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Buy renovated house or not?
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pecan




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 9:46 am
We have the option of buying a house as is, that needs a lot of work, or it could be fully renovated for only 99,000 more. The house itself needs probably between 150,000 and 200,000 to get fixed up. So if they do the renovations, it will be more on the lousy side.
So on one hand if they do the renovations, we save ourselves the headache, but when the roof starts to leak, etc. we will still have a headache. I'm also worried, because I heard they do not necessarily follow the codes when they do electricity and plumbing.
If we do renovations ourselves, it will be a fortune, and we cannot do it ourselves. But I don't want the hassle of finding contractors that are cheaper and walk off in the middle. I would rather work with a place that does it quickly and efficiently and properly, with a guarantee like home depot or lowe's. My dh just cannot handle stress. That is why he'd rather have a cheaply renovated house.
Maybe we can negotiate the price and do some things ourselves, but not others.
Bear in mind that I live in New York, where people don't necessarily hang around to finish the job. My mil got a cheap contractor and it took a year to finish her kitchen. My friend got a contractor who walked off with half the money.
What do you suggest?
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Pickle Lady




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 10:49 am
Firstly if dealing with contractors and fixing things is too stressful for you then maybe owning a house isn't for your family right now. That comes with the territory of owning a home.

Also you get what you pay for. If you get someone cheap, its cheap for a reason. That means they may do it after their normal job is over. Meaning working nights and weekends or they just use guy from the site that they don't need right then. To do things fast they may not do is so well.

Also contractors themselves get burned alot. Jews are known to be cheap and and don't pay. Also are difficult to work with.

Its better to build something good quality to start with and spend the money later to fix it.
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greenfire




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 10:54 am
everybody wants something for nothing ... and it frustrates workers ... just because we are fixing the basement doesn't mean we can fix the roof for the same price ... that is when people get exhausted ...

do NOT buy a house with a makeshift fix-it job ... rather do them yourself with reliable workers - one thing at a time instead of a quick for sale job ...
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pecan




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 11:59 am
How is it possible to fix things slowly? I mean, windows can wait, I understand. But kitchens, a roof, paint, floors, plumbing, and electricity need to be done before moving in, don't they? This house is run down, but it's cheaper than usual.
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pecan




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 12:01 pm
Also, my dh can never deal with stress. If we wait ten years, he will still be stressed.
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Pickle Lady




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 12:13 pm
Then you may just have to spend the money on a good general contractor. Look around for a good contractor. Ask around to friends or friends of friends that have had good experiences. They will be more money but it sounds like it will be worth the money. Also when you do work on your home the only way to cut corners is if you know what you are doing. You don't want to mess up your home by doing things wrong or cheap. So if you don't know what you are doing you will have to pay someone who does.
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pecan




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 12:17 pm
We don't know anything about renovations, etc. What about places like home depot and lowe's, they also do installation, plus guarantee's. Is it worth doing things with them?
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Pickle Lady




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 12:27 pm
Get a list of what needs to be done in the home with dimensions. You may want an architectect is basically a complete renovation. Also you most likely will need permits. Doing major renovations isn't like getting new cabinets in a kitchen. I don't know how much renovations you are talking about though. This is the plus side to buying a new place, you don't this headache.
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pecan




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 12:32 pm
Why do you need permits, in which situations? And is there a good book that walks us through step by step?
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Twizzlers




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 12:36 pm
you need an engineer to walk thru the house and tell you what is an emergency to be fixed and what can wait.
then get some contractors to come down and give an estimate. they all come give estimates for free.
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Pickle Lady




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 12:44 pm
If you are gutting a whole house then you will need permits. I am pretty sure that if you change the layout of the home meaning, moving around doors or wall, you will need permits. Also if you a changing the placement of where the sink will be and electrical outlets, then you will need permits. Getting permits is beneficial for you in that they will make sure that things are done the right way.
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pecan




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 12:50 pm
Thanks. So how is the inspector different than an engineer? I thought getting an inspection will tell me what must be done now and other info. about the house.
This already sounds like a nightmare - getting permits (from who), finding inspectors or engineers, contractors, etc.
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Pickle Lady




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 1:12 pm
pecan wrote:
This already sounds like a nightmare - getting permits (from who), finding inspectors or engineers, contractors, etc.


What is your nightmare is my dream. If I had the money I would LOVE to be able to renovate my own house.
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greenfire




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 1:17 pm
the city has inspectors to make sure work is done up to code ... hire licensed & bonded electricians, plumbers, etc. ... also get a list of references and ask if they were happy with the jobs done from same workers ...

