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by Barb Ziogas


“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” (Psalm 37:23) New Living Testament

Steps to Start 

Although I had intended to sell my house “as is”, I’m now thinking about fixing it up without spending too much. We would be able to sell our house quickly because it’s a seller’s market. We may not get the money we want because a home buyer may request changes as a result of a home inspection. An investor would not give us a good price because they are hoping to make a profit from flipping the house.  But our buying a house now that’s reasonable and not over-inflated is another story. Prices to buy a house are expected to be excessive through 2022.

Another important consideration is to establish ourselves in stable jobs before spending a great deal of money.  My contract ends June 30th and Ben is hoping to retire this year.  I’m in the process of seeking another job, whether it be in this area or otherwise.  I need to make sure we have the necessary income to pay the mortgage for the house we purchase.  

“Plans fall for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”Proverbs 15:22 New International Version

 This verse came to mind, so I talked with my realtor about this forecast and he advised us to wait. He said the prices are hiked so much on houses for sale it’s ridiculous.

Another alternative is to sell our home and move to the area we hope to live in.  It may be necessary to rent for a short period, while living off the profit from selling the house.  Then we would establish ourselves in jobs.  However, rent is high and we would place ourselves at risk of losing money before finding jobs.  We will be seeking God’s guidance on this.

 There are verses in the Bible that apply to my situation.  Proverbs 24:27 says, “Develop your business first before establishing your house.” The Living Testament 

“Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field, and afterwards build thine house.” King James Version

“Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.” New Living Testament

The Life Application Bible explains “If a businessman invests his money in a house while his business is struggling to grow, he may lose both.” So, everything needs to be done in the proper order. Any work on the house right now would be at minimal cost until our jobs are established. Major renovations can be done after one or both of us obtain other work.

The first step towards fixing up our house is to plan what changes are most important that we can afford and without spending too much.  I want to get a return on the money invested.  I should apply the wisdom of this Bible verse: 

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it. For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.”

I Luke 14:28-32 New International Version

This verse is really about the cost of being Jesus’ disciple, and yet it is used in financial planning also.  I would get my home loan pre-approved by a bank. The lender was referred by my realtor.  I talked to him and he provided a list of documents to submit.  

Do Some Research

There are several recommendations that I’ve read about over the years. These are the most important that I would be able to use: 

  1. Make sure the house has curb appeal.  Home buyers will be more likely to ask to see your home if it looks nice when they drive by.  
  2. The most important rooms to invest your money are the kitchen and bathroom.
  3. A fresh coat of paint is always advised and does not cost much.
  4. Only hire handymen that have been referred and have good reviews.
  5. Get several estimates on major renovations.
  6. Estimate the cost of every purchase to create your budget.
  7. Determine how long it will take to complete each task

To Do List with Estimates and Deadlines

Curb Appeal

Add Hostas-8 x $10= $80

Replace Front Door=SKU 4140372, $264

 Plant grass-1 High Priority

 Plant ground cover-1, $10, 600 square ft, $10


  Bathroom 5.8 x 7.8=45, 1.5 Gal = $39

  Kitchen 13.6 x 14=190, 1.5 = $39

  Girl’s Bedroom 12.3 x 10, 1.0 = $26,

  Boy’s Bedroom 9 x 9=81, .5 = $13

  Office/Guest Rm 13.6 x 10, 1.0 = $26

  TOTAL    567 sq ft, TOTAL COST = $143


  Replace flooring-1, Model#360731-31568, $229


  Replace toilet-2 Medium Priority, $175

  Replace tub, surround=2


  Replace flooring-1, 158x.89=$141,


  Plumbing dishwasher-3 Least priority

  Dishwasher=3, $385

 Refrigerator=3, $375

  Stove=3, $300,

  Hood =3, $200


  Plumbing main drain-3

  Plumbing from sink-3

  *Replace window panel-1, $30, labor $30= TOTAL $60,

  *2 Grab Bars-1, $15 ea, total $30

Back bedroom

  *Replace storm door-1, SKU4153511, 36X80,$214

  Repair corner paneling=1, $37, labor $60= TOTAL $97

Boys room

  Plaster space in ceiling-1, $25, labor $30=$55


  Paint garage–1, 744 sq ft, 24×31, primer+2 coats $258,

  *Replace guardrail=1, $200,

  Paint porch floor-1, 170 sq ft, 17×10, $39



  Ceiling Fan and light-SKU 3550568, 180, Installation $75 

Dining Room Chandelier    $150, Installation $75

  Doorbell- $27, Installation $60

  Bedroom Doors (2) – $200

  Back bedroom Slab Door-$100

TOT  $672   


(Does not include all of the costs for installation or expert services. Those estimates will be obtained prior to the work being done over the course of the project.) Before purchasing anything, I will shop for supplies at thrift shops, Habitat for Humanity, and garage sales. It will save a considerable amount of money. The estimates in the chart above are full price from retailers.


The next step would be to prioritize my to-do list.  Since money is a major factor right now, I will place inexpensive tasks first.  Each task on the chart is numbered 1 to 3, the least number being the tasks to do first that are least expensive.  Painting comes to mind as it usually doesn’t cost very much.  The plumbing may be the most important, but the cost is out of the question right now.  Other considerations are planting hostas and grass before it gets hot, addressing safety issues and replacing items that are most noticeable.  For example, the back storm door does not hang correctly.  It needs replacing for safety reasons, along with the guard rail in the back.  Items marked with an * are repairs needed for safety reasons and given priority.  Some things in the house jump out at you because they are so noticeable, such as the flooring in the kitchen and bathroom. They are also priority items.  The expected date of completion is June 30, ‘23.  


I used to have an organizing business and staged a few houses for sale. One of the first things I would advise and assist with was decluttering. This involves going through every drawer and closet and either giving away, throwing away or deciding to keep. One rule of thumb is whether the item has been used in the past year. Of course, family heirlooms and treasured antiques are kept. Then follow these steps:

  1. Minimize furniture by only having what is necessary, which makes a room look larger. Move items to storage, if necessary. 
  2. Reduce clutter on end tables and counters.
  3. Store personal photos and items so the buyer can picture themselves living there.
  4. Decide on a focal point for the room and decorate with an up-to-date comforter with matching curtains, a stunning picture or new towels and shower curtain. 
  5. Replace out of date or worn items in the house. I would like to replace the mailbox, the ceiling fan, doorbell, three bedroom doors, and kitchen appliances.


Although I make these plans, God may change them. Right now the Holy Spirit is telling me to fix up the house. Tomorrow His plans for me may change. 

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9 New Living Testament

I also don’t want to be arrogant about the future, for none of us know what is going to happen tomorrow. 

“Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring.” Proverbs 27:1 New Living Testament 

“Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.”  How do you know what your life will be like. Your life is like the morning fog-it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that. Otherwise, you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.” James 4:13-16 New Living Testament

I can’t hold on to my life too tightly, but will surrender it to the Lord. He knows what is best for me, and I trust Him with my future.

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