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Old 02-20-2010, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Gorham, Maine
1,815 posts, read 4,267,470 times
Reputation: 1240

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Like Island Mermaid, I don't want to pile on, but I'm going to show this post to buyers who want to purchase distressed properties, it takes a special skill set to make these work. One has to weigh the savings against the aggravation and expense at bringing the house up to living standards and compare it to a re-sale home owned by a non-distressed owner that is move in ready. I hope you're able to make it work.
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Old 02-20-2010, 01:26 PM
 
1,061 posts, read 1,694,660 times
Reputation: 444
Quote:
Originally Posted by AuntyReni View Post
I guess I am just plain screwed. Had fuses changed from 15 to 20 and got all the boxes and masthead fixed only to find out I'd best not connect the power until I've run EVERY single wire and make sure it's big enough for 20 amp first.

Not only is the cellar dirt, the sill is toast on one whole side of the house.

Did fix the roof and it's not raining inside as of now.

I want to cry... I cannot get help from the CAP agency unless I am living there and I've given up my apartment ... so I guess this is where I live now... No water no toilet no power no heat

I think I am a bit too old to deal with this and it's going to be years before I can live in my 'home'...

The windows aren't single pane but they're only a few years old and insulated glass...not really a big concern considering the kitchens are solid mold because some idiot put a porch on the side of the house but didn't bother to put flashing between it and the house so it's been raining in the kitchens for years. So I have to remove the porch, put the flashing up and stick the porch back on. screw the porch...I want to put it in the woodstove and fix the side of the house!

I need lolly columns and was told I'll have to dig two feet down and pour cement pads for each collumn before putting them in and that the collumns are not house jacks and won't life it back up...if I do jack it up that I risk losing all the windows...
You should take things one step at a time.

Try to determine which repairs need to be addressed immediately, and which can wait.

If you try to think about all the problems all at once, they will overwhelm you.

One step at a time!

Things like the cellar floor being dirt can probably wait--the house has stood on its own with a dirt cellar floor for two hundred years, so nothing to panic about.

One possibility is to see if one part of the house might be made habitable (perhaps an ELL?), by restoring electric, water, and heat of some kind to that part, and then live in that part while you take your time making the remaining part habitable. If the part you make habitable is small, you might not even have to worry about insulating it for now. Although there are some inexpensive temporary way to help slow down heat loss--covering the windows with blankets might help. Depending on what shape the rest of the house is in, you might only need to retreat to the habitable portion in the colder months.

I've even read of some old house lovers, who purposely buy a totally uninhabitable house on a shoe string, then pitch a tent indoors and live in the tent while restoring the house.

Some family friends of mine bought an farmhouse built around 1770, located on a dirt road in the mountains of New York State. No heat except a woodstove, no insulation, very old windows, no running water (well and a bucket on a rope instead), no electricity, no toilet (outhouse instead), and used it as a vacation home. I mean, they lived like that for the fun of it! (Granted, not in the depth of winter.)

Please keep us informed of your progress and questions, many here would be happy to give you advice and support.

A sense of humor would help, too.

Last edited by OutDoorNut; 02-20-2010 at 01:52 PM..
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Old 02-20-2010, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Bar Harbor, ME
1,922 posts, read 3,664,650 times
Reputation: 1287
You need to get one of those house inspection contractors that people use before they purchase to come over and give you an inspection. The person will tell you what is the most important thing to start with, and what sequence to do the work. if you lived near Ellsworth I could give you a great recommendation, but most local realtors have a good person in mind and can make a recommendation for you.

This person will not have a vested interest in choosing the biggest ticket item first, as a general contractor will.

Good luck to you.

Z
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Old 02-20-2010, 04:09 PM
 
Location: Union, ME
783 posts, read 1,301,527 times
Reputation: 967
Quote:
Originally Posted by OutDoorNut View Post
You should take things one step at a time. Try to determine which repairs need to be addressed immediately, and which can wait. If you try to think about all the problems all at once, they will overwhelm you. One step at a time!
100% agreed!!! Please disregard the adage, "one day at a time," even; make "please (dear God)) help me through the next five minutes" your mantra!

