Home too small

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Gaff74
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Home too small

Post by Gaff74 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 1:48 am

Hi all,

We're thinking of growing our family. Currently, it is my wife, me, and our two year old (and a cat and three chickens).
I'm 41, my wife is 30.
We have a small house in a nice part of town.
Prices in our neighborhood have shot up and it would be really tough for us to find a bigger house in our neighborhood.
So we are considering expanding. I have a big yard and prefer to keep it that way, so we are thinking of expanding up.

I'm considering getting a HELOC and will have no problem getting a loan.

Our house appraised at $380,000 last year.
We owe $259,000 on the house
The mortgage + insurance + taxes payment is $1,500/month
Our only other debt payment is student loan $400/month
Our pre-tax income is $20,000/month
Fed tax bracket =28%, state tax bracket = 9.9%
We have stellar credit ratings.
My job is secure.

I've looked at the guidelines and calculators on the web, but am curious to hear from some of the folks on this site.
What would be an upper limit of borrowing we should consider?
I have an aversion to carrying debt, but we want another kid and the house is just too small.

Thanks for any thoughts.

sport
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Re: Home too small

Post by sport » Sat Mar 26, 2016 2:12 am

How many square feet is the house size?

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celia
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Re: Home too small

Post by celia » Sat Mar 26, 2016 2:20 am

With an income of $240K/yr, you can easily spend more to buy a larger house. The problem with adding a second story is the the ground floor most likely wasn't built to support a second floor. To reinforce the house appropriately would involve tearing up part of the current house. I would not live in it during construction either, especially with a toddler.
Gaff74 wrote:What would be an upper limit of borrowing we should consider?
The upper limit of housing, including a mortgage, property taxes, and insurance is about 30% of your income. A reasonable mortgage is a good debt to have as very few people would be able to buy homes without it.
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user5027
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Re: Home too small

Post by user5027 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 5:59 am

In 1988 with a 2 year old and a newborn, we hired an architect to design adding a second floor to our home, got the zoning permit, selected a contractor and started arranging for financing (a second mortgage). Everything was good until they asked what I was going to do with the money. I said we were renting a storage container (a 40' shipping container on wheels) to store all the furniture and appliances, moving in with my parents and adding the second floor on the house. They heard we were destroying the loan collateral and suddenly in the 11th hour the property did not appraise.

We wound up borrowing from both our parents and repaying after re-mortgaging the improved house.

Looking back on it we probably unknowingly violated a term of the first mortgage.

EnjoyIt
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Re: Home too small

Post by EnjoyIt » Sat Mar 26, 2016 6:44 am

The worst question you can ask is "what is the most you can borrow". The answer to that question is wrong. The answer buys you into a lifetime of debt. This is how we end up living paycheck to paycheck and when we fall on hard times such as layoffs or other large bills we fall into trouble and risk forclosure or bankruptcy. Even with a $240/yr income.

Let me answer your question a little differently. You make a very nice income and with that income have the potential to buy yourself freedom. What I mean is the freedom to own your own life and not have to work or work part time or work on things that you want regardless off pay.

To buy that freedom you need to understand what your needs are, and what kind of spending creates real happiness as opposed to a temporary joy from a quick consumption item.

For example my happiest days are ones I don't go to work, I do something positive around the house, exercise, play with family, eat and make healthy meals and spend time with friends. None of which is very expensive.

Anyways, although 30% of pay is maybe an upper limit of what you can borrow, I highly recommend you decide on your goals such as when you may want to retire, how much you are looking to save for college, what you are looking to spend in retirement. Once you understand your goals you will find it much easier to understand how much you can spend on living quarters.

Just remember, for every X dollars you borrow or spend, you delay your freedom by Y months. For some this delay is worth it. For others it is not.

I hope this helps.

cherijoh
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Re: Home too small

Post by cherijoh » Sat Mar 26, 2016 7:14 am

Gaff74 wrote:Hi all,

We're thinking of growing our family. Currently, it is my wife, me, and our two year old (and a cat and three chickens).
I'm 41, my wife is 30.
We have a small house in a nice part of town.
Prices in our neighborhood have shot up and it would be really tough for us to find a bigger house in our neighborhood.
So we are considering expanding. I have a big yard and prefer to keep it that way, so we are thinking of expanding up.
I think you need to compare the costs of adding a second floor to expanding on the ground floor. Also consider that the former would require you to move out for the duration of the project while the latter would not. User5027 also raises a good point as to whether the mortgage holder would consider this a violation of the mortgage since the house would be uninhabitable for a period of time.
Gaff74 wrote: I'm considering getting a HELOC and will have no problem getting a loan.

Our house appraised at $380,000 last year.
We owe $259,000 on the house

From a practical standpoint, I believe it is difficult to get a HELOC that brings the total LTV to over 80%. That means it is unlikely you could get a HELOC for more than $45K (0.8*380K - 259K). Would that be enough to cover the scope of the project you are considering?

WhyNotUs
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Re: Home too small

Post by WhyNotUs » Sat Mar 26, 2016 7:28 am

Gaff74 wrote:Hi all,
What would be an upper limit of borrowing we should consider?
80% LTV still gives you lots of headroom. You could borrow about $45k based on the numbers provided. I would start with my current lender for wither HELCO or refi.

You can probably get a bedroom for that and the rough-in for a bathroom depending on your utility layout. With your income you probably have a nice stream of monthly savings that could finish the bath and either send mom and child to Grandmas for a month or rent a executive stay for month to get through the worst of the project.

A logical first step would be to pay an architect to spend a 5-10 hours with you and your wife looking at space, programming, flow, constructability, and construction impacts from an addition. If you don't have any drawings of your house, then add a few hours for the architect to draw it up. I would not get locked into a pop-top yet as there may be clever alternatives that make more sense going horizontal. The construction impacts of a pop-top are likely to require a move out and as someone else noted your structure may need reinforcement. Every situation has different opportunities.

Sounds like you are in a great neighborhood that you like, which means that once you get past the construction life will be very enjoyable again. Spend an afternoon driving around and look for additions that you like and take some photos of them to share with your architect.
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timboktoo
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Re: Home too small

Post by timboktoo » Sat Mar 26, 2016 7:35 am

The short answer is that I don't know. Homes are more complicated in some ways than investments are, because the decision isn't strictly one of numbers.

I personally am rather risk-averse and don't like carrying debt. So if I were in this same situation and my wife agreed with me, I'd prefer to pay down any existing debts other than the mortgage and not take on any new debts. If more room were needed, I would try to get rid of stuff I didn't need in the house and create nice outdoor space for us to spend time together.

