That's what friends are for.

We had a thread recently which got hicjacked into a debate about helping a friend move, and/or take him to the airport, whatever.

In this thread about a new house today, we get exposed to the sentiment,

How about the sentiment, “you bought the house with all its associated problems. You fix them.”

Let me tell you something.

A buddy of mine bought a house a few years back for $90,000. He recently sold it for $250,000, while he bought a different house for $250,000. He put down 10% on the house ($25K) and had associated closing costs. I don’t know how much, but let’s say $10K. By my calculations, ignoring his equity, the guy should have had about $130,000 in the bank after this.

What’s the first thing he does, “Hey Trunk. . .could you come over and help me move this weekend? I’ll hook you up with some pizza and beer.”

I kind of blow him off. I think I actually had a legitimate excuse that weekend.

A few weeks later, “hey guys, could you come over and help me paint this weekend? I’ll hook you up with some pizza and beer.”

I told him, “Look, man. I value my leisure so much that I pay someone to paint my house.” I do, too. I hate painting, so at a cost of about $50 an hour, I pay someone to paint my house when I need it. I told him, “logically, I’d hire someone to come to your house and paint before I’d do it myself.”

Him, “yeah, but this’ll be fun. We’ll paint, have some beers, put the game on the TV.” (except, I’ll be at home having beers with the game on without PAINTING.)

Anyway, I didn’t help him paint. I’m the big asshole, right?

Fast forward a couple months. By now, he’s purchased for his new house a kegerator and a shiny new tractor. How much has he actually spent on contractors? ZERO.

Because, he’s a real do-it-yourselfer. :rolleyes:

Or should I say, he’s a real do-it-yourself-but-get-your-friends-to-help-because-hey-what-are-friends-for-right-and-I’d-do-it-for-you-even-though-you’d-never-ask-er.

So now, he’s tearing down the absolutely shitty deck that came with his new house, which he knew he’d have to replace and “man, I could really REALLY use your help on this. You ever try to level a 12 foot long 2x6 by yourself?”

“Doesn’t your dad live 45 minutes away?”

“He has a sprained ankle.” :rolleyes:

“Doesn’t your brother live 2 hours away?”

“He works on the weekend.”

“You can’t get a contractor?”

“We don’t have any money left for that.” :eek: :eek:

You know what dude? You bought the house. You knew what had to be done when you made the offer. Apparently in your offer you figured, “I won’t have to pay contractors because I can guilt my friends into doing the work.”

Helping him move a big piece of furniture? Sure. Help a guy load a boiler into the back of his truck? Whatever.

Spend my entire saturday helping you move, paint or build a deck for pizza and beer? What am I, some 18 year old college kid? I’ve got a 45 hour/week job. A wife who I like to spend time with on the weekend, a pretty rigorous bike riding schedule.

You wanna get together Saturday night and watch the fights and go halfsies on the pizza and beer? Sure. That’s what friends are for.

You want me to set footers, level joists and screw in decking all day for twenty dollars worth of vittles? That’s what contractors are for.

So, Trunk, you busy this weekend?

Can I get an “AMEN”?

Fucking AMEN! How’s that?

I bought my house 18 years ago, and it has needed some work over the years. I have either done the work myself or hired a licensed contractor. I have better things to do with my weekends, quit being cheap and pay someone to do it.


Yeah, I’m with you on this one. Even if he was the poorest of poor, couldn’t afford to spend a cent on contractors (like my husband and me), he needs to quit asking you after you have spelled it out to him unequivocally. And even my husband and I don’t ask friends and family for help all the time. It’s our house, our problems, and our profit when we sell it (fingers crossed).

Besides, friends and family let you down, and you can’t do much about it. Better to hire a professional who will do a professional job or you can take them to small claims court.

You said it Trunk! Come over and help you saw up a tree that fell down in a big storm and help haul it off? I’ll do that cause that’s something beyond anybody’s control. Help move some furniture out of a room to shampoo the carpet? Sure.

Help you build your deck/paint your house/install whatever? That’s what contractors are for. I hate to paint. I wouldn’t want to sit stand or walk on anything I built. I can hire people who do that for a living and know what they’re doing on top of that.

Plus of course you get what you pay for. Get a bunch of people who don’t really know what they’re doing, ply them with beer, and hey, presto! How’s that deck holding up?

I actually enjoy working with my hands and for a good friend, would be happy to spend a weekend putting up a deck or erecting a garden stone wall. Pizza and beer are not what would motivate me to help. The work, comraderee and sense of accomplishment are.

