The kitchen cabinets in the house we live in have seen better days. They were reasonably well-built, but 50 years of raising families–mine is the third family raised in this house–took their toll on them. A couple of years back we painted them, to cover the scars of the years. It was an improvement, but the color dated itself pretty quickly, and we didn’t use the highest-quality paint, so the finish wore fairly quickly.
This time, we repainted them white. We used an expensive Benjamin Moore Decorator White in semi-gloss, because it looks good, but also because we’ve found it to be durable in other projects. And you’d be surprised how many half-million-dollar houses have white-painted cabinets. I’m an estate sale junkie, so I’ve seen a lot of half-million-dollar houses over the years, and I would estimate 40% of them have simple, white cabinets in their kitchens. It’s a look that doesn’t date itself, and is cheap and easy to take care of. (As a point of reference, a modest three-bedroom ranch house in the same county costs around $125,000.)
I’ve also seen people do this to improve the appearance of a house prior to flipping it.
Because of my nearly-new job, I needed home-office space in a hurry and without spending a lot. A few weeks ago I spotted some peel and stick vinyl planks at my local Lowe’s store, sold under the Style Selections brand and priced at 98 or 99 cents per square foot, so I picked some up. I also installed them in my entryway.
For the money, I think they’re very good. Read more
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch had a good, short piece on landlording. It’s pretty good, but misses a couple of things.
Is landlording profitable? The answer is yes. Where people disagree, I think, is on the timing, and perhaps to a lesser degree, on the strategy.
My wife read an article yesterday on real estate investing that made her mad. I’d link to it, but I can’t find it today–maybe it was pulled. But the premise was that you shouldn’t invest in real estate, because being a landlord isn’t a quick way to get rich.
I agree with the second part. But the first part doesn’t logically follow. In fact, I don’t care who you are, probably the best thing you can do for yourself is forget about trying to get rich quickly. I speak from experience. Read more
Declining incomes have more people paying a higher percentage of their income in rent than in the past. I blame the recession. And what caused the recession? People getting in over their heads, buying more house than they can afford. I blame the big banks for that, because I personally experienced it. If I’d bought the kind of house loan officers were telling me to buy in 2002, I’d have been foreclosed on, too.
Here’s a very easy way to figure out whether you can afford a particular place. Read more
I stumbled into something today that I’m sure I’ve read elsewhere and had forgotten about.
We’re trying to rent this house out, you see. And so far, everyone I’ve showed it to has jerked me around about it. And most people don’t want to rent it. They want to buy it for nothing. It’s a little irritating, but I try to stay cheerful. I have to.
Today, I showed the house to a guy who kept going on and on about how it’s not very much house for what I’m asking–I’m asking what an experienced and successful realtor who knows the area says to ask–and finding tons of nitpicky things to dislike about it.
And then another car drove up.
I’ve always hated my lawn mower. But once I started using Marvel Mystery Oil in a lawn mower, and putting synthetic 10w-30 oil in the crankcase, I’ve been much happier. It makes me feel like I discovered one of the secrets of the universe.
While you’re at it, check the air filter. You’re supposed to change that every year, at least. The combination of a fresh air filter, Marvel Mystery Oil, and synthetic oil gives me easier starts and smoother running.
I picked up a copy of a financial classic today: How to Make a Fortune Today, Starting From Scratch by William Nickerson. In it, he presents a proven, old formula for making money.
While I don’t necessarily agree with everything Nickerson says, I’m not a millionaire and Nickerson was by the time he was my age (or well on his way at least). And his tactics are far, far safer than anyone writing about money today.