When I see you mention that house prices have "shot up" and I add to that the fact that you want to take out an additional loan and that I have no idea what you do for a living and whether or not your paycheck is sustainable long-term, I get nothing but nervous. If everything works out, then it could be a good move. But if it turns out that housing prices shooting up is a sign that the market isn't very good for buyers right now, you could end up getting a pretty bad deal. We must remember the lesson that house prices can go down and that jobs can disappear.

- Tim

Frisco Kid
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Re: Home too small

Post by Frisco Kid » Sat Mar 26, 2016 8:08 am

Your income will certainly support a larger mortgage. Certainly lots of things to consider in addition to how much should you consider borrowing. As others have pointed out, a HELOC will only provide maybe $50K in financing. What is the cost of your proposed remodel, I suspect it may far exceed your available financing? Living in a house being remodeled with a toddler would be difficult at best. How long would you stay in this house and would your total costs (current loan plus remodeling costs) exceed the market value after the house is remodeled? Say you consider selling and moving, you mentioned houses have shot up in value recently making it a sellers market? What would a larger TURNKEY home cost? I say turnkey as it will be difficult doing projects with a toddler at home and another child possibly on the way soon. Keep in mind 25% of your equity could end up going towards selling/moving costs. Compare the total cost of moving into a bigger home against the total costs in remodeling your existing. If the difference is small and your ONLY goal is more square footage, going through the mess and inconvenience of a remodel may not be worth it. Tough call.

Carl53
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Re: Home too small

Post by Carl53 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:06 am

Gaff74 wrote:Hi all,

We're thinking of growing our family. Currently, it is my wife, me, and our two year old (and a cat and three chickens).
I'm 41, my wife is 30.
We have a small house in a nice part of town.
Prices in our neighborhood have shot up and it would be really tough for us to find a bigger house in our neighborhood.
So we are considering expanding. I have a big yard and prefer to keep it that way, so we are thinking of expanding up.

I'm considering getting a HELOC and will have no problem getting a loan.

Our house appraised at $380,000 last year.
We owe $259,000 on the house
The mortgage + insurance + taxes payment is $1,500/month
Our only other debt payment is student loan $400/month
Our pre-tax income is $20,000/month
Fed tax bracket =28%, state tax bracket = 9.9%
We have stellar credit ratings.
My job is secure.

I've looked at the guidelines and calculators on the web, but am curious to hear from some of the folks on this site.
What would be an upper limit of borrowing we should consider?
I have an aversion to carrying debt, but we want another kid and the house is just too small.

Thanks for any thoughts.
How much cash do you have on hand? Would a HELOC to 80% LTV be enough? If you have $100k in cash, which IMHO is not at all unlikely given your income, you could have a nice addition to your home.

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Watty
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Re: Home too small

Post by Watty » Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:24 am

A major problem is that you will need to find some other place to live for the better part of year while your house is a construction zone. When you add that cost in, along with your normal mortgage payment, and the construction loan that will be a lot.

When you add a second story that would also require a large space on your current first floor for the new stairs so you will basically loose a room for that.

Adding to an existing house always involves a lot of compromises and has additional costs like having to upgrade the rest of the houses plumbing and electrical system. They often also look odd.

I would not even consider doing an addition like that until I have ACTIVELY looked for a different house for at least a year. When you start looking in a similar price of your house plus all the additional costs that would get you in a price range of maybe $600K++. I suspect that you might find something but you may need to be ready to move fast.

One other alternative would be to buy another smaller house in your neighbor hood or nearby and then either tear it down and rebuild or do all the additions to that. That would you save you having to temporarily move some place and you might even be able to get a better lot.

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Watty
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Re: Home too small

Post by Watty » Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:35 am

user5027 wrote:Looking back on it we probably unknowingly violated a term of the first mortgage.
+1

That was a long time ago. Now with the better computer systems I would not be surprised if the mortgage company was automatically notified when any large building permits are issued. I have heard of this happening when people planned to tear down and rebuild and the mortgage company was not happy.

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Gaff74
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Re: Home too small

Post by Gaff74 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:57 am

sport wrote:How many square feet is the house size?
1100 sq ft on main floor. Additional ~200 sq ft finished room in basement, more of an office.
EnjoyIt wrote:The worst question you can ask is "what is the most you can borrow".
You are right, which is why I didn't ask that particular question, but rather how much to consider. I agree with everything else you said! However, having another kid in this house would be challenging.
cherijoh wrote:From a practical standpoint, I believe it is difficult to get a HELOC that brings the total LTV to over 80%. That means it is unlikely you could get a HELOC for more than $45K (0.8*380K - 259K). Would that be enough to cover the scope of the project you are considering?
That plus money from current savings would be a start. Housing prices in this city are sky-rocketing, dragging remodel costs up with them. It's unsettling and we may be in a bubble. This is why I am hesitant to do much of anything...

KlangFool
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Re: Home too small

Post by KlangFool » Sat Mar 26, 2016 10:00 am

Gaff74 wrote:Hi all,

We're thinking of growing our family. Currently, it is my wife, me, and our two year old (and a cat and three chickens).
I'm 41, my wife is 30.
We have a small house in a nice part of town.
Prices in our neighborhood have shot up and it would be really tough for us to find a bigger house in our neighborhood.
So we are considering expanding. I have a big yard and prefer to keep it that way, so we are thinking of expanding up.

I'm considering getting a HELOC and will have no problem getting a loan.

Our house appraised at $380,000 last year.
We owe $259,000 on the house
The mortgage + insurance + taxes payment is $1,500/month
Our only other debt payment is student loan $400/month
Our pre-tax income is $20,000/month
Fed tax bracket =28%, state tax bracket = 9.9%
We have stellar credit ratings.
My job is secure.

I've looked at the guidelines and calculators on the web, but am curious to hear from some of the folks on this site.
What would be an upper limit of borrowing we should consider?
I have an aversion to carrying debt, but we want another kid and the house is just too small.

Thanks for any thoughts.
Gaff74,

1) Are you "House Poor"? Aka, besides the house, you have no other significant asset. If you are "House Poor", why do you want to get deeper into "House Poor"? Do you have assets (excluding your house) 2 to 3 times the value of your house?

<<Fed tax bracket =28%, state tax bracket = 9.9%>>

2) For every dollar that you spend, you are paying 37.9% tax. Are you and your wife maxing up your 401k?

