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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a customer that has explained that her old house (built in the 20's) has a full bath in the basement and half bath on the main floor. It is a single story home. This house has three rooms. Living, bedroom, kitchen one behind the other. She said that her mortgage company does not consider her house to be of legal stature because of no full bath on the main floor. She wants to refinance but it can not be done until this bath is converted. I told her I would look into this but have come up empty. I am willing to do the conversion for her. My background includes basement finishing and some kitchens so far. I want to come back to her with some answers. Any help would be appreciated.
 

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Certain elements must be present or they are not considered (habitable)homes. Sames goes with certain rooms inside the house.

Fill out your profile incuding area and you may get some great info from posters close to you.

Also go to the intro section introduce yourself (trade, how long, etc.)

Welcome to CT
 

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Welcome to the Forum and nice introduction

Okey a few observations.

1 This is a job that you personally want
1.1 it will give you experience that many other clients would not let you do on their dime.
1.2 it is a challenging project and a good test to you to see if you can make it work

2 This is alot like college. you will "pay" for this education (some may give good advise and tell you to walk away, others will give you a bunch of BS and tell you not to walk away, and a few will be happy to help you with the details or help you steer a safe course, what you do depends on how much you are willing to risk in order to learn about this on your own)

2.1 you will pay because she is likely short on budget (here is why i think that)
2.11 she lives in a tiny old house
2.12 she is looking to refinance badly
2.121 she is willing to modify her home to get it done
2.13 is she able and willing to pay the upfront costs of this project
2.131 if she is not the project will get dragged out
2.132 she will try and cut corners that Should not be cut even on the most "fair" job

Advise you may want to draw up an agreement where by you get paid by the mortgage lender before or at closing. (learning to pull all interested parties in together and write up agreements that work is more important than learning how to hang drywall, Put that business management major to use:thumbsup:)


2.2 you will pay because you must learn what makes an "approved bath" and this takes some time to learn and more importantly why you need things (this is like school you are paying to learn and you will be highly motivated to get it right a your Grade is in your pocket book)

2.3 you will pay because there will be things that you forget to include in your scope of work.

This is the cost of learning on your own rather than working for someone to learn the benefit is It is yours. (Read everything you can)

There is a lot more but this is a start.

Good Luck
Craig
 

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Charimon-great post!

That's a refreshing way to look at a nightmare project for an ambitious newbie!
 

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I agree with Charimon. Starting out young is tough. You simply cannot replicate years of experience.

However, I was once in the same boat (although I started when I was 19)

I subbed out pretty much everything at the beginning and learned from the guys who knew what they were doing. I was lucky as some of the trades I used were people I grew up with and therefore they were happy to teach me a thing or two.

Just realize that you are going to make mistakes. Just try not to make them twice!!
 

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Good advice there. One further point I would make - make sure you get money down, and then in stages. I tell customers that I am in the contracting business, not the financing business.

Here's a good rule to go by - never let anyone get into you for more money than you are willing to loose. That will keep you safe, financially.

Best of luck, go for it!
 

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Thanks for the feedback everyone.

Newday,
for a while I thot you weren't going to show up. did you take the project? let us know what is going on.

Craig
 

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Thanks for the great advice! Does anyone have a good source for what constitutes a habitable residence in Kentucky?
Talk to the mortgage company that is involved, the local building department, go to the library and read the building code book that Kentucky complies with or best yet, talk to a knowledgeable architect.

When dealing with the client, if money is an issue and you want to take the chance, as pointed out above draw up a contract that pays you the balance that the owner can't when the refinance goes through. Be sure and get at least enough so you don't get totally shafted if it doesn't go through.

Use a good architect or designer to make up the plans for the project. If there isn't a full bath then it's more than likely some interior or possibly some exterior remodeling might be required to get the room to have a full bath. If you're in an area that requires a permit they will probably require plans also.

If it's a half bath there should be a toilet. If there's a toilet the stack should be big enough to accommodate a shower or tub and the waste line should be large enough so that won't need to be replaced with a new one, unless it's cast iron and is so old that it's crumbling.

To sum up make sure the client has some skin in the game in one form or another (nothing prurient meant by that comment). If you do the work with the provision that you will get paid a certain amount when the house is refinanced be sure and phrase it so that if the house is not refinanced for any reason that you still get paid. Work with a professional to draw up the contract, especially the parts that deal with the final payment, and as pointed out above, use good subs on the parts you don't have a handle on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
As for now, the project is on hold until after the holidays. The client is a friend of my mother. We have talked about what is expected if we are to go forward. I'll give you guys an update once things settle down after Christmas. Thanks again for the great advice. I have another good one for you all coming soon!! Happy Holidays!!
 
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