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calbear81 07-08-2007 08:37 PM

Hello DIY'ers! A bit about my project...
Hi Everyone,

It's great to be on this helpful forum. I'm in my mid-twenties and make a decent living (80K plus) and I'm planning on moving back to my parents home in Los Angeles next year in order to save money (plus my g/f is going to pharmacy school for 4 years).

My dad is a retired contractor and our home in LA is really a POS being built back in the 40s and having not been renovated whatsoever. In the last few years, property in surrounding cities has gone up in value and has helped our area out too as the area is becoming gentrified. As it stands, our house is valued at around 400K (1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, no garage, 800 sq ft single story).

Our tract is actually quite large and I've checked with city hall and we could technically build 2 townhomes on the land if we wanted to (people across the street just did and sold them for about 550K each). I don't have the capital to do that so I was thinking of completely remodeling the whole house and increasing the size by 4-5x by adding a second story and expanding the buildling over where our patio is currently sitting.

My brother who just graduated from college and I would do most of the manual labor and my dad is licensed to do the plumbing and electrical and roofing.

My question is: Am I insane? My project would include basically demolishing everything that is there right now, extending the foundation out by approximately 2x the current size and adding a second story. Ohhh... and I will be making it more modern (think Dwell type of house) and I want to do this in small steps with an estimated budget of about 125K. Is this possible if I'm going to be doing all of the labor? What types of problems will I face?

Thanks for all of the help and sorry for the long intro!

redline 07-08-2007 09:04 PM


Originally Posted by calbear81 (Post 52182)
My question is: Am I insane? My project would include basically demolishing everything that is there right now...

Thanks for all of the help and sorry for the long intro!

What do you mean by demolishing?
Will the whole structure be torn down to the ground and then be rebuilt or do you mean that the structure will still stand and you will be remodeling the interior?

calbear81 07-08-2007 09:12 PM

Hi Redline,

The house has a very old frame and I don't think most of it is built very well at all. I'm thinking that I'll probably rip out entire sections of the house and rebuild them one section at a time. I just zillowed the house and it's smaller than I thought - 638 sq. ft (our family of 4 grew up there!).

For the design, I plan on paying a friend who's a junior architect at a really awesome firm to help me out but I think I'll need some engineering review to ensure it's up to code, especially from a seismic perspective. I was originally thinking of a basement but I read an article about how it's outrageously expensive to do in california since there's loose soil, earthquake-proofing additons, and a high water table?

All in all, I want to build a comfortably sized home 1500 sq. ft with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and an awesome kitchen!



Ron6519 07-10-2007 09:44 AM

Before you demo the entire structure look into the Property tax savings by leaving up part of the structure and building around it. Building a complete new house will get you assigned new house taxes. Leaving up a wall here on LI,NY will keep the old tax structure and the additon will get taxed at a substanially reduced cost compared to the completely new structure.

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