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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
...and I don't mean to deliberately stop paying my mortgage. I can make my mortgage and tax payment no problem (my mortgage is about 100-125.00 per mo cheaper than what an equivalent rent would be in this area, but as you shall see I don't know if I am really saving anything), its everything else in this [email protected]#thole of a house that bugs me.

I have posted about this house before, we have lived in this house for 3 years now. No down payment and 30yr mortgage
. We have easily put 15,000 into it already in upgrades and repairs (well it would be that if the roof wasn't paid for as a gift from the inlaws). Long story short, we bought in a huge hurry, and focused on the fact the mortgage was cheaper than rent and have found alot more wrong with the house than meets the eye now that we have lived here a while.

I do have a large LOC debt (no vehicle payment or credit card though) that I have been working like gangbusters on, we have actually put now 3000.00 on it since November, and I do have an emerg fund and some locked in retirement savings. We are in a position unsure of what to fix next, and we need to decide if this house is too much a money pit and we will never get financially stable by staying in it and whether we should just stop putting money into it and get out. I am not talking a coat of paint here although I am working on that or the cosmetic things like replacing an old lino floor that is already lifting, what worries me is having to deal with the major things like a basement with mold and not having any sort of HVAC or even vented fans above the stove or in bathrooms (I can peel paper off the drywall and there is nothing rotted/moldy under it, it seems surface d/t the previous owners not venting the dryer perhaps), the old rusty well/sewer pump, the roots roto-rooted out of the floor drain, and fix the hideous bathroom in it too, and alot of my upstairs windows I suspect are leaky into the walls and the house is only 2/3 sided and the exposed side very very weathered (note to self...when buying in the winter, walk all the way around the house!!!). That and we have had an attic insulation job done wrong AGAIN for a second time and just as much ice damming ....it's these more major structural/integrity vs. just merely cosmetic things I feel will do us in and cause us to fall deeper into this pit we are in.

We replaced the furnace/hot water tank on a loan from our utilities company (Energy grant)...the amount is on our bill each month. I believe we have 2 more years and it will be done. Part of me wants to finish painting (EVERY square inch really needs it even ceilings) and tear out the 4 affected walls in the basement and put new drywall on and then after that utilities loan is clear (otherwise we owe immediately on the remaining balance), see what we could get for the house. Yes, I really want to go back to renting...part of me now with what we have gone through with this house makes me think it is not such a bad idea to rent. We've had one agent tell us we can get it on the market for 145,000 (shape it's already in), we have 132000 on the mortgage, and we've been told we would have to GET at least 150,000 for it to walk away with nothing outright owing (to cover lawyer, etc). It's a 4 bedroom 1 1/2 story older home. Housing prices are continuing to climb in this area, not "bubbling" though or crazy like Vancouver or Edmonton or Calgary though.

Dh and I MAJORLY disagree on this issue. He always says housing is "equity", we would be left with something we "own". We can do the repairs over "time", but I panic because we can't afford the major ones like windows and am scared to renegotiate the repairs onto the mortgage, as what if interest rates go up? As well the other line of credit debt we have complicates things....if we didn't have that, I wouldn't be so worried about putting the more major needed repairs on the mortgage....and the money I am throwing to the LOC could go for some cosmetic things like putting an actual carpet in DD's room instead of the bare plank floor, or replace the well pump. AND, I feel I can't go all Dave-Ramsey gangbusters on this LOC (as much as I am trying) and take 5-6 years to pay this off, while the 30 year old windows leak and deteriorate or our weeping tile system gets more overrun with roots...

I have literally shed MANY tears over this house and had lots of fights with dh
, and don't know what to do. I know I will have losses (of what we have put into it), but I am undecided if it's best to take a loss now, rather than live in it over time and have the "losses" of constant repairs and deterioration, KWIM? To me it sorta doesn't make that disparity of rent vs own look so large. And I at this point would rather have the peace of mind of not paying for repairs out of my own pocket. Yet rent is going up too.

I am wondering about all your wise advice ladies. Has anyone here gone back to renting (I wouldn't have a down payment to buy again, and frankly, I am SCARED to buy again), or at what point do you realize you just put too much into an old house?

I know you are all thinking WTH did she buy it for? I think the same thing everyday. And it's not fun to breifly entertain thoughts of divorce of dh over it either!

I am confused, and some help would be appreciated!
 

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I can appreciate the challenges of an older home, and of how this type of situation can impact a relationship. We are renovating every single piece of our home, and it is a multi year project. It can be seriously overwhelming. I think where I differ from your scenario is that this is a shared vision between both DH and I. We feel we are creating something worthwhile for our family, and we're willing to take the time (and $$) to do it because the good outweighs the bad. I differ from many, or most, on this forum in that I feel very strongly that having stability in housing means a lot in terms of the stability and happiness of my family. We don't have a lot of socializing or travel needs-we'd rather create our home. This is our absolute priority.

