Screen & Recoat hardwood floors, and the sprucing up of a house


Old 01-20-11, 12:23 PM
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Screen & Recoat hardwood floors, and the sprucing up of a house

Hello, I am a university student living in a house owned by a family friend. It is located in a National Historic District in a very desirable part of the city.

No one has occupied the house for 6 years. It is structurally in very good shape, but the interior is dated and worn and could use some work. I am painting it, and the owner wants to sell it in the near future.

In its current state, I believe that he will not get near what the home is worth. The house was built in 1942, and is showing its age. I would like to screen and recoat the hardwood floors, replace old vinyl flooring with ceramic tile in the kitchen, entryway, half bath and full bath (totaling 270 square feet), install new baseboards, replace the door hardware (which is in terrible shape), and install new ceiling fixtures.

The thing is, he is very nonchalant about fixing the house. He hasn't been there in at least a year, and doesn't really seem to worry about it, but plans on reselling it in the near future. How do I get him to realize that with free labor from someone experienced in using power tools and in performing this kind of work (I grew up on a farm), This would not cost very much, and greatly increase the property's value? As it is, the house needs attention, but nothing very expensive or drastic. With a small outlay of money and a lot of elbow grease on my part, this house can become a real stunner.
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Old 01-20-11, 01:26 PM
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make it a business deal

The key to this is hitting a button that triggers some emotion in the owner. It may be money, reputation, publicity or almost anything. You have to come up with a proposal that speaks the owners language.

Before getting too far down this road, I have to ask what your interest is. Why are you looking to get involved? Are you looking to make a few bucks here? Do you just like to work with your hands and have some free time? Is it a break even approach that compensates you for your expenses but not your time?

Putting these two concepts together is what will make the deal.

As an example, if the owner only cares about the dollars and has no interest in getting involved, then you can offer a contract that ensures completion of all work (like a financial bond to cover anything that doesn't go quite right or in case you get hurt or have to leave in the middle of all this) while returning to you a portion of the sale price over some established current market value. This way, the owner can be sure he will get the house back in at least the same condition (you expect it to be much better) and you now have a vested interest in getting the work done and done right. You will need to provide a budget, estimates of cost for labor and materials and maybe even a list of nearby home values with these features already in place.

If after all of this, the owner is not interested, no one can say you didn't try. If you are really sure of yourself and your abilities, maybe you should be marketing these skills. In a tough home market like we see today, maybe there is a market for home staging which could include these small remodeling tasks like those you suggested.

Good luck and let us know what happens.

- Peter
Old 01-20-11, 04:23 PM
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It is hard enough to get an absentee landlord to take action on things that must be done much less get them to spend money on optional stuff. If a detailed proposal like suggested above doesn't do the trick, there isn't much you can do. If you are able to do the work and the house will truly be undervalued by the work not being done - I'd consider figuring out a way to buy the house, do the work and reap the profit

btw - welcome to the forums!

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