Disclaimer: I feel weird talking about money in a public forum (I even do in private forums, with rare exception), but it's an integral part of this whole remodeling process, so I'll just keep it vague enough that no really personal info about our finances comes out.
Anyway, we ditched the idea of the mortgage refi. Our current mortgage payment is super cheap and has a fixed rate of 5.26% until it's paid off in a maximum of 24 years. Better not to mess with it.
I spoke to the credit union loan officer this morning and told her we'd rather do a home equity loan. Ken and I did briefly discuss a home equity line of credit last night, but we'd rather have a set loan payment and not open a revolving credit account. Just personal preference, really. There are pros and cons to both types of financing, and we chose the one we're more comfortable with.
So our home equity loan got conditionally approved within the hour (yay for PFFCU!), and we'll be getting the paperwork in the mail within 3-5 business days. Meanwhile they'll check comps in our neighborhood to make sure we didn't overestimate our home's value. As long as the comps bear that out, the loan amount we requested goes through. If they play it more conservatively, no big deal. We take less money and adjust our home improvements to meet our new budget.
I really hate taking on a debt, but the rates are good these days and we'll be spending a fraction of what it would cost to have a contractor do the same work. And if you've seen Ken's garage in person, you know he doesn't build junk. He may fill it with junk, but he doesn't build junk. Just kidding, sweetie! Couldn't resist taking a jab atcha.