I met with a young couple the other day to do an estimate for a couple extensive remodeling projects. A new garage and possibly an addition was the agenda and the homeowner’s wish list. Sweet I thought. While driving to their homestead, I took a quick mental note of the neighborhood and quickly accessed the mean values of the houses in this particular established Rockford area.They were all quint little tract homes in a quiet neighborhood. Some neglected needing TLC, but showing potential.
Upon arriving to this couples house, I saw the object of their dismay, a worn tattered, leaning garage, but what I noted more was the dipping concrete driveway leading to that garage. Yep, I see some issues. The house is located on a hillside. The concrete drive collects a lot of water. In fact the whole house has a tendency to pool water around it. I see a lot of work.
The homeowner showed me around and shared his thoughts on what he would like to see happen. He definitely needed some more space and entertained the idea of a new garage attached to the house. Excellent idea, just a few concerns that would need to be addressed in the process. Driveway being one. The main house was built on a crawl space. It already had a second rate addition built onto the back with a basement block wall. The block wall was starting to buckle in from water and the sinking driveway. Garage would have to be on a foundation. Before digging the foundation, block wall in basement would need to be shored up and possibly redone
My heart felt for them and their situation. Knowing approximately what a ballpark figure would be for the new garage and factoring a redo of the driveway and addressing issues for the process. I had a heart to heart with the homeowner. I hate to talk myself out of work, however if I feel it is not a good or wise thing to do, I will say so.
I informed the homeowner this would not be a good investment. Knowing the approximate market value of the home and what he bought it for would deem this project a very unwise decision. For everything to be done and done right would cost as much as what you paying for the house. You would not come close to recouping the cost in the long run perhaps if you chose to stay until retirement then you may recoup what was spent. I didn’t sense you have money to throw away and I knew after talking to him, he wasn’t going to retire at this house.
Learning that he and his dad were fairly handy, I proceeded to counsel him, free of charge, what I would do to eliminate some of the issues, where to focus attention and any monies spent for preventative measures and how/ what I would do to rehab their existing garage. In so doing these would be a far better investment of time and resources you may put forth and will, at the least, help you to retain a decent marketable value of your existing home.
Concrete driveways and excavation are not my fortes, however I directed them to trusted businesses. I shall follow up on them later on this season. Why, because my business is about building personal relationships too and I do have peoples best interest at heart. Don’t get me wrong there are times and places where heavy extensive remodels do pay off. Location and the conditions are a key here.
If you are going to buy a house have it inspected by an unbiased home inspector. If any remodeling has been done, such as a home addition, bathroom, basement or kitchen remodels, check to see if permits were pulled. Plan ahead for your future and family at this home. Think it all the way through first.
Even if permits were pulled and passed inspections and a certificate of occupancy was issued, there still may be undisclosed issues. More on this in another post involving my cousin that recently purchased a new home done by an unqualified contractor and the electrical.