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Preface: Neither will happen for about another 4 years... My lovely bride and I intend to be 100% debt free within 3 years. We DO NOT want to move from our property, it has 12 acres, city sewer, natural gas, good well water and good proximity to city misc shopping.

The existing house has a 2 year old roof and new furnace/ a.c. last summer. It's costs $300/mo to cool it in the summer and $180/no to heat in the winter with 26" of blown fiberglass insulation in the attic. House was built in the late 60s, has 200 amp service, very little wall insulation 3 bed 1 bath, 1400sqft ranch. Small bathroom, decent size rooms and basement laundry. House needs new windows (existing were installed early 90s, cheap), new siding and new doors along with wall insulation.

We would like to add another bathroom, make the kitchen a little larger (and Reno it), add a master suite, make our existing bathroom a little larger, and add a first floor laundry. If we did the reno, we would all of this and reno the existing 3 rooms and add more insulation. We would also widen the existing hallway to accomadate a wheelchair and widen all door ways to fit a 36" door. The addition would be about 20'x40' and would involve removing 2 walls and raising a 20'x20' existing roof and floor to match existing. It would be nearly a complete gut with replacing new HVAC since there will be more sqft. I would contract out all work, my ball park guess is all this work would cost $150k and take 2-3 months.

Other option is have a new ranch style house built directly behind our existing, 3 ft away and demo old house. I have been looking at modular houses (not trailers) that come in pieces on a truck. If I went this route, it would cost about $200k.

Either option will be our lifetime house, hence wide hallways and doors.

With the wealth of knowledge here, what would YOU do?

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Do you have to deal with permits & inspections? Can make a huge diff. If you can't/don't want to do the work and can find a modular that suits you, that's the route I'd take. Living with remodel work in progress can be challenging. This is from someone in a house that has been in add/remodel mode for 40 years - but it's a hobby for us. :laugh:
 

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First question that I must have missed - your goal is to be debt free in 3 years. How does an extensive remodel fit into this?

Now I have some years on you but our situations are kind of similar. We’ve been here for 21 years. Perfect property and area for us like you.

90+ year old house. We went all out just to afford this place when we bought it. I had to refinance once in order to buy a piece of adjoining land to insure our continued privacy. We have 12 months left of mortgage payments.

As you know I have always applauded you with your goal to be debt free. But let me tell my story....

The old house was likely upgraded sometime in the 50’s or 60’s. Everything is functional but old looking. I don’t care about the looks. Along the way we put on a new roof, new windows, new furnace, new water heater (twice) - you get the idea. But because of the ongoing repairs and maintenance plus all the other stuff the life always throws at you we were never able to pay off the mortgage early. But that’s OK - we’re almost there.

So just wondering about your plan. To remodel and upgrade everything is expensive - do you plan on another mortgage? The reason I ask - we did it as we went along without borrowing extra money. Yes, the kitchen and bathroom could really use remodeling and we are at the point now desperately needing handicap type upgrades. I love your idea of making everything wheelchair accessible.

We never had any thought of moving - this is our old house and we love it. After the mortgage is paid off we will try to get the kitchen and bathroom done without borrowing money. I HATE being beholden to a bank for anything.

In summary - can you do the things you want at a much slower pace and stay debt free? That would be my choice if you can pull it off.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Do you have to deal with permits & inspections? Can make a huge diff. If you can't/don't want to do the work and can find a modular that suits you, that's the route I'd take. Living with remodel work in progress can be challenging. This is from someone in a house that has been in add/remodel mode for 40 years - but it's a hobby for us.
We have inspections here, the one time so far I had to have one, it went smoothly. I had our electrical service buried and 200amp service installed.



First question that I must have missed - your goal is to be debt free in 3 years. How does an extensive remodel fit into this?

Now I have some years on you but our situations are kind of similar. We’ve been here for 21 years. Perfect property and area for us like you.

90+ year old house. We went all out just to afford this place when we bought it. I had to refinance once in order to buy a piece of adjoining land to insure our continued privacy. We have 12 months left of mortgage payments.

