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Old 02-20-2008, 01:31 PM  
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Default First Time Home Owner Here

This is my first post here by a first time home owner.

My Fiance and I (have been together for 7 years now) have just bought our first house. We've lived in an apartment for a year or so and have decided we're not apartment people. We wanted a place to call our own.

Let me start out by saying that we're a young couple and we did not spend as much as the bank would allow us to. In fact we purchased a house for over $40k less than what we were preapproved for our mortgage.

Our house is a 915 sq.ft. detached bungalow built in 1939 with an addition that was put in, in the 60's. We don't actually have it yet as our closing date is March 31.

The good:
- Cute house with lots of charecter. Effecient, open floor layout makes it seem larger than it is.
- Brick exterior is in good conditioning. Morter requires minor repointing in some locations.
- Completely redone electrical with upgraded 100 Amp panel and all new wiring in 2006. Existing knob and tube has been completely removed.
- Brand new high effeciency furnace and central air combo installed in 2007 (existing ductwork done in the 60's retained)
- New water heater in 2007
- Hardwood floors, carpet over hardwood in the 2 bedrooms, ceramic tile kitchen.

So what's the catch you ask? Obviously with the house being the age it is it needs some work. We don't mind this as I'd like to try and do most of the work myself with the help of some friends and family (who have more experience). Work which I cannot complete myself I will hire help for, but I would like to avoid this as much as possible to save costs (and I believe I can do it).

So what needs done you ask? We have a 2 month grace period between house closing date and when we have to be out of the apartment, however the sooner we can move in the better. Here are the major items which we must repair BEFORE we move in.

- Repair the floor structure: Some numbscull has cut some floor joists clean off (I have found 2 in one location and 1 in another) to run HVAC ducts. Why? I have no idea as the basement is unfinished and has a headroom of 5'-6" or so. Regardless of the reason this has been done and needs repaired. Also some of the joints have slipped and sagged over time. Our plan is to jack the floor back up to level and renforce existing connections by installing joist hangers where applicable and by adding proper headers and reinforced framing where the joists have been cut. I'm sure you'll hear more from this in the structural section.

- The existing plumbing must be redone. The drain is exposed in the basement and is of cast iron construction. The galvanized supply lines have been partially replaced with copper. I want to completely redo the existing DWV system and remove and replace the remaining galvanized plumbing. I'm sure you'll hear more from this in the plumbing section.

- The batroom is rediculous. There's only one bathroom in the house and judging by the look of it, it was renovated somewhere between the 60's and 80's. It has floor to ceiling vinyl wall tile and vinyl floor tile (pink and brown) with pink tub and toilet and a layout which doesn't work. We're going to do a budget bathroom before we move in as it's hard to renovate your only bathroom when you live there. (tile floor, shower walls, new fixtures and vanity, new drywall and paint, new vent).

- The hardwood floor are pretty worn, but in physically good condition. After fixing the floor structure we'd like to get the hardwood refinished before we move in as it is a messy job. We're debating if we're going to remove the carpet from the bedrooms and have that hardwood refinished as well. (carpet in the bedrooms isn't the greatest, but is ok).

- We're looking at redoing the ceiling in the main living area with drywall before doing the floors. At some point those cardboard tiles were put up and we'd like to give it more of a premium look. This renovation is if budget permits and comes after the necessary items.

What must be completed but not necessarily before we move in.

- The current roof venting is not adequite. The shingles were replaced in 1997 and the roof area is showing premature ageing as there seems to be a lack of soffit vents and there are only 2 roof vents. I would live to install proper soffit venting (as much as practical) and add another 2 roof vents. Venting is to be done in short order. Insulation likely shortly after but definitely before the nex heating season.

- The windows are OLD. We're hoping to replace these with more energy effecient units within a year or two of moving in.

We've budgeted ~$4k for immediate renovations before moving in. So far it's alotted as follows:
- Bathroom: $1.5-$1.6k
- Materials to repair structure - $600
- Roof insulation and venting - $1k
- Hardwood refinishing and wall paint - $800
- Plumbing is the big question mark....

As you can see the plumbing is a big question mark as I have no idea how to estimate this. If we end up between $4k and $5k before moving in it's not going to break the bank for us, but we're aiming for that number. I believe I am being conservative with some numbers (roof insul) and stingy with others (floor finishing) but the numbers have been based on ballpark figures given to me and calculated by myself. Hopefully things will balance out in the end.

Looking forward to the future help and advice . I'll know a lot more come March 31 when I can really get in there and start setting plans into motion and getting real quotes where necessary.

1st Time Home Owner
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Old 02-20-2008, 10:11 PM  
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Welcome Ryan:
We are happy to have you. Lots of professionals and experienced here, ready to answer your home improvement questions anytime.
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Old 02-21-2008, 08:30 PM  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Spring Hill
Posts: 49

Hello and welcome Ryan,

Congratulations to you and your girl on your new home.

If your figuring 4k for your budget I would say plan on 6. Thats without adding anything new to your list. You sound determined to go the DIY route and that is fine as long as you do it right. The floor joists for example. Jacking up a house is not for the faint hearted. And needs to be done a very small amount at a time. No new rock ceilings before your done with the leveling. You will be far better off having some professional help at least as a guide. Plumbing is one place, the floor joists are another. At least have someone look it over and make some recommendations. Be very careful and use the proper equipment when jacking the house.You didn't say how off it was but nonetheless be careful.

Ask more question as they come up. And have fun renovating the house.
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