Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Money Pit, Part One

Dear Readers: Please note the following wording, from our sales contract:
"The property is connected to, or has been approved for connection to, a public water and sewer system"
I'll give you one hint as to the reason for our grumbling today: it's the part of that clause that has been set apart by commas.  Yes, the bungalow has been approved for connection to water.  And what that means was spelled out by Mark today: $15,000.  Yes, $15,000 that was not in our budget.  That's what it will cost to turn the house into one approved for connection into one connected to water service.  FIFTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.

Really?  It was a Spielberg movie?
With our current house, people used to joke about comparisons between it and the house from the movie "The Money Pit."  You know, that bad movie from the eighties with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long.  But that was really because of the state of disrepair of the house, not because of the actual money involved.  In fact, I think we've only spent about $70,000 total to fix up this house, and that includes that $13,000 "splurge" (ha!) on central air conditioning-- worth every freakin' penny, I might add.  This is, therefore, the most expensive thing we've ever done to a house.  And we're not near the end yet.  

As I wrote a few weeks back, we had some issues with the water company-- in that they didn't recognize our house as existing.  That's because we have no link to their pipes, and now we understand that.  When they upgraded the service years ago, they just severed the connection completely.  Nada.  A similar thing happened to our current house and the gas supply, which was apparently cut off after Norman the squatter was using the gas for free; they came and literally ripped the pipes out of the ground.  We had to pay $1,500 to have them re-installed, which we would not have had to have done had we known there was no gas service, and chosen not to have any gas appliances. In that case, it took until the plumber tried to turn on the gas for them to realize there was no gas service at all.  In this case, while the plumbers are only finding out our issues now, we don't exactly have a choice-- it's not like we can choose to go with electric showers and toilets.  Can we?  (Can we?)

Apparently the connection is near our parking spaces, and has to be dug under the house because the water needs to enter the house in our mudroom, the downstairs space just inside the back door.  My guess is the expense comes from the fact that digging will have to occur under the foundation, and care has to be taken so the house doesn't, you know, fall down and stuff.

So here we are.  We have $13,500 left in our FHA contingency fund, which means that, okay, we won't have to pay all $15,000 our of our own pockets right this second (it's already included in the total loan amount on which we're already paying the mortgage) but any other cost overruns will come out of our pockets.  And we've got plenty of work left to go.  The saving grace is that, at the end of all of this, we'll get a considerable percentage reimbursed by the historic folks-- if memory serves me, it'll amount to 20% of everything we do to make the house livable, courtesy of the state, and 10% of everything we do aesthetically to the exterior of the house, courtesy of the county.  (The percentages may be backwards, come to think of it...)  But that just means this will cost us $12,000 in actual dollars, not $15,000, and seeing that we're celebrating the recent payoff of our auto loan-- five years for $23,000-- an additional $12k (or $15k or whatever) added to the pile just means we'll have to drive our car for a few more years than we had planned.


(Please note while you are all invited to be guests in our home, any use of plumbing features, from showering to using the toilet or having your dishes washed before you're served food on them, will come with an historical use surcharge of $150.  The management thanks you for your support of historical structures and the fact that the water company can get away with putting in new lines within ten feet of an existing home without actually linking it to their system.)

(Or maybe, since this is an historical structure, we should just forgo indoor plumbing altogether...)

No comments:

Post a Comment