Buying A Fixer

If I only knew then what I know now, I’d still do it all over again

Restoration Diary, ,

We just celebrated our 5th year of home ownership last week. We are a little over halfway done with the house. What a journey this restoration project has been! We often receive questions about buying and restoring an old house. So, on the occasion of our anniversary with homeownership, here goes…

Would we do it again? Hmmmm. Halfway through our restoration I started to have fantasies about building a completely Modern house, something that you would see on the pages of “Dwell” magazine, where everything would be brand spanking new and streamlined. A few months ago I would have said NEVER. EVER. AGAIN. But, you know what they say about never saying never. 

What have we learned from our experiences? If you are going to restore a house with someone, have a conversation or two about how you actually plan to accomplish this before buying the house. When we talked about fixing up the house, I imagined us lovingly working on it together. I had no idea the images floating around David’s head were of us interviewing general contractors…lovingly together. What can I say? We were young, in love and not so focused on the details. It never occurred to me that David wouldn’t “like” working on the house. 

Things will cost so much more than you expect and take much, much longer than you imagine.

Know your limitations. Sometimes it is much cheaper and safer to hire someone than to attempt to do a project for which you have no skill or aptitude. Hire a licensed electrician, plumber, roofer, or foundation contractor.

It is just a house, just a paint color, just a piece of furniture, just a light fixture, or just a kitchen design. Try to keep things in perspective. If only I could have back all those hours spent pouring through magazines, books, and on eBay. I spent way too much time, and probably too much money, on things that seemed important at the time, but really didn’t matter all that much in the bigger picture.

If I could do it all over again. (more…)

Comments { 3 } September 17, 2007