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Default Renovations question

Our family is in the process of buying our first house and wanted to
ask a few questions about doing renovations. This is the first time
we've owned a house, so we know nothing about renovations - who to
hire, how to do them, how to plan timing, etc. - so we wanted to ask
a few questions on this group regarding it.

The house is in fairly good shape - it's 25 years old and has been
reasonably well maintained. We don't anticipate having to do any major
structural changes. What we do want to do is 1) renovate the kitchen
2) renovate two bathrooms 3) replace wallpaper with paint throughout
the house and 4) refinish the hardwood floors. We'd like to do all
this before we move in. This is a 2500 sq ft 3BR house in the suburbs
of Boston.

A few questions that I'd love to pose to the group:

1) I know there are general contractors and contractors. What are the
advantages/disadvantages of choosing one over the other, given the
amount of work we need done? We don't have any experience doing home
repair work, we'd like to do the work done quickly so we're not paying
both rent/mortgage simultaneously, and we'd like the work to be high
quality. The data points I have indicate we'd be better off with a GC,
but I don't have a sense for the premium that involves.

2) When should I be doing when to expedite this? We just agreed on a
price and the inspection will be early next week. The closing is
planned for 11/12. Should I ask if I can get contractors in before
closing to get estimates? Is that reasonable to ask from a seller? Any
other recommendations for what I can do to get the work done as
quickly as possible?

3) How do I go about finding a good people to do the work? I've e-
mailed friends that I know that have had work done in the area and I'm
hoping to get suggestions. But are there other resources I can
leverage? Do any of you know good people to do work? in the Boston
area

4) Do I need an architect? I may want to move the stove to where the
refrigerator is (it's on the counter between the kitchen and the
breakfast area, which means no backsplash) and the refrigerator over
to where the oven/microwave is, but aside from that I don't anticipate
making any changes. We're willing spend some money and get relatively
high end materials / appliances / fixtures, etc, but don't need
something super stylish / fancy.

5) Are there any websites with simple tutorials about this stuff?

Appreciate any help you guys can provide!

Thanks,
PB
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"PB2" wrote in message
...
Our family is in the process of buying our first house and wanted to
ask a few questions about doing renovations. This is the first time
we've owned a house, so we know nothing about renovations - who to
hire, how to do them, how to plan timing, etc. - so we wanted to ask
a few questions on this group regarding it.

The house is in fairly good shape - it's 25 years old and has been
reasonably well maintained. We don't anticipate having to do any major
structural changes. What we do want to do is 1) renovate the kitchen
2) renovate two bathrooms 3) replace wallpaper with paint throughout
the house and 4) refinish the hardwood floors. We'd like to do all
this before we move in. This is a 2500 sq ft 3BR house in the suburbs
of Boston.



*Why don't you just buy a house with everything updated already. Even if you
pay more money it will be worth it compared to work, stress, aggravation and
addtional cost of doing a major remodel with a deadline.



A few questions that I'd love to pose to the group:

1) I know there are general contractors and contractors. What are the
advantages/disadvantages of choosing one over the other, given the
amount of work we need done? We don't have any experience doing home
repair work, we'd like to do the work done quickly so we're not paying
both rent/mortgage simultaneously, and we'd like the work to be high
quality. The data points I have indicate we'd be better off with a GC,
but I don't have a sense for the premium that involves.



*Call as many contractors as you can find. The process of elimination
begins when they don't return phone calls. You will pay more to have the
work done quickly and with high quality.



2) When should I be doing when to expedite this? We just agreed on a
price and the inspection will be early next week. The closing is
planned for 11/12. Should I ask if I can get contractors in before
closing to get estimates? Is that reasonable to ask from a seller? Any
other recommendations for what I can do to get the work done as
quickly as possible?



*Start now. Go to the home inspection and take pictures and get
measurements and draw a floor plan of the existing space. You can ask the
current owner if it would be all right to bring contractors. It's up to
them if they will allow it. See if you can get the paperwork started at town
hall for the permits; Plumbing, electrical, building, HVAC. Get a kitchen
design detail made as soon as possible. Start looking at cabinets, paint
colors, countertops, appliances, bath fixtures, faucets, flooring materials,
light fixtures, moldings, etc.



3) How do I go about finding a good people to do the work? I've e-
mailed friends that I know that have had work done in the area and I'm
hoping to get suggestions. But are there other resources I can
leverage? Do any of you know good people to do work? in the Boston
area




*People who have used contractors before are usually a good place to start.
You could also check advertisments in local papers and magazines. Ask
around at lumber yards and design showrooms.



4) Do I need an architect? I may want to move the stove to where the
refrigerator is (it's on the counter between the kitchen and the
breakfast area, which means no backsplash) and the refrigerator over
to where the oven/microwave is, but aside from that I don't anticipate
making any changes. We're willing spend some money and get relatively
high end materials / appliances / fixtures, etc, but don't need
something super stylish / fancy.



*You could use an architect but unless something is going to change
structurally such as moving a bearing wall you may not need one. There are
contractors that do design/build. You could consider one of these.



