Are you the Fixer-Upper type?

Are you the Fixer-Upper type?

Geoff Bentz
Sep 16, 2009

We've all thought about it. Some of us have done it. Buying a quaint little home somewhere remote and checking out from society. I recently succumbed to the temptation while on vacation and went as far to make an appointment with a Realtor.

It seemed perfect. A classic Cape Cod sitting on the edge of town. Sure, the garden was overgrown and the weathered yellow door needed some TLC but hey...I'm full of love. Besides, I could see a clawfoot tub through the window. I immediately called the number on the For Sale sign.

The price was more than I could afford, as anticipated, but not as high as I thought it would be. With some combined savings from my partner, a loan the size of a whale (nautical term) and finding a bunch of money on the side of the street I could maybe do this. The reason for the price? I was told it was a fixer-upper.

No problem! I can scrape, paint, spackle, scrub and plaster my way to the home of my dreams. It would be something we could do together. A "project" to keep us busy. Plus the house had a guest apartment that was licensed to rent out. So I'd never have to work again. Because a guest rental would surely cover the mortgage, bills, taxes and maintenance, right? Of course.

It was settled. I made the appointment and was at the house 15 minutes early. I wanted to show the man I meant business. The Realtor arrived, unlocked the door to my future as a homeowner/beach bum and we stepped into the set of a horror film.

I wouldn't say anyone died here; there weren't chalk outlines. But I'm sparing you the pictures of the hospital bed and ominous children's crib in the attic. He first mentioned the walls were not insulated. Is that bad? I own sweaters. The entire place needed new plumbing and wiring. OK, that's bad. The ceilings needed replacing. I've heard of roofs needing replacing, but ceilings? Several walls had to be knocked down because they were rotting. The fireplace was bricked-in and needed to be excavated but good news! The house had original hardwood floors.

I told him I would think about it then ran away and spent the rest of the afternoon washing my hands. But you know the sad thing? I actually am still thinking about it.

(Images: Geoff Bentz)

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