Buy New, Vintage or Victorian Home?

Discussion in 'Your Vintage Home' started by PrettySquareGal, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    8,042
    Location:
    My mother's basement
    As a somewhat accidental and mostly reluctant landlord, who has found himself undoing other people's "improvements" to my rental properties (one little house, and one duplex), all I can say, in my best WJ Clinton accent, is I feel your pain. It just galls me to tear out and throw away materials that were improperly installed not very long ago. But there is no reasonable alternative, lest I make myself guilty of the very crimes I rail against, so tear it out and throw it away I do.

    I take it as a sign of disrespect to the skilled craftsmen of this world that people with no experience whatsoever think they're up to a job they really aren't. It's not that a homeowner can't do most things around the house, if he's willing to ask a lot of questions and take a lot of time. But so many do neither.

    Me, I know what I don't know. I clean, and paint, and sometimes help with more specialized jobs, provided I'm not just putting myself in the way (I have friends who know these things much better than I ever will). The rest of it I leave to the professionals. In the end, it costs a lot less that way, and it goes much quicker.
     
  2. vitanola

    vitanola I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,211
    Location:
    Gopher Prairie, MI
    I am a serial renovator. I started out doing grunt work, demolition, and electrical work (learned from my uncle Joe, a master electrician) and over time graduated to carpentry, finish carpentry, ceramic tile, linoleum inlay, carpet repair and laying, plumbing, heating and cooling (certified, I handle refrigerants and can run manual D and Schedule J calculations as well as most, the difference being that I do perform those calculations rather than going by rule of thumb as do so many "pros"). Many jobs, such as wood window repair and the reconstruction of antique mill-work cannot be had for love nor money in many localities, and so one must learn to do them one's self.

    The point is that one must take the time and effort to learn to do the work properly, or leave it to the professionals.
     
  3. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    The only thing worse than someone who doesn't know what they *can* do is someone who doesn't know what they *can't* do.
     
  4. vitanola

    vitanola I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,211
    Location:
    Gopher Prairie, MI
    True, true. On the other hand a fellow will never learn what he really can do if he doesn't occasionally attempt something that he knows (or has been told) that he can't.
     
  5. kampkatz

    kampkatz Practically Family

    Messages:
    715
    Location:
    Central Pennsylvania
    Perhaps before tackling a new project in which one has no experience, it would be wise to ask for assistance from a friend who has done such work before and learned a few lessons. I did that when refinishing a wood floor, and appreciated some guidance along the way.
     
  6. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,206
    I stumbled onto this house when I was looking for a house in my city. It is in Cripple Creak, Colorado, an old mining town in the Rocky Mountains, behind Pikes Peak. When I read the description, it turned out to be built in 1980, so not a Victorian. Fooled me, even has a claw foot tub! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. Atticus Finch

    Atticus Finch Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,716
    Location:
    Coastal North Carolina, USA
    I think one can find examples of good and bad house construction from any era. My problem with the older houses is in the materials that were used to build them. I think there is a common misconception at older houses were built from better stuff, but that just isn’t necessarily so. Cosmetically, perhaps, but not structurally.

    In other words, older homes are more likely to have beautiful oak floors, banisters and mantles. And they will more likely have real porcelain tile in the kitchen and bath. But they will also be wired with cloth covered two-strand and plumbed with galvanized and cast iron pipe. Their heating systems will have been designed in the days of fourteen-cent-per-gallon fuel oil and their walls will be filled with rolls of nothing…which has an R value of only slightly more than nothing. Their floor joists and rafters will be made from heart pine…but I’m here to tell you…termites will eat heart pine if they get hungry enough. Their windows will be single pane with gaps around the sashes wide enough to toss a cat through. The lumber in an old house will generally be true to size. Its two by fours will actually measure two by four inches...which sounds great until you try to repair something in the house. That when you discover that you'll need that $1250.00 twelve-inch table saw you’ve been eyeing at Lowes so that you can rip modern 4 X 6s into old timey 2 X 4s. By the way, Lowes actually carries modern 2 X 4 studs. They’re right down the isle from the $1250.00 saws and they cost $3.00 each.

    Even though I agree that older homes have much more character than modern ones, I still think I prefer to live in a house built after, say, 1980. That's mainly because I have a finite income and I enjoy doing things in my spare time other than home repair projects.

