Monday, January 4, 2010


So lately my heater has been doing funny things. The thermostat says it's 70 degrees and my little thermometer says it's about 60-64 degrees. My first instinct was that the thermostat was faulty so i replaced that yesterday. It turns out that isn't the case. Now I'm thinking about returning my $40 thermostat and paying $60 for the home warranty people to come out and fix it. I just don't know what the issue could be other than something mechanical. I have taken care of the filter and that isn't the issue.
Oh well, the joys of home ownership. I love having a place I can do projects, but sometimes the projects are above my head.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


This month I received a letter from my HOA group notifying me of a change in how they are billing gas. When I purchased the condo unit, gas was included in the HOA. Now, as of January 1, I have to pay for as much as I use.
Their logic was good: make everyone pay for their own heat/AC and they might weatherize their homes better. I agree with this, but I was surprised that in the dead of winter, they are chaning how we are billed. I am unable to replace my single pane windows in January so I will have to pay more until spring when I can have that done.
I will be taking time to caulk around my windows again and placing weather stripping around my door, but those will only save a little money.
Anyway, I'll have to wait and see if my costs go down because I conserve energy. Only time will tell. That is my ultimate hope.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Property Tax Appeal

I received a letter last week letting me know that I had won my property tax appeal. They reduced my home's value down to where it should be. This process wasn't painful, but did take a while.
Meanwhile, I had my first "repair" on the home that I would have previously called the landlord for. A kitchen drawer runner broke. Luckily it was a quick fix. It was kind of funny to have it happen though. I really did think "I should call the landlord and get him to come fix this." Only to realized I AM the landlord.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Small Projects

I've been working on a few small projects lately. A dear friend gave me a new letter for my door. The one that previously denoted my residence was quite ugly. I hung it on the door proudly.
I have also been working on sanding some doors that have been sticking due to the change in weather. It's been a bit messy, but not to hard. It was an excuse to get a new power tool too!
I also took a moment the other night to fill in the nail holes to the quarter round. I haven't fully finished that project yet. I still need to sand the filled holes and caulk the whole thing before painting it all. I was just super exicted to not have to make any more cuts at corners. They were just no fun!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Oh the IRS....

I finally received my check. It took 17 WEEKS!!!!! The only bonus was that they included interest earned on the money. That made me happy. Good luck to all of you who are working on getting your refund. It might take a while, but it is truly worth it.
Now I get to decide on the best financial choices for the money. I'm looking into Certificate of Deposit rates at my bank to see if it's worth it to lock a portion away for a good interest rate. I'll put a chunk in emergency savings as well.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Quarter Round

FINALLY! With the help of my fiance, I was able to finish the quarter round around all the baseboards in my condo. I haven't filled the holes and caulked it yet, but it's all installed! It was a big endeavor.
My next project (before patching the baseboards) is to sand some of the doors that stick. The weather is causing more doors to stick. I figure if I can get them to stop sticking now, then I'll be set when the weather changes back again. It was a LOT of fun to get an electric hand sander. I enjoy tools probably too much.

Tax Credit Update:
I called the IRS a little over a week ago and they said it was week 12 and they have 16 to process it. So hopefully within the next month I get my money.....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oh the IRS

I've been hanging out and waiting for my $8000 tax credit for quite a while now. I finally decided that maybe my tax form never made it to the IRS so I should give them a call. After being on hold for 20 minutes they informed me that they have received my request and I'm on week 12. They have a total of 16 weeks to process the refund. 16 WEEKS! I don't know about you, but that seems a little silly. I got my original refund within 2 weeks of filing. Why don't they let you e-file an amended return?? They would save themself so much time. Anyway, I've got 4 more weeks to wait for my check.
Don't get your hopes up for expedited IRS servce.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The highly requested photos

The front room (notice the red front door)

The Shelves I built...

