- Renovate or Sell? Why We Bought a New Home
- PROS & CONS:
- FINAL DECISION:
- Despite bleak 2020, celebrities such as Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth make effort to brighten year
- TRAE THA TRUTH GIVES BACK
- DOLLY’S VACCINE DONATION
- SERENADE TO NEIGHBORS
- CLUB QUARANTINE
- DANCING IN THE RAIN
- FASHION’S FRONT-LINE GEAR
- SING TO FATHER
- VERZUZ SERIES
- GLORIA ESTEFAN HELPS HEALTH WORKERS
- WALLER-BRIDGE’S SUIT
- SOME GOOD NEWS
- ROSIE RAISES CASH FOR BROADWAY
- ALL IN CHALLENGE
- WAITITI’S CELEB READING
Renovate or Sell? Why We Bought a New Home
When we bought our first home in 2013 we thought it would be our forever home. We planned on renovating once we were in a better place financially, but 6 years later we found ourselves struggling with the decision to renovate or sell.
Madeline Harper Photography
We lived in an ideal neighborhood with the best neighbors, however, there were a few things missing that we wanted.
We wanted more room, such as a big kitchen for entertaining, an additional bathroom, and space to escape such as a media room or office. Our home was 1,750 sq. feet with four bedrooms and 2 two bathrooms and a nice sized backyard.
Our kitchen was small and only had room for a round table that fit 5 people. We also wanted a neighborhood pool!
I spoke with quite a few people who had done major renovations and realized it would be a major undertaking. Not only financially but mentally.
We wanted to blow out walls, extend the back of our home to widen our kitchen, remove popcorn ceilings, replace trim and doors, raise ceilings, and add on a bathroom and extra room which meant lots of square footage.
There would be rearranging of plumbing for the kitchen and bathroom. We also wanted to change the flooring throughout the entire home.
We planned on taking out a home improvement loan and doing all these renovations at once. We don’t have family in town, so we would have had to rent something during that time which is stressful and an added cost. How long would have construction taken? Three months? Six months? Twelve months? There’s no promise with a major renovation.
And then one random day our friend who happened to be our Realtor sent us a text of a home she thought we might . She knew we wanted more space, and found a home in our neighborhood that was a good fit. For the first time, I began thinking about the possibility of buying a home vs. renovating.
Long story short, we didn’t buy that home but found a new build we d while searching Homes.com. We instantly fell in love, and the dilemma of buying vs. renovating kicked in.
Madeline Harper Photography
PROS & CONS:
How much would renovating really cost? We estimated $100,000 – $150,000 to get everything we wanted including appliances. However, we still wouldn’t get the neighborhood amenities we desired (still holding out for that pool). There is also the stress of a renovation can bring. I consider myself high strung and am easily stressed.
Just thinking about a major renovation stressed me out. My Realtors advised the following as we were making our decision, “before embarking on any renovations projects it’s important to understand the property values in your neighborhood so as not to over-improve. If planned renovations are extensive and costly, it may be better to buy new.
Kitchens and bathrooms typically receive the highest return value.”
Studies show over half of homeowners go over budget when remodeling, and can spend $5,000 to $60,000 on a kitchen remodel, it can add up quickly! However, if we moved we would be further from work and move away from neighbors we loved. We were in an amazing school district and Turner had lots of friends.
A new build was expensive, but it had everything we wanted in a home. It had all the amenities plus the kitchen of our dreams.
I want to note this new build was already completed and was move-in ready, so we wouldn’t have to go through the building process. That in itself was appealing.
We didn’t have to wait a year to build a home, we could simply move in once the contract was signed and have the home of our dreams.
Madeline Harper Photography
Ultimately we decided to buy vs. renovate. While we miss our neighbors and shorter commute, we are head over heels in love with our new home. We sold our house for $100k more than when we purchased it and were able to use that money to put down on our new home.
Every person’s situation is different so you really need to envision where you see yourself in 15-20 years. If you plan on moving out in 5-10 years, is a major renovation worth it? I definitely believe small renovations and DIY changes can make you feel more content with your home.
I painted EVERY piece of trim and cabinet in our first home white and that alone made a huge difference.
