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rudebekia

Major Buyer's Remorse: I Really Screwed Up

Rudebekia
9 years ago

Looking for any stories or advice that may help me get out from what's become an anxiety-ridden situation. At age 58 and alone I moved from a condo back to a single family home--5 months ago. I had thoroughly enjoyed working on old houses, bit by bit, in the past. This one is different. Yes, I had an inspection and got a pretty good price, but somehow didn't process fully the $$$, time, and energy needed to fix it up. I simply no longer have the energy and will I thought I had. Completely my fault. I wanted to start strong, using my savings, and within the first month started a complete kitchen gut, upgraded electric, new heating plant, carpet torn up and floors refinished, walls patched, etc, etc. A planned $35,000 kitchen is turning into $50,000 due to uncovered problems like major plumbing issues and the unforeseen need for a new floor. The other upgrades have cost me at least another $40,000. by now. And there's much more to do to make this place satisfactory (to me). I'm overwhelmed, worried, can't sleep, nearly sick with dread. I've not had one peaceful moment here yet and have come to despise the place. I realize that the house is not at all friendly to growing old.I have learned a whole lot about myself over the last few months. But what an expensive lesson this will be.

I am completely berating myself. It was a total mistake and I am the only one to blame. Right now I'm just holding on another month or so until the kitchen remodel is done. Then I think I just have to cut my losses (they will be major) and move back to a condo--an inexpensive one so as to minimize my loss.

I am heartsick over this whole miserable affair. If anyone has advice to share I am open to it. I met with a realtor I trust this morning (not the one who sold me the house) and she sounded like I'm not by any means the only one in the world that this has happened to. Yet I feel that I am. I feel like a complete idiot.

Comments (47)

  • palimpsest
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Are you sure you will have significant losses with the upgrades you've done? It sounds like a number of them were necessary, not cosmetic.

  • jlc712
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Please don't be so hard on yourself. Remodeling involves so many unknowns, and it seems to always be more expensive and take longer than what was expected.

    We did a major remodel nearly 15 years ago, and I *still* have a lot of feelings and frustrations over the outcome.

    If you have learned you won't be comfortable and happy in the house, it is ok to sell! Hopefully, the financial hit won't be as bad as you are anticipating. The things you have done seem important, and should add some value.

    Good luck to you! Let us know how it goes.

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  • ncrealestateguy
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Your first agent did not sell you the house. She/he showed it to you, you did your due diligence, agreed to close on it, and he/she guided you through the buying process. But you did indeed purchase the house.
    Can you just slow down on the redo's? So you can catch your breath and get your sanity back? And then tackle another project once you feel better?

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    marita40:

    You've jumped half way across the creek and are looking at the bank you left instead of where you're going to land. Smack yourself in the face and get a grip. See this thing through, then live with what you've accomplished a while before engaging a realtor.

    Real estate is picking up, at least judging by the people having me fix things before they sell. You may come out smelling like a rose after all.

  • live_wire_oak
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    The market IS picking up. Finish the projects that you've started and take a breather. Live in it for 6 months post reno before you make anymore decisions about anything. You may see the same return that you've put in the house if you can hold on for at least a year or two in a rising market, so that's why I say wait 6 months for a better vision. You're just too stressed right now to see clearly.

  • sylviatexas1
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    You jumped into a major construction project, the kind of thing for which builders & contractors hire a project manager & a *crew*...all by yourself.

    'Can you just slow down on the redo's? So you can catch your breath and get your sanity back?'

    yep.

  • jimandanne_mi
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    It's unclear to me what is finished and what still needs to be done on those projects you've actually started. And specifically what else would need to be done to make the house satisfactory for you?

    Are you still working a full time or part time job? Have you been alone for a while, or are you adjusting to a new life solo? Do you live where the onset of winter is gloomy and possibly depressing? Did you work on the previous old houses "bit by bit" alone or with the help of someone else? Is this house in a location that will enable you to get a good price if you stick with it a while longer?

    Is the lack of sleep and dread due to real financial issues? Do you have sufficient resources for retirement without the savings you put into the house? Are you out of money to finish the jobs you've started, or the ones yet to be done?

    "I realize that the house is not at all friendly to growing old." What do you mean by this--bedroom on the 2nd floor? narrow halls? small bathroom? How large is this house? Were you happy living in a condo? After 30 years of living in a condo, I built our house with my new husband at the time everyone we knew was going from a house to a condo. There are obviously pros & cons to each type of living. Did you have other reasons for wanting out of the condo and back in a house?

    You don't have to answer all of the questions if you don't want to--I'm just trying to see if with more information we might walk you through some different scenarios to help you arrive at a better place.

    DH and I began building our dream home when were older than you are, and both of us had retired. I designed it and he was the general contractor, although these were not our professions. After 7 years we are finally going to finish the last of the small projects. We both had done major projects when we were younger--he had built 3 houses with his friends, so I totally get that you don't have the will and energy at this point, especially since you started so many projects so quickly with major cost overruns. We had the same problem going way over budget, but we had the money. If we hadn't, I'd have been stressed beyond belief. And our will and energy have definitely taken a beating!

