Real Estate Rehab: Confessions of a Houseaholic

Real Estate Rehab Confessions of a Houseaholic - picture of front of two-story house

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I am ashamed to admit this but…my name is Holly…and I have a problem.  I am addicted to real estate….so much so that I lose all rationality and self-control when I see a house that I like.  Even though  we already live in a nice house, I am always finding different homes that I love from the seemingly endless supply coming on the market.  Until recently, I had been “clean” from my house shopping addiction.  Yet, like a former fatty stuffing her face with Little Debbie cakes, I recently found myself caught up in old self-destructive habits.

Falling Off the Wagon

It started innocently enough.  My neighbor across the street recently put her house up for sale.  I thought it would be no big deal if I got online to be nosy and check out her house listing.  After all, I had been clean from my housing addiction for quite some time.  “Just a little look won’t hurt.”  Unfortunately, a story that is typically told at the local AA meeting quickly ensued, and I found myself looking at many, many houses.  And since it had been some time since I had “used,” there were lots of new prospects on the market to look at.  I was quickly hooked.

Getting My Real Estate Fix

I found a few that I loved.  I got high on granite countertops, jacuzzi tubs, and cozy back porches.  I hallucinated about 3 and 4 car garages.  I stood on imaginary back porches and screamed “I’m the king of the world…” Titanic style.    I even went so far as to email my dealer realtor and ask her a few questions.  Of course, she replied to my email at lightening speed.  She knows of my insatiable appetite for real estate and was quick to offer me the goods.

“Do you want to see it?  I can go as early as right now.”  RIGHT NOW??  Unfortunately, not everyone wants to see an addict get out of their situation.

The Intervention

Luckily, my husband was (as always) by my side.  He reminded me that we can be 100% debt free in about three years.  He promised me we could move and pay cash for any house that I choose.  He whispered sweet nothings of new kitchen cabinets and walk-in closets.  He always knows just what to say.

Am I really willing to throw that away just to get a newer and nicer house right now?  Do I really want to forgo our planned trips to Hawaii and Europe that we have talked about for hours at a time?  What kind of moron would I be to buy that bigger, better, nicer house and have to work another 5-10 years at my job in order to end up in the same financial position?  Is that what I really want?

Of course it isn’t…and I quickly remembered who I am and why I do what I do.  I want to be debt free.  I want to see the world.  I want to pay for my kids college.  I want to retire early.  I don’t want to be a debt slave.  I don’t want to follow the status quo.  I don’t want to work longer and harder to achieve less and less.  I don’t want to be “normal.”

My Recovery

As any recovering addict knows, this could happen to me at any time.  New and nice houses are everywhere, and there will always be someone willing to give me a big fat loan to get what I want.  Luckily, I have my level-headed husband by my side to talk me off the ledge.  He is always there to remind me of how lucky we are for what we have.  He never lets me forget what my real dreams are.

So, here we are still in the same home we have lived in for the past four years.  As I write this, my girls are rolling across the floor wrestling and laughing.  My great room looks like some kind of toy explosion took place, and I am as happy as I have ever been.  I don’t love this house, but I do like it.  My family is what makes my house a home, and there is nowhere else I would rather be.

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  1. This post is great. It’s easy to get caught up in all that a house has to offer- such as granite countertops, walk in closets – but it’s really a family that makes a house a home and that’s the most important thing 🙂

    1. Yes, definitely. But I still love house shopping and it’s still fun to look. The key is not buying!

  2. “I want to be debt free. I want to see the world. I want to pay for my kids college. I want to retire early. I don’t want to be a debt slave. I don’t want to follow the status quo. I don’t want to work longer and harder to achieve less and less. I don’t want to be ‘normal.'”

    This struck me as particularly awesome. Sort of a mantra to stay on the path of financial enlightenment. I think it might need to be framed and hung up on the wall. That way if I ever lose focus, it will bring it right back. Very cool.

    1. Thank you!!! I think I need to frame it myself! I need to protect myself from my own stupidity sometimes =)

  3. I wouldn’t say you’re a “moron”…I’d just say that you’re like most people. 🙂 It’s good that you have your husband to talk you off the ledge though and you have other goals that are more important than buying a nicer home.

    We’re looking at houses and it’s really hard to stay in our price range and find a home that comfortably fits in our budget. I also LOVE houses but I’ve been able to learn control my enthusiasm and concentrate on making a good decision. It’s definitely not easy but I tell myself that we’ll eventually be able to buy the home we want. Maybe 10-15 years from now.

  4. Love this post, Holly! Jeff is my level-headed man, too. Well, he does have his addictions, too, but he’s usually good at controlling his urges. He got the real estate bug last year actually, and it was me who talked him down! He thought we could move to a more expensive area even! I’m so glad I was feeling strong at that time, or we’d be in even hotter water now! Thankfully, he’s there to take over being the level-headed one when I’m having a rough time!