AuntyReni, I hear your pain, and I pray you will find peace amidst this trial. Please, I hope you won't be hard on yourself. It is what it is. We're none of us perfect, and we can't know everything there is to know about everything. Your choice wasn't necessarily bad, and you can go forward from here. I know you can!

It's just a house. Sometimes I get caught up in how I think things should be. Work out the basics - heat, power, water. It's an opportunity to be grateful for having what a lot of folks don't...
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Old 02-20-2010, 05:44 PM
 
Location: Northern Maine
9,485 posts, read 14,286,680 times
Reputation: 8906
I will spend a week this May on an old home on a Maine coastal island. Water is from a natural spring. The sanitary facilities are a his and hers privy in a shed near the big house. People lived there full time for many years. It has been in the same family since the 1700s. I was there last May. To some it seems primitive, but we had wireless internet to a line of sight tower eight miles away.
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Old 02-20-2010, 07:19 PM
 
1,061 posts, read 1,694,660 times
Reputation: 444

YouTube - The Money Pit trailer
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:21 PM
 
Location: Corinth, ME
2,712 posts, read 4,914,794 times
Reputation: 1863
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zarathu View Post
You need to get one of those house inspection contractors that people use before they purchase to come over and give you an inspection. The person will tell you what is the most important thing to start with, and what sequence to do the work. if you lived near Ellsworth I could give you a great recommendation, but most local realtors have a good person in mind and can make a recommendation for you.

This person will not have a vested interest in choosing the biggest ticket item first, as a general contractor will.

Good luck to you.

Z
I would not recommend this. THEY are used to looking at modern houses and are likely to give a report that would cause you to run screaming.

If you have the gumption (and I think you do) listen to Land Man. I would agree with his advise.

We almost bought one in similar shape but our circumstances are different as my SO is disabled and it would not be healthy for him to live in such challenging circumstances. Were I single, I would have bought the place we had in mind and started working pretty much as Land Man suggested.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:03 PM
 
Location: Bar Harbor, ME
1,922 posts, read 3,664,650 times
Reputation: 1287
Quote:
Originally Posted by starwalker View Post
I would not recommend this. THEY are used to looking at modern houses and are likely to give a report that would cause you to run screaming.
Well..... maybe some of them are used to looking at new houses, but if you are buying a pretty new house, then there is less need for this kind of thing.

I don't know how old the house in question is, but my house on MDI was built in 1908, which when I purchased it, made it 99 years old. I got a very clear written report about all the systems in the house. I was told specifically which ones needed to be worked on first, and which ones could be let go longer.

It all depends on the quality and training of the house inspection guy. My guy used to be a high school tech ed house construction teacher, and got into this business on the side. Eventually the side business was making more than his teaching position, so he quite teaching. A four year degree in tech ed house construction, while not as good as an apprenticeship in some areas like electrical and plumbing, is wonderful for knowing how things have to be put together.

Starwalker's experience may have been with a less skilled inspection dude.

Z
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:30 PM
 
1,061 posts, read 1,694,660 times
Reputation: 444
I don't know if this will help: Welcome to Maine Preservation

That site also has some links for people looking to restore antique homes.

The people on that site are eager to see old houses preserved--maybe you can get some useful advice from them. If you ask them anything, make sure they understand that your immediate aim is to make the house sound and habitable, to arrest futher deterioration; and that making a museum piece of it comes later!
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:30 AM
 
Location: Gorham, Maine
1,815 posts, read 4,267,470 times
Reputation: 1240
All homes should be inspected prior to purchase, including new construction; there is no such thing as a perfect house. Home Inspectors are not licensed in Maine, but there are several good trade associations that require minimum standards (and number of inspections) to be eligible for membership. As with any professional, get recommendations from trusted sources and interview to verify qualifications before hiring one.
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