    Please do NOT think of yourself as an idiot. It seems that you jumped into something that you thought you'd love, which under the best of circumstances would be difficult to stay on top of--and you've undertaken it alone. When I was in my 30s and just divorced, I hired subs to fix up my house, and 3 out of 4 were incompetent. When I got to my new ranch condo, I figured it wasn't rocket science to finish the basement myself, and besides, I didn't have much money. I found a non-chauvinistic lumberyard whose staff was very helpful, and the guys in my singles tennis group and at work gave me lots of good advice. Decades later, I can still remember the complete frustration, helplessness, and anger I felt at various times as I learned the ins & outs of carpentry as I put up the walls and framed the doors, figured out 4 circuits for the electrical and installed the whole system (after getting it ok'ed by a guy at work who moonlighted as an electrical inspector), installed the can lights in the ceiling and then put up 1' x 1' squares in an interlocking dropped ceiling--the worst of all the jobs, and tiled the floor. The whole thing took me 2 years, while I was working full time and raising 2 kids.

    I don't know if any of this is helpful, and you've gotten some good advice from others above. But since you've asked for advice, more information would help us help you.

    Anne

  • sloedjinn
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Our first house was a major fixer upper. We were young and had energy but not any money or skills. I thought I could count on my dad to at least teach me the stuff I needed to know (I couldn't, it turns out). My husband turned out to have a negative talent for handy stuff and zero interest in getting better. I had skills and got better at stuff, but I hated the work. After about ten years of floundering with projects, it was still nowhere near 'done'. One day we looked at each other, said, 'this is stupid'. We had professionals finish a few projects that were mid job and sold the place. We bought a condo. Life has even much better ever since. We've only done minor things to the place like new window blinds, which I had professionally installed.

    Not everyone enjoys renovating. Even when they do, it can be stressful. There's absolutely nothing wrong with not wanting to spend so much of your life's energy on fixing a place up. I think we live in a culture that focuses so much on constant upgrades. TV ads for Home Depot and Lowes hammer in the idea that of course you should be a weekend warrior contractor and DIY it all yourself. Don't be afraid to step back from it and get yourself into someplace that you can afford, that's 'done' good enough and that will be stress free. It was one of the best things my husband and I ever did for ourselves,

  • Rudebekia
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Thanks to you all for such thoughtful answers. There's a lot to process here.You give the practical advice of slowing down, breathing, finishing the projects that are started. You are right.

    I realize that this dilemma is "mental." It is the feeling of being terribly unsettled due to not knowing whether I should stay here and start making the place home, or simply bide my time until I can sell. Expensive projects down the road if I stay will include a complete bathroom remodel, wall and ceiling patching downstairs, window rehab for all windows, concrete work on the walkways and garage floor, and more. I've not even begun to decorate yet.

    I am not in financial straits but I am certainly not rich. I have modest but sufficient retirement funds in place. I budgeted for the work already done but it has run well over that budget number already. I can take money from retirement savings. The question is--do I want to do it for this house? I don't know the answer.

    The one project waiting for completion is the kitchen remodel.Cabinets are due in one month, then a few more weeks of installs, countertops, etc. Having had no kitchen has been incredibly hard.

    Someone asked whether I live in an area that is cold and gloomy and dark at this time of the year. Yes and yes and yes.

  • lucillle
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Marita

    I bought a fixer upper, but on a much smaller scale. I fixed what I could but yes, some of the other projects were more costly than anticipated.
    I agree with those who suggested that you slow down. Take some time to decide what you want. Go see a real estate pro and see where you are as far as what could be expected if you sell.
    If you stay, how much actually needs to be done to make you happy?

  • awm03
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Much terrific advice here. Marita40, if I were looking for a home to buy, the fact that you've upgraded the electrical and the heating, refinished the floors, and will have a new kitchen makes your home very, very appealing. Please do find satisfaction in the good work you have done. You have created tremendous value in your new home already, even if you don't have that spiffy bathroom and landscaping yet. Hope you'll take some time to sit back and feel some pride in what you've accomplished.

    And put up some holiday decorations! Invite a friend over for coffee & holiday dessert with an apology for the makeshift furnishings -- nothing like fun with friends to help you start to feel good in your new home. Some day you'll look back with a wry smile on the year you celebrated the holidays with no kitchen & a bunch of construction cr@p scattered about.

  • patriceny
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    It sounds like reno fatigue to me.

    You're in a new house and you are finding out it's not "perfect".

    And I know you know this, but nothing is life is perfect. So you came from your cute little condo where maybe everything was already done, and now you're in a a new place that's all torn up, is taking longer, and costing more than you wanted.

    My hunch is you are tired, a bit overwhelmed, and remembering when you lived in a place that was not all torn up.

    Don't beat yourself up. Easier said than done - I know, I'm the 'beat yourself up" queen myself. :) At this point it is what it is, you know? I would finish whatever projects you have started and reassess everything in the spring.

    You may feel totally different once you get some projects done, and the winter is no longer looming over us.

