Has anyone turned a sad little house into their dream home?

CoffeeAddict

Member
May 15, 2007
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I'm probably going to be buying a house in the next thirty days! I never thought I'd be able too since I could never qualify for a mortgage, but I stumbled across one of those "fixer uppers" that is practically being given away (and I am not exaggerating when I say that, it is less than the price of an average new car).

It is a MESS. And the poor termite guy that came to inspect it today nearly had a fit as he took a look around. He gave me a sympathetic glance and asked "are you SURE you know what you're getting into?"

The porch is falling apart to the point where that I might have to make people sign a waver before walking on it, it has a family of termites (though very little damage from them), needs new siding, new subfloors in the bathroom, new regular flooring eeeeeverywhere, paint of course, walls knocked down, the list goes on. It's pretty unfortunate and I think it may even have some bad vibes since I found no less than four dead birds inside.

Having said that....I LOVE it. It is huge, has four bedrooms, close to an acre for the dogs and it's in a fabulous neighborhood. I can see the potential clear as day, but I wonder if I might be a little blinded by my love of this ugly duckling house. In my mind I can see it as my dream home, one day, after everything has been remodeled. I can see myself sitting on the gigantic porch sipping ice tea and watching the dogs run in the yard.

But then I think...self, are you crazy? It could turn into a money pit very easily.

Has anyone here ever bought a major fixer upper and turned it around to suit your vision? I know it CAN be done, but it would be nice to hear first hand from others that have done it. What did you wish you thought of before hand? Did you ever regret your choice of buying the house in the first place?

Also, totally random question, does anyone know if sage really has the desired effect when it comes to "cleansing a house"?
 

Sternchen

O.G.
May 16, 2006
24,737
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Bavaria, Germany
I think it sounds wonderful! :nuts:

If you really love this home and see the potential, then do it :smile: It will be your dream home and you will know that you basically did everything to make it that way!
 

amanda

I Bleed Georgia Red
Oct 18, 2005
11,341
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New York City
www.purseblog.com
I'd say that as long as you have the credit necessary to get a line of credit to finance a remodel (or if you have a large savings or whatever), then go for it! Talk to all the necessary experts and get the inspections beforehand, although it sounds like you have, but as long as you're informed and you have a reasonable plan to be able to make the improvements that are necessary, then I see no reason not to. The one things that you can't change about a house are the size of the lot and the location, and if those things are perfect and the price is right for the house and the things that you want to do with it, it sounds like a perfect opportunity!
 
Nov 30, 2008
3,307
145
Under a Palm Tree
It sounds like it could very well be a dream house come true with a lot of money and a lot of work. For such a good price, if you are able to finance a LARGE amount of money to put into it, as home renovation is NOT cheap and have the time and effort to put into it yourself, I would say go for it. I think its great that you can see the finished product in your mind. :smile:

Also keep in mind though, in addition to money and time, home renovation is a very stressful and emotionally draining process! But, again if you think you can handle it all, I would do it.

ETA: I also wanted to comment on your money pit statement, since I'm sure we've all seen the movie lol Renovations and fixes can be much more expensive than you estimate because as you peel layers away, you never know what you are going to find and 95% of the time, there are always more problems than you realize. That being said, I would hire a very good inspector and have them go through the house with a fine tooth comb and tell you everything that they think would have to be fixed and a rough estimate of what you would be looking at. Everything from plumbing, a/c, heat, floor, walls, roof, electrical, etc. You really need to have a much better idea of what you are looking with the guts of the house rather than the cosmetic things like floor, porch, etc. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
 
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oscarcat729

WAHOO!!!
Jun 24, 2008
1,721
0
USA
If you're into DIY and home decor and want to devote a good chunk of your life and time to fixing the house, go for it!
And update us on your renovation journey (with pictures!)!
 

ProfNot

Sylvie Guillem fan
O.G.
May 10, 2006
2,553
72
danceland
Renovations and fixes can be much more expensive than you estimate because as you peel layers away, you never know what you are going to find and 95% of the time, there are always more problems than you realize.

I would hire a very good inspector and have them go through the house with a fine tooth comb and tell you everything that they think would have to be fixed and a rough estimate of what you would be looking at. Everything from plumbing, a/c, heat, floor, walls, roof, electrical, etc.

