Author Topic: Where was housing "affordable" in 2023?  (Read 3103 times)

Metalcat

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Re: Where was housing "affordable" in 2023?
« Reply #50 on: February 10, 2024, 07:15:51 PM »
I would much rather have the 1930s cute house in my post above. You’re right, they did a lovely job with that kitchen and retaining the original cabinets. Very cute. This is in a close in suburb to St. Louis that has lots of working class houses. Uilt 1930-1960  that are just like that, and it is not a bad neighborhood at all. But for some people living anywhere close to the. Big Bad City s a non-no.

I've been looking (casually) at old houses in the area I want to live, but I'm intimidated by the commitment. How crazy of an idea is it for first-time homeowners with only small-scale DIY experience to sign up to maintain a 100-year old building??

It entirely depends on the house.

The issue with old houses is that if you don't understand the particular kind of old house you're dealing with, it can be hard to even know what to worry about.

I bought a 110 year old house in 2022, but it had had everything important upgraded 10 years before: electrical, plumbing, roof, windows, insulation, and siding. Also, it's more of a cabin with all of the wiring and plumbing visible along the lower level ceiling. When I look up in my kitchen, I see the underside of my bedroom flooring.

Easiest place possible to inspect, lol.

Even then, a mudroom and a deck had been added to the back at the same time as the other major work was done, and the person who added them didn't truly understand how these old houses are built. He causes a water trap and triggered massive rot of my foundational structure.

My contractor happens to be an expert in exactly my kind of old house, so he was able to save it from collapsing, but we only found the problem because I was putting on an addition and the rot got exposed.

So that's one of the biggest issues with old houses. They're not built the way new houses are built and a lot of contractors don't actually know how to work with them as they are. And over 100+ years, a house can be fussed with by a lot of contractors and you can't even know how they've unintentionally fucked shit up.

Even so, there's nothing wrong with buying an old-ass house. Just be prepared that shit will go wrong and that it could cost a lot more to fix, and it could be a lot harder to find a contractor who actually knows how to safely work on your structure.

I love my little old house though, and where it's located, contractors are often extremely talented and very inexpensive, so all of my structural repairs added maybe 5K to my extension.

If I lived somewhere with really high contractor costs?? I would be much more cautious about buying a home that is likely to require more professional man hours for every job.

iris lily

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Re: Where was housing "affordable" in 2023?
« Reply #51 on: February 11, 2024, 06:58:10 PM »
I agree with MCAT that most contractors do not know how to work with old houses nor do they  WANT to work with them.

We were lucky to get the contractor in town who does major renovations on old houses. He likes the challenge of it. And it is a challenge. He works with our architect, who also does a fair amount of work foe renovation to existing houses.

In my little tourist town people like their houses and their locations, so they prefer to build on to what’s already here.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2024, 07:03:33 PM by iris lily »

Metalcat

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Re: Where was housing "affordable" in 2023?
« Reply #52 on: February 12, 2024, 05:43:55 AM »
I agree with MCAT that most contractors do not know how to work with old houses nor do they  WANT to work with them.

We were lucky to get the contractor in town who does major renovations on old houses. He likes the challenge of it. And it is a challenge. He works with our architect, who also does a fair amount of work foe renovation to existing houses.

In my little tourist town people like their houses and their locations, so they prefer to build on to what’s already here.

Exactly, my old house is in an old community that is now known for tourism. A lot of people want to preserve and restore these old historic fishing village houses, so there's an entire industry of local craftsmen who grew up in these types of homes and care deeply about having the skills to preserve them.

If I'm going to buy a heritage building, I'll prefer to buy in an area where there are tons of them and they're generally well maintained/restored, because that means that most local contractors will need these skills to keep up with local demand, and I'm not stuck with the one or two who specialize in heritage buildings and charge an absolute fortune.

I would not want to buy a 100+ year building in a community of mostly new builds. My contractor and his crew actually get flown all over the eastern half of the country to restore old churches because often no one local has the knowledge of how to safely restore old collapsing wood buildings from that era.

You do not want to end up in the situation of having to fly in and house a team for your repairs/renos.