cost and logistical question

supergrrl7December 23, 2012


This is my first time posting on this board. We have been planning a new build on a vacant infill lot we own, but are now trying to weigh the possibility a different project altogether.

We just found out that a house will be auctioned in an area we really like. The neighborhood is very expensive and has very large lots, which would eliminate many of the issues we face with our current lot. I imagine many people would simply tear down the very outdated ranch house that is currently there.

We are kicking around the idea of fully gutting the house to rework the current footprint to contain all the bedrooms/baths/mudroom/laundry/office--basically all the rooms we don't really mind having 8 foot ceilings, keeping the current basement as storage and mechanicals and keeping the existing 3 car garage. We would then add a modern-style kitchen, dining room, living room addition (open, lots of windows, high ceilings) with a (possibly walkout) new basement family area and workout room.

I would assume the old section of house would need basement waterproofing and a new roof. I we would also probably want to take down most of the interior walls, rewire and replumb it. It is brick and would need new windows and window configurations too.

Would there be any cost savings to using the existing structure in this way over just tearing down and starting from scratch?

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We're going through a whole house renovation that sounded similar to what you are considering. According to our architect for our situation, the construction costs were comparable. On the one hand, with scraping the house, although we would need more material, because of the access and not having to work around existing structures, foundation, etc., the build from scratch house would go up much faster. On the other hand, because we are scraping the house, it is considered a new build by the county and would be assessed at a significantly higher value for property taxes - we estimated annual property taxes at $16K. In addition, the new build would also go through a higher level of design review by the city, as well as higher permit fees. A third consideration was the type of financing available. At that time, we were considering the use of a home equity line of credit but our architect said that if the bank ever knew that we were scraping the house, they would call the loan early as we had just wiped out any collateral they may have (the house).

At the end of the day, we decided to treat it as an addition and work with the existing foundation, and add on where it was needed. That said, for assessment purposes, we left one wall up so that it is treated as a "remodel" and not a new build, but other than that one wall, everything else was torn down (including the plumbing) and we added just a hair over 1000 square feet, and reconfigured the whole house. Because of the cost and scale, we also had to go with a construction loan for the project.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 2:43PM
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More information is needed. What is the exterior? what is the structure--frame or solid masonry? what is the basement like--low ceiling? high ceiling? wet or dry?

Unless there is a special value to the property in terms of zoning or building structure, I prefer to start from scratch. Cheaper, faster, no compromises and no complaints from buyers that "it's still an old house."

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 3:47PM
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Simple, its only worth the rest of the neighborhood is worth.
Do some home work , what is the cost per sq/ft for new versus a reno, that might look like a reno(especially new windows in old brick work).

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 5:03PM
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