To remodel or rebuild


My husband and I bought our house six years ago when we were in our early twenties. Boy were we stupid. We had an inspector here for three hours and there are a ton of things he didn't notice and neithor did we. The couple things he did pick up on were that there is some leaning problems but we all figured it was not a big deal and was kind of expected for an older home (built around 1900). What we didn't realize until my husband and I were expecting some things was that someone at some point cut the main support beam that runs the length of the house (ya know that big huge one that is suppose to help support the second floor) and never resupported it. So, it has shifted about an inch and a half. He also noted that we needed to update our electric box because it was old. What we didn't notice until it was to late is that one breaker on the box controls half of the house. We have a detached garage that if you turn off one of the light switches pops the breaker for the living room. And, speaking of the living room, it is powered by an elctrical cord that was perhaps once a lamp cord. Yep, somewhere someone cut the real electic cord and spliced it to this (lamp) cord that is plugged into a normal old everday plug. If you unplug it the whole living room again goes dark. All this brings me to our problem. My husband wants to sell the house but I will not sell it the way it is. Not to mention we probley wouldn't even get what we owe on it. We have a great yard in a town that real yards are hard to find (I still think that is what we paid for). However we are located directly under a red light on a main street. See what I mean about stupid?? I really do not think selling is our answer. We are debating tearing the whole house apart and remodeling EVERYTHING but I am wondering if it might be cheaper to just tare down and rebuild. While we do live pretty comfortably we are not rich by any means and I have no idea how we would go about doing eithor. We could possibly save the money in about five to ten years but I'm not sure if it is safe to wait that long. We live in central PA if that info helps with anything. I would greatly appreciate any advice anyone could give. Thank you all so much!
--
+---------[ SERVER SIGNATURE ]---------------+
| Delivered via http://www.homeownershub.com |
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My 2 cents: It's cheaper to build new, than to renovate. In you're situation you'll probably lose money regardless, at least in the short run. Some years ago I gutted a small 1910 house, replaced all the plumbing and electrical, windows, and sheetrock. I left the exterior alone. The job really wasn't too expensive, but you really need to leave the house while the work is being done.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On May 21, 10:04 pm, mrandmrsweibel1_at_aol_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (mrnmrsweibel1) wrote:

Get some professional help. Make a list of all the things you know of that are major problems. Then hire an architect with structural engineering skills or access to a firm that has such staff. You will have to pay for the comprehensive survey of the structure, and than sit down with the experts and prioritize the problems. Include all the options, full or partial teardown, staged renovation, whatever. Your advisors will have some good (not exact) estimates of current costs and time involved. There is no way that people in this NG can help very much with your situation. There are well qualified experts and even some pros that lurk here who can advise on parts and pieces of the difficulties, but you need more than DIY help. It may even be helpful to talk to a CPA or accountant for a clear unbiased judgement on whether to fix, sell, tear or down. Good luck.
Joe
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I certainly hope the main beam has been repaired.
You have some homework to do. Sounds like it need major upgrades in electrical, possibly plumbing and perhaps more. One advantage to remodeling is that it can be done in stages making the money aspect easier.
You have to gather some information first. Evaluate the overall house. Would you want to live there if it is upgraded? Does the present layout of the house suit your needs? What NEEDS to be done and how soon? Electrical, plumbing, insulation, heating system, roof, windows. These upgrades will up the value and make the house more saleable.
List the other options. Teardown (cost) Build a new house with typical framing Built a very energy efficient house with ICF's or SIPS. Put a factory build house in the same spot Build a new house while living in the old one Live in a trailer on the property until work is done
Check local regulations. Any restrictions in the neighborhood on size or style? The wrong style house will not have the same value as one more appropriate.
No one here can make the final decision. You need to do some evaluation and soul searching before you commit to anything. You must also have the financing in place too. Consider having a professional inspect the house too, to evaluate the oveall condition so see if it is worth saving. You may be liging is a charming historical house of great value.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On May 21, 8:04 pm, mrandmrsweibel1_at_aol_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (mrnmrsweibel1) wrote:

This seems like a troll to me.
cheers Bob
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 22 May 2010 03:04:32 +0000, mrandmrsweibel1_at_aol_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (mrnmrsweibel1) wrote:

Old houses are far more sturdy than the juk they build now. Moderan houses have a lifespan of 30 years. Particle board just does not last.
Fix the place you have. First, repair that cut main beam. Apply steel plates and bolt the pieces together. Use jacks to get it back to where it belongs. Use at least 6 bolts that go thru the whole beam on both sides of the cut, nd use thick steel plates on BOTH sides.
Rewire the whole place. What you describe is a fire hazzard. There will be some holes in the walls to rewire, so you may as well replace all the plumbing at the same time, and then patch all the walls just one time. Use PVC for the drains, and either copper pipe or PEX for the water supply. If you need any extra heat registers, do that too right away.
It's a lot easier to repair some holes in the walls and jack up a building, than to build a new house, and likely much less costly. To tear down the old place is not cheap in itself.
I'm assuming you have a good foundation. If the foundation is collapsing, then you may be better off starting over. But if the foundations is still solid (may need some patching), you should be ok.
I'm curious why the main beam was cut. Is this the one in the basement? Is it wood, or what???
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On May 22, 5:44 am, snipped-for-privacy@here.com wrote:

You can very likely rule out the tear down option with a simple question that has nothing to do with architects or what's wrong with the house.
You have a mortgage. Can you pay it off? If not, then the mortgage holder isn't going to let you tear it down.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/To-remodel-or-rebuild-443266-.htm mrnmrsweibel1 wrote:
Thank you everyone for the advise. I thought I'd answer some questions that have been asked. First one being that if we were to fix up the house I could definatly see us spending our lives in it. It is a typical three bedroom and it has a finished attic, perfect for our family size of three with room for visitors to stay (we moved three hours away from "home" so we have lots of visitors). If we did tare it apart I would only make minor changes in the lay out and only what could be accomodated depending on where the baring walls are. The foundation seems to be okay from what we can tell. My husband thinks it may be stone with cement over it from someone covering it up. The beam that is cut is a large beam that runs the width of the house between the first and second floors. There are some cracks in some of the beams in the celler but they all have sister joints (see I do know some things) and shouldn't pose a problem. I got my idea of fixing it from my father. What I would like to do is completely gut it and leave the shell but redo everything else. When I was a kid my dad bought a fixer up and did the same thing. Unfortunatly he then left us and left it in the hands of my mom to fix while raising three kids. It took her 18 years to get the house completly finished. The point to that story is I've learned that walls are just walls and what makes the home is the family so I would have no problem it we had to live in a house in disrepair for awhile. I'm thinking it would only take us about five years to get it all back together. We could do some of the work ourselves, my husband is pretty handy thankfully. He is great with electric however he is not certified. Someone told me though as long as you follow code and have an inspector come in to check it that its okay. I'm not sure about drywalling though. He did remodel two of the rooms himself and it was his first time with sheet rock. He forgot to think about measuring to come out for the windows and left gaps around the door ways thinking he could just add molding until I pointed out there is nothing to secure the molding onto. However I do have a brother in law that is skilled with dry wall so maybe we could swing it. We do have a mortgage that if we really tried to take the tare down route we could probley pay off in five years. I keep saying probley because while my husband makes decent money I kind of have this way of spending it so I would have to work on that. Thought then we would have to come up with money to have it tore down and fixed. Oh, and to Bob. I'm not sure what you mean by a troll?? Maybe someone that comes on these sites and posts bogus things? I assure you I am not a troll. I am just young and a little out of my league here and I was looking for some helpful advise. I like to ask other people what they think about things and thought maybe someone on here might have gone through the same thing. Again thank you anyone and everyone for your time and help.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
mrnmrsweibel1 wrote:

