Home Renovations

I can’t count how many times I have heard from people who have built their own home or done a major renovation, “Don’t move into a house until it is completely finished. If you do it will never get finished once you are living there…” or something akin to that comment. I knew going into our home that it was going to be a bit of work to get things the way that we wanted, and at the time we had no better options but to move in right away or have to pay rent and a mortgage at the same time, which was just not possible. So we moved into a fixer upper.

Now, to our credit we have gotten a fair amount of renovation and repair done, and it is plodding along slowly in bursts on weekends. But man… it takes a long time to get things done when you have two small children living with you. Nonetheless progress is being made, just a lot slower than I had anticipated from the outset.

Sure, peeling wall paper, painting, pulling out old carpets, knocking a big hole in the wall between the kitchen and dining room to open up space… that will take like what? A couple of week? Haha. 6 months later we have finally accomplished those tasks, and of course several other things have come up that were completely unexpected that have taken a great deal of time and energy. such as:

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The toilet was leaking and had rotted through the floor all the way to the joists, which someone had cut completely through to install the pipe… not a good way to install plumbing.

This fun one took a few weekends away from peeling old wallpaper, and several trips to the hardware store. Things are slowly moving along though, and I have hope that eventually, weekend project after weekend project, the house will be at a comfortable level of renovated for our taste.

In real life, nothing is every really “finished”, I just look at it as slow but constant improvement. We will probably put in new bathroom hardware and a new kitchen floor, and eventually get around to new counter-tops. We are, however, doing it all completely debt-free. And even though it’s a little bit slower,  I sleep well at night knowing that we are on our way to no longer being indentured servants to the banks.

I have always been fascinated that the price of homes keeps going up in most places even though they are a depreciating asset. That is, a house costs you money to upkeep, and it gets old and needs new roofing, new hardware, new floors. It boggles my mind that people want to sell a house for double what they paid for it ten years ago. Would you try to sell a 10 year old car for double the price you bought it for?

Yeah yeah, I know that the house itself might be a liability but its supposedly the property itself that is constantly rising in value. But where is that value coming from? Is there an oil well there? Are you mining copper? Even those things get depleted over time and the underlying property that the commodity is extracted from becomes worth less. The whole idea that housing will go up forever and ever is completely insane. Sorry for the rant, but I bought a house to live in, not to gamble on. And the only wealth coming from the property is extracted by me and my family through blood, sweat, and tears as we raise chickens and eventually plant fruit bearing trees and bushes, etc. Not from flipping it and selling it to the greater fool.

In any case, it is slowly but surely becoming our home, and slowly becoming a homestead as well.

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