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View Full Version : Lots of projects, limited budget. LONG.


Ebanks
2011-04-17, 12:53 PM
We have about a 5 month window here to do outdoor projects, which is starting in about 4-5 weeks from now.

I need to do the following, but can't afford to do all of them this summer as it would be about $40-$50k to do everything. So, of the following which seems most important, and most likely to add value to the home.

I certainly can't afford to do it all at once, so I need to sort of prioritize these and start knocking them out.

1. Concrete/Asphalt pad in driveway. @ $8000

Pros: Gives me a place to wash my car and not stand in a mud pit when I'm done. Keeps people who park in the driveway from tracking in a bunch of dirt/grit/small gravel into the house because they wouldn't be walking through a dirt and small gravel driveway. With concrete I think I can cover half the drive, with asphalt at this budget I think I could do the entire thing all the way to the street.

Cons: The driveway works now, so it's not like it's non functional. I can pull my car onto my patio to wash it probably, but would have to drive it out on the dirt to get into the garage to actually finish up. Would still be tracking shit inside from the drive. Is a mud pit for 2 straight months every spring when snow is melting. Super expensive.

2. Powerwash, Stain, Seal siding. @ $5000

It appears the previous owners never really did this. There are some boards that will need replacing as they have dried out to the point of cracking due to neglect. The garage and house are currently different shades due to being sided/built at different times and I have some mismatched coloring on one side of the house where we removed a window.

There are a lot of pros and basically no cons to doing this, other than it cost money. I think this probably actually NEEDS to be done so should be toward the top of the list.

3. Replace Hot Tub. $10000

Pros: Guests like to use it. There is a broken tub taking up space on the patio now, and if we remove it and don't replace it there will be a big ugly concrete pad in the middle of the brick patio, so that isn't really an option.

Cons: Horribly expensive. Completely unnecessary. $100/mo or so ongoing expense in energy and maintenance.

4. Finish Shanty into Office. $4000, w/ furniture.

Pros: Officing out of your kitchen like I do is tough, and made even tougher when your wife is working nights and trying to sleep during the day (when your house is 1000 sq ft there isn't really anywhere to safely make any noise when someone is trying to sleep). This would allow me and the dogs to get out of the house in the daytime so we don't keep her awake. This would also open up a lot of cabinet space in the kitchen that is currently relegated to holding networking stuff and office stuff. I have plenty of stained knotty alder base and window trim left from redoing the house to easily trim this whole project inside, so it would put some of that to use. The shanty is currently just a 90 sq ft plywood interior building sitting outside with no use, so it would make it functional and nice. It's not sided to match the house at the moment, but I did include that expense in the previously quoted siding number.

Cons: Really nothing that I can think of. It's relatively inexpensive and I think would be quite useful and add a lot of value to the home (perhaps more than 100%?). I could just get the electricity pulled to the Shanty and finish the inside whenever, even when the weather gets bad to enable me to tackle some of the other outdoor projects. Unfortunately this would probably be the useful thing on a daily basis, so it's tough to not want to get it done right away.

5. Landscaping to include extending patio to incorporate shanty/office, adding trees for privacy from rear neighbor and for a wind break from snow drifts on our patio, tilling under wild grass and bringing in native wildflowers and bushes, and adding fence to create enclosed area for the dogs to be out in the summer. I'm waiting on bids to get back, but guessing $12,000-$15,000

Pros: Would help with my snow shoveling in the winter by blocking some of the drifting. Would help visually with making the land more presentable. Would make shoveling the patch to the office in the winter easier as currently it's just pea gravel on a path which all get shoveled up with the snow and dumped in the yard. Would give the dogs a place to go out safely without us going with them. I do think this would have a reasonable return on investment as it would create a sort of walled off outdoor dining area to block wind, and would really incorporate the shanty as part of the over house with it being attached on the same patio.

Cons: Also, unnecessary. It's not all the common for anyone out here to nicely landscape their yards, but perhaps this could start a trend in the neighborhood. lol Expensive. If I do this I need to do it early in the summer to give the plants time to establish themselves, which would probably delay doing some of the other projects.

6. Patio Furniture to include dining table and seating, planters, lighting, etc.. $6000-$8000

Pros: Somewhere to eat outside, as we have nothing right now. Serves a purpose.

Cons: Expensive. Can't really use unless we did the landscaping/patio extension as we have nowhere to put it without that. Goes on sale in the winter, so this could easily be delayed, and would save money to do so.

