Thoughts on Buying 1905 Fixer - Just a Few Days to Decide
I grew up in an old 1910 farmhouse/victorian and in looking for a home for my boy and I, I found cookie cutter homes boring. Finally I found a fixer, a 1905 victorian home that was in foreclosure. Neighbor said there was a divorce and the house was abandoned but their home was built by the same lady, and they knew it had a sound foundation.
Knowing little about old homes I placed a bid on the house and got it for 44k cash, or about 40k with my tax credit. I have about 65k in an account from my divorce plus if need be I could take out a loan.
Anyways the main attraction is to the home is it's a home, like my childhood family house, It's in a stable neighborhood for my boy, safe area, great people, life long home owners who love the historic area. I'm told that repaired and restored the home could be worth anywhere from 95k-120. Neighbor bought his smaller 2 bd for 120k two years ago, mine is 3 bd. Inspector thought it would be over 100k, who knows? I live in affordable town if you wonder how a house could cost this to begin with, and there's foreclosures on the fixers mostly.
So I started number crunching trying to figure out what I can and can't do myself. I'm going to save $1000 per month in rent so the idea is to move into the house putting in 15k or so then find a project by month to fix and work my way through the house. I had a foundation/engineer look at the house and he said it was fine although some bricks are cracked and out of place. He said I could learn to fix those and indeed I've watched youtube videos and think maybe I can. There's a paint on the bricks that the brick guy said would come off easy and the bricks are hard good bricks.
- The home needs a roof, it's a 1500 sf house and the neighbor had hers done for 6k so I'm hoping to match
- It has steep sides so a builder friend said it might not need gutters, but the foundation guy gave me diy ideas on how to help the house drain better
- There's shingles on the front and back of the house up high, either needs to be painted or what stucco'd?
- The front steps need repaired - got a bid for $1,500
- Inside all the carpets in the living room, three bedrooms and stairs need to be pulled off, the are old and gross, the hardwood floors either sanded or new carpet
- The upstairs bathroom needs a vanity, tile and tiling or something around the tub, and likely floor tiling
- The two bedrooms upstairs need hardwood floors finished or carpet, paint, in one room the ceiling had leaked from the roof in one spot and needs repair, leak was from swamp cooler I found, no other signs of leaking in attic thank goodness.
- The stairs, what do you do once you pull the carpet, and that cool area on top of the stairs where I'd like to put a bookshelf and chair
- The dining room needs floors sanded and refinished. There's a small spot in the ceiling where the bath upstairs leaked at some point that needs repair, plus paint on walls
- Entire house needs texturizing and paint to update it. There's some cracks in the walls not too bad, the floors are mostly even, doors although old close and seem functional.
- Electrical was updated at some point but the outlets are broken in some places, inspector said the bathrooms and kitchen need to be updated further
- The home needs a new heater - I think what 2k and the old clunker removed
- LIkely it needs a new water heater, and then leaks repaired, the inspector found three leaks including one by the main, there's no signs of leaking in walls and such and he said maybe 1k or less for a plumber to fix all
- We are hoping the swamp cooler works but at least it needs to be filled with water and taken care of then sealed so the roof doesn't leak
- The kitchen needs a ceiling, one of those low ones. It needs countertops, paint, new tiling
- Laundry room needs paint, new tiling and a wall patched
- Chimney on top of roof needs fixed - $300 or so I was told
- Bricks repointed and fixed up, paint taken off bricks - I think I can at least get the paint off
So what am I up against. The flippers here hire help to gut a bathroom, put in new drywall, cheap cabinets, new flooring, stucco on the side of the little houses in rental areas for 8k, all but roofs and electric basically. But this house is double the size. I have the names of the crews of flippers and they said they'd help me. I'm on a serious budget and not sure I can do the major stuff like roof, plumbing, heater, water heater, electrical for under my 12-15k goal to just move in now.
A realtor threw out a number of 20k to fix an older house. That was with the idea of flipping a house, but to live in it and make it special is there any way I can fix the house for under 150-20k then find projects at 1k a month for a year or two? Thus the idea of buying an older house - to put my 40k cash upfront, then 20k to fix making it 60k then more remodeling making it perhaps 70k into the house and if I had to sell it quick knowing in a bad market I could even get out for 75k fast. If it's fixed up quite nice I do think with time it'll be worth over 120k - it'll be what they say to buy -the most affordable home in the best neighborhood. It'll be a great house for a young family starting out and a realtor said around here the starter homes go for 90k and under.
Help, I have to make a decision quick, my inspection backout date is soon. I love this old house - the neighborhood and think it has potential but am I in too deep? I do have time, every other month I work for myself and every other month I have time with not much to do - this would be a job and a hobby I was thinking... I wasn't spooked the entire week until today. Is it buyers remorse or am I in too deep? What is a number to through out on "real" costs of this brick home to make safe and get in, then renovate on a budget over a year?