5) Are there any websites with simple tutorials about this stuff?




*Don't expect to learn about major remodeling from reading a few pages on
the internet. Every project is unique and comes with its own set of issues
and challenges. I'm thinking that you are looking at spending
$50,000-$100,000 dollars to do all of the work mentioned above not to
mention a timeframe of 3-6 months.


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PB2 wrote:
Our family is in the process of buying our first house and wanted to
ask a few questions about doing renovations. This is the first time
we've owned a house, so we know nothing about renovations - who to
hire, how to do them, how to plan timing, etc. - so we wanted to ask
a few questions on this group regarding it.

The house is in fairly good shape - it's 25 years old and has been
reasonably well maintained. We don't anticipate having to do any major
structural changes. What we do want to do is 1) renovate the kitchen
2) renovate two bathrooms 3) replace wallpaper with paint throughout
the house and 4) refinish the hardwood floors. We'd like to do all
this before we move in. This is a 2500 sq ft 3BR house in the suburbs
of Boston.

A few questions that I'd love to pose to the group:

1) I know there are general contractors and contractors. What are the
advantages/disadvantages of choosing one over the other, given the
amount of work we need done? We don't have any experience doing home
repair work, we'd like to do the work done quickly so we're not paying
both rent/mortgage simultaneously, and we'd like the work to be high
quality. The data points I have indicate we'd be better off with a GC,
but I don't have a sense for the premium that involves.

2) When should I be doing when to expedite this? We just agreed on a
price and the inspection will be early next week. The closing is
planned for 11/12. Should I ask if I can get contractors in before
closing to get estimates? Is that reasonable to ask from a seller? Any
other recommendations for what I can do to get the work done as
quickly as possible?

3) How do I go about finding a good people to do the work? I've e-
mailed friends that I know that have had work done in the area and I'm
hoping to get suggestions. But are there other resources I can
leverage? Do any of you know good people to do work? in the Boston
area

4) Do I need an architect? I may want to move the stove to where the
refrigerator is (it's on the counter between the kitchen and the
breakfast area, which means no backsplash) and the refrigerator over
to where the oven/microwave is, but aside from that I don't anticipate
making any changes. We're willing spend some money and get relatively
high end materials / appliances / fixtures, etc, but don't need
something super stylish / fancy.

5) Are there any websites with simple tutorials about this stuff?

Appreciate any help you guys can provide!

Thanks,
PB

Hmmmm,
I'd buy a house which does not need all that work to begin with.
Or if you must buy that one in particular, have you done a house
inspection? If you buy it, move in, live in the house at least a year
while you learn about house construction/renovation stuff
reading/collecting info. Then decide what you want to do and start.
Good reno. job costs good money. I never lived in used house. I always
had our house custom built from my own plan and lot(actually my wife's plan)
Have done it 5 times plus one cabin. As a result we learned a lot about
houses. You have to deal with upto more or less 40 trades when building
a house. Architect costs a lot. The fee is percentage of total project.
If s/he manages project, it costs even more. To get the ideas, visit
show homes or there are lots of magazines at the library. I don't go by
trendy things. Just like fashion it comes and go.
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"PB2" wrote in message
...


The house is in fairly good shape - it's 25 years old and has been
reasonably well maintained. We don't anticipate having to do any major
structural changes. What we do want to do is 1) renovate the kitchen
2) renovate two bathrooms 3) replace wallpaper with paint throughout
the house and 4) refinish the hardwood floors. We'd like to do all
this before we move in. This is a 2500 sq ft 3BR house in the suburbs
of Boston.


You close on November 12 '08 and plan on having all that done by then? If
you're doing the work, not a chance. If you're having someone else do it,
having it done by that date is not much more likely. They are already
booked out that far.

You have a lot of research to do, and some of it is trial-and-error, at
least it was for me. Do you -really- need to have all of this done by the
time you move in? Sure, it's easier, but you've started so close to the day
you want it done that it really can't be done in such a short time.

Regardless, of all the things you want to do, have the floor done last. This
way it won't matter if paint splatters on the floor or something heavy gets
dragged across it. Also, if someone's doing the floor work, ask them about
the differences in the finish between oil-based urethane and latex urethane.
There is a difference in the finish (or so I was told), what one to use
depends on what you want.

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PB2 wrote:
Our family is in the process of buying our first house and wanted to
ask a few questions about doing renovations. This is the first time
we've owned a house, so we know nothing about renovations - who to
hire, how to do them, how to plan timing, etc. - so we wanted to ask
a few questions on this group regarding it.

The house is in fairly good shape - it's 25 years old and has been
reasonably well maintained. We don't anticipate having to do any major
structural changes. What we do want to do is 1) renovate the kitchen
2) renovate two bathrooms 3) replace wallpaper with paint throughout
the house and 4) refinish the hardwood floors. We'd like to do all
this before we move in. This is a 2500 sq ft 3BR house in the suburbs
of Boston.

