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Fixer-Upper Turns Into Lifechanger, and Not In a Good Way

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Today's truly horrible tale comes from reader Adam.

We bought my first home in May of 2009 in Bernal Heights. It was a beautiful little Victorian that needed a fair bit of love and sweat.. Okay, a lot of love and sweat. This place was in many ways a handyman's special. There were structural problems, the kitchen cabinet shelves were destroyed, the bathroom floor was slightly collapsing, the electrical was substandard, and all the way down the line. We spent my nights and weekends working on the place, gutting the bathroom with my friends, pulling new electrical by hand, and acting as the general contractor for getting the bathroom built out. By the way, do you realize how many dead, mummified rats can life inside a drop ceiling of a bathroom? If you ever needed a reason to wear a hardhat and goggles, this is it.

My wife and I moved in a month after the bathroom, a structural beam,
the front porch, seven windows and two skylights, and half of the
electrical and plumbing was replaced. Over the course of the next 10
months, I replaced the rest of the electrical, and gutted and started
building out our dream kitchen. Then, one day, my wife left, and I
was stuck with the mortgage, contractor bills, and a 25% complete
kitchen reno. Looking back at it there were signs I should have seen, but it was to myself and most other people a surprise. Che serà, serà.

So I ran up my credit cards, borrowed money from friends, and wrapped everything up for a sale 4 months later. The sale price was well above our purchase price, but after figuring in renovations and
realtor fees we lost 40k or so each.