Madeline Harper Photography
Good luck in your home journey, and check out Homes.com if you are currently searching. They are Realtor friendly and easy to use!
Despite bleak 2020, celebrities such as Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth make effort to brighten year
Yes, 2020 may seem a complete fail with all the constant bad news and tragic moments. It’s been filled with gloom and doom(scrolling), but many celebrities and those inspired by them have tried to brighten a bleak year.
Some singer Dolly Parton donated money to fight the coronavirus, John Krasinski put a spotlight on good news at a crucial time and DJ D-Nice played music to dance away your anxiousness about the unfolding pandemic. In Houston, rapper Trae Tha Truth has made it his mission to help those in need with food distributions.
Here are a few examples of those efforts to make 2020 a little better for others.
TRAE THA TRUTH GIVES BACK
Houston rap artist and community activist Trae Tha Truthhas made it a mission to give back to the community. In 2020, he and his Relief Gang have donated face masks, food, toys and gift cards to people in need.
They also provided face masks for inmates in the Harris County Jail. He led his team to East Texas and Louisiana after two devastating hurricanes ravaged the area.
And he was a leader protesting social injustice following the death of George Floyd, as one of the people organizing the protest march through Houston.
DOLLY’S VACCINE DONATION
In April, shortly after the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, country music icon Dolly Parton donated $1 million toward researching the virus at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
The singer’s donation was used to help fund the development of Moderna’s vaccine, the second experimental COVID-19 drug to yield extraordinarily strong early results during trials. Parton didn’t stop there.
She starred in Dolly Parton’s “Christmas on the Square,” playing an angel in the Netflix musical.
She also put out new holiday music, “A Holly Dolly Christmas” with a same-titled TV special where she sang hymns, holiday pop classics and tunes from her new album, and shared her personal and faith-based Christmas memories. And if that wasn’t enough, she had time to help Cyndi Lauper’s annual concert to combat youth homelessness, too.
SERENADE TO NEIGHBORS
In the second week of France’s lockdown, Paris-based opera singer Stephane Senechal serenaded his neighbors with renditions of the French national anthem. He along with musicians — professional and amateur — sang from their balconies or windows to uplift neighbors. During France’s second lockdown, Senechal was back at his window, sharing his strong vocals a couple times a week.
During the pandemic’s early stage, DJ D-Nice created a virtual remedy for anyone dealing with the lockdown blues. He hosted Homeschool at Club Quarantine on his Instagram Live, where he spun popular tunes on the turntables at his home.
His sets started with just a few hundred viewers — mainly friends — then blossomed to hundreds of thousands. An array of celebs even tuned in: from Rihanna and Janet Jackson to Jimmy Fallon and Mark Zuckerberg.
Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey popped in for a listen, and even Stevie Wonder tried to use the “join” feature to be on screen with D-Nice and interact with him.
DANCING IN THE RAIN
Anthony Mmesoma Madu gained fame through a simple cellphone video of him performing the pirouette without shoes in the drizzling rain in Nigeria earlier this year.
The 11-year-old Nigerian boy thought the footage would be used for a common film study session, but the video spread on social media thanks to his trainer, Daniel Ajala, who posted it. By the end of August, the video garnered more than 20 million views on social media including by actors Viola Davis and Cynthia Erivo.
Impressed by his dancing, Erivo decided to sponsor Madu’s training and helped bring the video to the attention of the New York-based American Ballet Theater, who offered him a scholarship.
FASHION’S FRONT-LINE GEAR
When COVID-19 initially spread throughout the U.S., it resulted in a face mask shortage. Fashion designer Christian Siriano met the shortage with his own solution. After seeing the cases skyrocket, the “Project Runway” star tweeted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo about doing his part.
Siriano and his team pivoted from crafting gowns to making masks. He reassigned his 10 seamstresses in New York to produce thousands daily for health care workers on the frontlines.
Separately, actors Nicole Ari Parker and her husband Boris Kodjoe gave away thousands of face masks to essential workers and first responders during the pandemic.