    1. We’ve got to make sure at least one spouse is being rational at all times or we are totally screwed!

  5. I have had to put the breaks on myself sometimes in the past to make sure I am not getting lured into purchasing something. You have to look at the big picture and stick too what is really important to you and use that to guide your decision. Don’t get swayed by the fluff.

    1. You are so right! Don’t worry. I got myself back on track!

  6. Hahaha – this is cute. I’m jonesing for a house too. Last week I challenged myself to stay off the listings website until Monday and failed!

    1. Oh well, just get back on the wagon, right??? =)

  7. Isn’t it funny how strong a drug it is…the “let’s get one” drug? It’s just one…everybody’s doing it….good story.

    1. Oh yes, all the cool kids are doing it! Funny, I don’t care about cars, purses, clothes, or shoes! I just love houses.

  8. Really good post Holly. I am still waiting to get my first taste of that sweet house shopping fix. I know I won’t be in a position to upgrade from that first home for a long time though. So it’ll have to be one addiction that I’ll have to force myself to go cold turkey on after that first taste.

    1. Thank you!

      Have fun house shopping when you are finally able! It’s definitely fun and I am looking forward to my next house shopping adventure in the future…..when we will be paying in cash =)

  9. Loved this post Holly! I have been looking for rental houses like crazy even though I have a few more months before I should start looking. I’m glad you had someone with you to stay strong 🙂

    1. Me, too. I swear I don’t know what comes over me sometimes. Thankfully it was fleeting and I snapped back to reality. I was keeping up with the Jones’s there for a minute!

  10. I’m guilty of always going to and dreaming about a house that we can one day afford. AHHH!

    1. Sorry, I didn’t mean to conjure up old frustrations. =)

      As you can see, I am in no position to offer advice. It’s so fun to look though!

    1. I think that sometimes too- but I don’t think I would like working solely for commission. That is the only downfall, I think.

  11. Ha! This is timely for me, as I’m thinking of making a change.

    1. Watch out for lifestyle inflation, Pamela!!! =)

  12. Veronica @ Pelican on Money says:

    “My family is what makes my house a home, and there is nowhere else I would rather be.” – this says it all. I have had similar fixations with a car. It took my bf to talk me out of it and only later I could see clearly how obsessed I was over something that was meaningless.

    1. Yeah, pretty much! It’s easy to obsess over things we don’t have!

  13. I’m always hitting up Trulia or some other website…I feel your pain although I’ve never followed through.

    1. Not following through is the important thing! It sure is fun to look. =)

  14. Haha, love it. Mr PoP still watches for deals in neighborhoods we like, and I have to pull him back from the ledge. We want to have at least 2 of our 3 completely paid for before we go for it again. Like you that’s not for another 2 years or so.

    1. It will be worth the wait though- wont it?!?!?!?

  15. I stumbled upon your site for the first time today-and am so glad I did. I love your funny, casual writing style and I am WITH YOU and the real estate…House Hunters is my porn.

    Still-having the biggest nicest house isn’t everything. You can do it!

    1. House Hunters is absolutely porn for me! Unfortunately, I am unable to partake as I no longer have cable. That is probably a good thing =)

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

  16. There will always be bigger and better things for us all to lust after. 🙂

    My weakness is designer accessories. I just make sure to avoid Nordstrom, Saks and Neiman Marcus (and their websites) like the plague. It also helps to avoid fashion magazines and other sneaky tactics they use to reel us in.

    Good luck remembering your dreams. 🙂

  17. We just recently found our first home. We close in less than two months and…I’m not gonna lie…I have had some nights where I literally could not sleep because of the excitement :0

    Through this process we learned what you could get for what budgets in what locations. We wanted a central location so we had to give up a few things (but we wanted some projects anyway so we’re happy).

    Here is where I can relate…we already know what kind of house we want for our NEXT house :0 We have some upgraded criteria in mind…walk-in closet, bigger/open kitchen, master bath, etc. I don’t think it’s bad to look, it’s important to know what you want and what you are working towards.

    1. Very true….and as long as at least one of us has the self control to put the brakes on, I guess that it’s ok=)

      Good luck on your new house!

  18. Persistence and patience are two most valuable virtues you can have. I am glad that your husband has both. 🙂

  19. Holly – what a great post – you have a very funny writing style. I understand -we live in a very nice apartment and yet I am always thinking … what else?

    1. Thank you!

      Yes, it’s hard to not give in to lifestyle inflation. However, it will definitely pay off!

