Possibly impossible-to-answer question about fixing up a house

Suppose you see a 1000 square foot, 2 bedroom house with the following characteristics:

The floors are rotting, warped plywood. Entire floor needs replacing.
There are holes in the wall. As in, literally, places you can see right through the walls to the outside.
The windows have no glass. Just boards.
There is mold on every wall of every room.
There is wiring ripped out of the wall.

I’d guess (and it would be a complete guess) that such a house would take far more than $15,000 to fix up to livable conditions.

Is my guess likely correct?

ETA: I mean, I know nothing about the topic, but upon having seen the house in question, my instinct was that the thing would simply have to be torn down and a new one built from scratch.

in your description i would say definitely yes unless you were getting some materials and labor free.

your description of rot probably means framing is also damaged.

$15,000 doesn’t go very far in fixing up a house that’s in decent shape. A kitchen renovation can easily suck all that up. You’re looking at a lot of money to make that house livable.

No way can you do that for $15K unless you’re doing it yourself, you’re getting a huge discount on materials, and appliances are free. Even getting an inspector in to certify the house mould free is expensive.

If the floor is rotting, the floor joists probably are too, and you need to replace those. That right there is a few thousand.

Replacing five typical bedroom windows in our house (with nice windows, granted) costs $11K, and that’s a deal.

Don’t forget the cost of professional services to do electrical and any plumbing you need. Unless you know an electrician, that’ll be a few thousand as well.

Say you put carpet down - we did 800 square feet in our basement this past spring. We bought the carpet at a discount warehouse and talked the salesman into selling the underlay for a 15% discount. My husband and his uncle (who installs carpets) installed it over two days. It still cost us $3000.

It adds up very fast. The most cost effective things we’ve done involve walls - moving or erecting. The drywall, mudding, taping and frame aren’t that expensive for materials, and we did it ourself or had a friend do it for us (mudding and taping - NOT something you want to do yourself if you don’t know how). The most expensive has been flooring and a tile shower (the shower was about $1100 in materials and we did it ourself) and we haven’t touched the kitchen yet.

Sounds like a scraper to me. As in scrape it off and start from scratch.

Mold issues are big. I would suspect that all drywall needs to be gutted and replaced. Lysol ain’t gonna do it. All insulation may need to be replaced.

Holes to the outside? The whole house will probably need to be resided.

That’s just a start. 15 g is not going to do it. From your description, even with free labor, it wouldn’t even put a dent in it.

Your instincts are good-- trust them on this.

Tear it down.

The property would probably be worth more, if someone tore the house down first.

By the time you replace the hopelessly rotted parts you might as well have torn the whole house down. Tear down and replace is the only viable option.

Unless said house is in one of the poorer neighborhoods of Mogadishu or Pyongyang…

Raize it. Rebuild.

It’s easier to replace wall board than it is to patch holes. If the ceilings are intact then you would have to rent a dumpster and pull the wallboard and flooring up. Just to give you an idea of the volume, I replaced a bathroom recently that consisted of removing all the wallboard, flooring, entire hallway wall, outside window, water lines, sewer lines, and all fixtures. It took (2) 4’ x 8’ trailer loads to hall away.

Wallboard is relatively cheap and if your sub-floor is in good shape then all you need is the finished layer. That is more expensive than wallboard and time consuming if it has to be prepped for vinyl.

From a cost perspective you would be better off gutting the house yourself and pricing out either all the wall board or the finishing work. It’s relatively easy to put the board up yourself. If you’re not good at mudding then expect a lot of personal labor on this (A LOT). The actual cost of materials is basic math. You’ll have to measure out what needs to be done.

All that aside, a 2-bedroom house is not something I would sink money in unless it was some cute little bungalow in a really nice neighborhood. It would have to have something going for it like a spacious garage. 1000 SF is small. If you can picture it looking nice and it’s not something you would want then nobody else wants it either.

That is not a fixer-upper, it’s a burn 'er-downer.

If it was purely interior issues with no water damage and mold I’d say you might be able to revamp the interior at a reasonable price, if you did a lot of the work yourself - gut it down to the studs, rewire & replumb, insulate and sheetrock. I’ve done a lot of that work in my house and while it’s not free many of the materials are quite inexpensive and if you have decent DIY skills and some helpers it’s not terribly challenging. That wouldn’t get you a finished house, it’d get you a house that is ready to be finished (flooring, paint, appliances, etc).