Help with a wreck?

Questions and answers relating to houses built in the 1800s and before.

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eclecticcottage
Posts: 399
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:24 pm
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Re: Help with a wreck?

Post by eclecticcottage »

I would do it, but we're a little nuts here, lol. We are living in the Cottage while working on it and it's a PITA but doable. Probably more so in a bigger home. A little like gluby, the Cottage was a summer home and has it's share of deferred maintainance that lead to plenty of work to keep us busy. CL and freecycle as well as curb shopping will help for sure. Also thinking outside the box has saved us big time, like our repurposed living room floors.

Looking at the photos, I can see why you're considering it. It's a beautiful house, even the weathered siding is making me drool. I love it!

I agree that if the systems you mentioned, like electric, are already upgraded that it's really not as big of a project as it looks like. I'm not entirely sure if I would worry about a CO, as it appears the current owner is living there so even if the town/city/whatever wouldn't issue one, they obviously haven't pulled the occupancy permit as it is so I wouldn't go looking for problems in asking for one! I imagine (although I don't know for sure) that if it does have it's ocucpancy permit pulled, it should come up when the lawyers do their thing (like easements, liens, etc do). I would say your biggest problem will likely be insurance, followed by financing if you're needing to go that route. There are a lot of different programs out there for financing, a good mortgage broker could probably find one for it. IF you own your current home and don't need to sell it to buy this one, you could always take a home equity on the current place (if you have enough equity) to buy it too. That's what we did, and we're renting the Old House in the mean time (we have to wait a few years before we can sell, or we pay penalties on the equity loan).

I think your best bet is to realisticly look at what it needs, what you can and want to do, and what you can afford to do. If it all adds up, I say pull the trigger and go for it!

Cost...that's really up to you actually. I've seen entire kitchens for sale on CL (appliances and all) for a few hundred $$ and that was wood cabinets. Our cabinets at the Old House are plywood, but you wouldn't know because they were sanded and painted-so they look just as nice as any other painted cabinet. We are working on our bedroom now, and if we liked the plain white panleing we were originally going with, we would have plank style paneled walls, painted, for about $100. of course, we didn't so now we're trying out crackle finishes. Repurposing and thinking outside of the norm can save you big time. It sounds weird, but poke around places like Pinterest for repurposed stuff and you'd be surprised what you can come up with!
The Cottage Blog: http://eclecticcottage.blogspot.com/

Current home: 1950's Summer Cottage turned year round home (the Cottage)
-@ 700 sq ft, heated with a wood stove, on the shore of Lake Ontario
Previous home: 1920's Vernacular (the Old House)

CycloneOfRed
Posts: 275
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:25 am
Location: Ionia, Michigan

Re: Help with a wreck?

Post by CycloneOfRed »

Wow...it is definitely an awesome house. I can't offer much advise on whether you should buy it or not (only you know your family well enough to make that decision), but I will say that if you do buy it, I'll be more than happy to help you finance the restoration in return for those oil lamp chandeliers! They are exquisite! :shock:
Laws of Home Repair:
1) It will be more difficult than you think.
2) It will take much longer than you think.
3) Murphy's Law is in effect tenfold.

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Josiecat
Posts: 550
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 11:51 am
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Re: Help with a wreck?

Post by Josiecat »

I can't believe that beautiful door and those light fixtures! Amazing. :D
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The Wellcome House
1892 Queen Anne Victorian
Topeka, Kansas

mross_pitt
Posts: 745
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2005 3:37 pm

Re: Help with a wreck?

Post by mross_pitt »

What about the purchase price + restoration versus ultimate resale value?
I also wouldn't take the word that the big things are done without getting an independent review of how the work was done.
The foundation still needs work from what I can see.


I agree with Raine. That's a lot of work unless you're getting it for cheap as dirt.
Even an old house requiring some minimum work takes a lot of time away from your life and family.
You and your kids will also be exposed to a myriad of chemicals, toxins, etc. during the restoration and finish work. It's a nice house, but I would wait because there's always another.

ivanho
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 5:02 pm

Re: Help with a wreck?

Post by ivanho »

I think a 203K loan is a costly choice. You might want to look locally at smaller banks for a construction loan. That way you have control over any funds spent on the house. You must be living somewhere else right now. If you're renting, why not stay in the rental for an extra month after buying the house while carving out a livable space? If you're buying and also selling a house, you would still be able to come up with a similar strategy.

