Layoff Or Makeover

Pamela seems caught between a rock and a hard place. Her husband seems likely to be laid off, but they need to spend money to sell the house.

QUESTION: Pamela’s husband is in the newspaper industry and he’s been told that layoffs are coming. They have $3,500 in savings. Their real estate agent said they must redo the kitchen before selling their house. Should they do that now, or wait until he has another job? One option involves debt, which makes Dave tell them to stay away from that.

ANSWER: I would not go into debt. Either sell it like it is or don’t, but I would not borrow money to fix up the kitchen, period. Let’s wait until he has another job. The house isn’t on the market, and there’s no reason to fix up the kitchen of a house that’s not on the market when you only have $3,500 to your name.

However, if he gets a job in another city and you need to spend some of your $3,500 to get the house fixed up, then I would do that. But don’t do it unless you’re going to pay cash. When he gets another job, then and only then do you need to fix up the kitchen and put the for-sale sign in the yard.

In the meantime, you know there’s a storm on the horizon. Live on beans and rice and pile up cash to prepare for it.