A few questions that I'd love to pose to the group:

1) I know there are general contractors and contractors. What are the
advantages/disadvantages of choosing one over the other, given the
amount of work we need done? We don't have any experience doing home
repair work, we'd like to do the work done quickly so we're not paying
both rent/mortgage simultaneously, and we'd like the work to be high
quality. The data points I have indicate we'd be better off with a GC,
but I don't have a sense for the premium that involves.

2) When should I be doing when to expedite this? We just agreed on a
price and the inspection will be early next week. The closing is
planned for 11/12. Should I ask if I can get contractors in before
closing to get estimates? Is that reasonable to ask from a seller? Any
other recommendations for what I can do to get the work done as
quickly as possible?


There is no reasonable expectation that your house will be finished anytime
soon. Further, there's nothing that says you can't move in and live around
whatever modifications are in progress.

Getting remodeling done is not like getting a haircut - there is significant
lead-in time since jobs are often scheduled weeks, if not months, in
advance. Then there are unforseen items. For example, your floor guy may
have to slip his efforts to his next available slot (maybe six weeks later)
because your wall guy hasn't finished his portion of the job. The wall guy
isn't done because stripping the wallpaper revealed some electrical problems
and the electrician couldn't come for almost a week, etc....

Then, too, there's Thanksgiving, Christmas, bowl games, and the general
recovery from all that...

Also, there's nothing worse than getting all this done - to the tune of many
tens of thousands of dollars - moving in, and discovering six months later
that there is some ghastly flaw in the building that was undiscovered by the
inspector (i.e., orginally built over a graveyard, city has been planning
condemnation for several years in order to build a pocket-park, neighbor
does unspeakable things, involving screaming, after dark, every Monday
morning a toxic cloud of sewer gas backs up on the whole neighborhood,
etc.).

I'd just move in and attack the projects at leisure.




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"Bob M." wrote in message

The house is in fairly good shape - it's 25 years old and has been
reasonably well maintained. We don't anticipate having to do any major
structural changes. What we do want to do is 1) renovate the kitchen
2) renovate two bathrooms 3) replace wallpaper with paint throughout
the house and 4) refinish the hardwood floors. We'd like to do all
this before we move in. This is a 2500 sq ft 3BR house in the suburbs
of Boston.


You close on November 12 '08 and plan on having all that done by then?


Now, he plans to start then. Do the renovations and then move.


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"PB2" wrote

Our family is in the process of buying our first house and wanted to
ask a few questions about doing renovations. This is the first time
we've owned a house, so we know nothing about renovations - who to
hire, how to do them, how to plan timing, etc. - so we wanted to ask
a few questions on this group regarding it.


Not a bad group to ask. Your answers as of now vary somewhat widely but as
you narrow things down, you can get more help on those specifics.

The house is in fairly good shape - it's 25 years old and has been
reasonably well maintained. We don't anticipate having to do any major
structural changes.


Good. But your term 'major' there scares me a little. I'll read your note
deeper to see what is 'major' in your mind. It is after all, a very
relative term.

What we do want to do is 1) renovate the kitchen
2) renovate two bathrooms 3) replace wallpaper with paint throughout
the house and 4) refinish the hardwood floors. We'd like to do all
this before we move in. This is a 2500 sq ft 3BR house in the suburbs
of Boston.


Humm, you have to define 'renovate' for the bathrooms and kitchen here. The
closest you touch for kitchen seems to involve just swapping the stove and
fridge and if both are electric and there isnt a cabinet structure
preventing one from moving to the other location, this is not a major deal.

What you really need to know is that you should *expect* sudden big bills
for 'something awry' and that the first 2-5 years are the hardest
financially. If it doesnt seem rude to make an estimation from your choices
of wording, you seem white collar fairly flush financially executive sort,
with enough smarts to ask but possibly not aware of the impact that the
mortgage, insurance, taxes, and 'all that neat stuff you want' will have on
the budget (which hits us simple folks too). I assure you, even if you are
buying at same monthly cost (tax, mortgage, insurance combined and FIXED
RATE PLEASE!) as your current rent, you will have a shock or so.

First time home owners almost always fail to plan for that. It may be the
new sofa and curtins, or it may be something else but suddenly you find you
need 12,000$ for a roof job that cant wait and now you no longer have that
excess to deal with it easily. Thats what some are saying when they say to
delay the 'improvements' a bit and slate them out but they were not as
specifically pointed to your language use so may not have been all that
clear to you.

A few questions that I'd love to pose to the group:

1) I know there are general contractors and contractors. What are the
advantages/disadvantages of choosing one over the other, given the
amount of work we need done? We don't have any experience doing home
repair work, we'd like to do the work done quickly so we're not paying
both rent/mortgage simultaneously, and we'd like the work to be high
quality. The data points I have indicate we'd be better off with a GC,
but I don't have a sense for the premium that involves.


If you insist on the work being done before you occupy, you are going to pay
both. The current owner will _probably_ be happy to let an inspector in at
their schedule, but you need to sweet talk them about this and keep it to
the same lines you woulding mind if this was happening to your own apartment
you live in now. None of this 'what do you mean I have to be here Thursday
at noon or give me your keys so your prework ideas can be estimated! Bugger
off!'.

