Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 Detroit Renovation Horror and sucess stories Previous Next
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Urbanoutdoors
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Username: Urbanoutdoors

Post Number: 126
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2007 - 10:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I am currently thinking of buying a fixer upper in Corktown. I am trying to get a rough idea of what it would cost and take for me to it fix up. I would also like to know if peoples views, stories and opinions when it comes to fixing up a house that needs a significant amount of work.
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Bussey
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Username: Bussey

Post Number: 491
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2007 - 11:05 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

be ready for a long haul
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Barnesfoto
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Username: Barnesfoto

Post Number: 3108
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2007 - 11:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Take the amount of time and money that you estimate it will take, double both, and there you are.
When getting bids on jobs, (if you are not familiar with the contractors), go for the second lowest, rather than the lowest bid.
Invite your friends and family members to help with gutting and cleanout. Supply food and beverages.
Fix up a couple rooms first so that you have a pleasant part of the house to retreat to.
Before buying, check for termite damage and serious foundation issues. If neither are present, you will probably be ok.
If your house looks like it's being renovated from the street, you may have some uninvited visitors who will borrow all of your tools without asking. Make the house look/feel lived in if you are not staying there.
Do the basics first-wiring, plumbing, roof, heating.
Hope that helps.
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Courtney
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Username: Courtney

Post Number: 125
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2007 - 11:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Expect far more time (and money) to be spent, especially if you're doing it yourself. Things will rarely go as easy as they should.

If you have even minor existing allergies of any sort, I'd highly recommend either hiring people to do it all or live somewhere else until it's complete. Pushing yourself into adrenal dysfunctions isn't worth it, but it is something that happens before you realize it - until you end up with an allergic reaction to Benadryl and wondering what will happen next time your throat starts closing.

That being said, making an old house happy is good for many warm fuzzy feelings.
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Urbanoutdoors
Member
Username: Urbanoutdoors

Post Number: 129
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Saturday, March 03, 2007 - 12:41 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I am thinking about having a friend do the majority of the work he is a licensed contractor but he would only be able to help out on the weekends. Does anyone know any info on HUD 203(k) Loans it looks like my best option for finance any suggestions? I walked through the house today and it is not in livable condition at the moment has some structural problems and will need some major appliances as well but all and all I love corktown and have lived here for a year and a half and this does seem like a relatively feasible way to stay in the area without paying an arm and a leg.
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Urbanoutdoors
Member
Username: Urbanoutdoors

Post Number: 130
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Saturday, March 03, 2007 - 11:24 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I know there our people out there that have rehabilitated in the historic districts in the D. I want to hear stories and see pictures of what you were able to do...
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E_hemingway
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Username: E_hemingway

Post Number: 1077
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 3:33 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My dad owns a few rental houses. One needed an almost complete restoration after about a dozen years of tenants living there and seriously neglecting it. My significant other and I just had to clean it, which meant ripping out the old carpet (the easy part), scrubbing the wood walls and ceilings, cleaning out the gutters, trimming the overgrowth outside and doing a few other basic repairs. That took about two months of weekends and was much harder than we thought. My dad invested more than $50 grand into the renovations, which included new windows, insulation, vinyl siding (as much as I hate it, it looks really good), a redone patio, new carpeting, new linoleum and a redone fireplace. And this was a small house that had once been a cottage.

My point is that fixer-uppers can quickly turn into money pits. (BTW check out the movie "The Money Pit," it's a great flick based more on fact than fiction) We are considering buying a fixer-upper, but since its our first we'd like to start out with something that is a smaller project. We're not afraid of getting our hands dirty but we don't want to be overwhelmed.

We checked out a Corktown house today that is unbelievably cheap. It might be the same one you're looking at. We are going to take a pass on it because even though it has potential and is in a great location, it's a massive project. We'd probably have to put a $100,000 grand and two years of our life (remember what Barnesfoto said) into it to make it something we would consider livable. Just about everything would have to be replaced. So my advice is be careful. Take a long, hard look at things before jumping in, and concentrate more on the home's problems than potential. It's easy to get wrapped up in the potential of a home.

BTW, I started a similar thread last fall. It might prove helpful.

https://www.atdetroit.net/forum/mes sages/76017/88106.html

One other piece of advice, get a dog. The bigger the better. It's the best home-security system in the world. People determined to get into your place and steal your stuff can figure out a way to get past any security system. But a good dog is the best thing when it comes to preventing crimes of opportunity, which most petty thief is. Plus, you'll also get a friend for life.

