Monday, April 25th, 2011
I’ve been reading over some of my old renovation-related blog entries, since I’ve had renovation on the brain again lately, and realized I barely remember half this stuff. It’s all a blur now … well, except bashing out the tile and concrete floor in the master bath – that I will remember till my dying day and will probably be boring my grandchildren with the tale of it from my death bed.
For those who may be wondering if these reminisces mean we are getting that house and starting a new adventure/spiraling downward into insanity, the answer is we’re not sure. We took our expert renovator friends with us for another look-see this weekend, and with their help, we noticed a lot more wrong with the place than was initially obvious.
We investigated the cause of water damage in the kitchen ceiling and – guess what? – it’s not an old leak from a water heater, as it appeared at first glance, but a possibly ongoing roof leak. There’s also a 4-inch, gnawed-edge hole in the gold bedroom’s floor hidden under a rug; the balcony is sagging away from the house; there’s at least one instance of termite damage and several areas of rotted wood on the exterior.; the nails are backing out of the siding on one side of the house; the windows in the sun room are storm windows; much of the upstairs appears to still be running on knob and tube wiring; there’s another, smaller roof leak in the green upstairs bedroom; and the upstairs bathroom floor under the vinyl is a mystery of lumps and mush. And that’s all without even looking under the house.
If all of this sounds really scary, that’s because it is. We’ve never done a house that needs this much work. I was hoping we could hire some guys to fix the rotting wood that’s making the porch sag, throw a little more money at some other minor wood rot, and handle the kitchen and bathrooms ourselves. If we could fix up the whole thing for 25K or so, we’d still have a very inexpensive house that we could either move to or sell, depending on what we decided at a later date.
Now we’re looking at rewiring, roof replacement, possible window replacement in that back room, and LOTS of exterior issues. So basically, it’s a way bigger project than we anticipated, with a way bigger budget.
Our friends, the renovator couple, seemed to have opposite opinions on it. The husband told D, “If you don’t get this house, consider it dodging a bullet.” Yikes. Listening to him pointing out flaw after flaw, I started getting freaked. Meanwhile, the wife – obviously the “me” of this pair – was upbeat about the project, saying stuff like – “Oh, you just hire a couple of guys for a day and they can knock that out. It would only cost $1,000, $2,000 at the most.” (referring to the porch-jacking-and-de-rottifying).
The definite conclusion agreed on by all: There’s no way this is a fix-and-flip. With all the work and expense it would require – I’d guess in the neighborhood of at least 50K, depending on a lot of factors, and without a full kitchen redo – making any bonus money on the sale would be too iffy.
Still, if we just wanted to live there, we’d have a reasonably priced (and fully awesome) residence when we got finished, even if we blew the budget on it.
So basically it comes down to what we want. Do we want to move to Greensboro (I admit, the appeal of Pie Lab is strong)? Do we want to dedicate our free time and money to this house for a couple of years? Do we even have enough free time and money?
On the way home that afternoon, my sister, who had come along to see the house and eat pie with us, said, “So what are the reasons to get the house?” and all I could come up with was, “It’s awesome.” By the time we got home, we’d pretty much concluded the dream was dead.
But since then, every couple of hours, someone says, “I just wish … ” or “Well, I guess we could … ” Or “What if we … ”
So the dream is in ICU, but it’s not dead. We have more thinking to do, more talking, more researching. And probably more trips to Greensboro, to linger on those front steps, peeking in at the woodwork.