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Q&A: Should I buy this handyman's special?

Q: I'm thinking of buying a 1,400-square-foot ranch home in South Jamesport. There are three bedrooms, a den, a full bathroom, a half-bath, a kitchen, a dining room and a detached one-car garage. The home has not been lived in since 1987. The bathrooms, kitchen and heating system are not in working order, and the rear deck and
front porch are in need of repair. In addition, the home had a fire, but all repairs were done to town code. Can you give me an idea of the home’s value and also the cost of renovation?

Aniello Cafiero, Bethpage

A: “Not having seen the structure, it’s difficult to make a definitive judgment on the condition or potential cost to renovate the home," says Art Connelly, a board member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and a master certified remodeler. Instead, Donnelly suggests a plan of action.

For a few hundred dollars, you can have a certified home inspector thoroughly examine the home and all of its components. This will give you a clear picture of what you’re dealing with -- especially since there was a fire and the house was vacant for so many years. Then as long as the structure is sound and the size and general layout of the home are what you’re looking for, you can proceed. “Gutting and remodeling will be more cost effective than razing and building new,” advises Donnelly. In addition, he suggests considering the "green perspective" of not placing all of that debris in your local landfill, not to mention the tax benefit of remodeling an existing home versus building new.

A good, reliable contractor can walk you through the budgeting process and provide a detailed scope of work to bring this home back to its prime, says Donnelly. Call NARI for a directory of licensed, insured and certified design/build contractors to consult. Call 631-673-6274 or e-mail for more information.

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