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Need advice about buying/fixing homes

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Need advice about buying/fixing homes

Postby KristineTheStrawberryGirl » May 5th, 2008, 1:25 pm

Hello Everyone,

My husband and I are in the process of buying a bank repo.

The house is pretty old, and needs work, although it looks surprisingly sturdy and nice. However, as I am not very informed about houses, I do not really know what could be wrong that I can't see. Hence, I am very anxious to get the inspection reports. I need some advice about what types of things are worth fixing and what types of things should be the red flag to back out of the deal.

If it is determined that the place is worth fixing later on, it would also be nice to have someone who could give some advice about how to fix it.

If anyone here is an expert on this subject, please respond to this thread or PM me.

Thank you :-)
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Postby gmm567 » May 7th, 2008, 6:17 pm

I've done about 7 of them and put a nice chunk of coin in the bank.

1) have someone check the foundation for cracks and upheaval. Make sure your inspector takes a look. Foundation problems can be very expensive.

2) roof--make sure the roof is good. The one thing that will destroy a house is water--believe it or not. The wood rots and loses it's structural strength.

3) plumbing--turn on the each faucet and make sure the water comes on and you have good pressure. If the system is leaking somewhere , you'll probably hear it.

4)electrical system- make sure the outlets have electricity. You can buy a circuit tester for $4 at Home depot that you put into the outlet and it will tell you wether the wires are hooked up wrong and whether there is a ground. Your inspector will most likely do that. One more thing , you might want to take the cover off an outlet and see whether you have aluminium wiring--they used aluminium rather than copper---in SOME houses in the 70's when copper prices spiked. Some electricians believe alumuninium might not be as safe.

Check out National Cost Estimator free on the internet --that is a database of labor and material costs for every task that goes into a building a house. It's great for getting a sense of how much time and money it will cost you to do repairs. It takes a little time to figure out how to use it but it's well worth the effort. You can estimate anything. And most material prices will come directly from your closest home depot. I think HomeDepot actually gives the database out for free on a cd.

Oh and by the way, if you end up hiring some of the work done--be sure and get a contract that stipulates what he will do and how much he will get paid. Never give those guys free reign. You might talk with a builder to get references for contractors that he has used and recommends. Don't get them out of the yellow pages--you're asking for trouble.
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Postby momopi » May 8th, 2008, 12:56 am

I'd also add that many cities offer housing rehabilitation subsidies, might want to look into it. They're usually grants and it's free money!
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Postby KristineTheStrawberryGirl » May 12th, 2008, 9:53 pm

Thanks for the tips and resources.

Good news: our pest inspection results are really good. I guess it's true when they say that older houses were built stronger and out of better materials!
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Postby gmm567 » May 14th, 2008, 12:58 am

The wood in older homes came from much older trees. And that old wood is much denser and has better strength.

But, it's not true that new houses aren't built as well. Structural grade Stud 2 X 4 are machine graded (tested) for the required structural strength for the wind, snow and other loads found in your area.

Houses are engineered . This is done through the simplified structural engineering found in the building codes.
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houses

Postby Erazinn » May 19th, 2008, 3:29 pm

Hi there,
I am a Realtor yet I don't know everything; however, you should have the home inspected prior to purchase. This will tell you the things that are really bad. Bad like: terribly old aluminum electrical wires that are half melted or something that could cause a fire, scorpion/bug/termite infestations, foundational cracks because of a tree or water or seismic damage (highly unlikely but you never know) the bank wont' tell you a thing. Roof problems you can't see with naked eye. If you are not nickel diming on the project, you need to pay to have a thorough inspection done a fork over the extra for a roof inspection (maybe maybe not) and don't freak out over half the stuff they say that's wrong. Really very little can't be remedied. If it's a screaming deal- go for it and get ready to work your butt off but have fun!!
Best, Erin
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