Don’t do it.
No, I’m serious. Yes, I’m smiling as I write this, but seriously: Don’t buy that fixer upper unless you’re ready to spend hours upon hours ripping out nasty old carpet, getting dirtier than you’ve been since that week doing mission work in Costa Rica when you were 19. Ripping up not only carpet but carpet padding, baseboards, and the warped laminate floor in the kitchen.
You’ll thank God you found no mold beneath those floors. Only hard concrete that will make your feet and knees ache for months to come.
Don’t do it. Just don’t do it unless you’re okay with the fact that you’ll find water damage, insect infestations, dog hair belonging to a former occupant behind the stove, a leaky faucet in the tub, a broken plate in the microwave, and cat hair on the ceiling fan(s).
Don’t do it unless you’re expecting to learn more than you ever cared to learn about the different types of flooring available in modern-day America. You’ll be able to recite the differences between laminate and hardwood, vinyl planks and tile. You’ll agonize for ages over the decision to re-floor your entire house:
- What will be easiest to clean?
- What will be the most sanitary when you fill this house with guests and children and dogs?
- What will match the wood tones of your furniture?
Don’t do it unless you’re prepared to buy all your friends pizza because they help you paint the entire house in a day. The pizza is nothing; choosing the paint is akin to choosing a wedding dress. Sample after sample of light gray paint will be examined on the wall by you and your husband like it’s the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. You’ll change the lightbulbs in a desperate attempt to get the 4×4 space you streaked on the wall to match the paint chip you lovingly, carefully picked out at Home Depot.
It won’t ever match. But you’ll find one you love anyway and ten people will help you paint all the walls the color of the sea when the sunshine hits it through the clouds on a rainy day.
Don’t do it unless you’re willing to live with a crazy kitchen with four types of wood making the room look busier than Target on Black Friday: wood laminate countertops, wood laminate floors, golden honey wood cabinets, a darker wood kitchen door.
Slowly you’ll paint or replace all the wood—and the fridge that dies the week before you move in, which the repairman grimly informs you is almost as old as you are (and you’re feeling older every day after this house experience!).
Don’t do it unless you’re ready to almost die of heat exhaustion on what was meant to be one of the cooler autumn days (it’s a trick! don’t do it!) as you labored for hours with your mother and grandmother outpacing you…pulling weeds…covering a fire pit…using the truck hitch tied to the roots of the front shrubs to unveil what will become a beautiful rock garden.
Don’t do it unless you’re prepared to make list after list after list and stay up until 1AM and spend weekends working “at the house” before you can even move in.
Do it if you want to laugh until you cry over the silliest things happening while you’re working on the house: paint ending up on your eyelashes and your pants, your hair turning gray with spackle dust, your husband’s look when you discover the dog hair behind the stove.
Just be prepared.
You’ll cry every time you forget something at the store. The Lowe’s employees learn your name.
Oh, and heads up: You’ll buy so many buckets of paint with the coupons that keep coming in the mail because Lowe’s and Home Depot love you. When you buy one less bucket than you need, you will get so creative scraping the last bit of paint from the bucket because you just want to finish this project!
One More Word about that Fixer Upper
Don’t do it unless you’re willing to strategically scheme and plan projects around that Home Repair sinking fund because you will not go into debt even for your dream home. Everything takes longer and is more expensive than you realized but praise God you do not have to go into debt.
Don’t do it unless you’re okay with living for months without baseboards, unpacked boxes of books, wallpaper on the hall bathroom walls that would make a clown hyperventilate because painting those walls is “fun project” that shouldn’t take longer than a weekend (but you always say that about almost every project) so you keep putting it off.
Don’t do it unless you’re ready to learn more about sanctification than anything else has ever taught you, because this house you love and saw potential in…you love it even though it’s cost you so much time and effort and dollars and that must be how God looks at us…as the most costly people He still loves even so.