House Anonymous

from house to home

First Project June 3, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — houseanonymous @ 8:22 pm

What was your first project when you moved into your new home?  For us, it might not be what you expect but once we got everything in the house and thought “where do we start?” it was kind of obvious.  When we had our first showing we noticed that the laundry was in a closet in the master bedroom.  At first, I said “This is awful!”  In our area it is most common to have the washer and dryer in their own room, or the room may be a pass through to the garage.  I have never seen a set up quite like the one we have.  The more I thought about it though, the more I thought it actually would be pretty convenient to have the washer and dryer in the bedroom – at least it won’t be far to put my clothes away!  But it still needed a little work to help make it more user friendly.  It was a closet just big enough to hold a washer and dryer with one high shelf like you would find in a clothes closet.  I knew I could make it so much more functional!  I am a slacker so I forgot to take a before picture.  We pulled down the shelf and painted the inside of the closet a medium grey to match what we were planning on painting the room.  One trip to the Container Store later and… Voila!

Image

Three shelves to hold all the laundry room essentials, a hanging bar for hanging clothes to dry, and a lower shelf to sort everything as I fold it.  Brilliant!  (If I may say so myself!)  5 months in, I can say that it is working great for me.  Everything I need is within arms reach, which makes laundry easy peasy.  The best part is, if it is a big mess all I have to do is close the doors and I can ignore it until I am ready to face it again.  I call that a win!

 

We bought a new house! May 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — houseanonymous @ 8:37 pm

Actually, we have been in it for about 4 months now, so we have had time to(more or less) get unpacked and start on some projects. We decided to move from East Texas to the DFW area to be closer to my family and because I got a great job offer. The whole process was a bit of a mess – I was originally supposed to commute and stay with my family three days a week while I worked, then commute back to East Texas while our house was on the market. That plan lasted all of a week. Blair said he wanted to take advantage of the crazy heat wave to get a job in Dallas. I really think he just missed me. Regardless, we went to stay with my family. We had to find a new home for the kitties 😦 because my brother is allergic. We brought Ruby and Briley (of course!) and moved in with my mom, dad, sister, and brother. It was cozy to say the least! We ended up staying with them for 6 months because we had a hard time selling our house. It was not exactly what we anticipated but we were so lucky to be able to have family to stay with and we got so spoiled to have my mom preparing meals and helping with laundry and house cleaning.

Now we are finally in our own place! While it was great living with my family we are really happy to have our own space. This house is quite a bit larger than our home in East Texas, and was built in 1988 as opposed to 2006. This has given us some challenges which you will hear all about, but I bet what you would really like is to see the house. So, without further ado, our new abode!

View from the front

Front view of the house


Kitchen

Kitchen


Living room

Living room


Master bedroom

Master bedroom


Master bath

Master bath


The gameroom (upstairs)

The gameroom (upstairs)


The backyard

The backyard


These pictures are from the real estate listing. The former homeowners had a different decorating style than I do so it has definitely been a challenge trying to figure out what will stay, what will change, and what is most important. Stay tuned to see what we have been up to!

 

Finally time to work on the kitchen… January 1, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — houseanonymous @ 10:48 am

The kitchen has been the last room in the house to get much attention, for two reasons…  1) I was having a hard time figuring out what to do with it, and 2) it was working just fine, so it was difficult for me to convince Blair to spend any money on it.  Well, I have been lusting after this Crate and Barrel table for quite some time now…Avalon Extension Table

I mean, as much as one can lust after a table…  Anyway, I originally wanted this Pottery Barn table…

Aris Pedestal table

But when I found the Crate and Barrel one, for close to half the price, I quickly changed my mind!  I finally bought it and I couldn’t be happier.  It seems to be great quality, and I love the clean lines and the wood grain on the top.  One small problem though…  I was too cheap to buy the set with the chairs so we are currently using the folding chairs that go with our card table!  Slightly ghetto, I know.  Hey, at least they are black!  I am still searching for the perfect chairs to match at a reasonable price.  Its a lot harder than it sounds.  I still have some work to do in the kitchen, in addition to finding the chairs, but this is a step in the right direction.  Stay tuned for pictures!

 

Bundle of Joy! May 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — houseanonymous @ 10:40 am
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First and most importantly… We have added a new member to our family! Meet Briley Marie! She was born March 30, 2010 and has turned our lives upside down… In a good way! This means we had to combine the guest room and office into one and prepare her nursery. For that, we had help from John and Sherry at Young House Love, who recently welcomed their own little girl. Stay tuned for more info on our new addition and the makeover she inspired!

 

I’m Back!

Filed under: Uncategorized — houseanonymous @ 10:29 am
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Several life changes, many home improvement projects, and almost a year later I’m back. Life has a way of getting in the way, but I’m going to try to do better! I have a lot of updating to do so stay tuned.

