December 23, 2009

Hardwood Floor Refinishing

The oak hardwood floor in our house was old and looked dirty, with many scratches that showed the traffic pattern of the people before us. There were places where the protective coating had worn out and the wood turned gray and black, which didn't look nice. We wanted to resurface the floor before we move in to make it look new again. Since sanding the floor will create tons of dust, we wanted to do it before we move things in. We began on Veteran's Day, Nov. 11 and rented a floor sander from The Home Depot. These sanders are very heavy and uses a very large sheet of sand paper. The base moves in a small circular motion to sand the floor and we started with 24 grit to remove the old finish, followed by 60 grit and 100 grit. I pushed the sander around for 10 hours that day and returned the sander the next morning. It didn't come out perfect because there are some deep swirl marks that we couldn't get rid of. For the most part, the floor is a lot better than when we started. From a standing height, I can't tell where the swirls are anyway; only when I am crawling on the floor and look carefully can I see them.

New House

We bought our first house and closed the deal on Nov. 2, 2009. The search process seemed long because we were going out to open houses almost every Sunday and we saw many houses in the area we wanted to live. The general requirement was that it should be within 20 minutes driving to work. Then there are other requirements such as 3 bedrooms or more, 2 bathrooms or more, 2 attached garages, among other things. We looked for houses in the $200k to $300k range, as well as some that are in the 400k range. Each time we see a house, we would rank it from 1 to 10, where 10 being the ideal house. Each time Jenn and I will be pretty close; 5, 6, or 7 are common, and a few that gets the 8 rating. We began to realize that price does not necessarily correlate to quality, and the 430k house is not ranked higher than some that are $280k. By September, we were not seeing many new listings, so we felt we should make a decision at that point. What we did was making a trade-off matrix in Excel, with each relevant aspect of the house contributing to a total score. In each category, such as the back yard, we would have a few choices, such as big private yard getting a score of 9, small public yard getting a 1, and we give some categories different weighting factors. Each house would get an overall score, and very quickly we see a house that has 80% of what we want, and is still under $250k. That's the one we eventually decided on.

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