House that can be renovated vs knock-down/rebuild?

Discussion in 'What to buy' started by lettert, 7th Nov, 2019.

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  1. lettert

    lettert Well-Known Member

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    I've decided to buy a property that can be renovated/extended to our needs - is there anything I should look out for in terms of houses that are not "renovate-able"?
    I would hope to mostly extend a bit (or build a granny flat), redo kitchens/bath if needed, and/or shift non-loadbearing walls a bit if needed.

    Ages ago we went to inspect a house that was advertised as could use some loving renovation, and it turned out to have cracks in walls, etc and was an absolute run down mess suitable only for knockdown-rebuild (as per agent's own admission on the site). Is there any way to judge this better?
     
  2. Propertunity

    Propertunity Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but you won't know until you get some experience. Try to tag along with the pest & building inspector when he's doing your inspections for the first few.
     
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  3. lettert

    lettert Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Propertunity - I foresee a lot of money spent on inspections! We did go on a few inspections when we were buying our first home years ago, and we learned a lot... if only there were some way to speed up that learning and/or be able to judge faster
     
  4. Propertunity

    Propertunity Well-Known Member

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    Well until you can do a download from The Matrix (ala Trinity - how to fly a helicopter), you're stuck with the old fashioned way of learning - maybe a youtube video here and there?

     
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  5. Optimus

    Optimus Well-Known Member

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    Everything can be fixed.. just some cost more than others... foundations are and should be your first step.
     
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  6. lettert

    lettert Well-Known Member

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    Thanks - foundations, how do you mean? stumps etc? I am generally concerned about plumbing and wiring, afaik those are heaps expensive to fix?
     
  7. Optimus

    Optimus Well-Known Member

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    If in Vic, yes stumps/ foundations of brick walls...

    Plumbing and wiring can be expensive but foundations will be more.

    A full restump will cost you more than a full re wire or replumb for example.

    If underpinning is needed that can cost more than all 3 put together.
     
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  8. lettert

    lettert Well-Known Member

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    wow I had no idea full restump was so expensive! Building inspector for a house mentioned restumping of the front stumps of a house, suggested it would cost 5k - this wasn't for whole (renovated) house, just the older part (front bit of about 2 rooms) - does this sound way off to you?
    Another house he suggested waterproofing of bathrooms was perhaps done incorrectly, and would cost around 5-10k per bathroom to re-waterproof and retile... I remember thinking at the time that surely a bathroom retile would cost more?

    I know with stumps you kinda stamp down on the corners (haha) to see if the house sorta bounces, is it similar with brick foundations?

    Ugh where's the matrix download ability when you need it!

    Edit: eg this house
    7 Osborne Avenue, Bentleigh, Vic 3204
    I just look at those walls and ceilings and wonder whether it's an absolute knockdown or if it's worth an inspection at all?
     
  9. Optimus

    Optimus Well-Known Member

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    I think your costings are a bit off...

    Haha that's not what you do at all... you could do that in the centre of the rooms and feel a bounce.. it won't do it in the corners as that's where a wall would be (obviously) that wall will be taking roof load and if it's bouncing there you have some serious issues haha..

    General rule is if they're timber stumps, they need to be changed to concrete, as they stopped putting timber stumps in back in the mid 70's. If it's on concrete stumps and the house is out of level (sloping floors, doors jamming and cracks in the plaster) you more than likely need whats called a lift and pack. Which is jacking the house up so it's level and then simply packing on top of the stumps.

    Brick houses: if it's a brick veneer house, there will be stumps (concrete or timber) on the internal part of the house. The external perimeter will be supporter by brick piers (instead of stumps) that form a part of the brick veneer wall and they sit on a concrete footing that more than likely is undersize (450mm wide by 450mm ish deep) and when that sinks cracks then appear in the brickwork... these cracks more often than not are on corners that are near down pipes or trees or next to windows and they are what you call a stair step crack... that's when underpinning is required.

    A general ball park cost to restump a weatherboard is around $150 per stump, but can vary depending on a few things. A little bit more for a brick veneer.

    An average sized weatherboard will be 80 stumps
    An average sized brick veneer will be 50 stumps.

    Not a knock down at all, a reno indeed but no need to knock it.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  10. lettert

    lettert Well-Known Member

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    Thanks @Optimus that's a huge help - I've spent most of the day moseying around PC and Googling things instead of working haha (what work - it's a Friday!)

    Are you talking about the house I linked? If so that's a huge relief to me, not the house itself but the general idea. I used to get worried whenever I saw cracks in walls but reading about underpinning etc made me realize cracks could be caused by a variety of issues, a lot of them fixable.