To me, all the really dirty work is done. Windows and demolition are the dirtiest of dirty work. It's all open and rewired. Drywall goes up fast.

There are some similarities to what we've embarked on, but we bought a house with a usable kitchen and usable bedrooms. However, there are large swaths of the house that aren't lived in. We have many electrical circuits off upstairs and run extension cords from updated circuits. We have a bare bones bathroom with no shower. We also have the low stair railing. We also have a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and an 8 month old. It's not easy, but obviously you understand the lifestyle.

If it were me, I'd buy it. That house is gorgeous! Are all the windows and wiring taken care of? How lucky! Rather than invest time and money in a brand new kitchen, I would get the kitchen functional enough to use for a family, along with some other rooms. Then circle back for your brand new fancy kitchen once the house is more complete.

As for toxins, as long as you're not sanding lead paint, or fail to plastic off a work area and cleanup when you're done, everyone will be fine. We have the lead blood levels of our kids tested whenever they go to the doctor, and its always clean.

I would offer what feels worth it to you. I would have to feel like I got it cheap for it to be worth it to me.

Infogeek
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:39 pm

Re: Help with a wreck?

Post by Infogeek »

And I thought my house needed a lot of work. Looks beautiful! I'm sometimes overwhelmed by my own projects and I don't have a small child to think about (two teens). If you have the funds, are handy, then go for it. It definitely needs some TLC.
Jon

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1890s Farm House

gluby174
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 11:28 am
Location: Little Egg Harbor,NJ

Re: Help with a wreck?

Post by gluby174 »

[quote="ivanho"]I think a 203K loan is a costly choice. You might want to look locally at smaller banks for a construction loan. That way you have control over any funds spent on the house.

Not trying to get into a debate,why do you think the 203k is a costly loan,we borrowed enough to finish the house and keep our total loan something we could easily manage all at a reasonable morgage rate (4%) three years ago , we had full controll of the funds and the work being done as we progressed with the restoration,personally,we could have never done this house without it.The Hud agent you hire through the loan is there to help you and and guide you through the entire process.He picked up a few things in house ,we never saw.Maybe this particular type of loan is not for everyone,but the idea of the loan is to help people get a loan for a fixer up type of house that is in dispare,that most banks will not give out a loan,Gene

mross_pitt
Posts: 745
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2005 3:37 pm

Re: Help with a wreck?

Post by mross_pitt »

As for toxins, as long as you're not sanding lead paint, or fail to plastic off a work area and cleanup when you're done, everyone will be fine. We have the lead blood levels of our kids tested whenever they go to the doctor, and its always clean.
There's more than lead paint lurking around.
Just do some research, read labels,etc. and don't believe "everything will be alright" because it might not be.


Also, this is the forum of old house lovers. I'm guessing those whose lives have been completely turned upside down because of financial problems, lack of family time, health issues etc that developed due to an old house restoration don't post here.
It may turn out to be a reasonable project, but then it may turn out to take ten times longer than you thought, cost ten times more, and cause lots of stress in your family.

eclecticcottage
Posts: 399
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:24 pm
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Re: Help with a wreck?

Post by eclecticcottage »

Isn't the catch with a 203K that all work has to be done by a contractor? I thought this was the case, as before we bought the Cottage we looked at many homes and some outright stated conventional financing was out of the question and to check on a 203K....That little clause can really hike up the cost of a reno, especially for someone that is capable of doing some or all of the work.
The Cottage Blog: http://eclecticcottage.blogspot.com/

Current home: 1950's Summer Cottage turned year round home (the Cottage)
-@ 700 sq ft, heated with a wood stove, on the shore of Lake Ontario
Previous home: 1920's Vernacular (the Old House)

ivanho
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 5:02 pm

Re: Help with a wreck?

Post by ivanho »

In response to a 203K loan: If you get your own construction loan, you can decide to do all the work yourself, or most, or none. With a 203K loan, you are hiring contractors. With a local lender giving you a construction loan, you work with them to put together an agreement.

Most larger banks offer the 203K loan. Locally owned banks, smaller banks, credit unions, often have funds available and are hungry to lend and will offer an interest-only construction loan.

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