THE MONEY PIT VERSION 7.0.9

Seven is the number of homes I’ve owned, alone or with a partner. I just added the 0.9 to mess with your heads. Or maybe my head. As if I haven’t been adequately messed with.

No matter what you do, say, think, or feel — all houses are money pits. They are.

If you buy a brand new house, you will discover you need gardens, gates, window coverings. A lawn, a patio. A deck. A better bath tub. The tiles in the kitchen will come up for air because they weren’t glued down properly and you need real tiles, not the plastic crap, in your bathroom. New isn’t.

Buying a used house is not unlike buying a used car, but without the guarantees. Yes, there are inspections, but somehow, no matter how many inspections you get, there are more things which go unnoticed than noticed. Payoffs? Sloppy work? Or they didn’t look inside the walls and see the shoddy wiring?

If you buy a not too old but not exactly new house, it will at the least need to be painted, inside and out. More garden work. Lawns. The driveway will be crumbling — and the garage is falling down. Roof slightly leaky too? The kitchen needs updating because all kitchens need updating. How about adding that extra bath upstairs?

Matthew, the house on Palo Alto Street – New York

If you buy a really old house — like one of those stunning Victorians or that gorgeous brick one down the road — after you stop congratulating yourself on what a treasure you’ve acquired, you will realize you need plumbing and the well needs work. The circuit box might have been fine when the only things the house needed were a few lamps, one black and white television, and a radio. Otherwise, the circuitry is older than Benjamin Franklin and his kite experiment.

At least one toilet doesn’t flush. The furnace is a coal conversion and probably would prefer a re-conversion back to coal. When you’re done with that, there are old windows, ancient floors, and the kitchen rehab that never got done. And of course, the gardens. Lawn. Fences.

The garage is still falling down. Three houses later and the garage is still falling down. Does it follow you from house to house? Or is it some kind of negative karma you will never escape?

This house is a lot older than new, but a lot newer than very old. I have lived in very old houses. I have lived in one new house. Most of the houses have ranged from “pretty old” to “old enough.” I know people who tried to fix up old Victorian houses. That is called “being poor forever.”

This house was thrown together in 1974. The builder was a moron who saved pennies on things like proper wiring and electricity, but installed two magnificent fireplaces … and left the house with cheap electric heat. This is New England. Electric heat? Seriously?

A previous owner replaced the electric heat with an oil heating plant 12 years before we moved in. We’ve been here 17 years, so the boiler is heading on 30 years and surprisingly, is still doing well. Or, as we say in the home owning biz, “so far, so good.”

We replaced the roof. Insulation. Two new circuit boards. A wood stove. French drains, a sump and a pump to deal with the flooding. We put up fencing. We replace all the sinks and toilets, but never got to the bathtubs or showers. Fifteen years later, all the toilets and sinks need replacing again and the bath and showers are 17 years older, but not better. I consider it a gross injustice having to replace the replacements. I figure installing a thing ought to be a once in a lifetime job.

We also replaced the entire front door assembly and that terrible set of sliding doors to the deck. The deck doors are fine, but the front door is rotting. Again. That would be three times. Maybe more to the point, it is still rotting and it’s half fixed. Thursday, I think we finish the fixing.

One of the horrible discoveries was that there are bugs in the rotting door. What did I expect to find there? Flowers? But that means I need an exterminator to make sure those bugs haven’t gone past the door and moved into the foundation. I am so ready to find a quiet, clean place to live where everything has been fixed.

Except where would we go? I don’t see Garry and I in a retirement community. I think Money Pit v. 7.0.9 is the last money pit for us.

32 thoughts on “THE MONEY PIT VERSION 7.0.9

  1. That’s even true of Condo Associations. My Association is repiping all 197 units this year, borrowing against the reduction in repair costs to do so! We will be responsible for some of the repair that will be involved, particularly to things like damaged flooring, wall coverings, etc., and for updating fire protection devices (4 smoke alarms and 2 CO alarms in my smaller unit). There’s no getting around the cost of ownership!

