Saturday, March 28, 2009

Restore or Rebuild?

Now we have had three different contractors tell us that for the amount we are willing to pay to rehab our house, we could build a nice new-construction house of the similar size and with everything we want in our home.  Additionally, the last person to see it today noticed that the southeast corner of the house was settling and brought up concerns with it.  So we are trying to decide what to do.  

The pros of rebuilding are; we get a brand new house, we can adjust the floor plan to what we would like, we won't have to worry about fixing things or sudden problems.  
The cons are; it is a new house and would lack the charm of an old house, we have to find a place to live while we are rebuilding and we may have to jump through hoops getting the neighborhood and city to agree.  We would like to keep to an older arts and crafts style house if we were to rebuild. 

The pros to renovating; we get the house to look the way we want it too, we have very little to do and can add/change/fix things as they come along, we still have a cool old house in the city, it will still probably be cheaper overall.
The cons; dealing with settling, unexpected problems with the house, constantly having to fix something.


Last of the Contractors

I think we have had the last contractor come through the house.  I'm fed up of showing people around and telling them what we want done.  I know at least one guy realized it, but it was "early" in the morning for me and I had not yet finished my cup of coffee.  The guy before that though was a little bit of a jackass and refused to stick to the list and kept arguing with me.  We didn't even go upstairs, when I said that we wouldn't be using his company and thank you for coming. Hopefully we will start getting some numbers in next week and can make a decision.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Ok.  So we have started getting bids back for the house and the first one came back at a whopping 300k.  Now I know that we have a lot going on, but 73k for a 2 car detached garage is absurd.  The other parts of the bid were also extremely high.  I sent an email back to the contractor asking him if I was reading the estimate wrong and pointed out that if I was reading it correctly, 73k for a detached garage was insane.  I tried to be as polite as possible without coming out and asking him if he was on crack.  I also asked if he would like a chance to redo the bid or if he had no interest in the project to let me know rather than making up numbers.  

The second bid however was a lot more reasonable.  They even came out twice so that they didn't miss anything.  Overall the bid is a little on the high side, but I'm sure we could work things out and prioritize as needed.   Also the PM and even the second guy he brought with him were cute :)

After the crazy first bid though, I called another contractor, we have subs for the third guy visiting next week and we have another pm looking over the work to see if she would be interested in taking on a side project!  

Now its back to the mortgage people.

Monday, March 2, 2009

House Plans

We had an FHA evaluator come out and draw up plans for the house last week.  He came up with a big list of things to had to be done and others that we would like done.   The final construction total was higher than we hoped and now we have to go back to the mortgage agent to do comps to see if our house would appraise for that amount after we are finished with the work.  

On the first floor he has us taking out one of the two entrance doors (which is great!), taking out two kitchen windows and taking down the wall between the kitchen and dining room.  The other two we figured are optional and while it would be nice to open up the kitchen/dining room, we can live with it the way it is.  The major renovations on the first floor are adding the bathroom, redoing the kitchen and redoing the back bedroom. 

On the second floor, which is our master bedroom, we have to finish the new bathroom, most of which is already in place, fix the floors, and put in the closet.  

The rest of the work not shown in his renderings is adding a detached garage, fixing our failing foundation under the front porch, fixing the front porch, painting inside and outside, fixing the stairs and redoing the floors.  

I contacted three contractors today and they are all coming out this week to give me estimates and thank you to the guys in the 1928 northrup bungalow for recommending their contractor, who is coming out to see the house on Friday (which I guess was 2 weeks ago, since I forgot to actually publish the post!!).