Re: old buildings
Here, you can get a building permit for $5, I added a new studio room on my house in 2006 and all they required was a rough sketch of the property the room plan, and $5
You certainly could do most of the grunt work yourself, and even if they are stringent, you can do the work and have a licensed pro go over it and check it for a fee, just keep to the code or better, and get every book you can on the particular systems so you can learn the correct practices, techniques,tools to use, materials to use etc and you can't wrong.
This is why roofs are so important to keep maintained, the smallest leak can cause big trouble.
The floor in my kitchen- the kitchen was originally a back porch resting on foot square 8 foot long logs that looked like they were once massive supports salvaged from a commercial building, they were laid directly on some flat rocks on the ground and their centers and bottom were basically all rot.
The floor had a 6" tilt to it across the width, the other end of the joists rested on a 2x4 simply nailed to the concrete block foundation wall.
I wound up digging the whole area out, putting in footings, drainage, block walls up, and replacing all the joists with new because the old ones were salvaged junk, some were nothing more than 2x6 and some were 3x12 and every other odd size you can think of, and they had splits and rot.
With as many windows as there are there, and the cost for heat these days, and the fact the brick has an almost zero R value, every bit you can do will be a massive help on heating and cooling costs. There are modern replacement windows that look appropriate and have dual pane argon low E glass, and not cost too much.
I replaced all the windows on my 1930 house and it made a huge difference I could measure. My kitchen is where my desk is, it has 3 large windows- about 5' square for the largest (2 double hung set side by side) with the original windows here, in the winter I would actually get ICE on the glass inside, and the glass itself was so cold it set up a convection current that felt like a draft.
I HAD to have a 1500 watt space heater in the room on me all the time because it was so cold.Once I replaced those 3 windows, the first winter I found I didn't need that space heater AT ALL, I found my electric bill dropped by about $35 a month. That winter I saved enough on the electric to cover the cost for one of the windows! I no longer feel a cold draft, ice does not form on the inside of the glass any more.
They don't have stock windows that fit my openings for height, they were close though and I was able to fit them in well.
This is a vinyl window on my new studio room addition, I trimmed around them (replaced all the old ones) with the same style as the original windows, as you can see, it all looks appropriate to the style of the 1930 house, I even sided the room with new clapboard I made sized the same as the originals. As a bonus the window comes in white, and white trim is what I always used on the house, so it was perfect.
The side boards, header and sill are all treated lumber, most of the originals on the house had bad rot. These windows were about $135 each, double glass, argon, low E and with a screen included, I love them!
That is the reality, you can be historic to a "tee" but things like windows will cost you a lot of money for heat/ ac, and lack of comfort.
The rest of my house has R100 attic insulation and R25 in the walls and it's comfortable.
I had added more insulation to the walls by adding a second wall inside as the plaster and lath were in poor condition, on the interior of all exterior walls I screwed 2x2 strips to the wall studs with long screws, filled that 2" space with celotex, a vapor sheet over that,1/2" plywood and 1/2" sheetrock. I used ply in there so I can hang heavy things on the wall and not have to bother finding studs for anchors.
There is at least one contractor I know of who does plaster/lath walls, but this is largely a lost art and it's very expensive and a lot of hand labor involved. You would certainly have to replace with standard sheetrock, but even with this, there's opportunities to give it a texture with sheetrock mud, trowels, stiff brush etc so it's no so flat and smooth.
I used a wallpaper paste brush and sheetrock mud to texture with- moving the brush in rows of semi-circular fan patterns like the old ceiling had in many places.
What kind of price is the owner looking for for the building?
I bought mine, 20x96 brick with full basement for $15k, and like this one you detailed- mine is right off the city square in a prime high traffic location.
If you look at the National Trust for Historic Preservation site, you might find some ideas and also see what others have done with similar near abandoned falling apart buildings. Their magazine is real good and comes as a membership premium.
The membership cost is $15/year and that includes their magazine.
You might browse this section for adaptive reuse;
Now you'll really be surprised, check out this hotel, it's almost a dead ringer for the corner building you detailed;
How Architect Robert Verrier Saved More than 150 Places with Historic Tax Credits
FAIA, NCARB For more than 30 years, historic preservation tax incentives have been helping architects, builders, and private citizens transform historic buildings for new uses, preserving architectural heritage, and benefiting communities all over the country.