Boorah
2011-04-17, 12:58 PM
I would do driveway, and siding. I couldn't stand having a muddy/gravel driveway.

rman2003
2011-04-19, 06:01 PM
I'm not really too familiar with this, as I haven't done it before, but was just thinking about it.
If you did an asphalt driveway, wouldn't you want to do concrete under it first anyway?

I'm sure you could get away with just putting gravel or something down and then asphalt over the top of it, but how long would that last before it started to settle and crack/break up?

That'd suck to drop that kind of cash for a new driveway only to have it start falling apart in 5-10 years.

Just something to think about I guess.

I would be partial to doing the shanty/office first, but that's only because I work from home myself and would definitely be biased. Right now I'm sharing a 2br apt with my gf & her mom which is about 900 sq ft and it's definitely rough. Closing on a house in about 45 days though so it should improve dramatically with quadruple the space.

mrcooley
2011-04-19, 09:06 PM
This Year:

1. Concrete/Asphalt pad in driveway. @ $8000
2. Powerwash, Stain, Seal siding. @ $5000
4. Finish Shanty into Office. $4000, w/ furniture.

Total: $17000

All of these things are either maintenance or practical use items.

Next Year:

3. Replace Hot Tub. $10000
5. Landscaping $12,000-$15,000
6. Patio Furniture to include dining table and seating, planters, lighting, etc.. $6000-$8000

Total: $30000

You could do some landscaping this year...or do the hot tub this year to split the costs more evenly. The list for next year all kinda goes together. Getting the shanty done this year will give you a better idea how you will use it so you can landscape accordingly. IE...outdoor kitchen, lighting/planters a certain way, walkway a certain way...etc etc.

Hope this helps.

The Lox
2011-04-19, 09:31 PM
This Year:

1. Concrete/Asphalt pad in driveway. @ $8000
2. Powerwash, Stain, Seal siding. @ $5000
4. Finish Shanty into Office. $4000, w/ furniture.

Total: $17000

All of these things are either maintenance or practical use items.

Next Year:

3. Replace Hot Tub. $10000
5. Landscaping $12,000-$15,000
6. Patio Furniture to include dining table and seating, planters, lighting, etc.. $6000-$8000

Total: $30000

You could do some landscaping this year...or do the hot tub this year to split the costs more evenly. The list for next year all kinda goes together. Getting the shanty done this year will give you a better idea how you will use it so you can landscape accordingly. IE...outdoor kitchen, lighting/planters a certain way, walkway a certain way...etc etc.

Hope this helps.

I'm with Cooley on this one. I looked back at some pics of my KC house the other day when we had a gravel driveway and I just laughed. If you can only pick one I would say the driveway for sure!

colt47
2011-04-20, 01:11 AM
driveway and siding. i have a asphalt driveway now but ill never have another one again. in the summer time it gets extremely hot. cant leave a car on jack stands more than a few hours or they sink down. resealing sucks to. concrete cracks and stains but id rather have that. just my opinion

Gunnar
2011-04-20, 01:56 AM
I'd say concrete driveway for sure. The office is a nice idea too.

Corners
2011-04-20, 09:01 AM
I'd go for:

#1: Siding. Sounds like it's needed and you need to protect your investment.
#2: Office. You need a place to work, and that sounds pretty cheap. Sqft is usually a decent investment.
#3: Hot tub. Why? Because I personally HATE broken shit laying around, and that's a big one. There's one thing to have stuff that you want updated (but still work), but fix the broken eye sores.

white01ss
2011-04-20, 10:47 AM
I would have to have the driveway finished as a #1 on my to do list.

New stain on the home will go a long was as far as curb appeal, so that would be #2

The office would be #3. Personally I have a hard time working at home on the kitchen counter. I have to go to our office to get focused on what needs to be done. When I go to our office, it is like something mentally changes and I know I need to get shit done. At the kitchen counter, I am to tempted to turn on the TV or play with the dog.

Ebanks
2011-04-20, 11:55 AM
I think you guys are probably right on the driveway. The other side benefit of the drive is the 4-8" of excavation that would have to be done would be enough soil to bring over and bring the landscaping areas up to grade how I want them, so I wouldn't have to pay extra to have it hauled off or pay extra to buy a load of it and have it brought in...

Corners
2011-04-20, 01:18 PM
I think you guys are probably right on the driveway. The other side benefit of the drive is the 4-8" of excavation that would have to be done would be enough soil to bring over and bring the landscaping areas up to grade how I want them, so I wouldn't have to pay extra to have it hauled off or pay extra to buy a load of it and have it brought in...

I'd skip the driveway this year. While a paved driveway would be nice, it's not broken. It works. Take care of neglected maintenance and broken stuff first, IMO.