General contractors vs specific can be a touchy subject but my own
experinece is specific ones to the work do a better quality overall. I paid
more to have my sunroom done by a sunroom specialist for example instead of
some general contractor sort that would buy a kit online and figure it out
like a little kid with a new set of tinker toys.

- side note to that specific sunroom, first estimate came from a good friend
who has done many quality jobs in *his* line for us and sugggested this
fellow. We were both shocked to find he was pompous and very high end with
us and wanted us to not only do significant personal demolishment before he
would come back with an even rough estimate, but refused to look at the room
as the code spec of my area for 'enclosed porch' and was mandating '4th
bedroom' specs of my area which would have included raising about 44x13ft of
roof extension by 6 inches creating a slope problem that would have resulted
in total reroof to rise the whole house). A good relationship with the
contractor is essential and as personal as when you hire someone to do
anything at work for you. Apparently in this case I set the fellow off the
wrong way and his reaction was to make him not usable. His estimates did
not include the roof work and were exceptionally vague but started with
35,000 with 'probably gonna be a great deal more, might be double'. I went
with the quality local sunroom company who was next highest price but had
seen their work at local places. It's lovely and they were willing to work
with me well.

2) When should I be doing when to expedite this? We just agreed on a
price and the inspection will be early next week. The closing is
planned for 11/12. Should I ask if I can get contractors in before
closing to get estimates? Is that reasonable to ask from a seller? Any
other recommendations for what I can do to get the work done as
quickly as possible?


It's ok to 'ask' but be really nice. If you keep in mind each time, it was
you being asked by a later guy who's gonna take where you live now and want
to send folks in there before that 11/12 date and you'd be acceptable for it
if they worked with you, then it might be to them.

- side note again, the law in my state requires I make sure my dog is not in
the way of any contract work and although he's a sweet natured 'beagle mix'
(apparently part beagle, part bull Mastiff) we never let anyone be worried
and keep him out of the way securely so the workers do not need to be
worried. If your prospective house folks have cats or dogs, this is a
concern you need to be aware of.

3) How do I go about finding a good people to do the work? I've e-
mailed friends that I know that have had work done in the area and I'm
hoping to get suggestions. But are there other resources I can
leverage? Do any of you know good people to do work? in the Boston
area


I dont know your area but 'word of mouth' can be very good indeed. I
recommend several folks here in Norfolk very highly and will add their few
detractions to the list at the same time. I am not so flush with money so
often have to go the cheaper route and do part of the work ourselves. My
favorite fence person (wood yard fence) is a drinking buddy of my husband.
Do not disclaim such for estimates. The picture window that was propped up
by 2x4's when we got back stateside was done by an old friend 'specialist
contractor' and the insurance company wanted his name after inspecting the
work and knowing the price. I reminded the insurance company that our price
was not average but due to long personal association and they were still
happy with the work (they pay bu standard prices with deductions and could
not find this for under $3,000 when we got it for a hair under $1,000).

So, ask your fiends who have houses and get many estimates for all work. It
can be very beneficial to list the dream and the lower 'just need this now'
basic needs and get 2 estimates from the same contractor. Many will do
this.

4) Do I need an architect? I may want to move the stove to where the
refrigerator is (it's on the counter between the kitchen and the
breakfast area, which means no backsplash) and the refrigerator over
to where the oven/microwave is, but aside from that I don't anticipate
making any changes. We're willing spend some money and get relatively
high end materials / appliances / fixtures, etc, but don't need
something super stylish / fancy.


If your kitchen renovation is just this, you do not need anything more than
just a buddy to help move it. Do watch the feet if you have linoleum as you
can rip it by accident when moving the fridge. (please, dont ask *wince*).
If both are electric, and freestanding, tis easy. Normally the electrical
outlets will be the same so you have a sorta 'plug and play' deal going on.

5) Are there any websites with simple tutorials about this stuff?


Yes and no, they come specific to an item. Wide rang knowlege base comes
from real people, but i bet you knew that (grin).

Appreciate any help you guys can provide!


I hope i have helped and not hindered you. I'm a little wierded out aby a
3BR 2 BA home at 2400 sq ft. I'm not at all gonna however think it's weird
of a first time buyer who's not quite sure of that detail and this place may
have extra rooms not listed, like maybe home office and such.




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Hi,

Thank you all for your useful responses. A few comments:

1) Yes, I would love to buy a house where the work is already done. If
I could have spent some more money to get a house where everything is
new, I would have gone ahead and done that. We weren't able to find a
house that met that criteria (or the ones that we did find were too
expensive). To be fair, this house is completely liveable as-is, just
dated (c. 1983 when the house was constructed)

2) I appreciate the gravity of time and cost required to undertake
these projects. My hope was that we could get these projects completed
for $80K-$100K and that the work would be done by the end of January
(leaving ~3 months for the work). Please go ahead and correct me if
these numbers seem completely off.

