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TheLadyBrooke 08-18-2012 04:44 PM

Major Remodel of 1916 House
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My husband and I are looking for our first non rental home and have always wanted to remodel a historic home in our small, southern Indiana town. We have found one that we believe is perfect for us but wow... it needs some love! It's just us and no kids so we think we can do it!

Our main concern is if the foundation and main structure of the home is good. If it is, we are flexible on everything else! Both of our fathers are trained well in construction and remodeling and are willing to help us with anything we need. We'd like to keep it as DIY as possible, for cost purposes.

Right off the bat we know it needs to be gutted as far as the walls go. The floors are amazing with the exception of the kitchen. The rest of the house has the original hardwood floors and they are PERFECT. No scratches, dents.... just needs a good refinishing. The kitchen however is rotted on one side from a previously busted water pipe, it looks like, and will need replaced. The walls are made of that hard plaster and needs taken out. Behind it is the slatwork. We want all that stripped out, use the opportunity to rewire everything that needs it, and then put in new insulation and drywall.

Many of the windows have been replaced, others all look good. Doors are good. There is no internal A/C and the heat is old.

The kitchen has a sink and a counter. There is a stove but it's just sitting there... not hooked up to anything. Poor guy. Until 8 years ago, this house was lived in. The woman who lived there was too old to take care of it anymore and she was moved to a small assisted-living apt and her family owns the home. They are selling it for what is left on the mortgage... which is only $23,000. None of them want it and with the way the market is now, they know nobody will get a loan for a home in this state.

What do you think?

BridgeMan 08-18-2012 11:29 PM

Good for you in taking on this project. For starters, I'd suggest not offering full price for the place, as the sellers certainly haven't been swamped with offers. Any money you save on initial purchase can be put towards your remodel costs, and they will be substantial.

I see 2 things to take into consideration from the limited info you shared and the picture you posted. Cute house, BTW. More likely than not, there is asbestos in the original plaster walls, and proper remediation of it is a must, since your removal efforts will put the nasty particles into the air you breathe. Many states only allow such to be done by licensed remediation contractors, so you need to check that out for your location (starting with some asbestos tests, either DIY or a testing lab). Secondly, the yard slopes down towards the foundation from the right, meaning that natural drainage will be dumping surface water into the basement/crawl space. That should be corrected ASAP, and can readily be done with some creative swale work on the right side of the house. Less than a day's worth of work by a good man on a small dozer, but probably several weeks of grunt work by you and hubby should you choose to go the wheelbarrow/shovel route by yourselves. Sweat equity rules!

You would do well to invest in the services of a qualified professional engineer, who can give the place a thorough examination in a few hours, and make a detailed list of what it needs, prioritized of course. Foundation, wall and roof framing, exterior sheathing, plumbing, etc. I wouldn't pay for a typical home inspector to do an inspection, as most of his/her comments will suggest having further evaluations performed by "a qualified professional" (meaning an engineer).

Good luck!

nealtw 08-19-2012 04:37 PM

The land has to be worth that much.

TheLadyBrooke 08-27-2012 07:02 AM

The house has been inspected and now we are negotiating a contract! I'm so excited! If the contracting goes well, you can definitely see me around here a lot in the future. :)

nealtw 08-27-2012 07:26 AM

Good luck, I hope it goes well.

BridgeMan 08-30-2012 01:08 AM

Hope you get the house!

And if it does happen, something else you might want to address sooner rather than later is the electrical power supply line running through the large tree branches on the right side. It appears that a strong wind storm could knock out your electrical service.

Most power companies will trim branches that are too close, at no charge to the homeowner. I've lost count on the number of times our EPUD tree crew has been out, both to trim and completely remove some of our tall Doug firs.

TheLadyBrooke 09-01-2012 02:23 PM

Thanks. It looks like it runs through the tree from the picture but there is actually quite a bit of space between the two. The tree also belongs to the neighbors to the right so I don't know how that would work if we had to have thed tree trimmed for our power lines.
Anyone know what style this home is? I can't tell. I know what it's NOT but I can't really pinpoint it.

BridgeMan 09-02-2012 12:48 PM

I'd call it "early saltbox," but that's just an engineering guess (I'm not an architect).

nealtw 09-03-2012 09:06 PM

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I think it is a salt box.

thomask 09-13-2012 08:40 AM

Welcome and good luck. Remember you are in for a journey through peaks and valleys. Keep a log in pictures and a notebook along with a good file system for receipts.

You both agree that there will be long days and nights but persistence always wins in the end. While living in the house leave one room "clean" to live in at all times.

Please keep us updated with pictures here in this thread as part of your build for help and support. Glad you have professionals in your family to assist. I do see a real diamond in the rough here for sure with those wood floors and salt box style.

BTW post more pics of that "blue bath" before reno, now that is a classic.

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