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A spending question

February 11th, 2016 at 01:35 pm

You may have read some of my earlier posts where I talked about getting estimates for the repaving of my driveway.

The current drive, a good 75 feet long, is not in good shape, with all sorts of "alligatoring" and large cracks through the asphalt. The slope end of it also developed a raised hump in the middle, so if you drive a car and don't drive slightly to the side of that hump, you may bottom out, like I do. Frown

So it needs to be dealt with, and I figured now would be a good time 1) because oil prices have dropped so dramatically, and asphalt is a petroleum-based product and 2) having a nice new driveway would not scream "maintenance" to would-be buyers of this place and would enhance rather than detract from its curb appeal.

As I thought about how to approach this project, I thought of how wonderful it would be to have the top half of my driveway, where it's completely level, redone in paver bricks, while just the lower half with the upward slope would be repaved in asphalt.

The top part is surrounded by stone walls on 3 sides as well as the side of my garage, so it would be completely enclosed, like a courtyard. I might include 1 or 2 large circle patterns with the pavers, similar to what I did at the top of my front entry landing. Smile

The mason who did my front entry landing said he could match the grayish color of that to the pavers used on the driveway for a unified look, and of course he did a great job on the front entry so I would trust him to do same on the drive. He also assured me the pavers could take the weight of cars or even heavier trucks like the oil delivery truck on them. And if I never needed to rebuild another section of my stone walls, it would be very easy to pull up several rows of the pavers to do so, as compared to wrecking any paved asphalt. Pavers in general are easier to maintain if, say, the water table raised them, whereas asphalt would just crack.

I think the look would just be lovely. But now here are the prices:

To repave the whole driveway: $6,615 (I consider this a very good price as I vaguely recall at least 10 years ago getting a price of about $10K to do it when I inquired about it then...I found the current guy on Angie's list and he got good reviews.)

To repave the slope half of the driveway and then just pull up the old asphalt on the top end for the masons, who would then install their pavers: $3,715

Cost of mason doing the pavers on top half of driveway (which does widen out considerably) $9,200. He originally told me $9,800 but called me later and took off $600.

So I'm looking at a cost of $6,616 to repave the whole thing with asphalt versus $12,915 to do the pavers and the asphalt together...double the cost.

I have a very strong urge to do the pavers because I believe it would be LOVELY and, as I said, it would make what is now the typical ugly asphalt driveway more like an elegant courtyard.

I do have the money, especially given my recent inheritance.

Getting the courtyard effect and doing the pavers would no doubt make this a more attractive property to sell to prospective buyers.

This is my emotional response.

However, my logical response is that it is extremely hard to justify spending an extra $6500 to make it "pretty" when I really do want to sell this house and move sometime before I turn 60 (4 years).

Why spend the extra money here, only to enjoy it for a few years before I sell, when I can spend that extra money on something else to improve whatever condo I end up in? (Continuing to make improvements to my house could also make it psychologically harder for me to leave, which I really think is in my best interests.)

Would everyone tell me no, don't do the pavers? I'm sort of hoping there will be someone who sees reasons why I should do what I want.

The fact is, I've been talking about moving for probably 5 years now. I feel a little "stuck," especially after acquiring all of my mother's stuff, but long-term I think it would be better in many regards if I moved: I'd reduce my property taxes, eliminate responsibility for outdoor maintenance (major storms bring down big trees and scare the heck out of me and I worry one will hit the house one day, not to mention the expense of disposing of the fallen tree), one level would be better as I get older, especially with MS and the list goes on....

From a strictly dollars and cents points of view, aside from a one-time savings taking the purchase price of a condo vs what I'd likely net from the sale of the house (I figure maybe $15 to 25k) my ongoing expenses would probably not change that much, because the few thousand I would save in property taxes would be eaten up by common charges that I don't pay now.

What do you think?

14 Responses to “A spending question”

  1. MonkeyMama Says:

    I think given the inheritance, and given your overall financial situation, I would just do it. Pay the extra money for what you actually want.

    You have talked about downsizing for a long time, but it's just talk. If I thought you would actually move soon I would not recommend spending the money. I get the sense you are reluctant to move and will stay put for a while.

  2. Jenn Says:

    I'm probably not a good influence for you because I think similarly! How much enjoyment would you get from the patio in the next 4-5 years? Would you spend more time outdoors? And secondarily, would having the patio either make the house worth more or sell faster when it's time to put it on the market?

    Personally, I've found that improving my environment (furniture, remodeling, etc.) has been worth the investment because it has a direct impact on my enjoyment of every day. Most of my time is spent at home - I even work from home. We built a large multi-level deck several years ago, and it has transformed the way we spend our summers. We prefer to eat at home on the deck over going anywhere, even vacations, because the summer weather is so nice in central PA. It's been worth every penny of the high price tag, even if we don't recoup anything on it when we sell our house.

