Homeowner Blues

Its yet another rainy day here in Maine, this summer is shaping up to be a soggy ass mess. Its either humid as hell and I hate humidity or torrential rains, neither are things that put a sista in a good mental space. That said, its one of those days I don’t have much on my mind but didn’t want to not post so today is a ramble or shall I say rant about the joys or shall I saw woes of home-ownership.

I am starting to think my Pops was a smart man, when he proudly declared many years ago that he didn’t want to own a house. He used to tell my Granny, don’t leave us meaning him and my Moms your house because all we will do is sell it. I used to think he was silly, that was until the spousal unit and I decided to become homeowners several years ago.

We actually fell into home-ownership to be honest, it was not a long thought out process. Long story short we were renting a house in our little hamlet and a few weeks after my Moms passed away, the owner told us he was selling the house which meant that we would have to move since most likely the new owner would want to live in the house. Problem was it was the 3rd time in our marriage that we had been displaced because a place we were renting was being sold/got sold and in my highly emotional state I really did not want to be displaced. Actually with the death of my Mom, I felt the pull to plant some roots which probably had a lot to do with the fact that later in the same year I got pregnant with mini-me, I digress though.

Anyway initially  we figured we would buy the house we were renting until we started looking around and realized that the owner was crazy and that for what he was asking we could get a whole lot more house. So, we settled on a 100+ year old Victorian with 10 rooms, the kinda house that back in Chicago would set you back at least a million or more. However anybody with any damn sense here knows better, which is why most of the Victorians are not owned by native Mainers, they know these puppies are money pits. No, its always the transplants from big cities that buy these pits because we lovingly think back to our original cities and how homes like these would allow us to be envy of all our friends. Yet in Maine, no one envies the fool with the big old house.

But it was love at first site, plus the sellers reduced the price substantially since we needed to put a new roof on the house…. yeah, that should have been my sign to flee but what can I say I am a sucker for a large house.

Now when we first got this house, I figured it would be a breeze to take off all the wallpaper and re-do the walls, turns out this is industrial wallpaper and does not come off easily and to hire a professional could easily take a cool 20K. Speaking of, the roof itself turned out to be almost that much..ugh.

First winter in this house we nearly froze despite having the oil tank filled twice a month (note: in many New England homes, houses are heated with oil, yes oil. A big ass truck like a truck that supplies the gas station comes to your house to fill up your tank which is generally 275 gallons. The price of home heating oil is comparable to the price of gas) seems we had an inefficient heating system that decided 6 weeks before mini-me was born the tank started leaking in the middle of summer which resulted in us getting a whole new heating system. Can you say, shit!!

Anyway with each passing year in this house, it turns out that my spousal unit has no inner handy man, he is a lovely man but when it comes to doing shit on this ole house, I pretty much have to point it out to him. It also turns out that even simple shit that you might expect a chick to enjoy like gardening is so out of my frame of reference, hello… I grew up in the city. That despite my best efforts we have that yard, you know the one that always looks jacked. Granted it looks better when I get the halfass yard dude to take care of shit, but half the time he is nowhere to be found and between working and the kids and life it takes time for me to actually get out there and considering that a few weeks ago when I went to trim the hedges I actually cut the cord to the trimmers, its safe to say I won’t be back out there anymore. Instead I sit here waiting for someone to give me an estimate on yard work and hope the price is reasonable.

Now don’t get me wrong, owning a house is not all negative but I do find that many of the perks are greatly exaggerated, yes I can paint my walls purple, but that’s only if I ever get the ugly wallpaper off. Yes, there are financial perks but really the day to day of home-ownership can wear you down, shit last Thanksgiving day the fridge decided that would be a good day to die and guess what when you own, you have to replace the appliances, no landlord to bug.

So while I enjoy having multiple toilets and a house that is large enough to live/work, truth is one day the spousal unit and I might look forward to pulling up and being renters again. Turns out home-ownership is not all its cracked up to be.

