Wacky World of Windows

31 Mar

So I feel like for the last week all I’ve been thinking about is windows. Which I have to say is a rather unexciting thing to be thinking about. Is it a good or bad thing that there’s not much else on my mind?

Our windows are bad. In addition to the exterior wooden trim that the dogs have scratched up or through the process of moving the futon which once stood in front of the window completely demolished we’re starting to get mold damage. The wood of the actual windows are rotting due to the moisture change between the outside and inside in the winter time. And little tiny specs of mold on my windows with a toddler and a baby on the way do not excite me.

Plus aesthetically they’re ugly,  challenging to open, and really single pane windows in Minnesota? I’m imagining the heating savings already. Plus, despite the fact that my thermostat has been set to 70 all winter I still needed to wear a fleece sweater to bed every night because it was freezing and Bear sleeps under two comforters. I’m thinking I can blame some of that on the windows. And of course the $1,500 energy tax credit ends in 2010.

So what have I done here? Well I’ve tried to come up with an open and shut case on why clearly these windows need to be replaced. But of course it always comes down to the green. And windows, well they are PRICEY. Especially because we’re looking exclusively at Andersen windows which are pretty top of the line.

I’m 100% set on getting these windows. I’ve been bothering our Andersen contact for over a year now ever since she came out to the house last summer to do some measurements for us. Originally I was thinking of just replacing the living room windows, until I went to look at all of our windows and realized they are all in various states of decay. Including the ones in Bear’s room and the soon to be nursery. Also, on Monday while on a tour of how my plants are budding I noticed that the exterior trim of my bedroom window has a hole in which the H told me yesterday is because it rotted through. So then I’m thinking lets just replace the whole thing and get it over with right? Collect the full $1,500 credit and have it done with.

So when I emailed my contact to requote me for all windows she came back with $7,433. Which may seem a lot to you lay people who don’t have houses or concepts of how the hell much windows cost. But I’ve been seeing numbers like this for awhile now so I’m not as phased by it. The H who has been totally uninvolved with my research was definitely a little bit like “whoa”. But I being a mastermind of justifying things say after the tax credit its really $5,933 and since we’re having a baby we’re probably going to get a sizable tax return (normally we get around $2-3K) plus the H’s yearly bonus (around $2K) assuming all of this happens after that its like the windows are paid for! We just have to make monthly payments for the next 9 months until all of our returns come in. (We file end of January/Early Feb so we usually have our money back by mid to late Feb and you don’t start paying until after the windows are installed which would be this summer).

PLUS, Minnesota offers low interest loans precisely for people who want to make home improvements! So through MNCEE we could hopefully get a loan at 5.99% until we got our tax returns. And let me tell you, that’s not a bad deal at all. Only thing better would be if we happened to get one of those 0% interest credit card offers where they send you a little check trying to lure you into a balance transfer. If Citi or Bank of America offered that this summer we’d be there.

So yeah, I’ve got windows on my mind.

10 Responses to “Wacky World of Windows”

  1. eigenman March 31, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    this makes me never want to own a house :)

  2. M March 31, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    Jesus, you’re on top of it. I barely posted and you’ve already read! I know what you mean, we/me had no idea how much house stuff really adds up. We need to replace our stove shortly after moving in because it crapped out. Plus little stuff breaks all the time.

  3. Nicole March 31, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    Houses are expensive. I also have windows on my mind. Single pane windows in Minnesota seem quite stupid. However, we may replace most of them ourselves. We will see how that goes. The tax credit is worth it, as are the energy bill savings. You will notice it. Go for it.

    • M March 31, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

      Yeah you’ll save a ton replacing them yourselves. We just don’t feel comfortable enough doing something like that ourselves with all that could go wrong. Plus the FIL is so difficult to get time with him since he’s so busy, especially during fishing tournament season! Are you think Andersen or another brand for your windows?

  4. Sarah March 31, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    Why are you exclusively looking at Andersen? Have you compared with other brands? Obviously you don’t want to cheap-out on windows, but I think around $6K is more reasonable.

    I also wouldn’t finance (let alone at 6%, I don’t think that is that great of a rate) but I’m more conservative about that sort of thing.

  5. M March 31, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

    Well we don’t remotely have the cash on hand, so not financing is not an option. I think 6% isn’t a SUPER great rate, but I hardly think its a bad rate either. And yes, you are super conservative.

    Pella is the next brand down, but at this point we have such a relationship with Andersen and are so far down the road it would be a huge set back to have someone else come and remeasure. I also don’t think it would be that significant of a difference in price. (We did have someone else measure earlier in the fall, and he quoted WAY higher than Andersen for windows we hadn’t even heard of.)

    I have a friend whose going to check in with her parents who are in the business just to say whether or not the quote seems reasonable or is totally out there.

  6. Rebecca April 1, 2010 at 9:16 am #

    I’m with Sarah about financing, but I’m rather fiscally conservative, too. Does Anderson (or any comparable place) have a “No Interest for One Year!” type deal? That might make it a bit more manageable. That’s what I did with my hair removal and ended up not having to pay any interest, since I saved the cash while in the interest-free period.

    Financing aside, it does sound like new windows is the right decision. I’d just make sure you and the hubby stay really on top of your other financial cut-backs. From everything you’ve said, it sounds like you’re doing a pretty good job of staying on top of spending less this year, but I wouldn’t want to see this tip you over the edge.

  7. Julie April 5, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    I talked to my folks this weekend! They were a little unclear about how much you actually needed done – if it’s just replacing the windows or the whole frames/etc stuff around it, too? But their general impression is that you should look around. They put Pella windows in most of the homes they remodel and were telling us they put windows in somewhere recently at about 7k for like 8-9 windows or something. I can’t remember. But yeah, in general, they thought the price wasn’t great and you should really look around and check out prices/deals that don’t come from the manufacturer directly, too. They had a hard time saying exactly what they thought would be reasonable bc it depends on what kind of damage is around the current frames (and then my dad went on for awhile about things I didn’t understand) but generally said that you guys should look into other options.

  8. M April 5, 2010 at 11:17 am #

    We’ve come to a similar conclusion at this point. We’ve got Pella coming out on Friday and Home Depot as well (we’d probably buy Andersen through them and have them install). I’m also considering calling around some contractors and seeing what they’d charge to install our windows.

    The thing about the frames is yes, they are in really bad condition. The quote didn’t include that because Andersen apparently doesn’t replace frames. In the living room we’d have to replace the wooden frame because of the damage the dogs have done.



  1. Window Update « Sudden Silence - April 21, 2010

    […] April 21, 2010 in House, Money | Tags: Balance Transfers, Bank of America, Citi, Finances, Money, Windows So an update on the window discussion from before: […]

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