So, the time has come when our family has outgrown the “Money Pit”. For those of you that do not know what the money pit is, it is a farmhouse built in 1892 and added on to throughout the years. Most of this work was not done by trained carpenters, was not done using squares, and used true dimension lumber, not today’s 2×4’s which actually measure 1 1/2 x 3 1/2. We do have an updated downstairs (kitchen, dining, living), but need some work elsewhere.
With Weeks number three on the way, we have come to the time where you either add on again, or find a new house and enter a new era on our farm. We are the first family in this house to have more than two children, and one bathroom with five people just shouldn’t happen. Driving this decision is the fact that the foundation (rock gathered by the Indians as my Uncle Dale used to say) on the old farmhouse is in need of some serious repair. We have looked into pouring a basement in front of the money pit and moving the house over on the new foundation which would allow an addition into a garage that exists now, but by the time the finish work would be done on the addition and the basement we are looking at well over $100,000 and we would still have an old farmhouse, that is even more of a money pit.
See, the problem with sinking money into the old farmhouse is that it’s money spent you will never be able to re-coup. Everybody says the home place will never be sold, and I would agree if we lived on the convergence of two gravel roads 15 miles out of town, but with an interstate access road on one side and a major road to a town of 24,000(1.5 miles to the city limits) on the other side of the homeplace, the odds are it probably will be sold someday. So, when you look at the possibility that it may someday be sold, do you continue to put money in the old house? No one will want to buy the old house, and adding on will not add value(except in the county assessors eyes). The rest of the site(buildings,bins,etc) and the ground have value. Don’t get me wrong, the house has value, just not monetary.
The economics of the situation are not the hardest to overcome. It is the emotional attachment to the place. We are the fifth generation to live here, and will be the first to leave without passing it on directlyto the next generation due to a wedding and the next generation coming back to the farm. Mind you, we will not tear it down, leave it in disrepair, or let it waste away, we just do not want to continue pouring money in the pit. We will maintain it as we may have a son or daughter who wishes to come back to farm for whom it would be a good starter house. Dad says he should have tore it down years ago and started from scratch (in hindsight, that would have been the best decision financially). But, for him it was emotional also. I know the attachment to the place! I also wonder what the rest of the family will think with someone else (probably a hired man) living on the “home place”? You see, even with cousins removed from the farm a generation, or even two, there is an emotional attachment to the farm. They always want to come out and visit the “Farm”.
For our family, the thought of having neighbors with kids the age of ours and a neighborhood actually appeal, as does the ability to leave “work”. When work is right out your door, it makes it hard to leave it and enjoy the family time we all cherish. There is always something to do!
So, as we ponder this decision in our lives, moving off the “Home Place”, and not continuing to pour money into the “Money Pi, my way to justify it is that nobody wants to come out and see the “House”, they always want to come out and see the “Farm”, and it will always be here!