  • kitasei
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I did just what you have done -- buy an old house after years of renting that made us forget what a time and money pit old houses can be - and moved in during the coldest darkest days of the year. Our naive plan had been to do nothing major, but as soon as we were in we learned that was impossible. Things didn't work, our heating bill would sink us, water was coming in. So we started spending money, a lot of money and fast. I too called a broker less than one year later to see about cutting losses and moving out. After nodding with approval at the improvements we made, she told me bluntly that we would get exactly what we paid for it if we sold (minus the commission and moving costs of course) because the market had not moved. Hold on a few years, she said. I would begin by accepting the reality that you too are NOT selling now or in the next few years because that is a recipe for reckless loss. You can do this! You are overwhelmed, probably cold and housebound, and without a kitchen! It's uphill from here, trust us! But here's my experience that should give you some solace and guidance. The spending slows down drastically now, for several reasons. First, you have done the fundamental things that had to be done to make it habitable. You have done the full blown gut renovation that has taught you what that is like - and is expensive because so many purchases and jobs have to be done to see it through, and often on the contractor's schedule. My contractor was driven mad by my way of purchasing all the fixtures and hardware online from discount dealers, ebay and craigslist. But the cost difference is enormous. When you force yourself to slow down, you can proceed at your own pace and make much more deliberate decisions. You will be in control, rather than at the mercy of contractors and other forces. And what is likely to surprise you most is that you will come to like some things just as they are -- or with only minimal tweaking. Everyone assumed that of course I would renovate the kitchen (doesn't everyone?) but as I worked my way to that part of the house I realized that it was really fine as is! The counters are cracked porcelain tile and white formica, the appliances white (horrors!), etc etc but when it was cleaned, painted, and decorated, it became the most authentic, functional room in the house. i love it. I guarantee that something will surprise you in the same way. Maybe the cracked sidewalk will suddenly seem to have a rustic charm. Finally, I asked someone in dispair "when does it end?" And she answered immediately, "when the money runs out." Don't go into your savings yet. Stop, let yourself register the changes you've made so far. Spend more time on the improvements that don't cost money. Take advantage of freecycle, craigslist, and estate sales. Consider taking in a roommate short term. Read some of the great memoirs on renovations and consider keeping a diary of your own journey. Don't deny yourself this transformative experience in your life. You will survive and have a house and tales to tell!

  • melle_sacto is hot and dry in CA Zone 9/
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    This has been an amazing thread, with so much thoughtful advice!

    Hang in there, try to create a peaceful/pleasant spot somewhere in your home...and that will be your zen place to go when the stress is just too much.

    Try to remember why you bought the house in the first place, and maybe make future plans that will help the house be more friendly to "aging in place" (since you mentioned it's currently not). The kitchen renovation will eventually be done, and you will have an amazing space to enjoy!

    This post was edited by melle_sacto on Wed, Dec 10, 14 at 12:47

  • patriceny
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I came back to this to add a thought melle sacto just touched upon....

    You left the condo for a reason, right? So what was it that either made you want to leave the condo, and/or what enticed you to buy a single family home? Condo fees? Noises from neighbors/sharing common walls? Wanting your own little place? Wanting to get creative with your own space and have the freedom to move walls, do whatever you wanted?

    Sometimes when you're in the midst of a reno, it's hard to remember what your vision was that started you down this path.

  • weedyacres
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Mr. Weedy and I spent 6 years DIY renovating a 3800-turned 4300 sf house. It was fun transforming it until I bought a business 100 miles away and we made the decision to sell when finished.

    While it was on the market we bought a 940 sf foreclosure that was a mess. It was to be interim housing, just taking a few months to gut and make pretty. 7 months later our big house closed and we moved into the small one (and a storage unit). It had a functioning bathroom but only the shell of a kitchen (meaning walls and subfloor). My new goal is full completion by the 2-year anniversary of our purchase.

    My observations:
    1. Renovating gets a lot less fun when you know you're going to sell the place Every finished room is bittersweet because you won't be the one enjoying it. And you're more impatient, just wanting to slap something together to be done with it. So it helps me to focus on making the space perfect for me. We did decide to stay in the small house (Little Beau) until we're done with the remodel, to see if we can make a smaller space work for us. I'm keeping that view, and it makes me more excited/appreciative of all the little steps we make getting toward that goal.

    2. It's harder when you're living amidst the renovation. I don't like living in an unfinished/cluttered space. In the big house (Weedy Acres) we started with the master suite, so we always had a clean, relaxing space that we could retreat to. We could also shift the construction garbage and workshop area to full rooms, to contain it there. And we worked on one room at a time, finishing it before moving on to the next. In Little Beau, we don't have the luxury of extra rooms (other than the basement), so it's tougher to achieve that sanity. But we still have periodic blitzes where we collect all the tools and materials that are spread over every available flat space and put them back down in the basement. That restores sanity for a bit.

