The project house. I battle with this daily. My hubby knows it. Well, now anyone reading this post knows it. Taking on and living in a project house is tough work. I am not talking about a house that simply needs a kitchen remodel or to fix up a bathroom or two. No, when I say project house I am talking a complete rip and replace of every room because we are dealing with mold, rot, electrical "abnormalities," dilapidated decks and entry ways, rodents and snakes cohabiting type of project house.
We aren't newbies to this -- our first project house can be viewed here. We learned a lot with our first project house and the result was beautiful, but sadly the day the new kitchen and master bathroom were complete was literally the day I moved back to Minnesota. I never got to enjoy the fruits of our four-year labor (Yes, a four-year laboring effort. Could you imagine being in labor for four years? It was exhausting.).
I could have easily made this a post on the negatives to a project house, trust me. I have been living the project house lifestyle since 2009 (Is that a real lifestyle? It should be. It is now.) The inspiration behind this post was a conversation I had with my girlfriends about how much living in a project house sucked. I even told my one girlfriend to run away from a project house her and her hubby were considering. I look back and think, wow, that was rude of me on many levels. After that public rant, I decided I needed to reflect on the positives surrounding this "lifestyle". I thought writing down a list to reference every time I start to question our decision to move into our Minnesota Project House would be helpful.
1. The end result. Obviously. It is getting there that can really bit the big one. But the end result is amazing because unlike building a house, (which I should add that someday I hope we can be fortunate enough to do and props to all that have) it has such a specific type of story that goes behind it. I can't begin to describe how great it is to get to the (near) end and sit down with hubby over a glass of wine and reminisce over the journey.
2. The cost. Some may disagree, but hubby and I stand firm on this. We run our numbers. Lots of them. I think this is where some folks struggle on taking on a project house. Many spreadsheets full of numbers, quotes, budgeting. Doing lots of homework before buying items and outsourcing work. The cost we would ultimately pay for a house in "end result" condition we could never afford when you take into consideration the land, square footage and neighborhood we were able to move into by taking on a Project House-and have a 15 year mortgage on top of it which is an added savings bonus.
3. The journey. Sometimes I disagree with myself on this one, but it is true. The journey of taking on a project house with your spouse or even friends and family is pretty amazing. I married a man who has a similar mentality of "go big or go home," so we continually challenge each other. Yes, we do have disagreements on things. From big questions like if this was the right move for our young family to easier questions like what color the cabinets should be. So yes, many ups and downs. However, those conversations make us a better couple at the end of the day. It is therapeutic in a sense. We practice and learn patience, communication and understanding for each other taking on these projects. We teach each other new skills and congratulate each other on accomplishments. It doesn't work for every couple, but it works for us. I hear many couples say they would kill each other with a process like this, but you might surprise yourself (and your spouse) once you start.
4. The story. Oh, the stories we have. Good, bad and funny-now-that-it-is-over type stories. It makes for interesting dinner conversation. When people walk through your house or compliment you on a feature it is rewarding and fun to explain the history behind it how it got there. I would not say this should be your number one reason for taking on a project house, but it should fall somewhere in there because it does make a cool story and you made it happen.
5. If you do it smart, you can turn a profit. We don't flip houses by any means. Sheesh, it took us four years to complete our first project house, and I bet if we lived there longer we still would have done more. It is never really complete. Anyways, my point is, if you can take on some DIY, you outsource smart and buy on a budget then you can probably turn a profit. Not to mention you have gotten to live in the house and own it. After our first project house, we were able to turn a profit, which we then decided to reinvest into the first projects of our current project house. See how fun that works out?
Bottom line: No matter how much a project your home is -- go get 'em! You will always have some benefit in the end (even if it is just drinking lots of wine after a rough DIY day).
What are your thoughts on taking on a project house? Agree or disagree?