Whew boy, I have alot to reply to... Where to start...
Well, I don't know what I'd do with the Lowe Building. Could become apartments later on. If you saw the exterior picture, you'd see that it has had the fourth floor added on years later with different colored brick for whatever reason. I'm sure that one has massive leakage, based on the third floor having a squishy floor with trash barels collecting rain water. Knocking off the upper floor is beyond my ability, so I would have to temporarily seal off the roof with plasic tarps (Tricky for a flat roof) and make sure there was proper drainage to prevent further damage until the roof could be fully replaced. The main store front area of the building would be a good money maker if it were rented out, because only one corner has minor water damage by the storefront window. Other than that, that area is spotless and modern. Not to mention a great location right on the Diamond. I would seal off the upstairs, and save it for another day, or year.
The brick appers solid. As previously stated, the historical society didn't do the greatest job on photographing the thing. Most of the time, they didn't know which floor/building they were in. I knew more from "context clues" of the pictures. Did I menion I am obsessed with the building? I have pin-pointed where almost every picture is on the exterior based on minor flaws with the windows.
Also, as previously mentioned, this is East Liverpool. Doesn't mean much to out of town people, but around here everyone knows the laws are usually loose. Everything is crumbling. I mentioned the old Sherwin Williams building in the old post in electrical. I have seen pictures of our old Woolworth store, and I have looked in storefront windows. Beautiful tin ceiling rotted to nothing nearly, pigeon waste everywhere. The upstairs is scary rotted, not to mention the pigeons inhabiting it. Holes in the ceiling, mushy floor boards. Called the Exchange building, that one is certainly done for. It won't last much longer. Or, I could be wrong earlier, and the building laws are tighter, so buildings are abandoned. But I doubt that. They let everything go to pot, scum-lords everywhere. I know how to flux and solder copper piping, and I also know PVC, and I have some knowledge on electrical. Regardless, in this potentially 11,000 square foot building, the idea still kind of scares me.
Even if rules dont allow the rafters to be piggy-backed, who will know if it is coverd by drywall? I usually believe by the code, but if it is solid and safe, I won't loose any sleep over it. There isn't any real attic to speak of regardless. Now, if the rafters are set into the brick... well... lets just hope they are in decent-enough shape. Maybe another pocket could be made alongside? Again, it might be a beaking or selling point for anything that I am not sure of. When I tour the place, most of my questions will be answered. I'm sure I could patch and tar a flat roof, but what would your idea be for a qoute on redoing the entire thing? There are a few roof shots from neighboring buildings on the first page of pictures. Minus a few bubbles, the roof doesn't look too bad from what I can see. Hopefully most of the third floor front turret room (where the ceiling is all but entirely missing) is damage from runoff from the Lowe building. The old plaster could be removed, and the lathe could have dry wall nailed over it, keeping it at correct historical thickness. That would make patching the main roof easier. The tiny attic/fourth floor above that front room must be pretty bad regardless. Couldn't find any pictures inside, might be accessable from the fourth floor tower? Pictures show old tar running onto the yellow painted trim, but I am just going to assume it hasn't been painted in a LONG time. The 1970's/80's photo shows it might be the same paint from back then. However, some of the yellow pointed trim pieces at the roof level appear to be a newer-painted lighter yellow color.
I would like to have it put on the list of historical landmarks one day. Each window has a stained glass panel above it, and I like the look of the main aged glass panels. Storm windows are an option, but it would cover the stained glass, and those wouldn't look as nice. I have heard of interior storm windows, but I don't know about those. Plastic sheating can be put up on the inside for winter, but it doesn't look too pretty from the inside point of view. The third floor windows looked fogged when I walked past it the other day. I'm glad, because it must be atleast somewhat heated. I saw a pictue of a huge possible gas-converted boiler in the cellar. I would think about new wooden windows, but those are expensive and don't last as long as the old ones. Not to mention how expensive special-made windows would be for these large old openings. I like the look of the old ones too. Vinyl windows kill me, they look cheap to me. But, to each his own. I would be on a tight budget anyway, and that many new windows might not be feasable. I think replacing the windows would void the tax credit for restoring old buildings as well. Some of our old windows ice up on cold days inside too. Not pleasant. Thick curtains would help. I think weatherstriping them would seriously help the draft, though. These windows seem decent, but if they were totally trashed, I could definately see replacing them.