The Dining room...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Housewarming party

I had my housewarming party on Saturday and it went really well. It was a lot of fun to have people I care about come and see what I've been spending so much time working on. I hope to remember to post some updated photos here soon. I'll send myself a reminder.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Housewarming Party

Since I've done all this hard work on my condo I have decided to have a housewarming party this weekend. I'm looking foward to having my friends and family come over and see my new home and all that I've been able to do to the place. It feels like the hard work has paid off and that the next round of work is purely for me. :)

I have yet to hear about my property taxes and my tax credit. :(

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

No news yet

I haven't heard anything from my appeal of my property tax. I also have yet to receive in the mail my $8000 tax credit. I guess 6-8 weeks is longer than I thought (it feels like it should be here by now, but it hasn't been 8 weeks yet).
I have one small project going at the moment. At some point someone converted a closet into a little alcove in the front room. They never took the time to fully repair the walls from the closet shelves and closet doors. So I’m taking the time to make it look nice before I paint and have a housewarming party.
It has been kind of nice to take a break from all the “construction” that I’ve been doing. I keep seeing new projects to complete, but all in all, I’m content where things are. That is a nice place to be.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tax Assessment

So I received a nice (meaning: horribly complicated) letter in the mail saying my property taxes were going to go up significantly. They said my property, in one year (and a down turn economy), increased in value over $20k! I am going through the appeals process because it IS NOT worth that.
One of the options for the appeal is to send in a copy of the final HUD statement and a copy of the appraisal. I hope they decide to re-evaluate my taxes. I don’t want to be paying for something that sounds OUTRAGEOUS! Yeah, it’s nice if my home increases in value, but this is just absurd!

Friday, July 17, 2009

It's been a while

I know it's been a while since I last published a post. I've been hard at work sprucing up my condo and then I realized that I needed to stop due to funding. I have filed an amended tax return to get my $8000, but they have to mail checks for amended returns and it hasn't arrived yet. That being the case, the funds I did have for updates and improvements dried up quickly. I essentially have everything painted that needs paint now. I have also been able to update light fixtures and a few other odds and ends. I took some time yesterday to make a detailed to do list for each room. I'm a bit of a stickler for details so I put even minor things on the list. I hope to slowly be able to cross things off. The items that don't cost much, or any money will come first. The things that are more expensive will of course need to wait awile.
Since money has gotten tight I've been trying to come up with ways to save a little here and a litte there. I love reading the newspaper, but I know that I don't have time to read it every day so I subscribe to the Sunday only edition. This allows me to get all the adds with all the deal and coupons and of course the news updates. I go through all the coupons and cut out all the products that I use, even if I don't need them that week. Then I put them all together and go through them before I go to the grocery store. On my last trip to the grocery store I spent about $13 and my savings was $8.50. I thought that was phenomenal. I only purchased the items on my list and now I've got food for a week. I sure do love saving money!!!
I've got plans to go to a Bees Baseball game soon and I was able to get free tickets. In one of those advertising mailers there was a coupon for 2 for 1 entree at a restaruant I enjoy. Now I'll be going to the restaruant and then to the game. What a perfect date.
I know these tips don't work for everyone, but I just thought I'd share what I've been able to do.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Shelves are finished

I finished building and installing the shelves for my pantry. YAY!!! Now other little projects. I'm really starting to feel like this place is my home.

Friday, May 29, 2009


I started to work on building shelves into a small closit next to my kitchen. I have to finish the shelves so I can put my kitchen together. I made a fun comment to someone at lunch today about how I enjoy being a single woman who can bring her lunch in a Lowes bag and talk about using her new saw the night before and building a set of shelves. It's just so much fun. Fitting everything in my schedule has been difficult, but I'm managing. I hope to make some serious progress this weekend.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Moved in!

I moved in this past weekend. I was so incredibly blessed with 6 additional sets of hands to help me move. I got some stuff set up right away, but I've still got boxes and am still working on putting everything away.
I've been keeping myself busy with small home improvement projects. I've been continuing the work on the quarter round for the baseboards and I've also finished painting one room. I'm hoping to get through with the other bedroom this weekend.
I have discovered a truth other homeowners probably know: doing stuff to your home can be EXPENSIVE. Every time I go to a home improvement store I spend nearly $100. I have been spening the tax credit that I got so I can afford that right now. Otherwise I would need to hold off and save up for some of this work.
Everything has been going well, but I've been busy busy busy. Doing condo work after regular work just takes time.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Painting etc...

