Problem with fixer uppers

I’m still enjoying my 2 year break from doing anything with the house. The break is here because, A)- I’m still trying to pay off the 2nd mortgage and B)- my job ends next year and I don’t want to start a large project without knowing where or how small my next paycheck will be.
But the house needs some serious fixin’.
The floors aren’t level
The house needs insulation
The windows need squaring and replacing
The stairs need strengthening
The basement walls need replacing
Something needs to be done about the periodic flooding
The furnace needs to get off the floor
None of it will be cheap.
Anyway, found a good entry about the toll that taking up a fixer upper takes on your life. It is not just financial, it eats into the rest of your life. It’s not just weekends that are lost but connections with friends because you are so busy painting or stripping or what have you. I’ve witnessed it with M&K who lived in their house as they were fixing it up. During the fix up period you are just a tired dusty person. However the sweat equity you put into the house emotionally binds you to the place, when the painted walls and the tiled tub are products of your labor. How can anyone say you don’t belong in a place when you have sacrificed part of your life and sanity, with a side of blood, sweat, tears and profane words thrown at a fixture that won’t install easy, on the altar of homeownership in the hood?

4 thoughts on “Problem with fixer uppers”

  1. Great link – so true, so true…

    A renovation subject the author doesn’t cover is the similar process you go through when you hire a contractor to do part of the job, and how the financial $tre$$ starts to gnaw at you. Paying the contractor is like paying for a second mortgage – without a tenant contributing yet, of course (assuming your project includes rehabbing a rentable space).

    Here it is October, we wrote the first check for our basement rehab in February, the revised-revised-project completion date is now in November, and we’re not feeling optimistic that he can meet THAT commitment! A further complication is that once you’ve hired someone, your futures are entwined until the work is done. Firing them mid-contract and hiring someone else, or trying to amend the contract to enforce a verbal delivery date once it’s begun are not as easy as they might sound.

    The next time we hire a contractor we will absolutely have a fixed completion date written into the contract – and it will DEFINITELY include financial penalties to him(her) for missing that date.


  2. I have the same problem and can name half a dozen things I would like to do if time and money were not an issue. I was so naive moving in. I thought that since the renovation had just been done, I should be good for the first five years.
    I just passed my fourth anniversary in the house. So far, I have replace the AC, the furnace, the water heater, renovated the basement again, replaced a sewer connection on the backside, fixed a fence line, replaced another fence, replaced a porch roof, fixed one door arch, fixed one window, and I continue to patch a leaky roof!
    Half of my problems stem from redneck bama contractors who would rather caulk a brick than point it and the other half is the result of a history of previous owners painting over problems. I have neighbors who’d rather duck tape a crack every month on the front steps than properly replace the cement once.

  3. Sure it was bamas and not crackheads? They do the same work.

    BL, I really wish I had a magic wand to turn your contractor into someone true to his word and quick in speed. I think I will play the powerball and if I win, I will pay to finish your job, get my house done…. wait, screw that I’d just get a brand new house.

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