How many square feet is your house, and what did the insulation for your walls cost? How about the ceiling? I'd like to get a general idea on what it sells for. I have read up on the National Park Service about platering over lath, and it certainly looks like something for a skilled tradesman. However, I think I could handle patching the plaster on an interior wall to original thickness, as long as the hole isn't too bad. I am sure you could put a plastic vapor barrier over the bare brick once it is gutted, for waterproofing any moisture coming from the brick. Or, the vapor barrier could be put over the insulation like you said. I like the plywood idea, it would bring drywall to proper historical plaster thickness, thus leaving no gaps around adjacent walls. Or, you could re-use the lath in place of the plywood, then drywall. Our house has a brick wall, then 1/2-1 inch furring strips (lathe thickness) attached to it, with early gypsum plaster board attached to the furring. Ours was built in the late 1920's. I certainly hope this building isn't like that, because it would leave virtually no room for insulation.
http://www.russellrealty.com/p/259/3365601?posc=4&post=20&&cfq=radarea%3D4%26startnew search%3D1%26zipcode%255B%255D%3D43920%26pricemax% 3D25000%26bedmore%3D1%26bath_thre%3D1%26vtycount%3 D2%26restype%3D1%26limit%3D10%26SRSearchDate%3D135 9342026%26SRRecordCount%3D20%26SRPage%3D1%26SRPage Count%3D2%26SRPageLinks%3D6
The National Trust website said $20 for a membership, they must have upped it. I will think about it. The picture of that hotel does look similar. I will check out those other two links in a bit here. I initially thought it would make a nice bed and breakfast, and I would have fun running it. However, there is no market for it around here. The Sturgis house in town would take any competition. East Liverpool used to be the pottery capital of the world, but then it all moved to China. No tourist attractions around here except for the world's largest tea kettle in Chester, WV right next door. It's like what happened to Steubenville after the steel mills closed. Such a shame.
I did see the pics, the 4th floor was obviously added on, there could be 2 reasons why- there could have been fire damage on the original 4th floor that damaged the brick enough it was all replaced, or they just added another floor on for more space.
I would say adding on is more likely.
At first I thought East Liverpool was referring to the UK, but found it was not the UK.
The Lowe building might be past doing much with, and I think you have a greater fondness for the corner building. That added on 4th floor just ruins the Lowe, I wouldn't say that one was really worth the cost to restore, any money spend is betetr put on the better corner building, and if there was a way to just buy that one independent of Lowe that would be good.
" Knocking off the upper floor is beyond my ability, so I would have to temporarily seal off the roof with plasic tarps (Tricky for a flat roof) and make sure there was proper drainage to prevent further damage until the roof could be fully replaced. "
You'd be surprised, it wouldn't take more than a crowbar, and in NYC that's how they demolished entire buildings like these in the 1970's and 1980's - a crew of 5-6 guys with 4' crowbars take down a floor a day, the bricks were cleaned and sold, the rest has to be hauled away and you would then have to build a new roof deck.
You and a friend could do it, but it would be a real chore and you'd need to get the new deck money and the new deck in quickly to avoid being hit too many times by rain storms with no roof.
" Vinyl windows kill me, they look cheap to me. But, to each his own. I would be on a tight budget anyway, and that many new windows might not be feasable. "
It depends on the brand/style, but the budget is the biggest factor and one that will dictate how much you can replace and with how high a quality.
" I think replacing the windows would void the tax credit for restoring old buildings as well. "
I'm not sure on that, though there is tax credits for replacing old windows with energy efficient ones, my local utility I think offers $50 or $100 per window (or did a while back) but they require a licensed contractor do the work as well as replace the ENTIRE window not just the sash, and so the cost to hire a contractor to do something you can easily do yourself completely kills that rebate or tax credit.
