First Post: Am I too ambitious with my plans?


Old 01-26-14, 05:12 PM
Marshmellow's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: USA
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First Post: Am I too ambitious with my plans?

Iíve been looking around at various diy and home improvement online forums and this one seemed to be the most active and when searching for information about project I often wound up at a forum post here. So, Iíve now joined and this is my first post. Iím here seeking some direction from some more experienced DIY homeowners about how to prioritize my projects and whether or not Iím being too ambitious.

I bought my first home a couple years ago. My plan was to buy something I could put ďsweat equityĒ into so when I eventually sold it I would come out well ahead financially. My realtor helped me find a 1930s bungalow in a good neighborhood. My house is possibly the worse house in my neighborhood. The structure is sound, but the house hasnít been regularly maintained or updated. Luckily a new roof had been installed a few years before I bought it, so thatís one thing I donít have to worry about.

Iíve removed the forest of ivy that was swallowing the house and had even grown into the basement. Iíve removed the layers of wallpaper and paint from the living room walls and ceiling. The previous owner was a VERY HEAVY smoker so we removed the carpet and washed all the walls and ceilings down with a TSP substitute before priming and painting them. At present the house is livable, clean and organized. House stats: single story, 2 bed, 1 bath, 860 sq. ft. (not including basement), lath and plaster walls, full unfinished basement, 100 amp service, detached single car garage.

I want to do everything without borrowing money, so I need to DIY this as much as possible. However, I donít want to rush into it like a fool and wind up costing myself even more in the end. I donít want to cut corners and am willing to use a professional if need be.

Iíd like to get some advice from others here about prioritizing my projects and whether or not you think Iím too ambitious in my plans.

Hereís what I want to accomplish (in no particular order):
  • Re-route HVAC ductwork (minimize amount of floor vents if possible, create more headroom in basement, plan for future finished basement rooms)
  • Update electrical system (update wiring, add switches, add outlets, upgrade to 200 amp service, run outdoor cables underground to utility pole in the alley, plan for future finished basement)
  • Update plumbing system to pex (plan for future finished basement)
  • Install new wood floors
  • Waterproof basement
  • Cut perimeter drain in basement floor and install sump pump (currently just have a drain in the middle)
  • Level basement floor
  • Install radon mitigation system
  • Update windows (remove a couple, install a couple, update several, replace basement windows with glass block)
  • New kitchen (cabinets, countertops, flooring, remove one wall, install exhaust)
  • New bathroom (move toilet, new sink cabinet, new tub, new wall and floor tile, install exhaust)
  • Build deck on back of house
  • Build cedar fence
  • New walkways, front steps and driveway
  • Eventually finish basement

If I need to clarify anything please let me know. I can provide more details, pictures and possibly even diagrams.
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Old 01-26-14, 06:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 2,446
Welcome to the forum wow you have a long list of things to do. For general things about your projects like a priority list General Chats is the place to post your question but for more specialized advice you will want to post in the other parts of the forum electrical etc.

I am not a contractor either just another do it yourselfer like you and a landlord so my job requires me to use contractors for some things and try to fix some things on my own both at my house and my rental.

If I were you speaking strictly as a do it yourself person I would deal with the electrical,plumbing and mechanical items first and then deal with updates in the kitchen etc. For the 200 amp upgrade you really need an electrician but a good deal of the plumbing and even some of the electrical and some of the mechanical you can do yourself.

The best thing to do is make a list and then find out how much each thing costs and then you can figure out if you can afford it or not. I know you don't want to take out a loan but might need to for some things.

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