Fearing Divorce: Can Remodeling a House Be Too Stressful on a Marriage?

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Does the Dream Home lead to a nightmare? Comes word that Dean and Lynae Fearing are splitting. (But I love the way they are handling it — absolutely possible for grown ups to end a marriage and remain friends!) In August of 2009, they moved from their Devonshire digs to a larger, more expensive home in Bluffview. This Hill Country-esque beauty has four bedrooms, three and a half baths, is nestled on a half-acre yard lot and pool, and has a great kitchen. The home was listed at $1,095,000 when they bought, and it didn‚Äôt take the Fearings long to sell Purdue in Devoshire, which was listed at $715,000 and sold for $690,000 even in 2009 before the first-time homebuyer’s credit.

But you have to wonder: how much of a role did a new house play in the demise of this marriage? I recall a very painful time in my own marriage, when we moved into a larger “dream” home that needed constant repair and maintenance, and it was extremely stressful to my marriage. The marriage counselor ended up costing more than the remodeling. Reflecting back, I see the role I played: that of a total spoiled brat.¬† (No, he was not perfect, either.) There were many times I wished that we had never bought the house, never upgraded because the step-up for our portfolio was looking like a killer for our relationship. But then you cannot remain static. And if a relationship cannot sustain change and all the ebb and flow that comes with life, well, maybe it’s time to move on.

Sometimes the relationship needs the nudge so it can grow, and test itself. In this respect, I love how our homes become the laboratories of our lives.

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Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for Forbes.com, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature CandysDirt.com, and SecondShelters.com, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Josh says

    Maybe the key is to buy a home that does not need a lot of remodeling. Or if it does, choosing a top builder to handle the remodel is extremely key in the process. Don't necessarily go with the lowest bid on your remodel but rather the builder that is reputable and you know will be easy to work with and responsive. Candy, thanks for speaking yesterday at mls. -RHA

  2. Josh says

    Maybe the key is to buy a home that does not need a lot of remodeling. Or if it does, choosing a top builder to handle the remodel is extremely key in the process. Don't necessarily go with the lowest bid on your remodel but rather the builder that is reputable and you know will be easy to work with and responsive. Candy, thanks for speaking yesterday at mls. -RHA

  3. Christian Iles says

    Really interesting article, Candice. I've heard that the divorce rates are down across the U.S. because people are having trouble selling their homes. They are remaining together; well, at least they settle one of their largest investments. 🙂 Is this true?

  4. Christian Iles says

    Really interesting article, Candice. I've heard that the divorce rates are down across the U.S. because people are having trouble selling their homes. They are remaining together; well, at least they settle one of their largest investments. 🙂 Is this true?

  5. claire dewar says

    Candy, the house that the Fearings bought (my listing) was in wonderful condition! no remodeling needed! no blame on the house! I am saddened to hear about their divorce but Dean and Lynae are talented and successful and will be happy and productive in their futures…

  6. claire dewar says

    Candy, the house that the Fearings bought (my listing) was in wonderful condition! no remodeling needed! no blame on the house! I am saddened to hear about their divorce but Dean and Lynae are talented and successful and will be happy and productive in their futures…

  7. mmCandy Evans says

    That's good to know! It certainly looked good in the photos, too! I used this more as a metaphor to ramble on about the way homes are laboratories of our lives…

  8. mmCandy Evans says

    That's good to know! It certainly looked good in the photos, too! I used this more as a metaphor to ramble on about the way homes are laboratories of our lives…

  9. OBAL says

    I think when you go through remodeling with a partner, it highlights certain things…like for example, you both may want something different. A woman may want a closet for shoes, and a man might not. It IS very stressful. In the end, it's rarely ever worth the struggle (speaking from personal experience).

  10. OBAL says

    I think when you go through remodeling with a partner, it highlights certain things…like for example, you both may want something different. A woman may want a closet for shoes, and a man might not. It IS very stressful. In the end, it's rarely ever worth the struggle (speaking from personal experience).

  11. Julie Guidry says

    I could write a book about the crazy things that I have seen clients say and do over the last 16 years designing and remodeling houses. I had a client (a surgeon) say it perfectly about ten years ago, when she told me, " I didn't hire you just to design my house, but to save my marriage."

  12. Julie Guidry says

    I could write a book about the crazy things that I have seen clients say and do over the last 16 years designing and remodeling houses. I had a client (a surgeon) say it perfectly about ten years ago, when she told me, " I didn't hire you just to design my house, but to save my marriage."

  13. Jace Pelletier says

    Yes, Realtors can help with that but so can shrinks. Funny it was a couple of shrink clients I had who fought constantly when they bought a home to redo. I used to have to be the referee!

  14. Jace Pelletier says

    Yes, Realtors can help with that but so can shrinks. Funny it was a couple of shrink clients I had who fought constantly when they bought a home to redo. I used to have to be the referee!

  15. John S. Shore says

    I've been through three remodels of mostly large scale and it can be exciting and trying. A former boss wisely told me that "you HAVE to agree on everything" and that has really helped us. A good sense of humor really helps. Coffee, breakfast tacos, lunches and beer help keep the crews and homeowners happy every day. It's worth the money! I've heard of many couples breaking up over a remodel. I remember my ex, a prominent realtor then and now, saying with tears in his eyes to the contractor, "I just want my HOUSE back." This was after seven MONTHS in what was promised as six weeks. We woke up with NO exterior wall in the bedroom, blue plastic blowing and a contractor's rear end crack visible as he was hammering something beside me bed. That was his breaking point! LOL.

  16. John S. Shore says

    I've been through three remodels of mostly large scale and it can be exciting and trying. A former boss wisely told me that "you HAVE to agree on everything" and that has really helped us. A good sense of humor really helps. Coffee, breakfast tacos, lunches and beer help keep the crews and homeowners happy every day. It's worth the money! I've heard of many couples breaking up over a remodel. I remember my ex, a prominent realtor then and now, saying with tears in his eyes to the contractor, "I just want my HOUSE back." This was after seven MONTHS in what was promised as six weeks. We woke up with NO exterior wall in the bedroom, blue plastic blowing and a contractor's rear end crack visible as he was hammering something beside me bed. That was his breaking point! LOL.

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