New paint throughout
We budgeted $5,000 to get this done and were successful.
How We Did It
- It was hard to be patient when we wanted a new, beautiful house right now, but we saved carefully and did projects as we had the money to — not charging anything.
- We shopped around and had several businesses gives us estimates on supplies to ensure we were getting the best price.
- We did much of the labor ourselves. We ripped out the carpet and pads, pulled carpet staples and prepped all the floors. Removing the carpet, combined with a 10% discount my husband gets through his work at a home improvement store, we were able to save almost $2,000 on our carpet, compared to some bids we received.
- We borrowed supplies and labor from friends, co-workers and neighbors. Professional paint equipment was offered by a co-worker who used to own his own business; my husband’s parents had drills, saws, and sanders we used, and countless friends offered their labor to get the jobs done.
- Carpet was the only thing we had professionally installed.
It was a long, time-consuming process but definitely worth it to see the finished product and know that we improved the value of our home without going into debt. It’s also a good feeling to know we didn’t finance our renovations with our mortgage so we aren’t paying interest on it either.
Courtney and Blake have been married for seven years and have a two-year-old daughter. They reside in Utah where Blake is a police officer and Courtney teaches seventh grade. They love spending time as a family and doing things outdoors.
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