How Long Is Limbo? Building a House in the Post-Recession Era.


A house is not yet a home--but soon.

If you build it, he will come--Field of Dreams

Yes friends, we are now in December. That means our house is currently in month 13 of construction. I suppose I can consider it a teenager, and we all know what that can be like.

"Why is it taking so long?" you might legitimately ask. In a year, HGTV could buy, sell, renovate, remodel and re-market about 200 homes, and we are still working on one. Based on her advertising claims, there is one realtor in the Chicago area who has sold just short of 4 million homes in the time it has taken us to get this far, with the end zone still a bit beyond the horizon.

If we had to pinpoint one factor getting us stuck in the mud it would be subcontractors. They come, they go, they leave behind a mess and an unfinished job, promising to be back "soon". Others are more consistent, but slow, which we hope means craft-worthy. And yes, there have been a few mulligans and redos. Some are based on design changes we have initiated, some have been the creative decisions by architect Jefferson (or is Hamilton the architect-I keep forgetting), some related to out-and-out subcontractor errors. Why oh why would the stucco guys change the stucco color in the middle of the job? And then there have been the unexpected add-ons like a radon remediation system that is now a local requirement.

So what is the status of the final "product"? The exterior and landscaping are close to complete, just lacking rear sod, stone walkways and a bit of carpentry. On the interior, floors are finished in most rooms, all base cabinets are in, the stairs are complete, the tile dude sings and grouts on. One of our biggest frustration is with the HVAC installation, which just never gets finished off. Come on guys, it will just take you one more day.

We are still looking forward to the installation of countertops, hardware, handles, light fixtures, and all those appliances that ABT has been holding for us since before the the Cub's season even began. Patching here, electric work there, and a whole lot of final painting are still ahead. It will all come together, just not right now. And interest rates tick up, up, up. Time is truly money.

We will love our new home, with its open design, great entertaining spaces, lovely views and peaceful pond. The neighborhood is great, every home with friendly dogs and even friendlier dog walking neighbors. And no more long commutes down Half Day Road in energy sapping afternoon traffic. We are just so eager for the move...

In the meantime, we prepare for the holidays in our rental. The chillier weather has blessedly sent the skunks into hiding. It has also revealed two massive hornets nests in the now bare parkway trees. But as my dad used to say, "This too shall pass." At least we know we will be long gone before the trees are green and the hornets buzzing once more.

Hey--if you haven't read our blog about pathology reports and your health, or have not taken our brief survey, please click here. We are collecting important data.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Filed under: Uncategorized

Leave a comment