Buying a fixer upper because it has more room

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Posted 2/12/2013 by Sparehead3 in NSBR Board
 

Sparehead3
StuckOnPeas

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November 2009
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Posted: 2/12/2013 2:13:27 PM
DH and I have been house hunting since December. We didn't get the first house we put an offer on, got the 2nd but had to back out because it had too many problems and there was no negotiating on the price, put a back up offer on a 3rd house but the 1st offer was accepted, and most recently put in an offer on a house that also got 3 other offers (the first weekend it was on the market)... I'm tired of making offers that don't work out!

We have to option of upping our offer on the 4th house but considering there are 3 other offers, the area the house is in, the condition (move-in-ready) and the schools that house is zoned for we really don't stand a chance... and our mortgage payment would be getting out of our comfort zone. Ir is a 1980 ranch, 1550 square feet with 3 bedrooms (we really wanted 4), a living room, dining room (an actual room that would fit a table and everything), and a family room. The yard is an ok size, not huge but not tiny.

Then there is house #5. It's a 1200 square foot ranch house built in 1955. The plus side to this house is that it's near my kids current school (ok schools not as great as the ones at the other house), the yard is pretty big and it has a full, mostly finished daylight basement which adds tons of storage and an extra bedroom (for a total of 5). Oh it is also on a dead end street. Negatives it needs updating everywhere. Everything is old and worn out: carpet, cabinets, counter tops, bathroom tile (salmon colored, it is hideous) light fixtures...

We are a family of 5, soon to be 6... I think we need the extra space the house with the basement has but DH is hesitating because of all the extra work and because 1/2 the house is in the basement and although he was open to fixer uppers when we started he's kind of hung up on the 4th house because it's completely finished.

I don't know if this is a vent, a pvm, a rant or just organizing my thoughts.





AKathy
Peaing From Podunk

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Posted: 2/12/2013 2:23:05 PM
Is your DH going to be doing the majority of the updating himself? If so and he's not completely on board with this house, I'd be worried that he may do what the husband of the pea who posted this morning saying her DH puts off jobs around the house.... for years
Are you willing to live like that?


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**buglvr12**
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 2/12/2013 2:31:34 PM
We are in a very similar situation. We need certain schools and DH wants land. Well, that really limits our options. We found a 1960's ranch house on 2 acres and literally everything in it needs updating plus it is so cluttered it was awful. When we first saw it, I told DH.....no way, no how! But he keeps bringing that house up. We went back to look at it again on Sunday and it has good bones and is very well built. We both think it has great potential! So much so that we are putting in an offer today.

We remodeled our last house and I swore I would never do it again but to get what we want, it looks like we are going to have to do it.

Not everything has to be done right now. I say go for it if the house fits your family's needs and you are willing to be patient on the updates.


Shannon

Mallie
PeaFixture

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Posted: 2/12/2013 2:31:59 PM
The question I always ask people is -- Can you live in the house the way it stands right now?

Because your dh may not get to all those projects for any number of reasons. You may run out of money to pay for those projects due to job loss or health care bills or orthodontia for 4 kids, etc. You may encounter some huge problem in the house that will take all of your remodeling money. etc.

So can you live with it the way it is right now and be happy living there?

CreativeEngineer
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 2/12/2013 3:03:20 PM
1200 sf for 6 people? I'd keep looking.

But, yes I'd take a fixer upper. DH has a proven track record of finishing MAJOR projects like a 2500 sf addition so I know he'd do it. We've gutted an entire bathroom down to the studs and tub and had it rewired, tiled, floor, paint, and new fixtures in two weekends.

If you know the renovation will get done, a fixer upper can be a good choice. If not, it can be a living nightmare.

ETA. We you the one looking at the house with the kitchen straight thru the foyer?? If so, what happened with that one? If no, sorry for the confusion!





voltagain
OklaPhoma

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Posted: 2/12/2013 3:15:03 PM
Everything is old and worn out: carpet, cabinets, counter tops, bathroom tile (salmon colored, it is hideous) light fixtures...
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

That is the cheap and easy stuff. If it is worn out so is the plumbing, heat, a/c, electrical, roof, hot water heater....

Honestly, if 2 months of house hunting already has you feeling flustered the time and money it will take to remodel this house is going to be way more than you have in patience. Not to mention six people in 1200 sf house is going to be small.

I'd keep looking.


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mama nay
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 2/12/2013 3:16:12 PM
Basements are cold and damp unless they are finished correctly. They often have limited amount of daylight.

How much reserve $ will you have if you buy house #5. Every single home show where they do renovations ends up with unexpected costs via problems. Is your dh really handy and good at fixing things, handling the unexpected?

A new baby means sleepless nights and not a lot of free time.

How happy will you be in living in the house w.o any or most of the changes the house needs?


~~Mama Nay~~

**buglvr12**
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 2/12/2013 3:18:14 PM

That is the cheap and easy stuff. If it is worn out so is the plumbing, heat, a/c, electrical, roof, hot water heater...


I don't necessarily agree. Worn out and out of date are two different things. Also, you can get the seller's disclosure to see if any updates have been done to the big ticket items.



Shannon

Darcy_Collins
PeaFixture

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Posted: 2/12/2013 3:34:37 PM
You lost me at the schools not being as good - that will impact not only you, but resale. I would sacrifice a lot to be in the best schools.




social worker pea
PeaAddict

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Posted: 2/12/2013 3:43:35 PM
If at all possible, I would keep looking. That's my opinion anyway. You really haven't been looking all that long.

Our last house was a fixer. We dumped quite a bit of $$ into it and even after 6 years of living in the house, we still lost a lot of money. And there was *ALWAYS* more things needing to be done.

The second time around, we looked for a long time and while the house still needs updating, it's nothing like the last house.

I also agree that 1200 square feet will get small for a family of 6. We are also a family of 6. Our old house was 1900 sq ft and our new house is only 300-400 sq ft bigger but it has made a huge difference.

Good luck to you! House hunting is soo stressful!

Jamie

obsidian
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 2/12/2013 4:00:17 PM

1/2 the house is in the basement


He has a point unless the basement is fully weather proof having that much of the living space under the house can be a nightmare, with damp and flooding issues.




look4angel
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 2/12/2013 4:04:17 PM

We are a family of 5, soon to be 6..

There is no way I'd try to go through a home renovation with a new baby! I'd keep looking!


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Sparehead3
StuckOnPeas

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November 2009
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Posted: 2/12/2013 4:13:25 PM
Yes I was the one who hated the house that you could see through the kitchen from the front door. DH insisted we make an offer and we didn't get it.

DH is pretty good at finishing projects, it's the little things he doesn't do so well such as taking down the Christmas lights in our front yard...

There is a price difference of about $25,000 between the two houses I forgot to mention that in my original post.

The elementary school is across the street and is very good (it has a program everyone wants to get into) it's the middle and high schools that are OK.

I will have to talk to DH... I don't want to pay a huge mortgage just to find a finished house, but I don't want a money pit either...

ETA: baby is due in August we have a few months to do some work.

obsidian
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 2/12/2013 4:16:29 PM

The elementary school is across the street

Never live closer than one block from a school.

The one which is right across the street from the school skip. Do still send your children though.

CnBsmommy
PeaAddict

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Posted: 2/12/2013 4:44:00 PM
that many people in that size house, I'd keep looking.
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