Sunday, June 10, 2007

This old (stupid) house

Our house hit the big 3-0 recently, which means that after having things on autopilot for a long time, the whole place is going to hell. Which, I know, is a normal consequence of home ownership.

But when both partners are writers with very few practical, concrete skills, it's "Fear and Loathing in Lenexa" every day.

In the past six months, we've replaced our driveway and front porch ($6000), our water heater ($550), our circuit breakers ($1200), our air conditioner's capacitor ($350). Barely caught our breath from all that when we learned our basement crack badly needs attention (initial scammer estimate $10,000, downgraded to $1500 by a structural engineer who did an inspection), and we need to regrade our back yard ($2000) to avoid further basement trouble. We had already planned to replace our rickety fence, and now that the neighbor's German shepherd can vault it, that project ($3000) has acquired new urgency.

Thursday evening, we were headed up to bed when we heard an electrical "whirrrrr" and saw the lights dim about every two minutes as the a/c starts to kick in. Found out Friday it's the compressor ($1000), but our neighbor/HVAC contractor will give us a deal on replacing the whole unit ($2050).

Needless to say the badly-needed exterior housepainting ($3500) is on hold for awhile.

It looks like a home equity loan or refinance is in our future, which stinks, because if there's anything we're worse at than fixing things, it's dealing with numbers.

Calling Dr. Kevorkian...

1 comment:

Jas P. said...

Hmmm. We just did a new water heater ($700, which I figured out later meant that the plumber made about $95 an hour) and replaced a sump pump ($130, but with an extra $110 for two visits from the Dry Basement guy, who coached me through the installation, because it wasn't his brand and he couldn't install it himself, and then $300 to the water filter guy who figured out why our reverse osmosis thingy was leaking and replaced some major part).

We still have to address the basement's ass-crack and various brick tuckpointing issues, and that will run into the thousands, putting us on your level.

Not that we aren't still paying off tens of thousands on a home equity line of credit.

I sitll think there's no better investment, unless it might be a sharp razor that you can take with you into a refurbished bathroom, run a nice hot tub, climb in, and slash 'em like a Roman.

Kiddin'! I'm against that! I love life and home ownership, and I'm going home to the home I own right now and stay home all weekend!