<<Our pre-tax income is $20,000/month>>

3) Is this single or dual income? What if you or your wife decide to stay home?

<<but we want another kid and the house is just too small.>>

4) Not to the toddler for at least another 4 to 5 years.

<<I'm considering getting a HELOC and will have no problem getting a loan.>>

5) Why do you need a HELOC? At your income level, you cam save enough to make this happen. And, if you need a HELOC, then, you are spending too much money now. Why add to your burden?

I do not know you. I do not know your circumstances. I am just giving your some points to consider.

KlangFool

cherijoh
Posts: 6346
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Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Home too small

Post by cherijoh » Sat Mar 26, 2016 10:29 am

KlangFool wrote:
Gaff74 wrote:Hi all,

We're thinking of growing our family. Currently, it is my wife, me, and our two year old (and a cat and three chickens).
I'm 41, my wife is 30.
We have a small house in a nice part of town.
Prices in our neighborhood have shot up and it would be really tough for us to find a bigger house in our neighborhood.
So we are considering expanding. I have a big yard and prefer to keep it that way, so we are thinking of expanding up.

I'm considering getting a HELOC and will have no problem getting a loan.

Our house appraised at $380,000 last year.
We owe $259,000 on the house
The mortgage + insurance + taxes payment is $1,500/month
Our only other debt payment is student loan $400/month
Our pre-tax income is $20,000/month
Fed tax bracket =28%, state tax bracket = 9.9%
We have stellar credit ratings.
My job is secure.

I've looked at the guidelines and calculators on the web, but am curious to hear from some of the folks on this site.
What would be an upper limit of borrowing we should consider?
I have an aversion to carrying debt, but we want another kid and the house is just too small.

Thanks for any thoughts.
Gaff74,

1) Are you "House Poor"? Aka, besides the house, you have no other significant asset. If you are "House Poor", why do you want to get deeper into "House Poor"? Do you have assets (excluding your house) 2 to 3 times the value of your house?
OP doesn't mention any assets, but hopefully that doesn't mean that he has none! :happy I agree that being "house poor" is an important consideration, but I expect OP was only looking at it from a cash flow perspective, not assets vs. liabilities.

Rupert
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Re: Home too small

Post by Rupert » Sat Mar 26, 2016 10:33 am

OP, before you start thinking about how much you can borrow, I strongly advise a meeting with an architect. That meeting and some initial sketches may cost you anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars, but it's worth the cost because what you're considering may not even be possible (or may be cost prohibitive) given the structure of your existing house, zoning regs/setback requirements, etc. I have a couple of neighbors who wanted to "go up" with their houses. One found out that the addition would cost more than their existing house was worth given the structural upgrades that would be necessary to support the addition. The other found out that our historic district regulations did not allow them to modify their roof line in the manner they had anticipated. There's not point in wasting your time with a bank until you know for sure that you can do what you want to do. Also, as a PP mentioned, a large addition will often trigger regulations that require you to bring other systems of your house up to code as well, e.g., electrical, plumbing, sewer; so you'll need to find out about that. Finally, you'll need to know whether your existing HVAC system will have to be upgraded as part of the addition, which can add 5-10 thousand dollars (or more) to the project. It's all this extra stuff that often makes adding on much more expensive than just buying a new house.

KlangFool
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Re: Home too small

Post by KlangFool » Sat Mar 26, 2016 10:38 am

cherijoh wrote:
OP doesn't mention any assets, but hopefully that doesn't mean that he has none! :happy I agree that being "house poor" is an important consideration, but I expect OP was only looking at it from a cash flow perspective, not assets vs. liabilities.
cherijoh,

At the annual income level of 240K, why does he need a HELOC to finance house improvement? He should either have savings/assets to make this happen or cash flow this from his current income.

<<I expect OP was only looking at it from a cash flow perspective, not assets vs. liabilities.>>

He should.

KlangFool

cherijoh
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Re: Home too small

Post by cherijoh » Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:01 am

KlangFool wrote:
cherijoh wrote:
OP doesn't mention any assets, but hopefully that doesn't mean that he has none! :happy I agree that being "house poor" is an important consideration, but I expect OP was only looking at it from a cash flow perspective, not assets vs. liabilities.
cherijoh,

At the annual income level of 240K, why does he need a HELOC to finance house improvement? He should either have savings/assets to make this happen or cash flow this from his current income.

<<I expect OP was only looking at it from a cash flow perspective, not assets vs. liabilities.>>

He should.

KlangFool
I agree that he should be able to save up enough money to make it happen. He already mentioned using some savings to cover part of the expense. However there is no way to know how long they have been at that level of income, so IMO we should give him the benefit of the doubt. I think using a HELOC for actual home improvements (instead of a piggy back to pay for extravagances) is not the problem you seem to see it as.

KlangFool
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Re: Home too small

Post by KlangFool » Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:08 am

cherijoh wrote:
I agree that he should be able to save up enough money to make it happen. He already mentioned using some savings to cover part of the expense. However there is no way to know how long they have been at that level of income, so IMO we should give him the benefit of the doubt. I think using a HELOC for actual home improvements (instead of a piggy back to pay for extravagances) is not the problem you seem to see it as.
cherijoh,

I disagreed. This is how most of my peers get into trouble. They have high income but they have no asset and "House Poor". Then, they get hit with 1 year or longer unemployment before they build up any asset. They got wiped out.

Do not spend the money that you do not have. Do not assume that the high income will continue without interruption for 20 to 30 years.

KlangFool

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dm200
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Re: Home too small

Post by dm200 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:14 am

Because, as cited in some posts, "going up" is more expensive and disruptive than "going out", I wonder of it is possible/practical to add a smaller footprint, two story addition "going out". So, for example, if you want 1,000 mor sq ft, then a 500 sq ft two story addition might be a reasonable compromise. Some additions can be creatively done to minimize loss of back yard, etc.

cherijoh
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Re: Home too small

Post by cherijoh » Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:18 am

dm200 wrote:Because, as cited in some posts, "going up" is more expensive and disruptive than "going out", I wonder of it is possible/practical to add a smaller footprint, two story addition "going out". So, for example, if you want 1,000 mor sq ft, then a 500 sq ft two story addition might be a reasonable compromise. Some additions can be creatively done to minimize loss of back yard, etc.
I think you would need a creative architect for this. Otherwise it might end up looking very odd.

