When to restore/When to tear down???

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by oz in SC, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    We went up to NC to look at a couple of properties for sale and one was(initially) quite promising-

    Almost 16 acres.(all useable)

    Barn(solid just full of cornstalks :confused: )

    Outside barbecue area/summer kitchen(screened but needs work)

    Two sheds(good shape)

    Garage(good shape,dirt floor)

    1 1/2 storey house built in 1920.

    Now unfortunately the house,while looking good from the outside needs not just a little work BUT needs the following:

    Interior walls need to be replaced(plaster/old sheetrock falling down,generally just poor shape)Where sheetrock/plaster is missing there is NO insulation to the outside wall.One place had what seemed to be termites but not to the outside wood siding,only in one wall stud and the sheetrock/plaster.

    Ceiling was covered with wood fiber tiles that are coming down/torn down in places.The ceiling under them is tongue and groove style wood planks about 3'' wide.

    Floors were solid(no squeaks) and were hardwood.

    Roof is asphalt shingles over tin and has leaks judging from the inside.

    Windows all were single pane but not original old 'wavy' glass.

    Electric is a step into the past. :D It is all exposed wiring with pushbutton light switches and the like.

    The water is from a well but it wasn't working(and there was a pump sitting inside the enclosed back porch..I guess it needs to be replaced)

    Kitchen was all old appliances(not 'good' old-just old).

    We would be interested in the property but the house is a big question mark.

    We were trying to work out if it would be better to just start fresh(tear down the house) or actually try and restore this house.

    We talked to the realtor and basically told him we would make an offer based on the land and outbuildings alone.

    Land is about $3500-$4000 acre.

    One problem we have is we need to find a property that a mortgage co. will finance and that needs a dwelling.

    So what do y'all think?
     
  2. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    OZ, you have lots of issues here. Did you get the feel that the owner would go for your offer? My vote for the house is to replace it. Unless the house has real historic value restored, you'll spend too much money and time trying to fix everything. A lot of people build a house in about a year. I rarely hear of someone fixing everything in an old run down house in less than 10. If this is a catch 22 where you need the house for the bank to loan the money, you'll need to find another way or another property. Maybe the owner will carry the property sale and you can get a bank to finance a new house. Make sure you put contingencies on the well and the septic. If you have to raze the house or repair it just to move in, the value is less than the land. Although its easier to tear something down than build it, demolition is a major task added to this possible purchase. good luck, gobug
     

  3. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    We bought bare land about 6 months ago.

    I asked the realtor who would do a mortgage on a property without a house, and she was able to give me the name of a bank that provided such loans without batting an eye. The bank offered us a 20 year mortgage at about 4% interest on a flexible loan.

    I don't care for flexible loans, but there is a limit on how much the interest can increase in any given year, so we decided to accept it and pay it off early.

    Some banks loan on bare land and some banks do not. A realtor who sells bare land has a pretty good incentive to know who will finance such properties. A good realtor may be able to send you to a place that will offer a mortgage on the land that you are interested in.
     
  4. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    Without seeing the house, here is my reccommendation:

    The plaster is probably not as bad as you think. It is alot easier to repair than you think. I just finished restoring the plaster in our bed room, and it looks great.

    Plaster is stronger and better than drywall.
    Plaster is more durable than drywall.
    Plaster adds great fire protection to your house.
    Plaster adds a tremendous amount of structural integrity to a house.
    Plaster is more mold resistant than drywall.
    Plaster will withstand water damage much better than drywall.
    Plaster will not sag like drywall can.
    Plaster acts a a better sound deadener that drywall.
    Plaster gives a house character, and a 'warm homey' feeling.

    Plaster would still be used today in new homes if people could afford it.

    Why don't people like plaster?

    They don't understand it, don't know how to repair it, and don't know where to buy the materials, which are cheap, and don't know what specific materials to use. (I can help you with this.) Alot of people think they "are really doing something" when they rip out plaster and replace it with drywall.

    Houses from the twenties don't always have wavy glass.

    The house has a fortune's worth of electric hardware. These are being remanufactured today and sold by a company called Restoration Hardware for $19 per switch.

    I say give that old house a breathe of life....it has already stood for 84 years....and will easily last another 84 if it is taken care of.

    Save the old windows....they were designed to last 300 years, yes, I said 300 years, if they are maintained. All you will need is a $8 can of glazing compound and a Saturday afternoon, and they will be good as new!

    Here is what I would consider doing:

    Save the house. It is worth doing. Live in it for a while, or for a long time. Fix it the right way, save the windows, plaster, woodwork and other features, like the push button electric and cabinets if they are there.

    Later, when you have some serious money put back, build your new house somewhere else on the property, and rent the 20's bungalow.

    Think of the money you will save by living in the old house, and the money you will make month after month, year after year from renting the old house. You will make even more money if you let the renters have a place for horses and the like.

    Just my two cents..
    clove
     
  5. what part of NC are you looking in? Im in NC and may be able to point you in the right directin as far as soil types, banks to get loans, approximate property values of land, homes and etc.
     
  6. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    Also forgot to mention that it could cost quite a bit of money to have the house torn down and the waste to be removed.

    Around these parts, house demolition and removal costs start at about $6,000 and go up from there. The $6000 demo is for a two bedroom one storey house with about 1000 square feet.

    Zoning laws can also be very hard to work with around here. Becareful if you want to rebuild. Zoning issues can also be expensive to solve as well.

    Furthermore, often times old house issues are easier to work with than new. For example, you can fix an existing septic system which is grandfathered under old zoning, but a new septic sytem (about $5000 around here) must meet code requirements. Same goes for electrical, plumbing, wells, heating and structural issues. Water draining and run off are also becoming bigger issues every where you go.

    Just another two cents...
    clove
     
  7. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    We are looking in Western NC.