Good luck and if you have any questions, drop me an e-mail at 5column at gmail dot com.
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Mackcreative
Member
Username: Mackcreative

Post Number: 43
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 9:06 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

We are currently fixing up a house that had been vacant for +10 years in Woodbridge, we have the luxury of not living in the house during construction, we're taking a blitz-krieg approach.

We didn't go with the HUD program as we found better rates elsewhere (in our case through Charter One's Construction Lending,) with less paperwork requirements; Shore Bank (not Shore Mortgage--totally different entity) also has a similar programs.

One of the most important first decisions is whether your money or your time are more important. Most of the ways of saving significant amounts of money are achieved by spending significant amounts of time.

I sporadically blog about our house at
http://detroitwoodbridgeduplex .blogspot.com/ let me know if you need referrals to subcontractors.
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B24liberator
Member
Username: B24liberator

Post Number: 51
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 9:55 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think there is plenty of good advice from the folks above, urbanoutdoors... As a licensed contractor myself, I usually caution, if not outright tell people to walk away from an unlivable house with structural problems-- A money pit that will have unknown costs yet to be discovered, as E_hemingway was saying above. Since you have some professional help/advice aiding you, you might be able to tackle some major issues, maybe more so than the average DIYer... Still, though I haven't seen the property that's caught your eye, and I don't know what it needs done, I caution you nonetheless to set aside your feelings for the place ( a hard thing to do, for old house lovers!) and really think of the MONEY and TIME you'll need to commit to such a project...
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E_hemingway
Member
Username: E_hemingway

Post Number: 1078
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 12:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Mack you need to log more blog entries more often. I love reading about the progress on your duplex. Keep up the good work.
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Homer
Member
Username: Homer

Post Number: 96
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 4:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Agree, your blog is great mac. want to see that porch finished and loft area completed. Keep on bloggin'.
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Goat
Member
Username: Goat

Post Number: 9257
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 4:20 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Mackcreative, any word on those doors you may still have laying around?
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Mackcreative
Member
Username: Mackcreative

Post Number: 44
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 4:50 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

E_hemingway, Homer, thanks for the encouragement, I've got a couple blog entries brewing.

Goat, still have the doors, we're actually using more replacement doors than I'd initially anticipated, so I have quite a few that are still in frames, haven't forgotten about you.

Urbanoutdoors: B24liberator makes a good point, try to get in the property as much as you can, with as many people as you can, get it inspected at least once. Have it checked for lead, asbestos, radon (can help in negotiating too,) stop by in the rain to check where water comes in. Also really seriously look at the math if you are trying to make money on the project.
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Mackcreative
Member
Username: Mackcreative

Post Number: 45
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 - 6:18 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

One last thing to mention, insurance. If you are getting a mortgage of any sort you will most likely be required to pay for one year of insurance up-front; if you are not going to be living in the house (ie. vacant) while under construction it is very difficult and VERY costly, just another thing to consider.
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Barnesfoto
Member
Username: Barnesfoto

Post Number: 3112
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 1:05 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I solved the above problem with my first project house by putting in a bed, nightstand, some dirty socks, etc, and declaring it my official residence.
Of course, you are technically supposed to have a certificate of occupancy from the COD before you "live" in the house.
The poster who mentioned getting a dog has a good point, and there are lots of unwanted dogs available at the nearby City of Detroit Animal Control facility.
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Swingline
Member
Username: Swingline

Post Number: 728
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 10:17 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There's lots of paperwork with a 203k loan. Not sure it's worth it.

Don't forget the Michigan historic rehabilitation tax credits. Corktown is a local historic district and major renovation projects will qualify for the credit. Essentially, the state will pay for approximately 20% of your project.

Always fix the roof and gutters first.
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E_hemingway
Member
Username: E_hemingway

Post Number: 1079
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 10:58 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Urbanoutdoors: Something else you might want to look into is first-time home-buyer grants. I know Detroit has some sort of program where the city will give first-time home buyers something like $3,000 for their down payment. There was a thread about it and how it's a hassle last year I think, but $3,000 isn't anything to turn your nose up at.
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6nois
Member
Username: 6nois

Post Number: 73
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 11:15 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hey Mack are you going to be renting the other unit when you are done? I might be looking in the neighborhood.
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E_hemingway
Member
Username: E_hemingway

Post Number: 1081
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 2:59 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here is the thread about the city's home-buyer grant program.

https://www.atdetroit.net/forum/mes sages/76017/74996.html
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Quinn
Member
Username: Quinn

Post Number: 1174
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 4:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Have a lot of patience and budget money for alcohol.