A big issue with saving old wood windows is rot, 2 of them in my kitchen were so bad the previous owner had nailed them shut, the glass was falling out even and the best I could do initially was caulk it real good while trying to find a suitable replacement that fit. As it turned out the closest I could find was2 pella double hung aluminum clad wood windows, they were the right height but 2" too wide together.
I wound up making them fit because the same windows 1" narrower were "custom sized" and going to cost over $450 instead of $159 each.
"How many square feet is your house, and what did the insulation for your walls cost? How about the ceiling? I'd like to get a general idea on what it sells for."
It's about 1,000 sq ft, the original exterior walls have blown-in cellulose insulation put in around 1970s, what I added was 2" of Celotex board, I don't rememebr what it cost and google now seems to pull up nothing but UK results for some reason. You can find it at any home improvement place, Menards, Lowes etc take some time and go browse prices on various items to get an idea of cost. Celotex has the highest R value, but styrofoam is a close second and you can use that instead. I buy 1" styrofoam sheets for packing, and it's around $6.99 a sheet or so at Menards, 2" might be around $12 or close to it.
"However, I think I could handle patching the plaster on an interior wall to original thickness, as long as the hole isn't too bad."
Plastering walls is tricky, it's more of an art than skill
I am sure you could put a plastic vapor barrier over the bare brick once it is gutted, for waterproofing any moisture coming from the brick. Or, the vapor barrier could be put over the insulation like you said."
You also need to be carefull not to trap moisture in the walls, you would probably not want the plastic against the brick, normally the plastic goes right under the sheetrock over the insulation and the interior of the wall is vented up into the attic by the nature of it's construction. As long as the mortar is tight the brick should not transmit moisture into the wall interior, the main moisture comes from the heated rooms, kitchen, bath etc.
"I like the plywood idea, it would bring drywall to proper historical plaster thickness, thus leaving no gaps around adjacent walls. Or, you could re-use the lath in place of the plywood, then drywall. Our house has a brick wall, then 1/2-1 inch furring strips (lathe thickness) attached to it, with early gypsum plaster board attached to the furring. "
I'm wondering if those furring strips are even sold any more, it might be a case of having to make your own.
The taxes at $1475 will certainly increase since that's the taxes now based on a half abandoned wreck with leaking roof, when you start adding new value to this you can expect that amount to increase proportionally, I would inquire what the rates are per thousand and what it's assessed value is and what it might go up to if it's remodelled.
The commercial building I bought is from about 1910 and will be my gallery yes. That was $15k, the woman was asking $17,900 I made the offer of 15k and it was accepted.
My house on 1/2 acre of land was $7,900
Note: The portion of your membership dues that exceeds $15.00 is fully tax deductible. $6.00 is for your subscription to Preservation magazine.
It is $20
I like that idea though, but it doesnt sound like a B&B would be viable.
My boss lives in a big 3 story brick 2900 sq ft Victorian house he fully restored, built in 1901 it's on the historic register and even has a bronze plaque on it, but it costs him $800/mo for utilities with heating being a big part of that because brick has so lilttle R value.
He is trying to sell it for $235,000 and not having any offers. This house is imaculate and gorgeous, no expense spared, but in a little town of 1,800 people, with essentially no jobs available or real industry, who could afford a house like this except maybe a doctor, hospital administrator, lawyer etc? and with a lot of houses for sale in the below $50,000 to $75,000 range it's a hard one to find a buyer for.
More so with a 3 story house, few people want to hike 3 flights of stairs these days! The attic is finished into a gorgeous room, but insulation space was lost by doing this.
The mortgage calculator says $762/mo but add on the $800 he pays for utilities, and already you are up to more than $1500 a month.
The land is assessed at $15k, the house at $163k.
He bought it in 1988 for $14k
East liverpool is certainly in Ohio. It was originally Liverpool, named for Liverpool, England. Alot of skilled potters moved here from England, for the clay-filled soils. The name was changed to East Liverpool, because there was once a Liverpool in western Ohio. Saved confusion, I guess. Whole industry started going down the tubes in the mid 60's or so. The widening of Route 30 that knocked out the first three streets in the late 70's certainly didn't help either. All that is left is Homer Laughlin and Hall China Potteries.
