What's a 'healthy' investment into an old home?
The journey continues. Our family (myself, husband, 4 year old daughter, 6 month old son, Jazzy our dog) has lived in our 1892 victorian home for 6 years. A long enough time for us to know the facts and figures for what restoring history entails and to also have become intimitately involved in the details and learning that it's provided along the way.
We're at another crossroads and I'm looking for guidance from this wonderful resource. I guess I have two questions to toss into this conversation.
1. How much of an investment is "healthy" to put into an old home?
2. What determines when it's time to turn the care and restoring of an old home onto the next steward?
It seems like the universe keeps realigning so that we can embark on preserving our home. We purchased it in 2003 when interest rates where at a an all time low. We since have done many projects to bring new life to our home and invested a great deal into a complete kitchen, bathroom, back pantry and butler pantry restoration. We had hail damage to our exterior (it is currently aluminum and the siding and details underneath have been removed) almost 2 years ago and have received replacement costs for new roofs, siding and window trim. With all that being said, it is requiring a tremendous amount of time, energy, and financial resources. One contractor told us that $200-300K would be realistic for the exterior. My husband and I have ongoing conversations about making the right choice for our family and our home. We live less than 2 miles from my husband's business on an acre lot in the city that over looks a river. The neighborhood is nice but has some disadvantages for younger children - busier street. We have one of the largest and oldest homes and it's considered a "mansion" on the taxrole. A realtor did a market analysis and told us that no matter what we do to the home...we won't ever get out of it what we put in because of square footage (over 6,000) and location.
A few disadvantages of our home:
No master bathroom (have 2 full baths - one on each floor)
Unattached 3 stall garage
Not the most efficient heating and cooling systems
We love our home and have our heart in all the right places to do what's right for this historic property. We would love to see it be state and nationally registered and to allow this home to be continue to be an icon for our comunity. However, it would be reassuring to hear what other's have invested into their homes, how long they've lived there, what happens financially when it gets sold, and how they make the unknowns of restoration feel "comfortable" in their heart and in their pocket book.
Contractors who come from neighboring towns to look at our project think that we're sitting on a pretty sweet home and have told us that in time we will certainly recoup what we've invested. Most of our extended family with the exception of my mom are not involved in the process and probably tend to think that we're a bit crazy for pursuing this.
We also wonder about the impact all our planning meetings and projects will have on our kids. So far they seem to be holding up and we frame them in a way that hopefully they are learning a lot of real life, practical things. Any feedback for the aspect of keeping a peaceful family experience would be helpful, too.
We have looked at other homes in the past 6 years - new and old - and always come to the same conclusion...let's stay here and keep going forward. We talk about building but feel that it would be very difficult to sacrifice the quality, character and craftmanship that our old home has. As part of our steps in this process, we plan to meet with our bank, lay the original, linen paper blueprints on the table and see what their response is when we tell them that this is what we'd like to do.
To allow for free discussion here are some numbers:
Purchased for $230,000
Investments so far $150,000 or so
Future investments $200-300,000 or so
Possible total investment $680,000
Replacement cost from insurance $100,000 or so
We also have historic tax credits available but really doesn't amount to much in our situation.
I'll post some photos shortly.
So, anyone out there been standing in a similar place that can guide us? Gratitude to all of you in advance. Let the conversation begin :-)