As you know I have always applauded you with your goal to be debt free. But let me tell my story....

The old house was likely upgraded sometime in the 50’s or 60’s. Everything is functional but old looking. I don’t care about the looks. Along the way we put on a new roof, new windows, new furnace, new water heater (twice) - you get the idea. But because of the ongoing repairs and maintenance plus all the other stuff the life always throws at you we were never able to pay off the mortgage early. But that’s OK - we’re almost there.

So just wondering about your plan. To remodel and upgrade everything is expensive - do you plan on another mortgage? The reason I ask - we did it as we went along without borrowing extra money. Yes, the kitchen and bathroom could really use remodeling and we are at the point now desperately needing handicap type upgrades. I love your idea of making everything wheelchair accessible.

We never had any thought of moving - this is our old house and we love it. After the mortgage is paid off we will try to get the kitchen and bathroom done without borrowing money. I HATE being beholden to a bank for anything.

In summary - can you do the things you want at a much slower pace and stay debt free? That would be my choice if you can pull it off.
"The borrower is slave to the lender" I tell myself that everyday.

We would be debt free PRIOR to start of the large reno or new build. I thought about going at a slower pace but with all that needs done, I think it would be cheaper in the long run to hit it all in one fell swoop since a lot of it intertwines with other parts of the reno. Where the addition would go is off 1 wall where the roof/floor are being raised and the kitchen wall is a common wall.

If things work out, we would be able to "shift" our debt snowball into paying off a mortgage. Once we are out of debt, if I maintain my current payoff/work pace, I would pay it off in 50-60 months.

I obviously hate debt too but this is one instance where it would be necessary to take out a 15 year mortgage and pay it off early.


In the pic below, the blue is existing house, red is possible removed walls and green is possible addition. Garage is behind house.


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First question that I must have missed - your goal is to be debt free in 3 years. How does an extensive remodel fit into this?

Now I have some years on you but our situations are kind of similar. We’ve been here for 21 years. Perfect property and area for us like you.

90+ year old house. We went all out just to afford this place when we bought it. I had to refinance once in order to buy a piece of adjoining land to insure our continued privacy. We have 12 months left of mortgage payments.

As you know I have always applauded you with your goal to be debt free. But let me tell my story....

The old house was likely upgraded sometime in the 50’s or 60’s. Everything is functional but old looking. I don’t care about the looks. Along the way we put on a new roof, new windows, new furnace, new water heater (twice) - you get the idea. But because of the ongoing repairs and maintenance plus all the other stuff the life always throws at you we were never able to pay off the mortgage early. But that’s OK - we’re almost there.

So just wondering about your plan. To remodel and upgrade everything is expensive - do you plan on another mortgage? The reason I ask - we did it as we went along without borrowing extra money. Yes, the kitchen and bathroom could really use remodeling and we are at the point now desperately needing handicap type upgrades. I love your idea of making everything wheelchair accessible.

We never had any thought of moving - this is our old house and we love it. After the mortgage is paid off we will try to get the kitchen and bathroom done without borrowing money. I HATE being beholden to a bank for anything.

In summary - can you do the things you want at a much slower pace and stay debt free? That would be my choice if you can pull it off.
We built our complete Spread with out a Mortgage and still don't have one. It took 22 years to get it to this point. JD 4x4.jpg
 

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We have inspections here, the one time so far I had to have one, it went smoothly. I had our electrical service buried and 200amp service installed.





"The borrower is slave to the lender" I tell myself that everyday.

We would be debt free PRIOR to start of the large reno or new build. I thought about going at a slower pace but with all that needs done, I think it would be cheaper in the long run to hit it all in one fell swoop since a lot of it intertwines with other parts of the reno. Where the addition would go is off 1 wall where the roof/floor are being raised and the kitchen wall is a common wall.

If things work out, we would be able to "shift" our debt snowball into paying off a mortgage. Once we are out of debt, if I maintain my current payoff/work pace, I would pay it off in 50-60 months.

I obviously hate debt too but this is one instance where it would be necessary to take out a 15 year mortgage and pay it off early.