I also like the look of wooden windows on the inside of the house, as well. If it were a portion that was to be rented as apartments, I wouldn't really have as much of an issue with it. All windows should match from the outside though. Plus, alot of vinyl cracks and fades in 20-30 years, then they need to be bought all over again. These old wood windows last forever, it seems. What would be a bugger would be to get matching sashes for those few third floor windows that are boarded up. Sashes might still be upstairs, they could have just been too lazy to put a new glass pane in. One tax credit website I was reading stated that you couldn't replace the windows or the credit would be void. However, I understand that the energy company might offer a credit for new windows. The old house guy might have something going when he says that it takes years upon years to recoupe the savings from new, expensive windows as opposed to weatherstripped old wood windows. With storm windows added, of course.
Did you use batts insulation for your ceiling? I wonder what that stuff runs for. Good point about traping moisture, I didn't think of that. The furring strips are literally the same width and thickness of strips of lathe, except laid sideways. I assumed that they used lathe leftover from the walls in our current house, but I found out that the interior walls were all made using early gypsum boards plastered on, as opposed to lathe and plaster. They still sell lathe strips, don't they? I certainly hope there are fullsized 2 by 6's in the walls (or whatever size they use), as opposed to furring strips, again for the difficulties in insulating in a very small area.
"There have been many fires in this building's history, worst of which was the Diamond fire of 1968. "
My building had a fire in the basement near the furnace logn ago, they had to replace joists, the foor in the rear and ceiling panels, which is why the tin design in the rear 1/4 differs from the rest, I would guess it happened before 1930s and tin ceilings were still standard and easy to get, but the specific design was no longer available or they didn't bother to match it.
"if I owned it, and decided to keep it all, I might just patch partially-missing bricks and paint the whole Lowe building with red brick paint, all four floors with a roller, trying to avoid the mortar inbetween the brick. Might have interesting results?"
You can use used brick to replace, I would never suggest painting the brick, it's a huge mistake and one you'll regret if you keep the building long enough, or one the next owner will use your name in vane with a few choice 4 letter words.
As you may imagine, repairing brick walls is an art too, it's not easy tuck pointing or replacing damaged brick and making it look good. An amazing fellow here completely restored a 1 story brick facade (was originally a 4 story building) that has unique stone face textured, dark brick, but the bricks were literally falling out of the wall. He spent all summer, fall and winter on this carefully repairing, replacing and restoring, when he was done it was gorgeous! You can't tell where he made repairs or used newer bricks because he hand chiseled them to look like the originals, just amazing work.
"I also like the look of wooden windows on the inside of the house, as well."
Because my walls are thicker and redone, I had to retrim the windows inside, I used oak.
" All windows should match from the outside though. Plus, alot of vinyl cracks and fades in 20-30 years, then they need to be bought all over again. These old wood windows last forever, it seems. "
Well, as long as you keep them caulked and painted, and for this that means scaffolding to reach- the wood windows are ok, but if they aren't kept in constant repair water sheets down the glass and soaks right into the wood sash holding the glass in, that old window glazers putty only lasts a couple of years before it cracks, shrinks and deteriorates, and that is why a lot of old windows rot, the putty goes bad and the water sheets right off the glass into the wood and soaks in. The vinyl may crack in 20 or 30 years but you don't have all that maintenance.
"The old house guy might have something going when he says that it takes years upon years to recoupe the savings from new, expensive windows as opposed to weatherstripped old wood windows. With storm windows added, of course."
My house had all storm windows over windows that had their upper and lower sashes replaced in the 70s, they were ugly. The windows never would stay put- they used that vinyl friction track on the sides. I realized an immediate savings I positively saw on my electric bill, about $35/mo. The old house guy is a purist for one thing, and another issue is he is likely talking about those very expensive top of the line windows AND having a contractor install them which is going to cost hundreds of dollars per window on top.
Then yeah, it's expensive and if you only plan as most do these days- to live in your present house for 5 more years it doesn't make sense to spend the money.
