Issues with buying a 1900 colonial home?

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My daughter has asked me to look at a house she's considering buying. An older couple is selling and moving to a retirement home. asking around $260,000 A couple of things I'm concerned about are the brick foundation with a dirt floor in the basement. Someone told her it would be around $5000 to pour cement. Also two of the room have tin ceilings. anything I should check? I've never even seen a tin ceiling.
I'll be seeing the house after work this week.
Thanks for any input.
Steve
Style: Colonial Color: White Total Rooms: 7 Bedrooms: 3 Full/Half/Master Baths: 1/0/No Fireplaces: 0 Grade School: Middle School: High School:
Remarks
Love at purse sight! This wonderfully maintained colonial has all the updates with yesterday's charm. Beautiful, authentic tin ceilings. Rooms have great flow, perfect for the whole family. Major updates make this home the best value for your $$. Cute yard, located on a quiet side street, yet close to shopping with a commuter friendly location.
Property Information
Approx. Living Area: 1470 sq. ft. Approx. Acres: 0.28 (12197 sq. ft.) Garage Spaces: 1 Detached Living Area Includes: Heat Zones: HW Radiators, Gas Parking Spaces: 4 Off-Street Living Area Source: Public Record Cool Zones: None Approx. Street Frontage: Living Area Disclosures:
Room Levels, Dimensions and Features
Room Level Size Features Living Room: 1 Ceiling Fans, Wall to Wall Carpet, Bay/Bow Windows Dining Room: 1 Wall to Wall Carpet Family Room: 1 Ceiling Fans, Wall to Wall Carpet Kitchen: 1 Pantry Master Bedroom: 2 Ceiling Fans, Walk-in Closet, Hard Wood Floor Bedroom 2: 2 Ceiling Fans, Wall to Wall Carpet Bedroom 3: 2 Ceiling Fans, Wall to Wall Carpet Bath 1: 1 Full Bath Laundry: 1 Pantry
Features
Appliances: Range, Dishwasher, Microwave, Washer, Dryer Area Amenities: Public Transportation, Shopping, Medical Facility, Laundromat Basement: Yes Full, Bulkhead, Sump Pump, Dirt Floor Beach: No Construction: Frame Electric: Circuit Breakers, 200 Amps Energy Features: Insulated Windows, Storm Doors Exterior: Vinyl Exterior Features: Porch, Enclosed Porch, Gutters Flooring: Wood, Vinyl, Wall to Wall Carpet Foundation Size: irreg Foundation Description: Brick Hot Water: Natural Gas Insulation: Full, Blown In, Unknown Lot Description: Paved Drive Road Type: Public, Paved, Publicly Maint. Roof Material: Asphalt/Fiberglass Shingles Sewer and Water: City/Town Water, City/Town Sewer Utility Connections: for Gas Range, for Electric Dryer, Washer Hookup Waterfront: No
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Pouring concrete is a hefty job. Probably a reasonable cost. OTOH, the house has lasted 100 years as it is. Tin ceilings were quite common way back and have a lot of character.
Buying an old house certainly brings potential problems. IMO, you also have some responsibility with it to maintain the original character. If you plan to get rid of tin ceilings for something more modern, to get rid of fancy wood trim for simple cove molding, you should buy a newer house to begin with.
Wiring, plumbing, insulation should be brought up to modern standards of course and it sounds like they have been already, especially 200A service.
Brick foundations are fairly common also. If unsure, get a pro to look at it, but there are still houses around from the 1700's with stone or brick in good condition.
I hope it works out well for you/them
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wrote:

I agree. That the house isn't on the National Register is no reason to ruin it.
I think there was an episode of Law and Order or something where they were stealing tin ceilings, because they are so popular.
A dirt floor doesn't sound so bad, but I'll bet there is a way to put in a nice firm floor that can be removed later if you or the next owner want it even more authentic.
Also, there must be a forum or more for 100 year old homes. I wish I had one like you describe.
They have negotiated a sale of the little farm that was only two blocks from me when I moved here. They used to grow corn, then just hay, maybe when the owner died. The granddaughter is ready to sell, and has contingent on the building plans going through, and I plan to go visit and ask if I can see the barn and the basement especially, and the whole farm house.

