That saying doesn't have anything to do with ethics or doing things right... instead it's about always having the expectation that things won't go right. The belief that bad things are going to happen all the time.
Seems like it would be better to believe and expect that things are going to go right and seek ways to do things right to reinforce the expectation of having a good outcome and IF things don't go right, we're going to do all we can to make them right if it's in our power to do so.
I think the "do things so they can't fail"/"expect things to fail and so do things that will prevent those things happening" is a complicated interaction, not a one-or-the-other. NASA astronauts do an exercise where they sit around a table and brainstorm all the ways they might die, and then come up with lists of things that should happen in those cases, then figure out all the ways the items on those lists might fail and they end up dying anyway, etc. But I think those life-threatening accidents don't actually end up befalling them too much in reality, because they plan and train so well to prevent them.
This is a solid position to take, and if you are trying to feed your family as a tradesman it will help you all sleep better at night.However, there are common practices, learned and engrained, which last for decades and when a tradesman delineates from those, they are little more than self marketing.
While imagination and evolution, are boundless, delineating from secure practices can subject others to losses that could well have been avoided.This is a solid position to take, and if you are trying to feed your family as a tradesman it will help you all sleep better at night.
But if everyone took this path there would be no innovation or adaptability, as well as few options for customers. Common practices are themselves the product of earlier tradesmen (perhaps optimistic "glass half-full" people) taking risks and learning from the consequences. How else did we wind up with all these different ways to do framing, roofs, plumbing, etc.
NO it isn't, It's conducting ones practice in a manner that prevents the eventuality of ones ethics or integrity being questioned.
Murphy's law is an adage or epigram that is typically stated as: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." In some formulations, it is extended to "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time."
Ethics and integrity are not a coin flip, and I'm never in a quandary about the longevity on my workmanship.
Your new plan is very much what we did going on ten years ago now. We bought a short sale house with some major disrepair for $24k. Taxes are very low based on the homes age. We made the majority of the improvements in the first year and the only job I hired done was the metal roof and I worked with the Amish to install the roofs but I purchased the materials. The work we did DIY with about 50% of the materials sourced off Craigslist or other social media used or new. As an example we bought a used oak kitchen with almost new appliances for $1200. Shopping around was kind of fun actually and in the end my guess is we put another $20k in that first year. Having no house payment and not paying any interest is a great feeling. We have many friends that have much nicer homes but are also working many years trying to get out from under the loans they have.Well... I've decided to call off my barnominium project and sell the 5 acres I bought to build it on.
I cannot undertake any project under a blank check kind of situation where I cannot get a ball park figure of what it's going to cost to finish out the inside of building.
The guy (local metal building company that builds them and sells supplies) that was going to build the metal building itself claimed they do turn key finish out projects all the time for many of their customers but he never would provide any estimate. I understand that it's hard to give an exact price but for the basic I should be able to some ball park pricing
I had worked with a retired civil engineer to develop complete plans for the build so I should be able to get ball park pricing for basic things like plumbing, electric, doors, windows, drywall, etc. I called other folks asking for an estimate and wasn't able to get any call backs.
So, screw it! I'm going to sell the 5 acres which I'll be able to make a profit on (should be able to make $50k if it sells for my bottom dollar price, possibly double that if I sell for my asking price). There are no structures on the property at all so the property taxes won't be too much so sitting on it a year or two is not a problem.
I think now I'm going to focus on getting a decent house that is already built that doesn't need too much work. It seems to be easier to get people to provide pricing on simple stuff like putting on a metal roof, painting, flooring, window replacement.
If I can find something with a good foundation that doesn't need a whole lot of work I can work with that if I can get it for a decent price. With interest rates going up, this should work in my favor since I'm a cash buyer not having to mess with getting a mortgage.
I appreciate you guys humoring me and answering my questions. I've learned a lot from the info everyone has shared. Once I find a house someday I'm sure I'll be back with a few questions about fixing it up.