In Washington, DC, where I do most of my work, anything built after 1952 is considered new construction. Unless I'm showing something that has been completely renovated, there is likely to be something old and funky - galvanized plumbing, kitchens that were state of the art during World War One, or heating systems reminiscent of Dante's Inferno, wrapped in a blanket of asbestos.
So often, I hear myself saying, "You know, it wouldn't be all that hard to redo the [fill in the blank]. Actually, I had a conversation something like that with myself when I bought "This Old House" over 20 years ago!
And over the years, I've done a fair amount of work on the place. But I was sort of ignoring the bathrooms, which are great examples of early indoor plumbing, and were prioritized just below my face lift in terms of dealing with them. All that changed when an antique burst pipe, and now I am making more appointments to meet contractors than I am to list and show houses.
Friday, I was out showing houses to a favorite client when my phone rang. It was a contractor alerting me that he was emailing a bid, which I checked out on my Blackberry a few minutes later. When I saw his number, I had to pick myself and my Blackberry up off the floor, and I promised my client that I would never again utter the words, "You could fix that pretty easily," ever EVER again.
She hugged me! We both laughed.
Today, the electrical contractor showed up on time to the minute and did the electrical upgrade I'll need to handle the new central air (the place was going to be ripped up anyway, so why not?) and to run the heater on the Jacuzzi. This is the first step, and I'm glad it finally happened - the pipe burst in mid-April.
My face lift will have to wait a little longer. Darn!