At the very least, bring in 2-3 friends whose opinions you trust. They're
not emotionally involved with the house. By the way, did you lift any of the
dropped ceiling tiles and peek inside with a serious flashlight, to see why
there are dropped ceilings? Aside from commercial installations, or finished
basements, there's almost always a nasty reason why dropped ceilings are
installed. Aside from bad taste, that is.
Yeah, I'm sure the fact that the 3 friends are not emotionally involved
will mean they can give good opinions as to the state of the
foundation, the roof and the furnace! LOL
By the way, did you lift any of the
I'd be quite cautious about whether the house fits what is
common and customary in the market. If there are no others
like it, then you might have a terrible time selling it
later on. It also sounds like a lot of the house was
"homemade" by some owner and I'd be quite worried about what
was hidden behind the walls. That includes not only
construction defects, but also mold.
Very interesting that you should say this. I called the seller, got
his voicemail, and left a lengthy explanation of why I wouldn't be
pursuing the purchase. I said "If I can't trot the horse, I can' t
risk him on the harness." I also said that if he lowered the asking
price 20K, to keep my number. I enumerated *all* of the reasons folks
on this thread have discussed; and I certainly never expected to hear
from him again.
Well, lo and behold, I got an immediate response, saying Why Worry
About Plumbing (when there's so little of it)? Yeah, the wiring is 35
years old... (And then nothing about having 35 year old wiring even
examined.) You Can Always Take Off a Block of Soffit If You Ever Have
to See Into the Attic. Those were his exact words.
Apparently this guy is either much more inept or much more practiced at
flipping homes than I thought, and had no reaction whatever to my
calling to his attention the fact that the inability to examine even
*ONE* of the home's money-swallowing systems would most likely impact
other potential buyers negatively.
I am so glad I made this post. Yeah, I suppose I knew what I was going
to do all along, but I needed help articulating it. Thanks lots,
a.h.r. folks. Happy St. Patrick's Day!
As you look at other houses, don't obsess about the age of the wiring. It's
not the age that counts - its how it was done. My house was built in 1956
and has original wiring. The wiring's in gorgeous shape, and except for the
garage, it's all original. The way it's bundled and stapled in place, it's
obvious the electrician was obsessive about details. By way of comparison, I
recently added a new circuit in the basement of a friend's 10 year old
house. I found that someone had run 3 wires in one side of a heating duct
and out the other.Sharp metal edges, in other words. Idiots.
Heck, I suppose I'd buy something with knob-and-tube if at least a good
solid run of it could be examined. A realtor I admire recently took me
through another of these bungalows, much more new than the one I posted
about. The owner had passed away just that week, and there were still
dishes in the sink.
Despite this, I fell in love with the construction and well-maintained
place. Then we went down into the huge cellar, and the realtor took a
look at the breaker box, and said, "Nope, I want you to pass on this
one." The box was Federal Pacific.
All I know is that when I sold my Concrete-Is-Us money pit, I just
stood back and let realtors and potential buyers prod, poke, and peel
back whatever they wanted (within reason). I don't think it matters
what your income or socioeconomic group, but to have major elements of
vital systems totally concealed from view-- Well, it's a risk I won't
post about here again. Next time I'll remind myself of the caution
flags on this thread.
If people would just be honest about this stuff, the results would amaze
them. When I bought my first house, the owners said there had been water
problems in the basement, and they hadn't been there long enough to figure
out why. OK. That satisfied me. The rest of the house was fine. I made sure
no water sensitive items were on the basement floor. I knew what to expect.
until a spring thaw had occurred and we saw the problem. Took us two years
to fix the problem, but we did it.
When I sold my 1992 Ford Taurus, I advertised it as "$1500.00 selling price.
Real cost $2500.000 - needs this & that". I had a dozen calls in two days
and it was sold on the third. People don't like surprises.
More level headed thinking. On the advice of your attorney, don't hire
a home inspector. And then, on the advice of a realtor, walk on a
house because of the brand of breaker box. If I were you, I'd give up
on buying anything, because you are clueless.
I've been reading this thread, but still maybe I missed it. But my question is -
why are you looking at this house (I don't mean that in a snarky way.) Is it to
live in? Do you like the style and layout, as unconventional as it may be? Do
you plan to live in it for a long time? (If you like the layout and will be
there for a very long time, forget about the next buyer - someone like *you*
will come along..)
Because there is no perfect house (and, yes, I've buried more than ten thousand
for a foundation fix for my house). If you're looking at older construction,
which clearly you are, do you know what you really want, don't want to deal
with, are OK to deal with? And how much to worry, or not worry, about getting
it sold in the future?
Because some of these things seem a bit odd. For example, how often do you
think electric would be totally updated? It's not very often unless there's a
total remod or the system has become totally outmoded to the point of concerns
about safety (like Al wiring). If 35 year old electric scares you, you'd have
to walk away from every house built since 1970 unless it's been totally
remodelled. Which not many houses built in 1970 are. Because frankly that's
not really so old.
Do you have a good handle on what you want, what you are confortable dealing
with, etc? I think you may be outsmarting yourself here trying to get
I included an overview of know and tube below. While we've done quite a
lot of electrical work at our house, we still have a bit of active knob and
tube wiring. We made certain to have our electrician inspect all visible
portions. Speaking from experience, it can be hard to insure a home with
knob and tube wiring.
Knob and Tube
The earliest standardized method of wiring in buildings, from about 1880 to
the 1940s, was single cloth-insulated copper conductors run across interior
walls or within ceiling cavities, passing through joist and stud
drill-holes via protective porcelain insulating tubes, and supported along
their length on nailed-down porcelain "knob" insulators. This system is
known as "knob-and-tube" from the insulators used. Where conductors entered
a wiring device such as a lamp or switch, they were protected by flexible
cloth insulating sleeving. Wire splices in such installations were twisted
for good mechanical strength, then soldered and wrapped with "friction"
tape (asphalt saturated cloth), or made inside metal junction boxes.
Historically, the standards for installing electrical wiring were less
stringent in the age of knob-and-tube wiring than they are today. Compared
to modern electrical wiring standards, the main shortcomings of
knob-and-tube era wiring are: knob-and-tube wiring never included a safety
ground conductor; knob-and-tube wiring did not confine switching to the hot
conductor; knob-and-tube wiring permitted the use of in-line-splices in
walls without using an accessible junction box to contain the splice.
Older homes may have knob-and-tube wiring for all or part of their
electrical system. Such wiring systems require replacement and
modernization, as it is inadequate for modern levels of power use. Wiring
may have been damaged by renovations done in the building, and insulation
covering the wires may be brittle due to age or may be damaged by rodents
or carelessness (for example, hanging objects off wiring running in
accessible areas like basements).
By the way, how did you determine that the outlets were properly grounded?
Hopefully not just by seeing that they had the 3rd prong opening. Home
supply stores sell cheap little devices you can plug in, and a series of
LEDs light up, telling you what's what.
On 16 Mar 2006 04:49:14 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
It sounds as if the seller is looking for a sucker. HE knows
what he thinks he can move the house for, do you know something
he doesn't? Didn't think to.
Figure each thing that you can't look at has got something wrong
with it that's going to cost you about $5,000 to fix if you do it
yourself, or $10,000 if you hire it done. Is it still a good
deal on that basis?
sounds like he is a pittsburger, county tax records on the net,
hillside homes and depressed prices. in some areas 50 grand can get you
a decent home.
sounds like a good deal the buyer bought it to flip, buy low fix up
selll and make a profit.
some like me would enjoy the project just dont get in over your head!!
and have fun fixing up houses can be rewarding both $ and more
important for self satisfaction..........:)
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