A Project House Update

I know that some of you have been wondering what in the world is going on with our little Project House (PH). Truthfully, there are many days that we wonder the same thing. I think the easiest way to explain the PH process is through a timeline, so here we go...

November 2010
Purchase our next door neighbor's house and dub it the Project House (PH for short)

December 2010
Assess the viability of the house and start ripping out the old lath and plaster walls

January 2011
Work stops on the PH as we begin to figure out how much it's going to cost to fix it

March 2011
We come up with a plan that will give us three bedrooms, two baths - perfect for renting

June 2011
We pick up a few odds and ends for the house at Ikea on our way through Atlanta


August 2011
Burn lots and lots and lots of wood from the PH in a big bonfire

November 2011
One year since purchase, still no walls, still no progress, still unsure of what to do

310 - Kitchen, No walls

December 2011
Devise new plan that gives us two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and should be cheaper

January 2012
Stop paying extra on our house and put all money into an account for the PH


February 2012
Lose more shingles from the PH roof, decide first project has to be a new roof

March 2012
Reassessing our long-term financial goals leads to a decision to close up the PH

April 2012
Get estimates for new roof, gag over cost, come up with a less expensive temporary plan

May 2012
Feed a friend lunch in exchange for help patching the roof - jokingly rename it the Potential Money Pit (PMP)


And here we are, a year and a half after we bought the house. We have two basements full of stuff for the PH, plus a guest bedroom that isn't usable due to it being a PH storage room. I might have gotten a little ahead of the project in my purchases. Live and learn - I chalk it up to yet another financial mistake that turned into a learning experience.

We've had a lot of people ask us if we regret buying the PH, and the answer for both of us is unequivocally "NO!" - we have no regrets. We always knew we wanted that house and, in fact, started talking about buying it shortly after we moved into our house eleven years ago. We share a driveway and, basically, it's way too close to have someone living there who isn't related.


So, where does that leave us?

If you've been following our Bottom Line posts, then you know that the decision that we made in March was to aim for paying off the mortgage on our house by the end of this year. What that means for the PH is that we're shutting it down, locking the doors, battening the hatches, and letting it sit (again) for the next seven months. At that point, we'll reassess the viability of throwing $$$$$ into it to make it livable again vs. paying it off ASAP and selling it as scrap, to be moved, or simply tearing it down and having an empty lot next door. A lot of that decision will be based on variables like who wins the November election, the economy, and how long it would take us to pay off the PH vs. using that money to flip and rent it.

Would we do it again (flip a rental)? Absolutely. We've learned a lot from this non-project project, and we'd be a lot more grounded going into a new PH (re: cost of materials, what we're willing and not willing to do, etc.). Plus, we already have most of what we need to upgrade a property, so why not use the materials, right? While you may not see or hear much about this particular Project House from now on, I'm pretty sure it won't be the last time you'll read the abbreviation "PH" on this blog. Stay tuned ...

Have you ever started a project, only to realize that it wasn't worth the time/money to finish?
I'd love to hear your story.


  1. My husband and I bought an old house almost three years ago. It was certainly livable when we bought it, but we knew it didn't have any insulation in the walls (which were/are plaster and lath). So for the last three years we have been gutting it room by room, insulating and drywalling. Looking back, we know that we did the right thing in buying the house, but we had NO idea what we were getting ourselves into. We have found that every job takes twice as long and costs twice as much as we originally thought that it would. :) Also, if one particular neighbor ever put their house on the market, we would be very tempted to buy it and bulldoze it. :)

  2. Yes! We have been doing a master bathroom renovation for the past 2.5 years! I mean it was bad bad before, but we didn't think it would take this long!

  3. That is quite a roller coaster you have been on! Kudos to you both for continuing to learn from it and for looking back with no regrets.

  4. Christi - Yay! Glad to know we're not alone! Thanks for sharing your story with us.

    Allison - No one ever thinks a project will take "that long" - we certainly never have, but it always does! :-)

    Molly - regrets are a waste of time. It's good to spend time thinking about the how and why of a decision, and to LEARN from the situation, but regrets don't fix things and they don't undo anything. Upward and onward! :-)

  5. How exciting! I must have missed this post! Why don't you live in it and rent your place out while you fix it up? It looks too nice to tear down!


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