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Fighting and Resolutions

June 24th, 2010 at 06:31 am

BB and I got into a mini fight again a few nights ago. We handled it pretty well but it was still stressful. It started when our contractor friend who will be working on The Impulsive Purchase called me over to a project he’s been working on for the last few months. The couple bought a historic duplex and are converting it into a SFH. Exactly as we plan to do. I have been keeping tabs on the progress because we will be following in their footsteps. Their costs have spiraled up but that was due to unforeseen defects and then a lot of additional high end upgrades.

I went over there and it is pimped out. The place looks phenomenal. They are still working on the first floor but they are doing a lot of nice details. Tray ceilings, built in bookshelves, glass doors and wooden design in their concrete floors. Not only am I impressed with the contractor’s skill, but also just how much it is starting to look like it should be on HGTV!

Anyways, then the contractor starts telling me about how BB and I are going to need more money to get anything like what he did here. I kept telling him “but I don’t want an outdoor shower” and he kept giving me this look like “you say that now…” (but I really don’t). He had told us when we bought the place that we could convert it to a SFH for $40k. Now he’s saying that will cover the first floor. He’s telling me that if I put $80-100k into the house it will hold it’s value in that neighborhood (he’s also a realtor).

I totally got annoyed and called BB. I was venting to BB and BB started taking the contractors side! Saying things like, “well, lets say we just put $65k into it and maybe don’t do the upstairs for a year.”…what!? NO! We were told we could do it all for $40k, that was a condition put in place before we bought it. The argument grew. A lot. My CA property got dragged into it with using it for a HELOC (I was telling BB we don’t have equity to get that kind of money out of our properties anyways. I was really thinking I just don’t want to borrow that much but used our equity as an obstacle.) Then the CA HELOC argument turned back into “we should sell it” and then it turned into “Gamecock your going to do whatever you want to do so just tell me what we’re going to do. Since I have no say in the matter.”

It went on like that for a while. We eventually came to a resolution but we don’t really see eye to eye on the two main argument points. I am angry because BB PROMISED me that we could do it all for $40k. Does he know ANYTHING about construction? No. But I told him that I didn’t think it could be done and didn’t want to buy the property. BB talked to his contractor friend and then repeatedly matter of factly told me it could be done. I told him that I don’t want to hear later that they need more money. Now we are hearing that we need more money and BB is just going along with it! He didn’t question it then, he’s not questioning it now. He’s doing zero research –just agreeing to whatever he is told. It makes me SO MAD. I feel really deceived. I trusted him against my better judgment.

And he is angry because I have been using the income produced from the CA property to put into savings in case we need to do a big renovation job out there some day. In case of an emergency or in case we want to remodel it before selling it or whatever. The money in the account is enough to cover the additional costs of The Impulsive Purchase. BB of course wants to raid it and does not think we should have the account in the first place. Because we need to sell the property. Today. As is.

We did find one lightbulb moment. BB kept asking me if we could afford to take out a $65-80k HELOC. I kept interpreting it as "Why CANT we take out a $65-80k HELOC if we can get it?" And would hysterically yell "we cant afford it!" Until BB made me sit down at a computer and plug in the numbers in an online calculator. The payment was going to be about the size of our mortgage payment. BB asked... "can we afford to pay that every month?" to which I said "No we dont have the income. Maybe next year when we both have raises but not today." And that worked. BB said "Fine. We might have the equity to borrow but we dont have the income to pay it back. We're not flipping this house so we need to make sure we can make the monthly payments. And we cant. So we stick with our original numbers."

So we eventually agreed to divide up The Impulsive Purchase into 3 stages. The first stage outlining what we can do now with the money we have. And then see if we can live with that until we have the money for the 2nd (finishes) and 3rd (outdoor) stage. We’ll work with the contractor to create the plan and budget in the next few weeks.

So there is peace in the household today. I say cautiously.

8 Responses to “Fighting and Resolutions”

  1. Ima saver Says:

    No way should the contractor's price have doubled!! Sounds like he wants to make a bigger profit.

  2. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Whew! You have so much going on with these houses. Look for a route that gives you peace of mind. Buying the Impulse Purchase was a huge move. Try to be a Rock of Gibraltar about dealing with it from here on out. I think it was a good move to do the figures for BB and hold fast to not over extending. If there is room for impulse in the rehab, it will be in the color of wall paint or the style of doorbell, not whether to double (or more!) you budget to do every possible project your contractor can think of.

  3. gamecock43 Says:

    Rock of Gibraltar!! What a great idea! I will hold fast and not move when these guys come at me with their construction plans! I will picture the rock and remember this advice!

  4. ceejay74 Says:

    Did you get it in writing from BB when he promised and promised it wouldn't be more than $40K? Sounds silly for a marriage, but you guys are also in business together, so it may be a good idea for future deals. And he is clearly a man of his word--but his word seems to change a bit from day to day. LOL.

  5. snafu Says:

    There is nothing like home reno to bring basic differences in money philosophy bubbling to the surface. Since BB knows zilch about reno, costs, return on investment and can't be bothered with research, this project has been added to your list of responsibilities. Renos are never done on schedule as Murphy's Law kicks in daily. Once the design drawings are finalized, they are FINAL. The cost of the teeny tiniest change is staggering whether you [as the payee] know it or not. Since contractors charge retail for product they buy at discount, a visit your Big Box Store works out cost per sf for your 'must have' list.

    Items that are on the 'pimped-out' list this year are often short lived. I'm sure contractors had a blast selling the idea of gold or green appliances to go with evil, shag rug in the 70's. Glass doors look great, show every finger print and keeps the maid hoppin' with the decor behind the glass. No maid? pass on the glass is one suggestion. If a 'painted lady' project, enjoy today's sky grey colors and change them out for the whatever's hot in 2015. To stay on trend, use the least expensive accessories possible. Recycle today's drapery for tomorrow's throw cushions, lamp shade covers, chair cushion covers etc. Can't sew? Send BB for lessons

  6. Broken Arrow Says:

    You know, I think what's really nice about this story is that you and your hubby found a middle ground you're both willing to agree on.

  7. gamecock43 Says:

    oh I didnt know that contractors charge retail when they get a discount. And I like the idea that once drawings are done they are FINAL. I want this to be FINAL like tomorrow already.

    And yes- I am trying to stay away from trendy stuff. I want to just maintain as much historic character as I can. Therefore it will always look classic rather than dated. We'll see how well that plays out though. Sometimes it gets blurry. Subway tile...classic or trendy? Maybe classic- but classic colors were pale pink or baby blue too!

  8. Jerry Says:

    I think he is being played by the contractor, who sees right through his lack of knowledge, which leads to a no-win situation. I think it is great that you communicate about it, but you guys could have used some iron-clad insurance about things being done right and on budget. Not that there are guarantees about that, I guess. Good luck!
    Jerry

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