You really need to have a much better idea of what you are looking with the guts of the house rather than the cosmetic things like floor, porch, etc. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
ITA especially the part about getting quotes. Add at least 25% to each estimate.

I've turned shabby homes into jewel boxes but I always made certain the big expensive stuff (electrical, plumbing, roof, etc) was in good shape before I got involved.

Paint is cheap and good quality furniture can moved to future houses.
 
Jan 25, 2006
25,474
44
Maryland
I would LOVE to do something like this, if only I had the cash. I'm sure there will be days when you will become frustrated but I think in the end it will be totaly worth it. Best of luck to you!
 

ocgirl

O.G.
May 8, 2006
3,618
26
OC, California, USA
It sounds like a great opportunity, with lots of cash and time. I would probably live somewhere else while this renovation is done though.

And I'd actually double the price of the estimates you get. And double the length of time it'll take too. That's been my experience. GL and I'd love to see pics as you progress.
 

SaraDK

Addicted!
O.G.
Aug 17, 2007
2,740
1
35
Denmark
No, but in a few years when I graduate we will.. My BF is a carpender and his whole family are in the contrucktion buisness.. So we can do it all by our self.. Can't wait! :smile:
 

redney

Lovin' Life!
O.G.
Apr 21, 2006
13,968
4,794
ETA: I also wanted to comment on your money pit statement, since I'm sure we've all seen the movie lol Renovations and fixes can be much more expensive than you estimate because as you peel layers away, you never know what you are going to find and 95% of the time, there are always more problems than you realize. That being said, I would hire a very good inspector and have them go through the house with a fine tooth comb and tell you everything that they think would have to be fixed and a rough estimate of what you would be looking at. Everything from plumbing, a/c, heat, floor, walls, roof, electrical, etc. You really need to have a much better idea of what you are looking with the guts of the house rather than the cosmetic things like floor, porch, etc. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
As someone who has done a major house renovation/overhaul, I agree with the bolded part 10000000%! You may initially think it's easy to fix some of the cosmetic issues but you never know what is going on in the "bones" of the house. Once things are torn apart, it is very common there are other things that must be fixed first, leading to additional costs and time.
 

litljbird

O.G.
Apr 26, 2006
189
1
Hot 'n Sticky Miami
Interesting topic IMHO. DH and I are still in the process of closing on a "sad little house." We've fallen in love with it- I admit. We figure that we'll make the repairs one at a time. We're in no hurry to sell it (if we get it, anyway), and don't mind taking things slowly. We feel that we're ready to own a home, and this was the only way that we could afford to do so (it's a foreclosure). Please keep us posted as to your progress. I'd love to see pictures and compare [horror] stories, so please PM me if you have a moment, CoffeeAddict. Best of luck! :tup:
 

bnjj

Jovi Junkie
O.G.
Apr 20, 2007
10,215
15
Bon Jovi Blvd.
I think if you truly love this house and have it thoroughly inspected to know what you may be facing and plan for unexpected things when you peel away walls and porches, etc., then you should go for it. Good luck!

I just spent the last two months renovating a house and it was structurally sound so only needed cosmetic upgrading, plus some minor plumbing and it was still a massive amount of work and took a huge amount of time (though I could only dedicate weekends to it as it is out of town and I work during the week). It was a large expense and quite stressful. I am meeting the realtor out there today to sign the contract to get it on the market. I hope it sells quickly.
 

kroquet

Member
Sep 18, 2007
13,405
2
61
Texas
An acre in a great neighborhood could well be worth it, just for the land value. If you can handle it, then do it, one room at a time. Good luck!
 

CoffeeAddict

Member
May 15, 2007
241
0
Well, I had the inspector come out to evaluate the house and he refused to do the inspection because he was worried I might sue him if something went wrong that he missed.

Seriously.

I didn't think it was that bad. Yes, it's old, and needs repairs, but if the home inspector won't even enter the place than I'm taking it as a sign. I retracted my offer this morning.

I'm really disappointed but I kinda felt like this was a giant flashing neon sign telling me it was a bad idea. So I listened. Something better will come along...