Decorating & Renovating
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Possible 1950s reno... questions

We have the opportunity to purchase my late grandmother's 1950's home and renovate it into something we could live in for many years. I have no idea where to begin to see if this is even something we can afford or how long it would take. My sister's currently living in the home and from what I've heard, it needs major work. It's probably about 1000 sq ft, 2 bed/1 bath. We'd be interested in adding a second floor to accommodate for our growing family. There have been plumbing problems since my sister moved in, so I imagine most (if not all) plumbing would need to be redone. Probably most of the electrical, too? And I heard there was asbestos in the walls/ceilings.

Considering it needs so much work, I like the idea of creating the house we want. I'm not afraid to do some of the work ourselves (floors, paint, etc). Additionally, we could probably get a good price on the home since it needs so much repair and we'd be purchasing it from family. Does this sound like more of a headache than it's worth? Would it be better to consider renovating bits and pieces over many years?

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Re: Possible 1950s reno... questions

  • Have you ever done any remodeling at all?  Even seemingly minor projects go horribly awry and easily cost double what you expect.

    Google for renovation blogs and do some reading.

    Call in general contractors and get them to give you estimates of the work.  What you're talking about will easily be six figures.

    Renovating a little at a time is easy on the wallet but a royal PITA for living.

  • You will want the advice of a structural engineer as to the possibility of a second floor.

    Asbestos in insulation in flooring, insulation and near furnace as good possibilities.

    Definitely talk with a contractor for an estimate.

    Total rewire of electric and replacement of most of the plumbing - including lines to the city sewer system as possibilities.

    You will spend about the same as if you were building from scratch would be my guess.

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