Saturday, June 13, 2009

Condo Update

Last post, I complained that the worst decision in my life was to buy this condo. I still think that's probably true. However, what's done is done, so now I have to make the best of it. The only way to make the best of the situation is to just go out and spend lots and lots of money.

I have all my repairs and renovations lined up. I had an initial budget in mind when I bought the place, and I've gone over that initial budget by over 25%. I know that I will never get back the money I put into the place. However, I did significantly increase the value of the home, so I'll get a lot of it back. As someone pointed out in a comment to my last blog post though, I shouldn't think of it as much as an investment as it is a home. In fact, I've always said myself that I wasn't concerned with making money on a home. I intend to live there for quite some time, so it has to be something that I like. After these renovations, it will be quite nice.

The money in the whole thing is what's freaking my out, and it's also why I'm calling it the worst decision of my life. It's really a gamble on my part. It's probably a small gamble, but there's still a chance this could all blow up in my face. My financial philosophy has always been to stay well within my means, and always have plenty of money in savings to spare in case something goes wrong. Before buying this home, I had well over a year's worth of take-home pay sitting in my savings account. If for whatever reason I lost my job, I could have stayed in this apartment and lived the exact same lifestyle for about 3 years before running out of money. That's quite a safety net.

Now, I don't have that safety net. After all this is done, I'll be broke. My mortgage is small (all things included, I'll be paying about as much to live in the condo as I am to live in my apartment), so once the renovations are through, I'll be able to go back to saving money at the same rate as before. I'm good at saving money. I guess I should be good at it. I make a pharmacist's salary, and I'm single with no kids. There's just about no way for me to go out and spend more than I make unless I start blowing money on really extravagant things. Since I have no desire to live any more luxuriously than I do now, I think I'll be OK.

Of course, being OK is dependent on me having a job. This is where I get nervous. I don't have a crystal ball. I could lose my job tomorrow or a couple months from now. In order for me to recover to a point of comfort, I have to maintain my job for another year or two. That probably won't be a problem. However, maybe it will be. Maybe early in the fall, the economy takes another nose-dive, only this time worse than before. Maybe our store's business plummetts, and they have to cut another pharmacist. Anything can happen, which is why I've always planned for the absolute worst case scenario.

In that way, buying this home was a deviation from my normal financial philosophy. It was a purchase based on blind optimism. It was a decision based on the hope that everything will be OK. It's dependent on the economy recovering like it always has in the past. It probably will, but I can't help to be uneasy about it. I'm naturally a pessimist. I always think the worst is going to happen. Thinking optimistically does not suit me. In fact, I'm entirely incapable of doing it. I simply cannot see the bright side in anything. I always see everything that can go wrong. That's why I hate gambling no matter how much the odds might be in my favor. This condo feels like a gamble to me.

In a year, I may look back and say getting this condo ultimately turned out to be the best decision in my life. That's if everything goes according to plan of course. As for right now, I don't have a safety net because I'm completely broke. I'm just hoping everything goes well, but I know that there are a lot of factors that are beyond my control. That's what scares me. That's why I'm freaking out.

For now... I'm set in my path, so I'll have to see this through. I just feel like I'm steering blindly.


Anonymous said...

Did you not have a good home inspector give you the estimate of repairs before you bought the house?

Pharmacy Mike said...

The home inspector was great. However, he only needs to report on things that NEED to be fixed.

My bathroom technically worked. The toilet flushed. The faucets ran. It was functional. It was just a disaster. Same with my kitchen. I could have lived there, but the freaking thing was ugly and dated. I technically didn't need to repaint the entire house. Anyone can live with dings and stains on the walls. It's not something you really want to do though.

As I said in the previous post... I knew the place needed work. However, I didn't realize just how much work it needed until I actually spent a lot of time in it. Even then, I really underestimated how much it would cost.

Moral of the story... Don't plan on buying a fixer-upper unless you have plenty of money to spare to actually do the fixing-up.

pharmacy chick said...

I think when its all said and done (and trust the chick) you will enjoy it. Having just finished reno's a year ago, let me tell you a couple of things. 1. You will go over budget. (it always does) 2. You will wonder if your sanity will survive a reno (it will). 3. get a realistic time table, and ask how your contractor will keep that time table. 4. check his it. ( I called 15 of them) 5. Have a good verbal rapport with your contractor, if he doesnt' answer your questions, hems and haws or dances around them, then you will not communicate well during the event. I spent over 100K on my house last year(in a slumping economy). Was it painful to write those checks? absolutely. Were there bumps in the roads? yup! Was it worth it? absolutely.
good luck!

Anonymous said...

All will be good in the end. If it's not good, then it's not the end.