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...

BTW, did you ever go back to the thread earlier containing the discussion of Pat Head Summit and the barn? I posted a link to a couple pictures of our barn...
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No, I intended to reply but didn't see the thread again somehow. But I did look at the barn pictures. Thank you. It's beautiful. And sure does have plenty of room
In fact this little farm I refer to above is another reason I didn't think of a barn as big as yours when I heard Pat Summit on tv. Teh one near me, (and others I have seen) is 1/4 the footprint of yours and maybe one half as high. No room for a basketball court upstairs.
But I want to go look at the one near me again.
Another question I want to ask that I hadn't thought of is "How big was the farm to begin with?" There are some streets here that go back to the 60's or 50's, but they might have owned all of those originally. They might have even owned the seconddary street that my litlte street comes off of. Before my questions were going to be about architecture and buildings, but now I'm really curious about my own n'hood. I hope I can find the girl. I think I'll go by this week and leave a note on her door if she's not home. Even though it is another year or two before de- and construction starts.
Thanks for making me think of this.
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mm wrote:

I thought from your comments you might enjoy that... :) Glad you did. We're sorta' proud of it, but I can only claim to putting on the new roof and refurbishing it, had nothing to do with building it originally...

I'd say it was probably likely at least a portion was although there may have been one or more other small farm(s) as well. Back there where it actually rains :) it doesn't take the acreage to make a paying crop as it does out here. I forget where Pat was actually from, she was already coaching at UT when we moved to Knoxville area so I don't know that much detail before then. It was E TN, though, I believe. There are some pretty nice places there down the Sweetwater Valley and other areas so a decent-sized barn is surely not out of the question. There are a lot of small barns, too, of course, but certainly large enough is not rare there.
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...
$260k!!! Where is this? Seems like $100k house to me but, of course, not located (nor have ever lived near) a major metro area. Still, that seems awfully high.
If the house shows no signs of settling or other problems such as water, etc., and the brick itself appears in good shape I'd not be concerned overly much w/ the brick foundation. Fairly common for the period. Nothing particular that I'd consider looking at re: the tin ceilings--it was a very common decorative finish for the period. It is, in fact, much in demand again for restoration so you'll want to keep it.
If there isn't much sign of water in the basement, probably won't gain much by pouring a slab. Either way, it's unlikely to be more than what it is for space.
I'd recommend an independent inspection from somebody you hire, probably not somebody recommended by the realtor showing the property. Sounds as though it has been pretty well updated, but unless you're capable of telling, you want somebody to ensure there aren't structural issues underneath a cosmetic layer.
But, if it's a well-constructed house and shows sign of proper maintenance over the the years, there's nothing really wrong w/ a house of the age. This house was built in '14 and has been upgraded throughout and is far better construction, overall, than most new homes. It was, however, built on a poured concrete basement/ foundation walls.
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dpb wrote:

Defo needs an independent inspector. A qualified one.
Daughter is a babe in the woods in this situation. You would be better served by not having the responsibility of a bad decision on your shoulders.
Jim
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I would only be the first walkthrough inspection. I already told her she needs an independent inspector to look the house over if I don't find any major problems. The house is in southern Massachusetts and $260,000 is cheap in this area! I've tried to tell her not to fall in love with any house but she's 24 and has no patience. She has been looking for 3 - 4 weeks now and this is the first one they would even consider...
Thanks For the input!
Steve
wrote:

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wrote:

Sometimes I look 3-4 weeks for socks.
Although I picked this house after 2 1/2 days. Beautiful stream and woods just past the back yard, which I didn't think was possible in my price range.
Although in Baltimore it probably is. Lots of hills. My friend and my girlfriend both have streams at the edge of their back yards, and my brother in Dallas. But mine is very much the prettiest.
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Where are you? That house in CT can vary from $250,000 to over $1,000,000 in the right neighborhood. Actually, in Greenwich the lot alone would fetch close to 7 figures. For the $100k you are talking about, I'd expect a two room cabin.
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wrote in message

Location, location, location. New England housing prices are right up there with SF bay and Hawaii in absurdity. I have a cousin that bought a 1949 house of similar size, not too far from there, for 400k.
Meanwhile, back here in the real world of flyover country, houses of that age (OPs or my cousins) and size go for 75k to 200k, depending on neighborhood and condition. Except that the neighborhood near my office now requires window bars and sidearms, I could buy 2000 sq ft 1900-1920 demi-mansions, those 2 1/2 story victorians or bricks piles that are basically cubes, for under 80k, all day long. 90 years ago it was where the rich people lived. Now, not so much.
The ONLY way housing prices in bubble areas will ever get back to reality, is if people (and employers) start voting with their feet and going elsewhere. It has been starting to happen in California, the last few years. No, wait- there is another way- if the economy goes in crapper, and all those employers go belly up, and suddenly people can't make the nut on their mortgages from hell. Hell of a ride if you get out near the top, but you don't wanna be holding the bag when the bottom falls out.
aem sends....
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If you are at retirement age and willing to move, you can sell that New England house and live well in the middle of Nebraska or Arkansas, etc. .

On my way to work I pass a new house being offered for sale for $385,000 with no money down. I cannot imagine buying something of that magnitude if I don't have at least 15%. This is not a "starter home" at that price.
As for the employers, some are giving college grads 6 figure salaries and signing bonuses. In my next like I'm going to be a banker or something on Wall Street.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

That's not a "starter home" around here; that's a shack. (DC area.) Or a really small condo. It's all a matter of perspective.
nate
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replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
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wrote:

Well, in Manhattan it would be 8 or 9 figures. :)

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Obviously, not in the NE nor West Coast! Middle of flyover country, of course, where one can actually see both the sky _and_ the ground! :)
The closest I ever was stuck to metro area has been in E TN not too far from Knoxville. In the time were there they managed to pave over almost the entire western half of Knox County and prices were approaching such insanity... :(
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In most of NJ you cant get a decent house in a good area for less than $350k!!! In certain towns that same house wouse sell for $450k!

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My advice - don't pour a cement floor in the basement. Some moron poured a floor in my 200 year old stack-stone, dirt floor basement about 75 years ago, and all it did was settle, crack (so it's only a partial floor now), and shift. Makes it much harder for the sump pump to do it's job, and it made the ceiling even lower. In the cement parts, there's barely 6' of clearance, so DH has to be very careful doing any work down there. My advice with an old house - if it ain't broke, don't break it. In this instance, "fixing" things, or upgrading them, really means breaking them. As always, however, YMMV.
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On Sun, 29 Apr 2007 09:01:47 -0400, <h> wrote:

Have a septic inspection, look carefully at the roof and siding, check out the well and the chimney, and look for rot around the sill. Everything else is cosmetic.
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snipped-for-privacy@mail.uri.edu says...

Almost everything else is cosmetic, but some old construction practices can cause a bit of stomach-churning when you discover them during a remodel.
My 1901 Dutch-Colonial Revival has had a few of those. Like no headers over ground-floor picture windows -- the load from the second floor was simply spread across the shiplap sheathing to the studs alongside the windows. And no real rim joists, the floor joists were apparently held square during construction with more of the same shiplap sheathing on the ends. Survived a number of earthquakes and a broken foundation despite these defects. That old shiplap was amazingly versatile material, no?
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snipped-for-privacy@phred.org is Joshua Putnam
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