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?
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.