Ever buy a handyman special?


#1

Hi everyone, My husband and I are looking at buying a handyman special, but I’m not sure if we have a full grasp of what it will involve, so I’m looking for your horror/success stories before we get too serious about this.

Thanks for sharing!


#2

Rent the movie Money Pit first. :wink:

Honestly - it can be done, but be prepared to live in a constant state of disarray for a long time, always have a project going, not a lot of money, and every weekend taken up with working on your house. Unless you are willing to live with a house that is partially done in between projects.

My mom bought a beautiful house that is over 100 years old but in generally good condition. But she has had to work on every single room, even stripping hard wood floors on her hands and knees by hand. Now, 25 years later, it is an amazing show house that is known by everyone in town.

It can very much be worth it, but you do need to know what you are getting yourself into.

~Liza


#3

I think it’s something to think long and hard about. I bought my house about 2 and half years ago, so I recently looked at different homes. I simply cannot lift a hammer or do ANYTHING involving that stuff, so I stayed far away from “handyman specials”. I do know some people who have bought them in the past, and they have said it’s not usually a dream-but a nightmare-there is alot of work to do, period. You may know alot about home improvement, but unless you have alot of money to spend on the house, and alot of time on your hands, think about it several times.


#4

[quote="ejlo1, post:1, topic:196566"]
Hi everyone, My husband and I are looking at buying a handyman special, but I'm not sure if we have a full grasp of what it will involve, so I'm looking for your horror/success stories before we get too serious about this.

Thanks for sharing!

[/quote]

the only people that should consider this step are handymen.

If either of you has worked in construction and knows what is involved with structure, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, building codes, materials, design and etc. go for it. Otherwise, it makes as much sense to DIY your house as it does doing your own surgery. Watch Holmes on Holmes, Property Ladder, Flip This House and other DIY horror stories on cable for a good education.

rent Moneypit from netflix before you house hunt


#5

I haven’t bought one myself, but I lived with my Mom after she did and live with my brother who just did (and my Dad bought the house our family started in, but I was three when we moved from there).

Don’t but it if you can’t do most of it yourself: at least the flooring, wall repair, doors, framing, minor electrical (ie light fixtures), minor plumbing (ie reseating toilets, replacing dishwasher/sink lines).

My Mom ended up with a H.S. after my Dad died, and need a lot of help to get major problems fixed. Bathrooms and kitchen needed complete redoing, electrical upgraded, etc. That was a bit of a nightmare, because what little my younger brother and I could do we were learning as we did it.

However, it is a good way to increase equity rather quickly, my brother’s house is worth close to three times what he paid and we have only been here 6 months. However the first few weeks we only had sub-flooring as we had to remove all the carpeting and most of the tile. Also, three rooms have been primed, no other painting will be done for a while, as the outdoor projects have just gotten to the point where they are no longer a safety issue in the short term. So far I think the expenses have run ~10-20% of purchase price, doing nearly everything ourselves (not the woodstove though…). Most of the really major projects (ie bathroom) are not need items, so they will be delayed until the money is there.

So if you know how to do some of the major stuff, are handy enough to figure out the little stuff, and can budget a good portion ahead to do the repairs it is doable. If you cannot do the repairs yourself, it is probably not worth it.


#6

I’ve had a few of them myslef, and two needed major work – kitchens and baths gutted, floors refinished, walls moved, etc… I don’t recommend it unless you are a contractor or have 25% - 50% of the cost of the house in the bank to be used on renovations (paying someone else to do them). It is expensive, time-consuming, inconvenient, and messy. If you have children, it is much more difficult.

DIY projects can also be dangerous, even among those of us who are experienced (15 years with power tools myself) and extremely cautious. I was doing a smallish project last month when I had a terrible accident with one of my tools. In a moment I went from being a DIY veteran who was also a highly trained musician and graduate student working on a dissertation – to a woman with a seriously injured left hand who is now on a leave of absence from her doctoral program, going to doctor’s appointments twice a week, and is planning on spending the summer re-learning how to play the piano with only nine fingers and the guitar with her right hand. I can’t tell you the number of DIY-ers I now know who have similar stories of injury!

Point is, whether you are doing it yourself or hiring out, a handyman’s special is not a hobby. Consider your budget, your time, your family needs, your abilities – and pray about it. God knows what He has planned for you :smiley:

Gertie


#7

I am a sort of “handy mam” myself. I am known for tackling jobs in my homes that my family and friends think is a great feat; I just have patience and a willingness to learn. I have repaired extremely bad plaster walls, put down floors, refinished wood floors, painted the exterior and interior of 3 homes, done tiling too and lots of landscaping.

But that is the extent of it. I have found a great plumber and electrician that I rely on for those kinds of things over the years.You have to know what your limitations are and what you can do and what you will have to pay someone to do. It is not as easy as some of the DIY shows suggest. Yes, I have learned a lot by doing it over the years, but you need only to watch “Renovation Realities” to see what can go dramatically wrong if you go into it unprepared.

You may want to find something that lies somewhere in between no work and a money pit. Structurally sound, but needing updating, paint, landscaping etc. You can still get a lot back on a home like that–a diamond in the rough.

Good luck whatever you decide. Read, read, read first! :thumbsup:


#8

Thanks for the stories everyone.

The house that caught our eye is $35,000 and we would have $15k cash to put towards repairs after a down payment. It is huge! Three stories with 12 rooms and 2500 sq feet on .25 acres. I find this house really appealing because we can fix it up slowly and accommodate a large family. If we bought a house that needed few repairs, we would likely pay 80-90k for a house with three small bedrooms and I just think that we would need more room than that in the future.

We’ve started a novena to St. Terese the Little Flower for discernment. Please pray for us too!


#9

[quote="ejlo1, post:8, topic:196566"]

We've started a novena to St. Terese the Little Flower for discernment. Please pray for us too!

[/quote]

Don't forget St. Joseph too!! He had to make a lot of very important housing decisions for the Son of God and His Mother! ;)

~Liza


#10

Yes, but my "handyman special" was a car. Scratch that, IS a car. About to go get in it now...

Fixing the most common car ailments myself is a LOT easier than fixing the most common HOUSE ailments!


#11

I would guess that this house is old. If so, it is going to contain lead based paint. Keep in mind you will need to take special (and potentially) costly precautions to protect your children, if you have any, from lead poisoning.

It sounds like a neat house though. Good luck.


#12

[quote="manualman, post:10, topic:196566"]
Yes, but my "handyman special" was a car. Scratch that, IS a car. About to go get in it now...

Fixing the most common car ailments myself is a LOT easier than fixing the most common HOUSE ailments!

[/quote]

Give me house problems anyday over car troubles. (Especially now that plumbing has gone plastic!).

There are a few things I would hesitate to deal with in a repair situation: Mold, lead, asbestos, and foundation. Otherwise I think I am capable of figuring everything out, just don't have the money to do it myself.


#13

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