Entire Gut/Refurb On 2300 Sf House... - Building & Construction - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 07-28-2010, 06:02 AM   #1
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Entire Gut/Refurb on 2300 sf house...

My parents' home was built in 1965 and is in horrific disrepair. I suspect there is mold and based on the major level of disrepair, I believe it needs to be entirely gutted and refurbished -- including mold remediation, new plumbing, new electrical, appliances, flooring, yard, stucco, exterior paint, etc. Literally almost everything. It does have a relatively new roof. The house is 2 story, about 2300-ish square feet in Southern California. Due to health considerations, we would need to do room modifications, such as 2 bedrooms/2 bathrooms downstairs when there are currently no bedrooms and 1 bathroom downstairs.

I don't know what they could get for the house if they just tried to sell it "as is" and at their age, they don't have the stamina to take on a project like this. So, if the rehab happens, it will fall on my husband and me.

Any insight regarding taking on a project of this magnitude? Any way to estimate costs? Any good resources (books, etc.)?

Also, how likely would it be to get a home equity loan to do the work? The home is paid in full. They never even refinanced it, just paid it off over the course of 30 years.

Homes in their area are listed in the $5-600K range now.

It's a scary mess and I'm hoping someone might be able to offer some advice.

Thanks in advance,

G.Lo (AKA "Scared Newbie")

Last edited by G.Lo; 07-28-2010 at 06:07 AM.
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:23 AM   #2
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This would be impossible to estimate costs on the internet. From the description, it might be hard to get an accurate onsite estimate if there's a lot of hidden issues.
Who's doing the work?
You could get estimates from 3 contractors and pull a loan for 1 1/2-2 times the largest estimate. This way the funds are availabe, but you only pay for the money you draw.
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:27 AM   #3
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Where will they be living while this is being done?
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:38 AM   #4
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That is a tough move and a very expensive one. I don't know if you would ever recoup all that it will take to redo the house. Be prepared for tempers to flare as there will be a lot of decisions made by someone or several someones. Such a project can really strain relationships. I know this is negative talk but the sad part is, it is fact. I have seen it too many times over my career.

If you and your husband decide to do this, you better know some really good subs or you are going to get shoddy or incomplete work. Do not believe all that will be told to you, as many subs will tell you they will be there and do such and such at a certain time and then not show up until later and some not at all. Never, never pay a sub all until the work he does is satisfactory and complete. And watch the subs as some will sometimes try to up the price on you so you will need to be on your toes.

Your construction loan will be running and time will be money and when a project is held up because a sub didn't show, the meter will be ticking. Not to mention when a sub doesn't show or messes up it will cause a ripple effect.

Be prepared to do a lot of work yourselves as all the subs will not clean up after themselves and will leave little things undone. I could go on and on here and really I am not trying to talk you out of this project, I am just letting you know the value of a good contractor as that is what you will be if you do this yourself. Don't forget all of the permits, plans and fighting with the inspectors, trash removal, johnny on the spot and code violations to name a few.

I am really sorry to bring all of this bad talk your way, but folks who try to do these projects sometimes jump into them with rose colored glasses on, then realize too late that they messed up trying to do it themselves or think, "hey this is going to be fun". One more on the down side, you can kiss many hours of your free time good by.

Ole Jim

Last edited by BigJim; 07-28-2010 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 07-28-2010, 10:33 AM   #5
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Additional info from G.Lo

Thank you all for your great insight. Here is some extra information:

My husband and I live about 45 minutes from my parents. Husband is self-employed and works many hours. I work for the business, but only part-time so much/most of the overseeing of the project will fall on my shoulders.

The intent would be to hire a General Contractor to oversee the entire project, as we would not be able to do so. Our daughter and son-in-law live live about 10 or 15 minutes from my parents. They have used a really great general contractor to do work on their home in the last two years since they purchased it. The GC has subs who have done the work, and it is quite beautiful. Any problems have been quickly repaired, and nicely done. For example, this GC had a sub who did the travertine flooring throughout a good portion of the house. When all was said and done, a tile cracked in one area at the foot of their stairs. The GC didn't just have his tile guy replace the one tile, he removed a large portion of the tiles in that area. You cannot even tell where the repair was made. We would get a bid from this GC, and I think it would be prudent to obtain bids from at least two other GCs as well.

Also, my parents have actually been separated for many years, but are still married. My mom lives in a condo about an hour away and will continue to stay there. My dad would have to rent a furnished apartment while the reconstruction is taking place. My sister lives in Central California and has offered for my dad to stay with them, but he doesn't want to be that far from his activities and friends. We could have him live with us, but he would still be quite a distance from his friends and activities. Plus, my husband works many hours and very, very hard, so home is somewhat of a respite from "life" for him, and I like him to have undisturbed peace at home. Additionally, our younger daughter is finishing her Master's program next month, and may be moving home with us at least temporarily, so it would be difficult to add them both back into our mix after having been "empty nesters" for five years now.

Does anyone know of a good resource or book on this subject that I could purchase to read about this subject?

Thanks again for any insight. I will be sharing everything with my husband so we can help my parents make a more informed decision. It may be more prudent for them to simply sell the home as is, taking a huge loss on it in terms of the down market and the home's condition. This is very upsetting for my mom, since she hadn't seen the home in many years and had no idea it had become so bad, and of course, they had considered this home as an asset for possible liquidation should they need extended care in the future.
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