My sister and I recently inherited my grandfather’s beach cottage in Rhode Island. My parents and extended family also own several houses in the neighborhood. It’s an amazing location with 220+ degree unobstructed views of the beach, direct beach access (in fact we own a couple hundred yards of private beach), and sits next to a pond. It’s about 300 yards from the beach which is nice. In 60+ years the house the most storm damage it incurred was a single torn off roof shingle during Hurricane Sandy.
The house itself was built in the late 60’s. My grandfather maintained it well over the years but in the last few years of his life his physical abilities deterred and by the end was no longer visiting and things have fallen by the wayside. His “girlfriend’s” adult children spent a lot of time over the past couple years there (for free) but did not really do any repairs or upkeep unfortunately.
The decking absolutely needs to be replaced, or at least have considerable repairs made. There are also two bay windows that are only probably 5-6 years old but are falling apart (Home Depot garbage). Some of the wood shingle needs repairs.
Our plan is to make the necessary repairs and rent the house alongside my family’s rental houses down there. We might want to replace the 1980’s era kitchen (or at least the Formica countertops) and make a few other interior modernizations. It has an ideal position to install solar which might be worth exploring given current incentives.
Oh yeah, and when we do tear it down we’ll have to deal with the absestos flooring (currently under new flooring). I’m pretty sure the deck was painted with surplus WWII leaded naval paint. And then there was the cache of 1960’s carbon tetrachloride fire extinguishers (including the glass grenade style) we found in the garage- super toxic stuff. I’m pretty sure this stuff was banned like 40 years ago. I still need to find out where this can be disposed.
It’s incredible how costly building materials are right now. The labor is also insane in some cases- especially in this market where contractors try to take advantage of people. I got two quotes on the deck with one more than double the other. When we replaced garage doors at other houses this contractor wanted tripple everyone else because his claim to fame was he did Taylor Swifts garage doors in Watch Hill (and let’s be clear we’re not talking about $19m mansions like hers). Or perhaps the deck guy charging double just really doesn’t want the job.
I got one quote on the bay windows. The windows themselves are like $3000 x2 from Anderson, but the guy wanted $9,000 for labor. That seems excessively high.
We should probably also replace the two garage doors which are so old they’re made of wood. We have a guy for that who did the other houses. The front door has two doors, a recently replaced steel/glass security door and an original wooden framed screened door. The wood is deteriorating. And of course, the door is not a standard size. I was quoted $800 for a new door. Ridiculous.
We also probably want to install a mini-split HVAC system. Currently it has no central AC and crappy electric heat. While expensive, AC gets rid of the humidity and makes everything last longer. And if you know anything about living on the ocean, between the salt and humidity things wear out very quickly.
Also on the to-do list is to have the chimney bricks repointed. The pond also has a dock that’s in disrepair, so that should either be rebuilt or torn out for safety reasons.
I hate dealing with contractors, especially down here where many expect they can just throw out an absurd number and people will pay it.
I guess the ultimate question is how much money and work do we put into this if we’re going to rebuild it entirely in the the future- which will probably cost $500,000 minimum. We’d like to rent it out for several years before we go down that road. So we at a minimum need everything to be safe. Due to new hurricane regulations, the fact we abut federally protected land, the town’s relatively recent interest in regulating construction, new laws about water and septic systems, and the fact nothing in the existing structure is to code these days make rebuilding a very complicated and expensive. The permit approval process is also extremely slow here too.
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