 

Refi Basics May 13, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — houseanonymous @ 10:07 pm

All of my favorite bloggers have been doing it lately, so I just had to see what all the hype was about.  I am talking about refinancing, of course.  We have all see the headlines about record breaking low interest rates, and although I thought we did pretty well when we got our home loan a little under a year ago, I had to satisfy my curiosity.  I also really was not sure whether or not we could refinance after living in the house such a short time.

The first place I looked was our current lender.  I sent in a request online, but after I had not heard from them in a week I got impatient and called.  The man I spoke to said that we could get a better interest rate, but our PMI would go up and overall, our payment would only decrease around $20 a month.  At least I think that is what he said.  He was very difficult to understand.  I was discouraged to say the least, and almost ready to throw in the towel.  Instead, I turned to the trusty Internet.

I headed on over to bankrate.com, which is a resource to let you know what banks have the best interest rate on all kinds of products, from mortgages to savings accounts to credit cards.  They also rate banks on how well they are doing, which is important lately with all the bank failures.  I checked out a few websites of banks that I found on bankrate.  One had an instant online quote, one had a chart online that gave you some idea of interest rates and payments, and one asked me to give my info so they could give me a call.  I ran some numbers and determined that these banks could save me at least $100 a month.  Now that might be worth looking into.

Early the next morning (Staurday morning) an “executive banker” (ooh. ahh.) called me.  He said that he could get me a good interest rate, ok a great interest rate.  1.5% lower than my current interest rate to be exact.  They could roll the closing costs into the refi and it would pay for inself within 3-4 years.  Now thats a deal I can live with.

What you need to know – If you are thinking of refinancing, you are definitely better off if you are not in one of the areas where property values have not sharply declined lately.  To the best of my knowledge, an appraisal will always be required for a refi.  You will also be better off if your loan-to-value ratio is less than 90%.  This means that the loan amount is less than 90% of what your house is worth.  Unfortunately, we do not fall into this category, which means that in addition to having to pay PMI, our closing costs are greater.  The longer you are planning on staying in your house, the more you can potentially save with a lower interest rate, and therefore the more refinancing makes sense for you.  You should only refinance if you are going to stay in the house long enough for the refinance to pay for itself.  Therefore, if the refinance saves you $100 a month, and the closing costs are $4000, $4000/$100 = 40 months or 3.33 years, which means that it will take the refinance 3.33 years to pay for itself.  If you roll the closing costs into the mortgage then you are paying interest on them, and that makes the math too complicated for me but you get the idea.  Also, I understand that some part of the closing costs can be tax deductible which could make them pay for themselves more quickly, but I am not an authority on that so I won’t pretend.

What you will need – Initially, you will need to know the approximate payoff amount of your current mortgage and the approximate value of your home.  It may also be helpful to pull out your most recent mortgage statement to see what part of your payment goes to principle and interest, escrow, and PMI.  This will help you calculate how much you will be saving, since the discount will be off of the principle and interest payment, and the rest should stay essentially the same.  You should also know generally where your credit score falls (i.e. fair, good, excellent).  This should be enough information to give you an idea of what kind of interest rate you can get and whether or not refinancing makes sense for you.

When you get started with the actual refinance, you will probably need one month’s worth of pay stubs and two months worth of asset statements (i.e. savings, money markets, mutual funds).  In addition you will need contact info for your homeowners insurance agent.  My bank is handling getting the exact payoff amount from my current bank for me.  That is all the info my bank has asked for from me, and as far as I remember that was all we had to supply when we obtained our first mortgage.  Of course, there are special circumtances such as when you are unable to document your income, so that may make things different.

Next, you will have an appraisal, title search, and survey.  The title search and survey are the kind of things that I really wish I did not have to spend so much money on, but alas, what can you do.  In this process I learned that title searches and title insurance in Texas are pretty much the most expensive in the country.  Yay.  My appraisal is tomorrow.  This is a real nailbiter for me, because if it comes in greater than then amount I estimated then it might put us under the 90% loan-to-value mark and it will reduce our closing costs, and increase our equity.  I wonder if the appraiser likes cookies?

So I hope this was informative!  Please let me know if I can clear anything up or if I said anything erroneous.

(Disclaimer – I am not a professional mortgage-girl or banker!  This is intended to discuss my exeperience with refinancing only.)

 

I heart Earth Week April 26, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — houseanonymous @ 9:13 pm

Who visited Target this week?  Check out the nice surprise I got when I reached the checkout…

p4220780Usually the surprise I get at the checkout is not so nice, especially at Target.  It is so easy to spend tons of money there…  This week, in honor of Earth Week, they were giving away reusable shopping bags.  I think this is a brilliant idea.  Now if only I can remember to take the shopping bags from the car into the store…