When our parents passed on, they left me with a small sum of cash. I wasn’t going to be the real world’s Bruce Wayne, although I did get enough to afford a down payment on a house. That was 7 years ago today, & if I compared a picture of the home now compared to then, you’d never guess they were the same building! I went with a cheap home that needed tender, constant care to restore it to its former glory. The work was chop out for me, too, since most of the work to be done involved the Heating & Air Conditioning system. The HVAC duct in the attic was torn apart from years of neglect & pest interference, the outdoor compressor & condenser were cracked & useless, & the thermostat itself appeared to be smashed into the wall with a hammer… Either vandals visited the home before I moved in, or someone was really fed up with their cooling system’s performance! Either way, I spent the first year in that home really working tirelessly at night & over the weekend, slowly replacing the HVAC duct & having repair visits from the heating & a/c contractors in town. I was thankful that the contractors allowed me to pay via installments for the repairs – you wouldn’t guess how high-priced an air compressor is! I remember ending that year by installing a current smart thermostat, which I could program to run only when I was home. I was so proud of our efforts, & the result really kept me motivated to continue the renovations to the house. During that first year, I had to repair several holes in the walls, & sit brand current shingles on the entire roof. All things considered, it’s pretty incredible that I had accomplished so much on our own!