    AF
     
  8. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,206
    Unfortunately, I have to agree with you! I tried to buy a 1890s Victorian with not one, but two turrets, a while back that was completely gutted. Would have been nice to have the beautiful bones, but, wth proper windows doors, insulation, heating, electrical, and working plumbing. The owner has some grand notion that it's worth a fortune, so he declined my offer. Incidentally, the neighbors hate him and would love to see me get the house, it is abandoned all but in name!
     
  9. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    8,042
    Location:
    My mother's basement
    Sounds like the guy got himself in over his head.

    Another example of people not knowing what they don't know?
     
  10. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,206
    Unfortunately no. He is a lawyer, he knew exactly what he was doing! He bought the house cheap. He proceeded to strip it on purpose, taking any thing good out of it. Fortunately, he did have the sense to paint it and put a new roof on, so no water undermining the structure! He owns a number of houses and businesses. Here are two photos of it, as you can see, at one time it was a business. That is what he is trying to sell it as, but the neighbors do not want a commercial property, and they can over rule it! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  11. I've grew up in houses built in 1949, 1929, 1940 and owned a houses built in 1950s, 1960s, 1990s, 1970s, 1940s, 2000, 1908 and 1930. Guess which house had the most problems? The one built in 2000. The only problem I ever had with an old house is undoing the remuddling. *knock on wood*

    That said, out of your choices, I would choose a Victorian, but I'm perfectly happy with my 1930s cottage :)
     
  12. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,206
    I just saw a sign on an empty lot in the old part of our city. It said, coming soon, three new Victorian houses! I will keep an eye on the progress and let you all know what they turn out looking like. I am very curious about what their idea of Victorian will turn out to be?
     
  13. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,206
    Victorian houses just have the IT factor. I have mainly lived in 50s and 60s tract homes, which have their share of problems, just had some siding replaced, cheap paper composite, with blistering paint. You can't sand or strip it. When I was a kid, we lived in a Grand Old 1889 Victorian. I have wanted one ever since.
     
  14. hbogie

    hbogie New in Town

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Ridley Park, PA
    Exactly what Rue said... my house was built in 1906 and the bulk of the issues with it have been undoing the "improvements" done in the 1970's. A victorian that hasn't been messed with is the way to go... but a close 2nd would be a nice arts & crafts bungalow.
     
  15. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,206
    I was out looking at a couple of Victorian open houses today, sadly out of my price range. While looking at some of the neighboring houses, I was reminded that most Victorian houses where very boring! We all think of the Queen Anne's and Second Empire, with their striking over the top details, but most houses back then were mostly box's with a roof. So, to replicate a basic Victorian, is pretty easy. The next step up, would be some detail, such as, gingerbread, spindles and some bright paint. Not to hard for a do it your selfer!
     
  16. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,206
    Here are two homes in my area, built in the last few years. There seems to be a real fight going on between builders, some are still building the McMansions, but many are starting to look to the past. I like the smaller houses, with the old look to the outside. I do not need, a 5,000+ sqft house with 5 bathrooms! If you added some spindles and a finial to the turret house, it would almost pass for a Victorian? [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  17. kampkatz

    kampkatz Practically Family

    Messages:
    715
    Location:
    Central Pennsylvania
    Stearmen, the turret on the 2 storey house does have a victorian look. If the stone facade had covered the entire front, the victorian "flavor" would have been more convincing.
     
  18. fashion frank

    fashion frank One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,175
    Location:
    Woonsocket Rhode Island
    Why I havent been Around /New home

    Hello fellow loungers .
    Althought I think that I left myself logged in I havent been on in weeks due to the fact that I have been selling my own home and searching for a new one and packing with everyspare moment I have.
    After weeks of looking I have found my dream home .


    http://www.newenglandmoves.com/prop...-1052136/100-Glen-Rd-Woonsocket-RI-02895.aspx

    They wanted 190 but they agreed to 180,000.00.
    I move in on Dec 14th just in time for xmass.
    I do not even have to pick up a paint brush and it looks even better in person than in the photos. Please tell me what you think .

    All the Best ,Fashion Frank
     
  19. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,206
    I would say, you did great! Around here, a house that size, and in that condition, would probably start at around $260,000.
     
  20. fashion frank

    fashion frank One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,175
    Location:
    Woonsocket Rhode Island

    Thanks for the kind words and yes we were very happy with the price !

    All the best ,Fashion Frank
     

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