    3. I get frustrated at slow/not very visible progress. My favorite renos are the "let's blitz this in a weekend" projects, like the 1-week kitchen reno we did at Weedy Acres. We don't have as much time now, so it's hard to do that. Instead I focus on every day moving "in the direction of goodness." So for example, we got the bulk of our master bedroom redone over Thanksgiving weekend, but I've got a list of a dozen punchlist items. One a day is my mantra: caulk the trim, touch up the ceiling paint, put the closet door knobs on. I get good satisfaction out of crossing things off a list, and these are 5- or 10-minute things that help me feel progress.

    So if I were in your shoes, I would probably put a stop to even planning any new projects. Focus on finishing up what's started, live with your ugly bathroom and your cracked sidewalk, and enjoy your fabulous new kitchen. Once you're moved into it and are enjoying it, take on something small, like decorating your bedroom. Paint, get some new bedding, make a transformation that will put a smile on your face every time you go into the room.

    Down the road, when you're living in a clean house with a fabulous kitchen, you'll regain your energy and can start to dream up your new bathroom. You'll be in better shape to tackle it then.

    Oh, and post some photos here so we can all give you positive reinforcement about how beautiful you're making your house.

    Perhaps tomatofreak will chime in here, as they had a buyer's remorse/dump the thing experience earlier this year. You can look up some of her past posts to get their story.

  • peter826
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Last October we bought what we thought was the right house for us. It checked off a lot of boxes -- larger, finished basement, nice garage, big yard, etc. But we quickly came to realize the house was in an area of town we simply did not want to live in. Our commutes were worse. Road noise was a problem. The things we liked to do were now farther away. I can hear it now -- "Location, location, location".

    Some suggested we should give it time -- we'd adjust. After a few months, I knew we would not stay there. By February we were looking at houses. By April, I had bought another one -- and I was still carrying the first house. So I had three mortgages. We sold the first house in May. We moved into the new house in July (it had needed a lot of work). And finally, we sold the one we couldn't stand a few weeks ago.

    Was it hard? Yes. Did I lose money? Yes. But, we found the place we really like. And we're ecstatic to be there.

    I wouldn't tell someone what to do...and not everyone could do what we did. But once we realized the house wasn't going to work for us, and couldn't be fixed (location!) it was time to move on.

  • Rudebekia
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    This is indeed an amazing thread, and I thank everyone of you for sharing experiences and advice. It makes me realize I am not alone.

    patriceny, you asked why I left the condo. I left for every reason you mention. It was far too much like apartment living for the long run; in fact, the unit above me became a rental for the nearly 9 years I was there. So I did have good reasons and a vision in moving back to a single family home. At the time (4-5 months ago!) I was convinced, "no more condo." And now I am thinking moving back to a condo is what I need to do.

    I know I am not thinking clearly. I don't know how I am going to find the answers to the question of whether to stay or go. I only know that now I am in a waiting pattern for at least a month or two to get the kitchen finished. In the meantime no more major projects. I do hope to paint and decorate a bedroom or two--paint is already bought--so I can at least have the sanctuary room some of you mention. I'm just trying to get far enough out of this funk to be able to muster the energy to do so.

  • hayden2
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Marita, my heart goes out to you. It must be difficult, and I'm sorry you're feeling this way.

    I so agree with people who suggest you finish the projects that are in midstream, then maybe decorate the master bedroom with minor stuff. You'll feel so much better.

    You say the house is not designed for aging in place. But you're only 58! You've got plenty of time before worrying about that.

    Come to a landing on the on-going projects, then give yourself 6-9 months - including a relaxing summer on a lawn chair in your own yard - then decide what you want to do. Best of luck.

  • Debbie Downer
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Awww... I feel for you, truly. My first house (and so far only, but I doubt the last) I walked in after closing, sat down and cried buckets.... for almost two hours... The house was a stinky mess (seller reneged on cleaning it), had been inhabited by an alcoholic (we hauled out 22 empty booze bottles, plus many garbage bags full of the kind of revolting garbage that makes me ill even thinking about it--- you don't want to know!) But house had the proverbial "good bones."

    11 years later, Im expecting I'll sell in the next 3-5 yrs at a very nice profit...

    I would suggest..... get support from old house forums (wavyglass.org is a particularly friendly personable bunch) We've all been there!

    Find someone good to advise you... not necessarily realtor or appraiser, perhaps an inspector who knows/loves old houses and can go thru the house with you and give some solid how-to advice. There are lots of lackadaisical inspectors who basically phone it in and don't really give you much of any useable info.... you want someone who can provide in great detail an action plan about how to proceed, what has priority; give you several different options about how to approach a problem and provide ball park $$$ for each; tell you what you might want to do yourself and what would be more cost effective to hire someone else to do, even have some recommendations about who you might want to hire. You may have to do some interviewing by phone to find the right person. You'll know you've found him or her if they keep talking on the phone with you for a long time just because they are passionate and love to talk about old houses. Oh - if you do hire such a person be sure to bring a little tape recorder or video - so you get everything that's said don't lose any info ( if they have to write up a report for you it would cost you a lot more).