In the pic below, the blue is existing house, red is possible removed walls and green is possible addition. Garage is behind house.

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It’s all about person priorities.

One thing I should add - the real estate market has been and will be dead in my area - nobody wants to live here (which is fine with me!) but property values do not appreciate at all. So when looking at something like this here and there over the years, putting a substantial investment into our place would not pay off in the end whenever we would sell. That was a main factor in not doing what you are planning.

In a normal market you should be fine and at least break even. It takes a lot of the sting out of a major investment if you know you will eventually get it back. Right now if I put $40k into my house it would only increase the value by $20k if that.

So my next question is why do you want/need this remodel? Expanding family? We’ve been over that question many times over the years when thinking about something like this. The first couple years we were here I mentioned to my father in law about expanding. I’ve always seen him as a very wise person who helped us do most of our major projects.

His take in it was this - we have enough room now for the 3 of us but think ahead 15-20 years when my daughter wouldn’t be living here and it was just the 2 of us. You don’t want more house than you can easily take care of and heat. I didn’t see the wisdom in this until the last few years - our house is the perfect size for the 2 of us.

I’m getting off on a major tangent here. Back to your original question about remodeling or moving.

You have to evaluate what you have. Do you like where you live? Do you want for more land? Do you want to relocate for other reasons?

I am not a mover - I hate the thought of moving. Part of it scares me in what you might end up for with neighbors etc. So if you love your property and it’s location it’s a no brainer in my mind - stay put and make what you have the way you want it.
 

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We built a new home and moved in last Oct.

I'm in WI, similar winters etc as MI.
I wanted out of our old house, built in the late '70's, cold in winter.
Even at 72 it felt cold, poor quality windows and bad insulation in walls.
You cold feel the cold standing nest to the windows.

SO we bought land, bigger better piece of land, more private.
The biggest issue was building. General Contractor took over a year to build and at the end he walked out over his screw up (one of hundreds) on the build.
I had to finish and hire help to finish house myself.
Can't say enough bad things about the GC.

That being said in the end the new house is very energy efficient. If you build new 1st concern is making it as air tight as possible then secondly is insulation. Air tightness can be measured. Ours came in at 1ach @50 pascals. typical new house is probably over 3ach. So ours is very air tight.
2ndly our house is very highly insulated. Basement walls are r24, house walls are r36, ceiling is r60. We had triple pane windows installed.
We heat our house with wood in the winter but use only 3 cords for a 2800 sq ft house not including basement space.

Another thing to remember about insulation, if you use fiberglas bats (worst type of insulation) in a regular stud wall your true r value is much worse than you'd think. For example an 6" stud wall has a more realistic r value of about 13 not the 19 or so that the batts are.

If you build spend more money on insulation. It is one of the few things that WILL pay you back. Granite counter tops have a zero payback. Also your house will be more comfortable at a lower temp. We keep our new place at around 72 in the winter. its very cozy as compared to the old place that always felt cold and uncomfortable.

We also built our home to have everything NEEDED on the 1st floor. Laundry, bedroom, kitchen etc, all on 1st floor. 2nd floor is guest rooms, loft area for me and a "bonus" room my wife uses. Basement is just empty except for furnace, water heater etc. We made all the doorways 36" and the main hallway is about 6 ft wide. All for easy access.

We also built with an eye on location and orientation to the sun. Garage on the north side to help shelter the house from the winter winds, very few windows on the N. side. Lots of windows on the So. side and very importantly over 2ft of overhang on the sofits so that the winter sun will shine in in the winter but not in the summer. Our house will actually increase in temp. a couple of degrees when the sun is shining in the winter because of all the south facing windows. On cloudy days the temp will not decrease cause of lack of sun. Very windy days are another thing.

I am a firm believer in spending more money up front for things like insulation which will always be paying you back and are very hard to do in the future vs spending money on finishes that can easily be changed in the future and don't pay you back anything.

This all is just my .02 on home building.
 

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Since you mention that you would widen hallways and install 36 inch doors so that house would be accessible in later years, I would lean towards building new.

