Yay!! Last night I finally upgraded my cable to HDTV with DVR. By the time I got the new box home and hooked up it was getting late. But I just *had* to find a show to set for recording before I staggered off to bed. I saw the [repeated] first episode of this show on the program guide - the 1:30 a.m. showing - and chose it.
It's the episode with the young couple who bought the 3 story + basement Victorian and remodeled the basement into a 1 BR apartment. Watched it just now with my morning coffee. I so agree with the comments upthread about the show host/contractor's failure to build a contingency in to his $20,000 remodeling estimate. He's supposed to be in the business of creating legal rental units in older buildings/homes in that town and doesn't build into his pricing any room for potential wiring, plumbing or similar problems in a Victorian house? As noted in the discussion, maybe the show was edited to provide some drama, but given the couple's obvious stress when told they needed to pay another $2000, I sure believed they hadn't been counseled to budget a contingency/overrun amount.
As to why the HOs rejected the option to turn the basement and first floors into a rental and live in the top two floors, I also got both their concern over the additional cost and their desire to retain access to their back yard. In the opening scenes, they told the contractor/host that when they bought the house, it consisted of a separate living unit on each floor, and they have been busy remodeling to turn floors 1 - 3 back into a single family home. So it seemed natural to me that they would be totally taken aback by his suggestion to turn the place into essentially a vertical duplex. Living on the top two floors was just so not on their radar and so totally different from their whole concept of what that house was about.
This contractor/host is young and cute and articulate, but I'm suspending judgment for now on whether he's just a smooth talking BS-er. On this show he confidently told the HOs their chosen remodel would cost $20K and didn't warn them to budget for contingencies, although of course he said later on that you never know what you might find when you start remodeling a house as old as that one. Of course, that was after the demo had disclosed the scary wiring.
And his financial analysis for the project was based on a rental of $X per month, flatly stated, no allowances for a lesser amount. Just easy-peasy, it's $X and you get your remodeling money back in two years. But they rented for significantly less than that, and the show didn't explain why. That was a jolt.
Thanks for the info about the Toronto rental situation, anaximander
. I intend to watch future episodes of this show and it will be more interesting with the background you've provided.
ETA: I did wonder about why the homeowners could have done enough remodeling upstairs in that house to turn 3 separate living units back into a single family home, without having an electrical inspection or having brought in a professional electrician. Or if they did, how could an inspector or an electrician have missed the bad state of that wiring? Sure, they wouldn't have seen the stuff revealed when the basement ceiling was demo'd, but surely the upstairs wiring would have suggested there were problems? It's hard to know with the limited info provided by this episode. But the host did say that the "whole house" had been rewired, not just the basement, after the problems were discovered. It does appear that this remodeling project may have averted a house fire and in that sense the remodel was money well spent.
Edited by Suz at Large, Jan 21, 2009 @ 9:01 AM.