Thursday, May 05, 2011

Long-Term Planning (vs Short-Term Planning)

A couple of years ago I broached the topic about converting our laundry room into a second bathroom that also houses our washer & dryer. Surprisingly, some readers of this blog felt incredibly passionate about the topic - one person even called me names and insulted my intelligence for even considering putting a bathroom in that room - some said it would be the best thing we ever did to add another bathroom to the house; others (who I think probably don't have only one bathroom in their own homes) said it would be a total waste of money and a bad investment.

As you've likely noticed, we don't just jump into home renovation projects around here. We marinate on them - for years.

So the fact that I'm talking about this one again - years later - shouldn't be seen as any indicator that we're actually going to start anything anytime soon. But we're back to discussing it. And the projects that get the most discussion tend to bubble up to the "to do" list (admittedly years later).

So what changed our minds? Well, obviously having two toilets is never a bad thing (especially when you have company over). And we had some bathtub leak issues this past month that we finally got fixed on Friday. While the plumber was here he and Alan were talking and Alan mentioned putting in a second bathroom. The guy took a look at the space and said that his company could probably do the work for $5000. While on the one hand that sounds like a lot of money, on the other it doesn't when I think about how much value it would add to our house when - if - it becomes time to sell it. No one these days wants a small bungalow with just one bathroom. People want multiple restrooms - us among them. A five thousand dollar investment in the short term can help us out in the long term.

The other thing is that I'm one of those people that hates it when folks gussy up their house right before selling it. Sure, it's great to do some fixes that will make your house show better but brand new appliances just before selling after living with crap appliances for years? That's not very fun. A second bathroom right before selling when it would have been a much needed addition years before? Makes perfect sense.

I think one of the things that has kept us from investing too much money & energy into this house is when we bought it we thought this was a five year house. We figured in five years we'd move on to a bigger, better house in a much more desirable location. And then the real estate bottom fell out from under us and we're $125,000 under water as we hit the five year mark. We're now thinking this is a "ten year house" at minimum. So why shouldn't we spend some money now to make the fixes and additions that we want, so that we can live with them in the years to come? Seems logical and reasonable to me.

Looking back, I wish we'd have had a crystal ball to tell us we'd be here for ten years because I think we would have done a couple of things differently. I've long wanted a persimmon tree. We keep being told that it takes 3-4 years for them to properly bear fruit. We never got around to it and if we had, we'd be getting fruit now. Wasted opportunity. I don't want to waste anymore opportunities by being short-sighted about how long we'll be here and how we can better make use of our space so that it's something we'll love living with, not just the future owners.


  1. I think adding another bathroom is one of the best investments you can do in your home. That is a dream of mine also. We have all the rough plumbing in the basement already. Maybe someday. Good luck when you finally decide to do it.

  2. We've been having similar discussions here at our house. What we initially thought would be a five year house, turned into a ten year house and will likely be a 15 year house. Somehow, we have to make it work for us. A bathroom is high on the list of making it work. Ours will involve an upflow toilet, as the only place to put an extra bath without it looking odd is in the basement. I wish it could be right up in the main living area so that I could leave clothes in the bathroom if I wanted to, but, alas, our flow in our house doesn't allow for it.

    So, what other plans do you have up your sleeve?

  3. Akacharlotte729:32 AM

    I've been following your blog for awhile but have never commented. I think adding a bathroom is a great idea and in your shoes I would go for it. My husband and I also marinate on home improvemement ideas for years and years before following through so I totally understand where you are coming from. I'm looking forward to see what you decide.

  4. Lisa Lazar1:57 PM

    If you want persimmons, come over to my place in East Oakland this fall. Judging by the number of flowers on our tree at the moment, we're going to be drowning in persimmons.

    ps -- Nobody likes you hair but you? Wow. Just wow.

  5. So jealous of your persimmons. We have two overbearing plum trees and every year I wish the former owners had planted something different. She went the cheap route on everything though, so it makes sense that she reached for the cheapest, fastest growing fruit trees.

    I'm still flabbergasted over the hair comment.


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