Just a rough idea of how much it'd cost to redo this porch...

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Old 06-06-16, 04:42 PM
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Just a rough idea of how much it'd cost to redo this porch...

Hello,

My wife and I are thinking of buying this house:

198 Bridge St, Corning, NY 14830 - Home For Sale and Real Estate Listing - realtor.comŽ

We'd like to replace the porch. It's a victorian style house and it's old, built in the 1900's or so. It has all new wiring, which is good. It needs some work, mostly on the outside. There is absolutely nothing more awesome than doing something yourself. I don't have a lot of experience building stuff but there are members in my family who do. My father built the house I'm currently living in. He converted his small house into a two story house and jacked it up when it was one story, and manually dug out the basement by hand. He's got some mad skills but now he has dementia. My cousin Dave is probably even more skilled than my dad.

I like the porch here but it needs a lot of work. There's some things I don't like about it. One, it's tilted. The realtor said they did that so the rain would go down hill. Our current porches here aren't titled and we don't get rain on them. I was thinking, if we bought this house, I'd almost tear down the porch and rebuild something a bit nicer. I like the wrap aroundness but I would use that composite wood that doesn't rot. It can be cut and sanded and nailed / screwed like normal wood, but it isn't wood. I love the Victorian Style. I'd take that roof on top and build something similar but I'd want to turn that into a balcony. Something you could walk out on and it'd have a roof. The new porch would look similar but it'd be much nicer. Those pillars there on the front, they're hollow. I'd try to find real solid ones. I'd want something really nice and I'm sure it'd cost a pretty penny.

I was hoping someone who was a bit more experienced with this stuff than I was would be able to give me an idea of how much they think it'd cost, just a ball park figure, to do something like that, if I did it myself....something real nice like, kinda similar, just updated a bit. It'd still be a walk around, but it'd be all level and I'd add a balcony with a roof up on top. The only way you'd be able to get to the balcony would be from the top floor of the house. There wouldn't be no ladders or anything.

Could someone just give me a ballpark idea? How much it'd cost to completely tear that down, use that fancy composite type wood where I could, rebuild the whole porch, make sure it could handle the weight for a bunch of people on the roof, and add another roof to the top porch....are we talking like 10,000$? Or more like 4,000$? Thanks!
 
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Old 06-06-16, 05:26 PM
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Your enthusiasm is to be commended. But a restoration of this nature is also a money pit. Are you prepared for it? A lot has to do with asking price, and your finances. A lot depends on what the permits allow you to do. I think you need a more detailed plan before anybody could hazard a guess.
 
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Old 06-06-16, 06:05 PM
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The first thing I'd want to find out is if you would be allowed to make those changes. Some areas have historic preservation regulations that put strict limits on modifications to building in certain zones or that are classified as historic. I'd want to know that before putting an offer on such a home.
 
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Old 06-06-16, 06:10 PM
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Yeah, I was afraid of that. I've never really lived in the city. I did rent an apartment once. Things out here in the country are a bit different. Although there are codes, they're not really enforced so much. Like, we just added a front porch and a back porch to my house here. My dad did it. It wasn't too expensive. There were no calls that needed to be made or enforcers to come look at stuff.

From what I've heard, in the city, you need a permit for everything. If I want to tear down the porch and rebuild one with a balcony, it looks like I will need a permit and someone says I will have to give them a blueprint? I hope that's not true. I can visualize exactly what I want in my head. I can't give measurements or anything because we don't own the house yet. And one of the biggest things was the porch. Without the balcony, our desire to own the house decreases a lot. If someone says you're looking around 30,000$ - 40,000$, that means it probably wouldn't happen. But if someone said to redo the porch, same size, maybe rounded corner instead of square, similar columns, with wood, eh, 5,000$ or with composite, eh, 7,000$...than maybe that's doable, you know?

