Friday, May 22, 2009

What will it be? Cast your vote!

Ok, we have a long weekend in town and Marisa and I have several projects we "could" tackle this weekend, but we need your help. Vote for the project you'd like to see get compelted:

1. Build a second set of shelves in the basement.
2. Stain the back patio concrete.
3. Install a new door bell.
4. Seal and paint the basement walls.
5. Install the cable outlet box in the living room.
6. Sit out back and drink cocktails all weekend.

Please don't vote for #6. We'll most likely do that with or without your vote.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


See this

Apparently having your gas feed from the main run through your neighbor's house is not a good idea. BGE proposed installing a new main and new meter. See old meter below.

A simple request to be at home at 8:30 AM today has turned into a day-long absence from work and this mess...

The crews aren't too happy. I don't know why they act like I built the house. They underestimated how deep the main gas line will be. The project will require them to come back tomorrow but I already notified Marisa it's her shift to cover.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Healthy Neighborhoods

Wow, has it really been more than 2 months since we’ve posted anything? This year is flying by! Sorry for the absence. I think Steve and I both got sick of the house…sick of working on it, talking about it, and even thinking about it!

We started the blog because Healthy Neighborhoods asked us if we would so I think we should finish the HNI part of our home renovation story…

Back when we signed the paper work for our loan, mortgage interest rates were around 5.75%. One of the risks with doing a HNI project is that your interest rate doesn’t lock in until the project is completed. During construction, you pay interest only and the rate floats with the market. Between June and October, the rates kept ticking up and up. Rates peaked right before our project was SUPPOSED to be finished. All that whining we did about wanting the house to be done, the delays actually became a huge benefit to us. By the time the project was complete, interest rates fell back down from above 6% all the way down to 5%. And as previously explained, part of the benefit of HNI is you get to lock in at 1% under the published rate. That’s right, we got to lock in for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage for 4%! After doing a lot of work on our house, our monthly payment is only a couple hundred more than before. With rates now even lower, HNI has set a floor of 4%.
HNI does more than just low rate mortgages. They also award block grants of up to $3,000. The block residents need to pick a project that improves or stabilizes the block. Our block is working on alley gating and as soon as we get the last couple of signatures we need, you better believe we'll be going to HNI for $$!