Friday, March 15, 2013

Four Singles is a Lot Better Than One Home Run

As I have before, I'm going to rant about sports before I tie it in to the subject of buying and renovating old houses.  I'm a big sports lover and I like to have it on the radio while I'm working (see Appreciation for the Radio), but this lead-in will help me make a point about fixing up houses that are in really bad shape.

Charlie Hustle
A batter steps to the plate and hits one over the fence for a homer.  The next three batters strike out, the team grabs their gloves, and hits the field.  Consider the title of this post and understand that it would have been better if all four batters would have just hit singles.  Same score, 1-0, but then they'd have no outs, with the bases loaded.  That's better than a lead-off dinger chased with three K's by far.  Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth will be remembered as two of the best baseball players ever, but Pete Rose is right there with them.  He may have gambled away his spot in Cooperstown, but I'm a Cincinnati Reds fan, so for me, 4,256 will always be greater than 755 + 714.    

Now on to football.  I'm listening to sports radio today and they're not talking baseball, they're talking NFL, which I love.  To carry my baseball example into pro football, many of the executives and owners are all trying to hit a home run as they approach this year's draft.  They're hoping to find the next star quarterback to build their team around.  They don't want base hits.  They want the big payoff now, even if the odds are against them.  They want to swing for the fences.  

I get what their doing, but it's not a smart move.  Not in the long run.  Playing the lottery is brilliant if they pick your numbers just like drafting John Elway is a great decision if he leads you to five Super Bowls and retires after back-to-back victories in the season finale.  This helps make and break my point at the same time since the Denver Broncos didn't draft Elway, the Baltimore Colts did and Elway used his leverage as a good baseball player to inspire a trade.  Plenty of teams have put all their eggs in one basket and seen that move backfire on them.  I'm not going to list all the QB draft busts over the years, but some of the games greats flew under the radar at draft time before emerging when it counted.  If you're part of an NFL front office, you should make the most of the cream that rises to the top of your organization (Joe Montana, Brett Farve, or Tom Brady) but why put the hopes of your franchise on one guy who had a dozen great games in college? 

Four base hits is better than one hit over the fence.  Having a Michael Vick, a Tim Tebow, a Denard Robinson, (and some other QB that's not a pocket passer) all on your squad for less money is better than a Ryan Leaf if he doesn't pan out or a Greg Cook if he gets hurt mid season.  Why don't the NFL executives consider putting their eggs in multiple baskets?   (See Tim Tebow + Michael Vick + Denard Robinson = the NFL's Moneyball)

Now, to the subject at the heart of BSAPE and extremely run down homes.  I'd love to hit a home run and snatch up an historic antebellum or classic Victorian to buy and renovate... a big, gorgeous half million dollar property.  Truly and with all sincerity I would, but I love to renovate and I'm not willing to spend my life waiting for the stars to align and the perfect property to materialize into my life.  I'll take on a This Old House type home when I get the chance, but until then, I'm going to keep hitting singles and along the way I'm going to keep learning and finding the best ways to do it.  I'll just keep enjoying those base hits, and maybe an occasional double.  And, I'll also be ready to trot around the bases with a grin on my face when my perfect pitch comes and I hit it over the wall.

Maybe you're holding out for a chance to transform something like this...
...into this. 

...when you could be doing this.
This is a big home run too.
I love it.  Well done.

I'm not going to encourage any one to dream small, but don't wait for a Pig's Ear that will be your dream home when you can buy and fix up something on the cheap while you're waiting.  You'll make some mistakes (See Vinny Had the Right Attitude) and be better prepared if/when your ideal home becomes available.  Consider buying a small and available house in a really great neighborhood.  If you take into account that square footage sales prices are going to influence the home's value when your done, this makes solid economic sense.  Plus, it might just be the best way to get your feet wet.

Have a great weekend.



  1. love it! (I confess I skip over the sports stuff because I don't know what you're talking about :))
    I think many people dream of renovating that gorgeous historic mansion - but in reality that's such a monstrous undertaking that has felled so many (The Money Pit comes to mind) that working on a smaller scale feels a lot safer!

  2. Thanks, Katy. I CONFESS that I was ready to get that sports stuff off my chest, but it does translate to my message. Maybe it was all the McMansions that popped up during the boom, but I find myself more fascinated with the smaller houses/cottages where someone has done a lot of cool things on a small scale...or those little homes w/ potential where someone COULD do something really amazing.