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Thursday, July 6

My Home Remodel Update

Master bathroom before

I bought our house in 2014 for $45,000.   It was a real steal.  The MLS listed the house as a 2 bedroom, 1 bath foreclosure.  In reality, the house was a 3 bedroom, 2 bath.  In Tampa Bay, the institutional buyers who were buying up hundreds of homes site unseen were buying three bedroom houses, so mine flew under their radar.

Even then, $45,000 was ridiculous for a house in this area.  It was so low because there were so many problems, including water damage.  Not being scared of a little work, all I saw was opportunity.  We did much of the work ourselves.  The back yard was grass and sand.  Now there is a 224 square foot patio, partially covered, and an extensive tropical garden with seashell paths and bird fountains.  We added drywall to the walls and ceilings (the bank replaced the roof before I bought it), gutted and re-did the kitchen, and painted the whole house.  When it was time to start the bathrooms, I was a little burnt out.  We began demolition in one bathroom, and I started to realize there were a lot of little things I had no idea how to do.  Ultimately, I decided to hire a contractor.

During the last few months I've had contractors working inside our house to remodel both bathrooms.  I am really happy with the work they did and don't regret the expense.  In total, I spent close to $18,000 to completely remodel both bathrooms.  In the master bathroom, this included converting the green bathtub to a full shower with insets for soap and shampoo.

Master bathroom after

Behind all that's pretty, the plumber replaced the old shower valve as well as all the shut-off valves.  Drywall was replaced with mold-resistant tile board.  The old vanity was so damaged that the drawers wouldn't open and close, and the 70's era wallpaper was peeling.  Now I have clean, bright walls, with a full tile shower and four feet of tile that wraps around the entire bathroom.  There's a brand new window to let in lots of sunlight.

In the second bathroom, the pink (yes, it was PINK) tub with the broken sliding glass doors was replaced with a white tub with tile walls and a curved shower rod.  It too was gutted and all the plumbing was upgraded.  A new window was installed there, too.

The contractor is wrapping up one last (small) project for me, and then I will take a break from any major work to replenish the bank account.  One advantage to buying a foreclosure is that you have some control over how much the house costs you.  I paid cash for this house, so I don't have the traditional expense of a mortgage.  Instead, I decide when to spend money on the house.  There's plenty left to do, but nothing that keeps us from living here or that makes us uncomfortable.  Well, the air conditioner might need to be replaced, which is a comfort issue.   In the coming months, I hope to replace the old wooden fence that's falling apart with a vinyl one.  There are a few electrical upgrades that need to be done.  The laundry room needs new walls and I might tile the floor.  Then there's the carport and the peeling blue paint.  Oh, the list goes on!

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