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naturalasymetry 04-14-2008 05:38 PM

Need guidance on new house
Hello everyone, we need help. We absolutely must move to a specific area which happens to be a wealthy neighborhood because our daughter goes to a school here that she has a grant for (she's in Kindergarten) she will be going to this school for the next 10 years. So we need to find a home we can afford, we found one that is beautiful on the outside with yard & trees, newly made detached garage.

However the inside needs work and its ultra tiny! 660 sq feet! Its a two bedroom with a kitchen, a living room, two bedrooms, one bathroom.

We have three kids, 5, 3 & 1 years old. We already know we'll have to get bunk beds etc. But we need to fix the interior and really want to add on to the property.

We're buying the home for 95k, which is virtually unheard in the neighborhood but its a "short sale" home. There are mansions all around the neighborhood lol.

So should we knock down the garage? And add onto the home? Should we build equity and fix the inside up until we get over the housing slump and resell it? Normally the house is worth 205k.

Also, I'm a bit worried about the tree that is right by the bathroom. The owner said he HAS had problems with the plumbing because of the roots.

Should we hire someone to re route the pipes? Or should we cut the tree down?

Thank you! We will be posting A LOT since we've never done home repairs and we're on a tight budget!

We are first time home buyers!

Square Eye 04-14-2008 06:14 PM

You really need to check the zoning or building code in your area before you buy a home when you're already planning an addition. Make sure your plans fit within the property line requirements. You can't typically build right to your property lines in most cities.
Property values will continue to rise and if you get a good deal on this home, you will be able to resell to someone else quickly if you don't get crazy with the renovations. It's good to go in with an exit plan if you don't intend to live there forever.

Other than that, I'm not much help. yet :)

inspectorD 04-14-2008 06:21 PM

Well , of course I would say....get a qualified home inspector to look at the house before you buy. They will give you the heads up, and any advice they have.
Try for a good one. I belong to this non profit society.
Good luck with your new life in the neighborhood, it sounds nice.:)

naturalasymetry 04-14-2008 07:34 PM

The property is zoned1, however the real estate agent said we can knock down the garage and add bedrooms instead of having a garage, or connect to the garage.

Thanks for the advice people :)

handyguys 04-15-2008 08:20 AM

Your Realtor may be correct, or not, about what you can and cant do. Check with the building department.

I'm just speculating. I would guess that the front porch is close to the required setback and the sides are ON the required setback. I would also guess that the right side of the garage is on the required setback. Where does that leave room. The space between the garage and the house. Your Realtor is probably making the same guesses as me.

As for what you need to do....
Do not route out the drain line right now, nor cut down the tree.
Why? Don't do work, or spend money, you do not need to. You will need it. Build up a savings. Do not be house rich and cash poor. Do the repairs that you MUST do to keep the house safe and secure. If your drain lines start to run slow THEN tap your savings and have it snaked out. Regular snaking is not usually a regular maintenence item.

Do - Make sure you keep up with exterior paint, caulk and water mitigation. Keep the water out of the basement. Repair the roof when it needs it. Touch up paint before things start to rot, etc.

and save - Try and save 100% of the cost of the addition. If you are adding on between the house and the garage and changing some interior room configurations to better accommodate an improved flow you could be looking at between $50K and $150K just for an addition. If you demolish the garage and rebuild all the way out you could spend even more. Loosing the garage will hurt resale.

As for interior - Do not do any major remodel. If you really do want to do an addition plan the interior remodel into the addition. Things will likely need to change inside to accommodate the new addition. You do not want to spend a lot of that bathroom when it may need to move to accommodates a hallway to the new addition for example.

In the interior you, again, want to make repairs of course. Fix leaky plumbing for example. Paint, curtains, carpet, etc all can get really expensive and may be what you invest in to start. Just realize that some of those things too will be wasted money if you add on.

Anyway - good luck with your new house. Just make sure you do not get in over your head financially.

-The Handyguys

guyod 04-15-2008 10:20 AM

An addition on a fixed budget is never a good idea especially if you are not experienced and not doing it yourself not to mention having 3 small kids.

The outside looks very charming. if you are sure on the 200k value then i would stay there for 2 years to avoid real estate profit taxes. Make the inside as nice as possible and sell it. use the profits and find a bigger house. keep your credit score perfect. and good luck

glennjanie 04-15-2008 11:47 PM

I would use the garage to convert to a play-room/bed room for the older children and the 1 year old could use it as he/she ages a little. The sex of the children is not mentioned; this seperate living quarters would work best if all the children are of the same gender.
A covered walkway or enclosed hall way could connect the garage to the house and I would leave the garage apperance on the outside so it could be converted back for resale later.

Rustedbird 04-16-2008 08:08 AM

There's a reason that place is so cheap. Some problem somewhere. 600 sq feet, three kids, and planning to do remodeling and additions while you live in it? That could be a real chore. Might be worth it to keep looking.

Big Al 04-18-2008 07:36 AM

I like most of the advvice you got. You're talking ten years. When you buy, remember what we contractors like to call " The Honeymoon Period ". It's the sweet spot when you silly new homeowners spend way more than you can afford on lots of things you don't need. Good time to make money (drool,drool).
Always buy the cheapest house in the best neighborhood. Good economics. A good idea today will still be a good idea tomorrow.Always sleep on it before you spend that dollar.
I'll bet your little ones would be happy in a tent.You'll be fine. What an exciting time. I've got lots of advice and some of it even good.Can't wait for more posts.
God Bless
Big Al

shan2themax 04-18-2008 12:23 PM

Even though I dont have much to add in the way of how to do things..... I can add this....
Please make sure that you and your husband are emotionally ready to deal with changing things.... Maybe it is a little different for me because I am a single parent... but let me tell you... the emotional side of trying to make a house livable, comfortable and to whatever standards you want is trying.... there isnt a week that goes by that I am not upset or stressed out because of the number of things that need to be done and the immense pressure that I put on myself in order to get the things done.....
Now, having said that... it is wonderful when you get a project completed.... you can see the fruits of your labor, and it feels good.... somethings are worth draining yourself emotionally..... for a short time period.... others arent....
Keep your marriage happy while your at it... You will need each other for comfort when things dont go the way you plan them......

Best of luck to you... I cant wait to read more of your posts

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