OTH I've lived in my house 15 years, I'm not moving anywhere. I put the 13 windows in myself at a cost of under $2000 total, I know positively the savings on my electric bill is $35/mo and the amount saved on the gas is unknown, my monthly budget payments decreased. Even using just the $35 figure alone and only for winter heating season, that covers the cost for one window each winter, minimum. It would take a maximum of 13 years to pay for all the windows in electric savings. I'd say it's closer to 7 years since it's easier to cool now as well, ONE 5200 btu window a/c comfortably cools my house even during the hot humid Iowa summers.
"Did you use batts insulation for your ceiling? I wonder what that stuff runs for."
No, the attic had blown in cellulose put in around the mid 70's best as I figured, I went to the local lumber yard and bought a number of bags of it and used their blowing machine to blow that all in. It is about 35" deep in the attic, roughly R100 I calculated.
Insulation is not bad price wise, and it's a one time expense, check at Menards and see.
" They still sell lathe strips, don't they? I certainly hope there are fullsized 2 by 6's in the walls (or whatever size they use), as opposed to furring strips, again for the difficulties in insulating in a very small area."
I don't think they do, plaster and lath walls went out of style around the 1950s or 1960s when sheetrock became so easy to get and install, lath is a relic of the days when you hired a plasterer to do your ceilings and wall, and they used oil based paint because that's all that was available. I had a devil of a time finding flat white oil paint, no one carries it any more, but Rustoleum still makes it and I got some at Menards, like plaster gone to sheetrock, oil paint has all gone to latex.
That building your friend re-did sounds amazing, but I don't think I have the skill or time to do such a thing. As you said earlier, the corner building is one I am going after. I am not really worried about the Lowe building. I would never, ever; not in a million years paint the corner (J.C. Thompson) building. However, it sounded like a quick-and-cheap alternative to repairing a building I am not nearly as interested in. There is no other method I know to make the bricks match. Also, I doubt any future owners (from this area) would care much about that building. It's more of an after thought. As you can see from the four pictures I attached (Think I did it right), the brick isn't too pretty on the Lowe building. I'm sure you've seen worse though. Someone didn't do a very good repointing job on the bulding either. You can also see a newly broken window (fourth floor, bottom right) on the Lowe building. I went past it, and took these pictures, as well as several Thompson (corner) building pictures. If I owned the buildings, I would worry about the Lowe building bricks later on. I'll share some of the Thompson building pictures in a bit... they really show how bad the woodwork, especially around windows, is decaying.
Yes, I agree, if they are maintained. I am a hard worker, and I would enjoy maintaining them. Call me an oddball if you would, but I would go around and carefully restore every window. I have done glazing before, and if you paint if after it dries, the glazing shrinks less and lasts longer. They sell a silicone-type alternative to traditional DAP 33 Glazing as well. I would keep the windows, at least at first. Replacing might come as an after-thought years later. If the surface is prepped properly, the paint should last a good decade or so. I also agree, that storm windows are usually ugly. However, the good quality new ones (Sometimes 150 dollars or so) are more weather-tight and less ugly than old ones.
That's great on the air-conditioner. I don't think this building has any A/C in it, but I am still not sure what that large box-fan type thing is on the one roof photoshot from the Historical Society. I aquired a 6000 BTU window A/C unit from a friend recently. Interesting story on it, he got it in the late 70's when he was a cab driver. Man had to go to his storage unit and didn't have enough money for a cab ride, so he gave him an A/C unit from the storage unit as fare. The unit has been in his attic since. He never tried it, but I cleaned it out and put a new filter in it; it fired right up with nearly ice-cold air. I'm sure it would never cover much of this building, though.
I don't know if this lathe in the link below is made to original proportions, but it is all that I could find in my area. However, I did not check the old local hardware store in my town. Don't forget the period when gypsum plaster board was installed as the base coat, with brown and finish coats to original specifications. Our house has a very early example of it, and the house that my grandfather built in the 1940's also has it. I guess drywall (or sheetrock) started becameing popularized in the 60's-70's era. What were you getting oil-based paint for? I searched our local Walmart (although I hate that store, but that is for a different forum) up and down for oil-based paint, but all they had was the expensive rustoleum. Not practial for anything more than trim. Oil-based paint is good for exterior windows and trim for more durability, but you need to paint over it with more oil-based when it wears. Latex tends to peel when applied to old oil-based, unless it is de-glossed or sanded.
