The PCSing Spouse

Where Spouses Help Spouses

Remodeling at a New Duty Station

Truth is I wrote and re-wrote this blog post a few times. I wanted to paint this picture of an amazing DIY home remodel that worked flawlessly. Honestly that is not what is happening in our home currently. We are working with a military budget, and on a military time frame. So instead I will tell you a little bit about my projects, give you my current tips and when we finally finish maybe I will share a fabulous update.

We moved to our most recent duty station with no intention of buying a fixer upper. We really had considered living on base again. However a VERY long wait list changed our minds. As we drove around and got familiar with our new town we found one location that just stood out to us as “the area we want to live”.

So we did it, we bought a house right in our desired neighborhood. It looked nice from the outside, ok from in the inside, but we saw a lot of potential in our new home. 30 long days later it was time to move in.

Once the previous owners things were out we could see how damaged the house truly was we knew it was going to take a lot of sweat equity to make this house a home.

The whole house needed new carpet, every single room. The whole house needs new paint, every single room. The back sliding door no longer locked or shut completely. The garage door has been rammed a few times and is all bent up. The fridge stopped working the first week we were there. The whole house needed new blinds, every single room. Door frames were broken. The living room had this weird built in entertainment center over the fireplace that was designed for one of those old tube televisions. The legit hardwood floors in the kitchen have water damage and need sanded. Honestly the list could go on. Now some of these things we were prepared for, others came as huge surprise after closing.

While our house is slowly becoming a home, it is going to take us awhile to finish. This has been the most challenging, frustrating, expensive, learning experience.

So my tips for any of you headed out to your next station and considering a fixer upper.

  1. Don’t. It is not as easy as it looks on Fixer Upper or any other HGTV show.
  2. If you do, make a plan. List all the things you want to do and place them in order of priority.
  3. Create a backup plan. Find a handyman or a contractor willing to do the jobs you can’t.
  4. Be prepared that the job can and will be put on hold for TDY, or other Military related reasons. (2 week TDY right in the middle of laying hardwood floors happening right here)
  5. Youtube.com will become your new best friend. Don’t know how to spray texture on walls? There is a youtube video that will give you step by step instructions. How do we know what we are doing? We don’t but we are not afraid to learn from someone who does.
  6. Try to enjoy it by being hands on. There is nothing more satisfying than realizing you are capable of more things than you ever thought you’d be able to do. I measured, cut, and hung 90% of the sheetrock in my new family room. It is so rewarding to be able to say I DID THAT!!!
  7. Be prepared to learn about yourself, your spouse and your marriage. Remodels/DIY projects/Home Repairs are not easy. They are stressful, time consuming and can be financially straining. Communication is key, talk it out. You will learn what each of you and your pocketbook can handle and don’t be afraid to take a step back and re-access.

Whatever you decide to do whether it be renting, base housing, or buying I just want to say Welcome Home!  

***Welcome to our newest blog teammate Alysha Lutz!!!

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1 Comment

  1. Ann Wentzler

    Love this resource for Military Spouses! I am a Coast Guard Spouse for 34 years. Surely wish I would have had a resource like this! Congrats Alysha!

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