That said, it's easy to go gangbusters the first year or two and think you need to "fix" everything, and it can leave you burned out and feeling deprived-of money, of family time, of peace of mind.... Where we've sort of landed is that we need a balance of house renov. and family recreation time. We're working hard to make that balance happen because it is so important on a family and emotional level. It definitely took us some time to get to this place though. And, we live with slowly evolving projects, which might drive others crazy, but we're OK with. There is very little that needs to be done overnight.

None of that probably helps though if yu are miserable in your home and you have conflict w/your dh over this. When we've been up against the big decisions we've had to slow everything down and really connect about what our vision for ourselves and our family is. Sometimes there is a disconnect, and deep conversation needs to happen over where your vision intersects, and how to get there.

I guess the house is one issue, but the relationship is big too. You can probably make the house, or renting again, work if your vision for your family is in synch.
 

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We're struggling with making a similar choice ahead.

We live in an area where housing prices have gone up and will continue to go up, in a smallish older house in a *great* walk-to-everything location. We have put a lot of $$ into renoing this house and are carrying debt from it-- probably have equalled the initial purchase price in what we've spent in renos over 10 years (initial price was pretty low by today's standards, though, but still.)

Dh's job has taken him out to the country, about 2 hours away, where housing prices are lower, but the resale market is not good. We are trying to decide whether we should sell out of this market to buy something really good in the country, or keep our town house and rent it out. Whether we should try to buy a fixer-upper in the country or rent out there.

I'm afraid of owning a money pit out in the country that we can't resell in 5 -10 years if dh gets transferred again or we just want to move. Dh can't wrap his head around renting when we could buy 60 acres plus fixer-upper older house for half of what our town house would sell for. He wants to keep our town house as an investment and maybe a retirement property, too, though, because he expects prices here to continue to rise and doesn't know if we'd be able to buy back in.

Like the pp, we haven't minded the cost of the repairs on what we thought would be our forever home. But now 10 years later, I don't know if I can transfer that same feeling to a new older house in the country. Home buying feels much more like a financial decision than an emotional one, now.

I love the idea of raising our kids in the country but get dizzy thinking about carrying two morgtages though. And I don't want to feel too much pressure to work full time after a move out there either, though I think I'd like to continue p/t just to keep myself connected and current in case something happens to dh's job.

Actually I don't know if this is a" frugality and finance issue " or more of a "desire for simpler life issue". Renting is (usually) a lot simpler. Maybe what I want/need for my family is more time with my kids.

Mold scares me, too. Sometimes it really is just cosmetic, though. OP, have you considered getting a raft of estimates on what it would cost to fix the worst of the problems you are dealing with in your house, so that you have clear numbers you can sit down with and use as a basis of your discussion with your dh?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by karne View Post

I guess the house is one issue, but the relationship is big too. You can probably make the house, or renting again, work if your vision for your family is in synch.

This is a very wise point.
 

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Well I have a couple of thoughts. First off you and your DH are looking at this house from completely different perspectives. It sounds like he's looking at this as more of a 'forever home' whereas you've viewed it as temporary. That has a huge impact on what steps you take on the house. Also, it sounds like ownership is also very important to him, whereas you were more focused on the rent savings each month. You two have got to talk about this and come to an agreement, after that I think the answers will be a lot easier.

Second off, we had a small money pit house back in KC. The list of repairs that were left when we moved included installing a sump pump, fixing a leaking crack that extended across the entire back of the foundation, redoing the basement and replacing the roof. As least those are the ones I recall offhand, I'm sure there was more. We lost our house and relocated to WI and are now renting a decent duplex. While it's nice not having to worry about major repairs, I personally am not real happy here. I can live with it fine, but I really miss being able to paint a room a color I like rather than blank eggshell white. I miss not being able to dig up part of the yard and have a garden. There are things here that we "put up with" whereas if we owned the place we would change them - finishing the basement, replacing the very tired flooring throughout, insulating the garage for example. Yes the lack of responsibility for the big stuff is nice, but there is a downside as well.

Talk to your Dh and get on the same page. Then list out the pros and cons of both actions, and list out the projects on the house and the urgency of those and see where it leaves you.
 

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I was in a boat similar to yours. We bought an old house, moved in, and quickly became overwhelmed by the amount of work to do, and as time went on, realized that we wouldn't have enough money to do the necessary repairs in a timely manner. The time we lived in that home was the hardest on our relationship, even though it was only a matter of months.

We made the hard decision to put it back on the market and sell it and get out while we could, before we sunk ourselves into it, both financially and emotionally.

We sold it, and bough a newer condo that doesn't need any work.

Further to that, we're now considering selling this place and moving into a co-op, and getting out of the market all together. Someone told me on another board that real estate is no longer the be-all-end-all investment that it once was, and I have to concur. I think being happier and financially stable is more important.

So, all that said ... I'd sell if I were you.

Best of luck, hon. It's a hard place to be in.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by SunshineJ View Post
Well I have a couple of thoughts. First off you and your DH are looking at this house from completely different perspectives. It sounds like he's looking at this as more of a 'forever home' whereas you've viewed it as temporary. That has a huge impact on what steps you take on the house. Also, it sounds like ownership is also very important to him, whereas you were more focused on the rent savings each month. You two have got to talk about this and come to an agreement, after that I think the answers will be a lot easier.
: It sounds like you're having some serious communication issues between the two of you. You need to get on the same page about your long-term goals before this issue tears your marriage apart.

