1930's brick home: inspection/restoration questions


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Old 07-11-08, 05:51 AM
K
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1930's brick home: inspection/restoration questions

We will have it professionally inspected, that presents the questions:

1)A general home inspector may not be knowledge-able on older homes so how do I go about finding one that will know what I need them to know?

2)The home is run-down. There are no vertical or horizonal cracks in the bricks themselves (except one) but missing mortar in several places and cracks that run in a zig-zag pattern are present. The one brick that is cracked is up high and the crack is smack down the center about the width of the mortar lines. Some mortar has been patched (up high and no ladder) but you can tell it wasn't done properly. Standing back away from the home, you can see one outer wall has settled over the years so the lines are not completely horizontal (kind of a wave/dip effect) but only on one side of the home. It that a red flag?

Do I need two home inspections? One for general (wiring, plumbing, etc) and one for the actual brick exterior?

We don't know what's been done over the years or how long it's been empty. We can use the family/DIY approach for some stuff (licensed electrician and plumber in the family) as well as a BIL who restored an old farmhouse and can assist with some repairs but as far as an actual inspection and an estimate on immediate needs to prevent further damage, we will have that done professionally.

Price, of course is quite cheap. Even with the payment, taxes/ins. etc we are looking at $1000/month surplus in our budget so we are trying to determine if we should rent right now or buy a fixer-upper that isn't "too far gone".

Thanks, kjh
 
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Old 07-11-08, 07:27 AM
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Whether an old or new home, a professional home inspection is recommended. The home inspector will likely recommend an inspection by a masonry expert to determine extent of damage to brick facing and reasons why it has occurred. For info on effects of thermal expansion on brick: http://www.inspect-ny.com/structure/...tionOccur6.htm

You do not want to invest in a money pit property. The inspections can help guide you in your decisioin making. If you submit a contract on the property, you will want to include a contingency clause in the contract re: pending inspections. The failure of brick facing is a red flag.

Most will warn against purchasing a house that needs major improvements. Improvements made should add value to the property investment. Major repairs include plumbing and electrical system overhauls, foundation upgrades, and extensive roof and wall work. Invisible improvements tend not to raise the value of the property enough to offset costs of renovation. The best fixer upper investments are those that are structural sound and require only cosmetic improvements.
There can also be hidden surprises such as asbestos, mold, and termites.

A comparison of the property value after renovations, when compared with other properties in the neighborhood, is also an important consideration. A realtor should be able to provide you with property values on comparable properties after your investment in renovations. If the house is in a desirable neighborhood and costs of renovations do not price you out of the neighborhood, then it may be a worthwhile investment.

Further reading:

http://www.remodelingthislife.com/20...a-fixer-upper/

http://www.ourfamilyplace.com/homebuyer/fixer.html

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/mag...9/fixer_upper/
 
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Old 07-12-08, 10:52 AM
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Thanks for the response and links. I did some more calling around and found out the structure had been repaired down in the basement by a local contractor about 6 years ago.

Think I'll skip this one for now. I don't mind a fixer upper when I'm financially prepared for it but structure damage even that's been repaired is a no-go. Our first home was a money pit and no way do I want to go down that road again.

Besides, like mom said, "if it's that good of a deal why hasn't someone else bought it to use for a rental home?" One business in that town owns 40 rental properties so if was "fixable", they'd have bought it.

kjh
 
 

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