    Thanks for the cost breakdown - I also Googled underpinning and found some sites and forum threads, seems underpinning cost can be 10-20k (better to expect the worst)

    It also seems a Quantity Surveyor is recommended for checking a property for possible renovation costs, do you think this is a good idea? (prior to purchase)

    I've been reading through some PC renovation threads and loving them! The more I read the more it seems like something I (or my soon-to-be-retired husband haha) could do. I did once watch the Cherie Barber renovation workshop videos but I can't recall much from them! (what I do remember was mostly superficial design-type stuff, maybe that's all she covered) So I seem to be learning from scratch

    I'm also enjoying the reno cost breakdowns provided in the reno threads. Seems like if I budget 250k for a reno and extension (or reno and granny flat - want to provide private-ish dwellings for parents, seems all I really need to provide if connected to main dwelling is a soundproof wall?) I should be mostly ok. Reno-able properties seem to be 200k-ish more than straight knockdown ones, so the math seems to be leaning toward reno.

    Because it's to be a ppor (hopefully the last one!) I'm not averse to spending a bit on the reno if needed. Location would be the most important factor for me. I don't mean to sound naive about costs, but an extra 10-20k on something for a ppor is cheaper in the long run than a bad location.

    Sorry for rambling and thinking out loud! I definitely appreciate your posts on this topic!

    I'm off to keep reading about all those cheap kitchen and bathroom renos people are doing! I'd assumed 50k for a new kitchen even though I don't want super fancy - but experienced folk on PC seem to be doing lovely ones for 20k *wow*
     
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  11. Optimus

    Optimus Well-Known Member

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    Yes i was talking about the house linked, albeit only looking at photos that are hiding any thing and everything bad..

    Underpinning will vary in costs due to a number of factors, there is also resin injecting that seems to be the rage... imo it's yet to be proven

    Re: the quality surveyor, that's out of my league. I'm just a dumb Restumper who is here learning about property investing..

    Yeah i agree, there are numerous great threads on here with many, many generous posters who are willing to share their knowledge on any given subject.. before finding this site, i knew nothing about investing.... still got lots to learn but i honestly learn something new everyday. It's veryyyyyy addictive.

    I'm happy to give back (what little i have to offer)
     
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  12. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    I think you said you are a restumper? I’m curious about the timber comment. We were told years ago by a restumper that replacement timber stumps should last (nearly?) as long as concrete. We’ve restumped with steel, concrete and timber (depending on various factors) and just did two houses (raise and slide) and used steel for most of it but used timber for the front visible facade to keep the houses looking authentic.

    Hardwood timber stumps, correctly protected as they go into the ground should last many years shouldn’t they?
     
  13. Optimus

    Optimus Well-Known Member

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    Hi Wylie,

    I am, but in Victoria. Same but different.

    You said "timber stumps should last nearly as long as concrete" well concrete will last forever (unless it gets concrete cancer)

    If protected and depending on the species, yes they can last a few years... a timber stump will rot faster with continous moisture change in the soil.. given you're in sunny Queensland you probably don't have that problem...

    FYI, our stumps down here (concrete and timber) are 100mmx100mm, i think yours are 250mmx250mm? Is that correct?
     
  14. TSK

    TSK Well-Known Member

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    Silly question but at what point does underpinning on brick veneer house actually need to occur.
     
  15. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

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    You are thinking of the big, round tree-trunk Brisbane stumps.

    We were amazed when our son bought a house in Victoria and we looked underneath. The stumps are small and square, and spaced around 2m apart - there are dozens of them. And the floor was only 30cm or so above the ground. He knew from his building inspection he would have to replace the worn timber ones under the original part of the house.
     
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  16. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    @Optimus yes our stumps are much bigger (timber and concrete).
     
  17. Judi

    Judi Well-Known Member

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    Just thinking, for the typical old housing layout, three bedrooms and one bath, is it worth extending or knock down build new is a better option? Rough guess, Build new would cost approximately 700k on a budget, how much would an extension cost m2?
     
  18. geeza

    geeza Well-Known Member

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    bump
     
  19. Optimus

    Optimus Well-Known Member

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    Number of factors, normally when cracks appear in the brickwork that are around 10mm or more. You should be monitoring any hairline cracks.

    If the wall starts to move sideways.

    A wall can sink without cracking when it sinks evenly too so when floors start to slope towards the exterior walls.

    Monitor cracks by drawing a pencil line across the mortar and measure and write down how wide they are next to them.. check weekly.
     
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  20. Beano

    Beano Well-Known Member

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    Cracks are cheap to fix .it is the cause of the crack that can be expensive.
     
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