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Thread: Farmhouse Remodeling

  1. #1
    Twelve Pointer HuntinCop's Avatar
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    Default Farmhouse Remodeling

    Long story short, my wife and I have had our eye on an old farmhouse near where we live now that has been empty for years. I hunted down the owners and they live near where I work and we are going to talk more. They said they would call me first if they decide to sell it. There are some buildings on the property that need to be torn down or some huge work done to them to make them safe.

    I can see a new metal roof needed on it but not sure how much if any damage is on the outside. Has anyone ever taken on a full gut remodel on an old farmhouse and if so, what are some things that I need to consider when getting estimates. Obviously an inspection would be done before anything is done on our part.

    Thanks for any input!

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    Six Pointer
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuntinCop View Post
    Long story short, my wife and I have had our eye on an old farmhouse near where we live now that has been empty for years. I hunted down the owners and they live near where I work and we are going to talk more. They said they would call me first if they decide to sell it. There are some buildings on the property that need to be torn down or some huge work done to them to make them safe.

    I can see a new metal roof needed on it but not sure how much if any damage is on the outside. Has anyone ever taken on a full gut remodel on an old farmhouse and if so, what are some things that I need to consider when getting estimates. Obviously an inspection would be done before anything is done on our part.

    Thanks for any input!
    As a former GC I would say this. Take a picture of the house and detailed measurements. Take 10 gallons of gasoline and burn it down. Rebuild it from scratch as a brand new house and make it a carbon copy. It will come out cheaper, faster and better. Worst project ever involved in with budget and time was a "free" house given to a client. I warned them.
    I'm kind of kidding but I'm not. Unless it's a true labor of love and you can do the work on your own over a period of years. It will take longer and cost more then any estimate. Not to mention it will never be as efficient.
    Last edited by nckeith; 01-11-2017 at 10:48 PM.

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    Twelve Pointer catfishrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nckeith View Post
    As a former GC I would say this. Take a picture of the house and detailed measurements. Take 10 gallons of gasoline and burn it down. Rebuild it from scratch as a brand new house and make it a carbon copy. It will come out cheaper, faster and better. Worst project ever involved in with budget and time was a "free" house given to a client. I warned them.
    I'm kind of kidding but I'm not. Unless it's a true labor of love and you can do the work on your own over a period of years. It will take longer and cost more then any estimate. Not to mention it will never be as efficient.
    I say you nailed it!

  4. #4
    Old Mossy Horns nccatfisher's Avatar
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    You have been given good advise. All I can warn you about is sagging/rotten/termite infested sills. Subpar electrical/plumbing, no insulation, replace all windows and doors. Probably rotted floors.

    If you can see it needs a new roof that most likely means rotted stripping and rafters at the least, not counting boxing and facia. and when it is all said and done you still have an old house that CONSTANTLY needs major upkeep.

  5. #5
    Four Pointer
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    Depending on age you would might need to mitigate asbestos and lead paint. Wiring, chimney and plumbing might need to be completely re-done also. That said, if it was something you loved to spend time doing it could be satisfying. Generally for most people nckeith's advice should be considered.

    My uncle lived in a 1930's farmhouse that a cousin by marriage wanted after my uncle died. He planned to restore and upgrade it but no lender would touch it. However, they were happy to lend him the money to tear it down and put in a modular home...

  6. #6
    Six Pointer darenative's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nckeith View Post
    As a former GC I would say this. Take a picture of the house and detailed measurements. Take 10 gallons of gasoline and burn it down. Rebuild it from scratch as a brand new house and make it a carbon copy. It will come out cheaper, faster and better. Worst project ever involved in with budget and time was a "free" house given to a client. I warned them.
    I'm kind of kidding but I'm not. Unless it's a true labor of love and you can do the work on your own over a period of years. It will take longer and cost more then any estimate. Not to mention it will never be as efficient.
    Quoted for truth

  7. #7
    Old Mossy Horns
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    Unless you have lots of time and more money than you know what to do with then the above advice is spot on. I've got one that is sitting empty, built around 1920, that would have to be gutted down to the outside walls. To make it livable would cost more than building a new one just like it.

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    Six Pointer PWR-WGN's Avatar
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    I bought the house my grandmother lived in from the family after she passed. It was built in 1934. My father and all his brothers and sisters were raised here, so everyone was glad to see it stay in the family.

    We did a complete gut and rebuild project on the home. I did a lot of the work myself, but did contract out some of the additions. We were lucky as when we pulled the carpet out and paneling off the walls, we were greeted with beautiful hardwood floors and bead board walls and ceilings throughout the house. Everything structurally was in decent condition.

    With that being said, over the course of the project I have put well over 100k into this house. On top of paying the family 25k for it. So after it's all said and done I could have almost purchased a new home for what I wil have in this one. There have been some very stressful and exhausting last few years, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Money can't buy the history this house has in my family, and even though it has been updated it's just got that homely feel you can't get with a new house.
    Last edited by PWR-WGN; 01-12-2017 at 06:43 AM.

  9. #9
    Twelve Pointer aya28ga's Avatar
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    I'll second nckeith's advice. Completely redoing an old house is almost always going to cost more in time and effort than just starting from scratch. Unless your a true "do it yourselfer" who's looking at this as a long-term challenge, I'd stay away.

    My wife was enamored with the idea of remodeling an old farmhouse when we moved to NC but I talked her out of it, and we never regretted that decision. Tear the old one down and build a new farmhouse-looking home with modern wiring, plumbing, etc.

    And check to see if there are any underground fuel tanks on the property. You'd be amazed at how many older farms have them, and they all leak. They can prove to be a pain with codes and environmental regs.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    Benjamin Franklin

  10. #10
    Four Pointer
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    Step 1: watch the movie "Money Pit."

    As the proud owner of a farmhouse built in 1860, the first issue to address, assuming you don't take others' advice and burn it down, is the foundation and crawl space. Most old houses, mine included, were built on timber or stacked rock. The rock was better, but leaves a lot of air gaps that air and animals tend to pass thru. We had a zoo under ours when we moved in. Another issue is the water system, as most older systems were not installed with good stuff, including insulation, that prevents bursted pipes resulting from the thaw after the freeze. Finally, a good review of the HVAC system is a must. For us, we found a good home with a good structure from the ground floor up, but the craw space and foundation has caused us fits.

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