  20. BAHAHAH. Awesome.

    I’m a renter with no hope of buying anytime soon but I like to look at houses (both for rent and sale) in my spare time. Sigh.

  21. Land for sale Thailand says:

    Am I really willing to throw that away just to get a newer and nicer house right now? Do I really want to forgo our planned trips to Hawaii and Europe that we have talked about for hours at a time? What kind of moron would I be to buy that bigger, better, nicer house and have to work another 5-10 years at my job in order to end up in the same financial position? Is that what I really want?

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  23. I can totally relate. If you read my blog you will know what I am talking about. I have spent countless hours perusing house listings, looking up loan options, figuring out additional costs involved in buying a house, figuring out a home budget, and debating what we want for our first house. I have been looking at houses off and on for over a year and unfortunately it looks like another year until we can buy do to military (figure out if we will be moving or not). I went so far to get a soft estimate to add an addition for a house I like but that was too small. I have been watching house hunters since I was like 16 and its porn for me too… oh and not trying to make you fall off the wagon but I’m frugal and avoid paying for cable too, you can watch some of the episodes of house hunters, property virgins, etc free at

  24. Holly Holly Holly,
    I enjoyed your writing ability as much as your story. I too am in Love with finding, writing deals to purchase property all the way to rehabbing and retailing that property. Getting down and dirty with my crews as well as, bring the beer to a finished job.

    Thank you for making me feel that I am not the only one out here that feels this way. For a moment I thought I might be nuts.

    Cash for houses Dallas/Fort Worth

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  26. Okay post Holly. I am as yet holding up to get my first taste of that sweet house shopping fix. I know I won’t be in a position to redesign from that first home for quite a while however. So it’ll must be one dependence that I’ll need to compel myself to go without any weaning period on after that first taste.

  27. Hey Holly, My husband was the same. I think I make you look like you have no issues at all. I go to real estate websites for fun everyday. I know every home on the market in the city and can tell you exactly how much it is/ will likely sell for. I would go to open houses, parade of homes all the time…………. yeah that was how it started. Now I am on this website called bigger pockets EVERYDAY. I go to real estate auctions. I now have 6 rentals and flipped 2 houses in the last year. l have managed to build my obsession into creating passive income for our family. Sooo is it bad??? It is not super easy for everyone to understand but…………………why not build it into a strength for yourself…………….just saying………..embrace it:)

  28. Oh goodness this is one good read! I was literally laughing at some points and thinking, I don’t want to have the same addiction as hers! I’ll end up broke! lol. But, seriously though, I’m so glad you recovered, I really love the ending part of your article, it moves me. Thank you so much for sharing your story Holly!

  29. Hey Holly ,
    Quiet interesting post..!!!
    Even I am addicted to my real estate business and I guess there is no cure to this.
    HAAH..!!!! 😀
    cheers buddy.

  30. My only complaint Holly….and not necessarily even about you are folks who are ‘buyers’ coming to see my home…when they have no intention of buying anything.

    We’ve been getting a steady stream of them (22 showings to date) and rarely a peep afterward (1 offer).

    And yes we are priced correctly.

    When I want to shop I do the open house thing, there is nothing wrong with that. I hope that’s what you’re talking about.

    I’m posting this mostly for others who forget that there is another side to the house shopping routine and it is incredibly disruptive to the home owner (read constant cleaning and maintaining an unrealistically uncluttered home). Yes, buyers are the ones writing the checks….but if folks aren’t really going to write a check, wait for the open house.

    I’ve found the properties I’ve bought all online. Most reasonable sellers have great photos to give you a sense of what you’d be getting. No need for a tour unless you seriously think “this might be the one”.

    Good luck getting and staying debt free. Great blog.

  31. This is me to a tee. I look at realtor every night. Other people play solitaire…I look at houses.

    Sometimes i feel I do have to stop because my husband like yours has to bring me back to earth. I won’t be debt free for about 13 years but hey, that ain’t too bad since I’m 34. I line in a crazy city so to get what we want but lack (4 th bedroom, 2 car garage) will add another 200k mortgage. Fun times!!!
    … Maybe I just need to do more decluttering 😉

  32. You know what? I have been doing the same thing and I was just wondering is there anyone suffering from what I am suffering? Your article came up… Wow. I too am struggling and continue to dream myself in a better home. I am still struggling and fighting with my wife whether to live debt free which we are so close or just get a new loan and buy this fancy house… I can’t get rid of addiction. I just need to get a part time real estate job to get rid of my addiction looking into someone else’s house.

  33. “Real Estate Rehab: Confessions of a Houseaholic” delves into the addictive nature of property renovation. It uncovers the thrill, challenges, and risks involved in flipping houses. From the allure of transformation to the pitfalls of overspending, it offers insight into this captivating world. Zepto

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