Go the route of getting an architect/engineer to do a structural eval first given that you're comfortable w/ the overall house.
Given the rest, it's all doable.
The issues of Code, permits, inspections, etc., are controlled by the locality and you can find out what they require simply by calling the city or whatever jurisdiction you're in and asking. Typically, you can work on own property w/o license and get inspection some (usually larger metro areas) may require licensed craftsmen--in that case you're pretty much forced to do what is needed.
The timing and how much at a time, etc., is a personal choice as well as budget. That's a choice you will have to work out.
--
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 22 May 2010 16:11:20 +0000, mrandmrsweibel1_at_aol_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (mrnmrsweibel1) wrote:

Why are your messages all split up like above? Please Fix your newsreader, so it wordwraps, or something like that.....
Sounds like the foundations is good, that;s the most important thing.
I still cant understand why that beam was cut. What's the reason? Is there a stairway there, or what? From what you said, I assume this is on the floor of the second story. What you need to do is put a solid post on the cut end of both sides of that beam, or put walls under the whole thing. Photos of that beam would help.
I've done lots of construction work and even moved some buildings, so I know how to jack up and support anything. Post some photos on a website and post the url on here.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On May 22, 9:11 am, mrandmrsweibel1_at_aol_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (mrnmrsweibel1) wrote:

Dear mrsweibel1-
Sorry for the comment "seems like a troll to me" but that was my first impression of your situation & your initial post.
I was having a hard time believing that an home inspector could miss so many issues that should have readily apparent. :(
The regulars on this ng have a great deal of experience, knowledge and skill, plus they are very willing to help. Lots have gone through the "redo an old home" thing.
I would recommend you make your decision based on: good neighborhood? good location? other homes in good condition or trending better (lots of fixing up)? suits your needs & desires (or would if fixed up)?
find a photo hosting site and post some: overall shots & closeups get a personal email address (I recommend gmail; great GUI & features), family or couple shared email is SO last century, email is not just an electronic version of snail mail.
execute on the advice given the posts have offered, keep posting your results & your questions
cheers Bob
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In

Most importantly, start with your local code enforcement office for any particulars on doing whatever you end up deciding. They have the final word over all existing codes. And keep in mind that NEC, NFPA, etc. etc. etc. are all MINIMUMsk and that your local code enforcement can and often does strengthen them beyond their own specs. It's a very important part of the process and when you start whatever you're going to do, they will be involved since you'll need permits for each phase and maybe even requisite drawings, sketcehs and project plans. Permits also have a finite lifetime; they are not open ended.
HTH,
Twayne`
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Along those lines, it might be worthwhile getting a legal consultation on suing the home inspector. Almost all of them are insured and even if you don't go to court, they might be willing to hand over $10K just to get rid of it. They do have all kinds of protective clauses in their contracts, but a good lawyer could tell you if you have a case. At some point, if they miss very obvious things, it becomes incompetence and not that they just could not see or have access to some things.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

can be proven the condition existed when the inspection was done.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote:

Forgot...state licensing boards may have penalties payable to the purchaser when inspections aren't done properly.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Years ago, we just did our own inspection, perhaps bringing along Dad or an Uncle that would be of help. Seems the professionals have more cop-out clauses in the contracts they don't have any worries about missing anything. They may be of some value to a totally inept homebuyer, but I'd feel better doing my own run through. I'm sure there are some good ones, but thee are alo many complaints about items missed by inspectors.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I grew up in the business, so the inspector's report didn't tell me anything I didn't already know, and he missed some stuff that I had not. The $350? he charged was still worth it as a negotiating tactic- his impressive-looking report made my lowball offer a lot more palatable to the sellers. I swagged repair costs for everything called out in the report, and deducted those from the asking price.
--
aem sends...

Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
mrnmrsweibel1 wrote:

While there are some issues noted, none really sound as if they would be terribly difficult to fix.
The question not answered is whether you are interested or at all capable of doing some of the work yourselves; much could be done by yourselves undoubtedly if were willing to put in the effort and some learning.
I'd concur w/ the poster who recommended some outside evaluation; I'd also concur w/ the recommendation for rewiring; I'd expect any sale would end up being contingent upon such and am frankly quite surprised these levels of problems weren't caught by your inspection so you could have either had them fixed before the purchase or at least gotten consideration on the purchase price of the costs of renovation.
Depending on what the disclosure form the seller provided says about such items, you might even have some recourse altho time isn't on your side there.
All in all, unless an outside expert does indicate there's a major structural flaw as another suggested, I'd wager the renovation route is more economical rather than rebuilding on the same location. In particular, the cost of another living location while building will undoubtedly exceed that of more temporary duration during some periods of a renovation in all likelihood.
--
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/To-remodel-or-rebuild-443266-.htm mrnmrsweibel1 wrote:
Thanks everyone for the tips. I would love to post some picturs and add a post to them but unfortunatly I don't really know how. Everytime I try adding pictures to the computer I do something wrong and say lots of bad words to it. I'm also sorry my posts come out different looking. I again don't know how to fix that. It looks fine as I'm typing it so I have no idea why it does it. On to the real reason of the post. I'm not sure if going after the inspector would really help. The big problems with the beam and the electric were really not that noticable until my husband and I did some research. He did tell us we would need to update the electric but the seriousness of it was not obvious. We didn't realize half the house was on one breaker until my husband and I went through the whole house with an alarm clock, he would trip the breaker and I would run around plugging it in and flipping light switches to find out what got power from which breaker. It was amazing the things that were on what breakers. For instance, one breaker controls the kitchen lights, the washing machine (that is in basement) the dining room, outside lights, the detached garage and the hot water heater in the basement. We made a list of everything and keep it in a handy place incase one of the breakers ever pops. We did not know that the living room is somehow connected to the cord that is plugged into the basement until my husband unplugged it one day not knowing what it was and the whole living room lost power. His reaction was "No, noone could possibly be that stupid". We can't even see where the wire is spliced but it is somewhere. The inspector also noted that there was a lot of settleing but we didn't think it was a big deal and figured we'd level everything out at some point. We didn't notice the beam was cut until we put mouse traps in the drop celling. Oh, and to who asked. The beam is big, maybe six by six and it is hiding above the drop celling between the first and second floor. We have no known reason for it being cut. There are no doors or anything in its way. We have concidered the possiblity of it being a decorative beam but that doesn't make sence eithor. It is shifted roughly an inch and a half and the whole upstairs is shifted the same amount towards the center of the house which is where this beam is cut. It would have been nice to have help house hunting but we live three hours away from our home town so that was not an option. I blame alot of the issues we didn't notice on the fact we were young and caught up in the idea of owning our own home. We looked at several different homes before we choose this and I'm not sure what we were thinking. We wanted something we could fix up somewhat to make our own but we didn't realize we'd have this many problems. Oh, and to Bob. Thank you for the apology. I know it seems unreal we have this many problems even with a three hour inspection but I assure you it is. Whats ironic are the things I didn't mention that we all missed and I'm not sure how. There were also two places that the floor had settled so much that it pulled away from the wall leaving a gap. One was conviently hidden behind a dresser so it was easy to miss. The other is at the bottom of the stairs going to the second floor. I am still trying to figure out how myself, my husband, the realtor and the inspector could have all missed this. The sad part is my husband and I came to look at the house twice before buying it so I have no idea how we missed that. Oh and to add light to your comment about the email. This is my email address, my husband has his own. After beinging called Miss.... for so long I was sad that hardly anyone calls me Mrs. Weibel. So, this is my way of honoring the fact that I am married and very proud of it. :) Thank you everyone for your time and help. I am so ready to start ripping down walls now, if I wasn't afraid of what I might find living in them I would start doing it myself.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.