Anyone ever feel hopeless?

macvirtualasstJanuary 10, 2013

Hi All,

We built a home over the last 1 1/2 years. Initial construction went up fast but we are *still* doing the finishing. Budget shrank considerably towards the end and it feels like it might never get done. It's depressing. Has anyone felt like this? It would make me feel better to know we are not alone. We can no longer afford to hire folks to help us so we are doing the rest all by ourselves. Not much left actually, but it feels endless some days. Not to mention, we made so many mistakes and it takes money and effort to correct them :-( I never had that exhilarating feeling of moving into a completely finished house, and now some things are getting worn and old while others have not been finished yet. Thanks for letting me vent :-)

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I am sorry, that sounds very frustrating! I am guessing it will take us this year to fully build the house then next year to get it looking like a home.

What sort of things do you have left to do?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 5:42PM
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You are not alone. While our job was just at a year and still not totally complete, it got old rather quickly. The contractors were tired of coming to our house and I was tired of looking at them every day. We have been in our home since late August 2012 and it still does not feel like home. Not one piece of artwork is on the wall, no accessories, no landscaping, etc. We are going to call on a dear friend who is an interior designer for some assistance. He will be my hero.

I hope things get better for you soon.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 5:44PM
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Yes, your experience is shared by many. Even those who have a "finished" new house find things that they would like to change and/or improve. It's the nature of home ownership!

There is a Chinese expression along the lines of, "when the house is 'done', the life is finished!"

May you have a long life and a pleasurable house that is never 'done'!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 6:16PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I bought a weather vane for the top of our out's of a flying our new house will be finished when pigs fly!!!!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 8:58PM
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Virgil - Perfect saying!
Annie - love weather vanes! Be sure to post pics when it is installed.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 9:01PM
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Not at the hopeless stage, but we can empathize with your situation. We too are finishing without contractor help. We are trying hard to avoid using credit since we are retired. We have moved in to cease paying rent and are using whatever we can squeeze from our monthly expenses to finish the home. You are right that it has wrung some of the joy from having a new home, but we have tried to hang pictures and make our home comfortable as we also continue work. Still left for us is baseboard, window and door trim, a few interior doors, and exterior columns. We won't count landscaping--it will undoubtedly be a challenge for the rest of our lives.

How did we get here? We committed to build a home large enough for us with a second story for a family member. The sale of our last home yielded less than we expected. A few miscalculations on the build, and oila, we have a wonderful home with some outstanding work to complete.

I think this is my advice: do all you can to focus the eye on the things done. Focus the heart there as well. We have done excellent work with a few errors that in the long run will be meaningless. My DH, God love him, is compulsive about finishing, so I have no doubts we will finish these chores. This too shall end. There IS hope, no, certainty, that many good things will happen in this space. Christmas this year was as much fun with our grandchildren as ever. As I remind myself in the low moments, keep your eyes on the important things, not the walls that need baseboard.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 9:51PM
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Wise words Virgil! Homes are a labor of love that are never truly finished. I finally realized that.

We moved in 2 1/2 years ago and we still have paintings to hang, windows that need treatments, landscaping and projects to complete.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 10:03PM
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It's just a house. You seem to having a hard time accepting the situation and that is understandable but you need to free yourself from it.

In '67 I found myself in Advanced Infantry Training. While waiting for something pointless to happen in the dark in the woods in the rain practicing "light and noise discipline" someone whispered "God I love this; there's no place I'd rather be" and we all quickly agreed in muffled amusement. It was meant to be funny but the effect was magical as if something had been lifted from us. I know now that it was the the liberation of acceptance and that it helps to share it.

Keep telling yourself and others that you love the house and wouldn't change a thing about it and you will be free of it.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 8:10AM
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Great comment, and I'm so glad I read it today.
Thank you!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 9:19AM
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You're living in a new home, when many people are in the process of losing theirs. I don't mean to minimize your feelings...just offering some perspective.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 1:23PM
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Wonderful attitude Renovator. And Lavendar: it is important to remember that many people would dream to build a home of their own but cannot.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 1:43PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Yeah, when pigs fly!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 5:00PM
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lol @Annie

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 9:33PM
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Sweet- My husband has been in the hospital, for the past five months. He hasn't been himself for the past year, but at least now we know what was wrong and he hopefully will recover.

Some mornings, I'm just happy that we have water, electricity and heat! Winters are always a challenge and when the power goes off, all those things quit working. By counting the positive things, it helps to remind us all what we have, rather than what we don't.

