When you live in a house that is over a hundred years old,you can begin to notice some small and some major defects over time. Frankly, this can happen with any property but older properties that have not experienced substantial renovations can really make it impossible to ignore. Add this to what it is like to live in the same house for many years, in some cases accumulating items you know should find their way to trash or at least to a better home and the property owner can begin to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of a major overhaul both of the structure and its contents.
This happens to seniors living in the house where they raised their children and now, confronting an “empty nest”, they begin to ask what should they do. Should they contract to rebuild major portions of their property – kitchen and bath come to mind but are not the only ones – or should they enlist the help of family and friends or themselves take on what might seem to be an impossible task of sorting and repairing or even should they take advantage of one of those multiple solicitations they receive to sell the property, no questions asked. In an age of Home and Garden TV where “open concept” and “granite countertops” are king, how can they ever compete fairly with the ever present 1920’s or 1950’s house? This is not an idle question. Everyone watching the steady stream of home improvements shows knows or at least believes that nothing less than perfection can be expected of a homeowner – even if you have no intent to move.
At this point it may be time to take a step back and look more dispassionately at the common situation that affects so many. As the owner of yet another 100 year plus or minus old house, I found myself recently coming to a conclusion – small steps help. When you feel perfection is the only solution, you might become discouraged to begin. Discouragement is the enemy.
Years back a marketing mentor of mine, Charlie McDermott, imparted an easily remembered piece of advice – that is the difference between a “task” and a “project.” A project can be long range and consist of many “tasks” along the way. If a project is seen only as a series of “tasks”, it is not so intimidating. Small steps help.
Esquire, Colliton Law Associates, P.C. Janet Colliton has practiced law for over 38 years, 37 of them in Chester County, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Her practice, Colliton Law Associates, PC, is limited to elder law, Medicaid, including advice, applications and appeals, and other benefits planning including Veterans benefits, life care and special needs planning, guardianships, retirement, and estate planning and administration.