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TheGreyingDuke
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Re: Home too small

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:52 am

dm200 wrote:Because, as cited in some posts, "going up" is more expensive and disruptive than "going out", I wonder of it is possible/practical to add a smaller footprint, two story addition "going out". So, for example, if you want 1,000 mor sq ft, then a 500 sq ft two story addition might be a reasonable compromise. Some additions can be creatively done to minimize loss of back yard, etc.
it all depends...
Foundations are the two most expensive pieces of construction (I am not including heat/electric, etc.) If you live in a climate with low winter temps your foundation costs will be especially high. By going up you are not incurring either foundation costs.

Roofs are also expensive, not only in construction but also for their heat loss, while you will pay for building it, you haven't increased the roof area so heat loss will stay about the same.

If it sleeping space going on the second floor heating doesn't necessarily mean a big expense, if you like a cool bedroom. Again this s somewhat dependent on your particulars, degree days, cost of electricity'gas/whatever. A small space eater might do the trick. Much is dependent on your locale.

An architect might be a good first step, but also consider an experienced contractor, one who has done these things in the past. Architects are not always focused on practical structural questions and the attendant costs of their plans. Most wood frame houses can easily tolerate a second story, studs are very string in compression.
Last edited by TheGreyingDuke on Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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cherijoh
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Re: Home too small

Post by cherijoh » Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:55 am

TheGreyingDuke wrote:
dm200 wrote:Because, as cited in some posts, "going up" is more expensive and disruptive than "going out", I wonder of it is possible/practical to add a smaller footprint, two story addition "going out". So, for example, if you want 1,000 mor sq ft, then a 500 sq ft two story addition might be a reasonable compromise. Some additions can be creatively done to minimize loss of back yard, etc.
it all depends...

Roofs and foundations are the two most expensive pieces of construction (I am not including heat/electric, etc.) If you live in a climate with low winter temps your foundation costs will be especially high. By going up you are not incurring either roof or foundation costs. If it sleeping space going on the second floor heating doesn't necessarily mean a big expense, if you like a cool bedroom. Again this s somewhat dependent on your particulars, degree days, cost of electricity'gas/whatever. A small space eater might do the trick. Much is dependent on your locale.

An architect might be a good first step, but also consider an expereinced cntractor, one who has done these things in the past. Architects are not always focused on practical structural questions and the attendant costs of their plans. Most wood frame houses can easily tolerate a second story, studs are very string in compression.
How can you go up without incurring roofing costs? :confused

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TheGreyingDuke
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Re: Home too small

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:56 am

cherijoh wrote:
TheGreyingDuke wrote:
dm200 wrote:Because, as cited in some posts, "going up" is more expensive and disruptive than "going out", I wonder of it is possible/practical to add a smaller footprint, two story addition "going out". So, for example, if you want 1,000 mor sq ft, then a 500 sq ft two story addition might be a reasonable compromise. Some additions can be creatively done to minimize loss of back yard, etc.
it all depends...

Roofs and foundations are the two most expensive pieces of construction (I am not including heat/electric, etc.) If you live in a climate with low winter temps your foundation costs will be especially high. By going up you are not incurring either roof or foundation costs. If it sleeping space going on the second floor heating doesn't necessarily mean a big expense, if you like a cool bedroom. Again this s somewhat dependent on your particulars, degree days, cost of electricity'gas/whatever. A small space eater might do the trick. Much is dependent on your locale.

An architect might be a good first step, but also consider an expereinced cntractor, one who has done these things in the past. Architects are not always focused on practical structural questions and the attendant costs of their plans. Most wood frame houses can easily tolerate a second story, studs are very string in compression.
How can you go up without incurring roofing costs? :confused
Right,I edited my posting, meant to sat that the ongoing operating costs due to heat loss/gain will not be increased. You are correct, cannot go up without paying for it :)
"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." H.G. Wells

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dm200
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Re: Home too small

Post by dm200 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 12:08 pm

cherijoh wrote:
dm200 wrote:Because, as cited in some posts, "going up" is more expensive and disruptive than "going out", I wonder of it is possible/practical to add a smaller footprint, two story addition "going out". So, for example, if you want 1,000 mor sq ft, then a 500 sq ft two story addition might be a reasonable compromise. Some additions can be creatively done to minimize loss of back yard, etc.
I think you would need a creative architect for this. Otherwise it might end up looking very odd.
Yes, absolutely true. it also can be very dependent on the specifics of the house and site themselves. In my locality, as space has become such a premium, may homeowners are expanding existing houses. Some of these expansions/addiitons are very "ugly", while some show both creativity and compatibility with both the existing house and the neighborhood.

Our neighbors, for example, double the size of their late 1930's house (2 story, 2br, with basement) [identical to ours] with a full 2story plus basement that looks nearly identical from street.

Rodc
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Re: Home too small

Post by Rodc » Sat Mar 26, 2016 12:23 pm

How much debt you are willing to carry would be very family dependent, for example depending on what you think your income potential might be, what your other fixed costs are, what your desired discretionary expenses are. I would make a moderately conservative budget and see what you think you would be fine with as far as a mortgage.

FWIW: 20 years ago I was in the same boat and expanded up rather than move. It worked out quite well.

Best of luck.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

clearwater
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Re: Home too small

Post by clearwater » Sat Mar 26, 2016 2:42 pm

Talk to people who have done a major remodel and see how it affected their lives.

Universally the answers will be *bad*. (I have never, ever heard the answer be "good".)

The stress both during and after construction (when you find the inevitable problems caused by bad construction) are not worth it. Add the stress of doing it with young children makes the problem significantly more difficult.

It's better to just buy another house.

I'm not kidding. Go talk to people who have gone through this. Don't enter into this arrangement without lots of diligence. It's more than you might be willing to undertake.

The alternative, and the one you should really study, is to live "smaller". Invariably people own too much worthless junk, and even those who have done home additions quickly fill the space with more of the same. You can probably throw out 90% of what you own and find you have plenty of space. Ask a European if you have enough space now and they will probably get a good laugh (American homes are sized like castles by world standards).

Topic Author
Gaff74
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Re: Home too small

Post by Gaff74 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 2:52 pm

Thank you all for the valuable input. Interesting how many rephrase the question asked, then answer their own version of the question! What I was getting at was, more or less, how much mortgage can one conservatively manage.