That's what I was trying to share with the OP. Don't let the challenges get you down, but think about what you've accomplished and what you still hope/plan to do. And remember that you have something many people would love to have...a home. Not just a new home, but a home of your own. And someone to share it with :)

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 1:57PM
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I hate to hy-jack this post....but I want to address lavender lass for a minute.. I had no idea that your DH has been so ill, but have missed your posts and wondered about what might be going on in your life. The last I knew, you were planning a build of your own. As you know, that part a out having "someone to share a home with" hit home for me. My build is going great, but I am having to do it alone and oh, how I wish my DH could be here to share it with me.

So I hope the original poster will be thankful and happy in her home and be happy for the family she has living with her.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 9:25PM
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Lavendar, sorry I quoted you weirdly but I was trying to say I agree with your original sentiment. That we are, at the end of the day, very lucky to be in the position to build a house at all. Sorry if that was misunderstood :) I thought your perspective was a great one.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 10:03PM
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I feel frustrated at times because we have been out of our home since sept due to a major water leak. But, I stop and think of all those people in the NE that are victims of Sandy and aren't in their homes and have no idea when they will be. We have a place to stay in the meantime and so all this is just an inconvenience. Nothing more. I don't mean to sound unfeeling, but ... Count your blessings :)

And like someone else already said ...this to will pass

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 12:09PM
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Thank you everyone for your inspiration. I am indeed grateful, however sometimes I lose sight of that. My husband is the only one doing the work now and he is a bit lazy and is not busy so he could be doing a lot more, so part of the hopelessness is in frustration with him when I know he could be doing more. But that is a different forum :-) I try to think now of the areas where we lucked out, not the ones that have problems. That helps...

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 8:41PM
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@Annie - Love the weather vane!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 10:34PM
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Wow, Renovator8, your comments really hit home for me today ~ thank you! Attitude choice and clear perspective are so very important and can be game changers if you allow them to be!

macvirtualasst ~ it can be very healthy to vent in times of frustration! Many can empathize with getting stuck in negative thinking...for me, taking a step back to look at things differently, regaining my sense of humor about the situation, and focusing on gratitude all help me to remember that this too shall pass eventually! Hugs to you and I hope that you and your hubby can team up to keep things moving along!

AnnieDeighnaugh ~ you certainly nailed the sense of humor part mentioned above! I love your flying pig!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 11:57PM
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We spent 5 years DIY remodeling our home while living in it, so we certainly experienced the emotions of "when will this ever end?" And before we were done we realized we needed to sell it to move closer to my business, so the final couple rooms and finishing touches weren't as fun, knowing that we wouldn't be able to enjoy the finished product.

Here are a couple tips for you:
1. Approach the finishing room by room instead of scattershot. Make a list of everything that's left in the first room, and finish it all before touching anything in another room. Then move to the next room and do the same. This helps significantly with the feeling of progress.

2. You said your DH is doing all the work. I imagine that makes it more frustrating for you (feeling powerless to effect progress) and for him (feeling like you're always nagging him, or that he always has to be working on the house). I encourage you to find the things that YOU can do to help. Sit down and say "Honey, I'm sorry that I've loaded this all onto you. What can I do to help so we can finish this together?" I don't know what skills you have, but it may be doing the planning, buying the materials so he's got them on hand to do the work, fetching tools he needs, being his extra set of hands, or doing the clean-up. There should be plenty of supporting work you can do if you can't do the main stuff, and that will lighten his load and probably increase his enthusiasm for the journey.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 10:58AM
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Grab a good book and go sit nearby him to watch him work the next time he's working in a room alone.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 3:58PM
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Lavender Lass ~ I'm sorry to learn of your husband's illness. May his health improve very soon ~ having your positive disposition around I'm sure is a blessing to him!!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 11:04PM
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I kind of live imbetween Greensburg KS and Joplin MO. I have family in Joplin. An F5 tornado obliterated both of those towns, but they too are recovering. I helped to clean up with each tornado, and I felt a little guilty knowing I had my family safe and healthy in our home.

I'm looking forward to a future build, and I'm going to try my best to keep things in perspective. That's also why we cut the size of our house in half. Its just enough for us (just under 1000 sqft), and if things go South then hopefully it will be small and simple enough we wont have to worry at least as much.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 12:09AM
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How is the progress going?? We are currently DIY/GCing our own build and it is going to take forever! Just curious on how things are going on your end? I told someone once that I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel... or it might be a train... not sure, LOL. I know we will move in without many rooms totally finished. My parents did the same thing. My dad build all of their oak kitchen cabinets and alllllll trim. It took years to finish everything. I knew that we would do the same thing, just to save money. Its a huge savings but the hassel of not having a "finished" house for a long time is a thought that is not very fun.

