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Old 02-16-2010, 11:58 AM
 
Location: 3814′45″N 12237′53″W
4,153 posts, read 6,424,745 times
Reputation: 3286
Quote:
Originally Posted by usedtobeanyer View Post
Hi, my wife & I recently came across this house for sale: OldHouses.com - 1840 Federal - EXTREME MAKEOVER in Windsor, New Jersey

It's listed at $595k. We did some research and discovered the builder paid just over $200k a year or two ago. We looked at the home this weekend and it is really well done, but I think it's significantly overpriced.

What I'm wondering is, does anyone have a guess-timate as to the cost to do a full gut renovation of a home like this? I have no idea but it seems like if the builder is listing it at $400k more than he paid for it, he's being a bit ambitious. I talked to him briefly this weekend and it sounds like the project was more involved than he imagined it would be and also involved some structural work as well. But did he put $200k into this? $100k? I have no idea what the cost would be and I'm just curious if anyone has a guess.
I know that it's next to impossible to get a totally rehabbed 1840's home anywhere in the US, so that's quite an amazing feat to begin with.
Most people totally renovate and old home to live in it, but if this builder is also an old home lover, then he must have let the $$$ get away from him. Completely understandable and it happens more often than not, I think.
It doesn't really matter what kind of profit he's trying to make on the house, if you love it enough and want to buy it then, there you go.
I will tell you though, as an old house lover & renovator, old houses will ALWAYS cost more than you think. Always.
As an example:
We blew out the back of our third floor walk in attic space for a master bedroom addition in our 1902 house.
When it was all said and done, it cost us about 200k....and that's not because we dipped it all in gold or that we're idiots.
When you pull back a wonky subfloor and find that there are about 5 generations worth of electrical additions/splits/ etc. then that's how things add up. Plus add in that we're in earthquake country and had to jackhammer out the foundation, and rip out and restore walls on the 1st and 2nd floors to put in a 3 story post....and then the new roof, gutters,new windows, new HVAC additions, moving plumbing out of the way plumbing, paint house, the cost of the architect, the gc, the subs, the permits, the structural engineer, etc etc you get the picture.....
I'll bet the guy is trying to make a decent profit, and I certainly wouldn't begrudge the guy.
Afterall, it was a huge labor intensive job and it costs more sometimes to rehab and renovate than it does just to build a crappy new house anyway.
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Old 02-16-2010, 11:59 AM
 
521 posts, read 1,387,192 times
Reputation: 496
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bydand View Post
Really it doesn't matter what he put into the house, all that matters is what it is worth to a buyer. If it is a $595k house, then it is a $595k house regardless of what the builder/owner has into it. If it is really a $400k house to you, then make that as an offer.

If he put 35 cents into it and is asking $400k more than what he bought it for; or put $399,999 into it and will only make $1 on the sale, what does it ultimately matter? If you think he is asking far too much, go buy another home and fix it up yourself, that way you know exactly what you have into it and how much it is worth to you.
This is all understood going into it. Just trying to get more information from the friendly, knowledgeable folks here about a project like this.
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:20 PM
bay
 
425 posts, read 1,827,525 times
Reputation: 146
Our house is not that old, but we did almost whole house flip except for HVAC and roofing. Total cost up to this moment is 80K on top of sale price and it will keep adding up when it's time to change HVAC and roof. My friend is joking that it will probably cost less if I buy a crappy house, knock it down and rebuild a new house.
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,577 posts, read 20,171,909 times
Reputation: 5062
Quote:
Originally Posted by bay View Post
My friend is joking that it will probably cost less if I buy a crappy house, knock it down and rebuild a new house.
Actually, he's right. With one general note- if you use part of the existing foundation you only need a remodeling permit ($).
If you start totaly from scratch- new home permit, ($$$$).
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Old 02-16-2010, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,820 posts, read 30,195,002 times
Reputation: 11712
Frankly it sounds like they ruined that house. If you want a brand new house, it is much cheaper to build a brand new house. If you want a historic house, it should be restored, not gutted and turned into a brand new house. Granite countertops oin an 1840s house? What is that? ?? It is no longer a historic house, yet it is not a new house. It is a bastardized mess.

To completely restore an old house is very very expensive. Usually it costs more than the house is worth upon completion of the resotration. You do it becuase you love preserving historict homes, not as an investment. Most people who restore historic homes do a lot of the owrk themselves. That is becuase it is impractical to do otherwise, and because it is often the only way to ensure that things get done right (modern contractors want to go the rip it out and replace historic elements with crappy new junk route, and sometimes they will do it when you are not looking even if you tell them not to). Thus, if it was restored, it could easily have cost him twice the purchase price to do the work.

From the decsription it is apparent that he did not restore the house, but instead tried to turn it itno some sort of a quasi modern house. This could be done cheapley by using apartment grade materials and methods, or it could be a very expensive high end job. Either way, I just do nto get it, why would you want it?

That is like buying a classic Rolls Royce that has been "modernized" by installing a Toyota Camry engine, lambs wool upholstry, mag spinner wheels, a hood scoop, a custom paint job with flames, and electronic entry system with the door handles removed, and a fart bubbler exhaust system. Sure it cost a lot of money, but what you have at the end is a mish mash mess. It is not a classic rolls royce, it is not a modern "hot" street rod, it is just a mess. Who would want it?