There are obviously a lot of factors to consider and for me to put my entire situation out here would take a while! Anyone arguing that taking on financing for your home is wrong under any circumstance is delusional.without such "good debt" most people could never afford a home. Plus, at my tax bracket, the mortgage interest deduction is considerable. My current mortgage is well within my means. Yes, saving up for improvements is an option, but with family planning, there is a time factor to consider. My wife wants to get back to work at some point. Again, thank you for all of the thoughtful input!

blinx77
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Re: Home too small

Post by blinx77 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 2:54 pm

There seems to be a lot of hand-wringing in this thread about how the OP is "house poor" and/or should just learn to live small. I find these assumptions unwarranted -- we don't have enough information to make these assessments. In particular, we have no idea about the size of his house (is it 900 s.f. and he wants to make it 1600 s.f.? is it 3,000 s.f. and he wants to make it 4,000 s.f.?) or his other assets (maybe he already has $1 million in his retirement account; maybe he has nothing).

I would need more information to provide accurate advice, but on the face of it he's got $240k in income and mortgage of $250k. With no other information to go on, this seems to be an extremely comfortable ratio and it seems like they have room to increase their mortgage and still be financially responsible.

If OP was obsessed bout retiring at 45 then obviously I would advise him not to do the remodel. But what if they like their jobs and would prefer to have a nice new kitchen? It's their money and their choice and there is no evidence that they are not being responsible or cannot afford it. Plus keep in mind the money will not be totally wasted -- they will have at least some increased equity in their house that they may (or may not) be able to realize upon resale.

OP I would provide extra information if you want more accurate advice.

Rodc
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Re: Home too small

Post by Rodc » Sat Mar 26, 2016 6:22 pm

clearwater wrote:Talk to people who have done a major remodel and see how it affected their lives.

Universally the answers will be *bad*. (I have never, ever heard the answer be "good".)

The stress both during and after construction (when you find the inevitable problems caused by bad construction) are not worth it. Add the stress of doing it with young children makes the problem significantly more difficult.

It's better to just buy another house.

I'm not kidding. Go talk to people who have gone through this. Don't enter into this arrangement without lots of diligence. It's more than you might be willing to undertake.

The alternative, and the one you should really study, is to live "smaller". Invariably people own too much worthless junk, and even those who have done home additions quickly fill the space with more of the same. You can probably throw out 90% of what you own and find you have plenty of space. Ask a European if you have enough space now and they will probably get a good laugh (American homes are sized like castles by world standards).
Suggest you read the post above yours. :)
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Gaff74
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Re: Home too small

Post by Gaff74 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:53 pm

KlangFool wrote:1) Are you "House Poor"? Aka, besides the house, you have no other significant asset. If you are "House Poor", why do you want to get deeper into "House Poor"? Do you have assets (excluding your house) 2 to 3 times the value of your house?
I don't feel poor... If I cashed out all my IRAs and 401K, I could pay off the house + student loans. (Of course, I would never do that). Do most people have 2-3 times the value of their home in the bank? As I mentioned, my total debt payment is < $2000/month.
KlangFool wrote:<<Fed tax bracket =28%, state tax bracket = 9.9%>>
2) For every dollar that you spend, you are paying 37.9% tax. Are you and your wife maxing up your 401k?
My 401K is maxed, with very generous contributions from my employer, to the tune of ~ $49k per year (including my contribution). I also have a generous pension if all goes well, once I hit the "rule of 80" which is when my years of service + my age = 80. This will happen around age 60. My wife doesn't work ouside the home currently. We are maxing out a spousal IRA for her. I am maxing out traditional IRA and then going backdoor Roth.
KlangFool wrote:<<Our pre-tax income is $20,000/month>>
3) Is this single or dual income? What if you or your wife decide to stay home?
Single. She is at home full time, but will go back to work at some point.
KlangFool wrote:<<but we want another kid and the house is just too small.>>
4) Not to the toddler for at least another 4 to 5 years.
To us, it is too small. We "need" at least 3 bedrooms and currently have two.
KlangFool wrote:<<I'm considering getting a HELOC and will have no problem getting a loan.>>
5) Why do you need a HELOC? At your income level, you cam save enough to make this happen. And, if you need a HELOC, then, you are spending too much money now. Why add to your burden?
Arguably, this is true, but it's a simple cash flow situation. The clock is ticking to get the family grown to size and my wife back to work. I don't feel greatly burdened as it stands. But this house was built in 1928. It has not been remodeled in several decades. The way things are going, I will retire with several million in the bank. Living in a two bedroom, 1100 sq ft house with kitchen cabinets falling off and old vinyl floors in the bathroom is getting old.
KlangFool wrote:I do not know you. I do not know your circumstances. I am just giving your some points to consider.
And I thank you! :sharebeer

blinx77
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Re: Home too small

Post by blinx77 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 10:32 pm

Gaff74 wrote:
KlangFool wrote:1) Are you "House Poor"? Aka, besides the house, you have no other significant asset. If you are "House Poor", why do you want to get deeper into "House Poor"? Do you have assets (excluding your house) 2 to 3 times the value of your house?
I don't feel poor... If I cashed out all my IRAs and 401K, I could pay off the house + student loans. (Of course, I would never do that). Do most people have 2-3 times the value of their home in the bank? As I mentioned, my total debt payment is < $2000/month.
KlangFool wrote:<<Fed tax bracket =28%, state tax bracket = 9.9%>>
2) For every dollar that you spend, you are paying 37.9% tax. Are you and your wife maxing up your 401k?
My 401K is maxed, with very generous contributions from my employer, to the tune of ~ $49k per year (including my contribution). I also have a generous pension if all goes well, once I hit the "rule of 80" which is when my years of service + my age = 80. This will happen around age 60. My wife doesn't work ouside the home currently. We are maxing out a spousal IRA for her. I am maxing out traditional IRA and then going backdoor Roth.
KlangFool wrote:<<Our pre-tax income is $20,000/month>>
3) Is this single or dual income? What if you or your wife decide to stay home?
Single. She is at home full time, but will go back to work at some point.
KlangFool wrote:<<but we want another kid and the house is just too small.>>
4) Not to the toddler for at least another 4 to 5 years.
To us, it is too small. We "need" at least 3 bedrooms and currently have two.
KlangFool wrote:<<I'm considering getting a HELOC and will have no problem getting a loan.>>
5) Why do you need a HELOC? At your income level, you cam save enough to make this happen. And, if you need a HELOC, then, you are spending too much money now. Why add to your burden?
Arguably, this is true, but it's a simple cash flow situation. The clock is ticking to get the family grown to size and my wife back to work. I don't feel greatly burdened as it stands. But this house was built in 1928. It has not been remodeled in several decades. The way things are going, I will retire with several million in the bank. Living in a two bedroom, 1100 sq ft house with kitchen cabinets falling off and old vinyl floors in the bathroom is getting old.
KlangFool wrote:I do not know you. I do not know your circumstances. I am just giving your some points to consider.
And I thank you! :sharebeer
Thanks for the information. As I suspected! A super saver being chided by other super savers for not being enough of a super saver. You are doing great. There is no reason to live in a tiny house for your whole life and pile up millions in the bank and then fall over and die. Buy a nicer house or do the renovation.