We built our current home to be accessible because my wife has MS and other issues, but missed on a few opportunities when we designed the layout. Some areas are tight for my wife on her scooter. 36 inch doors are fine, but I wish our hallway was 5 foot wide to allow more turning room. Our door out to the garage drops 19 inches to the garage floor. In 9 short years we went from 3 standard rise steps, to 4 low rise steps and now recently to a 19 foot "L" shaped ramp with upper landing and a 4x4 corner landing. You will end up building a lot of dead space to make the house truly accessible.

I would move the master bedroom so it has direct access to the common living areas for 2 reasons: easier for the person who may need mobility devices and it is a lot easier for EMTs to get to the person if needed. That is one flaw in our design, the MB door is right across from the steps going to the loft, and although the space at the bottom of the stairs meets code, it is a tight fit for EMTs to navigate their gurney (real life experience).

Bathrooms are another area where to be truly accessible, you will eat up a lot of room. You will most likely want to build a roll in shower, have a step in tub, a vanity with enough room for a wheelchair or scooter to park in front and of course enough room by the toilet to park and transfer.

Exterior egress is another big concern, make sure you have enough room to for ramps with a 12:1 slope.

It's easy to spend other people's money, I'm just offering some advice from our build where we attempted to build for future needs. Looking at your current layout, I don't believe that would try to reno knowing what our accessible challenges were/are.

As far as modular, there are some great manufacturers out there. Our home is modular, a total of 6 units with a 2400 square foot main floor plus double garage and 500 sf loft. Built very solid, I upgraded to 2x12 floor joists from standard 2x10. We made a lot of changes to one of their stock plans. Even though the home is modular, there was a lot of work prior to the set and a ton of work after the set. I planned on doing most of the post set work myself, but in the end contracted out more than I anticipated. I did all of the interior finish work (stairs to loft, installing all the T&G on the vaulted ceiling, running all the electrical drops to the panels, stairs to basement and a host of other things) and contracted out the exterior deck work and installation of the 1/2 log siding.

Hope these thoughts help with your decision.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
It’s all about person priorities.

One thing I should add - the real estate market has been and will be dead in my area - nobody wants to live here (which is fine with me!) but property values do not appreciate at all. So when looking at something like this here and there over the years, putting a substantial investment into our place would not pay off in the end whenever we would sell. That was a main factor in not doing what you are planning.

In a normal market you should be fine and at least break even. It takes a lot of the sting out of a major investment if you know you will eventually get it back. Right now if I put $40k into my house it would only increase the value by $20k if that.

So my next question is why do you want/need this remodel? Expanding family? We’ve been over that question many times over the years when thinking about something like this. The first couple years we were here I mentioned to my father in law about expanding. I’ve always seen him as a very wise person who helped us do most of our major projects.

His take in it was this - we have enough room now for the 3 of us but think ahead 15-20 years when my daughter wouldn’t be living here and it was just the 2 of us. You don’t want more house than you can easily take care of and heat. I didn’t see the wisdom in this until the last few years - our house is the perfect size for the 2 of us.

I’m getting off on a major tangent here. Back to your original question about remodeling or moving.

You have to evaluate what you have. Do you like where you live? Do you want for more land? Do you want to relocate for other reasons?

I am not a mover - I hate the thought of moving. Part of it scares me in what you might end up for with neighbors etc. So if you love your property and it’s location it’s a no brainer in my mind - stay put and make what you have the way you want it.
Our desire for the addition is mainly driven by the desire for main floor laundry, additional bathroom and master suite. The master suite is last on the list. The reason for the size of the addition is I want to do it once, not twice. We also do not want to move from the property, it's a good location and I will be buying adjacent property as it comes up for sale. I already have a verbal agreement to buy 2.5 acres from my Southern neighbor in a few years when he moves.

Baby #2 is on the way, due 12/6/18. After that, we are done.