    Just don't jump out of the frying pan into the fire OK? You want to strategize about how to best get out of this situation intact.... preferably maybe even make some money on the deal!

    This post was edited by kashka_kat on Wed, Dec 10, 14 at 18:34

  • sylviatexas1
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Some of the problem sounds like SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a kind of depression that's triggered or worsened by long dark nights, short days, inactivity, stress, & isolation. & maybe some other stuff.

    Getting oxygen into your bloodstream & thence to your brain is crucial, & your re-modelling projects won't do it:
    construction projects are mostly muscular, not aerobic, & aerobic exercise is what will help you.

    You might walk briskly for at least 20 minutes (time yourself: 10 minutes walking away from home, 10 minutes back) at least twice a day.

    If the weather is just too horrible, do it at the mall or at the skating rink;
    there may be a college or other school near you that has an indoor track, or at least a gym that people can use after school hours.

    Your parks department may have classes for such things as jazzercise or country dancing, both of which are excellent, or other aerobic activities.

    If something is too hard (I tried aerobics years ago, & it was just too demanding), cut that activity loose & immediately replace it with something else.

    It's very easy to guilt yourself into immobility ("Oh, I've already paid for it", "I should have the discipline to finish what I start", etc), & guilt & immobililty are your enemies.

    On the other hand, when you take a class, go to the class even if you don't feel like going:
    "not feeling like it" is a *symptom of the problem*.
    It's not a symptom that you're inadequate;
    it's a symptom of the *problem*.

    Another thing that helps is making connection with other human beings.

    Once, when I had just lost a good friend that I had cared for in her final illness, I was just bereft,
    I found myself sitting indoors not doing anything & getting more & more isolated.

    so I made a rule:
    Every day, somebody had to hear from me.
    (easier to enforce a rule if it puts the demand on someone else!)

    On the days I worked, of course, I talked to people, but some days it was all I could do to go to the store for bread.

    On those days, I always spoke to/chatted with *somebody*.
    ("look at those strawberries! What kind of berries are your favorites?")

    If I couldn't engage somebody over the strawberries, I'd tell the cashier that she had a cute hairdo or that her nails were nice.

    It helped.

    but you still gotta get that oxygenated blood pumping into your brain!

  • tibbrix
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    You're 58, not 98. Many, many 58 year olds - and older- buy houses and restore them. If you're able to live in the house, you're paying for it anyway, just like you'd have to pay for a condo and the fees, so why not just take your time with the renos, slow down a little bit. The advice to go for a brisk walk each day…or more, is excellent. If the house is in a decent area, it could prove to have been a brilliant purchase for you. But renos are always overwhelming and stressful. Try to be mindful, and don't feel like it has to all be done in a year. It's your house. You can take your time, so long as all the safety stuff is in good shape, i.e.: gas, electric, structure...

  • cearbhaill (zone 6b Eastern Kentucky)
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    PLEASE finish the projects that are in progress, then rest and regroup for at least a few months before you make any type of important decisions.

    I am a person whose environment severely affects their mood, and living in upheaval makes me insane. It's as if the clutter and dirt and mess seep into my brain and disrupt my thinking to the point that I simply cannot function properly.

    I think you were hungry, sat down to a feast, and ate so much so fast that you think you will never be able to eat another bite ever again.
    You'll be hungry again in time, I promise :)

    In the mean time take time to pamper your inner self daily with whatever floats your boat. And try to get a bit on sunlight every day- it really does help.

  • patriceny
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    My heart is breaking for you too.

    I'm another one who bought (actually, had built new!) a house that hasn't exactly turned out to the be the house of my dreams. So I have a sense what you are feeling.

    My advice is that if you can stand it, finish the major projects and get through this winter.

    Exercise and getting out of the house are great ways to get yourself motivated again. It sounds hokey, but it really does help.

    Winter sucks. :) And going through winter in a torn-up house sucks twice as much. But you know what would suck even more? Selling a house at a loss (unfinished projects will kill your sale price), only to find out you were just going through a temporary burn out.

    If you hated condo living before, somehow I'm doubting you'll suddenly find it's the living situation of your dreams either. :)

    Keep plugging away until you have an actual plan. Right now you are running away from an unfinished and overwhelming reno, not running TOWARD something you really want.

  • ilovepoco
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Sounds like you might be spending too much time alone too... that only makes the berating voice in your head easier to hear! Two suggestions:

    * Offer full or partial room and board in exchange for sweat equity to a college student... just make sure to have a simple written contract that specifies how many hours of work a week is expected, and what kind of work. Student Affairs office at a local college could probably give you some pointers on renting to a student.

    * Get a dog - they are great listeners and always think you are wonderful no matter what!

    Best of luck. And forget about that "full bath reno"... spiff it up, pretty it up, install one cool thing (heated towel rack? super shower head?) then give yourself a break and knock one major item off your list.

  • Debbie Downer
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Just a PS to my post above re: getting someone good to advise you.

    BEWARE the real estate professional who walks through and has nothing but negative things to say about your house, dire predictions about how your in way over your head, feeds into your insecurities, gives you a lowball estimate on the value as-is and - golly, gee - just happens to have friends who might be willing to take it off your hands.