The Lox
2011-04-20, 02:01 PM
I'd skip the driveway this year. While a paved driveway would be nice, it's not broken. It works. Take care of neglected maintenance and broken stuff first, IMO.

His original goal is this: I need to do the following, but can't afford to do all of them this summer as it would be about $40-$50k to do everything. So, of the following which seems most important, and most likely to add value to the home.

Fixing a HotTub is not going to improve the value over a paved driveway. You do not generally get your money back out of things like a HotTub or a Pool. Why? Because they are as much work as they are enjoyment. For me if I was looking at a house that had a hottub or one that does not, I would actually look at the hottub as an expense over a benefit, because those things are always fucking broken..

Corners
2011-04-20, 02:41 PM
His original goal is this: I need to do the following, but can't afford to do all of them this summer as it would be about $40-$50k to do everything. So, of the following which seems most important, and most likely to add value to the home.

Fixing a HotTub is not going to improve the value over a paved driveway. You do not generally get your money back out of things like a HotTub or a Pool. Why? Because they are as much work as they are enjoyment. For me if I was looking at a house that had a hottub or one that does not, I would actually look at the hottub as an expense over a benefit, because those things are always fucking broken..

It says "most important", in which case I consider maintenance and repairs "most important" and something that takes precedence over upgrades. Just my 2 cents.

And as far as value goes, a hot tub may not add value, but a broken hot tub will definitely lower it.

Oh, and I meant to ask, why is the hot tub $10K? Seems pricey.

Ebanks
2011-04-20, 03:47 PM
Out here Hot Tubs are basically a standard item and if you don't have one it does hurt the likelihood of a quick sale if you put your house on the market. I don't plan on selling but still want to keep the home in the proper shape in case we do ever decide to do so.

$10k isn't even the really nice one, hot tubs are just expensive if you want a good brand. In our case the spot in our patio that is made for it is a specific shape so we would replace it with the same model as the old one that broke so we didn't have to redo anything on the patio to accommodate a different shape/size. That just happens to be about $10k with the delivery, installation, hall away of the busted one, etc.

That does include about $2k worth of options, one of which is the salt water conversion which makes all the components last MUCH longer than if you have to chemically treat the tub.

Corners
2011-04-20, 06:45 PM
Out here Hot Tubs are basically a standard item and if you don't have one it does hurt the likelihood of a quick sale if you put your house on the market. I don't plan on selling but still want to keep the home in the proper shape in case we do ever decide to do so.

$10k isn't even the really nice one, hot tubs are just expensive if you want a good brand. In our case the spot in our patio that is made for it is a specific shape so we would replace it with the same model as the old one that broke so we didn't have to redo anything on the patio to accommodate a different shape/size. That just happens to be about $10k with the delivery, installation, hall away of the busted one, etc.

That does include about $2k worth of options, one of which is the salt water conversion which makes all the components last MUCH longer than if you have to chemically treat the tub.

Oh. That kinda sucks. I just know you can get a pretty nice hot tub for 5 grand. Sucks the size is not more universal. Sounds like a bad ass tub, thought.

white01ss
2011-04-21, 10:16 AM
His original goal is this: I need to do the following, but can't afford to do all of them this summer as it would be about $40-$50k to do everything. So, of the following which seems most important, and most likely to add value to the home.

Fixing a HotTub is not going to improve the value over a paved driveway. You do not generally get your money back out of things like a HotTub or a Pool. Why? Because they are as much work as they are enjoyment. For me if I was looking at a house that had a hottub or one that does not, I would actually look at the hottub as an expense over a benefit, because those things are always fucking broken..


I agree with lox here. Personally I would take a house with a paved driveway and no pool/hot tub over a house with a gravel driveway with pool/hot tub.

Last year when we bought a new home, one specific home we looked at had a gravel drive with pool and a hot tub, and we didn't buy it because "I" didn't want to fuck with it. Our last house, our hot tub was always breaking, so I was done with that shit. When we sold the house, the people who bought it didn't want the hot tub either, so I sold it but it was difficult to find the right buyer because everyone wanted me to deliver it.....f that. My wife wasn't happy that I wouldn't go for that home, but I know I would be the one having to deal with it.

Gravel is a deal breaker for me. I hate gravel with a passion.

By paving the drive, and changing the landscaping to the elevation that you desire, would most likely be the best bang for your buck over a new hot tub.

thestealth
2011-04-21, 11:09 AM
I would opt for the siding and driveway as the 2 most important things to get done.



3. Replace Hot Tub. $10000

Pros: Guests like to use it. There is a broken tub taking up space on the patio now, and if we remove it and don't replace it there will be a big ugly concrete pad in the middle of the brick patio, so that isn't really an option.