The thing that kills me is how NOT energy efficient the house is. The windows and doors are super drafty, I can feel air coming thru them when the wind blows. I wouldn't be looking to recoup my costs in energy savings, I know that's difficult. I DO want to increase energy efficiency so in our later years, the energy bills are more manageable. If we do the reno, after it's complete, we would gut/redo the other 3 rooms to put more insulation in them. There is essentially none in the walls.

I grew up in this house so I know a family of 4 can live in it, but the main floor laundry, additional bathroom and master suite would make it nicer.

I figure the cost breakdown would be as noted below:

Raise roof and floor: $8k
Addition: $50k
Reno kitchen: $20k
Reno existing bath: $8k
New windows: $15k
New siding: $15k
New doors: $5k
New HVAC: $10k
Redo other 3 rooms: $12k
Contingency fund: $10k

EDIT: I will also note, property in my area goes for roughly $10k/acre for unimproved ground. I'm into the 12 acres with house for about $90k.

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Another way you can save money on a new build is build without a basement and without footings.
There is a way to prevent frost heaving that would other wise cause you to pour footings.
Its called a Frost Protected Shallow Foundation.

here is a link.

https://www.finehomebuilding.com/2010/11/11/frost-protected-shallow-foundations-2

Along with this I would do a in floor hydronic heating system. Get rid of forced air heating and cooling, a poor heating/cooling system.

Lots of good tech out there for saving money and energy efficiency. Biggest trouble is the vast majority of builders are ignorant about these things or are afraid to try them.
 

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Baby #2 is on the way, due 12/6/18. After that, we are done.

The thing that kills me is how NOT energy efficient the house is. The windows and doors are super drafty, I can feel air coming thru them when the wind blows. I wouldn't be looking to recoup my costs in energy savings, I know that's difficult. I DO want to increase energy efficiency so in our later years, the energy bills are more manageable. If we do the reno, after it's complete, we would gut/redo the other 3 rooms to put more insulation in them. There is essentially none in the walls.


Raise roof and floor: $8k
Addition: $50k
Reno kitchen: $20k
Reno existing bath: $8k
New windows: $15k
New siding: $15k
New doors: $5k
New HVAC: $10k
Redo other 3 rooms: $12k
Contingency fund: $10k

EDIT: I will also note, property in my area goes for roughly $10k/acre for unimproved ground. I'm into the 12 acres with house for about $90k.

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If there is no insulation in the stud cavities I would seriously insulate there 1st. 2ND if your going to reside I'd add rigid foam insulation boards to the outside before residing. Might be easiest to blow cellulose in from the sheathing side, add rigid foam then reside. There are several types of cellulose for filling cavities that would minimize settling.
 

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Energy seems to be a MAJOR concern, and summer AC is a big number for you,,

Our well insulated brick ranch with great windows and 24" of fiberglass attic insulation was expensive to cool in the summer,,
we added a 24" gable vent fan, and a lot of eave air inlets,,

I put a fan like this on the end of the house, and slowed the fan slightly with a larger fan pulley,,,

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002TXEC3W/?coliid=I24L5I3WX71A30&colid=2OJ3YDNER09T4&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it



Literally, our AC cost reduced by half, and the house comfort level doubled at the same time.

The local HVAC guy said I needed a BIGGER heat pump,,, :lolol::laugh::lol::mocking:

The heat pump used to run constantly on 90 degree days, now (even today at 90+ degrees) the heat pump only runs occasionally,,
the house is kept at 73 degrees all summer.

What I am saying is that there may be less drastic measures that can resolve your needs.

I HATE a mortgage, it cuts into my tractor funds WAY TOO MUCH!! :nunu:
 

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Our desire for the addition is mainly driven by the desire for main floor laundry, additional bathroom and master suite. The master suite is last on the list. The reason for the size of the addition is I want to do it once, not twice. We also do not want to move from the property, it's a good location and I will be buying adjacent property as it comes up for sale. I already have a verbal agreement to buy 2.5 acres from my Southern neighbor in a few years when he moves.

Baby #2 is on the way, due 12/6/18. After that, we are done.

