Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Remodel or Build?

Lots of farmers and non-farmers get into situations like this:

"We have a beautiful brick 2 story 4 square farm house. It has a very nice setting and with nice landscaping around the outside. The former owners did pretty good maintance on the house and it is in great shape. It has 4 bedrooms and 1 very small bath, with a very,very small half bath downstairs. From what I can tell the house was built in the 1800s and got a major overhaul in the 1940s which included electic and indoor plumbing.

Nothing has been done to upgrade the house since then.Over the last couple years I have been pondering the best way to remodle the home. Best I can figure is to remove the back stairway to allow the bathroom to be enlarged and go out onto the 2nd story of the summer porch and put in a master bath. The house really should have new windows, new plumbing and new electic installed. My wife has to go down stairs each morning to blow dry her hair because the outlets upstairs can't handle it.

On top of that all the wood floors could use a refinshing. I have not gotten any prices yet but I am thinking all this would probally cost over 100k. Maybe 150k. So I was thinking the other night, I have the right to take a lot off my farm. Why not do that and build a new house. Just from looking on the internet it looks like I could probally build a 2500 sq foot house for arund 250000. Built nice. I am pretty handy, I could act as the general contractor.

So for 250k I could have a new house, and rent out the old farm house for about 1400 a mo. Then I would own 2 houses ad the rent from the old one would help pay the mortgage on the new one. Plus we could have just what we wanted. And we would have a house on its own lot that will probally go up in value with time. But fixing up the farm house is not really going to increase the value of my farm. Just me rambling on. Any thoughts?"

I have never built new. I never planned to, never had the money, and there is always so much property for sale. Especially today! Most houses I ever lived were older than me so I never had the dream out living a house.

Remodeling is not for the weak of heart or pocketbook either, but you can pay as you go and remodel as you go. That is what we have done here. LuAnn has built new in her life and her and everyone I hear who has done it reaffirms why I don't want to do it. I guess I like finding a nice place and making it better, leaving my own touch to it.

Bobby Grief posted a picture of what I believe to be his house near Dallasburg, Iowa. Like me, he remodeled.

I guess it's just a matter of style, personal preference. Which would you do or what have you done?



  1. Hi Ed.
    We chose to re-model. Mostly due to sentimental value. We are very proud of it, but took many years of our young adult lives. Actually it made money for us on paper, at least before the real estate crash. We gained about 150,000.00 in equity for all our sweat and arguments, but we love it now.

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