    This particular property is in Rutherford County.

    We care nothing about a view and want it to be 'homestead-able' :)

    Any of the counties in that area would be suitable as it would enable us to work on the property while still working and making a living here in SC.

    Thanks for all the responses. :)
     
  8. Well... many old houses certainly do have character and were usually well built. That said, repairs always take much longer and cost much more than anticipated. Time and money are something most folks don't have unlimited supplies of... so even if you can do the work, can you honestly find the time? I doubt you'd want to restore it, more like repair and upgrade it.

    Building new would certainly be much quicker and most likely easier. A new structure will be leaps and bounds ahead of most older structures in terms of energy efficiency.

    Taxs are an issue in some locations... build a new house and you're definately gonna get dinged by the tax man. Repairing an older home may have some tax advantages.

    Who knows which way to go... only you can decide that, but do make realistic and educated decision regarding repairing anything that old and in that condition.

    cheers,
     
  9. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    Repair requires no permits or inspections(Generally speaking). New can require permits, Inspections and increased stress tolerance.


    mikell
     
  10. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Depending on the situation, demolishing an old house here requires only a call to the local fire department and the state forestry office you are going to burn it. Then you hire a dozer to come in, dig a hole, and bury what is left. Your local volunteer fire department may be interested in using the house for practice, burning it to the ground after they have put it out a couple of times.

    You can, of course, salvage what you want to out of it first. God bless eBay!!!

    In the kitchen, don't overlook the old sink if one of those cast iron jobbies with double tubs and drainboards on both sides. Restorers and log house builders like them.

    Consider looking for a good used single wide trailer to put on the site. It would qualify as housing to a degree for financing and could use the same utilities as served the house. You can then work on the house as you have time and resources. In Croatia, most homes are built by the owners in stages over about 20 years. Foundation may be one project. Shell and roof another. Plumbing the next. Electric the next. Etc.

    I would recommend getting a professional to look at it. If the foundation is solid, and the roof system (trusses, etc.) still good, and the structure level and plumb, you may be able to salvage it by stripping from the inside out. If you want to change the floor plan, then you are talking about a major cost increase.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  11. beowoulf90

    beowoulf90 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When my wife and I bought our property 12 years ago we had trouble with the bank, so we ended up getting a construction loan which converted to a mortgage after the renovation of the house was done. It was more expensive that way at the time (variable rate), but it worked. Hope that helps
     
  12. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    the old houses structure if sound is way better than any contractor could hope to build. its called "craftsmanship", no one aims for that anymore.
    sounds like a gem that needs the crud scrubbed off... I'd jump on it.
     
  13. FOUNDATION!!! Before you spend one penny on the house have the foundation checked. If you don't feel competent, hire a pro to do it, it may be some of the best money you ever spend. A lot of houses of that era were built on pilings, or brick or stone piers. And some were built on mud sills, just large diameter timbers laid directly on the ground.
    Any money spent on a house with a bad foundation is most likely money wasted.
     
  14. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    Okay,the realtor just got back with us and the price was dropped yesterday by $10,000....I imagine the listing realtor went inside :haha:

    We are putting in an offer for land value alone and a little for the outbuildings and will see what happens.

    It is all contingent on getting financing and a good interest rate so that should cover us as far as if it isn't worth our offer.

    The sellers filled in a property disclosure statement and basically stated they guaranteed nothing.

    We are having a copy faxed to us to see what is covered by this and to see if there are any potential problems.

    Thanks for all the help and advice,you never know we might actually have found 'our place'....

    What a scary thought :)
     
  15. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

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    After seeing your response that you have made an offer on this property, if you do get this property, have an expert come in to examine the house and tell you the pro's & con's. A house inspector will be able to tell you what you most likely will be looking at to repair. That said though, "new" isn't always better. That old house after having some tender loving care to it, could possibly outlive any "new & improved" house being made now. If you can do some work yourself, you'll save a bunch. If you are no handy man, you will have alot more expense.
    I have seen time after time of elected public officials determining this building needs torn down and a new one built in it's place. I'm sure some cases are actually more cost effective that way, but alot of the older has alot more "charm & character" than any of the "new & improved".
    If you do get this property, will it be possible to move a trailer in to live in while you remodel your dream house if need be?
    Good luck with all! And do let us know what happens!
     
  16. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    You need to find out if you can use the well and septic on a new house(if their any good at all). A well, septic and permits in this area would run 13-15k a nice hunk of change that could be used somewhere else. Do the work yourself and that would cover roof windows and doors with a good chunk left over.

    mikell
     
  17. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    Well one thing about this property is that we do not need to live/move there anytime soon.

    We are most likely going to work here for a few more years(good paying jobs)and slowly fix it up and go 'visit' on weekends....

    we'll be the typical yuppie weekend farmers :haha:

    Its all quite exciting as in the four years we've been looking we have never gotten this far along in the buying process.

    Will keep y'all posted.
     
  18. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Suggestion if you do purchase. Make one of your first jobs cleaning out the corn stalks from the barn. Basically a fire waiting to happen.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  19. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    You should see all the cornstalks in there,it is like 4' tall!!!

    We are gathering that it is either an estate sale or the owner is in a nursing home.All sorts of personal belongings in the house and sheds.
     
  20. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Make sure there is a full understanding as to what comes with the property as far as any personal items. If it is lock, stock and barrel, make sure your offer includes wording along the lines of "...and all other items on the property at (either offer acceptance or closing)." If the family will be allowed to remove items, make sure it excludes anything attached to the structures, such as the light switches you mentioned, and make the last date to do so absolute.

    You may be surprised what you might find under those stalks. Likely they were put up as winter fodder and never used. If you identify a likely garden spot spread them there to decompose for eventual working into the soil.

    Ken S. in WC TN