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  2. I was lucky with my house. Also 1974-ish but the only thing which needed doing was a new fuse box, as I refused to have those old wire fuses. Switches for me, please. The previous owner had even put in a new kitchen, with a wood floor and granite sink.

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    • Nice! I think if we were buying now, we’d buy differently. We were still in an expansionist phase when we got this place. Now, we are going the other way. But we already live here … and moving again? No, I don’t think so.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Landscaping, new roof, painting and recarpeting the whole inside… that’s what we have to do when we sell our house when we’re ready to retire – after that, our next home will consist of sharing walls with other dwellers, and a home with wheels!

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  4. Some people just have money to burn. House next door to me was very nice. Young couple bought it for a song and gutted the entire inside. Wife was an interior designer. They sold it and got all their money back. Doctor and his wife bought it. Almost a year ago. Gutting the inside and redoing the entire outside. They could have built a house for what they have spent on this house so far. They still have not moved in. Talk about a money pit! I hope my house value goes up because of them.

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  5. The two morons my real estate agent had inspect my house only missed a few things…. like failing to notice that almost the entire house had aluminum wiring (Not unexpected since my home was built during the Vietnam War era, but they whiffed on the extent of that inferior wiring). I’m not a very motivated homeowner, though, and the whole place will probably crumble on top of my head before I spend a dime to fix anything. Not even a money pit can make me open up my tight wallet…

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    • Yes, our inspector moron failed to notice the water marks on all the downstairs wall, indicating frequent flooding. Or the under quality wiring. We HAD to replace it. The house tried to burn itself down.

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  6. In all the houses we’ve lived in Marilyn, there’s only one that we didn’t renovate and that was because we sold it before we actually bought it. We built a new house and even they require a lot of up keep and changes. Real estate is one thing that has been very profitable in Canada. It has been our best investment starting with the first one we sold before we bought it. We’ve rented and the lack of up keep provided by the landlord is appalling. So unless it’s your parents house and it’s their problem, it doesn’t seem to matter where you live, it always needs work.
    Leslie

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    • It can be a very good investment and has been for me, with one exception and that was because the neighborhood, which was supposed to get better, went under. Lost out on that one, but all the others, I’ve done reasonably (or very) well.

      The problem is, you can’t let them go. Which is what we have had to do here because there have been long periods without any money. Now, i can do a little bit, but there’s more to be done than we can get done. It is frustrating to know what you need and not be able to get it done.

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  7. I feel your pain. I like the image of the garage following you from house to house. Mine skipped a house but it found me. Finally have been contacted and made contact with repair people. I also realized that I spent all my life teaching people I did not spend my life learning to repair a house or even learning how to deal with house repairs. I have also learned that people who DO know are loath to tell you what you should do. A friend who visited me yesterday and has owned and repaired many houses checked the garage, agreed with me that it’s solid, said, “Get a roofer out to fix the leak and get a new garage door.” I was very happy because that’s what I wanted to do. I was happy that someone who KNOWS said that. “You don’t need a new garage. You just need one that doesn’t leak. Leaks are bad.” I sat down and thought about priorities and the door is first so I can secure the garage and my property. The leak is second. I felt so smart, a good thing after having been so stupid.

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    • And the work the guys did is really atrocious. Since I stopped their check, they’ll be here tomorrow. They are motivated. I can’t fix things myself, but I’ve done this enough times to know good work from awful. This was awful, but I needed confirmation. Definitely awful. In every way that matters, badly done. Stopping the check helped. I’m pretty sure they do know how to do it right. If they don’t, they can give me my down payment back, too.

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      • Sigh… I’m sorry it went like that. Stupid people. I honestly don’t understand it. People get business from doing good work not from screwing up. Like the blog tour girl — her business is from word of mouth and she probably would not have refunded my money if I hadn’t threatened to slam her on social media, but I did threaten her.

