You know the definition of a house: a hole in the ground into which you pour money.
We’ve recently been trying to help our daughter purchase her first home. The ones she likes in the area where she wants to live are too expensive. The ones she can afford are much too small, in bad areas, or would require an exorcism and resurrection to make them habitable.
We’ve owned two houses plus a townhouse in our lives.
The first was supposed to be a ‘starter home.‘ We owned it for seventeen years, during which time we structurally changed all but one room. And we did all the work ourselves. We defined DIY long before it became popular.
While we owned that place, we also bought the townhouse. We used it on the weekends, and our daughter lived there while in college. We did nothing in the way of changes to it, even though I hated the electric stove and kept threatening to replace it.
Instead, we sold both the first place and the condo and bought a larger house near the beach. Our daughter was grown, so no one could understand why, instead of downsizing, we upsized. The answer was simple: we loved the house, location, and proximity to the ocean. (Since Larry is an avid surfer, our priorities were clear.)
We also bought this particular house because it was only about seven years old and had just been completely refurbished: new carpet, fresh paint, new plantation shutters. The yard was lovely and already landscaped. It required nothing in the way of repairs and little maintenance.
Twenty-five years later, however, we’ve replaced the roof, all the windows and most of the doors, survived four broken pipes and a cracked shower pan, relocated all the piping, added another breaker panel, re-landscaped both the front and back yards, remodeled all the bathrooms as well as the kitchen. We’ve also re-carpeted the whole house and replaced some of that.
Now that we’ve retired, we hope nothing major will be required since the house is in better-than-new condition. But we’re not counting on it.
I’ve also been thinking about home upkeep since Nan Burton, my protagonist in the new book Ghost Writer, to be published this summer by Oak Tree Press, inherits a beach cottage and soon discovers the questionable joys of home ownership.
How about you? Do you have any horror stories about how your house self-destructed? Or are you one of the few blessed souls who never seem to have houses turn against you? I’d like to know.