I'll try to make this fast...and since this is nutsy-and-boltsy, I'll put it behind a break. That way you don't have to run your eyes over it if the topic just bores you.
Basically, I've been working away like a manic beaver at the project. If you're just tuning in, I'm trying to relocate sprawling TOP World Headquarters on account of there just isn't enough room in it for TOP.
(I.e., it doesn't actually sprawl. As Jerry Seinfeld might have said on his eponymous show, "No sprawl!")
Lack of space has been constricting the growth of the site for at least two years, and it's getting onerous. Not to mention annoying.
So here's what I have done, so far:
• I've talked to a kitchen remodeler about building out a highly planned version of the current office space. The verdict: there isn't enough room in here for anything. I kinda already knew that.
• I've gotten a couple of estimates for remodeling my current house. The cost would be tremendous—quite a bit more than I imagined—approaching half the value of the house—and there are several distinct disadvantages: one is that adding office space diminishes the rest of the living space at a 1:1 correspondence; another is that it would be a largely unrecoverable investment; and another is that a large chunk of the cost of a remodel would have to be put into making the facade of the house look logical and attractive after the changes are made to the inside. I don't care about the facade at all—certainly not enough to sink $15–20,000 in it—but it would have to be done.
• I've X'd that idea.
• I've made the decision to move. A new house is the only sensible solution.
Okay, I guess this is news.
• I looked again at the house down the street, in the company of my realtor—hard-headedly instead of with my head in the clouds (the latter being my usual way of looking at things)—and unfortunately I have had to strike it off the list. It has a number of problems I previously wasn't paying much attention to. Problems that would make it a bad investment.
• I've been searching for an alternative. I have looked at at least 300 houses online, all over this entire region. Looking and looking until my head is about to e-x-p-l-o-d-e.
Very, very few are suitable. The problem seems to boil down to this: to get the space I want to expland the business and still work at home, I would have to buy a big, luxurious, high-status house; and I neither want, nor can afford, a big, luxurious, high-status house. I want a smallish, modest, easy-to-take-care-of house, but with the spaces inside of it organized the way I need them to be.
There was a really wonderful house that came on the market last week that was very keenly priced and that I just loved, and I couldn't even make an offer on it because I didn't have the pre-approval completed. Oops.
I learned a very valuable lesson from that: there is a surplus of houses in my town, but there is a fairly severe shortage of nice houses. I had been lulled into thinking I can take my time, because many houses sit on the market for long periods of time (months and months in some cases). But the nice house I'm talking about came on the market on a Thursday, had ten showings on Friday and another dozen on Saturday (when I saw it), got seven offers by Sunday morning, and was off the market again by Sunday evening. Lesson learned: you gotta be ready to move fast.
So there's one other thing I've accomplished:
• Gotten pre-approved for a mortgage. The idea is to be 100% prepared to jump.
So, the upshot: I've been working hard and still have no idea what I'm going to do.
But, one thing is for certain—despite the kindness of many supporters last time and the success of the previous print sale, I'm gonna have to make (and/or raise) more $$. The raising of the bucks—the TCC—will have to be spread over several phases. That brings me to one last thing I did:
• Started a savings account to save up for the new HQ. Er, a house, I mean.
This could take a couple of years. But time does go by. So, onward!
P.S. I could well have another interesting update soon. Stay tuned.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Eric Perlberg: "I fully understand why you put working from home as a high priority. I've lived and worked from home for many years. It's a lifestyle thing. Many wouldn't find it appealing for any number of understandable reasons but as a single man living alone who likes to do what I want when I want (even if it's 2 a.m.) it fits me very nicely.
"As an aside, I also have a small gym at home using a space-saving rowing machine and resistance bands, something I highly recommend you consider should you move to larger digs. As one gets older fitness becomes increasingly important in warding off the more painful effects of ageing. Whatever you decide on this issue should you decide to do another fund raiser or series of them to ultimately improve TOP, I'm willing to help."
Jeff1000: "None of this makes sense to me. All you seem to require is a little more space to operate TOP yet there's space available for a pool table and a B&W darkroom?? And instead of leasing space outside your house the solution is to replace your house with a bigger house?? Yet your reason for not leasing space is that your son grew up in your house yet you want to purchase a bigger house?? Sorry Mike, none of this makes sense to me."
Mike replies: Jeff, you'll have to appreciate that I can't repeat the entire extended explanation of the situation every time I post anything about this. I'm already afraid people are bored to tears...that would really make them comatose!
It's quite possible it was a mistake to ever post anything about this at all. But, as I explained originally, I find it fascinating that the problem is so resistant to solving. It doesn't look like it should be a tough problem, but it really is.
My son growing up here is just the reason for staying in this town, is all. All his friends are here. He'd be happy to live in a different house. Or to stay in this one, for that matter.
As for the basement, it floods. Doesn't hurt the pool table or the darkroom, but the basement is totally unsuitable for an office, believe me. I promise, I've been through every single option—some half a dozen times and from every angle—which includes getting expert estimates on waterproofing the basement. It would cost $16,000 and even then, they couldn't guarantee it would stay dry. Would you spend that, if your money were tight?