The joy of buying and remodeling my home

Disclaimer SunTrust bank

I was never interested in buying a home until  was well into my thirties. Until then, I was happy living in small, quirky rentals in cool neighborhoods where I would spend most of my time outside the place I lived in. But at one point the need to nest hit me—and it hit me hard. Suddenly, I wanted a place I could call my own, a place I could fix up exactly how wanted so I could enjoy it while knowing I had a solid investment under my belt.

The joy of buying and remodeling my home

My son in front of our freshly painted house © Lorraine C. Ladish

Let’s face it, we all need shelter. And nowhere does it say that shelter must be basic, or that we need to pay rent for the rest of our lives. Owning a home is one of those things we do that makes us feel accomplished and proud. I’m sure you’ve heard someone say they´re a “proud home owner.”

When I walked into the house I eventually bought, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. As a matter of fact, it was an old house with a cheap remodel that I knew was going to be a problem. Imagine, the house had peach-colored carpet, pink walls, frilly window treatments and a strange bathroom addition where you actually had to step up onto the toilet.

But on the other hand, the house had a unique layout that made me feel right at home. There are certain things you can easily change in a house, and some that are not so easy. The layout is one of them. I was not going to have to build a room or tear down a wall, I just had to remodel the master suite (with that odd step-up toilet) and the kitchen. The house had strong walls, an L-shaped layout that overlooked a pool, an open living room with high ceilings and a great old oak tree in the back yard. It was also in a quiet semi-private street and in an excellent school district. Oh, and it’s exactly five miles from the beach.

Also read: Tools to save for your sunniest day, your wedding

The joy of buying and remodeling my home

Slowly we are turning our house into our dream home © Lorraine C. Ladish

One of the important things I learned about home ownership is that it’s an investment. No longer would I be throwing money away in the form of rent. Through time, my mortgage payment would put me in a position where the house would be worth more than what it would cost to rent a similar place in the same town. Also, the interest in the mortgage is tax deductible. The way I saw it, it was a win-win situation.

The remodel took a lot of work. I did most of it because a permit was not required for the improvements, and I like working with my hands. I learned how lay tile by watching Youtube videos. I spent a lot of time at the lumberyard buying supplies, and then became one of those fix-it-all dads you see on TV. But if there was a lesson to learn, it was to be patient. Life is a journey, and improving or remodeling a home takes time and money. At the time the work felt as if it was moving at a snail’s pace, but the truth is that I enjoyed doing the work. And now that the house is finished I have improved my investment and bumped up my ‘pride’ factor as a homeowner.

I happen to bank with Suntrust and with Sunstrust’s Live for A Sunny Day tools, it’s painless and easy to set your saving goals and then do what it takes to make it come true, including saving for your home remodeling project.

Once you figure out the scope of what you want to do in your home, and how much money you will need to fund it, you can start your Sunny Day Fund right now.

The program guides you step by step, making it easy and accessible for everyone.

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you. They know we all live for the sunny days and want to you help you live yours.

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Phillippe Diederich

Phillippe Diederich is a bilingual author and photographer born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Mexico City and Miami. His photography has appeared in The New York Times, Time magazine, U.S. News and World Report and other national publications. Phillippe's novels Sofrito and Playing for the Devil's Fire are both published by Cinco Puntos Press. He is the recipient of a PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship and the Editor-in-Chief of Viva Fifty!