Parker’s apparel company, Gymwrap, turned its attention from making headbands to crafting masks for the couple’s Help Our Heroes campaign. For every Gymwrap mask sold, they donate masks to frontline and essential workers who need them.
SING TO FATHER
In March, Israeli opera singer Irit Stark brought comfort to her father who had been quarantined in his apartment for two weeks in Tel Aviv.
Stark along with her son stopped by her father’s home for an improvised performance of “Habanera” from Georges Bizet’s opera “Carmen.
” Stark’s father looked on from his second-story balcony, and some neighbors were brought to tears. He called her performance “absolutely refreshing.”
A friendly competition between music producers Swizz Beatz and Timbaland on social media started off to entertain homebound fans during the pandemic.
But their platform eventually evolved into a place where some of music’s biggest stars could compete against each other in the same fashion.
The two Grammy-winning legends created the “Verzuz” series, which faces off two musicians in a song-against-song battle on Instagram Live. The series has grown from a novel event to bridging music’s past and present.
Some of the most epic battles have included John Legend vs Alicia Keys, Erykah Badu vs. Jill Scott, Gladys Knight vs Patti LaBelle, Gucci Mane vs Jeezy, Brandy vs Monica and Snoop Dogg vs DMX. An April battle between Babyface vs. Teddy Riley ended abruptly due to audio issues but was completed another night.
GLORIA ESTEFAN HELPS HEALTH WORKERS
Gloria Estefan took action to help those in need. The singer and husband Emilio Estefan’s restaurant Estefan Kitchen served up homemade meals for health care workers in Miami.
For a month, the restaurant prepared, packaged and delivered to workers in what Gloria Estefan said was a “small way of thanking you.“ She also participated in a star-studded benefit virtual concert to honor nurses on Thanksgiving.
The concert called Nurse Heroes Live, which was co-produced by Emilio Estefan, was a benefit that provided money for a variety of programs including scholarships for nurses and their children.
“Fleabag” creator and actor Phoebe Waller-Bridge auctioned off her Golden Globes suit for Australia brushfire relief. She placed her Ralph & Russo pantsuit up for auction, calling it an “incredible piece of art.
” The tuxedo was praised as one of the fashion hits of the red carpet. She shared the news in the press room after accepting her award for best actress in a comedy or musical television series.
An anonymous buyer bought the suit for $27,000.
SOME GOOD NEWS
John Krasinski wanted to create a place where people could smile. In late March, the actor tweeted to his 2.6 million-plus followers using the hashtag (hash)SomeGoodNews, asking them to share feel-good stories that recently brought a smile to their face. He received thousands of heartwarming videos.
His idea became so popular that Krasinski created a web series, “Some Good News,” focusing on positive and inspiring stories. He produced eight free episodes including an “Office” reunion, a “Hamilton” performance, a virtual prom and online graduations. His channel garnered more than 2.
5 million subscribers before he sold the web series to CBS.
ROSIE RAISES CASH FOR BROADWAY
Rosie O’Donnell brought her talk show “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” back for one night to raise more than $600,000 for virus victims. O’Donnell hosted the March streaming special. It featured numerous appearances from Broadway, including Kristin Chenoweth, Gavin Creel and Gloria Estefan. The money went to The Actors Fund to help those in need during the pandemic.
ALL IN CHALLENGE
In April, Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio united to offer a fan the chance to win a walk-on part in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” — starring both actors — as part of Michael Rubin’s online charity auction, the All In Challenge. The challenge coordinated offers by celebrities and athletes to raise funds to feed those in need during the pandemic. Beneficiaries included America’s Food Fund, launched by DiCaprio and others to help ensure people have reliable access to food.
WAITITI’S CELEB READING
Filmmaker Taika Waititi led a celebrity read-along of Roald Dahl’s novel “James and the Giant Peach.
” He teamed up with the Roald Dahl Story Company to raise money for Partners in Health, a medical and social justice organization fighting COVID-19 and supporting public health systems in vulnerable areas around the world.
Those joining Waititi included Meryl Streep, Chris and Liam Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Ryan Reynolds, Mindy Kaling, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lupita Nyong’o, Billy Porter, Sarah Paulson, and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, all reading and performing characters in the story from their homes.