Thanks for the info. The asking price I think is negotiable a lot. It's been on the market for a while and the porch does need some work. It's original design I think is supposed to have it tilted, like it is, but I believe it's tilting too much. Someone started repairing the porch but I think some of the wood underneath is rotting. Also, I think the siding _might_ be asbestos. I'm not an expert so I can't tell. The porch roof, the siding on that appears to be actual cedar shakes. But the siding on the house seems to be that asbestos cement or whatever it's called.
 
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Old 06-06-16, 06:16 PM
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Thank you Carbide. I will check into this. I don't think it will be a problem, because the owner has done a lot of repairs inside. The inside looks freaking gorgeous. There's a few rooms that haven't been restored but the ones that have been are nice. It's zoned residential. I will definitely check though.
 
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Old 06-06-16, 06:22 PM
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Even if someone threw out a "ball park figure" what goods that going to do you?
Need someone on site, that knows the local labor rates and material cost.
Composite is great but will on average will cost about 3 times as much as pressure treated wood.
That's great that the wiring was up graded, but what about the plumbing?
A home that old most likely will have old cast iron drains and steel supply's which will all leak and plug up from the inside at some point if there not already.
Going to have a Pandora's box when you open that porch up.
I've seen termites, powder post bettle's, anything from bricks, old car jacks, stacks of slate holding them up.
 
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Old 06-06-16, 06:36 PM
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Thanks, the ball park figure was just to see if it's something to us that's doable. Why would labor rates come into play? Are you talking about for the inspector who would come and make sure I kept everything up to code or something? I would think material would be the only number I'd need, seeing how I'd be doing the work myself, if I was allowed to.

I know the inside, in the basement, had new copper for stuff. Not sure if that was just for baseboard heat or something else. I'll look at the water tank again when I go back with my friend who knows a lot more about these things this Saturday.

The one thing I really liked was visualizing a completely redone porch with a balcony. To me, this is a house I'm going to live in for the rest of my life, with the family that my wife and I create. If there's something we can't have, it might not be the right house, you know? I love the older style victorian. We've looked at one where the outside was completely restored but the inside wasn't. We estimated it'd cost around 20,000$ to 30,000$ to redo the inside. It all needed to be rewired but we'd tear down all the lathe and plaster and put up sheetrock and install new outlets. With this house, most of the inside has been redone but the outside needs works, a bit of the opposite. It's even got the new outlets and most of the windows have been replaced. Some of the larger ones are still the old ones and the rooms (like the bathrooms) that haven't been redone, they still got the old style windows.

The ball park figure was just to get an idea. If I tore it completely down and rebuilt it from scratch, digging the holes myself, putting concrete in, all that jazz, same size, wrap around, with a balcony and a roof, just wanted to see if it's a high four digit figure or if we were talking more like a high five digit figure, you know?

I'll try to get more information, maybe the length and width, the height, pictures of what I'm thinking, etc. I think someone already mentioned the word money pit. That's what I want to know. Something like 6,000$ maybe even 10,000$, I could invest that into a porch. Something higher than that, I couldn't justify spending that kind of cash.

Side note, I just found out in some cities, people aren't allowed to do work themselves at all. In some cities, they need to hire a professional licensed contractor. This could double the cost.
 
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Old 06-06-16, 06:52 PM
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Okay, so I got a new question. I'm reading the Permit FAQ for my city (Corning, NY) and there's a section that says can I draw up my own plans. Then it says see: Requirements for Plans to be Signed and Sealed

I can't find Requirements for Plans to be Signed and Sealed anywhere.

I wanted to know though, is there any software out there that people generally use to draw up blueprints for stuff like porches? I know in the electronic world, Eagle is a good program used to draw schematics and PCB Layouts. I thought maybe there was something similar, just for houses. Free is always good, but if there's a paid version, I might be okay with paying for it, if it isn't too crazy expensive. Maybe if I could draw up some plans real quick like, we'd get a better idea of the costs...
 
