Pat Kennedy - Your Washington, DC Real Estate Connection


Home Improvement

So many of my clients do what I did.  They buy an imperfect house with the best of intentions.  They plan to renovate the kitchen, do some landscaping, lose the purple wall-to-wall in the rec room, and have the lead paint laden cracking plaster repaired.  

Then, like me, they help to pave the path to hell.  They move in and get used to the place.  The avocado green kitchen counter isn't all that bad, and the even though the rec room was inspired by "That 70's Show", the shag carpet has some good years left.  And the weeds in the back yard are really sort of - umm -  perennials. 

Years later, when they unexpectedly decide to move, there's this real estate agent in the living room explaining that, in order to sell the place, they'll have to bite the bullet.  The whole place needs painting.  They need granite for the kitchen counter.  They need ceramic tile for the basement floors.  Then they'll have to paint, refinish the hardwood floors, bring in the Roto-tiller guys to create a back yard paradise and install central air. 

And they don't get a chance to enjoy any of it, because as soon as the work is complete, the For Sale sign goes up and the lucky buyers will get the benefit of their hard work.  Of course, by doing the fix-ups they'll get more money for the house, but if they'd done the work a few years before the move, they could have enjoyed living in a great house. 

OK, I'm learning first hand that renovating can be daunting.  There's the planning, the architect, the contractors, the mess and the disruption.  It costs a lot more and takes a lot longer than you think it will.  And it's often like yanking the loose thread on a hem. 

My bathroom renovation was the yank on the thread.  I mean, ya know?  While they're here, let's go ahead and stick that powder room into a corner of the dining room.  Then, to create symmetry, add a built-in china closet in another corner.  And I need central air, so I might as well go ahead and put that in.  And I'll need an electrical heavy up for the central air and the heater in my new Jacuzzi.  

The good part of this story is that acute condo envy notwithstanding, I plan to live here for a bunch more years.  I'm going to be cool and comfortable in the hot, humid summers.  I'm going to love soaking in the big ol' Jacuzzi with all of its jets and bubble thingies.  And my Mom will love the first floor powder room when she comes for Thanksgiving dinner - assuming the work is finished by then.

Comment balloon 6 commentsPatricia Kennedy • June 16 2007 10:36AM
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