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Old 04-21-2011, 09:25 AM
Location: Bellingham, WA
9,745 posts, read 13,649,795 times
Reputation: 14764


Actually, "dislike" may be too soft a word. I was originally going to post this in the House forum, but I felt it didn't really belong there since most of those threads are about home improvement and this one would appear awfully negative in comparison. So mods, if you know of a more appropriate forum for this thread, have at it.

I got my house dirt cheap because it needed a pretty major remodeling. It was too good to pass up, and I had always wanted a house I could make my own. Being rather low on income, I did almost all of it myself, with the help of my dad, mom, and brother. My brother lives with me, and we moved in with a few odds and ends left unfinished, because the timing was right since the lease was almost up on our apartment. Fast forward nearly two years, and we are just now finishing trim work, and there's still quite a bit left to do. I simply cannot STAND working on the house! I hate it more than just about anything, but we still have some things to do before we can sell it. And I don't like the stress of knowing that I'm responsible for anything that goes wrong, whether I can afford it or not. And that's another thing: Even though the house is paid for, I never have any money. I had more spending money left over after paying $500 per month in rent. And this house is fairly cheap to insure, and my property tax is very low compared to most. Now I'm planning to move but I'm pretty much stuck until this house sells. And it needs exterior paint, a back porch, the front porch is sinking into the ground which will be a major chore to fix, nearly everything will have to be repainted inside, and the workshop/utility room needs quite a bit of work.

Basically, a more industrious person than myself needs to own this house. I don't want to spend all of my free time working on a house and yard. I work all week; I hate to work on the weekend, too. But that's what owning a house means, as far as I can tell. Lots of work, and lots of money. And for what? I was a much happier and more carefree person when I rented. I could live in a more convenient location, I didn't need to own a car in order to transport material for house work (and half the time I have to borrow a truck), and I could spend my free time actually enjoying life. The only thing I had to worry about then was keeping the apartment clean. So I suppose this is the part that relates to urban planning somewhat. I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I've learned I would definitely rather rent a small, simple apartment in a more urban environment that's convenient to everything than to own a house. I doubt I'll ever own a house again, unless I'm wealthy enough to pay other people to fix, alter, or maintain it. Have any of you tried living "The American Dream" only to find out it wasn't for you?
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:00 AM
Location: Cincinnati
3,335 posts, read 5,725,886 times
Reputation: 2058
i know a couple of people who bought a first house, lived in it for a couple years, sold it, and have been renters ever since. people with money, so it isn't a credit thing, that's for sure.

to be fair, not all houses need work all the time. my 100 year old house - i am working on something all the time but merely because i want to - in the same way that i could fill up my time working on a house I bought yesterday. i could stop working on stuff today and in ten years it would still be in better shape than most places I have rented.

if you really just don't like doing house stuff, then here are some options where you can still build at least some equity. if you're on the coasts, then the price difference between renting and owning is enough that you should just rent and save a portion of the difference.

0. renting (of course)
1. house that is in good repair, new or old, as verified by a competent home inspector - hire out the landscaping
2. condo, hire out handyman things and work
3. super cheap old house in bad shape but where you agree with yourself not to even start doing anything and just live with it. hire out the landscaping and initial painting
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:03 AM
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
12,899 posts, read 18,442,586 times
Reputation: 13734
I had the opposite experience. I bought a teens era prairie style bungalow in a ritzy old neighborhood outside of SLC. It was half to 1/3 the price of other homes in the neighborhood, but it needed a lot of work, has only 1 bathroom, is half the size of neighboring places and while it's a beautiful house (on the National Historic Register even) with all origional appearance/woodwork, it's just not what people with a million bucks to drop on a house are looking for.

So I got a deal.

I am very proud of it, and proud of the all the work I've done to make it a showpiece. My metro side comes out in my gardening and home decorating tendencies (I'm one of those weird people who has been known to skin a deer hanging from a tree in my driveway and/or clean my guns on the front porch and then go cut and arrange flowers right afterwards )

Sometimes I go outside and just admire it like the crazy obsessed person I am. I love my house, and the work I do on it hardly seems like work... it's officially moved to artistic hobby status...
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:07 AM
10,868 posts, read 41,128,193 times
Reputation: 14009
OTOH, I made a lot of money through the years buying houses such as you describe and fixing them up while living in them and then selling them as I moved on to the next project. But I looked forward to the challenges and enjoyed doing the work with my goal in mind.

Obviously, you have other priorities that are more important to you for your free time. So be it. You went in to this project knowing what was ahead; finish what you started and reap the benefit of your sweat equity and improvements. Or put it on the market now and get the incremental benefit to be captured now and move on with your life.

