My husband and I bought our house six years ago when we were in our
twenties. Boy were we stupid. We had an inspector here for three hours and
are a ton of things he didn't notice and neithor did we. The couple things
did pick up on were that there is some leaning problems but we all figured
was not a big deal and was kind of expected for an older home (built
1900). What we didn't realize until my husband and I were expecting some
was that someone at some point cut the main support beam that runs the
the house (ya know that big huge one that is suppose to help support the
floor) and never resupported it. So, it has shifted about an inch and a
also noted that we needed to update our electric box because it was old.
didn't notice until it was to late is that one breaker on the box controls
of the house. We have a detached garage that if you turn off one of the
switches pops the breaker for the living room. And, speaking of the living
it is powered by an elctrical cord that was perhaps once a lamp cord. Yep,
somewhere someone cut the real electic cord and spliced it to this (lamp)
that is plugged into a normal old everday plug. If you unplug it the whole
living room again goes dark.
All this brings me to our problem. My husband wants to sell the house
will not sell it the way it is. Not to mention we probley wouldn't even
we owe on it. We have a great yard in a town that real yards are hard to
still think that is what we paid for). However we are located directly
red light on a main street. See what I mean about stupid?? I really do not
selling is our answer. We are debating tearing the whole house apart and
remodeling EVERYTHING but I am wondering if it might be cheaper to just
down and rebuild. While we do live pretty comfortably we are not rich by
means and I have no idea how we would go about doing eithor. We could
save the money in about five to ten years but I'm not sure if it is safe
that long. We live in central PA if that info helps with anything. I would
greatly appreciate any advice anyone could give. Thank you all so much!
My 2 cents: It's cheaper to build new, than to renovate. In you're situation
you'll probably lose money regardless, at least in the short run. Some years
ago I gutted a small 1910 house, replaced all the plumbing and electrical,
windows, and sheetrock. I left the exterior alone. The job really wasn't too
expensive, but you really need to leave the house while the work is being
On May 21, 10:04 pm, mrandmrsweibel1_at_aol_dot email@example.com
Get some professional help. Make a list of all the things you know of
that are major problems. Then hire an architect with structural
engineering skills or access to a firm that has such staff. You will
have to pay for the comprehensive survey of the structure, and than
sit down with the experts and prioritize the problems. Include all the
options, full or partial teardown, staged renovation, whatever. Your
advisors will have some good (not exact) estimates of current costs
and time involved.
There is no way that people in this NG can help very much with your
situation. There are well qualified experts and even some pros that
lurk here who can advise on parts and pieces of the difficulties, but
you need more than DIY help. It may even be helpful to talk to a CPA
or accountant for a clear unbiased judgement on whether to fix, sell,
tear or down. Good luck.
I certainly hope the main beam has been repaired.
You have some homework to do. Sounds like it need major upgrades in
electrical, possibly plumbing and perhaps more. One advantage to remodeling
is that it can be done in stages making the money aspect easier.
You have to gather some information first. Evaluate the overall house.
Would you want to live there if it is upgraded? Does the present layout of
the house suit your needs? What NEEDS to be done and how soon? Electrical,
plumbing, insulation, heating system, roof, windows. These upgrades will up
the value and make the house more saleable.
List the other options.
Build a new house with typical framing
Built a very energy efficient house with ICF's or SIPS.
Put a factory build house in the same spot
Build a new house while living in the old one
Live in a trailer on the property until work is done
Check local regulations. Any restrictions in the neighborhood on size or
style? The wrong style house will not have the same value as one more
No one here can make the final decision. You need to do some evaluation and
soul searching before you commit to anything. You must also have the
financing in place too. Consider having a professional inspect the house
too, to evaluate the oveall condition so see if it is worth saving. You may
be liging is a charming historical house of great value.
On Sat, 22 May 2010 03:04:32 +0000,
mrandmrsweibel1_at_aol_dot firstname.lastname@example.org (mrnmrsweibel1) wrote:
Old houses are far more sturdy than the juk they build now. Moderan
houses have a lifespan of 30 years. Particle board just does not
Fix the place you have. First, repair that cut main beam. Apply
steel plates and bolt the pieces together. Use jacks to get it back
to where it belongs. Use at least 6 bolts that go thru the whole beam
on both sides of the cut, nd use thick steel plates on BOTH sides.
Rewire the whole place. What you describe is a fire hazzard.
There will be some holes in the walls to rewire, so you may as well
replace all the plumbing at the same time, and then patch all the
walls just one time. Use PVC for the drains, and either copper pipe
or PEX for the water supply. If you need any extra heat registers, do
that too right away.
It's a lot easier to repair some holes in the walls and jack up a
building, than to build a new house, and likely much less costly. To
tear down the old place is not cheap in itself.
I'm assuming you have a good foundation. If the foundation is
collapsing, then you may be better off starting over. But if the
foundations is still solid (may need some patching), you should be ok.