We have a 100 year old house and it has many issues. But we've been in it over 10 years, and it still has many issues. Those things are not going to kill us, permanently damage the structure, etc. What we did was make a list of all the repairs/renos we wanted to do to the house, and then we prioritized them. Which ones were crucial (will cause permanent damage if not done - like a new roof)? Which ones are important (quality of life issues - like new windows to help keep warm)? Which ones are wants (cosmetic like renoing the kitchen or refinishing the hardwood)? Then within each category rank them based on importance and price. Those things that you can do for cheap or nearly free should move to the top of the list, they don't need to wait until later if you can do them now. Basically we've tried to do at least one from each category each year. It doesn't always work out that way (like when we spend $12K on a roof, that kills the budget for 2 or 3 years), but it's a process. Obviously the crucial list takes priority, and the most important of that list is the first one you do... And priorities can change... the back porch which has been on the "cosmetic" list for 10 years just got moved up to the "crucial" list because we have a baby, and it's not child-safe, so we need to get it replaced before next summer when this little guy will be fully mobile.

But when you look at the list of "wants", like that carpet for your DD's room... is there a way to do that cheaply? Rather than laying wall-to-wall carpet, maybe stalking sales on throw rugs or hitting a carpet store for remnants, etc. Our house is hardwood and I've found rugs a few times for good prices, because I wouldn't be willing to buy them otherwise.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by karne View Post
That said, it's easy to go gangbusters the first year or two and think you need to "fix" everything, and it can leave you burned out and feeling deprived-of money, of family time, of peace of mind.
With all due respect, none of the issues the OP mentioned are ones she can take her time over. The house needs siding, it needs mold removal, it needs to not have ice dams or leaking windows. Those are basic things that left untreated will cause the house to lose value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the thoughts everyone...keep them coming...if anyone else wants to chime in feel free.

We thought this would be maybe not a "forever" home, but at least over the next 15yrs or so. I too walked into this thinking things could be done "over time" and this would be our home and we could do it like we wanted, but like others said became overwhelmed by everything that needed to be done....and totally not realizing how much it would cost and that the major stuff was worse than we thought.

When I look back now, we would have been better off continuing to rent, but now, I really don't know if we would be better off leaving overall with the market (we are fast getting priced out of it in terms of what we would be able to buy). Like others said, we would be giving up stuff too...our dog (it's pretty IMPOSSIBLE to find landlords here that allow pets) being able to decorate, our huge yard and fire pit/hammock, close to work, etc.

We are sorting out what is crucial, etc and what are "wants", I guess. (my plywood kitchen cupboards look much better with new paint now, but remodeling is a very distant thing). I think alot of my other financial worries are what is making me have such angst about this place....I said to dh if we didn't have that LOC looming over our heads (on which the second attic insulation job got placed too and ran waaay more than we were told it would
) then I wouldn't be so worried. Part of me as I said wants to go just even more gung ho on the LOC (all my extra work outside my usual schedule goes on it, and I do have a home repair category in my budget, but it goes to alot of little things sometimes, not the major), but I know the basement mold and the alot of the worst windows can't wait yet another 2 years when our mortgage term is up.

Our 5 year mortgage term is up in 2012, and I was thinking we could at least for now take out the affected drywall in the basement, put in an HRV (have NOTHING not even ceiling fans in the bathroom to deal with humidity, except 2 basement de humidifiers), and go to the States to get our own windows knowing that a friend of ours saved thousands doing this (the 3-4 worst ones that I know for sure are leaking). Then, when the time comes to have to renegotiate, at least do the basement (everything...bracing chimmeny, sump pump/internal weeping tile, gut out all walls and redo the bathroom which we know has mold on the drywall behind the pine panelling) and siding/rest of the windows. THAT's if we do choose to stay here.

I know communication is an issue or maybe differing attiudes. I am the budgeter and financial planner here, dh sees the "books" and the bills, but I think maybe doesn't look at things from a longer term point of view or the emotional standpoint I do (wanting the large LOC done with already!!!! We haven't been contributing to retirement, aaagh! He and I have become great at using cash now for the last year for things, but he has the attitude of we'll plod along, do what we can on the house, and the LOC will get paid off when it does and I think having to put stuff to the house prolongs the whole process...don't want it there 10 yrs from now!)

Well, that is where I am at. Some days I tear my hair out, sometimes I think it's not as bad. Sigh...
 

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I have a love/hate relationship with my house too. DH picked it out the day after I went back to TX after a house hunting trip. It came down to what was available in our price range after we got a contract on our house in TX. He was looking at sq. footage and a few other things and this one fit the bill the best.

It needs a lot more work than we can afford all at once, but nothing really structural so we can take our time. It still wears me down.

I would love to fix it up cosmetically and put it on the market but dh is against that. In the meantime I enjoy the fact that we have no mortgage payment and a very large yard in a small town (all things that were important to me).
 
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