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Well, you don't *have* to do all this right now...

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Joined: Apr 5 2003

The one bit of advice that I can give is "not all of this may need to be done now, and some of this may just never need to be done." (On the other hand, if you've got the cash and really want to gut the place and redo everything, then go crazy!)

If you made this list because of the statements of your home inspector when you were buying, remember that many of these problems are merely the attributes of a 40-50 year old home. There's no law that says you have to make these changes, and your friends probably won't hate you if the second bathroom has 1970's avocado tile and a couple of dents caused by a previous owner's teenager.

Depending on your tolerance for imperfection or (in some cases) squalor, you can probably space out some of the projects over several years. For example, you can fix one bathroom nicely, and do the bare minimum on the other to keep it functioning until you redo it in 5-10 years (or leave the project for the next owner.) Most stories about renovating sound like this -- we buy a house that's not perfect because we might not have been able to afford the place in perfect shape. The exceptions usually involve folks doing renovations because they want the perfect environment and gut the place.

From your list, here's my suggestions:

Complete electrical update with new panel ($10K)
There's plenty of houses out there with 60 and 100 amp service in the Bay Area. Some 1930's houses still have 40 amp service panels, and have no hope of getting an electric dryer in there at all. 100 amp may seem underpowered to your home inspector, but you might find that there's no problems using the existing panel with your usage. Personally, I'd love a couple more circuits in our garage, but I'm willing to wait a few years.

New roof with foam insulation ($15K).
If the roof's leaking, or if you're worried about the roof, this is worthwhile. Leaks in an Eichler just aren't fun -- if you've got a flat roof, you can't put a tarp over the problem area, and water stains can't easily be hidden on interior wood. If the roof is not in great shape but ok, you may be able to just do minimal maintenance and keep it for a few years. If you do the foam roof, you'll seriously want to consider any improved electrical work that needs to go on the roof -- burying existing conduit, ceiling fixtures, etc. I wouldn't worry about the roof if you want to run extra phone lines or network cables -- it's easy enough to run these around the perimeter of the house.

new radiant heat with new boiler to replace existing cheap-looking 1970's baseboards ($15K); slate tiles installed ($15K).
Yeah, it would be nice, but if you're having to run new radiant heat, then you'll be raising the floor level, replacing flooring, replacing walls, replacing bathrooms, etc -- it pretty much ensures you're gutting the house. At least you can do this at some point in the future -- baseboard heat may be ugly, but at least the house is still habitable. Maybe there's something you can do to make this less offensive in the short term -- repaint the baseboard to hide any rust or scratches, attach some interesting sheet metal to make it look better to your eyes, etc.

Replacing all original glass to double paned saftey glass ($20K)
The home inspector probably made a big deal of this, but remember that most of your neighbors still have original glass in their windows -- this isn't critical. (Of course, you'd probably need to do it if you raised the fllors...) If you're worried about safety, you might try less costly alternatives such as plastic films or Great Eichler Windows plexiglass. Otherwise, you might change your insurance policy to waive the deductible for glass damage and make sure they'll pay for code improvements, and just replace panes if they ever get broken. Considering that every pane in our 40 year old house is regular glass, there's probably little risk. Our neighbor's advice was to put something on the windows (post-its, adhesive stickers) during wild parties so no one walked through a sliding glass door.

Painting indoor and outdoor ($10K).
This would be higher on my list just so I could see immediate changes and feel like the house is mine. Luckily, we were pretty happy with the existing color.

Changing automatic garage door to Eichler-looking automatic garage door ($3500)
Nice project unconstrained by any other feature -- you can do this whenever you want, and wait for either (1) a cheap contractor to show up, or (2) a less-intelligent neighbor to remove their original doors when they gut their house.

2 bathroom remodels ($20K each)
kitchen remodel ($50K)
Again, as long as you're not raising floor levels, you can probably do these at your leisure. You might want to do at least a bit of planning on these as you do other work. If you redo electrical, make sure there's enough circuits for future work on the bathroom. If you redo the bathroom before you do floors, make sure to choose a color scheme that will work with future flooring for the rest of the house.

When we bought our place, we definitely needed to redo the roof, but didn't have the cash for electrical work. We're starting to consider redoing flooring, but we'll need to work around the existing 1980's kitchen and two bathrooms that were tiled in colors that won't match our choice for the common area. We can choose a color that will work with the kitchen colors, but I wish the previous owners had chosen colors for the bathrooms that better matched the rest of the house.
My two cents,

Robert