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Old 06-06-16, 07:37 PM
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there are many free sketch and drawing programs available online. The town will want a sketch or blueprint with dimensions and specifications. They don't need to be detailed to the point of being able to actually build from but enough for them to decide if you know what you're doing and how much to re-asses the home if need be. That along with what all the things Joe said. If you're serious about this then hire an inspector before you put in a purchase offer to see how good the infrastructure is. If the current owners refuse to allow that then walk away. Be prepared to pay about $500 for good inspector.
 
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Old 06-06-16, 07:55 PM
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Thanks Norm201,

Yes, one of our plans is to hire an inspector. Not one of those FHA ones either, but a real nice one. We figure the closing costs would be around 10,000$ or so. That's what we have saved up. We also planned on getting one of those lawyers to make sure there was no money owed on it. A friend of mine bought a house for around 5,000$. The property was worth more and I warned him. He had no realtor, no lawyer, nothing. He trusted the seller. Private land contract or something it was called. Sure enough, they owed over 80,000$ on the house for something. He couldn't pay. They went to court, the judge made the old owner take the house back but refused to refund my buddy his money for the repairs he did on the house (around another 5,000$) because he should have hired a lawyer and did things differently.

This is the first time we ever bought a house. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. If we didn't already know that we needed one, that would be valuable information.

And thanks for the info on the program. I thought it had to be a full fledge blueprint, not just a sketch with dimensions, cross sectionals, etc. Thanks! I'm going to try this free software called DraftSight and then if that doesn't work, maybe a program called SketchUp.

Another house we're looking at is now this one:

220 Park Ave, Corning, NY 14830 - Home For Sale and Real Estate Listing - realtor.comŽ

That's got that stucco stuff. I wonder if that's easy to fix or if that's a better house. It looks nice from the pics (minus the back of the house).

I also wonder how much fixing a house up would affect taxes. Taxes in Corning are high, from what people say. Not sure what normal cities charge, but that one house is like 4,000$ a year for property. If I did a total restoration of that porch but also added a roofed in balcony, would that make the taxes go up a lot? I'm sure it'd make the price of the house worth more...but how much, that's a big question.
 
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Old 06-06-16, 08:01 PM
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One can't much from pictures but I like this one better than the first one. good luck!
 
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Old 06-07-16, 03:20 AM
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Property taxes are public records with many jurisdictions having them available online so it shouldn't be too hard to find out what the taxes are on various houses in the areas you are looking.

Most home sales either include tittle insurance or the lawyer goes back as far as he can with a tittle search to verify there are no liens or questionable sales of the property. It will also reveal any right of ways or other restrictions to the property.

Generally a sketch including dimensions is all the permit office needs. About the only times you need a signed blueprint is when it involves footers or adding changing load bearing portions [like adding on a 2nd floor or removing a significant load bearing wall]
 
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Old 06-07-16, 11:05 AM
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Thanks Marksr. I believe for my dream porch on that Bridge Street house, I would in fact need blueprints then. The idea would be to keep a similar style, tear the whole porch down, and rebuild it, but flat deck instead of angled (I think they did this for drainage, I'd just have spacing between the boards). For the boards you walk on, I'd probably go for the composite type board. It's pricey.

Then, for the roof, I'd actually make that another porch. This would be the balcony. Between the two windows there would be a door. This top balcony would mimic the bottom one. I think where the porch wraps around now, instead of having a 90 degree angle there, I'd have an arc, so it was rounded. Then the top of the balcony would have a roof, not a flat one though, but a normal angled type roof, so the snow and water runs off. I think because of the balcony, because people would be standing on top of it, it'd probably need the blueprint and some expert figuring out exactly how much weight it could handle....I'd essentially be adding on a second floor to the porch.