Thanks for letting me vent about this ole house and tomorrow I promise something a bit more substantial.

7 thoughts on “Homeowner Blues”

  1. Good Lord, I forgot you New Englanders have to deal with heating oil costs. I’m hearing horror stories already and I’ve got my plastic window sealing and my heavy sweaters ready…

    As you know, I’m currently renting my first-ever house, which is more like a cottage or, as my friend described it, a cabin like the kind people rent out in the woods when they go hunting. Because it’s so old (built in 1900) and because the landlord does the least amount of updating he can get away with (which isn’t to say he’s not a nice, responsible guy), the rent is low, which is good for me these days.

    With the exception of the Hyde Park condo I had for all of 1.5 years, I’ve been renting my entire adult life and I don’t regret it ONE BIT. Spare me all that stuff about home equity and tax breaks…the truth is that until you pay off the mortgage in full the bank is your landlord and if you don’t make payments on time you can be “evicted” just as surely as I can if I don’t make my rent on time. The landscape is littered with “evicted” homeowners right now. The money spent on mortgage payments, property taxes, fees, etc. can be put into investments just as easily so the notion that a house is the best source of wealth for average Americans is just not true. Plus there is something to be said for not having to fix everything yourself (though I will have to mow the lawn and shovel the sidewalks).

    Having said that, once I finally get the urge to plant some roots maybe I’ll buy. Sheer age (and moving exhaustion) may force me into it…but then again I hear it’s harder to get a mortgage the older you get. *shrug*

  2. Yes, the oil bill is no joke. It can cost more than the damn mortgage to heat the house which is scary. Good luck on that pellet stove, I want one but am gonna have to hold off for at least another year.

  3. My house is part old school and new part added in the 40’s. I was so tramatizes but the oil man I had to write a poem about for creative writing class. I’ll be buying a pellet stive in a couple of weeks. I can’t afford to fuck with Bert this year.

  4. OMG!! This soooooo reminds me of when I first moved up here to the homestead….Only my brother-in-law and I did a complete roof tear off (4-5 layers of it), insulated the 2nd floor (which is my bedroom) tore our half the flooring (can you say 40 year old 2.5 inch psychedelic shag carpeting?!?) and gutted the bathroom down to the floor joycesand completely re plumb it.

    My bathroom is still not finished and I still have another 1/2 house to rip out and completely re floor.

    My house is 107 years old, owned by one family who did the “bandaid” type of home improvement. Good thing I low balled the price!

    But I must say it is so worth it….my friends come in and despite the place not looking like a pic out of better homes and gardens they are quite at home here.

  5. I do think its an old house thing, granted my brother is an architect so I have heard some stories from him about new homes that makes me think, maybe the best age to buy a house is 10-15 years old. LOL

    In theory, I like the idea of gardening but after an hour or so in dirt, my city girl comes out and is like WTF.

  6. Wow! I love home ownership, but being from Houston building a house has always been affordable and both of my homes have been new construction. I am one of those weirdos (like Bob Villa and Martha Stewart) who LOVES all that fix it up stuff. I would love to have your house but I probably would have budgeted for big time changes etc, that was my plan before I built my last house.

    I think the biggest advantage to owning controlling your destiny, ie no involuntary uprooting, the tax break, and the investment. However with the economy home ownership is less attractive, but God ain’t making any more land so I am sure we will recover from this.

    I think owning a older home is the issues and I really would love to buy an older home for rehab, but now I’m scared. Oh so scared. Its always funny because I think home ownership benefits far outweigh the cons. Then again I don’t have a 100 year old home. My house back home isn’t even a year old. *lol* I do understand why people rent or buy condos, but trying to explain to my ex why people would want to do that he just didn’t get it.

    I think it sucks hang in there. Maybe I’ll come up and play in your yard I love gardening, well in a yard, and miss it! *lol*

    You are right is is a HUGE responsibility but I think its worth it!! Have a good weekend.


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