1850s Farmhouse... which direction to rehab - Posted by Sean

Posted by E.Eka on September 23, 2004 at 12:50:09:

What’s your goal? If your goal is to sell it, then you’ll want to have a mixture of both practicality and a sense of historic preservation. Since you’re rehabbing it, figure out how much more/less it would cost to rearrange the rooms, knock down walls and create a suitable hall way.


There fore find out the best way to maximize the value while having reasonable rehab costs.

1850s Farmhouse… which direction to rehab - Posted by Sean

Posted by Sean on September 22, 2004 at 22:40:18:

I have been offered an 1850s farmhouse on an acre lot, the original farm for the area 150+ years ago.

The house is large over 2500 square feet, there have been 2 additions done to the house since its original construction.

The house overall isn’t horrible, but it is very tired and beat and very badly in need of rehabilitation. It definatley will be a gem once rehabbed.

The question I have is I am not sure which direction to take the rehab if I choose to pursue this one. The main house is pretty much original in terms of layout and materials… very thin interior walls, captive bedrooms, the bathrooms no hallways that were obviously put in after construction etc etc…

The lack of hallways on the first floor isn’t really an issue, the building still has decent and respectable flow. The second floor however has 4 bedrooms and a bath, and no hallways… you come up into a bedroom which has 2 bedrooms off of it, and one of the bedrooms off of it, has a bedroom off of it…

I am curious what would be the best approach to persue this? Is this house worth more being restored as much as possible leaving it as is as much as possible? IE cater to the folks who honestly would want a period peace, or should the approach be rip out the interior walls on floor 2 and give it a more modern layout?

Which direction obviously affects not only value of the home after fix up, but time to sell and rehab costs.

I appreciate any incites one might have on this.

Re: 1850s Farmhouse… which direction to rehab - Posted by daveh

Posted by daveh on September 24, 2004 at 07:32:13:

I agree with E.Eka. I have done several historical rehabs that I sold for profit.

First, and most important, you need to determine what your overall rehab budget is including holding costs. I just completed a 1903 vintage home rehab that needed everything – total cost $65,000 not including purchase price. Had this been a larger home (it was about 1400 sq ft) I could easily have spent $80k or more.

As far as moving walls, I genrally do. I look first at the size of the kitchen and bathrooms and make sure I can turn them into modern facilities – if too small the walls start moving. Cannibalize one of your bedrooms if necessary. Better to have three good sized beds and a good sized bath/kitchen than to have undersized rooms. Also, generally a bedroom off a bedroom = only one bedroom by most city codes, not two.

You need to look at are the current architectural details of the home. For example, is the wood work of sufficient artitic quality to warrant keeping it and maybe stripping off 150 years worth of paint. Just because something is old doesn’t necessarily mean its worthy of saving.

You don’t mention what your purchase price is or what area it is in. Old homes are very hot with hip, well-to-do yuppies. Lower middle class folks generally couldn’t care less. Know your market before you start.