        I’m beginning to feel tentatively optimistic about my jobs. The garage door guy called and asked for measurements. My neighbor and I measured and I thought, “These are going to be weird to anyone who sells garage doors” and they were. He’s coming out to see the job. A roofer is coming this evening. My friend said “Get a lot of estimates” but there are not a lot of contractors out here… ONE garage door guy. Four roofers. πŸ˜€

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        • Yes, living in the country. ONLY one guy fixes wells. ONE guy fixes garage doors. Not a lot of contractors of any kind, except for roofing and siding. LOTS of roofers and siding guys.

          The thing is, that Owen had given them very specific instructions on what needed doing and they agreed. In writing. But the guys who came to do the work didn’t buy the required materials. I’d like to see the bills for my job.

          And it’s really stupid. I’ll post the shit out of them all over our local Uxbridge site and they’ll be OUT of business. Between the blog and the local social media, this is just stupid. Maybe they thought I was too old to know how to use a computer? I think they are about to learn otherwise. Unless they fix it really well. Because I’m still seriously pissed off.

          Liked by 2 people

          • I know what you mean. I can’t get mad at the tweaker because that was my stupidity and I was not out any money I expected to have (he cashed my check the MINUTE he left my house) and I don’t think I’ll get mad at anyone at this point. I just don’t feel like it, having allowed my own self to be duped… But definitely blast those guys.

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            • I think the workers didn’t do what they were supposed to do. They thought they’d found a dumb old lady who wouldn’t know the difference. But I really dislike people who intentionally rip off old people. it happens often in New England. i don’t know about the rest of the country but it’s really common here. It’s such a mean way to behave.

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              • But two good things have happened here. The windows in my bedrooms are now open for the first time since I moved in, and the garage door is now shut and locked. Nothing is fixed but nothing is worse so far. I hate this. At least the garage door guy is our age, he’s a flirty old guy with a really nice wife. πŸ™‚

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                • Well, they opened up a nice nest of carpenter ants, so I’ve now got THEM all over the house. They didn’t fix the rot, so the bugs are active as hell. I managed to kill some of them with a heavy dose of baking soda (thank you Pat Gerber!) … So now, I’ve got even MORE bugs AND nothing got fixed. But on the up side, having stopped their check, I got to use that money to pay the vet for Bonnie. Assuming I ever have to really pay them and they don’t have to pay ME (likely scenario), I’ll figure it out then. Meanwhile, they can wait. I’m not sure HOW long.

                  Liked by 1 person

        • My son is still so pissed off he brought friends over to see how shitty the work is. He has taken time off from work so he can be here tomorrow … assuming they show up. I think, give I blocked their primary payment, they will, but who knows?

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      • “The Money Pit” is always good for laughs. But there ain’t anything funny about what’s happening here in real life. Yeesh!

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  8. We have been in our house for over 20 years and my husband insisted on not doing anything to it, well we are paying the price for that now. New roof, new carport, so much stuff that we need to do to it. You are right they really are money pits, and not matter how many quotes you get, it will always end up costing you a lot more money.

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  9. I don’t disagree with the money pit theory at all, but I do have a positive. We had our roof cleaned a couple of weeks ago by a really great guy. He had a lift and washed the roof including some moss accumulation and treated it to deter the moss. After he was done, he mentioned that a couple of siding pieces were loose. He had loaded his lift by then so we were left with the issue. I contacted him today to ask if he could fix those pieces for us and what the charge would be. He answered in a timely fashion, said he’d stop by the next time he was around here, and would do it for free. I about fell out of my chair. πŸ™‚ Good luck with your door and exterminator.

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    • I think that’s why I’m so pissed with this guy. I trusted him to do the right thing … and he didn’t. Not even close. I’ve had great experiences and awful experience with contractors. I tend to trust people until they prove untrustworthy, but I hate it when they screw me because they think I’m too old to know what’s going on. When stuff like this happens, it isn’t an accident. They had no intention of really doing the work. They just figured “Hey, we got one of those little old ladies” and I should have guessed when they suggested we might want to check out retirement places. I had just laughed, but clearly they had a very unclear idea of us.

      In any case, why would ANYONE intentionally go out of their way to rip off old people? Yet it happens a LOT. Everywhere. Makes me REALLY mad.

      Liked by 1 person

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