3) Here's what we specifically plan to do:
- Kitchen: New cabinets, appliances, counter-top, and floors. Not
structurally changing things, except that we're moving some electric
appliances around (refrigerator moves to where the dual-oven is,
countertop stove replaced with a range/oven/microwave and placed where
the refrigerator is). We're thinking mid-range quality.
- Bathrooms: 2 bathrooms, each 8x8 - completely replacing everything
and ret-iling, but not changing where things are
- Walls: Lots of wallpaper around the house (which we don't like), so
removal and repainting.
- Hardwood floors: Sand and refinish (we'll do at the end, as
recommended)

4) We stopped by Home Depot today and according to them, they have
general contractors that are a) reliable and b) affordable. Any
thoughts on that?

5) Size vs # of bedrooms: Yes, it's strange. The bedrooms are large,
as are the family and living rooms.

6) I hear the comments about slowly doing the work. We have a 15
months daughter who has severe food allergies. Not having a kitchen
for a few months would not be tolerable, hence the desire to complete
the work before moving in. We could probably wait on the bathrooms,
but the thinking is that some of the bathroom work could go on in
parallel.

Thanks,
PB





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On Oct 5, 8:16�pm, PB2 wrote:
Hi,

Thank you all for your useful responses. A few comments:

1) Yes, I would love to buy a house where the work is already done. If
I could have spent some more money to get a house where everything is
new, I would have gone ahead and done that. We weren't able to find a
house that met that criteria (or the ones that we did find were too
expensive). To be fair, this house is completely liveable as-is, just
dated (c. 1983 when the house was constructed)

2) I appreciate the gravity of time and cost required to undertake
these projects. My hope was that we could get these projects completed
for $80K-$100K and that the work would be done by the end of January
(leaving ~3 months for the work). �Please go ahead and correct me if
these numbers seem completely off.

3) Here's what we specifically plan to do:
- Kitchen: New cabinets, appliances, counter-top, and floors. Not
structurally changing things, except that we're moving some electric
appliances around (refrigerator moves to where the dual-oven is,
countertop stove replaced with a range/oven/microwave and placed where
the refrigerator is). We're thinking mid-range quality.
- Bathrooms: 2 bathrooms, each 8x8 - completely replacing everything
and ret-iling, but not changing where things are
- Walls: Lots of wallpaper around the house (which we don't like), so
removal and repainting.
- Hardwood floors: Sand and refinish (we'll do at the end, as
recommended)

4) We stopped by Home Depot today and according to them, they have
general contractors that are a) reliable and b) affordable. Any
thoughts on that?

5) Size vs # of bedrooms: Yes, it's strange. The bedrooms are large,
as are the family and living rooms.

6) I hear the comments about slowly doing the work. We have a 15
months daughter who has severe food allergies. Not having a kitchen
for a few months would not be tolerable, hence the desire to complete
the work before moving in. We could probably wait on the bathrooms,
but the thinking is that some of the bathroom work could go on in
parallel.

Thanks,
PB


lots of people set up a temporary kitchen in say a basement with a
existing wastub as a sink, a hotplate for cooking microwave and
fridge. inconvenient but livable.

home remodeling tends to uncover new unknown issues that can add
months to repairs and thousands to costs.

rather than everything at once, better to do a floor or are at a time.

have a friend who bought a camper, set it up in yard and lived in it
while major woir was going on.

currently all our 1950 hardwood floors need refinished, my wife has
asthma, and we have dogs.

we are looking for a cheap camper for use during the floor project
perhaps next spring.

do odors cause troubles in your family?
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"PB2" wrote in message
...
Hi,

Thank you all for your useful responses. A few comments:

1) Yes, I would love to buy a house where the work is already done. If
I could have spent some more money to get a house where everything is
new, I would have gone ahead and done that. We weren't able to find a
house that met that criteria (or the ones that we did find were too
expensive). To be fair, this house is completely liveable as-is, just
dated (c. 1983 when the house was constructed)

2) I appreciate the gravity of time and cost required to undertake
these projects. My hope was that we could get these projects completed
for $80K-$100K and that the work would be done by the end of January
(leaving ~3 months for the work). Please go ahead and correct me if
these numbers seem completely off.



*Impossible to nail down without estimates from contractors and prices on
your appliances and choice of materials, but I would say you are in the ball
park. Figure that the faster you want it done, the more it will cost
because you won't be spending time shopping around for the best price.


3) Here's what we specifically plan to do:
- Kitchen: New cabinets, appliances, counter-top, and floors. Not
structurally changing things, except that we're moving some electric
appliances around (refrigerator moves to where the dual-oven is,
countertop stove replaced with a range/oven/microwave and placed where
the refrigerator is). We're thinking mid-range quality.
- Bathrooms: 2 bathrooms, each 8x8 - completely replacing everything
and ret-iling, but not changing where things are
- Walls: Lots of wallpaper around the house (which we don't like), so
removal and repainting.
- Hardwood floors: Sand and refinish (we'll do at the end, as
recommended)



*I hope that you have the time to stay on top of this project. Don't figure
on letting a GC just handle everything. You need to be a part of the
process.