Many others have found happiness and some have found dissatisfaction with home ownership and some with rentals. That's why both have a place in the marketplace ....
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:07 AM
Location: Texas
42,204 posts, read 49,740,662 times
Reputation: 66975
Hm. Sounds like you just got in over your head, op. I mean, if I had to spend every waking moment of my day doing ANY one thing, I would be sick of it.

As it is, I get annoyed and frustrated that repairs and problems come up with our house (built 1987, recently remodeled by the people who sold it to us)...a lot of them are really expensive and I have better things to do with my money...and it seems like something comes up every month or so...so that makes me grind my teeth.

But in all honesty, I spend less than 2 hours a week worrying about this house or doing anything with it, so it's really more of a nice place to crash and I enjoy being here. I spend almost all my free time here.
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:17 AM
Location: Hudson County, NJ
1,493 posts, read 2,579,768 times
Reputation: 1176
Its all on your outlook. Like another person said, they are proud of what they have done with their house purchase that needed work.

I am/was in the same boat as you. In fact if I showed you my place, you would probably think yours was a blessing. It was stressful, but I made it through it and now I get to reap the benefits when I sell it or continue to rent it out. Think positive, you'll have something worth money when you're done. And you sound young, so do it while you can.

Main thing that I learned with a house, is not to stress things. I'm naturally an over analyzer and I stress everything. In hindsight, I didn't need to. I would freak out over permits, inspections, lack of permits, etc. Be happy, work diligently, have your eye on the prize and everything will work out fine.

*Edit - Don't be afraid to hire people. I should have hired people to help with more of the work. $10 an hour for a laborer is more than enough. How much is your time and the length of time it takes to complete a project worth to you? The amount of rent I lost because it took too long to complete my projects, I could have hired someone and been done faster and collecting rent.
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:24 AM
Location: The mountain of Airy
5,145 posts, read 4,985,538 times
Reputation: 3401
I just sold my house because I'm moving, and I totally understand where you're coming from. I think it's important to buy the right size of house and in a certain condition. Some people, like many of my friends and family, like to mow lawn, repair sinks/tubs, and do other projects around the house on the weekends/weeknights. I personally feel the way you do about it. Why would I want to spend my time mowing a lawn (that I never use anyway) and doing new, creative projects around the house? I get that it's good to do stuff yourself; it's cheaper and you learn something. I just think you need to balance the type of house you have with how much work you're willing to do. Other than that, renting is the next best option.
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:42 AM
Location: Oklahoma
467 posts, read 1,238,347 times
Reputation: 459
I know exactly how you feel.

My house was previously owned by an elderly couple. The man had cancer, and neither he, nor his wife, were able to keep up with the maintenance.

I have lived there for over 7 years and I have spent 90% of my weekends fixing various things that are either broken, worn out, or just plain need to be updated.

The big project this year is to remodel the main bathroom (new tub, shower walls, plumbing, hardware, floor tile, paint the walls, replace toilet, and install new sink/vanity). Last weekend I finished with the new tub/shower. The rest remains to be done.

It will be a very nice house for the next homeowner. Someday I'll finish it and then probably die of a heart attack the very next day. Needless to say I'll never get to enjoy the house the way a house is meant to be enjoyed.

But, I knew the house needed work when I bought it. And, my handyman skills have increased a thousandfold since I'm doing all the work myself. So, I pretty much just take it all in stride.

Sounds like you're burned out on the work that needs to be done. Take a break. Weeks. Months. However long it takes.

Then, when you return to wanting to work on your house, pick one major project to complete each year. And, if you have time, pick two or three minor projects just to keep up the momentum of the repairs.

Don't be a slave to your house because life won't wait for you.
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:49 AM
Location: Parkridge, East Knoxville, TN
462 posts, read 918,115 times
Reputation: 354
I recently bought my first then second homes, both foreclosures built in the 20s. I am lucky though, because they are both in very good condition for the prices I paid. I like the fact that any value I create while working on them in my spare time accrues directly to me rather than doing necessary free work that accrues to the landlord.
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Old 04-21-2011, 10:52 AM
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 10,725,881 times
Reputation: 3092
My wife and I are about to close on our first house. We looked at plenty of awesome old houses that needed "just a bit of work." I decided that since every house was going to need work, we might as well ease ourselves into it, and found a simple, fully-renovated home from the 50s with all new everything.

I'm not delusional here, I know things are going to break, but major problems would be especially surprising early on. I'm excited to make it our own, but don't think I'm going to spend all weekend trying to expose brick, here.
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