Inherited house comes with cat aroma
A: Condolences on losing your aunt. You certainly have some work ahead of you. Making a home there with your fiancee would be a lovely tribute to your aunt's memory, but your intended needs to approve. Does she like the idea if the house is in good shape?
Make sure you get all the transfer paperwork done correctly first. Talk with an accountant and an estate lawyer, as well as a bank to arrange some financing if you need it. Though the house itself was free, potential taxes, unpaid bills, and repairs may add up.
Next on your list is to make the house livable. It could be a diamond in the rough, but you can't rent it or sell it for much in such a condition. Talk to some licensed contractors before you tear anything out. If there is mold or mildew, don't do any of the work yourself. There could be serious health risks.
Replacing the carpets and pads and sealing the subfloor with a special primer/sealer may eliminate the odor. You might need to replace a lot of wallboard and even subflooring if there hasn't been a maintained litter box in the house for decades.
Good luck, and I wish you and your fiancee the best.
Q: I spent a lot of money on my sofa, but now the fabric is worn and stained. Is it worthwhile to reupholster, or should I buy a new one?
- Alex K., Atlanta
A: It depends. If your sofa was well-made, with a hardwood frame and eight-way, hand-tied springs, it may be worth reupholstering. If you love your sofa (or chair or ottoman, for that matter), its style suits your decor, and you think it's comfortable, then, yes, reupholster it. You'll love the fresh new look.
A reputable upholsterer will inspect your sofa, remove and replace the padding, retie the springs if necessary, and look for other problems. If the wear and tear is too extensive to warrant refurbishing, he or she will let you know.
Reupholstering can cost as much as new furniture. If you are looking to save money and don't particularly love the sofa in the first place, you may be better off with a new one.
Jennifer Adams is a designer, author, and TV personality. To contact her: