Reply To: Restoring a house

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I agree with Cher’s comments. There are several ways to approach this question. A lot of the cost depends on how much work you are willing and capable of doing yourselves and what level you buy at. We renovated a house on Grand Street with a combination of our work and the work of others. We hired people to do things like updating the electric, refinishing the floors and renovating a bathroom, but I learned from a friend how to repair plaster correctly myself, stripped and repainted the radiators, stripped and painted the moldings and painted the rooms. It took me about 6 weeks to do each room (perfectionist). It also helped that my husband and myself are both architect/designers. Ours had been a halfway house with about 10 smokers living in it (1990’s). When we moved in with our two small children, there was rat poison spread all over the house. It took three weeks and several dumpsters just to clean it enough to live in. It was pretty depressing. We refinished the floors in the bedrooms first and that somehow made it bearable. The kitchen was so disgusting that we ripped it out and I cooked on a hot plate in the dining room for a year until we could afford to build our dream kitchen. The garden was also a sea of weeds and poison ivy and it took a day to cut up the plastic turf in the yard. In the end it was a 6 year project but if we had had money to invest in it up front, it could have been finished in a year. Since most of the city is registered as a historic district, you can also look into doing a restoration for historic tax credits on most of the buildings. It’s a long involved process, but if you go that route, don’t start working until you have researched it. It’s run through the state parks department, and there are several people in town that have experience with the process. Another option that Cher didn’t mention, is buying something that has an apartment that you could rent out or live in while having the house worked on and then rent out. Some of those houses are legal two families, and if you are dealing with a 3-4,000 sq foot house or larger as many of them are, it could help offset some of the cost. Good luck with your search. It sounds like you are doing your research.

Cherry

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