The "modernized" kitchen, flooring, and other elements will be a dated kitchen and other elements in five years (possibly less). In ten years it will just be old junk and the historic charm of the house will be gone. If someone is going to restore an old house they should restore it and save as much of the historic elements and charm as possible. If they are going to build a new house inside of an old house, then they should just build a new house. It is cheaper and may have more appeal. Besides, they will nto have to ruin a historic home to do it.

But in a nutshell, yes, it can easily cost $400,000 or even twice that to restore a historic home of that age.
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Old 02-16-2010, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
8,765 posts, read 21,689,520 times
Reputation: 4709
What CJ said. Depending on what was done with the house, maybe they paid $200, spent $300, and now I wouldn't give them $100. If they went down the HGTV "Stainless and Granite!" route, to me it would be worth more if they bulldozed the damn mess off and sold it to me as an empty lot.

That said, it's hard to keep a house more than about 100 years old very authentic and still have a house that "works" with electric power and indoor plumbing. If that kind of modern stuff is important to you.
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:38 AM
 
Location: Historic Bessemer Alabama
629 posts, read 2,454,461 times
Reputation: 455
Our house was built in 1900. We added a metal roof(it had one originally), had to rebuild the front porch and rewire the entire thing. Thats just in 3 years. It has two HVAC units and no wall insulation. We added 20 inches in the attic. When we did the front porch we used true lumber that had to be made. 2X4's are no longer true 2x4's and so on. Our lumber cost was crazy high! Our columns had to be custom made because they are only 6 feet tall. Most pre-fab columns are minimum 8 feet!

You get the picture! Nothing is "normal" on old homes! They built things to last and ours certainly has! I can see the guy spending 200-300k on that home........easily. But if he totally renovated and not restored you have nothing! IMO
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Old 02-17-2010, 07:31 AM
 
521 posts, read 1,387,192 times
Reputation: 496
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
Frankly it sounds like they ruined that house. If you want a brand new house, it is much cheaper to build a brand new house. If you want a historic house, it should be restored, not gutted and turned into a brand new house. Granite countertops oin an 1840s house? What is that? ?? It is no longer a historic house, yet it is not a new house. It is a bastardized mess.

To completely restore an old house is very very expensive. Usually it costs more than the house is worth upon completion of the resotration. You do it becuase you love preserving historict homes, not as an investment. Most people who restore historic homes do a lot of the owrk themselves. That is becuase it is impractical to do otherwise, and because it is often the only way to ensure that things get done right (modern contractors want to go the rip it out and replace historic elements with crappy new junk route, and sometimes they will do it when you are not looking even if you tell them not to). Thus, if it was restored, it could easily have cost him twice the purchase price to do the work.

From the decsription it is apparent that he did not restore the house, but instead tried to turn it itno some sort of a quasi modern house. This could be done cheapley by using apartment grade materials and methods, or it could be a very expensive high end job. Either way, I just do nto get it, why would you want it?

That is like buying a classic Rolls Royce that has been "modernized" by installing a Toyota Camry engine, lambs wool upholstry, mag spinner wheels, a hood scoop, a custom paint job with flames, and electronic entry system with the door handles removed, and a fart bubbler exhaust system. Sure it cost a lot of money, but what you have at the end is a mish mash mess. It is not a classic rolls royce, it is not a modern "hot" street rod, it is just a mess. Who would want it?

The "modernized" kitchen, flooring, and other elements will be a dated kitchen and other elements in five years (possibly less). In ten years it will just be old junk and the historic charm of the house will be gone. If someone is going to restore an old house they should restore it and save as much of the historic elements and charm as possible. If they are going to build a new house inside of an old house, then they should just build a new house. It is cheaper and may have more appeal. Besides, they will nto have to ruin a historic home to do it.

But in a nutshell, yes, it can easily cost $400,000 or even twice that to restore a historic home of that age.
Very well said. The only thing I can say in "defense" of the house and the builder is that is just looks and "feels" great. It feels like a new old house if that makes any sense. And from what I can see of the other houses on the street, as well as in looking at pictures of the house before the rehab was done, is that it had little to no charm left before the renovation was done.

I honestly don't understand why he did this and I suspect he may be stuck with this house. There are plenty of homes in nearby towns in this price range that the average buyer is going to go for before they even look at this house. The reality of this property is that it is in a not very desirable location on a semi-busy street and across the street from a cemetery (probably not a big deal to most but kind of creepy to me). It is gorgeous inside but most if not all buyers are going to be scared away by the location and the fact that it is still an old house. And for the $ in the area you can get a bigger house on a nicer street.

So why are we interested in it? I can't explain it in words. It's just a nice house. It has a charm that we haven't seen in any other homes that we've looked at. It just feels great. We're not going to buy it because it is out of our price range but it's just a really nice house inside. Is it a "bastardized mess"? Probably. But we like it.
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,577 posts, read 20,171,909 times
Reputation: 5062
After all of this talk and reasoning, the assessment was you can ask whatever for an asking price. But that doesn't mean you'll get it- regardless of what you put in it. And now you say...

Quote:
Originally Posted by usedtobeanyer View Post
We're not going to buy it because it is out of our price range.
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,427 posts, read 28,674,228 times
Reputation: 9574
Quote:
Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post
Actually, he's right. With one general note- if you use part of the existing foundation you only need a remodeling permit ($).
If you start totaly from scratch- new home permit, ($$$$).
Yup.....this is exactly correct.
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