I'm pretty sure what is urgent to one homeowner would be different to others ... some need everything done before they move in ... others will do things like the roof and paint & fix everything else over time ... so you have to evaluate what is important to the two of you before you invest in a huge fixer upper ...
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nicole81




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 1:30 pm
if this is such a nightmare now, before you even have the house, maybe it's not the right house for you.

is there a reason you're specifically interested in this one house? can you look for something else that fits your needs?
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Rubber Ducky




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 1:36 pm
Pecan: In my state (Maryland) an inspector can tell you what needs to be done and can often give you a ballpark estimate on costs. A structural engineer is someone who deals with weight loads and is someone you call in for things like taking down a loadbearing wall or adding a second story.

I do kitchen design and space planning. I can tell you that if you let the existing owner do the renovation for you, that's an invitation to cut corners. I also hear that your DH is not ready to take on the stress that comes with extensive remodeling. I would suggest that you either
1) find a reputable, recommended contractor to do the work for you (and get in a space planner, designer or architect if you expect to move walls or otherwise change the layout at the same time), or
2) find a different house in that's already in good shape.

A third option, if the house is livable except for stuff that needs to be done immediately (like the roof), is to live in it for awhile the way it is, and renovate or remodel when you have a better sense of what needs to be done to make the house work for your needs.

B'hatzlacha!
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pecan




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 1:48 pm
Here, it is very difficult to find a house that is affordable. Even the ones that are above our price range are very dilapidated. I have never seen a house in decent condition, and I've checked quite a few over the past year.
Renovating is part of buying a house here.
Our other options were condos which do not give the same amount of space.
This house is cheaper than the ones we've seen until now. I am not sure that it pays to keep looking because there is no decent houses here for sale unless they are way above our price limit.
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nicole81




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 1:58 pm
you keep saying "here;" I'm from brooklyn too Smile and I'm actually buying a house which we will close on soon iy"h.

I went with a renovated house. it isn't exactly what I would have done, but with young kids we did not want to be living in a work zone for months on end. the cheaper renovations were fine with me, and as we save money we can update it more piece by piece.

are you taking out a mortgage? because there are certain mortgage programs that will not lend money on a house that needs significant work done unless you specifically take out a rehabilitation loan.

if you have the capital and want to make the dream home then go for it. but you don't seem like you want to deal with the stress!
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DefyGravity




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 2:08 pm
Quote:
If we do renovations ourselves, it will be a fortune, and we cannot do it ourselves. But I don't want the hassle of finding contractors that are cheaper and walk off in the middle.

That's why you never pay for everything up front. Contractors will generally give you a payment schedule, and you don't pay the full amount until everything is done.

Quote:
I would rather work with a place that does it quickly and efficiently and properly, with a guarantee like home depot or lowe's.

Good luck with that - if you don't like dealing with contractors, using Home Depot and Lowe's is even worse. That means you're even further removed from the process and it's even harder to get the work done in a timely fashion. And keep in mind, you're still dealing with contractors, just not necessarily people you would have chosen yourselves.

Quote:

What do you suggest?

I live in a house that was completely run down by the previous owners. Since buying the house we've gutted the kitchen, put in all new exterior doors, new floors, currently putting on an addition that will include a bathroom, etc. It's a lot of work. In my opinion, the most frustrating part of the job was getting contractors to come and give an estimate - and then actually sending over the estimate.

You need to find a LICENSED contractor that other people have used and were happy with his work. We were adequately happy with the guy that did our kitchen, however, he was a little flaky, so we didn't want to use him for the addition. The company we're currently using had great references, we got his name from friends of ours. They come every day, answer our calls immediately, and have been a pleasure to work with.

If you have any friends that know anything about home repair, you should definitely have them on hand when you speak to the contractors. We had a lot of people that came out to bid for the job, and not everyone knew what they were talking about (and we didn't know anything, so we didn't always realize that they were clueless).

I don't know a lot about home repair, but it's definitely helped that I watch HGTV - at least I'm able to understand most of what the workmen are talking about.

If you do end up doing construction, always make sure you get a permit. You're shooting yourself in the foot if you don't.

If you'd like, I can see if my contractors can suggest anyone in the NYC area.
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pecan




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 21 2009, 3:24 pm
Nicole81, you went with a renovated house that I assume was done more cheaply. Isn't that dangerous?
I have the option of having it renovated by the real estate broker (they buy, renovate, then sell), but I heard that the company they use for electricity knows what they are doing but doesn't follow the codes. Isn't that dangerous in terms of plumbing and electricity?
I don't care much about cheaper floors, etc. I just want to make sure there is nothing dangerous.
And defygravity, don't home depot and lowe's at least have guarantees and people that will show up? Is it really the same as getting someone else?
Does anyone know the names of good contractors in brooklyn? Good inspectors?
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