• December 27, 2014

Owning a home changes things

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Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013 4:30 am

It’s funny how being a homeowner reorders your priorities.

I don’t know what it is about acquiring a mortgage, but it changes things.

I mean, I never used to think about kitchen cabinets, granite countertops, sprinkler systems or bathroom remodels, but since my wife and I bought our house 3½ years ago, that stuff occupies my thoughts on a regular basis.

It’s not that I sit around and daydream about hardwood flooring or energy-efficient storm windows, but when I see ads for some of these items, I tend to take notice.

I know I’m not alone in this.

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I visited the Home and Garden Expo in Belton, and the place was packed to the rafters.

The home show’s vendors filled parts of three separate halls at the Expo Center, and we were wowed by all the products and services on display.

We picked up literature from landscape companies, cabinet refinishers, window refurbishers, driveway resurfacers — you name it. Everyone seemed to have a great service or a worthwhile product.

Of course, we quickly realized that we didn’t have the money to do even half the projects we were considering.

That’s where the frustrating part comes in. Because of financial limitations, our “wish list” is often just that.

Sure, my wife and I would like new kitchen cabinets, a new stove and a larger oven. We’d also like to put new sinks, countertops and tubs in our bathrooms and upgrade our patio. That doesn’t even include all the landscaping and plantings we’d like to add. But like most people, we simply don’t have the money.

Still, the show got me thinking about planning a project or two.

Face it, unless you build your dream home from scratch, according to your specifications, there’s bound to be something you’d like to change about your house.

And events like the home and garden expo are designed to encourage us to get started.

Homeowners are already flooded with ideas on what to change and how to do it. Just turn on HGTV at any given time and you’re likely to see programs like “Bath Crashers,” “DIY Addiction,” “House Hunters Renovation” and “Property Brothers” showing actual homeowners making their renovation dreams a reality.

And that doesn’t even factor in the dozens of magazines devoted to home remodeling, renovation and decor.

The question is, where to start.

My wife and I returned from the expo with a big bag full of brochures and business cards. Most of the businesses promised free estimates and discount pricing.

I can only imagine how many new customers some of those vendors got in the days immediately following the expo. Of course, that’s why they were there — to hang out their shingles, so to speak.

Speaking of shingles, about 50 of them blew off of our roof, just one day after my wife and I visited the home show.

So much for those pet remodeling projects we had been dreaming of. Suddenly we were solely concerned with getting the needed repairs to our roof done before more wind or a heavy rain could cause any further damage.

Of course, with all the myriad pamphlets and business cards we picked up at the expo, do you suppose we grabbed any for a roofing company?

No, that would have made too much sense. I had to consult the Yellow Pages.

But I realized something interesting as a result of the ordeal: Sometimes it’s just as satisfying to get an important repair job done as it is to make a cosmetic change.

And when it comes to our home, you can’t put a price on safety.

Just another case of reordered priorities, I guess.

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