I'm curious why the main beam was cut. Is this the one in the
basement? Is it wood, or what???
On May 22, 5:44 am, email@example.com wrote:
You can very likely rule out the tear down option with a simple
question that has nothing to do with architects or what's wrong with
You have a mortgage. Can you pay it off? If not, then the mortgage
holder isn't going to let you tear it down.
Thank you everyone for the advise. I thought I'd answer some
have been asked. First one being that if we were to fix up the house I
definatly see us spending our lives in it. It is a typical three bedroom
has a finished attic, perfect for our family size of three with room for
visitors to stay (we moved three hours away from "home" so we have lots of
visitors). If we did tare it apart I would only make minor changes in the
out and only what could be accomodated depending on where the baring walls
The foundation seems to be okay from what we can tell. My husband thinks
be stone with cement over it from someone covering it up. The beam that is
is a large beam that runs the width of the house between the first and
floors. There are some cracks in some of the beams in the celler but they
have sister joints (see I do know some things) and shouldn't pose a
I got my idea of fixing it from my father. What I would like to do is
completely gut it and leave the shell but redo everything else. When I was
my dad bought a fixer up and did the same thing. Unfortunatly he then left
and left it in the hands of my mom to fix while raising three kids. It
18 years to get the house completly finished. The point to that story is
learned that walls are just walls and what makes the home is the family so
would have no problem it we had to live in a house in disrepair for
thinking it would only take us about five years to get it all back
could do some of the work ourselves, my husband is pretty handy
is great with electric however he is not certified. Someone told me though
long as you follow code and have an inspector come in to check it that its
I'm not sure about drywalling though. He did remodel two of the rooms
and it was his first time with sheet rock. He forgot to think about
come out for the windows and left gaps around the door ways thinking he
just add molding until I pointed out there is nothing to secure the
onto. However I do have a brother in law that is skilled with dry wall so
we could swing it.
We do have a mortgage that if we really tried to take the tare down
we could probley pay off in five years. I keep saying probley because
husband makes decent money I kind of have this way of spending it so I
have to work on that. Thought then we would have to come up with money to
it tore down and fixed.
Oh, and to Bob. I'm not sure what you mean by a troll?? Maybe someone
comes on these sites and posts bogus things? I assure you I am not a
troll. I am
just young and a little out of my league here and I was looking for some
advise. I like to ask other people what they think about things and
maybe someone on here might have gone through the same thing. Again thank
anyone and everyone for your time and help.
Go the route of getting an architect/engineer to do a structural eval
first given that you're comfortable w/ the overall house.
Given the rest, it's all doable.
The issues of Code, permits, inspections, etc., are controlled by the
locality and you can find out what they require simply by calling the
city or whatever jurisdiction you're in and asking. Typically, you can
work on own property w/o license and get inspection some (usually larger
metro areas) may require licensed craftsmen--in that case you're pretty
much forced to do what is needed.
The timing and how much at a time, etc., is a personal choice as well as
budget. That's a choice you will have to work out.
On Sat, 22 May 2010 16:11:20 +0000,
mrandmrsweibel1_at_aol_dot firstname.lastname@example.org (mrnmrsweibel1) wrote:
Why are your messages all split up like above? Please Fix your
newsreader, so it wordwraps, or something like that.....
Sounds like the foundations is good, that;s the most important thing.
I still cant understand why that beam was cut. What's the reason? Is
there a stairway there, or what? From what you said, I assume this is
on the floor of the second story. What you need to do is put a solid
post on the cut end of both sides of that beam, or put walls under the
whole thing. Photos of that beam would help.
I've done lots of construction work and even moved some buildings, so
I know how to jack up and support anything. Post some photos on a
website and post the url on here.
On May 22, 9:11 am, mrandmrsweibel1_at_aol_dot email@example.com
Sorry for the comment "seems like a troll to me" but that was my first
impression of your situation & your initial post.
I was having a hard time believing that an home inspector could miss
so many issues that should have readily apparent. :(
The regulars on this ng have a great deal of experience, knowledge and
skill, plus they are very willing to help.
Lots have gone through the "redo an old home" thing.
I would recommend you make your decision based on:
other homes in good condition or trending better (lots of fixing up)?
suits your needs & desires (or would if fixed up)?
find a photo hosting site and post some: overall shots & closeups
get a personal email address (I recommend gmail; great GUI &
features), family or couple shared email is SO last century, email is
not just an electronic version of snail mail.
execute on the advice given the posts have offered, keep posting your
results & your questions
Most importantly, start with your local code enforcement office for any
particulars on doing whatever you end up deciding. They have the final word
over all existing codes. And keep in mind that NEC, NFPA, etc. etc. etc. are
all MINIMUMsk and that your local code enforcement can and often does
strengthen them beyond their own specs. It's a very important part of the
process and when you start whatever you're going to do, they will be
involved since you'll need permits for each phase and maybe even requisite
drawings, sketcehs and project plans. Permits also have a finite lifetime;
they are not open ended.
