Holding Forth

Published on June 1st, 2015 | by Richard Black


10 Things Everyone Should Know Before Rehabbing a Home or How to Add Stress to Your Marriage

UF_Decrepit_Home_060115If any of you are looking to add stress to your marriage and life in general I highly encourage you to rehab a home. There’s really nothing like the experience. In addition to managing the project and spending hours, perhaps even months, at a hardware store agonizing over cabinet pulls, packing up one home in the anticipation of moving to another, having the move in date pushed off a first, second and then a third time before finally moving into an area that is actively under construction this might be the kicker you or your spouse need to begin a legal separation.

For an extra added giggle try moving during the Holidays. Nothing quite contributes to the Christmas or Chanukah spirit like the palpable tension that occurs during a home renovation or saying “Where in the fuck did we put the (roasting pan, turkey baster, turkey, ) over, and over, and over and even over again.  If you plan on going all in and really putting your marriage to the test I’d recommend hiring a general contractor unfamiliar with the general rules of accounting, business ethics, a level or ruler. For bonus points, and this really isn’t for the faint of heart, look for a GC, with an IQ, EQ, or communication skills of a blender in mating season.

I’m not saying that I’ve personally experienced the full gamut of what a truly horrific home renovation has to offer. In reality my wife and I have been quite lucky. I also feel compelled to mention that our general contractor is much brighter than a blender, is undoubtedly familiar with the use of a level and the rules of both accounting and business ethics. I’m also pretty sure he knows how to use a ruler and I’m not saying that simply because he still has a key to our front door.

There have been some mishaps along the way but, in retrospect and with the help of many, many beers, I have come to understand that these sorts of things were unavoidable in a project of this scope. And so, without further ado, here are  my 10 pieces of advice that everyone should know before embarking upon (or even thinking about) renovating a home:

1. Put an attorney on retainer. The odds are that, by the end of the project, you will either need it to sue your contractor or to initiate divorce proceedings. PRO TIP: Hire one with a background in litigation and family law to hedge your bet!

2. Previously you will have never considered the number of outlets in any given room. Know that you will fret over this decision more than you did over the health of your firstborn.

3. Regardless of how many times you’ve put into writing, diagrammed, or had a conversation regarding the optimal placement of each electrical outlet your electrician will place electric outlets wherever he chooses.

4. If you are a former smoker you will seriously consider smoking again. If you have never smoked you will consider starting. NOTE: This bit of advice also works for drinking and other forms of substance abuse!

5. Upon their installation either you or your wife will immediately regret at least half of the fixtures (cabinet pulls, towel bars, vent covers, etc.) you have chosen. Upon the installation of the new fixtures either you or your wife will decide that you preferred the old ones.

6. You and your spouse will spend approximately four months at a Home Depot, Lowe’s or other hardware store. NOTE: This does not include the amount of time you will spend at tile stores, bathroom or kitchen outlets. PRO TIP: Bring something to read while your wife inspects each and every one of the 1,600 cabinet pulls, 158 types of ceiling fans or 5,800 versions of the same bronze porch light. SUPER PRO TIP: If you’re too young to remember them Google the word “Quaalude” and consider taking one before each shopping experience.

7. Kitchen cabinets are a racket. After selecting the height, width, style, texture, feel, hue, tone and color of your kitchen cabinets over four meetings that span two months and last eight hours each you will be presented with an estimate that totals, roughly, the GDP of Myanmar. While the GDP of Myanmar is not a whopping figure when comes to those of other nations it is quite a heft sum to consider when purchasing kitchen cabinets. NOTE: This estimate will not include the installation of the kitchen cabinets.

8. Despite all of the work that you’ve done, painting, cleaning, packing and unpacking you will gain approximately forty pounds over the duration of your project.

9. Your actual move in date will be one that is roughly 30% past the date of your scheduled occupancy. By adjusting for this anomaly at the beginning of your renovation you will simply put off the completion date by that much longer. NOTE: This figure also applies for your budget as well and is known in scientific circles as Richard Black’s First Law of Home Renovation.

10. Upon moving into your newly refurbished home you will realize that your budget did not include curtains, curtain rods, or curtain rings which can run anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars! Isn’t that something! PRO TIP: Notify your neighbors of the times you or your spouse will be undressing, dressing, showering or using the toilet in front of an open window. SUPER PRO TIP: Have your neighbors sign a contract that provides you with a portion of the proceeds in the event that one of them films you falling asleep and off the toilet mid BM and the post goes viral.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is all the knowledge I have to impart regarding what to know before renovating a home. Please join me later in the event I have the fortitude to write a post regarding “10 Things Everyone Should Know When Moving Into a Home that is Actively Under Construction” or “Coping With Substance Abuse After Renovating a Home”.

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