    If selling as-is is a choice you end up making, OK, but you need to have all the information before you can make an informed choice, but some dude acting out of purely self-interest is not going to give you much useful information.

    Note - Im not slamming all realtors - while I did have the above-mentioned experience (jerky guy dissing my house) I also had the complete opposite experience with another agent who gave me TONS of useful info and who I'll hire as my agent when the time comes.

    So = you DO have to shop around, and if youre looking for really detailed and objective how-to info, the expert inspector-consultant who you pay may be your best bet.

  • kitasei
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Further to Kashkakat's comment, I'd be confident that you bought the best house at that price on the market less than a year ago, and things haven't changed. The problem is recouping the commission and other fees associated with moving. You won't for a few years unless you are doing a deliberate flip. I suppose if the house has the potential (large upside that can be realized with fast, cheap fixes) you could consider doing that.

  • barbcollins
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Oh my gosh, I have felt this way with EVERY project house (we are now on our 5th!). I feel the same way about the one we are working on now. All summer and fall a voice in my head has been screaming "What having you done!"

    Take a breath, you will get through it. It just might take a little longer.

    And with our projects, I always try to focus on one room at a time. If I think about the whole house, I get overwhelmed. Like others have said, focus on finishing the projects that you started. You will feel better once you see progress.

    And it doesn't hurt to take a "weekend off" from the reno. It will be there next weekend.

    I envy you that you are getting to do a house for yourself. We are doing houses that we are planning to sell, and I always hope the next one will be for me.

    If money is an issue, there are lots of ways to save. Watch for building materials on craigslist, and if you have a Restore in your area, be sure to stop in from time to time.

    When I am depressed or stressed out with work, I'll go up to our Restore and just walk around browse. Even if I don't buy anything, there is always something new.

  • rockybird
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Hang in there! I moved from a condo to a house that had been abandoned for 10 yrs. I had to replace plumbing, electrical, etc. I am not handy at all, and have been using contractors. I bought in 2010 and I am STILL working on it. After finishing the kitchen, electrical, drywall and plumbing, I took a break for two yrs. I just absolutely could not deal with the $$$ and subs coming into the house while working 12 hours a day. I was fed up. I needed a break even if it meant prolonging the remodel. In 2013, I replaced the roof. In 2014, I repainted and restuccoed the exterior. Now I am landscaping. I am still using the ugly hideous embarrassing master bath that came with the house, but a gut remodel of the bath will have to wait another year.

    I think there is only so much one can deal with mentally with these remodels sometimes. It really takes a lot out of you. Part of it is the stress of making decisions that affect the design and cost money to undo (I am undoing a lot of things). Part of it is unexpected findings and uncertainty. The expense is a huge stress.

    Unlike you, I will never go back to a condo again. I do not like sharing walls with neighbors. I do not like HOA's. I do not like the fact the condos do not seem to be gaining as much value as houses (mine is currently rented at a loss and I am still waiting for it to regain value).

    Even though parts of my house arent finished, I am happy to take my time with the project. I am enjoying the house as is. Decorating has helped a lot. I have seen a lot of pics of homes and lofts with only the bare minimum, decorated nicely and brightly lit. When I see this in magazines, it makes me feel better, as parts of my house look like this. My pets have also made it feel more like a home. Could you step back and take it slowly? Try and enjoy the good things about the house. When you are finished, it may end up being a place you love. I would take it slower and keep the vision you have for it when finished in mind.

  • guvnah
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I think I remember when you sold your last house. If I'm not confusing you with someone else, it was an older house that you had renovated & it was TO DIE FOR, but the neighborhood had never come up like you'd wished, am I right? So, I know you *can* do it, it's just a matter of if you want to do it this time. You've gotten a lot of great advice here. Based on your last house, if you stick with it, I'm sure it will be fantastic. That said, there is no shame in doing what's right for yourself & if this it too much, then let it go.

  • Rudebekia
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I want everyone who posted to know that I've been re-reading this post almost daily to absorb the advice and take to heart the encouragement. I so much appreciate the help you've given me.

    Things aren't much better for me mentally or emotionally but I'm trying to cope. Still feel like I've awakened to a nightmare, and am trapped in it. It seems like every other day I discover something else that needs repair and I dread what is next. I still feel like a complete idiot. How could I know so little about myself and what I could handle when I made the decision to buy this house?

    Meanwhile I am trying to move ahead. I have painted two bedrooms over the last week, so at least there's brighter looking trim and color on the walls. Now that some closets are painted I'm finally unpacking and arranging some clothes and other things. The kitchen cabinets are due in less than a month now. I hope and pray that once the kitchen is in my attitude toward this house will change.

    Again, thanks to all who responded. This is something I've had a hard time sharing with friends, even close ones. Many (most) just don't understand.

  • kswl2
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Lots of,good advice here to slow the pace, finish what you've started and take a breather to evaluate the current position and your local market. But I would absolutely not, and by not I mean never, take money from your retirement for home renovations. Even if you plan to stay there forever.

