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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I painted my house, saved $300

Since I live in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association, I am expected to keep my property looking good to enhance the look of the community. I like our HOA as they drive the streets and keep any eye out for those who would choose to let their property deteriorate to a point where it lowers the property value of everyone’s home. I’ve been through neighborhoods where cars sit on blocks in the driveway for six months or someone never cuts their grass and it’s not a pretty sight.

Our board is reasonable and if they see something amiss, they will send a letter to the resident asking them to correct it. Recently they made a sweep of my street and, although I didn’t get a letter, many of my neighbors did for some small infractions. Since most of the infractions were minor and dealt with areas that needed a bit of "sprucing up," Barb and I decided that maybe the front of our place could use a coat of paint since it gets a lot of sun and can look pretty bleached out after a period of time.

One guy gave me an estimate of $300 plus the cost of the paint which would be about $80. Barb and I looked at the house, then looked at each other, and decided that we could paint the place ourselves and save a few bucks. When my neighbor moved a few months ago, he gave me some leftover trim paint so I saved some money there. I bought the rest from Dunn-Edwards for $50 plus the cost of rollers, and miscellaneous items like masking tape. I used my neighbor’s ladder to get on the roof while Barb masked the coach lights and started painting on the bottom.

We finished the job in two days and, although it took longer than spray painting, I think rolling the paint looked much better. I am not a very handy guy at fixing things and doing repairs around the house but I’m proud of that paint job and the money savings it gave us. I also found out that I am bit out of shape as I was really stiff and sore after we finished the job.

Homeowner’s Associations can be good and bad. We are lucky with ours but I have heard of some nightmare associations that go over the top in their demands. One place I heard about had a retired army general for a president of the HOA and he tried to run the place like an army base. Big mistake and he was quickly booted out. A good HOA operates with reason and common sense.

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