KlangFool
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Re: Home too small

Post by KlangFool » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:59 am

Gaff74 wrote:
KlangFool wrote:1) Are you "House Poor"? Aka, besides the house, you have no other significant asset. If you are "House Poor", why do you want to get deeper into "House Poor"? Do you have assets (excluding your house) 2 to 3 times the value of your house?
I don't feel poor... If I cashed out all my IRAs and 401K, I could pay off the house + student loans. (Of course, I would never do that). Do most people have 2-3 times the value of their home in the bank? As I mentioned, my total debt payment is < $2000/month.
KlangFool wrote:<<Fed tax bracket =28%, state tax bracket = 9.9%>>
2) For every dollar that you spend, you are paying 37.9% tax. Are you and your wife maxing up your 401k?
My 401K is maxed, with very generous contributions from my employer, to the tune of ~ $49k per year (including my contribution). I also have a generous pension if all goes well, once I hit the "rule of 80" which is when my years of service + my age = 80. This will happen around age 60. My wife doesn't work ouside the home currently. We are maxing out a spousal IRA for her. I am maxing out traditional IRA and then going backdoor Roth.
KlangFool wrote:<<Our pre-tax income is $20,000/month>>
3) Is this single or dual income? What if you or your wife decide to stay home?
Single. She is at home full time, but will go back to work at some point.
KlangFool wrote:<<but we want another kid and the house is just too small.>>
4) Not to the toddler for at least another 4 to 5 years.
To us, it is too small. We "need" at least 3 bedrooms and currently have two.
KlangFool wrote:<<I'm considering getting a HELOC and will have no problem getting a loan.>>
5) Why do you need a HELOC? At your income level, you cam save enough to make this happen. And, if you need a HELOC, then, you are spending too much money now. Why add to your burden?
Arguably, this is true, but it's a simple cash flow situation. The clock is ticking to get the family grown to size and my wife back to work. I don't feel greatly burdened as it stands. But this house was built in 1928. It has not been remodeled in several decades. The way things are going, I will retire with several million in the bank. Living in a two bedroom, 1100 sq ft house with kitchen cabinets falling off and old vinyl floors in the bathroom is getting old.
KlangFool wrote:I do not know you. I do not know your circumstances. I am just giving your some points to consider.
And I thank you! :sharebeer
Gaff74,

<<But this house was built in 1928. It has not been remodeled in several decades. >>

Do you really want to find out what else need to be upgraded in order to pass the modern building code? With this new information, I think you need to move out and buy a bigger house. You should not try to remodel this house.

KlangFool

Johno
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Re: Home too small

Post by Johno » Sun Mar 27, 2016 1:56 pm

clearwater wrote:Talk to people who have done a major remodel and see how it affected their lives.

Universally the answers will be *bad*. (I have never, ever heard the answer be "good".)

The stress both during and after construction (when you find the inevitable problems caused by bad construction) are not worth it. Add the stress of doing it with young children makes the problem significantly more difficult.

It's better to just buy another house.

The alternative, and the one you should really study, is to live "smaller". Invariably people own too much worthless junk, and even those who have done home additions quickly fill the space with more of the same. You can probably throw out 90% of what you own and find you have plenty of space. Ask a European if you have enough space now and they will probably get a good laugh (American homes are sized like castles by world standards).
I think that last point is valid when it comes to 4-5-8k sq ft houses. I don't understand why people need that kind of space, if they don't have exceptionally large families. But 1100sq ft is really pretty small. Japanese tend to live in smaller spaces than Europeans, so I guess on a European forum one could point that out to Europeans, in poor countries urban dwellers get by with even tinier spaces. But I can't see a reason to live in 1100sq ft with more than one kid in the long run at an income level like OP. Actually, we were still in a ~650 sq ft 2bdr condo when our third kid came along, and we'd found it livable though 'cozy' with the first two as little kids. But it wasn't a long run solution even with two, and clearly wasn't going to work for long w/ 3. A ~2300 sqft house proved plenty big enough for everyone, and it's also not too big now w/ an empty nest.

But while I haven't enlarged a tiny 1920's frame house, I remember my parents neighbors enlarged a small one and that turned into a really amazingly large project. They moved out during it. Great result, but I couldn't see ever doing it. For me the obvious answer would be to sell the tiny house and get a small-medium sized house (by new US house standards).

mouses
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Re: Home too small

Post by mouses » Sun Mar 27, 2016 2:11 pm

cherijoh wrote:
dm200 wrote:Because, as cited in some posts, "going up" is more expensive and disruptive than "going out", I wonder of it is possible/practical to add a smaller footprint, two story addition "going out". So, for example, if you want 1,000 mor sq ft, then a 500 sq ft two story addition might be a reasonable compromise. Some additions can be creatively done to minimize loss of back yard, etc.
I think you would need a creative architect for this. Otherwise it might end up looking very odd.
I see this with bungalows all the time. The two story addition in the back has a roof that is like the original section's roof, the siding and windows match, etc. Those look quite nice.

RobInCT
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Re: Home too small

Post by RobInCT » Sun Mar 27, 2016 2:19 pm

KlangFool wrote:But this house was built in 1928. It has not been remodeled in several decades.
Talk to architects, but I'm guessing your best bet in this case is a tear-down followed by construction of a new home from the foundation up, assuming local codes permit it. There are several advantages to this approach, including that you can get exactly the house you want, including with respect to the layout of the first floor. I live in an "historic" neighborhood with older houses, and this is the route my neighbor went. It turned out to be only marginally more expensive than "remodeling" a house that was nearly 100 years old, and he get everything he wanted including things like more electrical outlets and bigger closets and other conveniences that are considered desirable today but weren't given much thought back when the house was built.

Also, while the overall cost was slightly more than just adding a second floor, the appraised finished value of his current house is also higher than it would have been with just the second floor addition.

