Of the many remodels that we engaged in over the years, there was always one lesson that repeated itself again and again: Do It Now. We would live in a place for 5 or 6 years, then find out that my husband (the main breadwinner) needed to take a new opportunity in a new city, and thus would begin the mad scramble to whip the house into shape and get it on the local real estate market.
Replace the countertops. Yank out the shabby bushes. Paint that ugly guest room. Add the window treatments I had been putting off that then gave the room so much atmosphere and personality. And in the midst of all the frantic remodeling activity, one thought always nagged me: “WHY didn’t we do this sooner? WE COULD HAVE BEEN ENJOYING THIS OURSELVES INSTEAD OF LEAVING IT FOR THE NEXT OWNERS.”
Yes, the redos helped sell the houses quicker and get the best price. And of course with three active kids in school and developing careers, there always seemed to be three places competing for every penny and little time or cash left over for spruce-ups. But then when the urgent need arose, suddenly we managed to find the time and funds to make the remodel magic happen.
I especially remember when we were moving from Louisville in the late ‘90s. After a very successful house makeover that netted us a sale significantly above the appraisal, a neighbor commented, “Gee, your house looks great. I think we’re going to pretend we are moving so we can get a bunch done on our house, too!”
And one little story about that house in particular: it had one window in the kitchen area that had a crusty old “greenhouse” fixture tacked on. It was right over the kitchen sink, and I knew blocked a rather spectacular view of the backyard overlooking our pool and hill that rolled on down to a creek wandering through a mature grove of trees– very picturesque. I knew I was missing the daily benefit of this view, but with one thing and another I just never got around to replacing the greenhouse with a new standard window.
And then we were moving. Suddenly finding the motivation to replace it, out it came and in went the new window. And there I stood, in front of the sink where I had stationed myself for several years doing the daily deed of washing dishes, seeing the beautiful view that would have made the despised job so much more tolerable. “Never again”, I vowed. “Next house, we Do It Now.”
In our next house in North Carolina, did we get things done sooner? Yes. Everything? Mostly. Do I have things to do in my home now? Yes. And I probably will always get it done much sooner than we have in the past, or at least have a plan and a timeline for it. So, make your plan, find a way, start enjoying it now. And Do It Now!