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Loveswood
Avoiding Horror Story

I am currently in the process of purchasing my own "Old House". The Plan was to move in and add an addition and move the kitchen. Before signing I had an oil tank search done (house is currently heated with hot water) and low and behold there is a buried, leaking tank. I swore I would kill the deal if it was so but........I am awaiting the results of the soil samples (nightmare). Any way, in the meantime I am getting feedback from people telling me that what I think I am going to spend on my renovations and addition I should double and double the time expected as well. Is there any advice as to how to stay close to my budget and time line? I realize the more reputable the contractor the better but even with everything in writing should I still expect to double the time and money?

Thanks

Marjorie
Re: Avoiding Horror Story

THese guys who are experts can give you much better advice and information than I can... what I can tell you is that you should always expect the unexpected.
I had a bathroom remodel that involved three rooms (making it big enough to put a vanity in instead of a dinky tiny basin, and to allow enough room between the shower that you wouldn't bump the shower doors with your shoulder while seated - it was a very small bathroom). The plumbing stack wasn't where it was supposed to be, which changed my victorian pedestal idea to a vanity which covered it, the floor drain needed to be moved, and a couple other things.
Yes, they all added to the final bill...

Have you gotten estimates for your remodeling ideas yet? And the leaking oil tank...that sounds like a biggie. Surely the seller would be responsible for all clean up of that?

Loveswood
Re: Avoiding Horror Story

Yes the seller is currently having the tank removed and soil tested for contamination. Results of the test will conclude as to whether I should move forward with the sale.

I haven't gotten any quotes on my remodel ideas as of yet due to the tank delay but I would love to gather more info on my ideas while I am waiting. Is it a good idea to call the building inspector to get the name of some contractors that he recommends? And should I call an engineer to check out the ideas I have in mind to find out if my ideas are even possible. I am talking about an addition about 25' w X 75' deep. Point being who should be my first contact for information?

A. Spruce
Re: Avoiding Horror Story
Loveswood wrote:

I am talking about an addition about 25' w X 75' deep. Point being who should be my first contact for information?

My first call would be to the building department to find out what the set-back requirements are (how close to boundaries can you build ) and lot coverage - that is, bare land to structures - most municipalities won't allow more than 40% to 50% of the property to be used for structures. After that, it sounds more like you should work with a designer or architect to flesh out your ideas on paper. Once you've got a good idea of what you want and can do from these sources, then call in contractors for bidding the project.

A. Spruce
Re: Avoiding Horror Story
jkirk wrote:

mr spruce is speaking the truth. most contractors wont touch a quote for an estimate when it comes to additions without a architectual drawing because they need this paperwork to estimate the material required ...

I would periodically provide this service to clients, but there is no profit in it with no guarantee of getting the job. My work around was to charge a small fee - basically cover expenses - that would cover a few hours spent to understand what the client wanted, then I'd call in a draftsman to draw it up. From there I would then provide a bid for the project.

canuk
Re: Avoiding Horror Story

Aside from agreeing with Sprucey ... in most cases you need to submit drawings to the building department for approval as well.

So it would be logical to approach someone to design the addition and have it drawn up.... this way you can also get your quotes from contractors.
The contractors need this information to be able to know what they are looking at.

And ... yes ... be prepared for the unexpected and the "might as well" upgrades to the existing part of the house.

Just 2 cents worth. :)

Dave357
Re: Avoiding Horror Story

25' x 75' is a substantial addition. Be aware that in many jurisdictions, if the remodel/addition exceeds a certain percentage of the existing home (typically 1/2), then the entire house must be upgraded. This would include electrical, plumbing, HVAC, etc. This will add considerable cost to your project.

I'd consult with an architect. He should be able to give you an estimated square-foot price, based upon the style & type of construction of your addition. He should also be able to determine if you will be required to upgrade the existing structure.

A preliminary consultation shouldn't cost too much, but will help you determine if the project is within your budget.

Loveswood
Re: Avoiding Horror Story

Thank you everyone for all of the advice. Much appreciated. Luckily I have already checked with the zoning officer and the house sits on 3 acres and is a 2700 foot rancher. They didn't see a problem with my initial ideas as far as size and setbacks. I also have about a year to plan this undertaking. Guess I'm gonna need the time.

Marjorie
Re: Avoiding Horror Story

Have you seen the soil sample report yet? Do you need to get any sort of clearance from any environmental agencies (being it's a leaking oil tank....)?
You might want to give the EPA folks a quick call and see what they have to say - maybe even get something in writing from them when you have the soil testing results in hand.

Loveswood
Re: Avoiding Horror Story

Just received the oil sample results and they are indeed over the EPA standards for my state. Fortunately the seller is responsible for the removal and clean up of the area. Needless to say my closing date on the property isn't anywhere in sight. Since the oil tank was found we also discovered asbestos wrapping 170 LF of the plumbing in the crawl space. Is this also the sellers responsibility? None of these things were listed on the sellers disclosure statement. Simply stating that she "was unaware". We are moving forward because it is a terrific piece of property in an excellent part of the township. I guess I need to figure out when its time to say "when". "I've had enough"

Marjorie
Re: Avoiding Horror Story

Well, maybe they didn't have disclosure laws when that seller bought the house... hmmm.

of course, they'll have to provide new soil samples after the cleanup?

Have you had a whole house inspector examine that house for you yet?

What's your water supply? If it's well water, and there's oil (and who knows what else now), in the soil, any well water may be contaminated.

Is it city sewer or septic?

Were there any outbuildings on that property that you need to check, also? and the soil around them or where they used to be?

Good luck to you on that house and property. I hope they can bring it to proper standards so you can buy it.

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