When It All Goes Wrong – Weathering the Expense Storm
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I’ll be sharing more detail on my blog later down the road, but let me tell you friends, I’m having one hell of a time over here. My wife and I purchased a house in June of last year. So, we have been in there for eight months. We knew what we were buying, or so we thought.
We did what everyone tells you to do. Get an inspection, take your time, and make sure the house is up to par. Although we did that, I can see now that my inspector sucked. He spent nearly five hours at the house. I was there for three of them.
I was there at the inspection because I like to learn new things. I like to know what’s going on and what inspectors look for. On top of that, I wanted to look over things with my own eyes. I trust people, but not further than I can throw them.
How It’s Going Wrong
Let me preface this by saying, if you don’t know how to properly fix something, please don’t do it. The previous homeowners have done a lot of things on their own and it’s now clear to me that they had no idea what they were doing.
I’m talking about issues with flooring, wiring, and just stupid band-aid fixes. As someone who weighs the idea of fixing it himself or hiring someone, I based my decision on whether or not I know how to actually complete the project the right way. Apparently, the other homeowners didn’t understand this concept.
Once we moved into our house, I realized it was costing us a pretty penny to heat/cool the house. What struck me as odd is this house is smaller than our other one. Yes, it’s older, but smaller. I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on and why there was so much energy being wasted. Over the last few months, I have been working hard on sealing up drafts, caulking windows, and trying to locate our energy loss.
This past weekend was the culmination of it all. After finishing up some caulking, I decided to go over the the HVAC system and run a little test. In the first five minutes of running my test, I found five nickel size holes in the HVAC system. They were where the duct work came together, but there was no attempt to seal it.
That was causing a lot of air loss just shooting into our unfinished basement. It wasn’t even heating our living space. Thankfully, this was an easy problem to fix. It took me 10 minutes to seal up all the holes at a cost of about $7 for the roll of tape. I call that a win!
The bad news is that the inspector apparently missed five returns that weren’t actually connected to the main HVAC trunk. While these returns where in the basement, they were not even done correctly. They literally laid the duct work on top of other ducts and that was it.
When we finish the basement later this year, we have to pay someone to rerun most of the ducts. That’s a lot of money!
Most people I talk to don’t like messing with electrical work. I have no issues with it. Most of it is pretty simple, but the main thing to remember is to turn off the power at the circuit breaker before you do anything. There is nothing worse than having electricity shooting through your body because you didn’t want to flip a switch!
We’ve had our fair share of electrical issues with fans being hard wired into the wrong circuits, and some lights sitting on the main line with no circuit. Now, when it comes to rewiring stuff onto a new circuit, I leave that to the professionals. The other stuff I can deal with. I’ve wasted my time and money trying to fix electrical problems that the previous owners created by not caring when they added something. Some switches control nothing, some control four different areas of the house. It’s asinine and drives me nuts!
I didn’t inspect the plumbing as I left before the inspector got to that area. Well, it appears he missed the lack of traps on plumbing, the wrong piping being used and many other things. I spent two days fixing plumbing in our guest bathroom just so I could install a new vanity. I could have had the project done in two hours, but it took so much time to fix stupid mistakes. Some of the things just don’t make sense!
What’s the Point?
The point of this post is to show you that no matter what hits you, you just need to move on and get through it. I haven’t given up on our house. Yes, it’s a certified money pit at this point.
Many of the issues were under the surface, where inspectors can’t get to, but the signs where there. We have spent way more than what we wanted to getting this house up to where we want it, but every time we start something, another issue arises. Soon, we will get through the list of issues, but it’s long!
Many of my nights are now spent fixing, upgrading, or just shaking my head in irritation. When life throws me a curve ball, I usually just choke up on the bat and swing away. I don’t just look at it and wonder what’s going to happen. I always try to hit that stupid ball.
This is my current curve ball. Luckily for me, I work very hard on earning extra income and can afford these issues. I also have a sizable emergency fund, just for this purpose! I knew we were going to buy a house, so two years before we started looking, I started shoveling money into my emergency fund. I’m glad I did.
My philosophy is not to give up when the stuff hits the fan. While it may send me into a tizzy here and there, I advise you to do what I do: unwind yourself, wipe yourself off, and get back on the ride. This experience has solidified my belief that budgeting and emergency funds are the cornerstones of personal finance.
Some people don’t think emergency funds are necessary, but they probably haven’t been in massive debt like myself and many others. They help you weather the expense storm when they arise. I wouldn’t leave my finances without one!
How do you keep yourself going on working toward your financial goals when things get tough? Have you ever lived in a money pit? When something breaks in your home, do you try to fix it yourself or hire it out?