Friday, June 12, 2009

30 Year Conventional Mortgage

There was a point in my life when 30 years seemed like a long time. Actually, there were quite a few points in my life where that was true.

This afternoon Sally and I signed the documents refinancing our house for another 30 years. Does that sound conventional to you? In 1985, we obtained a mortgage for the first time. I remember trying to image being 63 years old, and making the final payment. The age of 63 no longer seems old at all. Today I am attempting to image paying off this new mortgage at the age of 87, which would be a marked increase over the longevity achieved by the majority of my male ancestors. I have my doubts.

Sally and I took this step in part because of the exceptionally low interest rate, but more-so in order to draw on our home's equity to remodel the kitchen. Since buying our home in 2004 we have been redoing it one room at a time. Now, having completed all the less expensive updates, we are turning our attention to the kitchen and bathrooms. Having a clear idea of what we wanted to do with the kitchen, we contacted some remodelers to obtain bids. The first tried to talk us out of our exciting plans, urging us to spend a considerable sum to simply replace the kitchen we have with newer, shinier materials. That's not what we want to do.

The second remodeler immediately embraced our ideas, encouraged us, and produced lovely drawings which gave us a clear idea of how things would look. Excellent! The estimated cost, though considerable, was within our reach, if barely. We ordered cabinets based on the new design and began selecting other materials.

As it has turned out, this remodeler and I have at least one thing in common: He now says that he underestimated the price of the project by more than 50%, and I realize that I overestimated his character to about the same degree.

The new cabinets, which will require a change of floor plan, are paid for and due to arrive early in July. However, rather than signing the property over to the remodeler, we are not contracting with him for any additional services. Instead, I am determined to take up a new trade. With my determination, Sally's skill and patience, the work of several subcontractors, and the technical advice of a retired builder across the street, we shall endeavor to remodel the kitchen ourselves. I am confident that we will get it done at a fraction of the cost that our ethically-challenged remodeler was demanding.

As to when we will get it done?

There was a point in my life when 30 years seemed like a long time....

1 comment:

  1. At this point in my life, 5 years seems a long time. Michael has promised to cut off our funding outside of any fellowship type of thing a grad student can get after 5 years of being in the lab. This is daunting in several respects. What will I do with my life? Acadamia? Industry? Some alternative as yet undiscovered? Will I continue in my field or find an adjacent one? Where will I go? As with all things, I think that the degree of longevity in your mortgage carries both security and that sightly boxed-in feeling. By the way, the new changes are exciting! I hope that the new cabinets are as dramatic a change. =)