I’m no Norm Abram

I’ve been told recently that when I get bored, I get grumpy. I’m not sure if that’s entirely true, but I do find myself pacing around the halls when there isn’t a large scale project happening at the house. We certainly have enough small projects that need to be completed should we ever list the house, but I don’t think that will happen in the near future. If money were no object, I’d have the third floor finished off… maybe a master bedroom with en suite and a cozy propane fireplace in the corner. We don’t think this house is too small. It has 3 bedrooms and a full bath with room for expansion. There is a point though when you should only dump so much money into a place. We don’t want to renovate when there is a chance for little in return. No matter how much work we do, the house will always be sitting on a small lot. So, there is the dilemma.

I spend a lot of time on realtor.com. Some people knit or work on cars. I look at houses. During one browsing session I came across a house for sale in our neighborhood that had a lot of character on the inside, so I asked our realtor to set us up for a showing. The house was amazing. It needs tons of work, and may need tons of money too.


The previous owner let the roof fall into disrepair and it eventually caused severe water damage on all 3 floors. It has other issues too, like one corner of the foundation that is falling in, or the old furnace that could be used as a prop for a Stephen King movie. It could have other long term issues as well, like heating all 6+ bedrooms and 3,200 square feet. It is a HUGE house, but it has tremendous potential. Hardwood floors on the first and second floor, 6 foot windows, 8 foot ceilings, 3 baths, the potential for a 3 unit apartment… or 2. When we start to compare how much it would cost to renovate, the numbers begin to add up. Windows alone could run over $5,000.

There is always a risk with purchasing an investment like a fixer upper, but the question becomes how big of a risk are you willing to take? And is now the right time? Is it ever? How do you finally make the big decision? Who needs six bedrooms when you don’t have any kids? Is there a need for an orphanage in the area? Has years and years of watching This Old House finally gotten to my head?




Filed under Renovation

4 responses to “I’m no Norm Abram

  1. This was eerily close to what I’m currently going through! We’ve been full time renovating since December. Like you mentioned, the roof was severely leaking and caused MEGA damage on all 3 (basement included) floors. Mold was everywhere, etc etc. We’re reaching a cap for spending and now having to consider how far we want to go to really make this ‘worth it’. There’s got to be a balance between going for it because it makes us happy and making sure we’ll actually get a return if/when we sell.

  2. Jayne

    My daughter-in-law and I are addicted to Realtor.com too. Sometimes I think we know the listings better than the real estate agents do. Haha.

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