The property taxes are public record and finding them isn't hard. Every house we look at, it gives the property taxes. This was my question though. Right now, for the Bridge Street house, we're looking at a property tax of 2,895$ in 2015. That's with the outside looking pretty bad. What if I replaced the porch, added a balcony, with all new material, either replaced that siding (it might be asbestos) on the house or paint it, so it looks brand new, you know, restored the outside to it's former glory and added a bit too it. Would that make the taxes go up? And if so, by a lot? Or maybe just a couple hundred? I mean, if work like that is going to double or triple the property taxes, then maybe it's not worth it. You know? Thanks for all the help guys. I know this has gotten a bit off track from the original topic. It's our first time buying and you guys have definitely giving us a lot of valuable information.
 
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Old 06-07-16, 11:12 AM
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Not sure about NY, but assume it's similar to Philly. The property taxes don't go up because your house was fixed up. They're based on the nicety of the neighborhood and on similar houses nearby. When they go up, everyone's go up and it's just a hundred to two.

I like both houses, but I like the second one better. My house is half that size and would cost double! But, the property taxes are less.
 
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Old 06-07-16, 03:07 PM
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What I meant to imply about taxes is you can look up both the house needing work and a nearby similar house in remodeled or great condition and see what the tax difference is.
 
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Old 06-07-16, 04:16 PM
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My understanding is if a house is remodeled by adding an addition or substantially changing the size, or adding another structure to the property will cause a re-assessment and taxes will go up for that home. It does not necessarily mean the whole neighborhood. Only a general re-assessment of neighborhood will cause an inspector or assessment appraiser to cover a neighborhood and try to come in and look at each house.

Once upon a time a city assessor (Buffalo, NY) accused my parents of installing an additional hose bib in a detached garage. My parents made him go inside and try to find it. Could not find it, end of re-assessment. But he left saying they were hiding it.
 
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Old 06-07-16, 04:38 PM
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I just went into Corning's website, and it says to call or stop in, with any questions. I think that would be the best thing to do. That way you'll know for sure.
 
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Old 06-07-16, 04:42 PM
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Norm201,

I was under the similar impression. My understanding is maybe every house in the city of Corning pays the same percentage but that percentage is of their assessment value. I just figured redoing the outside, whether it was a simple paint job or restoring it to the original condition would get it appraised for a lot more, meaning I'd pay a lot more in taxes. It's a bit confusing. I mean, if permits are required, the city would know any work I did....from looking at back taxes, it seems the houses might be assessed every so many years perhaps? I can see the value of the house changing every so often...

Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 06-07-16, 04:47 PM
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Okay, thank you Shadeladie. Where would we stop in at though? Would it just be the 500 Civic Center Plaza? The place where we go for marriage licenses, court, the police station, etc?

Thanks for the help! It's really big step for us and I can picture the house being completely redone. I just want to make sure that it's not going to be crazy expensive. The inside is really nice, the outside needs some work. The porch is the biggest I think. Once we figure out where, come tomorrow, we'll stop in and ask some questions.
 
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Old 06-07-16, 05:01 PM
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Looks like you'd go to the Finance Dept. on the first floor of City Hall at 500 Civic Center Plaza, (607) 962-0340.
 
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Old 06-07-16, 06:47 PM
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You have a lot of questions. Owning a house will cost you money, especially when fixing it up. It starts with a new towel bar and ends up at $200K

Regarding taxes, you want to check with the city. Generally property taxes might rise every year for everyone, say 1% or so.
Usually the only time your taxable value will be increased specifically is when you are adding square footage to the house, not improvements or TLC.
Taxing for the extra square footage pays for schools and such.
 
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Old 06-08-16, 04:28 AM
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The tax rate is the same for everyone [residential] in that jurisdiction. The rate only changes if the commissioners or sometimes taxpayers vote on it. Locally our property tax and evaluations don't change much year to year although each property is supposed to be reassessed every so often [I think every 5 yrs locally] They do make adjustments based on permits. Many permits have an estimated cost of the work being done included in the paperwork.
 
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Old 06-08-16, 06:47 AM
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I can't tell from the pictures, and the Listing doesn't reveal whether that "tan" siding is rigid asbestos ?

