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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
since we have the little one on the way, we decided to restart our home search. we are buying conservatively based on our income (total monthly payment 650 to 800 a month; house 90-105k depending on taxes). we are planning on an FHA loan and that could create a few speed bumps. most of the houses are between 70-50 years old, at least in our price range.

most of the houses in the area have oil heat :( mostly hot water baseboard or radiator. may be something we have to deal with.

we looked at a nice place in a great neighborhood today. probably has the best (potential) resale value after some updating. needs updates to the kitchen, and I love the opportunity to make this a sweet cooks kitchen. as long as it passes inspection, all it should need is some carpet on the second floor. but other than that is "move in ready". the biggest issue i have seen is with this particular house is electricity.

what would it cost to upgrade from a 100 amp to something beefier? i have stats (sizes) for all rooms, if needed for this estimation. i know the cost could vary greatly by region , but we need a ballpark est. from a non-biased source to craft a good asking price.

house is 1700 sq. ft, 4 bed rooms (includes finished attic), family room, dining room, kitchen.
 

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Oil heat sucks, but pretty common on the east coast. Would cost a lot to replace it though especially if its baseboard and you want central air. Difficult to run duct work for something already built. Baseboard hot water isnt too bad. Biggest issue is not much air movement and no filtering.

Here its around $1100-1500 to upgrade 100amp to 200amp service for a straight forward upgrade. If its an older house (pre ground wire for every device) it would be a lot more since everything would have to be updated to current code first.
 

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If you aren't running electric to HVAC, I wouldn't worry about upgrading the electrical.

Gizmo is right, you would have to do a lot if you don't have a grounded system. I have heard you can put GFCI's in EVERY outlet instead of getting new 12/2 or 14/2 with ground run everywhere. But even that is expensive. Unless you want to pull all the wires yourself, its going to be a very costly job. That's great bargaining power though when it comes down to making an offer or getting them down after an inspection.

Now is the time to get houses on the cheap. I bought my house in foreclosure a few years ago and did EXTENSIVE kitchen work. My monthly payments are below $500 and its only 2600sf 4/3.25 with an oversized 2 car on a double lot. :D :D Look hard enough and be willing to do A LOT of work and you can get what you want for cheap.
 

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Like Giz said, oil heat and base boards is a lousy way to heat a house. My house in up state NY always had rooms that stayed cold.

The age of the home is going to cause a lot of grief unless the present owners have already brought the electric wiring up to code. The cost of wires alone is going to be sky high considering the price of copper these days. Bringing the service up to 100 or 200 volts is going to dictate the wire size (14/3 or 12/3 depending).

Either way, you are looking a a large pile of money.

If the house is not already wired for grounds at every outlet, I think I'd pass on this one and keep looking.
 

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I hate to be a wet blanket but are you sure you are ready to buy a house? I recall all the back and forth posts about jobs from you on this board. With a kid on the way, you are going to have a lot of unseen extra bills and not a lot of extra time to be working on a fixer upper. Plus, with home ownership there is always something that needs fixing. At least when renting the landlord has to fix it. You know what you can afford but I can tell you you need to prepare for worse case situations. When I was unemployed 4 months with only my unemployment check and my wifes's salary, we barely scraped by. It was difficult to say the lease. Fortunately that was before the economy went to hell. If there is any uncertainty in your job future, you need to consider other options even as much as you don't like the idea.

The best advice I can give you when looking for a house is decide what you can afford. (don't let the banks decide for you) Then find a good real estate agent to start looking for homes in that category. Once you start looking, get pre approved for a loan so you can make an offer if you like a place. They can find you exactly what you want and save you a ton of effort.
 

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i don't know about PA, but here in CT the gas company will do the change over from oil to gas for free, as long as you sign an contract with them, check with your local gas company
 

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run the heat on home made bio-diesel or WVO or????
if you can find a sorce for it or some alt fuel say WVO or mabe used auto trans oil :idea:
yes its very very time consuming to make bio versus WVO, but bio diesel can handle cold temps WAY BETTER then WVO.
so for WVO you would need to spend some on electricity just to heat the oil so it can used after its filtered.

realistically you would just about need to dedicate the garage or a small building to doing it, to keep the oil heated in the winter. :(
there's no way the tank could be out side, it would not flow out of it.

this system is a bit over kill but he did a very good job on it. he makes WVO not bio diesel
http://www.isuzupup.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=13361&sid=05915a40b3b52251b45ebd8ffba2fe29
he runs his isuzu pup on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for all the insight! Haven't checked back at this post in awhile.

We have since decided to skip the fixer-upper. looking at 8 more properties today. we now have our narrowed our search to mainly houses with natural gas heat. also avoiding places that need major work (upgrades that can be done over time are OK).

@cronk. my current job is locked in for another 5 years. i have an interview for a promotion that would bump my pay substantially, and lock me into a (different) contract for 3 years.

we have considered all of the pros/cons of buying, and the benefits definitely outweight the costs. renting a house or apt. in a safe neighborhood is not cheap in this area :( most places are dumps, and not suitable for small children. nicer places are few and far between, and rental costs for these places outrageous (over 1k a month). we pay about 950 p/m, not including utilities. in the price range of houses we are looking at (around 100k), our mortgage etc. will be less around 750 (max). we will be able to save more money in both short and long term. we have met with a mortgage lender, and we are definately buying conservative based on our incomes. Edit* we also have second jobs until about april of next year that were not considered in our good faith estimates. these calc. were all based on my current salary, and dont even consider my new salary should I get this promotion.... best to underestimate than overestimate.

we are also focusing on neighborhoods with the best resale potential. also looking at best neighborhoods for renting, should we decide to use the property for this purpose in the future...perhaps not the most likely scenario, but a consideration none the less.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
no wet blankets here, any advice is good advice :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
WOAH dodged a bullet there.

Out buying of a house was in response to my promotion (which I did receieve). Of course, we had no intentions of making an offer without hearing back about this promo. During my interview, they gave me the option of working out of pittsburgh...a location that is equidistant to my family/my wife's family, perfect during her pregnancy.

Needless to say, we backed-off on buying a house (anywhere) for the time being. Thank you for all the good insight, though. We learned alot about real estate, both the pitfalls and the promise. A few years from now, we will be in a much better position when we go to buy!

The other up-side to this is I can now upgrade to a newer isuzu (see Classifieds).
 
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