Obviously, check with your primary mortgage holder, but if property values in your area are going up as fast as you say, the value of your empty, unimproved lot may be enough to secure the amount left on your mortgage such that the mortgage-holder doesn't mind, or you might be able to pay the mortgage down the point where that is they case and they don't mind.

scone
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Re: Home too small

Post by scone » Sun Mar 27, 2016 2:40 pm

Before you talk to an architect or a bank, go down to your local planning department and figure out your "buildable envelope." That's the space you could theoretically build on, once you subtract setbacks, easements, obstacles like septic systems, and so on. Once you have a realistic buildable envelope, you will know whether you have enough room to add the space you want.

Obviously you also look at the real estate comps, to see what the added space does to resale value. Figure maybe $150-$200 per square foot, minimum, for remodeling in a hot market area. This gives you some background for the financial aspect of the decision.

BTW, living in a house during a remodel really is hell on wheels, don't kid yourself. Good luck.
"My bond allocation is the amount of money that I cannot afford to lose." -- Taylor Larimore

Rupert
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Re: Home too small

Post by Rupert » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:35 pm

scone wrote:BTW, living in a house during a remodel really is hell on wheels, don't kid yourself. Good luck.
I would go farther and say that you cannot -- CANNOT -- live in a house built during the 1920s during a major remodel. This is because you have a small child and that 1928 house is undoubtedly full of lead paint and possibly asbestos (have your plaster walls/ceilings tested before you disturb them because asbestos was sometimes mixed into plaster). You, or at least your child, can't stay there while walls are being knocked down.

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rcjchicity
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Re: Home too small

Post by rcjchicity » Mon Mar 28, 2016 1:25 pm

We're in a similar situation to OP, although we've decided to go forward with a remodel.

All of the "can I afford it" questions are speculation until you get some professional information on what's possible and how much it's going to cost.

We are adding a 3rd bedroom to our top floor to account for a baby on the way.

We got proposals from 3 design/build firms (both architects and contractors in-house) which ranged from $40,000 to $95,000, with the price differences coming primarily coming from the curb appeal aesthetics of the addition. (we picked the proposal priced in between)

Before seeing the proposals, we had no idea what the remodel might cost. Afterwards, we could better assess the financial impact and if we could afford to pay for it in cash like we were planning.

desiderium
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Re: Home too small

Post by desiderium » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:16 pm

Gaff,

You are on to a great idea here. If you like your house/lot/neighborhood, you will do much better remodeling it to fit your needs. There is good advice on this thread, especially about retaining an architect. Their job is essentially to let you see whether you will be happy with an end result that is feasible from an economic, structural and legal perspective.

Good Luck.

sco
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Re: Home too small

Post by sco » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:21 pm

Those 3 chickens are 3 solid meals...

And think of the space you will save...

You suggest this idea, and I'll stay here safely guarded by the internet....

Valuethinker
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Re: Home too small

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:59 am

Gaff74 wrote:Hi all,

We're thinking of growing our family. Currently, it is my wife, me, and our two year old (and a cat and three chickens).
I'm 41, my wife is 30.
We have a small house in a nice part of town.
Prices in our neighborhood have shot up and it would be really tough for us to find a bigger house in our neighborhood.
So we are considering expanding. I have a big yard and prefer to keep it that way, so we are thinking of expanding up.

I'm considering getting a HELOC and will have no problem getting a loan.

Our house appraised at $380,000 last year.
We owe $259,000 on the house
The mortgage + insurance + taxes payment is $1,500/month
Our only other debt payment is student loan $400/month
Our pre-tax income is $20,000/month
Fed tax bracket =28%, state tax bracket = 9.9%
We have stellar credit ratings.
My job is secure.

I've looked at the guidelines and calculators on the web, but am curious to hear from some of the folks on this site.
What would be an upper limit of borrowing we should consider?
I have an aversion to carrying debt, but we want another kid and the house is just too small.

Thanks for any thoughts.
England is a very different place. There is a c. 5% tax when you buy a new home- -makes moving expensive.

But this is what we did, adding 260 square feet, a large bedroom cum study and a new bathroom.

Don't regret it for a minute. Found a contractor who had done literally 10 such houses on our street.

Expanding outwards would have been more expensive because of foundation work. Our garden is by American standards small (say 20' x 50' including patio) but does us well, and we did not want to lose any more of it. If we had a family we would probably have done that as well as the loft extension, giving us a bigger kitchen/ family room.

Be prepared for maximal disruption. We slept in the dining room and lived in the living room for 2 months ie a 1 bedroom apartment, and had no shower for part of that, just a toilet and sink. On a cold day we froze (no roof).

Then we did the kitchen so we cooked on a microwave in the dining room ;-).

Get some quotes, make sure you have at least a 20% contingency (there's always things you forget about, or change your mind on), and then go for it, i would say. Get a structural engineer's opinion re the ability of the house to extend upwards vis a vis strengthening the ground floor.

Stairs are usually stacked on top of existing stairs, so that saves space loss.

It's best practice to put toilets on the same side of the house, ie the same down sewage pipe. Horizontal sewage pipes need pumps, and that means more to jam/ go wrong. So "stacking" the bathrooms is usually good practice.

It may just be easier, given small child and pets, to put everything in storage and rent a 2 bedroom apartment. Hard work finding one that will take pets, and remember cats get freaked by changes of locale, so give it 3 weeks before you let it out to wander. Chickens will be hard ;-).

Leemiller
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Re: Home too small

Post by Leemiller » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:26 am

Personally, I would keep your total home related borrowing to 2.5-3x income max and if it is possible to just buy another home that suits your needs in that range do it! We are remodeling and I'm pretty sick of it but the entry point to our neighborhood is so high that we went this route to keep our mortgage below 2x our annual income. Also, you should have a big cash/liquid investment reserve of annual expenses going into this since remodels generally run over in time and cost. I will say our remodeling is interior only and it is still a ton of work and endless decisions- what you are doing will be even more work & stress.

jharkin
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Re: Home too small

Post by jharkin » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:44 am

I'm very new here, but just had to chime in as this situation feels SOOOOOO similar to what my wife and I are gong though. We happen to live in an old house that's about 1400 sq ft with 1 bath, valued around 380 and we owe 259 as of last months statement (weird coincidence!) I'm 40, we have two 5 years olds and we need more space. About the only difference in my situation from yours is slightly lower income (around 150-170).

