Drowning In My House

There are many things I love about our house. I love the neighborhood, which has grown into this beautiful gem in the four years we’ve lived here. It’s an easy walk to the library, Krog St Market, the Beltline – and we got it for a steal of a deal because when we moved in, it was pretty transitional.

Unfortunately, though, the “steal of a deal” also translated into “money pit” pretty quickly. Our inspection missed a lot of important, expensive repairs that needed to be made. And as we’ve dug under the hood over the years, it just feels like we are fixing a house of cards from the inside out.

We’ve replaced the roof ($10k). The HVAC ($6500). All the windows ($6500). The water main ($1800). And those were the easy things.

We’ve paved the formerly unusable driveway ($4k). We’ve reinforced the deck and are replacing rotted boards literally board by board. We hired a contractor to create a basement landing area that wasn’t a dirt floor ($10k), and they discovered plumbing and ceiling issues (of course).

Our kitchen looks nice on the outside but is literally falling apart bit by bit. Our guest bathroom floor is cracked because something’s going on in the basement. The beautiful tub in the master bath is too heavy for the floor it sits on and can’t be there long term. The shower floor cracked and the whole thing will need to be replaced in the next couple years. Our master closet literally fell apart one day.

Our electric has had to be fixed in the attic because the wiring was, apparently, a home job and a fire hazard, with wires sticking out among insulation (it’s fine now). The venting for the dryer didn’t work and could have started a fire. The fridge was cobbled together from the parts of other fridges. The fence at the end of our driveway was literally built with electrical wire, duct tape, and barbed wire. There’s exposed lead paint in two of the closets (Brandon finished one as cedar, so now we’re down to one).

These are most of the known issues. But we routinely get something checked only to discover there are so many more problems than we realized just beneath the surface. Between us and without help, we’ve tackled:

  • Painting the whole house
  • Finishing the cedar closet
  • Finishing the master closet
  • The driveway fence
  • Fixing two large holes in the floor from old HVAC materials
  • Electrical work throughout the house
  • Electrical work in the attic
  • Hanging lighting in the backyard
  • A full patio and fire pit in the backyard
  • Pebbles all through the backyard
  • Reinforcing the deck and replacing about 50% of the boards to date
  • Installing a new garbage disposal
  • Fixing a hole in the ceiling where Brandon came through one day (okay, that was his fault, and it was hilarious)

I love our house – it’s in a great location, the mortgage is dirt cheap, it’s open concept and a beautiful layout. It’s just the right size for us. But dammit, I am tired of the never-ending list of chores. And I know Brandon is.

We’re not ready to move. There’s so much growth we still have to see in this neighborhood. We got such a deal on the price, and we’ve invested so much time, energy, love, and MONEY in this damn thing. But our bodies are tired and so are our minds. It feels like we’re always standing on the edge of a cliff and waiting for an unexpected gust of wind to blow us over. So tell me, what do we do? How do we dig our way out of the money pit? We still have a kitchen and a bathroom to refinish, two more holes in the floor to fill, appliances to replace, an office seating area to refinish, and six doors to replace. And that’s assuming nothing else breaks.

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