Cons: Horribly expensive. Completely unnecessary. $100/mo or so ongoing expense in energy and maintenance.



How about skipping the hot tub and turning the big ugly concrete pad into the start of an outdoor kitchen/grill station?

Corners
2011-04-21, 11:23 AM
I agree with lox here. Personally I would take a house with a paved driveway and no pool/hot tub over a house with a gravel driveway with pool/hot tub.

But that's not the situation here. The choice here is, would you rather have a) a house with a gravel driveway with a new hot tub, or b) a house with a paved driveway with a broken, $10,000 built in hot tub? ;)

Oh, and for the record, I'm not some crazy pro hot tub guy. If this were to put in a new hot tub from scratch, I'd say, eff that, and rank it at the very bottom of the "to-do" list. The only reason I'm voting for it as something that should be done is because it's already there, it's "built in" and it's currently a big broken appliance. It's like having a broken fridge placed in the middle of your patio.

Ebanks
2011-04-21, 11:50 AM
I agree with lox here. Personally I would take a house with a paved driveway and no pool/hot tub over a house with a gravel driveway with pool/hot tub.

Last year when we bought a new home, one specific home we looked at had a gravel drive with pool and a hot tub, and we didn't buy it because "I" didn't want to fuck with it. Our last house, our hot tub was always breaking, so I was done with that shit. When we sold the house, the people who bought it didn't want the hot tub either, so I sold it but it was difficult to find the right buyer because everyone wanted me to deliver it.....f that. My wife wasn't happy that I wouldn't go for that home, but I know I would be the one having to deal with it.

Gravel is a deal breaker for me. I hate gravel with a passion.

By paving the drive, and changing the landscaping to the elevation that you desire, would most likely be the best bang for your buck over a new hot tub.

I'm not a big fan of hot tubs in particular, but they are more or less required out here if your property is worth over about $200k. The good news is the tub doesn't "look" broken, so it's not an eye sore sitting there non functional. It's just a waste of space.

I would opt for the siding and driveway as the 2 most important things to get done.



How about skipping the hot tub and turning the big ugly concrete pad into the start of an outdoor kitchen/grill station?

I have a built in outdoor gas grill already! :)

But that's not the situation here. The choice here is, would you rather have a) a house with a gravel driveway with a new hot tub, or b) a house with a paved driveway with a broken, $10,000 built in hot tub? ;)

The drives not even gravel, it's dirt which is why it's a mud pit for 2 straight months in late March to late May as 250" of snow melts (that's about what we've had at our house this year). You can't even do gravel out here because when you plow your drive all winter it just all gets pushed into your yard anyway.

All of our snow has already melted, but now we are getting 3-5" every night and it melts every day making the mud just continue. We are supposed to get 18-25" between now and next Tuesday and it will be warm enough every day to fully melt it off. lol The mud is a constant battle, and our drive is getting rutted out from the UPS truck, etc.



I think what I may do is the driveway and siding first. The Shanty next, and the hot tub in fall when I can try and get a better deal as the new models are out and they need to get rid of their 2011's.

I could do the hot tub for closer to $8k without the audio option and salt water option, but maybe if I waited until fall and got a floor model I could do it with the options for that same price... I've thought seriously about the TV option too so I could sit outside in the fall/winter and watch football games in the hot tub, but it's a bit of a rip off. lol

Ebanks
2011-04-21, 12:04 PM
Example of why our drive is so muddy... This is our front yard. The yard was totally clear yesterday by about 2:00PM and this is 8:30AM this morning. This will be totally melted off by early afternoon again today.

http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/363/miniapril212011.jpg

thestealth
2011-04-21, 12:56 PM
I have a built in outdoor gas grill already! :)


Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. :cheers:

Dave B
2011-04-22, 02:01 AM
Screw the hot tub. You're life will be much easier and cheaper without it. I know my life is. I'd take the risk and sell the house without it. That is one purchase that you will not get any money back on. Take out the old tub, fix the patio, but keep the 220v line accessible in case the next buyer wants a hot tub. Secondly, lots of people are resistant to use/own someone else's hot tub that they were screwing in.

$10,000 hot tub
$15,000 in energy and chemical costs over 10 years

$25,000+. Doesn't make sense to me at all. A lack of a hot tub isn't going to subtract $25K in value from your home. Screw your friends that want to sit in a hot tub while it's 15 and snowy out. They're not paying the bills nor do they realize it gets old sitting in a hot tub in cold weather. It's fun for about the first 20 times. After that, it makes you cringe hearing the heat pump kick on constantly in cold weather.