I've been taking some time before I move my stuff into my condo to work on a few things. I've been painting and doing small fix jobs. Nothing major, just makes things homier and look nicer. I've been adding quarter round around the base boards because the people who did the carpeting didn't do the best of jobs (or weren't paid to do the best of jobs, could be either). It takes time to miter all the corners, but looks fantastic afterward. My bedroom is about done. I need to paint the two doors and put back all the outlet covers and I'm done with that room entirely!!!
I had a new oven/range and dishwasher installed yesterday. Lowes was very good at helping me pick the best products and I got a good installer. I figured I could have written into my initial offer on the condo new appliances, but they probably would have asked for a higher sales price. That price would have likely been more than I paid for the appliances. And good ol' Uncle Sam is sending me an $8000 check to cover the costs.
My next project is to pain and add quarter round to the front room. This one will take more work because I'm doing it 3 different colores: one color below the chair rail, another above it, and then the chair rail itself. That's the next project
I did buy new "pulls" for my kitchen cabinets. I've installed all the drawer handles and they look great, but I have to drill an additional hole for the cabinet handles so I haven't done that yet. It's amazing what changing those can do to a kitchen. I plan on changing all the hinges as well, but that might involve re-painting the cabinets too so I'm not sure I'm up for that just yet. Maybe next month?
I know some people would like to buy a place and move in and not worry about painting. Truthfully I could have moved in, but I really like making the place my own. I just spent a ton of money on it, I want it to feel like it's mine.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Closed and done!!!

I closed on the condo Wednesday! I did a final walk through with my mom at 8am, then closed at 9am. I signed my name a million times. They wanted my middle initial in my signature and I never use it so that made me stop and think EVERY time. It was about an inch worth of papers that I signed and dated. I had my mom there with me for support and because she's bought homes before.

It took about 45 minutes to sign everything and I decided my escrow officer was great at reading upside down.

After it was all said and done, my lender and my realtor gave me gifts. That was cool. I must say the two of them, Jessica and Steve, were absolutely wonderful to work with. Everything went smoothly. They did everything they could to help me. I trust them and would recommend them.

I didn't get keys to the condo until the day after about 2:30pm. They wouldn't give me the keys until the title was recorded. So I headed over and picked out some paint colors and went to Home Depot and got ready to paint. I also grabbed a new lock for the door (good idea for safety) so one else could possibly have keys. I also put up new smoke detectors and 1 (of several to come) light fixtures. I didn't have a lot of time yesterday evening to work, but I got some crucial prep things done.

I'm a home owner!!! How did that happen?

Friday, May 8, 2009


I started packing the other night. I don't have a ton of boxes, but I figure it's a start. That way I can go and unload some boxes and bring them back to refill. I'm getting excited!

I went online and set up my power bill. I still need to call the newspaper and deal with my internet company so that I can move all of that over pretty quickly. I just haven't had a moment at home to take care of any of it. I've been go go go with life.

I also still need to go to my bank and get a chashiers check for my down payment. FYI the fact that it's a cashiers check is IMPORTANT!

Things to do!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

IDA check

I submitted my documents to get my IDA money early so I already have my checks for the title company. Now I'm just waiting for my closing. I do need to get the funds from my personal account in a cashiers check form for closing.

I walked through the condo again with my parents and they looked at everything and turned everything on. It was good to walk through again with a different set of eyes. I received good suggestions from them as well.

I have begun to gather my documents to amend my 2008 tax return to get the $8000 tax credit. I'm pretty darn excited about that! Next year I'll itemize my deductions and hopefully get more back due to mortgage interest.

Now I'm just hanging out until closing with a bunch of IDA money in my "pocket."
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