The time comes in a young person’s life when they want to start putting down roots. In Buffalo, such a person can buy a “fixer upper” house for less money than most places. The downside is that getting it often involves a long, draining process. And once you have the house you still have to fix it.
We’re K and A, and we’re trying to buy a house from the City that was slated for demolition. Why are we trying to do this? Well, it’s a very cool house: it’s big, it’s old, it’s retained some nice historic touches and is largely structurally sound. It’s also next to a few vacant plots of land. K does historic preservation and contracting work and between him, my less impressive skills, the funds we have scraped together, and our handy friends, we will be able to pull off a renovation/rehab. We like the area and we like the idea of saving another of Buffalo’s old houses from being reduced to an empty plot of barren land.
The broken house club is (was?) a loose association of homeowners in Buffalo who helped fix each others’ houses, which were all in a state of being repaired in some way. They shared work and knowledge with each other, and invited anyone interested to come to work holidays and pitch in. While that club isn’t too active these days, we hope to perpetuate the culture of a community invested in its members’ projects. When I work on other people’s homes, I gain valuable skills and make new friends – when you’re both coated in plaster dust swinging sledgehammers in the middle of summer, it’s easy to bond.
Of course, to get started with these grand plans we have to actually own the property. While we’re a good ways through the process, the slow-moving machine that is City Hall is, well, slow-moving. We’ll go into more detail in future posts because we want to share what we and others have learned about buying a house from the City, but for now keep your fingers crossed and hope for a dry summer – at least until we can get that roof tarped!