I like bike riding too. But an oppotunity to use tools and put up a really nice deck… come on. Are you men or a bunch of skirts?

Wow - this hits close to home, I had a friend who would ask for these types of things of me and another friend all the time. House work, Yard work, Repair work* etc…

It always made me feel as if the friendship was a friendship only if it was handled according to her terms. This really can build a feeling of frustration with a relationship.

  • Okay, the repair work was asked through me of my husband. I can’t repair, I’m good at creating the need for a repair though! :smiley:

Hey, we’re not the ones who have the problem of our cow-workers calling us hon, babe, or sweetie. :wink:

Well, man enough to do stuff on my own.

It really gets me that his old man lives real close by and doesn’t help him with anything.

Also, the guy will be talking about painting on Saturday and then tell us on Friday how he went to a movie on Thursday night and is going out to eat with his wife that night.

Jesus Christ, dude. . .at least try to make me think that there’s some urgency to the project.

my former mil had this down to a fine art. When she was in a newer house that was all ok, she had an older car. and dated a mechanic.
then she bought a new car and an older house. buh-bye mechanic, hello contractor.

into antique wooden furniture? buh-bye contractor, hello carpenter.

What, like hang a 12 foot, 10x2 laminated joist 9 feet above ground? All by yourself… :eek:

Damn… I take it back. You’re a better man than I am.

Strictly speaking, none of your business and definately not an excuse for you not to help out.

I don’t usually need to psyche up for painting several days in advance. It’s not like carbo loading. Empty the room the evening before or the morning of. Paint. Put it all back.

Actually, painting is something I like to do on my own. I’m picky about straight ceiling and baseboard lines.

This reminds me of years ago when 3 seperate friends asked me to help them move, on 3 seperate occasions. When it came time for me to move? Suddenly they all had plans.

Oh, come on. Nothing says “professional construction job” better than the combination of rank amateurs and lots of beer.

Moving is something i will always help friends do. Since i moved to Baltimore, i must have helped about 10 or 12 different people move house in one way or another.

Then, last April, my wife (then girlfriend) and i moved in together, so we needed to move stuff from our separate apartments into our newly-rented house. It was great; 14 people turned up to help, and the whol thing took about five hours.

But the OP’s case is different. If you’ve just forked out 250 grand for a house, don’t expect me to help you increase your property value by spending my own free time doing construction and rennovation work. I would have done exactly what Trunk did.

You’re right.

But he had a perfect excuse not to help out—he’s worked hard all week, and has no interest in spending his weekend doing manual labor in exchange for pizza and beer. You might like painting or carpentry work, but that doesn’t mean everyone does.

Also, these things have too many possibilities for complications further down the road. What if the deck you helped you friend build ends up collapsing, or needing repairs because of poor workmanship? Will you feel obligated to come back and help? Will he be pissed at you for not doing the job right in the first place?

Get a professional, and at least then if something goes wrong you have someone to blame without ruining a friendship.

A buddy of mine bought a house a few years ago. So far, I’ve helped him:
[li]Built two sets of cellar stairs[/li][li]Poured new sidewalks[/li][li]Put up a pool and a deck around it[/li][li]Level a spot for one of those prefab sheds[/li][li]Rip out two walls[/li][li]Put in a hardwood floor[/li][li]Rip out and replace a baseboard heating zone[/li][/ul]

and he’s helped me do an equal number of jobs around my place. We’ve done so much together that we call each other Thing 1 and Thing 2.


I agree=) there is something very satisfying to me in seeing a cruddy yucky wall go through the spackle/sand phase, cutting in and laying down a smooth glide of paint and then seeing a beautiful clean wall result…

My back is seriously screwed up so I am limited in how much standing/bending/flexing I can do at a stretch, but I can manage to do the prep part over several days and then the painting all in one go…then a long hot shower with muscle relaxants after for the pain =)

But there is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing a finished project=)

Why? Because $250,000 for a house seems like such an extravagant amount to you? At what price point is a friend’s house worthy of assistance? About the same price as your’s? This smack of pettiness.

Fair enough. Only thing one has to say is that they are not handy. If it’s a good friend then you can offer to help tidy the construction or help out with the mulching/weeding in the garden. If it’s not a good friendship just say you have weekend commitments. It’s not a lie and sends a clear message.

This is looking a gift horse in the mouth. Perhaps I’ve helped out on too many projects but when someone solicits a friend’s free help, they do not then blame the friend for a project gone wrong. The beneficiery of the help always assumes all responsibility. This is one very good test of a real friendship and of an individual’s class.