navona's onion house

Are You Up To It?

This guest blog is the second of a series of posts by Marie Stewart.

As many readers will already know, buying a house is a huge endeavor. And it isn’t all “Location, location, location.” Although I will say “Location was about 90% of it” in our decision.  Other factors can come into play when you have finally found the right “location”. And one of those factors is the condition of the house.

This is where you need to know “What are you up to?”

Are you looking for a home that needs a little polish to make it yours? Just a brush of paint and maybe a change of fixture or two. Or you can even go with the “Turn-key” type of home, one that is finished to your specifications, no fuss, no muss. Just “turn the key” and you’re home.

Or, are you up for a little more? And if so, how much more?

Hubby and I have rehabilitated two homes. One had been a rental for years. Now life as a rental often leaves a home with “make-do” appliances and often “lowest-bid” maintenance. The longer the home was used as a rental, the longer the list of “make-do” fixes you will find and the greater tendency for instances of “what the heck did they do?”

The other home we rehabilitated was a home that was 98 years old, and truth be told we only had to put the finishing touches on it. The previous owners had done most of the heavy lifting of bringing the building up to code, removing hazards, fixing major problems and dealing with sorting out the wiring of generations of “do-it-yourself” homeowners, renters and landlords.

So when we found the house on the corner with the 3 minute walk to campus, we thought, score. Sure it had been chopped up into apartments, three officially. Sure it was over a hundred years old. The previous owner had done a lot of the cosmetic work to turn the apartments back into a cohesive house. So, we thought, yeah, we can handle this.

The inspection turned up some concerns. Hey, any one hundred year old house is going to have them. And yes, the amount of “make-do” wiring in the basement was impressive. But all of this was weighing against “perfect location”.

So hubby and I took the plunge and bought the house on the corner with the perfect location, and a history of nearly 50 years as a rental, and three apartments (officially), and one hundred years of history.  Needless to say, it has been a thrill ride of discovery. So stay tuned and I will be walking you through our rehabilitation of “onion house” over the next few, mumble, years…

And trust me when I say, I hope I’m up to it.

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