Your Inspector should clarify what it is, and take that into account when getting estimates for the Porch (which includes some of the same siding).

What is the primary reason for rebuilding the Porch ?
 
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Old 06-08-16, 02:21 PM
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Marksr,

I figured the tax rate was the same. It was the assessment that had me a bit worried. Handyone answered that question for me. I thought if I replaced the siding and spent the money to do a total restoration on the outside, even if it costed me 30,000$ or so, it'd increase the value of the house and even though the percentage of taxes I pay on it wouldn't change, because the value of the house might be worth a lot more, I'd end up paying more money.

I know this got a bit off track here and I do appreciate everyone's help. It's our first house and we've been researching a lot, reading up on stuff. You guys have provided some very valuable information for us. It's much appreciated.
 
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Old 06-08-16, 02:34 PM
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Vermont,

I am not an expert, however, when I looked at the siding, the first thing I thought was that it was asbestos. The realtor said it wasn't listed but if they never got it tested, they don't have to tell you because they might not technically know what it is, even if they highly suspect asbestos. I believe asbestos was used from roughly the 1930's to the 60's or so. It holds up very well over time but as you already know, it is linked to cancer. If it's not sanded or turned into dust, I think it's fairly safe. I'd want to replace it though and that'd cost money as well.

The reason I'd want to replace the porch....one, I don't care for the tilted style. I understand why they tilted them, but I don't like it. This one is tilting too much. I believe the actual joists underneath are rotting away. I also wanted to convert the top into a balcony but after closer inspection, I believe the whole roof would need to be torn down and those columns would need to be replaced. The siding of the porch needs some work as well. The floorboards, from a closer inspection, They're not in the best of shape. Instead of reusing the really old wood, I thought I'd get a rough idea how much it'd cost to completely tear it down and build a new porch, that looks almost identical, but would have a balcony on the top and maybe where it wraps around, instead of 90 degree angle there, I'd go for one of those curved angles, like a rounded corner.

I really like the inside of house but I want that balcony up there. But if that was going to cost something like 10,000$+ dollars, it could drastically affect my desire to own this house. I don't mind doing stuff myself, but it seems for a project like this, because the balcony would hold people, I'd need an engineer to draw up the plans and sign and stamp. That alone could cost over a thousand maybe. I just wanted the rough idea....Was this one of those ideas where I'm just daydreaming, and it isn't worth the money to do it? If we buy the house, just fix up the porch and make it stable again? Or is it financially feasible to modify it in such a way? Come Saturday, I'll take measurements and then maybe I can sketch and scan into the PC the idea I'm thinking and someone could give me a better idea how much it'd cost to do.
 
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Old 06-08-16, 04:31 PM
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I don't know about New York. In California you don't necessarily need an engineer to design a deck. See the drawing below, Typical Patio Cover.
It's called typical because most decks or patio covers would be built this way, there are certain standards.
If you notice in the drawing, the city is asking certain questions. They are not so much concerned with what the deck looks like. They only care if it is safe.

It's almost like a template and you need to fill in the blanks with things like:

Footing depth, size of posts and beams, method of attachment, etc. These questions can be answered without an engineer.

The city will not calculate loads for you, but they have engineers which will approve your plans if it meets their requirements. Usually load calculations aren't needed for a deck. The number one concern is attachment to house and footings. You usually need detailed drawings for the ledger and other items, but they don't have to be professional drawings, just relate what your plan is.


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Old 06-08-16, 06:12 PM
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Handyone,

Thanks, because I'd want a balcony though, which would hold people, load calculations would probably be required, right? Remember, my ultimate goal isn't just to replace or repair the current porch / deck / patio / whatever it's called, but to convert the roof of it into a balcony that people can walk on, by adding a door between the two windows up on top there. Also, the balcony would have a roof, similar to the roof on the current porch, but probably not as flat looking.
 
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