I was ranting a bit on GWJ about some of the issues, and one of the guys suggested that I should write it all up and post it; he'd like to read it. And I thought what the heck. I'm trying to get myself on an even keel on all my various venues, so here goes. I've got A LOT of stuff to talk about. Let's start off with a bit of description of the place.
I went in on it with a friend because it has two houses on it. My building is a shop with the top floor converted into an apartment. Basically, I have a large 2bdrm living area upstairs, and a 1400+ square foot mad scientist lair down below. The other house is a regular house, with 4 bedrooms, and a semi-detached daylight basement. It would be hard for the setup to be more perfect for us. It's on 3/4 of an acre.
The place was built in 1962. Needless to say, the standards for building were more than a little different. To put snow on that mountain, the subsequent owners thought they were handy and did a bunch of work themselves. With the predictable outcomes.
Nothing is square, or level, and much of it is done using the wrong/cheap materials. Or just plain badly - for example, the corner caps on the siding are all just a two boards lapped together and nailed up the edge. The individual boards aren't even the same length or squared up with each other, and gaps are left at the top and bottom. The big one I've got in the corner here I can't fix until fall because there's a family of European starlings being raised in it. They have two broods a year so I have to wait. But once they're grown and gone I'll clean it out and patch it in so we don't get any more in there between now and when we start the upcoming Replace The Siding project.
We knew it was going to be interesting when we bought the place. Inspections show that, while plenty of things aren't right, they're not fundamentally damaged. We hired the inspectors (and we know them as people, too) so we know they're on point. Also, I am actually trained in these fields. I grew up in a family of builders on both sides. And the best skill I learned from them was when to do it myself and when to bring in an expert. And luckily, my gang are also trained in various fields.
Thanks be my eldest son is an electrician. There's only so many ways to wire an outlet. It's not complicated. But as we've tested them before plugging in all the computers and whatnot around here we've found at least one outlet with every possible variation on wrong. My younger son the roofer/mason checked the roofing and the visible foundations and came up with the same thumbs up results the inspector did. My younger daughter is the paint queen, and my elder daughter is my demolitions partner.
So we know what needs to be done and can go at it systematically. We've been focusing on living space fixtures like faucets and all those outlets and getting ourselves settled while we come up with an ordered list of work.
These quirks I'm ranting on about are welcome features. They're why it didn't cost a literal million dollars. Housing prices around here are INSANE, and properties are in short supply. A 3 bedroom, zero-lot line like the ones that just got finished behind us are going for well over $400,000, and the entire development of something like 20 houses were sold before they were even completed. The 3 acres at the end of the block has also been purchased by a developer, and they're cutting it into 17 houses. I can't even figure that one. And I could write another 1000 words on the B.S. bidding war we had to win to get this place.