Apparently, buying a house you can afford and fixing it up with a modest loan and money that you earned through gainful employment is rare enough to warrant a 3-page profile in the NYT. [NYT]


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  1. farcedude says:

    Probably because (if I’ve read it right) it’s taken him 12 years (and he’s not even done yet), he has no credit cards, has done very well at scrounging good building materials, and the only debt he as is the mortgage on the house. Not bad, considering.

  2. “Early in the renovation, Mr. Giffels and the contractor stumbled upon a treasure, $14,000 in $20 bills, wrapped in bank wrappers stamped March 15, 1930.”

    That had to have helped them out, as well.

  3. Crrusherr says:


    stupid person who hid them, would have been a small fortune back then, just petty change now.

    that is your lesson for today people spend your money don’t save it.

  4. samurailynn says:

    @Crrusherr: That’s not petty change to me!

  5. armydrummer says:

    That and he’s publishing a book…that’s why it’s in the NYT.

  6. Buran says:

    @farcedude: I think it’s about doing something because you’re dedicated enough to stick with it and you care about it that much. A lot of people would just hire contractors. I helped my parents do major renovations on their house when I was younger and it was a huge hassle and I don’t know if they’ll do it again.

  7. huadpe says:

    @samurailynn: Yeah, but comparatively it is. In 1930 that would be worth $168,000 current dollars.

  8. thebigbluecheez says:

    I know a guy who wanted a house with a basement, so he hauled dirt out from under the house (not the foundation) 5-gallon bucket by 5-gallon bucket. He ended up, about 2 years later, hiring out only the concrete forms and pouring. I was impressed, to say the least.

  9. JeffM says:

    @Crrusherr: Isn’t it a better testament to not keep your money in cash under the mattress?

  10. chiieddy says:

    How come they’re not profiling me? I bought what I could afford too and have equity still!

  11. @Buran: I care that much, I just have no skills! That’s why I have good relationships with my plumber and handyman. (And I feel like I should place a personal ad for contractors I’m lacking — MWF desperately seeking carpenter.)

  12. GotanOrange says:

    @thebigbluecheez: I doubt we’d be lauding him if his house caved in. I hate penny-pinchers who fail to calculate the value of their time, & just end up having to contract out work anyway.

  13. samurailynn says:

    @huadpe: That’s true, but if you won $14,000 in a lottery instead of the grand prize of $1,000,000, would you say “oh, whatever, that’s just petty change”? If you would… well, you must have more money than anyone I know.

  14. samurailynn says:

    @samurailynn: But I do agree that the person who hid them was stupid. That’s why you don’t move out without clearing out your stuff… you never know what you forgot about.

  15. milw123 says:

    Hey, wait a minute. My wife and I bought our house 2 years ago, I gutted and re-did the main bathroom, installed all new copper water pipe, and painted the entire interior. Where’s our feature article?