Thursday, May 29, 2014

House Update

It was over a year ago, on May 19th, that we pulled into the driveway of a foreclosure to check it out. Oliver and I officially looked at it on May 21 and it was a couple of days later that we put an offer in on the house.

What ensued next was a lot of back and forth negotiations, learning what items needed to be repaired/remedied in order to bring the house to code with the village and get a certificate of occupancy. Lots of hair pulling, stress and 6 months later we got to close and move in.

I wrote about how the previous homeowner had taken out permits and finished the barn but never had it inspected and closed out the permits.  Once these open permits were discovered by the village and the barn was inspected, we were told that the barn didn't meet code. All that pretty barn-wood siding inside needed to come off and sheet rock needed to replace it. That discovery just a few weeks before we were supposed to originally close is what delayed us from moving in 3 months.

The barn is what we didn't know about going into the purchase of our home, but it was the one thing that the village required we remedy before a certificate of occupancy would be issued. The other items: repairing a dormer, bringing the back porch to code and bringing the finished basement to code were known but they went to the backburner when the barn violations were brought to light.

Our basement is large and we currently use the space(s) as a media room, play room, guest room and workout room. We knew we wanted to keep it as a finished space. It's too valuable, so we had to bring it to code.

Once the barn was completed and to code we were able to close and move in. But, it was winter and the other items had to wait until the ground thawed in the spring.

Que spring....

Once the ground thawed, our contractor was back to bring the back porch and finished basement to code. The porch just needed new footings poured.
holding up the porch/patio until the new footings are poured.

We learned from our neighbor that our house had two identical porches in the back and one collapsed, which we know was because it wasn't built properly. Crazy thing is, both porches were built with really nice and expensive materials, crazy that the previous homeowner wouldn't build them correctly. The porch that fell down was replaced with some crazy and hastily built brick paver and pea gravel insanity when the house fell into foreclosure. That is on our list to remove and replace with an identical porch to the one already back there. It's just going to have to wait.
The crazy-tacky homeowner special patio - how I loathe you.

The other code violation was a much bigger issue. The basement had been finished by the previous homeowner without permits. In NY, you cannot have a finished basement without a required amount a daylight and windows large enough for a fireman with equipment to fit through. The basement as finished had the typical, small rectangle windows only a cat could fit through.

Once it warmed up and the ground thawed our contractor began the work of putting in windows to code. It meant excavating and then opening up the basement to install windows that are to code.
Digging out around the foundation to install the larger windows.

Excavating the area to install larger basement windows.
 
Before the window is installed. 

The first part of the work was all done outside. The last week or so was done inside. Of course, spring in the northeast means lots of rain so the project was delayed and delayed due to weather - we didn't really want a huge hole into our basement with the rain pouring in.

For the most part this project is complete. We have to have a dehumidifier and air purifier installed in the basement that is vented outside. We are also ordering clear, plastic guards to cover the retaining wall on the outside. We worry the kids or dogs could fall into the hole. We also have to replace some of the ceiling tiles.

The basement doesn't feel like a basement anymore and there is so much light. I was indifferent to the project and kind of thought it was a requirement that was a waste of money, but now I am very happy that the windows are in.


We hope to sheetrock this room and hopefully once I am finished weeding and mulching the bed outside this window this room will have a more pleasant view.

Now, it's on to organizing the space. We neglected doing anything much down there because we knew we would be dealing with this project and the dust that came with it. I'm looking forward to getting some storage down there and making it a inviting place for the kids to play, to watch movies and as a guest room. Add it to the list....

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