Author Topic: Finish home improvement project or invest?  (Read 797 times)

JSMustachian

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Finish home improvement project or invest?
« on: August 16, 2017, 01:57:49 PM »
Hello fellow Mustachians,

I need a little help making a money decision. Two years ago my wife and I replaced half of the windows on our to double-pane windows. We live in Texas where the summers can get up to 100 degrees outside and our house is older (1983) with hot single pane windows. We are now trying to decide if we should finished the other half of the house or invest the money.

We are currently maxing out two 403B's and 1 Roth IRA. If I did not spend the money on windows, I would max out another IRA. I cringe when I run the number on how much this money would compound over the next 10-20 years.

The cost is roughly $4000-5000.

What would you do?

Thank you
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 02:09:11 PM by JSMustachian »

405programmer

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Re: Finish home improvement project or invest?
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2017, 02:21:24 PM »
It depends on a variety of factors. When is the expected payback based on the increase in R-value? If it's pretty short like < 5 years I would say do it right away. Unfortunately unless all your windows are literally broken the payback on single to double pane is usually quite a bit longer like 15 -25 years. But you can do the math based on your best guess at the old windows R-value compared to the newer windows R-value!

Outside of the energy payback is the aesthetic value in having prettier modern windows. For that I would look at the houses on your street / neighborhood. If almost all the houses have upgraded the windows then you might be forced to upgrade prior to selling in order to reach a top value for your house. If half or less have upgraded then I would probably say cleaned functional single panes will still sell fine.

If you're still working and trying to stash more in the market I would say the maxed IRA is way more beneficial to you right now. I would grab a few tubes of silicone and make sure the old windows are sealed well and not worry too much about the few dollars a month the old windows cost you in the summer.

affordablehousing

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Re: Finish home improvement project or invest?
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2017, 03:07:17 PM »
I would do the windows if you're going to live in the house. Besides the savings, they make the house a lot more comfortable with less fluctuation and moisture buildup. This caused issues for us with condensation dripping down the walls. Also, this could be a good thing to DIY and save some $$$. I found replacing windows one of the easier projects to do, and vinyl sliders cost around $200-$250 including the caulking, SS screws, interior trim, shims, paint, etc. If you can prepare all the openings yourself, hiring a helper to push the windows in and check level while you attach them helps too.

JSMustachian

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Re: Finish home improvement project or invest?
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2017, 03:24:52 PM »
It depends on a variety of factors. When is the expected payback based on the increase in R-value? If it's pretty short like < 5 years I would say do it right away. Unfortunately unless all your windows are literally broken the payback on single to double pane is usually quite a bit longer like 15 -25 years. But you can do the math based on your best guess at the old windows R-value compared to the newer windows R-value!

Outside of the energy payback is the aesthetic value in having prettier modern windows. For that I would look at the houses on your street / neighborhood. If almost all the houses have upgraded the windows then you might be forced to upgrade prior to selling in order to reach a top value for your house. If half or less have upgraded then I would probably say cleaned functional single panes will still sell fine.

If you're still working and trying to stash more in the market I would say the maxed IRA is way more beneficial to you right now. I would grab a few tubes of silicone and make sure the old windows are sealed well and not worry too much about the few dollars a month the old windows cost you in the summer.

My energy bills are already quite low so I would not expect much of a savings from doing the windows. It would mainly be for more comfort from the heat not coming through and aesthetics by not having mismatching windows on the house. We definitely plan to keep this house even in retirement. Most of the homes still have the original single pane windows.

Sibley

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Re: Finish home improvement project or invest?
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2017, 01:49:44 PM »
You plan to say, so do the windows. Unless the current ones are the original wood windows that with proper maintenance last forever, then shame on you for getting rid of half of them.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Finish home improvement project or invest?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2017, 03:59:40 PM »
Another alternative: In my town the local Habitat for Humanity resale store has piles of aluminum storm windows for sale that were taken off of rehab projects and tear-downs. For about $50 apiece, and maybe an hour labor each, you can have double-pane. Bring your measurements and understand that it might take many visits to that store to piece together all your windows. It's a good slow-motion project.