Post updated pics for us to know that the "hopeless" stage is just a stage.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 8:50AM
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We have been owner building our home ourselves. We started in October of 2006. We had the money to do it cash. My husband built almost all of it himself. We were living on the money also and didn't realize how slow the process would be. In June of 2009, we ran out of money and my husband started working out of town. In 2010, we bought a bank owned home to fix up, sit on, and make money to finish our build. It has done that job. I am in the process of doing finishing touches, to put it on the market, and we are going to start working on our build again this month. This time, we are not living on the money and will be subbing some of it out. :-) I'm sure the process is still going to take longer than I'd like. At this point, I'm extremely happy to be moving forward again. :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Building Adventure

This post was edited by kcthatsme on Tue, Oct 8, 13 at 17:09

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 4:47PM
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This post is also very timely for us as well. We broke ground in November 2011. We are GCing ourselves, but hired subs to do the first half of the house build. My DH is doing most of the second half himself. He just started a leave of absence from his job to work full time on moving the build forward as we have been progressing slower than a snail's pace.

We have lived in the home the whole time as it was a gut, addition and rebuild project. (there are 6 of us). We are in the process of changing over from forced air to in floor. Last winter we spent a fortune on electric heat to heat a house without insulation as the furnace/ducts were long demo'ed and removed. We are NOT looking forward to starting off this winter in the same boat as the in floor heat is still not up and running (we are in Canada so winters start very early - e.g. maybe tomorrow).

GCing is not for the faint of heart. For us it was the best way to afford the project, but it has sure been painful. I too hope any lights at the end of tunnels are not trains LOL!

Good luck to all those who are DIYing their build or GCing their projects!!!


    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 5:45PM
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I'm with you! I know that it could be far worse, and yes like you am grateful to be even able to do it, but it's TOUGH. And the funny thing is if you complain to people about how difficult it is, they tend to snort like "You're building a custom house. How bad can your life be?"

All I can say is that I *wish* I had a DH to nag to get work done. I'm doing it solo, I'm under 30 and you can only imagine how slow and tedious it is. I mean, I'm doing ALL the work myself, begging and borrowing help off friends and family when I need a hand. It's awful. And endless. It makes me tired and sad and exhausted and I miss having a real life.

But I know, someday the "must do" stuff will end, and it'll be just those weekend projects that give me something to do, not that I must do.

Until then, it's a matter of staying out of the half-finished rooms and keep on focusing on what's next. There's always a next.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 2:19PM
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Wow, it's been ages since I posted this and we are STILL in the same place, except some of the messed up projects are getting worse and we can't afford to do a thing about it. Our floors in the kitchen (wood floors) are buckling due to poor install. I can just watch them get worse. I could have done fine for years with UN finished projects. It's the ones we did ourselves that got messed up that we can't afford to fix that pains me. I have not had any guests over, am too embarrassed. Don't even have a couch for them to sit on and the first thing they see are our scratched up wood floors, damaged and warped. I really encourage folks who are building a custom home to think, think and then think again if you can do this, both mentally and financially. I know someday it will be the way I want it, but I have never in my life been so embarrassed of my home, our driveway has 3' ditches, weeds growing around the house, and no one that has ever visited, and there have only been a few, have said what a nice house it is. Yet it took all of our money. DH does not have an interest in this type of stuff, we never knew we could not afford to sub all the jobs out. And he is on to other things,and works a lot. I am having one of those "whoas me" days I guess :-(((

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 4:49PM
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My DH and yours might be We have not yet started on our house but I told the builder (who is good friends with DH) that I don't have a handyman available and I need everything to be completely completed. Hopefully he will. There are some things that I'm trying to fix up at our current house so it will be ready to sell. Each thing that needs to be done, I have done it. I love my DH. I knew how he was when I married him. Do I wish he would get off his bleep and help? Of course. But IF its going to get done, I will have to do it myself. Go buy you some baseboards and try cutting them yourself. If you're from a small town like mine, you can probably get the ag class at the high school to cut the boards for you, just ask. My point is, you clearly can not count on him, so find other ways to get it done. Watch some you-tube videos on floor repair etc. Grab the weedeater or some round-up and take care of that weed problem.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 12:34PM
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