With the weather slowly warming and and snow slowly melting, our home's issues are becoming more apparent. One of the main reasons I was not entirely into even looking at our house when it came onto the market was because of what the outside looked like (along with the horrible fake wood laminate kitchen flooring).
It's becoming more and more evident as the days go by that we're going to need to replace the siding. Soon. Things are peeling, there are gaps, and nails are popping. We have wood shake siding and I'm not sure if it is original or not, but it's really showing age.
Along with that are our windows. They definitely are not original, but we're at about 50% for windows that no longer stay open on their own. It was sort of ok when the first couple started to not stay open, we purchased a long wooden dowel and cut it down to shove in them. Last summer, the window over the kitchen sink decided to just not really stay attached. The inner portion that you would slide up doesn't even stay in the frame (?) when you open it, so the entire pane / slidey portion just comes off and we lean it up against a wall in the corner. Not really ideal for many reasons.
On top of that, there is definitely some air leakage. I have been "wrapping" the windows in our bedroom and my office/2nd bedroom for the past few winters, which definitely helps in those areas. Unfortunately, wrapping the windows in the living room would look bad and be a pain. We have faux wood blinds that stick out, so any sort of plastic would have to be loose in order to be able to open and close the blinds all winter.
I know the siding and window stuff costs big money, but I'm fairly certain that changing it now will make our home much toastier next winter. I have a feeling there is just a layer of plywood with the wood shakes nailed into on the outside... So, adding appropriate insulation and getting rid of not so great windows will hopefully make a big difference.
With those issues and our original plan to get working on the basement. We're at an impasse of sorts. We could save a (probably) ton of money and do all of the basement stuff ourselves. This could take forever knowing us... Or we could just dive in and procure a loan or something for siding, windows, and more of the basement than we had planned to do on this first chunk. We were just planning to get the sides of the stairs and a family room done. But having someone else do it, it might be better to just do all of it at once, leaving a 'room' for a bathroom for later on, as I'm not sure we are willing to go that far in terms of spending large amounts of money.
That brings me to finding someone, a contractor. There are a couple of known possibilities in terms of people, but I worry about messing up any current friendships by going that route. My mother recommended someone I know from way back when (played volleyball with his daughters in high school) that did work on her house.... so, I guess we're going to get some quotes and see where that gets us. This sounds like not fun. Also, I'm looking for a contractor in the Minneapolis area...