I just got a call back from the computer repair shop I took DH's computer to yesterday. They had a feeling it was the video card, not the motherboard (as the Geeksquad tech guy said), so they put in one to test. She said they've turned it off and on several times and also left it running for a couple of hours, with no more problems. Part is $50, labor is $25. I'm good with that. Better than not having a computer for a month! Sure, warranty is great, but not if it's a month without a computer, which probably would have turned into 6 weeks - for something that took them probably minutes to replace.
DH talked to one of the contractor/builders the new "neighbor lady" recommended. He was willing to work with a home owner that wants to do some of the work themselves, said he prefers it, actually. He likes doing the framing, but not so much all the coordination of the finish work inside. He'll recommend subs, but if DH is willing to do the calling, scheduling, shopping for interior stuff, etc, we'll save a lot of money. Plus we know how to do the painting inside and DH knows how to install wood/laminate flooring no problem, which most of our house would be. DH can also install the base boards and trim. I'm good at finding the best prices on stuff, so we'd save there too, over letting a contractor just buy whatever. He charges 10% fee, but that would just be of what he buys/oversees, if that makes sense, not 10% on the whole project.
Other than our master bath, which we want nice, the other bathroom (and maybe 1/2 bath too) will be pretty basic. I'd just get pedestal sinks, which are cheaper than a whole cabinet, counter top and sink. I love the oval wood mirror I put up in our current guest bathroom. Found it at bed bath and beyond for $30. Stuff like that, I think we can make it look really nice, but still be on a small budget. I also found some faux brick panels through Costco that might work for front of house, in the areas we want brick. I don't know the price difference to real brick, but this sure looks ok to me:
That vacant foreclosed house (for almost 3 years) around the corner from us? It finally sold. Not sure if whoever bought it is fixing it up to reside, rent or flip, but they sure are working on it! Repainted whole outside. Looks so nice again. Today when I drove by they were putting up a 6ft wood fence between them and who we call "crazy lady". She is the one who's in between us and this vacant house. It certainly will help, when we are ready to list ours, that there isn't a vacant boarded up house for potential buyers to drive by.
I'm also kind of looking forward to doing the landscaping stuff. We really enjoy that and the property we want has lots of trees and will give us the nice park like setting we like. Even though the property is larger than we have now, DH isn't planning on quite so much lawn. Most likely our budget won't allow (maybe later) a paved driveway, but DH knows how to make gravel look nice, especially if it's edged and lined with plants and shrubs. One thing I want at the entrance to our property will be a big rock engraved with the address. It looks like there are some in the general area, that do that sort of thing.
This is the property we are hoping to get and the view of the river below. It looks kind of lower bank from this picture, but it's a wide river and a very steep bank down, at the edge of the property.