My thoughts:

Your house is not really that old. I know that the new new new influence of HGTV makes anything build before last week feel old, but your place is not old at all. You want to see old come visit my house (1790 - post and beam, stone basement,etc). In 1928 it will be all platform framed, same as a modern house. Main difference will be a nailed rafter frame roof rather than stapled trusses and board sheathing rather than plywood. The foundation might be mortared stone or brick rather than poured concrete. But its nothing that a modern carpenter wont be familiar with. Its most likely built stronger with better materials than anything you can get today - rot resistant old growth lumber, real masonry rather than veneers, plaster rather than drywall, high quality wood windows, real solid wood floors rather than laminates, lots of nice interior millwork, less plastic, etc. Please please please resist the temptation to tear it down... far too many neighborhoods are having their character destroyed as nice little historic homes with character get bulldozed so builders can put cookie giant houses to the limits of the lot lines. And then young families cant afford to live there anymore.

If you do build, Id suggest joining one of the old house owner forums to talk to others who have been through this. oldhouseweb used to be popular but got overrun by spammers and that community moved over to http://thehistoricdistrict.org/ tell them I sent you :)

Moving is going to be easier than building. We thought about building up (house is a cape style with a single story back addition we could build on top of) but in this area the cost of remodeling would make that a 6 figure project minimum, especially to make it match the house architecturally. And in our case I know for a fact that the structure can take it and its still going to be very expensive!(post and beam house with 8x8 chestnut posts supporting the roof, you could put a bank vault up there and the frame would just laugh it off).

Going the equity route to finance such a build is not easy as has been mentioned above most lenders are very strict about the 80% LTV limit now. Going over that might involve multiple loans and going back into PMI again and I wouldn't want to do that.

KlangFool wrote:Do you really want to find out what else need to be upgraded in order to pass the modern building code? With this new information, I think you need to move out and buy a bigger house. You should not try to remodel this house.
Rupert wrote:I would go farther and say that you cannot -- CANNOT -- live in a house built during the 1920s during a major remodel. This is because you have a small child and that 1928 house is undoubtedly full of lead paint and possibly asbestos (have your plaster walls/ceilings tested before you disturb them because asbestos was sometimes mixed into plaster). You, or at least your child, can't stay there while walls are being knocked down.
I agree you dont want to live there during such a big remodel.

The building code issue is a concern but dont be too afraid of it. People watch Mike Holmes and thing every old house is going to be condemned... that's all sensationalism and the reality is not so bad. Certain things will be grandfathered in due to the age and the stuff that's not is generally fixable without too much extra stress once you have the structure gutted for the remodel.

Lead and Asbestos is a concern but again the danger is waaaaay overblown:

Asbestos can be in 4 places - pipe insulation if you have steam or hot water heat (can be removed), certain exterior shingles made in the early 1900s (can be removed), plaster from the early 1900s, and vermiculite insulation. Its only dangerous if its disturbed and fibers get into the air, so if you test and find you have it you can either keep it encapsulated or have it removed. Ive lived in 2 houses with asbestos pipe insulation and the remediation wasn't really that bad at all.

Lead. Similar to asbestos, as long as it doesn't get into the air and your kids dont lick the wall it wont hurt you. Lead was outlawed in 79 and was not in all paint even before that. Exterior oil paint and interior gloss trim paint are the 2 types most likely to have lead. Flat white paint on the drywall usually did not have lead, and old paint types like whitewash, milk paints and calcimime (and old ceiling paint made of lime and glue) never had it either. My house is 1790s and only my inside and outside trim tests positive for lead believe it or not. I remodel but just work careful and use wet methods to remove paint (there is a soy based chemical paint stripper with lead neutralizing agents in them made by Franmar chemical that works great for this http://www.franmar.com/consumer-product ... ct/LEADOUT) and clean up well. My kids have had annual lead blood tests for the last 5 years and it always came back zero.

Rudy63
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Re: Home too small

Post by Rudy63 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:05 am

Hi OP,

Good luck on your decision. I can't tell you how much you can borrow, but I can relate our personal experience from a remodel last year, which worked great. We did a hybrid approach of paying 2/3 of the cost from current cash flow/savings and 1/3 through a 1.99% HELOC from our local credit union. Similar to you, we had a growing family. I wrung my hands over whether to finance at such a low rate as I could have paid all out of taxable investments, but paid capital gains. The hybrid approach helped me sleep easy, taking advantage of low interest, but paying for the bulk of it out of savings/cashflow without having to pull too much out of taxable investments incurring capital gains.

On our 1200 sf 1950 home, we did a 300 sf build out addition which was a little bit stressful (mostly the stress of coordinating the arrival of fireplace, HVAC, windows, doors, tiles, hardwood floor, etc to make sure they all arrived on time.) Luckily, we did not have the horror stories you hear about, no cost overruns*, and not the major disruption of a build up.

*Ok, there were a few things that 'while we have the contractor here, maybe his electrician can do X, Y, Z, but that was more scope increase than cost overruns, and it was only 1% of the $70K effort.

We couldn't be happier to have the addition, so glad we completed it before (3 weeks before) the arrival of our 2nd child and LOVE the extra space in a configuration that is perfect for us.

Best of luck!

Rupert
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Re: Home too small

Post by Rupert » Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:21 am

jharkin wrote:Lead and Asbestos is a concern but again the danger is waaaaay overblown:

Asbestos can be in 4 places - pipe insulation if you have steam or hot water heat (can be removed), certain exterior shingles made in the early 1900s (can be removed), plaster from the early 1900s, and vermiculite insulation. Its only dangerous if its disturbed and fibers get into the air, so if you test and find you have it you can either keep it encapsulated or have it removed. Ive lived in 2 houses with asbestos pipe insulation and the remediation wasn't really that bad at all.

Lead. Similar to asbestos, as long as it doesn't get into the air and your kids dont lick the wall it wont hurt you. Lead was outlawed in 79 and was not in all paint even before that. Exterior oil paint and interior gloss trim paint are the 2 types most likely to have lead. Flat white paint on the drywall usually did not have lead, and old paint types like whitewash, milk paints and calcimime (and old ceiling paint made of lime and glue) never had it either. My house is 1790s and only my inside and outside trim tests positive for lead believe it or not. I remodel but just work careful and use wet methods to remove paint (there is a soy based chemical paint stripper with lead neutralizing agents in them made by Franmar chemical that works great for this http://www.franmar.com/consumer-product ... ct/LEADOUT) and clean up well. My kids have had annual lead blood tests for the last 5 years and it always came back zero.
+1. Good information. OP, you can use the lead and asbestos issues to weed out bad contractors. Any contractor who walks into a house the age of your house and doesn't mention the need to be cautious re possible lead and asbestos is a bad contractor. It will usually be one of the first things a good contractor mentions because it's going to add, *possibly* substantially if lead and asbestos are found, to the cost of the project.

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