Along those lines, it might be worthwhile getting a legal consultation
on suing the home inspector. Almost all of them are insured and even
if you don't go to court, they might be willing to hand over $10K just
to get rid of it. They do have all kinds of protective clauses in
their contracts, but a good lawyer could tell you if you have a case.
At some point, if they miss very obvious things, it becomes
incompetence and not that they just could not see or have access to
Years ago, we just did our own inspection, perhaps bringing along Dad or an
Uncle that would be of help. Seems the professionals have more cop-out
clauses in the contracts they don't have any worries about missing anything.
They may be of some value to a totally inept homebuyer, but I'd feel better
doing my own run through. I'm sure there are some good ones, but thee are
alo many complaints about items missed by inspectors.
I grew up in the business, so the inspector's report didn't tell me
anything I didn't already know, and he missed some stuff that I had not.
The $350? he charged was still worth it as a negotiating tactic- his
impressive-looking report made my lowball offer a lot more palatable to
the sellers. I swagged repair costs for everything called out in the
report, and deducted those from the asking price.
...[story of house issues snipped for brevity]...
While there are some issues noted, none really sound as if they would be
terribly difficult to fix.
The question not answered is whether you are interested or at all
capable of doing some of the work yourselves; much could be done by
yourselves undoubtedly if were willing to put in the effort and some
I'd concur w/ the poster who recommended some outside evaluation; I'd
also concur w/ the recommendation for rewiring; I'd expect any sale
would end up being contingent upon such and am frankly quite surprised
these levels of problems weren't caught by your inspection so you could
have either had them fixed before the purchase or at least gotten
consideration on the purchase price of the costs of renovation.
Depending on what the disclosure form the seller provided says about
such items, you might even have some recourse altho time isn't on your
All in all, unless an outside expert does indicate there's a major
structural flaw as another suggested, I'd wager the renovation route is
more economical rather than rebuilding on the same location. In
particular, the cost of another living location while building will
undoubtedly exceed that of more temporary duration during some periods
of a renovation in all likelihood.
Thanks everyone for the tips. I would love to post some picturs and
post to them but unfortunatly I don't really know how. Everytime I try
pictures to the computer I do something wrong and say lots of bad words to
I'm also sorry my posts come out different looking. I again don't know how
fix that. It looks fine as I'm typing it so I have no idea why it does it.
On to the real reason of the post. I'm not sure if going after the
inspector would really help. The big problems with the beam and the
were really not that noticable until my husband and I did some research.
tell us we would need to update the electric but the seriousness of it was
obvious. We didn't realize half the house was on one breaker until my
and I went through the whole house with an alarm clock, he would trip the
breaker and I would run around plugging it in and flipping light switches
find out what got power from which breaker. It was amazing the things that
on what breakers. For instance, one breaker controls the kitchen lights,
washing machine (that is in basement) the dining room, outside lights, the
detached garage and the hot water heater in the basement. We made a list
everything and keep it in a handy place incase one of the breakers ever
did not know that the living room is somehow connected to the cord that is
plugged into the basement until my husband unplugged it one day not
it was and the whole living room lost power. His reaction was "No, noone
possibly be that stupid". We can't even see where the wire is spliced but
somewhere. The inspector also noted that there was a lot of settleing but
didn't think it was a big deal and figured we'd level everything out at
point. We didn't notice the beam was cut until we put mouse traps in the
celling. Oh, and to who asked. The beam is big, maybe six by six and it is
hiding above the drop celling between the first and second floor. We have
known reason for it being cut. There are no doors or anything in its way.
have concidered the possiblity of it being a decorative beam but that
make sence eithor. It is shifted roughly an inch and a half and the whole
upstairs is shifted the same amount towards the center of the house which
where this beam is cut.
It would have been nice to have help house hunting but we live three
away from our home town so that was not an option. I blame alot of the
didn't notice on the fact we were young and caught up in the idea of
own home. We looked at several different homes before we choose this and
sure what we were thinking. We wanted something we could fix up somewhat
our own but we didn't realize we'd have this many problems.
Oh, and to Bob. Thank you for the apology. I know it seems unreal we
this many problems even with a three hour inspection but I assure you it
Whats ironic are the things I didn't mention that we all missed and I'm
how. There were also two places that the floor had settled so much that it
pulled away from the wall leaving a gap. One was conviently hidden behind
dresser so it was easy to miss. The other is at the bottom of the stairs
to the second floor. I am still trying to figure out how myself, my
realtor and the inspector could have all missed this. The sad part is my
and I came to look at the house twice before buying it so I have no idea
missed that. Oh and to add light to your comment about the email. This is
email address, my husband has his own. After beinging called Miss.... for
long I was sad that hardly anyone calls me Mrs. Weibel. So, this is my way
honoring the fact that I am married and very proud of it. :)
Thank you everyone for your time and help. I am so ready to start
down walls now, if I wasn't afraid of what I might find living in them I
start doing it myself.
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