Also, take lots of photos if it's a fixer upper when you first buy. They will come in handy when you are re-assesed a year later and you need proof that what you bought was a dump. Worked for me in arguing my taxes down.
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B24liberator
Member
Username: B24liberator

Post Number: 53
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 5:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Make sure the wife or girlfriend are onboard/committed with the project as well-- A friend of mine separated (briefly)from his fiancee over the strain of a big reno job that wasn't going well for them...
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Jimaz
Member
Username: Jimaz

Post Number: 1643
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 6:15 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Watch The Money Pit. After that you'll be able to laugh off any real life problems encountered. :-)
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Mackcreative
Member
Username: Mackcreative

Post Number: 46
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 6:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

6nois, yes we'll be renting the lower unit, it'll be two bedrooms one bath, and should be ready by early to mid-summer--obviously everything will be new.
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Jams
Member
Username: Jams

Post Number: 4858
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 9:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

One of those "little" things I've been dealing with for 4 days now, a flooded basement.

The drains are being snaked out, but the tree roots broke the snake, so after three days of pumps trying to drain the water (over 2 inches) I've another inch covering my basement floor.

Thank god, I never went ahead with the plans to put up the drywall and finish it off.

Anyone else with a hundred year old house without floor drains in the basement?
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Rhymeswithrawk
Member
Username: Rhymeswithrawk

Post Number: 359
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 9:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm looking at turning a basement into a rec area, Jams. And now, after your story, definitely planning on trying to get floor drains put it. Even if it costs me an extra grand.
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6nois
Member
Username: 6nois

Post Number: 77
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2007 - 1:04 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Good to know. I'll be keeping in touch,
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Goat
Member
Username: Goat

Post Number: 9260
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2007 - 1:25 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jams, my basement does not have floor drains either. It is just a concrete pad; Not even stone is underneath.
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Mackcreative
Member
Username: Mackcreative

Post Number: 47
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2007 - 10:58 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Speaking of home renovation, does anyone have any advice/experience with sash replacement kits (as opposed to regular total window replacement)?
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Homer
Member
Username: Homer

Post Number: 99
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2007 - 1:15 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Roots!!!
The horror of it all. Our 100+ year old home has clay sewer pipes going to the city sewer over 100 feet away in the alley.Had it snaked for several years but eventually the roots win. We have twice had to have sections replaced with PVC from root damage. Big deep hole cost plenty. Good luck.
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Frumoasa
Member
Username: Frumoasa

Post Number: 3
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2007 - 4:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My first house (purchased in 2003) was nothing more than a brick box, everything else (drywall, roof, plumbing, flooring, kitchen, bathroom) had to be torn out due to extreme neglect and abuse at the hands of a litigious previous tenant in the home that destroyed the house in hopes of getting her deposit back in court. (I know, ask HER to explain that one). The place was however, brick, spacious, had a huge lot and was the cheapest thing in the neighborhood by $50,000. I put 20k into it and I thank my lucky stars the city did not give me heck for doing my repairs myself. That one ended up great, so there are success stories too. My new house is in a great area, walking distance to Hamtramck (I want my non English speaking in-laws to live there when we are no longer living there). The house actually only needs cleaning, painting and a bit of siding repair (scrappers...ughhhh)and I got the ACR waived on it. So although we're not done with this one, it hopefully will end well too. Other than the one crazy neighbor (we always have one).
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Goat
Member
Username: Goat

Post Number: 9261
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2007 - 7:29 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Mackcreative, Installing the sash seems to be quite easy according to the link below. I helped install new windows in a friends Queen Anne house and the new windows came with new tracks.
We just took out the windows, the stops and the rollers from the old windows, caulked the inside (facing you from in the house) of the outer piece of wood track (imbedded in the outer frame of the window) where the the upper window can slide up/down, installed the tracks and made sure they were vertically level.
The first two windows took an hour 1.5 hours each to remove the old windows and install the new ones. After we got rolling it was about 1/2 hour.

http://hometips.com/cs-protect ed/guides/windows/windowsash.h tml

http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/ diy_kits/article/0,2019,DIY_13 787_2334411,00.html

It all depends on what type of window, but most I have seen are relatively easy and I am not a carpenter by any means. Looking at what you have done so far, you should have no problem at all. At least you won't have to make a new rough opening which is a nightmare!

Thanks for not forgetting about me with regards to the doors. Let me know if or when you would like me to get them (or some) and at what price. Just start a new thread with my name and I will post my EMail for a short time.

Thanks again. restoring old homes can be a pain but in the ned it is definitely worth it. Good luck!

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