If the Truth be Told.
This comment was left on Sunday morning;
The amount of work you're willing to undertake is absolutely amazing. I just have to ask why???? It just seems there's so much work to be done on an old home why not buy a "nicer, newer" home that you don't have to do so much work to? I personally can't afford to move to a nicer, newer neighborhood so if/when I buy I'd have to do the work myself. Why choose to do it when you really don't have to?
My reply is this;
We are not wealthy people. In fact we are a one income family getting by with two mortgage payments. We do not have car payments or extensive credit card debt though, so we get by. We live in a city where housing is very affordable. The city of Dayton continues to subsidize "low income" households by building them "affordable housing" at around $160,000 a pop and giving incentives and low interest or zero interest mortgages to those who "qualify". We however can not afford to buy a $160,000 home. We don't qualify because we net a couple $1000 more than the poor people with their big screen TV's and cable. We can't afford cable TV.
I bought a nice old house before we were married in an average neighborhood and put a lot of money down and assumed a mortgage. I knew that this was not going to be a house that I would live the rest of my life in though. I did it to build equity in a property. Houses sell for between $70,000 and $90,000 on average in this neighborhood.
One day in February 2001, before we were married, Deborah and I took a walk around the neighborhood and spotted the "Crack House" just 3 blocks away from our residence. It had a "for sale" sign on the fence and Deborah called about it and was surprised to learn that the owner wanted less than $100,000 for it. Within 3 weeks it was ours. We knew that this particular house could be a "keeper" and it could be turned into a showplace. The size on the tax rolls was 3970 sq. ft. If you add the third floor and the basement which could be converted into living space we have 6900 sq. ft. The yard is 2 X the size of adjoining lots. We estimated that the material cost to fix the place up would be about $20,000 over 5 years, maybe even as high as $30,000 depending on what we did. If we had to pay contractors to do work it would be about $150,000. The resale value of the renovated house, based on the other ones in our neighborhood would be almost $250,000. Not that we would ever sell it. So the math was simple. We could have a house that would cost us $500,000 if it was located outside of the City limits for about one fifth the cost if I was willing to addy up, kick in and do the work. The experience that I now have, people pay for by going to trade school. I could start my own home remodeling business if I wanted to at this point.
You are absolutely right. I don't have to do the "amazing" amount of work that I am doing. In fact, I don't have to do any work since I have the other house and it is almost in finished condition. I could do nothing and have nothing more than I already have. I could waste my money on a new car and cable TV with a surround sound system and become a master of movie trivia like those people who qualify for those $160,000 HUD built homes. I won't do that because I have to stay busy. I have said it before on this Blog. I have what I have because I do what I do. We don't make the kind of money that would purchase a home like this already finished, but I can still have the home, I just have to finish it myself. Most people aren't like me. Most people aren't willing to do the work that I am willing to do to get what I want. This house was just about the last of the Victorian "Mansions" needing to be renovated on the East side of Dayton. We saw an opportunity and jumped on it. There are going to be a few people who looked at this place when it was for sale, kicking themselves for not buying it when they had the chance because it will be off the market for at least the next 30 years. In a few years I will be able to say that I have this house because I was willing to pay the price for it. Not in $$$ but in toil and sweat and a few drops of blood. Oh and the odd fingernail or two....