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libbyswann
my new old home

Hello all! My husband and I bought our house in 2007 with plans to fix it up... well, here we are with no fixing upping...haha. This is our first home and I just graduated college so we have pretty much no budget. I'm hoping for suggestions on where to start and what to do...I just want a simple clean feeling but it must be able to be lived in. We have three dogs and while we are clean people, we are not freaky. So, about the house...built in the 30s I believe. Maybe 50s, yea big difference, but I can't remember. Anyway, I've been told it's called a shotgun house because the doors in front and back are aligned. It is stucco, needs fixed on the outside as well. There are tiny closests, no storage, old everything, and crappy carpets. Two bedroom, tiny bathroom, small everything. :-) My true dream is to have a free total remodel like you see on tv, that would be awesome! Oh and we need a new ac/heating unit for the heat part. So yay. Old wood inside as trim work and doors. Thanks for reading my story and I appreciate your feedback in advance.

HoustonRemodeler
Re: my new old home

Libby,

Random thoughts;

Live in the house for a spell before deciding what (if anything) to do. WHen deciding what to do there are 2 camps of spending money; A- improve the value of the house, and B- make the house enjoyable for yourself (ceement pond, bakers kitchen) After living there for a while put some thought into what you can and can't live without.

When deciding what to spend money on consider how long you are fixin to stay and what the value of the neighborhood is. You don't want to own the most expensive house in the 'hood. All the other houses will pull yours down. Realtors will be a big help. Make friends with one and have them over for dinner a few times a year so it doesn't come off as tacky when you pick their brains about remodeling. Plus, as the neighborhood changes, you'll have up to date information.

Go on home tours when neighbors' homes come up for sale. Keep in touch with what's happening and what's for sale, and what's not selling, and for how much.

Remember above all a house isn't an investment. Its a place to live and enjoy.

dj1
Re: my new old home

Good advice above, from someone who knows.

My two cents: with resources so scarce, you must start with whatever you need to do to protect your home from the elements. Things like: roof, windows, doors, garage door, exterior paint, siding/stucco repair and so on. I'm sure you need some of these done or upgraded.

When the exterior of the house is protected, you can focus on the interior.

In general, try to have a firm idea of what you want, so you maximize your dollars output. No changes!

HoustonRemodeler
Re: my new old home

And one more thing;

If at all possible, make a long range plan so the improvements interlock with each other instead of demo'ing old work to get to the new;

For example, if new pipes or wires are needed, you can do those by the room or by the whole system. While doing all the pipes at once is cheaper for the plumbing, the ancillary work is greater and your whole house is torn apart. A room by room approach isn't as cost effective, but the mess and costs are in smaller bites, you can have a life in between, and life changes.

Choose wisely grasshoppah.

A. Spruce
Re: my new old home
dj1 wrote:

Good advice above, from someone who knows.

My two cents: . . . protect your home from the elements.

HoustonRemodeler wrote:

And one more thing

All excellent points! The order of repairs is definitely a water tight shell, whatever that entails. From there, then you pick and choose what your budget will allow, with the caveat that there is a certain order to things, as Houston points out, you don't want to fix something, only to have to tear it out to make another repair or upgrade.

I would assess the entire property, then order your list of "to do" in order of importance, again with water tight being most important, then working down from there. While making this is a list of important things to be done, make sure you include your wish-list items in there too, and do not think about budget when making the list. I have spent my career in this trade educating my clients on the cost difference between "good enough" and "ideal", the two are not as far apart as you might think, so get your wish list items in there too. When it comes time to get bids, make sure those bids contain options for the upgrades you desire, as opposed to "good enough". "Good enough" should be the baseline of the bid and the upgrades will be optional pricing dependent upon your choice.

libbyswann
Re: my new old home

Thank you all for so many great points. I appreciate them so much and will be starting my lists!

Fencepost
Re: my new old home

As others have pointed out, protecting the integrity of the building envelope (roof, siding, doors, windows) is one of the top priorities. In my mind, there are two other priorities which come before that: foundation and grading.

If the yard is sloping toward the foundation, you will always have problems caused by groundwater. These problems will affect every part of your home. You also need a good, solid foundation (including support piers in the basement or crawlspace). Repair the foundation and level the house first; doing any remodeling before fixing the foundation and leveling will either make it impossible to level the house, or damage the work you've already done when you go to do the foundation. Keep in mind that it may be impossible to get the floor perfectly level, but many old houses can be brought much closer to level. That will make remodeling much easier because things will be straighter and squarer.

If both foundation and grading work need to be done, it makes the most sense to do them both at the same time.

libbyswann
Re: my new old home

Another question, our house is stucco and needs some rwpairs so we can paint. How would we do that?

A. Spruce
Re: my new old home
libbyswann wrote:

Another question, our house is stucco and needs some rwpairs so we can paint. How would we do that?

What repairs need to be done? What kind of stucco is it? What are your abilities working with plaster/stucco?

Most often, it is better to leave stucco repairs to a pro, you want the repairs to not only last, but look good too, and stucco really isn't a DIY project.

dj1
Re: my new old home

Well, following Spruce's advice: we don't know what damages you have: cracks? falling stucco chunks? water damage? nail holes? disintegrating stucco? - you get the point. If you can post photos, it will help.

To upload photos, do so with a host like photobucket.com, then give us the link.

libbyswann
Re: my new old home

I will get some photos to get posted soon. Thank you all!

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