It appears that there are pleanty of others in this situation, whether it be intentional or not. We just bought our first home. We bought it super cheap, knowing there would be a lot of work that needed to go into it. We had no problem buying a "handiman special. However after being inside I now am utterly daunted by the amount of work that needs to be done.

The House: Built (roughly) in the 1920's. Solid structure. HUGE. currently a triplex, used to be a duplex. Mirrored image split down the center. Very little yard. In a small borough. Has been vacant for a minimum of 4 years (according to neighbors).

Issues/Plans for the house: Old slate shingle roof that is missing parts. Major water damage. I cannot even explain the scariness of walking into this. Pictures may not even do justice. One side is almost destroyed. The other needs a lot of work but is in much better condition than the other. One room on the first side is covered in black mold. All drywall and flooring needs replaced. Ceiling tiles have already fallen down. Ceilings in this room (used to be a bedroom, currently a "kitchen"), the bathroom, and part of another bedroom have collapsed. Attic needs gutted and refinished on both sides. Downstairs the kitchen needs gutted. All new drywall, ceiling, everything. Except flooring. The "Good" side needs the kitchen worked on, walls and flooring in at least 2 bedrooms. And the bathroom ceiling has also collapsed. This house has solid hardwood floors throughout on both sides. Amazingly these appear to be in fairly good shape, they just need refinished. The wooden roof is 1 1/2in board with slate shingle. The electrical, water/sewage lines, and gas lines need replaced though the whole house. Basement is partially cement floor, partially earth floor with low ceilings. The ceilings in the rest of the downstairs on both sides are 10ft, 2 1/2in high. 3 chimneys, all packed full. Boiler heat, probably also in need of repair or replacement. The plan for this house is to initially fix one side and move in while working on the other, then open it up to create one large house with a giant kitchen and bathroom, a dining room, a den, a playroom, a living room, 6 bedrooms, a second (much smaller)full bath, a half bath, and a finished attic.

Starting Point: We have a contractor starting on the roof within 3 weeks. The roof in being done in phases. The back half that is missing the most shingles and has the most damage is getting done first and he is going to repair the front with saved slate shingles. The front half will be broken into 2 or 3 phases as there are many gables and it is very high and very steep. While the contractor does that we are doing demolition and cleaning. Taking out all unsalvageable materials and cleaning with bleach and what we call "kill all" (this has worked for us on black mold before wonderfully). We are able to salvage some big pieces such as counter top and shower from one side to put in the other. Next comes the electic and other utilities. We will also be doing some cosmetic work on the exterior such as repainting trim and such. Oh, and it appears to be an asbestos siding but we aren't 100% sure.

Now for how you can help! At the moment we are looking for money and time saving tips to get at least one side liveable. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I would not turn down any encouraging words as well!

About us : We are a young couple (25) who have been married 2 1/2 years and have 5 children, 3 who live with us full time. We both work full time and aren't afraid to put work into this house, but seeing how much it needs at this point I'm almost at a loss of where to begin!