Profile picture for user4130081

How much might this home repair cost ?

We finally got a house in a very good location .  If you think the real estate mantra -- location, location, location -- it is ideal .... BUT -
The house has some problems.

First the good --
Roof is good (10 year)
Heating system is good
Remodeled kitchen with new appliances
Beautiful unfinished attic (the wood  looks solid)

Now the bad ---

Most (10 double hung + 1 Casement) windows are rotten .   This per se is not a big problem but I am wondering if there is possible rot beyond that (Inspector does not think so but cannot promise)

A few of the wood shingle sidings are rotted (just about a layer) -- again , not a big problem but is there soemthing hidden ?

HVAC  Ducts -- In basement ,  the HVAC ducts are routed  through concrete floor. These need to be routed through wall or ceiling. 

Older bathroom

There are other problems like no landscaping, faded paint ,  old carpet (with  hardwood under) etc which are cosmetic.

We are getting it for  at least 40 - 50 K lower compared to similar properties .. probably even more considering the location (cul-de-sac, near schools, near public transport, corner lot, enough land for expansion/landscaping)
 
I know we will need to spend some money and we are ready for it.

What is bugging me most is the rotted windows ....  I am wondering how much the bad rot might have spread inside and trying to assess worst case scenario .    Any help is very appreciated. 
 
If it helps, the house has wood shingles siding and siding are mostly good except for a layer where it is touching ground. The paint has faded but not something like blistering or peeling. 

I am a bit handy ... did not get a chance to work on home much but I enjoy working with tools, electricals,  wood etc.  Hopefully I will able to save some labor. 
  • July 22 2014 - US
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Answers (10)

Profile picture for denispowell14
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  • November 05 2014
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
If it is only the window sills, Bondo is cheaper.  But there are other reasons to replace with more energy efficient windows if desired.
  • July 24 2014
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Profile picture for user4130081

Thank you for all the great answers.   I will add/correct a few information --

1)  I made a typo -- not the window frame but the window sill    are rotted.  It does not look bad but when poked ,  you know it is rotted.   Inspector suggested replacing windows will be cheaper.  I am not a big fan of wood window -- so will replace with Vinyl windows if it is cheaper


2) The house is a split ,  so the basement is esentially  like a slab.    The Ducts run through the concrete floor/slab.   My plan/intent,  is to run new ducts through ceiling  and seal the existign ones using concrete/dirt.

3) Wood touching ground is on a converted Garage ... it was a Garage converted to a room.  The original Garage door is where wood touches ground now.

4) Updating the bath is a big item --- I will need to switch the toilet and sink position and I understand it is a major task.  I am budgeting 10K  for toilet update (replace tub , toilet, sink and switch position of sink and toilet) by a contractor.  I will do the tile, vinyl floor and paint  (have a friend who has done tiling)

5) To answer Hamp Yonce,  two houses which are move in ready -- one near a busy freeway (interstate) .  The noise made my wife sick .   The other is actually very nice , about 150K  more (but it is in an expensive town)  BUT ,   has termite problem due to which one buyer backed out after inspection.   Seller is not willing to open sides and assess damage.  The house is all vinyl siding, finished basement,  windows aluminum capped --  no way to see what damage is going inside.

  • July 22 2014
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
I see I also missed that there is a basement where most of the HVAC duct is run... so "which concrete floor"?  The basement floor?  Couldn't be.  So is there slab on grade in select locations of the house?  A building addition?  Or was a wood floor assumed to be concrete?

If the duct work under the house is suspended from the floor joists, and above the dirt, it is "fine".  Floor registers are acceptable, but one could do a wall register instead if one wanted, but it would affect the wall sill plate.
  • July 22 2014
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
I see I read part of the original post wrong, not the casement for the window, but one casement window... for that, just unscrew the hinges, replace the bad wood (or have a new window made), paint, and re-install.

You should also check the window sills.  If the windows weren't painted and the wood rotted, likely the sills weren't painted either, and got lots of water.  Bondo may be sufficient.  The window sills are a bit harder to remove.

For that proposed concrete curb to protect the sill plates from earth contact... one likely would want to put 30 lb felt and a plastic moisture barrier, on first, as concrete holds moisture.

The prices others have given are fairly accurate if someone else is doing the work.  It is one of those time verses money trade-offs.

Likely for that underground duct, one doesn't want to fill the whole thing with concrete due to expense; but if one fills the lower part with dirt, it would need to be compacted, and it would cause the remaining sheet metal to rot out faster.  One might just leave it hollow underneath, but then one would need form boards for the bottom of the slab, and a means to hold in place while pouring, and steel dowels into the existing concrete slab to tie the new piece in so that it doesn't move.  One could fill the bottom with sand, and then just poor the concrete on top.  Likely one would still want steel dowels.  Where it rises outside, assuming in the dirt, one may not want a concrete slab there, but one would still need to seal the duct, so one would want the concrete below grade, and then back-fill with some dirt on top; it would depend on what one is doing in that area.  If that is where the new duct would rise to enter the wall or attic space, a concrete slab below would be appropriate.
  • July 22 2014
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
If wood is touching the ground, that is a different issue.  I would first cut that off, and see if the sill plate is exposed, or if it is just the concrete foundation.  If the concrete foundation, just leave with it cut off.  Otherwise, poor a concrete curb to protect the sill plate.