4) We stopped by Home Depot today and according to them, they have
general contractors that are a) reliable and b) affordable. Any
thoughts on that?



*I've gotten several new customers thanks to their contractors. I went in
and corrected the things that should have been addressed during the
remodeling process such as correct placement of recessed lighting,
connecting a new bath fan to the existing duct, running new circuits for the
kitchen. In addition to paying the contractors, you will also be paying for
Home Depot to do nothing except provide a referral. One thing I don't agree
with, but maybe it has changed. From what I have heard, Home Depot requires
almost, if not the entire full payment up front before work begins. I could
be wrong about this.



5) Size vs # of bedrooms: Yes, it's strange. The bedrooms are large,
as are the family and living rooms.



*That's nice. I like big rooms.



6) I hear the comments about slowly doing the work. We have a 15
months daughter who has severe food allergies. Not having a kitchen
for a few months would not be tolerable, hence the desire to complete
the work before moving in. We could probably wait on the bathrooms,
but the thinking is that some of the bathroom work could go on in
parallel.



*As I mentioned before this is doable, but you need to get on the ball NOW.
Start making lists for plumbing, electrical, painting, tile, etc. A kitchen
detail is extremely important and can be done by the place that you buy your
cabinets from. Also be prepared for problems that may surface once the
project has started. I do a lot of repair work in 1980's houses and condos.
I am very grateful to one builder in particular as their contruction methods
have been very good for my business as well as many plumbers.



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"PB2" wrote

Thank you all for your useful responses. A few comments:


Welcome!

1) Yes, I would love to buy a house where the work is already done. If


snip, understood.

2) I appreciate the gravity of time and cost required to undertake
these projects. My hope was that we could get these projects completed
for $80K-$100K and that the work would be done by the end of January
(leaving ~3 months for the work). Please go ahead and correct me if
these numbers seem completely off.


Some are reasonable to do in that time. Quite a bit you can do yourself
easily and save a huge bundle. The wallpaer comes to mind. Even if you
arent a very good painter and want to have that painted after, you can
probably get the wallpaper off yourself. Consider if some of it is still in
good shape and flat paper sort (not flocked or anything, but smooth),
replaced with a newer pattern you like over it. This may be cheaper than
paying to have it removed and wall repaired for painting then painted.
Perhaps just a room or so, or some walls in some of the rooms.

3) Here's what we specifically plan to do:
- Kitchen: New cabinets, appliances, counter-top, and floors. Not
structurally changing things, except that we're moving some electric
appliances around (refrigerator moves to where the dual-oven is,
countertop stove replaced with a range/oven/microwave and placed where
the refrigerator is). We're thinking mid-range quality.


Have the cabinets done before you move in (reading below, that might be
pretty important). Delay actually getting the new appliances, but swap them
and make sure the new cabinets will fit the dimensions of the new ones you
plan to get later. You can delay the floor linoleum too as that's a simple
one to have done later, done in one day easy.

- Bathrooms: 2 bathrooms, each 8x8 - completely replacing everything
and ret-iling, but not changing where things are


I'd wait on this one then later you can have one done, while the other is in
use etc. This one will cost more than you think. Had a tub replaced,
5,000$.

- Walls: Lots of wallpaper around the house (which we don't like), so
removal and repainting.


See above. I gather it's the pattern you do not like? Takes skill to put up
new stuff over it so this one (if no previous experince) you'd want to
contract. If planning to remove and paint, you can save really huge
significant money by doing the removal yourself. Have an estimate made (or
several) and ask for a price where they remove, and one where you do it then
they come back and sand, prep, and paint.

- Hardwood floors: Sand and refinish (we'll do at the end, as
recommended)


Not nessecarily. If you delay painting some of the rooms, or decide to
repaper them with something you like better (some look like faintly antiqued
painted wall for example), this is best done before you move in while the
walls can actually wait. It's a real mess trying to find where to stow all
your stuff so they can get at all the floors and they will want to access
them all at the same time (cheaper for you).

4) We stopped by Home Depot today and according to them, they have
general contractors that are a) reliable and b) affordable. Any
thoughts on that?


You'll get a big variety of replies on that. The best real advice is to
have them do an estimate as well as Lowes (if you have them) and some
others. The quality of their work is dependant on the quality of the local
sub-contractor and some are great, while others are abysmal. They did a
great job with my patio door. They did abysmal with the bathtub and I
waited 6 months from contract time til finished, 4 of that with ripped out
walls and a bare pipe (safety covered with a kids inflatable water wing). I
dont have 2 bathrooms, just a secondary 1/2 bath with toilet and sink.
Other people have had great luck with tubs and things, and not so hot with
patio doors from them.

6) I hear the comments about slowly doing the work. We have a 15
months daughter who has severe food allergies. Not having a kitchen
for a few months would not be tolerable, hence the desire to complete
the work before moving in. We could probably wait on the bathrooms,
but the thinking is that some of the bathroom work could go on in
parallel.