The thing that kills me is how NOT energy efficient the house is. The windows and doors are super drafty, I can feel air coming thru them when the wind blows. I wouldn't be looking to recoup my costs in energy savings, I know that's difficult. I DO want to increase energy efficiency so in our later years, the energy bills are more manageable. If we do the reno, after it's complete, we would gut/redo the other 3 rooms to put more insulation in them. There is essentially none in the walls.

I grew up in this house so I know a family of 4 can live in it, but the main floor laundry, additional bathroom and master suite would make it nicer.

I figure the cost breakdown would be as noted below:

Raise roof and floor: $8k
Addition: $50k
Reno kitchen: $20k
Reno existing bath: $8k
New windows: $15k
New siding: $15k
New doors: $5k
New HVAC: $10k
Redo other 3 rooms: $12k
Contingency fund: $10k

EDIT: I will also note, property in my area goes for roughly $10k/acre for unimproved ground. I'm into the 12 acres with house for about $90k.

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Congrats on Midget 2.0!

All solid reasons to stay in your house and remodel in my opinion. Your ideas of 1st floor laundry and all the rest would be awesome but we have just lived with what we have. But now it is getting tough on us - especially stairs. Plan for the future which it sounds like you are.

I guess I should bow out as I have no clue of normal house and property values. All I can say is if this is something you want to do, do it now. You never know what tomorrow brings as well as life in general.

We bought this place when we were in our late 30’s. My intention was that it was to be our retirement home - kind of bucking the system and planning to retire early. We had no down payment and no help/gifts from anywhere. We both worked our butts off to pay for it plus all the repairs and upgrades. My dream came true albeit a bit earlier than I thought with the retirement part but so glad we did what we did. It has been our main focus over the past 20+ years and it has paid off - we are retired right here where we want to be.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Klunker, if I went new, i want a basement strictly for the purpose of storage and utilities. I like houses with basements. Heck, even if I do the addition, I will want a basement with it too with Bilco doors so I have another point of egress out of the basement. Good idea with the rigid foam insulation, never would have thought!

CADplans, cooling in the summer IS a big deal to me, I hate the heat and I can't sleep if I'm too hot. It's actually ticks me off that my NEW a.c. runs non stop if it's 90 out and the thermostat is set at 74...

Coaltrain, thank you! Don't bow out, I started this thread to learn where others wished they would have done xxxx too. I like to learn from others mistakes, it costs less...


All, do my numbers mentioned above seem like good budgetary numbers or am I way off? I don't want to waste a builders time asking for a budgetary for 4 years from now...

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I'd say 100k for those renovations sounds high, I'd find a contractor to do it for 40-50k, should be easy, take out a heloc and enjoy the house while you are young.

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Build a new house so that you can get everything you want, without having to make the compromises that always are part of a renovation.

I assume you would continue to live in the old house while the new one is built, then move your belongings, and finally raze the old place.

It sounds as if you and your family have a lot of years more to live, and that you are into your location for the long haul. Start with a new place that you plan from day one to allow you to use it into your old age.
 

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I spent that much building my home but I did the Electrical, plumbing, wood trim, cabinets, interior except for sheet rock and insulation. I don't think your out of line with your guess-a-ment but you could also build a new home for that much as remodel is slow! They had my 1,680 sq ft home after the foundation was in a done dried in ready for sheet rock in 2 1/2 weeks 2 guys sleeping in town. That cost was $28,900.00 for the Dried in Shell. I lived in a beat up trailer next to it but ir froze up solid in the winter! We jerked the wood stove out and all the fixtures and made a warm home to move into. It was sheet rocked and painted at that point nothing else except the electrical was done. Lived in it that way for a while till it warmed up to finish it. I sweat equity my last place for 9 years and sold it for a good profit and under my terms too. I was cashed out, lived there for free 6 months to get my place ready for my mobile home. They destroyed it on the way over and that was some extra money to put in the home! It also was the deciding factor now or never to build our dream place. We got it done and boy is a farm a lot of work to maintain! Glad the Daughter is taking over and keeping it. She bought up 80 more acres bordering it to make it 120 acres I can live with that spacing!
 

