(Closed) Buying a place that needs work?

posted 7 years ago in Home
Post # 3
Member
3942 posts
Honey bee

What kind of work does it need? And does it all need to be done before you move in?

Our house needed (and still needs) some TLC but a lot of it we are just doing ourself and learning as we go. I could hardly chage a lightbulb before we moved in, but last weekend I was putting up baseboard molding πŸ™‚ 

Post # 4
Member
238 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Are you sure you don’t know anyone who knows a contractor? I would branch out a bit and consider asking neighbors or coworkers- I’m sure someone would have a recommendation.  Shy of that, I am a big fan of using internet reviews to find good services.  Yelp has honestly never steered me wrong, and there are several sites like that.

 

Just some encouragement- a lot of people think it is not ideal to buy a house that ‘needs work,’ but I have news for them: every house needs work! Whether it needs it now or in a year or two, everyone will need a contractor or at least a handyman someday! I come from a family with MANY contractors in it and can assure you that home improvement can be a good learning experience, so even if you aren’t handy now- you will be soon! Also, take advantage of the free (or cheap) classes that Home Depot and Lowe’s offer. They are a great way to learn how to do things like lay tile, etc., and they can save you a lot of time and money.

Post # 5
Member
1087 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

As someone whom just bought a big old house that needs attention I suggest Kitchen and Living room. those are the places you will be the majority of the time. But you have to make sure the structure of the house is good first and foremost.

Post # 6
Member
1087 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Also, servicemagic.com is a blessing!!!

Post # 8
Member
610 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

You could check out resources at home depot, lowes or rona. They sometimes have classes to show you how to DIY to save money. Also if you have any friends that might have experience maybe they will help and show you how to DIY. We were lucky because Fiance is handy and i am a quick learner so we were able to renovate our whole place ourselves. As for hiring a contractor i have heard allot of bad things about them and how the projects get put off for months. I would go straight to the source and maybe save some money. For example you need a new tub/sink/etc in your bathroom i would just go ahead and hire a plumber. As for money it all depends what needs to be done. We were able to renovate our whole place for about $10,000. That was paint, doors, baseboards, two remodeled bathrooms, new counrter tops & tile backsplash in kitchen, new stainless steel appliances but, luckily the last owners updated the flooring so we were able to keep it and work with it. If we had hired a contractor i am sure it would have been upwards of $20,000 for the same renovations.

Post # 9
Member
1330 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

i would research online first to get an idea of how much the projects will cost you and decide if yous want to take it on or not….

kitchen remodels can get expensive depending on how much you want to do to it…..and definitely if you have to hire a contractor and not do it yourself….

if most of the projects are simple things like painting, switching out fixtures….then thats not so bad….

but if its gutting a room and starting from scratch, your gonna be looking at big bucks….

the average cost to remodel a 10X20 kitchen is roughly 10k-20k….thats just an estimate though…

Post # 10
Member
124 posts
Blushing bee

My only tip for you is to BE SURE to get a GOOD home inspector. They can tell you if it’s just a leaky faucet or if you’ll have to replace the entire cabinet and wall because of rot. And usually you can get some money off the buying price based on things the inspector finds. It’s worth the extra cost.

Post # 12
Member
6661 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2010

We just bought an apartment that needs work (vanity updating, like old tile in the bathroom and outdated kitchen, refinishing floors) and we also have zero experience in this arena. For us, the real estate market is so crazy (NYC) that we took a leap of faith and bought into our dream building in a unit bigger than we could afford if it were all new and updated.

What we did was we searched online for ‘average’ remodeling costs across the country which made us a little more comfortable with the cost. This was done primarily by my Darling Husband so I apologize I don’t have the websites handy. Obviously it will suck for a few years being cash strapped since all of our disposable income will go into renovations, but the upside is we’re in a bigger space in a nicer building.

As far as choosing contractors, try to go with someone who a friend or family member recently used. We are lucky because many of our friends have bought in this city and done renovations, so we have a lot of referrals for contractors. And there are only a handful of contractors who do specific things like put AC units through the wall, etc.

Post # 14
Member
3942 posts
Honey bee

@spaniel: Thats great that youll do a lot of work yourself. And yes, hardwoods are easy! Im actually helping my mom do her floors now πŸ™‚ And I agree with the PP, home depot has some great free classes.

I don’t blame you for not wanting to DIY the kitchen. Thats one of the few things we won’t tackle ourself either. Not having a stove or a sink for a few months is not an option for me! What I would recomend is this-If you love everything else about the house, could you deal with the kitchen for the time being? I say that because our kitchen is straight from 1950’s…its horrendous. But I loved the house from the moment we walked in so we ignored the kitchen. The appliances work and even thought its ugly, its still functional. Now a few months later we have talked to neighbors and gotten some referrals for contractors. We also have done work on the rest of the house which has given us a better idea of the type and feel of kitchen that we like. We have also spent hours and hours looking at different designs. I think its better to live in a house for a little while before you make major changes.

Good luck!

Post # 15
Member
6661 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2010

@spaniel: I totally know what you mean, we are actually still in the same boat where we don’t really know what it’s going to cost. The majority of the cost will obviously be labor and as long as you are OK passing up on high-end finishes, you can keep costs down. We are not cash heavy by any means, but we’ve accepted the fact that we’ll have to do one project at a time if we don’t want to go into debt. There are certain things that NEED to be done before we move in like the floors and AC units going through the walls, but other things like retiling the bathrooms and updating the kitchen can wait.

Post # 16
Member
11325 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

I think that a membership to Angie’s list would be worth it for you. I think its like $40 for a year. Seems like its a bit more reliable than other review websites. 

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