It normally only takes at most a week to just replace cabinets. Linoleoum
in one day.

Here's the order _I'd_ persue based on what you said here.

1) Kitchen cabinets, with floor contracted as part of the bundle. (If not
enough outlets, add this in at that time). Will have to paint after as new
cabinets will leave gaps in 'whatever' was there before.

2) repaper or remove paper and paint all rooms (give yourself 2 days per
room if removing paper yourself, 1 day if wife can help and still have child
tended)

3) Have floors redone (Move to slot 2 if not enough time to do walls as this
can be done after move in, but if the ceiling needs painting, do that before
the floors if at all possible).

4) Delay til later, then one at a time, bathrooms. If you can, you can have
some of the work done before but some will not be compatible (floors and
bathroom at same time wont work). Cant do anything else the day the
electrician is there if needed for kitchen as you'll be without power
probably.

Minimalist list if you can delay, so you can adjust to not need as much of a
loan:

1- Kitchen cabinets then shuffle the electrical stuff where you want it.

2- Ceiling painting if needed

3- Floor work

This would let you occupy the new home pretty fast. Proably later same
month so no rent and mortgage at same time. Only the ceiling and floor
actually conflict unless the kitchen access requires they traverse the flor
being worked on to get in and out or bring in cabinets. In my case, it
wouldnt as I have a sliding glass patio door there and would just need to
tape heavy plastic to keep sawdust from the kitchen work out of the floor
work area once varnishing etc.

After move in, shuffle furniture out from the walls and have those done,
room by room. (cover furniture with plastic, putting delicate pieces in
another room when possible). Go with a true professional painter (will cost
more but no floor problems). Then, do the bathrooms one by one. Linoleum
for kitchen and a different pattern for bathroom floors, all done in one day
at some later point.

Umm, you do know one of you pretty much has to be there when the work is
being done right? Also if you have any pets, they have to be securely kept
away the whole time in a spare room or something. (Laws vary on that, might
want to ask about that where you are).



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"John Grabowski" wrote

4) We stopped by Home Depot today and according to them, they have


*I've gotten several new customers thanks to their contractors. I went in
and corrected the things that should have been addressed during the
remodeling process such as correct placement of recessed lighting,
connecting a new bath fan to the existing duct, running new circuits for
the kitchen. In addition to paying the contractors, you will also be
paying for Home Depot to do nothing except provide a referral. One thing I
don't agree with, but maybe it has changed. From what I have heard, Home
Depot requires almost, if not the entire full payment up front before work
begins. I could be wrong about this.


Actually they needed some money upfront, but most went on the 0% interest
account card they issued us (0% for 6 months then a rather high rate). I
don't recall how much up front, but it was not a great deal. 10% possibly.

When the tub enclosure was not correctly spec'ed and we have to have the tub
replaced vice a liner put in (we were not charged for the liner, they goofed
and admitted it and made zero hassle over that aspect at all), we got a bill
with interest before the tub was even in. I trotted right over with a
complaint. They corrected the records right away and took that interest off,
and shifted me to 1 year no interest after date of actual install
completion. (I think they now give a year, but at the time I contracted, it
was 6 months).

I am happy with the financial arrangements and had a lower interest account
ready to go to swap any remaining balance to, at need. As it is, I will pay
it off before the interest kicks in.


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On Oct 5, 8:16*pm, PB2 wrote:
Hi,

Thank you all for your useful responses. A few comments:

1) Yes, I would love to buy a house where the work is already done. If
I could have spent some more money to get a house where everything is
new, I would have gone ahead and done that. We weren't able to find a
house that met that criteria (or the ones that we did find were too
expensive). To be fair, this house is completely liveable as-is, just
dated (c. 1983 when the house was constructed)

2) I appreciate the gravity of time and cost required to undertake
these projects. My hope was that we could get these projects completed
for $80K-$100K and that the work would be done by the end of January
(leaving ~3 months for the work). *Please go ahead and correct me if
these numbers seem completely off.

3) Here's what we specifically plan to do:
- Kitchen: New cabinets, appliances, counter-top, and floors. Not
structurally changing things, except that we're moving some electric
appliances around (refrigerator moves to where the dual-oven is,
countertop stove replaced with a range/oven/microwave and placed where
the refrigerator is). We're thinking mid-range quality.
- Bathrooms: 2 bathrooms, each 8x8 - completely replacing everything
and ret-iling, but not changing where things are
- Walls: Lots of wallpaper around the house (which we don't like), so
removal and repainting.
- Hardwood floors: Sand and refinish (we'll do at the end, as
recommended)

4) We stopped by Home Depot today and according to them, they have
general contractors that are a) reliable and b) affordable. Any
thoughts on that?

5) Size vs # of bedrooms: Yes, it's strange. The bedrooms are large,
as are the family and living rooms.

6) I hear the comments about slowly doing the work. We have a 15
months daughter who has severe food allergies. Not having a kitchen
for a few months would not be tolerable, hence the desire to complete
the work before moving in. We could probably wait on the bathrooms,
but the thinking is that some of the bathroom work could go on in
parallel.

