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September 05, 2010


Oh dear, I'm positively sorry about all your house woes. Thinking about such things gives mus pause & makes reconsider home-ownership, as much as we "enjoyed" the nine years of it (ha! maybe I should remember that all of our hard saved money went down the drain with that little adventure -- as well as all the "profits" from the sale of the first two houses [sold at the height and end of the bubble, respectively]).

Well... our previous house wasn't as rotten as yours (although we did replace the roof, the siding, some of the floors... sigh), but it was still a pain. This whole non-insulation deal is probably the most depressing one with yours, right?

I don't even know what to say except that I hope the gas line is not THAT expensive & you can still winterize some. :-(

I'm with you on the straw bale, off-grid house. Good luck with the gas line, hope it ends up being delightfully cheap. Maybe the repair person will have a spiritual revelation and waive all charges?

I'm about to essentially buy a neglected crack house in Durham-- my previous house was a fixer-upper but a milder suburban PA version (hey, you've been over once actually when Sophia was much smaller!)-- and I'm guessing that at certain points the new digs will be inadvertently off-grid, probably due to freak giant termites or something equally horrifying. If experience is any guide, most likely on cold and blustery holidays. Small mercies in buying a small house, though.

Wait, Melissa?! The Melissa from PA who borrowed the cursed birthpool? With Freya?

Shoot me an email!

Oh yeah, and the air conditioner's compressor died. That was an expensive one.

I feel your pain. In the last two years our 50 year old house has required: new A/C, new furnace, new sewer clean out, new kitchen plumbing, two bathroom remodels, and now a new roof. Fun!

Not as if we ever wanted to retire or be able to send the kit to college or anything...

He he he... You said "rim joist" he he he he...

Our six year old water heater just took a crap all over the floor this weekend. Six years old! The house is that old too, so maybe it is not just an 'old' house curse.....though you have much more to deal with than me, that's for sure! Luck and $$, I command you Jo's way! hehe...

Wow. New to the site, but I FEEL YOUR PAIN, and I really have reason to be capslocking that there.

My husband and I bought his childhood home four years ago from his parents. Suddenly, and for no explainable reason, ALL the plumbing went south. I can't even list everything that went wrong, but when I tell you that we have floor heating, which also works through water pipes in your floor... We spent upwards of 10 thou in the first two years just on plumbing bills; this house, which I always just loved with my whole red, beating heart... I thought it was trying to kick us OUT.

But now it's been at least a year since our last disaster. Eventually, the bad luck really does run out. I think.

Hi Jo,
As a second-time home owner (my first house was old and unique and *historical* and in East Orange, New Jersey), I figured I had a little bit of experience I could share with you to maybe help you feel better and put things in perspective. Because I've had all those feelings you were talking about.

1. You are not your house. Your house may be falling apart, but it isn't a representation of your life, it just feels like it. Better?
2. OK, try this. Nothing could happen to this house that will harm you forever and ever. I worked with a woman who said she and her husband had to completely gut every floor and basement to the studs upon the discovery of the mother of all termite infestations, post sale. They lived. Oh sure, they had to completely refloor every surface, but they lived. And are better for it, I dare say. Builds character.
2. Nashville real estate is ridiculously bloated, and this affects rental rates. Sure, you could rent, but you'd be paying as much as a mortgage, so ya might as well put your money in something you own. Sort of.
3. Yes, home ownership is a rip, an empty public relations plug for the American Dream. It's not family togetherness and American values, in the harsh light of morning it is an investment, one hopes, that in the end, pays off a little. Despite the halitosis and pimples.
4. In the Nashville market, your purchase, with time (euphemism for equity), should pay off. The real estate bubble just keeps growing and growing with no signs of bursting any time soon. And if you are in East Vegas, you are in a *tony* burb that will appreciate in value, even as things rust, rot, or break.
5. You can paint and decorate like a crazy person and won't get charged all of your deposit when you move out.

Emily, like the Amityville Horror?



I feel you. In the five years we have owned our 40 year old house, we have:

-replaced the heater
-replaced the dishwasher--twice!
-replaced the water heater
-replaced all windows
-replaced the roof
-replaced the toilet
-replaced smaller things--the thermostat, the leaky kitchen faucet, etc.

Plus, we have been told the house was settling and could use $13,000 in foundation work (this from a guy who specializes in selling said foundation work)--which, frankly, f*** that. We're selling it in the spring--bet we won't get a dime more than what we paid out of it.

Adding to the "if it makes you feel any better" list, in the past seven years that we have lived in our 67 year old house, we have:

-replaced all windows
-replaced front door
-replaced water heater (and repaired said water heater twice)
-replaced furnace
-replaced a big chunk of sewer line
-replaced dishwasher
-replaced disposal
-replaced washer
-replaced dryer
-remodeled both bathrooms (which sounds fun, but we had to do it because our pipes were about to burst...and it turns out they were made of lead...)
-fixed the roof
-fixed various and sundry small plumbing issues
-spread lime in the crawl space because our yard sloped toward the house, ergo water in the crawl space
-regraded the yard to prevent future water in the crawl space
-new interior and exterior paint
-added insulation because our house is cinder block construction and has the heat retention capabilities of a highway bus shelter

Things we still need to do:

-fix the rotting wood on the side of the entry hall
-figure out why there is a leak underneath the kitchen sink
-cross our fingers and hope that the cracks in the exterior walls will stop widening now that we've fixed the crawl-space water problem

So, yeah, I feel your pain. :-)

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