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Lots of good advice, etc.

My 2-cents is that if your local Gummint allows it, I would build new and get it the way you want while living in the existing house, and then raze the old place.

All design is a compromise; but renovations involve the unknown surprises that become uncovered once you start opening things up. Plus as others have said, living in a place being renovated is a pain in the butt. An acquaintance and his wife just love the starter home they bought in the 70's in Louisville, Colorado. They recently had the place gutted and an addition put on; but had to skip popping the top for higher ceilings because of the cost. They moved out for 6 - 9 months while the work was done, and were fortunate to move in with friends during that time. Because Louisville is a Boulder suburb; I hear their renovation cost $400k! :crazy::gaah: The average price of a single family home in Boulder proper is now $1.2-million; yes, you read that right.

If I could build a new 2,000 square foot place along the Front Range for $200k; I'd jump on it. Now $200k barely gets you a condo.

My suggestion while you plan is to subscribe to Fine Homebuilding and the Journal of Light Construction. These magazines are more nuts and bolts than lifestyle like Better Homes & Gardens, and Sunset are. I also enjoy Matt Risinger's videos on YouBoob. He is an Austin, Texas custom builder that is a building science geek. Granted, Texas and Michigan have vastly different climates; but a lot of his tips can be applied to colder climates I think he's got this huge custom house (~5,500 sq/ft as I recall) down to about 0.3 ACH (Air Changes per Hour) on the blower door test. I like his attitude towards craftsmanship, quality and doing right by the client.

Another suggestion is insulate, insulate, insulate. Insulation is passive and starts paying back the moment you move in. As long as it isn't compromised by water or other unwanted elements; it is maintenance free. You can't say that for HVAC equipment, solar panels, etc.

Since you are planning for the future; I've included the ADA guidelines and wheelchair information from when we had our vacant land that was going to be our last house before checkout. I cherry picked the items from the ADA that made sense for a single family home.

Minimize stairs as much as possible, and make them at least 3' wide and straight with turns.

I could go on; but I've rambled enough already.
 

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Energy seems to be a MAJOR concern, and summer AC is a big number for you,,

Our well insulated brick ranch with great windows and 24" of fiberglass attic insulation was expensive to cool in the summer,,
we added a 24" gable vent fan, and a lot of eave air inlets,,

I put a fan like this on the end of the house, and slowed the fan slightly with a larger fan pulley,,,

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002TXEC3W/?coliid=I24L5I3WX71A30&colid=2OJ3YDNER09T4&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it



Literally, our AC cost reduced by half, and the house comfort level doubled at the same time.

The local HVAC guy said I needed a BIGGER heat pump,,, :lolol::laugh::lol::mocking:

The heat pump used to run constantly on 90 degree days, now (even today at 90+ degrees) the heat pump only runs occasionally,,
the house is kept at 73 degrees all summer.

What I am saying is that there may be less drastic measures that can resolve your needs.

I HATE a mortgage, it cuts into my tractor funds WAY TOO MUCH!! :nunu:
Many people don't give their attic temp any thought at all. What they don't realize is in addition to increased cooling costs, the life of the roofing material will also be reduced. Heat is an enemy of traditional residential roofing materials.
 

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Without seeing what you have I can't recommend anything solid. When working with numbers in the construction world take an honest shot at getting your numbers as accurate and realistic as possible and when you've gone over everything forwards, backwards, inside and out, take that number and add 30%. Add-ons to a 70+ year old house are rarely surprise free. There are always hidden obstacles that will present themselves about the original build, the various homeowner diy shortcuts, etc and these will require addressing. Some will add no real cost but some can be very costly and won't be absorbed by the contractor.

New construction is more straight forward but what I find is people hugely underestimate the costs of a build (or remodel) and despite me advising them otherwise, it still happens. If I had a dollar for every time I've heard "I can't believe this cost more than we expected" I could retire.

I'd personally advise avoiding the prefab route if you decide to build due to serious issues I've run into with them here. Based on my professional observations, they are not as advertised.
 
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