The townhome in which we live was supposed to be a quick launch pad into a bigger home. It was a key to building equity in a short amount of time, thereby having a larger down payment to apply on a real home, with a fence. A place where we can get a dog and grow a garden. We should have made about 25 thousand dollars on it, but we said (in 2008), "Next year, for sure." You all know what happened. In late September of that year, the market crashed. Now we have nothing. No equity, no launch pad. If we were to close today, I might have to pay someone upwards of 10 thousand dollars to take my home. It is sad, it's a nice place. We added a finished basement and, more recently, an extra bedroom. We put nice tile in the kitchen and a laminate throughout the first floor. We put in a ceiling fan. We modernized.
But then we stopped. The depression that our house isn't worth what we bought it for has influenced us to let things go. I had all these visions of new shrubbery under my windows. I wanted to rip out the old nasty carpet upstairs and refloor it. I wanted to buy quality window treatments for our bizarrely sized, yet ginormous, windows. I wanted new lighting fixtures throughout the house. But what's the point of upgrades now? Who wants to sink money into a place you don't want to stay in forever, but can't sell? I haven't touched anything.
Our home is about 16 years old at this point and is needing some attention and repair. Our quick "we're going to be gone in a year, so let's do it cheaply" fixes are coming back to bite us. I need to start attending to them. The whole thing is a little overwhelming, so I have broken it all down, room by room, as to what needs to be done. There are two tiers of maintenance: "what needs to be done if we want to sell" and simply "what needs to be done." I am only focused on the latter, yet it is still a lot of tedious work (and I was supposed to be on vacation.)
So, I am going to follow my dad's advice, when a cleaning task is daunting, start in a corner and work outwards. I'll just do a little bit each day, from the corner on out. By the end of summer, I should accomplish the immediate needs. And if we're lucky enough to be in a position where we can sell our house, I won't have too much to do. I can focus on the bigger issues, like what kind of a dog we'll get or what I'll plant in my garden.