Monday, 22 December 2014

Should you renovate a house?

We've now been renovating our house for more than a year. At least it is now functional, and we are living inside of it instead of in a trailer in the yard. We have two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom that all work. The living room and dining room are also more or less functional, though they are also used to store construction materials so aren't all that welcoming. We have no heat, and there are so many holes in the walls and subfloor that cold wind and spiders rush in when they like. But, we have new windows and the outside of the house has just recently been finished so we can make it through the rainy season without the inside being destroyed. 

Before we bought the "house" (maybe a better term would be "roof" or "skeleton of a shelter"), lots of people warned us that we didn't know what we were getting in to. But we thought: we can finally afford to buy a place in a nice neighborhood, and by putting in sweat equity, we'll be sitting pretty in no time. How hard can it be?
All surfaces will become coated in to-do lists and receipts
Are you also considering buying a fixer upper? Do you envision yourself renovating the house with your own two hands? Before you go ahead, consider these questions:

1. Are you a contractor, or do you desire to become one? Do you even know what a contractor is?

2. Do you have a burning desire to spend most of your time and money at Home Depot? 

3. Are you afraid of power tools?

4. How do you feel about going shopping for supplies wearing your pajamas, tattered rags completely covered in paint, and/or with a healthy sprinkling of drywall dust in your hair?

5. Do you have a small child? Is that child technically trained in power tool use yet?

6. Do you prefer to spend your weekends relaxing at the beach, or shoveling raccoon nests out from the crawl space before tiling the shower?

7. Are you good at making decisions? For example, do you confidently order food at a restaurant, shop for clothing, and book your vacation flights without constantly changing your mind and second-guessing your decision? Or do you waver until the last moment, at which point you ask someone else to decide for you, and then immediately veto whatever option they chose? 

8. Do you have enough savings to spend 1.5 times what you predict on your renovations? 

9. Do you have enough funds to throw in the towel and hire a contractor?

10. Are you afraid of heights?
I credit my time at Circus WOW in Wollongong for (thankfully!) alleviating my fear of heights
11. Do you have a day job?

12. After a typical day working at said day job, do you typically feel like drywalling a ceiling, or watching football and drinking beer?

13. Are you considering entering into this fixer-upper purchase with another human being who is not your clone? Do they sometimes have opinions that differ from your own?

14. Do you have lots of handy family members who are willing to spend their hard-earned time and money helping you fix your house?

No matter what you answer to any of these questions, let me sum it up for you: run away now. As fun and romantic as it sounds to buy a house and renovate it just to your liking, it's too much! There are too many inane and also difficult choices (square or rounded corners on the electrical plates? what color for the stucco, which will last 30 freaking years?), it is too expensive, and it takes too long. And, life is just too short.

Though, it's pretty satisfying when things go from (left) to (above)

1 comment:

  1. You two are working miracles on that house! It's tough while you are going through it but once it is finished, you will have a gem! Hang in there! Also, it builds character and strengthens your bond with each other. If your relationship survives this--it will survive anything!