  • guvnah
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Try to focus on getting what you can get done by Spring. When the weather lightens up & you can escape the house more, hopefully you'll feel better. Winter can really drain your energy, power & spirit. Chin up - I know you can get thru this!

  • sylviatexas1
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Your dilemma sounds like the sort of thing that happens when a college freshman decides to get all the hard courses out of the way in the first semester;
    it's a guaranteed ticket to discouragement, exhaustion, & brain cramp.

    Everybody needs a healthy dose of "leavening" to keep the heavy stuff from overwhelming them/us.

    If you're a college freshman, include a dance class or sculpture class to unknot your brain cramp.

    If you're buying Christmas presents, don't make a list of 40 people & head out to the mall with the expectation of having everything done by sundown.

    Shop until you get just a *little* tired (once you're exhausted, it takes longer to rev yourself back up), & stop for a coffee & a bite to eat.

    If I were in your boots, I'd try this:
    sort the "to-do" list, marking the "heavy/difficult/takes-a-long-time" & the "bang for buck/mood elevator/lightweight/easy" items.

    Pick one "heavy" & one "lightweight" item.

    Put your old list in a drawer, & don't look at it until you're ready to take on another item/items.

    You've already done one bang-for-the-buck/mood elevator project:
    color on the walls is fast & it makes a dramatic difference & it makes you feel good.

    Leaven the heavy construction items with the faster, easier projects to make you realize that you are making progress, & remember to stop for breaks before you're so tired that you can't take another step.

    just remembered another example:

    One year I was making quilt tops for my mother & my aunt to quilt as a joint Christmas present for my brothers.

    At the same time, I was doing a hand-appliqued quilt top for my mother's church to raffle off.

    I worked so hard on that applique that I was getting headaches & my hands hurt & I despaired of getting to the other quilt tops.

    so I started them, too!

    They were pieced (cut out the pieces & sew them together) tops that I sewed on the machine.

    *It was easier to do all 3 at the same time!*

    Also, it sounds like you're putting the whole re-model into your brain as one project.

    That's kind of like "My goal is to revolutionize the course of Western literature."

    Identify each project, stop at the end of each day to recognize & appreciate what you've accomplished, & once you've completed it, congratulate yourself on having completed it.

    I wish you the very best!

  • ncrealestateguy
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Marita,
    IMO, it is not your home projects that are the real problem. IMO, it is how you are allowing these outside factors to affect you.
    My wife and I took an 8 week, Mindfulness Based Stress Relief class this past Spring, and it was wonderful. And I was very skeptical going into it. After all, I'm just an 'ol country boy at heart.
    Here is a brief of what it is:
    Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a mindfulness-based program designed initially to assist people with pain and a range of conditions and life issues that were difficult to treat in a hospital setting developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, which uses a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness, and yoga to help people become more mindful. In recent years, meditation has been the subject of controlled clinical research. This suggests it may have beneficial effects, including stress reduction, relaxation, and improvements to quality of life, but that it does not help prevent or cure disease. While MBSR has its roots in spiritual teachings, the program itself is secular. MBSR has been described as "a group program that focuses upon the progressive acquisition of mindful awareness, of mindfulness". The MBSR program is an eight-week workshop taught by certified trainers that entails weekly group meetings, homework, and instruction in three formal techniques: mindfulness meditation, body scanning and simple yoga postures. Body scanning is the first prolonged formal mindfulness technique taught during the first four weeks of the workshop, and entails quietly lying on one's back and focusing one's attention on various regions of the body, starting with the toes and moving up slowly to the top of the head.

    According to Kabat-Zinn, the basis of MBSR is mindfulness, which he defined as "moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness."

    It really helped me learn how to complete mundane tasks w/o getting anxious or stressed out over it, and it also taught me how to not let external factors and persons affect my emotions.
    You may want to check into it, you sound like a perfect candidate. Go sit in a totally quiet room, close your eyes and think about NOTHING. It is REALLY hard to do, as our brains are always overrunning our bodies. Even after 10 weeks of practicing the meditation, I was still just beginning to be able to try to think about nothing. Sounds easy, but it is not. Once you start to be able to do it, the effects are amazing.
    Hope you find something that helps your stress level.

  • zorroslw1
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Stop, do absolutely nothing on the house for a month or so. Give your mind and body a rest. Refresh yourself.
    I would NOT take money from my retirement to fix a house.

  • guvnah
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Just checking in on you. Hope you had some nice, calm days during the holiday & that things are looking up. Happy New Year.

  • melsouth
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I have thought about this thread many times since reading it before Christmas.
    I too wish you peace and a happy new year.

  • Rudebekia
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Many thanks to those who asked how I am doing. The answer is, I think, "a bit better." Not much, but a bit. I am trying to take it day by day as I accept the situation and try to move forward. Like many of you suggested, I am working to complete the projects already begun and doing nothing more. Having been without a kitchen for nearly two months has been ridiculously hard. Thankfully, progress starts up again next week with the cabinet install.