    So I vote for the pavers.

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    P.S. & you mention a 4-year plan to sell. That is still 4 years you can enjoy the work before you sell. Just to clarify, if I thought you were really going to move like this year I would not bother with the extra expense.

  4. Petunia 100 Says:

    I think the paver driveway sounds lovely. I absolutely think you should do that over the asphalt. Smile

  5. Turtle Lover Says:

    I read this a bit ago and had to come back to comment ... and now there are a few other comments too so I don't feel so alone... I get you. about 3 years ago I had the carpet replaced in my house. It was shredding in spots and "needed" to be replaced. The linoleum in the kitchen and front entryway were ugly and came with the place when I bought it. They did not "need" to be replaced but I always thought they were ugly and wouldn't it be nice to have something nicer. I, like you, didn't plan on being here more than a couple of years or so ... and I had to make the decision ... I can keep the ugly stuff, put in new cheaper stuff that was nicer than what I had, or spend a bit extra and get the stuff that I REALLY wanted ... I decided to bite the bullet and just put in the stuff that I wanted. I want you to know that every day when I look at it - it makes me happy. I have never not one time regretted the decision. Also since then my life has changed significantly and I now plan to be here much longer. So I agree with the others that you should do what is going to bring you joy. :-)

  6. Ima saver Says:

    I a mgoing to be the spoil sport here. I don't think you should do the pavers, they are far too expensive.

  7. livingalmostlarge Says:

    If you want the pavers do it. However, pavers are a PIA to shovel snow out of. I hate pavers because it's harder to melt the ice as well. And if you do pavers you should put heated blocks under so it doesn't ICE as easily. I say this as someone who has lived close to you and everyone who has pavers I know loved the looked and hated it in the winter.

    But if you want it I would do it. I personally wouldn't but I hate shoveling snow and I hate the idea of pavers because it makes life harder. Plus if I wanted pavers I would also factor in the cost of the heated blocks because the ice where you happens all the time.

  8. creditcardfree Says:

    If you are really going to be there for four years, I would do it simply because you have the money and you would love and enjoy it.

    However...I'm not entirely certain that it would be a selling point. If I saw that as a buyer, I might actually think it requires more maintenance and could have more regular issues. I might wonder why you didn't pave the full driveway? Do other people in your area do this to their driveways? Some improvements are great for the owner, but just don't always translate to a buyer needs and wants. Just something to think about.

  9. PatientSaver Says:

    There is one more opportunity to lower the price a bit...the paving guy said he didn't yet have the 2016 prices for the asphalt from the asphalt supplier. He warned me not to expect a huge drop becus just like banks, the asphalt suppliers are slow to pass on reduced pricing for materials and quick to hike them when prices rise. But he will know later this month.

  10. Butterscotch Says:

    I had to google pavers stone driveway because I didn't know what it was. Oh my gosh - how pretty! I would love to drive home to that everyday. It looks so welcoming and charming! I say go for it, especially if you will enjoy it.

  11. snafu Says:

    After the last difficult months, it's past time to give yourself something to smile about. The pavers are there every day you depart and return home or look out the windows. I'd talk to the mason about your concern for snow removal. He may offer a solution. Time to spark joy!

  12. PatientSaver Says:

    I have to say, damn, I love your answers! (Even yours, Ima, I appreciate your honest opinion.) You've given me "permission." Thank you.

    I got my mason to knock off another $200 and then I told him yes, I want him to do it. I'm still waiting for paver guy to let me know if his prices will change any this season due to lower oil prices. I did not indicate in my message that I've already decided to do it. Either way, I'll have him do his part but I want to try to get a bit off if I can first. I often find that just "asking" is good for at least a few hundred off, and it certainly makes a difference.

    I do appreciate the caution about snow removal and going to bring that up with mason just to see what the cost would be for heated blocks, which I probably won't want to spring for as I really don't see myself here after 4 years so it would be up to whoever the new owners are. I also understand not everyone will love pavers, but I think most will. Also, if you use a snow blower, as I have in the past (tho not now) I don't see how pavers would problematic.

    To answer creditcardfree's question, I would say people in my area frequently do Belgian blocks in combination with pavement, probably becus of the high costs of Belgian blocks. So yes, I've seen it done many ways. Pavers are cheaper than Belgian blocks but still give a nicer look than black tar. Altho I must admit my neighborhood is more modest so you don't see that as much. I don't think it will make my house "over-improved."

    Now all I need is a high end car to park in the "courtyard" like in the TV commercials and I'll be all set. Somehow a Honda doesn't quite fit with the image but as my mason said, "We'll make it work."

  13. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I'm glad you decided to go with the pavers option. It's what I would've suggested as well. Smile

  14. creditcardfree Says:

    I'm sure it feels great to make a decision. There is no doubt you will enjoy them.

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