Thanks,
PB


Just a few thoughts.

Swapping things around isn't expensive except that you'll need to
install an exhaust fan. That's NBD.

As for the bathrooms, unless the tile in the bathrooms are hideous,
leave it alone and live with it. It's what you would have put in
before, anyway. 5 years from now you'll hate the new stuff as much as
you hate the old stuff, but if you don't retile it, you'll have a lot
more bling in the bank. Same for the kitchen, except the little stuff.
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I haven't read the entire thread, but a couple of concerns come to
mind. Doing baths, walls and floors prior to moving in sounds right.
Mention of a toddler with severe food allergies makes me wonder about
advisability of installing new cabinets right away - just wondering
about adhesives and outgassing from some products. Does the doc have
any advice about products to avoid? In removing wallpaper, an
incredibly messy job, you are likely to stir up lots of dust from
residue that probably contains wheat paste. Extra care in cleanup with
that.



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Pat wrote:
On Oct 5, 8:16 pm, PB2 wrote:
Hi,

Thank you all for your useful responses. A few comments:

1) Yes, I would love to buy a house where the work is already done. If
I could have spent some more money to get a house where everything is
new, I would have gone ahead and done that. We weren't able to find a
house that met that criteria (or the ones that we did find were too
expensive). To be fair, this house is completely liveable as-is, just
dated (c. 1983 when the house was constructed)

2) I appreciate the gravity of time and cost required to undertake
these projects. My hope was that we could get these projects completed
for $80K-$100K and that the work would be done by the end of January
(leaving ~3 months for the work). Please go ahead and correct me if
these numbers seem completely off.

3) Here's what we specifically plan to do:
- Kitchen: New cabinets, appliances, counter-top, and floors. Not
structurally changing things, except that we're moving some electric
appliances around (refrigerator moves to where the dual-oven is,
countertop stove replaced with a range/oven/microwave and placed where
the refrigerator is). We're thinking mid-range quality.
- Bathrooms: 2 bathrooms, each 8x8 - completely replacing everything
and ret-iling, but not changing where things are
- Walls: Lots of wallpaper around the house (which we don't like), so
removal and repainting.
- Hardwood floors: Sand and refinish (we'll do at the end, as
recommended)

4) We stopped by Home Depot today and according to them, they have
general contractors that are a) reliable and b) affordable. Any
thoughts on that?

5) Size vs # of bedrooms: Yes, it's strange. The bedrooms are large,
as are the family and living rooms.

6) I hear the comments about slowly doing the work. We have a 15
months daughter who has severe food allergies. Not having a kitchen
for a few months would not be tolerable, hence the desire to complete
the work before moving in. We could probably wait on the bathrooms,
but the thinking is that some of the bathroom work could go on in
parallel.

Thanks,
PB


Just a few thoughts.

Swapping things around isn't expensive except that you'll need to
install an exhaust fan. That's NBD.

As for the bathrooms, unless the tile in the bathrooms are hideous,
leave it alone and live with it. It's what you would have put in
before, anyway. 5 years from now you'll hate the new stuff as much as
you hate the old stuff, but if you don't retile it, you'll have a lot
more bling in the bank. Same for the kitchen, except the little stuff.


Wasn't gonna say it, but that was my thought, too. Get a crew in there
to refinish the floors, strip the wallpaper and paint, but live with the
rest of it. Maybe new vinyl in the kitchen. Those 3 things alone would
help make it all feel a lot fresher. The floors and walls would be a
couple weeks for a competent crew with the right tools. Everything else
would take a lot longer. And if the kitchen cabinets are Real Wood
(still common in 83), you will pay a pretty penny to find like quality
today. A good cleaning and waxing can sometimes make old cabinets look
surprisingly tolerable. If the countertop is trashed, a swapout of that
is usually a quick job.

A 1983 house would be be a BIG step up the food chain for me. One of
these days, I'm gonna take a stab at cleaning up and spot-refinishing
these 1960 cabinets here, just because they are real wood, and not the
chipboard crap.

--
aem sends...



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For a kitchen renovation, I'd use a place that specializes in
kitchens. This will be the most expensive part of the project and
knowing how to lay it all out and do it right is critical. A good
company with experience can come up with ideas and suggestions that
could greatly affect the convenience of what you wind up with, how
good it looks, how it affects the home value, etc.

Whether $80 or $100K is reasonable to do all the work depends on many
factors, but the most important is what materials you use. For
example, do you want GE profile appliances, or giant built-in
Viking? Basic kitchen cabinets or high-end, with custom work added.

Regarding getting contractors in to give estimates before closing,
it's up to the seller. Most will probably have no problem allowing
you in, if they aren't living there. Most critical is asking around
for recommendations for good contractors. Also, check with the local
BBB and any Dept of Consumer Affairs, etc to see if they have any info
on them. If you sign any contracts for renovation, make sure there is
a contingency clause stating you can get out of the contract without
penalty if the house does not close.
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