I also forgot to mention that, with camera in hand, I stopped by the law firm next to the old Sherwin Williams paint building; the firm now owns both buildings. They slated the Williams building for demolition. I asked for a tour to take pictures, but the lady seemed adamant on her answer that the Historical Society has already taken plenty of pictures. Oh well, it was worth a shot.
Yeah they did a lousy pointing job, the mortar is too white and sloppy, but then again they probably got the job they paid for.
Those fire escapes are another potential problem with the Lowe building, these have a tendency to corrode where the supports go into the brick facade, and they need to be constantly painted to keep corrosion at bay, replacing, removing or repairing these fire escapes is not cheap, and I wouldn't consider it a DIY job either!
Just FYI, I don't know what your budget is, but first let me tell you that since this is going thru a real estate agent, I doubt the owner will come down much from $22,500 or whatever it was, because he will have to pay a percentage out of that to the agent, I'm gussing it might be 10%, and then there's closing costs and pro-rated real estate taxes due on his part too.
I would say at best that's the price you would get it for, you could offer $21,000 and see what he says, but any less than that and I don't really see him coming down much more, certainly not enough to write home about.
On my building I had $5,000 cash so that's what I put down on it, what my bank did was a 5 year loan with a balloon payment, I wasn't thrilled by that but it was what they had. The scheduled payments are around $89/mo (I cover insurance and taxes separately) I asked about and confirmed there was no prepayment penalty, so I decided to pay $200/mo
for the 5 year terms and have it completely paid off before the $7,000 or so balloon payment would even come into play as it would if I only paid the $89/mo.
Because its commercial property thigns work differently, you may find the same kind of terms and your monthly payment might be around $125 on say $15,000 with a balloon payment later.
So you might think on this, if you have say $3,000 to $5,000 to put down, and can handle the $125/mo payment, it's within reach to get started.
Only you know if you can financially handle the costs for materials, the $1400 taxes, and have the time and all to first patch the roof and then clear out the debris, clean up everything, cover any broken out windows and start inspecting everything to see what has to be replaced.
Before signing anything I'd do a complete top to bottom check of everything- including going up on that closed up 4th floor, all the way down to the basement. The furnace may be toast or beyond reasonable life and need replacement, ditto for the hot water heater, you may have to redo all of the electrical wiring down to the circuit breakers.
You'll have your work cut out for you, but if this is your dream, then sit down and figure out your budget- how much you can afford, costs, time, abilities, and write it all down on paper. Then you have to decide to eother move forward on it, or just totally forget it and move on.
The fact there's more than one building involved is going to make this ten times harder and ten times more expensive than you think, if it was me, I would try to get JUST the corner building alone and forget about the Lowe and the other, the corner building by itself is going to run you a considerable amount in materials alone, this isn't a one story building like mine, estimate the repairs for one floor and multiply by at least 4 and see what number you come up with.
That Preservation article on the hotel that is similar to that corner building indicated they spent $30 million restoring it, mind you they did a huge number on it, but keep in mind how easy it will be to figure on $50,000 costs and then turn around months later and find that barely does 1/4 of the work needed when you start tearing into walls and discovering other issues, or that costs are more than expected and budgeted for.
I'm not trying to discourage you, but I know how these things go, and I can tell you that you'll think you have a good handle on what you estimate the cost will be, and you'll find it was way off once you get entrenched in.
Costs for all building materials has increased a lot in the last few years, it will go higher now due to demands for rebuilding thousands of homes after hurricane Sandy.
Offer the guy like, $15k for the corner building and see what he says.
old buildings will look new if repainted and make some enhancement outside and inside the structure.
stainless steel cable railing
I am way too tired to comprehend all of this information, I can barely keep my eyes open. I am going to call it a night, and respond to this tomorrow when I am wide awake.
All the preservation groups etc will tell you NEVER paint brick walls, clean them if the brick is dirty but never start the lark of painting them.
Painting 4 floors of bricks just to cover the fact the top floor used a different color brick is just way out there. That top floor is toast anyway due to the roof leaks, it should probably be removed and put back as the 3 story building it was designed to be.
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