Saturday, June 5, 2010

Lessons from buying an old "fixer upper"

As you may or may not know, my family and I recently moved from a beautiful "newer construction home" (built in 2003) inside city limits of Corpus Christi ... an "older fixer-upper" (70+ years old) out in the country, outside city limits of Corpus, in the middle of acres upon acres of farmland:

Kirk and I are avid watchers of HGTV and DIYnetwork; and for the past couple of years, we have been wanting to have a major renovation project to call our own. This house fulfills that desire as every room... I'm not kidding~ ever square inch~ needs to be renovated or updated in some way.
As we are beginning our 5th month of fixing and updating this older house, I'm being reminded of MANY valuable lessons and learning a few new ones (just what God had intended to happen when we bought this property!). In no particular order, these are some things Kirk and I have learned:
  • Most things accomplished take longer than we expect... the key is not to give up! (whether it's with a home renovation project, losing weight/getting in shape, getting your dream job, whatever... you name your goal)
  • Things are never as easy as you think they should be- thus taking longer to accomplish! If you plan for a week... triple that time; the reality is it will most likely take three weeks to get done. (that's our experience so far!)
  • Be sure to add a "10-15% cushion" to the budget... like time~ it always seems to take more of what is planned.
  • Any goal set will involve some level of planning, labor, perseverance, and patience. With out a balance of these, frustration and some insanity will set in.
  • We're losing trust in hiring "professional" contractors. (Our carpet guys were great!!!, But we hired window guys to replace all our windows, and air conditioner guys to replace our air conditioner and repair our ducting. Both situations we did a thorough research to hire good, quality service guys. The products installed are great, but the installation was horrible. The guys cut corners and messed up areas of our house that they probably figured we wouldn't notice. We are having to fix things left by these guys and finish up detail work that should have been done by these contractors.)
  • If you want something done right, do it yourself. OR get referrals of the person you are wanting to hire. OR BETTER YET~ personally know the person you are hiring!
  • Attitude is EVERYTHING!
  • A thankful and content heart comes from remembering all the blessings we have. Don't look at what you don't have, look at ALL that you do have! (we are missing our old pool about now with temperatures getting HOT! We are learning to be content without.)
  • People are more important than things. (Spending hours and hours on a project shouldn't be at the expense of spending family time together)
  • Life is always full of "surprises". Embrace the good "surprises" and the bad "surprises" and learn from them both.
  • When ever possible~ renew, reuse, & recycle!
  • Corpus Christi has rattle snakes whether you're in the country OR a city sub-division! (I was recently informed the people who bought our previous house found a rattle snake on their property)
  • Any neglected house has the potential to be beautiful... it's a matter of how much love you are willing to pour into it. (same goes for our bodies, too.)
  • Through it all... the Lord is our source. He is the reason we are who we are, doing what we're doing. He shares in our frustrations; He shares in our victories. When we feel overloaded, he is always there to lift our burdens. What a fun adventure life is with Jesus by our side! He is the Master of restoration and renovations... making that which is broken fixed! Praise the Lord!

Stay tuned...

I will be posting "before" and "after" pictures of the kids' bedrooms at the end of next week, as well as some "before" pictures of the bathroom we're currently in the process of renovating. This bathroom could seriously qualify among "The Ugliest Bathrooms in America Award"! I can't wait for this bathroom to get done!


Anonymous said...

Hi Teri somehow the lengthly comment I left for you this morning got lost in the works. Your projects are a lot like what Arnold & I did on several homes, but this is the last, we've been here for 47 years and while pojects keep popping up, nothing big. Sometime this summer new carpet will go in the dinning area and living room. Your Aunt Edith and harvey were here this past week and I intrduced her to your blog and so when they get back home to FL you'll be hearing from her by way of your blog. Bye love Aunt Bettyy

sister sheri said...

Wow! We had to have our home renovated due to flood damage (from fridge)... I hated every minute of it. I am so renovation shy... that I would rather live with all my brass fixtures and old tile then have it redone. You are so brave!