Author Topic: Fixing Up Estimate  (Read 1664 times)

Scottma

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Fixing Up Estimate
« on: April 30, 2013, 12:46:10 PM »
So my wife and I are looking to move and stumbled upon a house at an estate sale that hasn't hit the market yet. I spoke with the estate trustee (his parents lived in the house until recently, and it's the house he grew up in) and found that he just wants to get rid of the house and is willing to deal. The house needs a lot of work, as determined by my limited visual inspection and information I got from the trustee (he was very upfront).

My question for you all is, does anyone know of a good resource to help in determining the cost of various home improvement projects?

I am thinking the list would include fairly large scale projects, such as plaster wall replacement/drywall hanging, hardwood floor refinishing, etc. There is also apparently a large crack in the foundation but he says he has a sealed report from a structural engineer who evaluated it that I could have a copy of to look over (I'm a civil engineer - but not in the structural field).

I'll obviously need to hear what his asking price is and then evaluate if it would be a good deal based on the improvement costs. The wife and I want to do most of the work ourselves (except possibly the foundation work) and in a few years we'd like to look to sell the place for a profit.

Thanks!

Hamster

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Re: Fixing Up Estimate
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2013, 01:37:31 PM »
Unless you're familiar with all that's involved, the most straightforward way would be find a contractor or two who can give you an estimate. You could tell them that there are some parts of the job you may do yourself (e.g. kitchen cabinets or whatever), and have them list those separately to get a sense of how much that might save you. They may also have good insights about relocating/opening up walls, kitchen redesign, etc.

If you want a sense of the factors involved in estimating costs, have a look at this spreadsheet or the web page it comes from.

If doing kitchen cabinets and granite, you can save a ton of money if you find one of the Chinese business that import prefabbed granite and no-brand cabinets (about 1/2 the price of comparable Ikea cabinets, and 1/3 the price of other granite installed) directly from China. See, for example http://gscabinetandgranite.com/ in Seattle - there are a ton of these places in Seattle, and I've heard they are in other metro areas as well. If I recall, the shop we used a couple years ago sold their basic common granite, as a 16 square foot, prefinished slab for under $200 with nominal install fees. The guy who helped with our design was an online gamer in his spare time... It was pretty impressive seeing how fast he could drag/drop and reconfigure all the various options into place in his 3D design software.

Scottma

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Re: Fixing Up Estimate
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2013, 01:40:19 PM »
Wow, great information, thanks very much!

ScottEric

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Re: Fixing Up Estimate
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2013, 02:35:09 PM »
We're right in the middle of a very similar situation!  We bought a fixer upper from a family member who sold it to us at the appraised price.  We're about a month and a half into it, with another month and a half to go. 

Definitely get some contractors to look at the place, but you might want to get a home inspection from a certified home inspector before doing that so you know whats what. Even with the owner being honest with you, he might not know everything.  The home inspector works for you, and other than the home inspection itself isn't trying to sell you anything.

Leave some wiggle room in your budget, things will come up...

Good luck!