Saturday, February 15, 2014

Weighing The Options (Part Two)

Another area in which I’ve considered spending some of my excess cash is actually an investment, though it wouldn’t pay dividends in the form of interest:  my house.
My house actually needs a lot of work, in terms of improving the aesthetics and improving the functionality, efficiency, and structural integrity.
It’s an obvious target for my financial arrows.  After all, it’s my home, and given that if I’m not at work I’m pretty much always here – and indeed, I frequently work from home – so it ought to be a good place to live, to say nothing of the potential for adding much-needed equity.
Every year I think about making some improvements, but it just doesn’t seem to happen.
Part of that is because I have a difficult time bringing myself to spend even more money on my house given how much it already costs me, and besides, new computers and comic books and whatnot are more fun.
The biggest stumbling block, however, is that I just don’t know where to begin.
Take my master bathroom.*
It’s awful.
Just dreadful.
It has an ancient toilet with a tank that holds an amount of water that’s roughly equivalent to the volume of water contained at Sea World.  I think Niagra Falls stop running whenever I flush it.
It’s also disgusting thanks to decades of hard water flowing through it.
And then there are the pink tiles, the taupe walls, the gaudy wallpaper, the lack of storage, the overall cramped conditions, and the general dinginess.
It would be a relatively simple and inexpensive fix.
Except that it seems silly to put any money or effort into it, given that there are bigger plans that I have for my upstairs that would provide me with a new, larger master bath – and a new, larger master bedroom, for that matter – and I could actually repurpose that space.
And then there’s that aforementioned plan for a new master bedroom and master bath, but that would take much more money and effort, and it’s actually kind of contingent on some other more foundational work that I need to have done with the wiring.  At a minimum, I’m probably going to need to get a new circuit breaker installed one of these days, but I think the problem is bigger than that I actually need to have the entire house rewired, which would cost even more, and would require some additional work as far as patching and repairing the walls afterwards.  And if I’m having new wiring done, I might as well go all-out and have the house wired for networking and put in A/V hookups, and maybe look into some home automation…
Okay, what about my gutters?  Those definitely need to be replaced, and that would be fairly cheap.  Of course, the gutters are part of a larger problem, as their leakiness has caused considerable water damage to the roof over my patio, so I’d need to get that replaced/repaired, too, especially since it tends to leak right around the area in which the wiring runs from my circuit breaker into the house, which brings us back to the whole rewiring thing…
And speaking of the circuit breaker, its location brings to mind the biggest thorn in my side about the house:  the laundry situation.
As I’ve mentioned before, my washer and dryer are in two separate locations.  The washer is in the downstairs bathroom.  The dryer is outside in a flimsy little shed attached to the back of the house, on the patio, under the decaying roof, the same shed in which the circuit breaker is located.  There’s no way to bring the dryer inside – even though there’s room for it – as there’s nowhere I could put it that would allow for venting.
Of course, I have plans that would resolve that, but it would cost considerably more than I have to spend – if it’s even possible at all.
Beyond the looming electrical problems and rotting patio roof and the leaking gutters, the biggest problem is the overall vision I have for what I’d like to do with my house and the fact that there aren’t really any steps I can take towards completing that, as they’re all of a piece.
And they’re all expensive, as they necessitate electrical and plumbing work and a lot of structural changes, and virtually anything that I could do on a smaller scale – renovating my master bath or my kitchen, for example – would actually interfere with that overall vision rather than contributing to it, as there is an order in which I’d have to do the work to achieve the desired end.  But I have difficulty figuring out what that order is, or at least what the first step should be, and I also question whether or not – even with the refund and bonus money – I could afford to take it.
About the only thing I could do that would address some of the problems and potentially lead to achieving my desired end state is replacing the roof over the patio and sealing the whole thing in with one of those Owens Corning sunrooms.
Of course, that doesn’t address the electrical issues, which may or may not be as bad – or worse – than I suspect they are, but who knows what getting my wiring checked out would lead to (or what not getting it checked out would lead to, for that matter)?
And that’s the dilemma, as it seems that no matter which direction I turn I’ll end up going the wrong way.
When it comes to investing in my house, it seems like the best investment would be buying a time machine and going back to 2007 and not buying the place.  Of course, with my wiring problems I’d probably cause a short as soon as I plugged it in.  To say nothing of the fact that time machines don’t exist.
And really, if they did, I should think it would make more sense to go further back and fix some of my other fuck ups, though just as with my house, when it comes to fixing my life I’d have no idea where to begin.

*Please!  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist)

1 comment:

Jeff Lipton said...

Can you take one room that you like as-is and just rewire that one room (the kitchen is a good starting place for automation). Re-roofing is also a possibility, especially if you can add a vent over where your dryer would go.

Just some thoughts...