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My_PA_Home 11-15-2008 03:29 PM

Need Guidance in Complete Home Renovations
Hey gang,

I am a complete newbie here and hope to be welcomed in.
Unfortunately, I came to this site due to a situation that
I am completely overwhelmed by, and wanted to turn to
the experienced and professionals that can offer some great
advice, opinions, suggestions, and overall guidance.

Being as brief as I possibly can, my childhood home in which
eventually has been left unattended/abandoned, is in bad condition
and needs some major remodeling/repairs. My guess is that the house
needs to be gutted and major rebuilding. My main concern is I don't want
the house to collaspe some day, or have lawsuits against my mom, who
legally owns the house now. No one has lived there for years. But we have
no idea what to do or where to begin.

Over the past couple years, the house started leaking big time, so it's not
going to be good.

I know this is all general information. My main questions is, where do I go from here? I can say that I would like to keep the house. I want to get it
fixed up before something major happens.

What would be some suggestions, on who to contact? How to get it inspected and assess the damage? I know there is going to be a TON of
things I have to do. I just need some kind of begining check list. I live in a
different state, so I have to do a lot of prep work from here, to set up for back home in PA.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. If this is NOT the place for this, Please feel free to direct me to the right place.

Thanks in advance. I hope to use this forum alot during the process. I will sure need it.


inspectorD 11-15-2008 04:15 PM

Ok Joe
What you may need is a really good contractor to come out and give you the costs. But before you do that, get a home inspection. The inspector will not try to sell you fixes, only what you need to look at as a big picture.
Try for an educated inspector in your area. Probably around $400 bucks, but well worth all the information.
Welcome aboard, we'll be around to help with more questions anytime.:)

travelover 11-16-2008 08:58 AM

Unless, you really want this home, it might be useful to donate it to a charity like Habitat for Humanity. They are currently doing more rehabs and fewer new house builds due to the falling price of homes. A call to the building department of city government where it is located may get you some other contacts.

If you donated it, you could take the tax break and it would not be a liability to you anymore.

Just a thought.

handyguys 11-25-2008 08:19 AM

I second the inspection. Here is some info on the process.
The Handyguys Podcast Blog Archive Episode #32 - America’s top Home Inspector
Tell the inspector you choose that you want help prioritizing what would be required to stableize the house.

Thats key right now - I get the impression you are not ready to do the rehab. You don't want things to get worse.

Make sure the water is off at the street. Make sure your pipes are drained and traps are winterized. Make sure you have a few security lights if you have electric on. Make sure all windows and doors are locked well.

Your worst enemies will be water and vandals. Keep both out.

handyguys 11-25-2008 08:20 AM

I see you are in PA. Where in PA? If its close I could swing by and take a peek.

ciera 11-25-2008 10:58 AM

Also consider getting a home inspector who is a structural engineer. Might be a good time to have an expert opinion on the structural integrity of the house.

Given that you're going to get a large writeup, ask for an example report before hiring. Our inspector didn't write his report very well (and they were typed on an old typewriter), so it was hard to understand some parts and get a list going for what we needed to fix.

Finally, walk through the place with the inspector. Make sure you understand what the problems are, why they are a problem, and what it would take to fix them.

ramcharger 02-13-2009 12:58 AM

You might also check with the city inspector. If it has been empty for some time they may want to check the electrical and plumbing first.

jdougn 02-13-2009 07:04 AM

Hello Joe,

You are welcome here. When inspecting the home focus on the most critical aspects of stabilizing the home. Obviously, the roof needs attention but it needs to be determined exactly what it needs including any structural repair. Next, focus on the foundation and wooden structure of the home to make sure both are sound. Also, secure the building from unwanted entry by vandals or critters. This may be an expensive project so figure out what your budget is before jumping in to far.
hth, Doug

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