Our renovation posts have been eliciting the same questions in comments and emails again and again, so I thought I’d dedicate a post to it.
(But don’t let the prior sentence lead you to believe I don’t love getting comments and emails. Makes me feel as famous as my girl J-Lo, sans the money and the twins. And the latin husband. But, I’ll take my husband any day. And, I’ll take all the ego-boosting I can get from your comments.)
Why buy another house?
Because Ryan was bored. Seriously. He was getting restless and I was ready for a change, too. We had been on a search for a house in the country, but then a few fixer-uppers in town came along. And it made more sense for us to buy our house.
It’s a step towards financial independence. We have a dream to not be tied down by debt someday. And this is a very important step towards that.
How long will you live there?
The current plan is 1-2 years. But let’s be honest, plans change. I said we’d never move from our current home. And, 3 years later, we’re gearing up to move.
Why only move for a few years? I thought this was your forever house?
Nope. Our forever home will be in the country. This house is in town. This is what we like to call a detour home.
Obviously. Because I can’t worry myself with the idea that it won’t sell. There’s obviously a chance it won’t sell right away, but our neighborhood has had quick sales on homes up for sale in the past six months, so we’re hopeful.
How many houses do you have?
3 – our first home, our rental (the little house) and the current renovation. Hopefully, we’ll only have two houses come spring. But Ryan wants to buy another rental after that. So 3 may be the lucky number.
How can you afford it?
I kid you not, friends, I’ve gotten this question. Straight-out and veiled. And maybe more people are actually interested than those who actually ask. I don’t know. So, without getting into details and specifics, here’s the answer.
We save money and we buy very inexpensive homes. Like, “the cost of many peoples’ cars” inexpensive. We take out loans if needed, although traditional 30-year mortgages haven’t typically been the preferred vehicle for us. Then, we pay for the renovations with money we have instead of taking out more loans. At some point, we’ll be able to live debt-free as a result. And by “at some point,” I mean when we sell our house in the spring.
That will be freakin’ awesome.
(Necessary disclaimer: I’m by no means implying that this would work for everyone. And this is also assuming we sell our house in the spring. However, this is our current projection.)
Do you and Ryan have jobs?
Yep. We both work full-time. Which is the only way we can afford to work on the house in our free time because we use our current income for renovation expenses. (See above)
Are your family members contractors?
Father bear does some contracting, but he worked full-time for 30 years at a company doing something different and retired a few years back. He built several of our houses growing up. (Noticing a trend? Remember – my family moved 9 times in my life by the end of college. I’m used to moving.)
Ryan’s dad is great with plumbing and electrical – and we’re thrilled he lets us tap these skills.
As for my brother, he has also been a huge help on this house. And he’s good for a laugh. Plus, we pay him in meals. Most other workers don’t go for that.
How does Ryan know how to do these things?
The husband was a mechanic before going back to school and is handy. He reads A LOT (spends hours on the Internet searching and reads books before doing a project) and learns by doing. His dad and my dad have also taught Ryan a lot of what he knows. He’s an exceptional pupil and he remembers really well.
I, however, have no handy skills. Mostly, I’m just along for the ride.
Why don’t you use contractors?
Because it’s expensive. And we like to think we can do it ourselves. And usually we Ryan can. But, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use contractors. We have nothing against them. Obviously.
And there are a few times that we use them. (Heating/cooling is one example. And the garage door.)
And there are times that I beg Ryan to hire someone so it’s quicker and easier. But, then he takes care of it and I eat my words.
How do you get renovation projects done so quickly?
We don’t feel like it goes quickly at all, so it’s funny to hear folks say this. It’s all in perspective. Ryan works really hard. But, we always wish it goes quicker. I try to share hiccups along the way, but since you only get a weekly snapshot, it probably seems to go quicker for you. It’s all a mirage.
Also, we don’t live in the house while we’re working. I’m convinced this makes things go quicker. Oh yeah, and I slip crack into Ryan’s cereal in the morning.
Any other questions, friends?
I may answer them.
(And, come back tomorrow for the gear-up for the first week of Dare to DIY.)
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