An acquaintance would like to sell her house, but it is in need of extensive
repairs that she cannot afford. A previous bankruptcy rules out a loan.
Know of any programs from charities or student projects that could offer
assistance in the Hudson, MA area?
Steve (reply to group)
Hmmm. First, those charities doing the free work may not be too happy to
do it in service of a house sale. Second, there are many repair jobs
that could be done which would NOT improve the value of the house. First
make sure, with the help of a competent real estate agent, what the
local value of the house is and what problems it has that are hurting
that value. Keep in mind that a house in disrepair is not unsaleable --
it's just not going to bring the highest price. Those looking for
bargains, fixer-uppers, or even tear-downs will be happy to find such a
house if the other factors (location, location, location) are right.
I think it's best your friend sell the house now to get the equity
she'll need to move into a new (smaller? cheaper? less maintenance?)
place, and put the effort into that abode. I just don't think the return
on investment of time and /or money will be worth it.
First check with a bank to see if she really can't get a loan.
If the house is being fixed up for a sale then they may be more
willing to loan money since the loan will be paid off when the
Next check with local trade schools or Habitat for Humanity.
H-f-H may not want to take on the project, but they may be
able to suggest somone who will. Perhaps the promise of
a sizable donation upon the sale of the house will soften
Also, if you do a bunch of little fixups it will help.
Big things can be left for the buyer. You can offer
a repair allowence for the buyer to help with the additional
Just my $0.02 worth. Hope it helps
Habitat is not a give-away charity. It's more like a cooperative. Anyone
getting Habitat services, which generally consist of *brand new* housing
rather than renovation of existing, must contribute both *sweat equity*
and monetarily to a special mortgage (I think in years past they were
nothing-down, but I'm not sure what they offer today); they also must
meet strict income and need requirements. A typical community might have
only one Habitat home constructed every year.
We have a home next door that was built by Habitat.
It was built mainly by volunteers and the home owner has
to put in X amount of time also building it and helping with others.
You do have to meet income limits and there are certain regulations
and rules set up before you buy. Last I heard it was a no interest
mortgage. They built 3 in our city last year and now have banned them
because some neighborhhoods say the houses are too small.
Nobody reads shit anymore...
To repeat my comment above...
H-f-H may NOT WANT TO TAKE ON THE PROJECT, but they may be able
to SUGGEST SOMEONE WHO WILL.
I'm sure that H-f-H has lots of contacts within the building
trades and contacts to charities and organizations that do this
type of work. They should not be ignored as a source of info
just because the project doesn't fall within their requirments.
Just my $0.02 worth. Hope it helps
I'm sorry my illumination of Habitat's mission stepped on your toes. I
felt I had more complete information and personal experience (among
other things, I have had a tour of some of the original Habitat program
areas in Americus, GA courtesy of Millard Fuller, the founder); you
seemed vague about what Habitat may or may not do, suggesting a lack of
personal experience with them. If you were speaking of referrals only,
you could certainly have been more clear about that. Personally, I felt
the line about "a sizable donation" that would "soften them up" to be
insulting toward HfH, and suggesting very little knowledge of Habitat's
operations. Why would either be needed for a simple referral, from ANY
reputable organization? Maybe you should review, yourself, what you
write -- before sending.
After reviewing posts to date:
Habitat builds and repairs houses for sale to resident owners, not for
However, Habitat might buy the house for a new owner. They would not
pay a lot.
Local government might have one or several programs that would support
However, they would be for owner occupants, or for someone who agrees
to rent to low income folk, not for resale. The goal of local, state,
federal, & Habiat programs is to porvide homes, not enhance resale
One cannot always sell a house as-is. We are dealing with a local home
owner who's family used government funds to refurbish a home some
years ago. She now wants to sell the house and cannot because the
house is not in condition to get a CL100 certification.
Actually, there may well be a community-development loan program
available to owner-occupants. If the neighborhood has been designated as
"blighted", i.e. with a high percentage of deteriorating or abandoned
structures, there might be loan programs available to fix up blighted
properties and keep them from being demolished due to code violations.
This improves the neighborhood and keeps properties on the tax rolls.
The important thing to do is to ask.
No, but she can't carry on as she is. The house is a drain on their
finances. Her husband is disabled. Selling the house would get them out of
debt. I'd thought that it was better to make basic repairs to a dwelling
before putting it on the market, that the cost of repairs would be more than
recouped as opposed to selling it "as is", although Dan H and Tom B are
giving me cause to reconsider. As she can't make the repairs herself, she'd
have to find someone. And the cost of the repairs can vary considerably.
If there are work programs connected with vocational schools, she could save
some money. I'd suggest she get some estimates and consult with a real
Thanks again for your comments.
Sadly, you haven't listed the house repairs that are necessary. Home
Depot and most hardware stores will tell you how to do it. I can't
think of a single repair that an unskilled person, man or woman,
couldn't do. Please list these extensive repairs.
Water tank - electrical or gas are easily replaced. After turning off
water - gas or electricity, remove, reconnect water
gas or electricity. Get inspected and it is done.
stove - gas or electric, turn off gas or electricity, repair/replace,
get inspected, turn energy source back on.
furnace - same as above.
plumbing - mostly plastic and easy to install or fix. Little or no
soldering at the best of times.
windows, doors, floors, lots of inexpensive options.
painting - for most people it is easy. I can't stay within the lines in
a colouring book, so painting is very difficult and messy for me but
probably not you.
roofing - get it delivered roof top - get plastic tarp and work at it as
weather and time permit. Box cutter knife, hammer, nails and roofing
are basically all you need.
concrete - buy dry premix bags and mix by hand and pour.
gutters - snap together - a drill and screws and anyone can do it.
electrical - most hardware stores have displays and diagrams and the
guys/gals will usually draw what you specifically want to do so you can
follow it when you get home. Power off, do work, get inspected, power
on and away you go.
It will take you longer than a professional to do the work for a few
reasons. You probably won't see the problem areas because it is your
first time doing it. People are usually slower at anything they are
The only problem I can see is working above ground and scaffolding can
be made out of 2 X 4s that are safe and easy to build with a hand saw
manageable by one person as high as the roof on a 2 story building.
Steve B. wrote:
I haven't seen the house, but was told that there are extensive plumbing
problems as well as structural damage to the house. The house sits on an
acre of land and is in a "good" neighborhood. It's just "too much house",
and I thought with real estate prices so high, she could get the house
looking good and unload it and get out of debt and live frugally. Be a
shame to try to sell after the real estate bubble bursts.
I'll pass your comments on to her. Maybe someone at Home Depot could
suggest someone reputable for the repairs. She's not "handy" making repairs
and her partner just suffered a stroke.
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