Did I Say This Was A Money Pit? Because A Money Black Hole Would Be More Accurate.
Know what it feels like to hemorrhage money?
You know — when you’re spending money so fast that it’s quite possible your bank account might actually bleed out? So fast that it scarily doesn’t even feel like it’s real money anymore?
It’s the point where your money is so abstract — so electronic — that you might as well be throwing Monopoly money off of the roof of the Empire State Building or, in my case, at the siding, the air conditioner, the deck, the windows, and other strategic extremities — and uh… intremities — of our little white ranch.
(And also my car, which has been in the shop for a week. But I’m not ready to talk about that.)
What’s that? you say. Your ranch is white? I thought it was gray.
Well. That used to be true. But it’s supposed to be white.
Here we are on the day we moved in — in all our adorable naivety. Little did we know that in six years’ time the porch rails would be rotting, the red shutters would be faded, and the somewhat-dirty siding, which probably hadn’t been washed since the house was built in 1994, would become even dirtier with the apparently mud-and-slime-laced acid rain that pours down on our house every spring.
And here’s the lovely pre-pressurewashing shot I snapped the other day after we removed the shutters so I could paint them. (Those of you who follow on Facebook got a sneak preview of this.) You can see the filth — not just behind where the shutters were, but dripping beneath the windows and under the eaves and especially on the left side which, because of the heavily wooded lot next door, rarely sees direct sunlight and therefore apparently forms the perfect natural petri dish for fungal growth.
I don’t post things like this on the internet because I’m proud.
And I don’t post them because I get secret jollies from public embarrassment.
I post them to prove to you what a pain in the butt homeownership can be if you let yourself get lazy or, in our case, simply ignore problems in the vain hope that they’ll just go away on their own. Justin and I have a serious problem when it comes to avoidance — especially when it comes to confronting issues that will probably cost us money. The problem? Ignoring these issues can often end up costing more money in the long haul.
And home ownership, it turns out, is for the long haul.
We had a list of things we needed to finish before putting the house on the market, many of which we’ve been able to cross off over the last few weeks.
Fix/replace porch railing(DIY) Fill in stagnant pond(DIY) Remove front row of diseased bushes(DIY) Pressure wash house(Hire Out – $275)
- Re-face back deck (DIY & Hire Out – $375 labor + ~$500 materials)
Paint shutters(DIY) Tear out rotted raised garden bed(DIY)
- Finish organizing garage (DIY)
- Repair rotted window frames (Hire Out – $90)
- Clean and organize office (DIY)
Stain office shelves(DIY)
- Finish updating master bathroom (still have to frame mirror) (DIY)
- Touch up wall and trim paint throughout (DIY)
- Repair kitchen ceiling drywall, re-paint ceiling, and install crown molding (Hire Out – $300)
- Clean carpets (DIY)
Recessed lighting in living room(DIY)
Obviously we wanted to save as much money as possible — especially in light of our unexpected $6,000 A/C replacement — but time and professionalism are always factors when it comes to resale. There were certain jobs, like repairing window frames and fixing drywall in the kitchen ceiling, that we figured were best left to the professionals. And while Justin had no problem tearing out the rotted railings and surface boards of our deck to save a dime, we thought the actual finish work should be handled by pros. In order to get our house on the market before it gets cold outside, we just didn’t have the time to research how to do these jobs right so they wouldn’t come back to haunt us during inspection. And there were other jobs, like power washing the house, that we just didn’t want to do.
But don’t get me wrong — hiring and working with contractors isn’t exactly a cake walk, either.
I finally found someone who itemized his estimates and actually — you know — showed up when he said he would, which is the first major hurdle in this painstaking process. But now I’m sitting here straining to hear hammering on our deck that’s torn up, but alas. I hear none. The workers who were dropping off materials this morning disappeared when I went to walk my dogs and haven’t been seen or heard from since.
I should probably check the yard for sinkholes.
This isn’t exactly the safest way to let our dogs out into the yard… Anyone care to walk the plank?
Right now we’re looking at about $1,040 of paid repairs, $500-$700 material costs, hours of backbreaking labor, and $7,100 in unexpected expenses (including my vehicle) that fell all at one time.
This is why you should always have a an emergency savings account.
And also liquor.
Lots and lots of liquor.
Progress so far… are we digging the green shutters?