Wednesday, 17 March 2010

It all takes work for the....

Owning a home means that there is “always something which needs doing”, and that “there is never enough money to do it!”

In my case I try to make at least one improvement or renovation each year.

Last year I was able to have tiles laid down on my screened-in porch (It measures 29’ x 13’). The tiles replaced a ratty old pink coloured carpet which I had disliked from the day I bought this home.

This year our Condominium Association used one of our designated “Reserve Funds” to have the outside (stucco) walls re-painted for each of our 197 single storey units.

My unit was duly painted. This gave me an incentive to undertake some external improvements.

Two were simple – the replacement of a rusty mail box; and the installation of new outside lights (to replace the decrepit 35 year “original” lights).

The other two were less simple.

First, to pave the little patio area: this adjoins my car port. When I bought the condominium this was little more than a dirt patch in which was planted a few mediocre cacti.

I disposed of the cacti and covered the area with pea-gravel on which I placed some potted plants. This marginally improved the “look”, but it was hard to maintain.

So I had all the dirt and pea-gravel removed and replaced with good paving.

Second, to replace the “edging” (it separates the planting area from the grass around the 176 linear feet perimeter of my home). The 35 year old concrete edging was both ugly and decaying.

I got three estimates, two of which were competitive and one which was some $300 higher.

I chose the middle bid, not because it was the cheapest, but because I had a greater sense of confidence in the contractor.

My confidence was not misplaced. The work was done in the space of one day! And it was done to my highest satisfaction.

But here is the cool bit. The contractor and I sealed the deal with no paperwork. We simply shook hands.

He gave his word, and I gave mine.

I trusted him to do the work. He trusted me to pay him. That’s a terrific way to live and to do business.

“Our word was our bond”.

Here are some before and after pictures, together with one of the contractor.

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