As some of you have heard, we have submitted plans to the city to build a new home on the property we purchased in Willamette Heights. We know that this is very upsetting to many of you, but we hope you can take a moment to understand our side of the story.
We were never asked to submit a letter of intent to the sellers of the house, as is customary for a home with so much sentimental value. However if they had asked us, we would have said that our plan was to do a massive remodel, essentially changing the layout of every floor. That said, one of the reasons we were attracted to this home is that we felt it “had good bones,” and could handle the updates. Unfortunately we drastically underestimated the level of work required to bring it up to date.
Even upon purchasing the house a $8K repair was needed for the sewer system. It turns out this was just the tip of the ice burg of the home’s problems. After more thorough inspections we learned that all the plumbing, electrical, heating, windows, foundation, and just about everything else about the home except the wood frame is shot or needs major work (and yes, we asked for multiple opinions). The house also has asbestos. Obviously asbestos is a massive concern for us.
We were shocked at the price tag for repairs and remodel, which totaled much more than we paid for the house and far, far more than it would ever be worth.
As you can imagine, we have spent a huge amount of time, effort and money trying to make this decision, and have not taken your feedback lightly. We reviewed four separate options for remodeling and spoke to more than half a dozen architects before considering new construction.
Several of you have suggested we try to sell the house, assuring us this is the smartest option. We now know that we couldn't rightfully charge what we paid for it, the house simply has too many open issues and repairs that need to be done. Sadly we know that we purchased the house as-is, and we are facing losing hundreds of thousands of dollars if we deconstruct the house...obviously we don't take this lightly. We have reached out to Jim (original owner) and offered to sell the house directly back to him, problems and all, for cost + our buying and contractor fees. We haven't heard from them, except in the comments below.
In reading this post, I wanted to correct a few things in the interest of accurate information and setting the record straight. We've had several contractors and architects look at the house, nothing about the house is historically significant, we've confirmed that, and so has the state. It's not listed on the National Historic Registry, or the Portland Historic Registry. The house was placed on the Portland Historic Resource Inventory List, this is a list of potentially significant structures, and the owner can remove themselves from the list at any time.
Regarding the house age, this is not the oldest house in the neighborhood, it's the forth. Here are the top 5:
1888 | 3151 NW Vaughn St
1890 | 3454 NW Thurman St
1892 | 3114 NW Thurman St
1892 | 1627 NW 32ND Ave
1893 | 1744 NW 32nd Ave
So what's the plan? We want the house to live on. To that end we're going to have it deconstructed and donate everything to charity so that it can be reused. In building a new home our priority will be to create one that will last another hundred years.
Thanks for listening,
Darya & Kevin