Duct-work through slab on grade floor?  Cut off at both exposed edges, fill with concrete.  I'm assuming outside slab mounted A/C- heater?  You likely don't want exposed duct rising on the building, so would likely want to frame around it and place matching shingle siding after installed.  As the Sheet metal duct is not easy to work with for those that don't do a lot of it, call some local HVAC companies for a quote.  Or go to a sheet metal shop and ask them what they would charge per foot for the desired duct size and required bends.  Make sure you include insulation.  One could go flex duct if protected, but one would still need something to connect to the unit.

Rotted wood windows, and one window trim?  Window trim is no big deal; buy the same size piece of wood, pull the old piece off, put the new one on and paint.  For the double hung windows, highly unlikely that it is actually rotted wood throughout.  Maybe one or two pieces?  More likely just bad window putty.  You scrape out the window putty, put in new corners to hold the glass if necessary, re-putty, and paint.  If not painted for a long time, you may need to do a bit of sanding also.   If just a few spots in the wood that are soft enough to put a screw-drive into and gouge, you gouge it out and fill it with Bondo, and then sand and paint.  If one window has a completely rotted piece of wood, you pull the window casings on the inside, pull the guide pieces of wood, pull the window out, unhook the rope, remove the bad piece of wood, cut another one to match, reassemble, paint, then re-install.  I've only seen a handful of windows that need that much work.  If one window is really bad and the rest can be fixed with Bondo, take the one window out, take it to a carpenter shop, have them make you a new window to match, then go and install the replacement window.  You will need someone with a router with the desired bits to cut the molding shape to match.  If you like learning and investing in tools, you just buy the router and the bits yourself.  practice on a few scrap pieces first.  Watch some youtube videos for some pointers.

Sure, lazy people just pull the windows and put in vinyl or aluminum.  If it is not an historic home, that may be reasonable if one is getting a more energy efficient double or triple pane window with a low U value.
  • July 22 2014
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You did not mention how old the house is... Window installers are required to test for lead paint. If lead paint is present, it will increase your install cost a bit. Not dramatically, but there will be a cost increase. The $500 to $600 per window guestimate is probably a good range, even if there is lead paint present.
  • July 22 2014
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If their is more hidden rot around the rotten windows, the fact that the house is shingle sided is, or may be, a good thing. It is slightly easier to repair the framing rot due to their existence.

You need a quick window replacement quote. I'd guesstimate (in SC) at least $500-600 per window, unless you're talking about a bunch of huge and/or odd sized units. Here's a zip code based guess-timator site.

The duct work is at least the same price range category as the windows, I'd guess. It could be triple. There are likely many, all differently priced, ways to fix that issue. Important phrase to remember to ask about..."high velocity"

Flooring is probably another $4-6K. Painting is about $3-4K.

It sounds like you have plenty of room to fix the issues and stay under the $45K under market cushion. You may even create $15-20K in equity. If you don't have but three small surprises. It wont take but a year.

Any move in ready, recently remodeled, houses in the area?
  • July 22 2014
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Profile picture for eric mc
As a current Realtor, and former Manager for Lowes, I can kind of give a unique prospective.  As far as windows go, most of the cost is going to come from the install.  To get a good quality window, in a "standard" size, you are looking between 250-400/ window.  The labor you can plan on running about the same.

Wood shingles(I'm assuming shaker) can be done yourself as long as you can hang them straight.  They shouldn't run you more than a dollar or so a piece.  I would personally do a couple of rows worth, so they age the same.

HVAC ducts are going to be the big money.  Just tearing up the concrete and replacing will be a big ticket.  As far as relocating, if it is unfinished, it should be relatively inexpensive to have done.  The quality will be much better than trying to work your way through it yourself.

An old full bath can be done as cheap as 2500.  If you are doing everything yourself and not changing any locations.  Typically labor doubles the price.  So if you price out products equalling 5k, plan 10k for remodel.  I would also leave at least 10% as a contingency.  

Landscaping can be as much or as little as you would like.  It really depends what you want to do.  Hard wood floors usually run between 2-3/sq ft to refinish.  That would be just refinishing not including any replacement pieces.  

Of course all of this is dependent on area as well.  This should be a good base line though.  I am located in the Metro DC area, where prices tend to lean on the higher end.  Hope all that helps.
  • July 22 2014
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Profile picture for RealEstateCrew
Call three different contractors and have them provide bids.  
  • July 22 2014
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