Earlier this summer I decided to do some work on the house that really needed to be done, but which caused me to (temporarily) increase my debt load.
We had done several things a summer ago, including resurfacing our pool. This left the concrete around the pool in a very poor state. We made it through last winter (a mild one here), though I was concerned about water getting into the open cracks between the nice "new" pool and the concrete this winter. So I found someone who could do the whole job for a very good price. The problem was I figured we should also replace our driveway which was starting to get some serious and large cracks, to the point I was concerned about a tire getting caught on one of the cracks. I also figured I should raise the "patio" floor a few inches to keep water out (which would flood part of it when a heavy rain came). We were already pouring concrete anyway, right?
Well, a $7K project went to about $17K, though we now have pretty good drainage and a lot of good concrete now. The driveway also has room for my daughter's car as well. Now I just have to work to pay all this off.
We did decide to close in the patio as well. The added square footage should increase the value of our home beyond the price of that area, though it may also increase my taxes in the long run. :(
While we may do some smaller things, including inside and outside painting, our major renovation push is over.
The partial moral to this story is that a deal on a fixer upper house may not be such a deal if you are not good fixing things up yourself. While I believe we got our house below market value, we have easily put much more than the difference into it since then. Looking at historical price guesses (such as at zillow.com) indicates it was worth much less than we thought when we bought it. Either way, we have not gained much value in the time we have lived here.
While my last post was about my newly found desire to get out of debt, I really need to stir up that desire again. It is very easy to lose the focus and fall back into old, bad habits.
The good news is that my wife and I like the house, so we plan on staying a while and enjoying all these renovations. :)