    My inclination is to cut my losses and sell. I have come to nearly hate the place. But I don't know where I will be in a month or two, and again am trying just to focus on each day. Saying the Serenity prayer often.

  • guvnah
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Glad to hear things are better - even if only a smidgen. Please keep us posted. For strangers on the internet, scattered all over the country, we do care.

  • jmc01
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    One other idea.....stay off the Home Decorating forum. That's the land of immediate gratification and an influence such as that can't help.

    You'll get through this...I very much agree with finishing up what's underway. We were kitchen - less for 4 months. It's a royal pain, but we have found that the end result was soooooo worth the agony! We've also been house hunting lately and nothing is comparing to the old home that we're currently in...because of the projects we've undertaken.

  • Allure_N.
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I can relate! I don't know if I am making the best possible decisions trying to make this place work. At the age of 63 I moved from a rent controlled apartment to a 96 year old "fixer". I wanted to be able to grow vegetables, so I did not opt for a condo. They are not that much less expensive around here anyway, and for the most part, poorly constructed. The home inspector, and all the contractors who have worked on this place give it flying colors for construction. It is apparently a very solidly built house. We talked the seller down considerably, but it still wasn't cheap. I know going in it would need $35 thousand dollars to replace broken water heater, heating system, plumbing, etc. before I could even move in. I also ripped up the carpet and refinished the beautiful hardwood floors underneath. I also replaced the old, stained fiberglass bath/shower that was growing mold and made me shudder whenever I stepped into it. I figured I would bolt the house to the foundation (living in earthquake country) and leave it at that for a while. Then over New Years, the wind blew down part of my fence and the 20 year old cook top had a gas leak, so PG&E turned off the gas. I couldn't find replacement parts for the old corroded burners, so I bought a new Kitchenaid cook top...WRONG! It emits a low hum even when it is off. I looked it up in the manual, and sure enough, under troubleshooting, it says this hum is a normal part of the functioning of this product. My bedroom is fairly close to the kitchen, and I couldn't sleep, so I returned it (with a 20% restocking fee). Now I have ordered a GE Cafe model cook top. It scores consistently in the top ten cook tops, and I read reviews from two professional chefs who installed them and were very happy. I haven't received it yet. I can't help but wonder if I should have just called Kitchenaid and asked them if they had a quieter model. I live alone, This is all new to me, never having owned a home and not having to deal with these things myself. I don't have anyone to advise me on these things, except friends who laugh, pat me on the back and saying "welcome to home ownership". I am not particularly handy, although I am not opposed to learning. This was supposed to feel liberating, having my own home, but I've been here for 4 months and am feeling very stressed. I'm not thinking of selling though-yet.

  • Acadiafun
    9 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Allure- change is stressful. Sounds like you have made progress with your fixer. Who doesn't love hardwood floors and a new bath/shower? Spring is around the corner and it is not too early to start dreaming and planning your garden. :)

  • deecee9
    3 years ago

    @Rudebekia I found this thread because I'm feeling many of the same things you were 5/6 years ago. I hope you are doing better whether you decided to keep the place or sell it.

  • jakkom
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Oh my, sorry I didn't notice this was an old thread. Still, I'm going to leave most of my post, as others who have had "buyer's remorse" and may think of hitting their retirement accounts, should know the consequences of doing so.

    I sympathize with "buyer's remorse". I hated going through the gut remodeling of our newly purchased SFH. We had no choice and had to continue with the rebuild (couldn't sell it in the gutted/half-finished conditions it was in, during a very stressful 18 months).

    But I did love my kitchen when it finally got finished, and 31 yrs later, I STILL love walking into it. So yeah, it was worth the tears and worry and stress.

    Absolutely DO NOT take anything from your retirement funds! I did this when we were struggling with the remodel and it was by far the stupidest financial move I ever made in my life. Even though it was considerably less than six figures at the time, I could have easily tripled that amount by the time I finally did retire - just as I did with my spouse's retirement accounts, since I handled the investments.

    Here are the IRS' legal restrictions on IRA withdrawals, courtesy of Money.com:

    " If you withdraw money from a traditional IRA before you turn 59 ½, you must pay a 10% tax penalty (with very few and strict exceptions), in addition to regular income taxes. Plus, the IRA withdrawal would be taxed as regular income, and could possibly propel you into a higher tax bracket, costing you even more. "

    (all bold emphasis is theirs)

  • mxk3 z5b_MI
    3 years ago

    ^^ I didn't read the whole thread, so just commenting on the post directly above. Many (? most) 401K/403b allow loans against the account, and this is an option worth considering, depending on the situation. I've done it before, and in my plans there is a 5 year max repayment -- it's set up like any other monthly loan payment; if you default you pay the tax penalty but if repaid in full under the terms there is no penalty, you're borrowing you're own money and paying yourself interest. But, you're not making as much money on the investment side of things. There are pros and cons to using retirement money and it's all boils down to individual situations with many factors to consider -- best to talk to a financial advisor about it. Just mentioning I don't think it's an across-the-board to never touch retirement funds.