Old house foundation in Florida


Old 03-16-13, 01:11 PM
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Old house foundation in Florida

Was checking out a single family home in South Florida. It being a REO (foreclosed) home owned by a bank you don't have much to go on as far as history.

Most houses I have come across are concrete slab foundation, but I have never seen a house built in 1924. Well, I am not sure it's 1924. County records show an "ACTUAL YEAR BUILT" as 1924 but then an "EFFECTIVE YEAR BUILT" as 1954. Usually they are the same or 1 year apart but this is obviously an error?

So as I walked around I feel the hard wood floor feels a bit spongy springy, and some areas are not perfectly level. Typical for an older house I guess...but then I saw an area in the closet where the flooring is vinyl and peeled back a bit. I pushed it with my finger and it gave a little. I had a set of tools in my car so I took out a small screw driver and push it a little, and before I know it all 7" of shaft went all the way in. It's not hollow inside, it feels like totally rotted out wood.

I found another spot in another room, did the same, with the same results.

I guess may be in the 1920s they use wood beam foundation down here? I don't know. Due to water table being so high, there is no basement or crawl space so I can't look and see what's below. Nor will I be allowed to peel back some more of the floor to do any invasive investigation.

How would one fix a problem like that? Is it even worth the trouble?
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Old 03-16-13, 01:42 PM
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Sounds like the framing is essentially resting on the ground. Unless you can get it for nothing and like the location, that's a lot of work.

I get really annoyed that BANKs are able to shrug their shoulders and sell it as is, when any home owner is obligated to full disclosure. If you walk away, someone else will walk in and not see that issue and pay more than they should.

If you make an offer, clearly state that the house has a structural problem for which they are now aware and must disclose to future buyers. Knowing this, permanently reduces the value of the home which is reflected in your very low offer. It's worth a try if you decide to make an offer.

Old 03-17-13, 04:38 AM
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As I'm sure you already know, the main reason fla houses are built on slabs is because of the pervasive termite problems. Back when the house was built, there probably wasn't any PT wood and creosote was the only protection against insect damage. If you've ever used creosote you know how bad it stinks so it may not have been used.

I'd be inclined to walk away unless the price is cheap enough and I didn't mind [and could afford] fixing the potential framing issues.
Old 03-17-13, 07:38 PM
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I've been in Florida for a year now & I was doing some plumbing & electrical work for a guy who owns 7 houses, none of which are worth what he paid. He talks about 25 year houses as being 'old houses'. Being from Brooklyn & Long Island, 25 year old houses are 'new' to me. He told me that insurance companies don't even want to insure an 'old house'.

Adding your description, of the flooring, to the mix, WALK AWAY especially if it's in 'sink hole' land. That's near Tampa. I'm leaving Fl soon & would never buy here anyway. I don't like Florida construction at all.

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