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tanlaw2006
My 1st home

I just bought my first home. A 93 yr old twin in eastern pennsylvania. It has good bones and just needs some updating. I love the character of the home and do not want to change much of the character. There are no historic district codes as of now. I am looking for suggestions on what project to start first and how to choose. Here is my list

replace/restore windows 2nd & 3rd floor (original wood double hung)
update 2nd flr bathroom
correct & update kitchen - pictures are misleading previous owners attempted themselves
refinish floors
finish basement and basement bathroom
make 3rd floor a master suite

Re: My 1st home

Rehabbing the windows isn't the sexiest project on your list, but it could save you money in years to come in heat/air bills.

There are several handouts on rehabbing windows on the site for Restore Omaha, which is a workshop for old-home owners. The speakers always promote saving old windows over spending on new.

Don't want to do it yourself? Shop around for an old-school hardware store that reglazes windows.

Re: My 1st home

Old home are a good candidate for an energy evaluation also find a local company that provides that service and use someone that has infrared thermography.Old homes have things in the walls that IR can find . This old house had a missing bat of insulation in the bed room and I found much more.

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kreg mcmahon
Re: My 1st home

tanla,

it depends on your budget. windows might be first as you save money on heating and air loss. do the floors last, master suite, basement, kitchen then bath.

it just depends on your how much money you have availabe. are you going to do the work? or hire it out?

tanlaw2006
Re: My 1st home

I guess budget is important :)
my 1st year budget is $15,000 - $20, 000 I want to work on as many things that I can that will increase my equity to pay for next years projects.

Planning on hiring contractors for these projects
replace/restore windows 2nd & 3rd floor (original wood double hung)The estimates I have so far will eat up half the budget.
refinish floors
make 3rd floor a master suite

Planning on sweat equity on these.
update 2nd flr bathroom
correct & update kitchen - pictures are misleading previous owners attempted themselves
finish basement and basement bathroom

Thanks again for the suggestions

JLMCDANIEL
Re: My 1st home

My suggestion is to put your money in the bank, move in and live in the house for a year or more before you do any remodeling. Otherwise you will be doing things you will want to redo later. Speaking from experience.
Jack

thaxman
Re: My 1st home
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

My suggestion is to put your money in the bank, move in and live in the house for a year or more before you do any remodeling. Otherwise you will be doing things you will want to redo later. Speaking from experience.
Jack

Here, Here!

I changed my plans for a home addition 3X btw. purchase date & the 6 years it took me to go down and take out the permits. Glad I didn't jump the gun as now my addition looks like part of the original floorplan, while the other 2 would have been less efficient & would have looked "tacked-on."
It sounds like you will be using the "housing ATM" that many financial columnists have squawked about, and so a word of caution: tapping equity can be scary, especially if you choose the wrong project. Take that kitchen, it looks plain-jane-1995, but its functional. If you take that on & then try to refi using that as your main equity-builder, you're going to get squat. If the 3rd floor is unfinished & you add a 400 sq.ft. master suite with a ##neighborhood-appropriate## level of luxury, then you have added real value, and hopefully have not over-built for the neighborhood (don't total more than 150% of the neighborhood avg sq. footage or your $/sq.Ft. will go down), meaning that what you spent will most likely be less than what value you added. But to be truthful, after doing a 600 sq.ft addition myself, I would DIY the master suite, esp since there's already a roof overhead.

Rodney H
Re: My 1st home

Hi,

I just remodeled our old, 107 year old house the past 2 years. The first thing to do with your 93 year old home would be to install all new windows, and all new doors. They will start to pay for themselves immediately, saving you more money to remodel other things in the future. It is not easy to install new windows, but will be a breeze, if you decide to install new siding at the same time.

Depending on your budget, go with new doors and windows first, followed by new siding, if needed. Always be sure you check the insulation, too. Lack of proper insulation will costs lots of money in the winter time. Be sure to properly seal the gaps around the new windows with a expanding foam sealer. It is simple, and a really great sealer. Use a high quality caulk around all the doors and window trim. I recommend using the new composite brick moulding, so it will never rot. You should have seen the old rotten, weathered brick moulding I tore off around the old windows and doors. The composite moulding accepts paint really well.

I know exactly what you are going through, deciding what to do first. I did all the work myself, except for the carpet laying, and some electrical and heating work done when I had the heat pump installed. Wow, what a great money saving feature with the heat pump. It costs alot initially, but our heating and cooling bills are about 20% of normal. If your older home has cold rooms, now is the time to run additional duct work to them as long as you are remodeling.

Now, our old home has all new doors; all new windows, inside and out; all new sheetrock; (if you need new sheetrock to straighten crooked walls, this would be a great time to add more insulation); all new mouldings and trim, inside and outside; new siding, new soffits, new ceramic tile in the kitchen and entry;

The list never ends, so enjoy your project. My brother is a retired union carpenter, but I never asked him to help. The carpenter trade takes too many short cuts, just to make more money. I hope you watch "Holmes on Homes" on Channel 286 of Direct TV, usually from 9-10 AM, central time, and 5-6 PM in the evening. You will like his show. Mike Holmes has a foundation that goes into homes that were incorrectly and sloppily built or remodeled, and does it the "right way". He says never to buy a new home, because lots of today's carpenters do not take pride in their work.........are only interested in making money, and cover up their mistakes. I have seen lots of this type of shoddy work in our area, too. Mike does high quality work, like Norm, Rich, Roger, and Tom on "This Old House". No shortcuts for those guys.

Enjoy your project.

tanlaw2006
Re: My 1st home

Thank you all. You have given me food for thought. I am addicted to all the shows trying to learn as much as I can - what to do and what not to do. This old house and holmes on homes are my favorites.
To Thaxman - I see your point of view. I was thinking that the master suite was way out of my budget for now since I have to get windows done. The third floor consists of two rooms and a walk in closet. I want to reconfigure the space to add a bathroom and reuse as much of the original trim as possible. I found a local architect that specializes in old homes to talk to but I haven't made an appointment yet. The space is liveable. I added more pics. The bathroom is the most expensive thing to be done I would think.

To reenieandrod: i've started interviewing window companies. I have 17 windows to replace ,repair or restore. So far no wood rot just a lot of broken sashes and glass. I've temporarily put up shrink to fit plastic. It's a brick exterior so no siding except under the bay window there is a small apron of cedar shingles. What was your biggest challenge during your renovation? Anything I should definitely not do?

Thanks again.

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